Monthly Archives: September 2014

Food Allergies in the Library

Girl Eating Peanut Butter Sandwich According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), one out of every 13 children has a food allergy. Thus, you likely have a child with a food allergy attending programming at your library.

Ninety percent of all reactions are caused by the following eight foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. In addition to allergies, many people are also gluten intolerant. While you are probably not serving seafood as a story time snack, it is important to take seriously the severity of food allergies, since the only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid those foods and even trace amounts can be fatal. Continue reading

Book Speed Dating

book-112117_640A few weeks ago, I was told about a teen programming idea that sounded like it could be a lot of fun: Book Speed Dating.

After doing some research online, it appears that it is a popular idea that teens really enjoy and it gets them to read books that they may not normally pick up.

All you need to do is set up a few tables, gather the books ahead of time (these can be a mix of fiction and nonfiction or just fiction or just nonfiction), create a scorecard, and have a timer (or watch/clock) available.

Continue reading

Turning Outward to Better Understand and Serve your Community

transformingLibrariesThinking about revising your library’s strategic plan? Wondering how you can do more to better understand the communities you serve? In need of more informed advocacy and outreach? Consider utilizing the Turning Outward workbook from Transforming Libraries. It is a collection of tools designed to help libraries strengthen their roles as community leaders and bring about positive change in their service area.

The workbook is laid out as a 90-day plan, which sounds daunting at first, but it’s broken down into manageable installments. Since this step-by-step process was developed by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation in partnership with the American Library Association, you know it will be effective.

I do recommend reading through the entire workbook before you begin tackling the project, however, as this will ground your understanding of the process and assist with keeping things flowing forwards smoothly. There are a few awkward moments in the workbook, like where you’re asked to discuss aspects of the Cycle of Public Innovation graphic several pages before it appears. Knowing this in advance will keep you from getting hung up on such inconvenient details.

The entire workbook is available as a PDF online, free of charge right here.

You can learn more about Transforming Libraries and the Turning Outward program on this site.

Licensed under

“The Cycle of Public Innovation” by the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation used under CC BY NC SA 3.0 license.


Digital Horizons


As you may or may not be aware–the North Dakota State Library (NDSL) began participating in Digital Horizons about a year ago.  The previous link will take you to our current website where you can read up on the consortium if you aren’t familiar with the local institutions that are currently participating. NDSL is currently scanning county and town history books so that they are available online and are keyword searchable.

If you are a user of Digital Horizons, be on the lookout for some changes in the upcoming weeks. We will launch a new website that will be using the most up to date CONTENTdm software. This will make searches and viewing easier. There is also new content. We are hoping for an early October launch and I will keep you informed as changes occur.

Community Tool Box

toolboxWe all want our libraries to be more than just repositories for books – we also want them to be thriving centers in the community. However, it can seem like an overwhelming task to actually develop connections in the community.

That’s where the Community Tool Box can come in handy. Brought to you by the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, the Community Tool Box is a “free, online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change.” It breaks down each step of the process for you.

There is a helpful guide to getting started, outlining the process with links to related resources:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Act
  • Evaluate
  • Sustain

The Learn A Skill section can guide you through chapters relevant to exactly what you need assistance with in your community. There are also Toolkits for specific activities, each with an outline and several examples.

These resources are not specifically tailored to libraries; however, if you attended the Summer Summit symposiums this year, you’ll notice that they focus on several topics that were discussed:

What’s going on in your community? What would you like to see happen? Share your stories in the comments!

Importance of Library Services to Younger Americans

The Pew Research Center surveyed over 6,000 Americans ages 16 and over. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish from July to September, 2013. The chart indicates the percentage who say these library services are “very important” to them.

Importance of Library Services by Age and %


For the complete September 2014 Pew Research report, see Younger Americans and Public Libraries.

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams

Permission to digitize

EU flag

So I was scanning my news feed and came across an article entitled, “Libraries may digitize books without permission and immediately began clicking the link. As the page came up, I realized that I had neglected to finish reading the title which further stated, “EU top court rules

So European libraries may digitize books and make them available at electronic reading points without first gaining consent of the copyright holder. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) made the ruling last week. The CJEU just clarified the scope of the copyright directive and its decision does not finalize the dispute. It is for the national court to decide the case in accordance with the CJEU’s decision, which is binding on other national courts before which a similar issue is raised.

While there are some expected setbacks in the ruling itself—like restricting them to reading points within the library and no downloading or printing of the books—it is a huge benefit to libraries and their attempts to keep up with the digital movement. I can’t say what this will mean in American courts but it opens the theoretical door.

Global Cardboard Challenge

cardboard boxDo you want to encourage and celebrate creativity amongst the kids in your community? Then take part in this year’s Global Cardboard Challenge! The Global Cardboard Challenge invites kids of all ages to “build anything they can dream up using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination.”

The Global Cardboard Challenge is hosted annually by the Imagination Foundation, an organization with the goal to “find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world to raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers who have the tools they need to build the world they imagine.” Sounds a lot like what libraries hope to do for kids in their communities, right?

The official date of the Cardboard Challenge this year is Saturday, October 11. If you’d like more information on hosting an event, you can register as an event organizer to receive updates. Since it focuses on creativity, this is a pretty flexible event to host. If you’d like to get a better idea of how it might look, check out the photos from events held in 2013. Since the focus is on kids, you may want to include some kids in the planning process!

If you want to extend the celebration of creativity throughout the year, check out the Imagination Chapters. If you’ve been wanting to try a makerspace in your library, this would be a great way to start and encourage community involvement at the same time!

Have you participated in the Cardboard Challenge in the past? Do you plan to participate this year? Share your stories in the comments!

Teen Read Week – October 12-18

Teen Read WeekTeen Read Week is coming soon!  This annual event is being held October 12-18 and is a national literacy initiative created by YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association. The purpose of this event is to “encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.” 

The theme this year is “Turn Dreams Into Reality @ Your Library” and can be used to “spotlight all the great resources and activities” provided at the library to “inspire teens to succeed in school and beyond.” 

YALSA also includes activity ideas and publicity tools, including a press release and marketing tips that may be helpful.



Many of you out there may be familiar with Pinterest as a way of sharing ideas, crafts, photos, etc. Have you heard of Historypin? It is the same concept but people pin items of historical interest. Anyone can start an account–individuals to institutions. If the location of a photo is known, you enter that info and additional metadata. It then gets pinned to a map where you can explore an area’s history through user submitted items. You can narrow your search results by year and subject. ND mapHistorypin also includes ideas for projects that can involve schools, your local community, and libraries and archives. This can be a fast and easy way (and FREE) for small historical societies or public libraries to showcase some of their collections.

If you or someone you know is interested in such a project but don’t know how or where to get started, please contact me at My middle name is digitization (just kidding–it’s much less exciting than that).