Monthly Archives: March 2018

Teen Book Clubs in Your Library

Are you looking to start a book club for teens at your library? A teen book club can be challenging in the beginning but will be rewarding once it is started. New teen programs may need to wait until there is an established group of teens that regularly attend programs or a Teen Advisory Group before they start a book club. This ensures that there will be active, regular participation.

Here are some resources to help you get started creating a book club for teens:

 Types of Book Clubs:

Traditional Book Club

In traditional book clubs, participants all read the same book and discuss it at the next meeting. This type of book club works well in larger systems where programs either have the funding to purchase books for members or an ILL system capacity to lend the materials out to every participant.

One of the challenges of a traditional book club is finding books that most of your readers will enjoy. Especially at the beginning, it’s important to talk to your readers about what genres and types of books they want. Consider crafting a ballot with 6 options and having everyone vote for their top three. Select the next 3 months’ books based on the tallied votes.

When choosing books, remember that some books are easier to discuss in a group than others. To encourage a more productive discussion, consider choosing character-driven novels with unique plot elements. Let students lead the discussion by focusing on what elements they think are interesting and relevant to their lives.

It’s also important to remember that teens are coming to this club willingly, and you are not assigning these books as homework. Let the teens know that it’s OK to not finish the book or to not like a book, but that you still want them to come to the book club to share those opinions.

To spice up this book club, consider adding book-related activities or snacks. These are great ice-breakers for both quieter students and new members, and it will help everyone feel included.

Genre Book Club

A genre book club has participants read different books but all of the books are from the same genre. The book club may have a different genre every month (fantasy, nonfiction, graphic novel, mystery, etc.) or maintain the same genre for the duration of the club (a mystery lover’s book club or science fiction book club, for example). Then, during the meeting, each member talks about the book that they read/are currently reading.

This book club format allows teens to read at their own pace and reading level and still be able to discuss books with their peers. As each member takes a turn talking about their book (often either recommending it to others or telling them to steer clear), they should try to avoid spoiling major plot-twists. This is a great way for peers to encourage each other to read new books rather than having an adult tell them what to read.

During the meeting, the club leader can try to direct the discussion towards common themes and elements within the certain genre as well as flaws with the genre, what is noticeably absent or taken for granted? This encourages the students to think deeper about the genres and the books they have chosen

Book Lovers Club

Come one, come all to a book lovers club. All participants are welcome to come to this book club. This simple club is more of a gathering for book enthusiasts to talk about what they’re currently reading and share recommendations. This is an easy gathering for teens to hang out and have a snack or to just attend and listen about all of the fun, wacky, or wild books their peers are reading. Discussions tend to be less structured in this type of book club, but if your goal is to keep teens reading and engaged, this may be the perfect place to start.


Tips and Tricks:

  • Make sure participants know that it’s OK to not like or finish a book; encourage them to come to book club anyways to share their opinions.
  • Combine forces with public librarians, local book store owners, and Library Media Specialists at the middle and high school levels to find interested individuals or different places to host the book club.
  • Remember that not all of your books need to be brand new. These are often expensive or have long waiting lists at the library. Choose books that are a few years older so that if you purchase them, they are more than likely available in paperback and if you request or ILL them, they probably won’t have a waiting list.
  • Give your participants buy-in by letting them vote for future titles or submit requests.
  • Supply snacks or other incentives


Book Club Questions to Get Teens Talking:

  1. What did you like best/least about this book?
  2. What characters did you like/dislike the most?
  3. Would you read another book by this author?
  4. Did you think the book was too long or short? What important elements were missing? What parts would you have cut out?
  5. What do you think of the book’s title and cover? Do they do a good job conveying what the book is about or were they misleading?
  6. Is this book or storyline unique?
  7. Did the characters and world seem believable or realistic?
  8. How did you feel about the ending? Did it wrap everything up or leave you hanging? Are you satisfied about the ending?
  9. Did the book make you think about anything differently?
  10. Would this book make a good movie? Why or why not?


YA and Juvenile Book Club Kits from NDSL through KitKeeper (as of 4-1-2018):

  • After Ever After; Jordan Sonnenblick
  • An Abundance of Katherines; John Green
  • Dairy Queen; Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  • Don’t Tell Anyone; Peg Kehret
  • Fahrenheit 451; Ray Bradbury
  • Flygirl; Sherri L. Smith
  • Frankenstein; Mary Shelley
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Msr. Basil E. Frankweiler; E.L. Konisgsburg
  • Going Vintage; Lindsey Leavitt
  • Heist Society; Ally Carter
  • I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban; Malala Yousafzei
  • Maximum Ride #1: The Angel Experiment; James Patterson
  • My Name is Not Easy; Debby Dahl Edwardson
  • The Book Thief; Markus Zusak
  • The Complete Maus; Art Spiegelman
  • The Fault in Our Stars; John Green
  • The Giver; Lois Lowry
  • The Maze Runner; James Dashner
  • Thirteen Reasons Why; Jay Asher


Helpful Websites:

ALA Book Discussion Groups:

Book Riot:


Teel Librarian Toolbox:

Teen Services Underground:

YALSA: The Hub;

Printing & Downloading PDFs on Digital Horizons

The Digital Initiatives department often gets calls or emails asking how to print or download a copy of an item on one of the State Library’s online collections on Digital Horizons, primarily PDFs from the ND County and Town Histories and ND State Documents collections.

It’s a simple process, and here are the steps to do it.

If you would like to download a PDF copy of an item or print it, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the item on Digital Horizons
  2. Click on the greenish printer icon on the right
  3. Select the “All” option
  4. A PDF copy of the item will then load (it may take a few seconds)
  5. Click on the download icon in your browser to download a copy, or click on the print icon in your browser to print

And that’s it!

Here is another tip.

If you would like your downloaded PDF’s to print out with uniform page size, follow these steps:

  1. In Adobe Acrobat (the program you use to view PDFs), click on the “View” menu at the top
  2. Click on “Page Display”
  3. Click on “Single Page View”

Then you can print.

Of course, if you ever have any difficulties or questions, you can always contact the Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library.

ScanDay FAQ

[A two-page PDF version of the below FAQ can be downloaded by clicking here: ScanDay_FAQ_handout]

Help engage in building, sharing, and preserving North Dakota history by participating in a ScanDay! Browse the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below to learn more about ScanDay.

What is ScanDay?

ScanDay is an event hosted in libraries, schools, and institutions across the state, in which Digital Initiatives staff from the North Dakota State Library bring scanning and photography equipment to a community and digitize historical photographs, documents, and objects.

The purpose of this event is to get residents to engage in building local and state history by bringing in personal records, photographs, objects, etc. to be digitized and then displayed online on Digital Horizons.

Most libraries, institutions, and even members of the public do not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to handle digitization projects like this, but this is where Digital Initiatives can help.

What is the procedure of a ScanDay?

Participants will sign up for a time slot before the event takes place. The local organization hosting the ScanDay will have a signup sheet for participants. Participants can sign up for a 30-minute time slot. State Library staff can only accommodate two participants during a 30-minute time slot, and 10-15 items per person (due to limited staff/ equipment and the processing time required). Participants should have their items selected ahead of time, before going to the ScanDay event.

If a local museum or historical society is interested in signing up as a participant, they can bring about 20-30 items and are allowed to sign up for two 30-minute time slots (one right after the other).

If you have more than 10-15 items (or certain items like scrapbooks, booklets, etc.) it may take too long for them to be digitized at the event. However, if you want to have these items digitized and added to Digital Horizons, Digital Initiatives staff may have to borrow the items for a period of time. The items would later be returned upon completion.

When arriving at their allotted time, participants will be greeted by State Library staff, who will then work with participants to review and assess the materials brought in.

Participants will be asked to fill out and sign a form, which allows the State Library to digitize the items, as well as retain and share the digital files. During the 30-minute time slots, ScanDay staff will work with participants to get contact information, digitize the items, and record the descriptive information (metadata) for each item.

The items participants bring are scanned or photographed, and then the items are returned to the participants. Flash drives will be provided to all participants, which will include digital copies of their items. Participants will also receive handouts relating to Digital Horizons, the State Library, and preservation.

The State Library will also retain and preserve digital copies of the materials, and they will be added to its digital collections. Staff will later process the digitized items and determine which to upload and display on Digital Horizons.

State Library staff will bring digitization equipment to the ScanDay event, including two flatbed scanners and a digital camera. The scanners can fit items approximately 8 ½ X 11 inches. Any materials larger than this will be photographed.

What items should be brought to ScanDay?

Digital Initiatives seeks to avoid limiting what attendees bring to ScanDay events. But to give some ideas, these are various things that would be acceptable to bring: photographs, letters, certificates, journals, artwork, artifacts, memorabilia, scrapbooks, etc. Each ScanDay participant is limited to 10-15 items.

Anything that celebrates or represents certain themes, including but not limited to: North Dakota history, city or county life, agriculture, structures that no longer exist, floods, pioneers, ethnicities, government, military, family history, sports, education, organizations, etc. It is preferred that items brought to an event have a North Dakota connection.

Photographs of all shapes and sizes are encouraged, but they should be clear/ not blurry. The items brought in can be from any time period, but more recent items – like photographs – should have been taken by participants so there are not any copyrights issues.

It is preferred that items brought to an event are identifiable (meaning the people, location, and approximate time period are able to be determined).

Bring as much information on the items as you can. Preparing an inventory, description, or notes of the items before the event would save staff a lot of time. Try to answer these questions for each item brought to ScanDay: Who? What? When? Where?

Here are some examples of photographs to give you an idea:

  • Who?
    • Who is in the photograph? Who is the subject?
    • Include full names (avoid things like “Mom” or “Grandpa”)
  • What?
    • What is going on in the photograph? What is the context?
    • Why was the photograph taken?
  • When?
    • Try to date the photograph
    • Even a date estimation, like “between 1925-1932” or “late 1940s” is better than nothing
  • Where?
    • Where was the photograph taken?
    • Where was the photograph published?

To give you some ideas of what to bring, you can also browse the entire North Dakota Memories collection.

Items that are generally discouraged include newspapers or newspaper clippings, copyrighted materials (unless permission is obtained from the copyright holder), and anything that contains private information. As a general rule of thumb, do not bring anything to ScanDay that you would not be comfortable having displayed online on Digital Horizons.

What happens to the digital copies collected after a ScanDay?

Digital Initiatives works to sort through all the items digitized at ScanDays. After processing is complete, staff works to catalog the information and upload them onto Digital Horizons.

However, not all items scanned or photographed will be uploaded onto Digital Horizons. While Digital Initiatives staff is happy to digitize most items for participants, not all of them fall under the scope of the North Dakota Memories collection. Other reasons for exclusion can include condition, copyright, duplication, lack of metadata, etc.

Items may also appear on the State Library’s social media accounts and promotional materials.

Where can we find the items from ScanDay on Digital Horizons?

Items from ScanDays are part of the North Dakota Memories collection.

To narrow your search to a specific ScanDay location, browse the North Dakota Memories collection, scroll down until you come across the “Repository Collection” filter on the left, and then click on the ScanDay collection to see the items from that location.

What is the responsibility of an organization hosting ScanDay?

The responsibility of the hosting organization is to provide a space for Digital Initiatives staff to set up equipment. The organization will also need to provide a table, chairs, and access to an outlet. Please contact Digital Initiatives prior to the ScanDay if your organization has any issues with these responsibilities.

Marketing materials (like a flyer and signup sheet) will be provided by the North Dakota State Library. The organization is responsible for distributing the marketing materials and answering patrons’ questions about the event.

Prior to the ScanDay, the State Library will create a Facebook event and make the organization a co-host; both parties will then have the ability to promote the event and invite participants.

The organization is responsible for lining up attendees. In some cases, Digital Initiatives may require a minimum number of attendees to be registered in order for the event to take place.

What can I do if I’m unable to attend a ScanDay but I’m interested in having my items added to Digital Horizons?

If you are unable to attend a ScanDay event but would still like to contribute your materials to Digital Horizons, contact Digital Initiatives at the North Dakota State Library to discuss options.

  • Digital Initiatives staff may have to borrow the items for a period of time. The items would later be returned upon completion.
  • If you are in the Bismarck area, contact Digital Initiatives about setting up an appointment for you to bring your items to the State Library for digitization.

Will values or appraisals be given for the items brought to ScanDay?

No. Digital Initiatives cannot provide monetary values or appraisals for materials brought to a ScanDay event.

Can my items be donated to the State Library?

The North Dakota State Library is not equipped to accept physical items like photographs, documents, and objects. The State Library is not an archive so the physical preservation of these materials falls out of its scope. Certain items like books and histories (county, town, organizational, family, etc.) may be considered for acceptance into the State Library’s collections.

If you are interested in donating your materials to an institution that can properly store and care for them, consider contacting a local museum or historical society. You may also want to consider contacting the State Historical Society of North Dakota (either the Archives or Museum division).

Who should be contacted regarding ScanDay or Digital Initiatives?

If your library or organization is interested in having a ScanDay or if you have questions relating to Digital Initiatives, please contact us by email at or by phone at 701-328-4663 or 701-328-3495.

What is Digital Initiatives?

Digital Initiatives was formed in 2012 to share expertise in collecting, creating, and preserving digital copies of items relating to North Dakota’s cultural heritage and government.

The Digital Initiatives team will offer services including training and consultation related to the creation, display, storage, and preservation of digital collections.

Digital Initiatives digitizes, shares, and preserves North Dakota-related materials, many of which are cataloged and uploaded onto Digital Horizons.

Digital Initiatives also plans, organizes, and implements ScanDays.

What is Digital Horizons?

Digital Horizons is an online digital library consisting of thousands of images, documents, videos, and oral histories depicting life on the Northern Plains from the late 1800s to today. Digital Horizons provides a fascinating snapshot of the lives, culture, and history of the people who shaped life on the prairies.

Digital Horizons was established in 2007 and has grown to include contributors such as Concordia College, North Dakota State University, Prairie Public Broadcasting, North Dakota State Library, State Historical Society of North Dakota, and more!

New Items Added to Digital Horizons (Jan.-Mar. 2018)

The Digital Initiatives department has been keeping busy in early 2018. Many items have been uploaded in January and February onto Digital Horizons. Listed below is a highlight of new items added to the North Dakota State Library’s online collections. You can access the items featured below by clicking on them or by visiting the Digital Horizons website (where you will also find thousands of other treasures).

ND Memories

ND State Documents

ND School for the Deaf Banner

Ben’s Guide

Have you heard about Ben’s Guide?

Ben’s Guide is a free, online resource from the Government Publishing Office (GPO). Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government, or Ben’s Guide for short, is a fun, interactive resource designed to inform children, students, parents, educators, and everyone else about the Federal Government.

The logo/ mascot for Ben’s Guide is an animated rendition of Benjamin Franklin. Join Ben as he leads you across the many aspects of the website, including a government glossary, learning adventures, a section dedicated to citizenship, and games!

Ben_250pxOn the homepage, you will be invited by Ben to “go on a learning adventure!” Ben’s Guide divides its learning adventures into age groups: 4-8 (apprentice), 9-13 (journeyperson), and 14+ (master). Individuals can simply click on their age group and have information catered to them.

Ben’s Guide also contains resources for parents and educators, including (but not limited to) infographics, lesson plans, and links to other kid-friendly and educator-friendly government websites.

GPO, established in 1861, produces and distributes documents from Federal agencies and Congress, as well as providing permanent and free access for the public to these Federal documents through its Federal Digital System, the Federal Depository Library Program, and the U.S. Government Bookstore. And to top it all off, GPO provides free access, learning, and resources with Ben’s Guide.

What are you waiting for? Go check out Ben’s Guide today!