Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Macabre, the Grim, & the Downright Creepy

Don’t let the Hallmark Channel fool you – it’s not the holiday season yet. It’s October – that means Halloween. If you’re looking to get your fix of scary and spooky (and perhaps a little bit of gloom), look no further than Digital Horizons.

Digital Horizons is an online digital library containing thousands of images, documents, videos, and oral histories depicting life on the Northern Plains. Members of the Digital Horizons consortium include the North Dakota State Library, North Dakota State University, State Historical Society of North Dakota, Concordia College, Prairie Public, and more!

Digital Horizons has a plethora of Halloween-related items. If you do a general search for “Halloween” across all collections, you’ll get over 400 results back. Let’s narrow down the search and start with a few lighthearted images, like this 1951 school Halloween party from the North Dakota Memories collection.


Halloween party at Ardoch Township country school in Walsh County, North Dakota, 1951. North Dakota Memories Collection, North Dakota State Library.

The North Dakota School for the Deaf’s newsletter, The Banner, often liked to get into the Halloween spirit with its cover art, like this one of a dancing scarecrow from the fall 1997 issue. And speaking of The Banner, the State Library has the entire Banner collection available on Digital Horizons.


The Banner 1997-1998 – v. 108, no. 1 (Fall 1997), Cover. North Dakota School for the Deaf Banner Collection, North Dakota State Library.

Now that we’re feeling all warm and fuzzy, let’s dive right in to the dark side. It wouldn’t be Halloween-ish if we didn’t delve into death. There are many different death-related images on Digital Horizons. They include accidents, animals, natural disasters, murders, funerals, etc. A couple of the more iconic images – in one way or another – under the death category include:

Nothing says creepy like mad scientists and evil doctors working on their experiments. In this image, there is no mad or evil, but we do have creepy in the form of medical students examining a cadaver.


Medical students examine a cadaver at Marquette College in Wisconsin, circa 1895-1900. North Dakota Memories Collection, North Dakota State Library.

And finally, keeping the dark train rolling, nothing says grim more than funerals.

And when it comes to funerals, none are more iconic than the Wolf family funeral. In the spring of 1920 on a farm near Turtle Lake, North Dakota, a dispute between neighbors escalated into Henry Layor murdering Jacob and Beatta Wolf, five of their children, and a chore boy. Only a baby, Emma, was left alive, reportedly because Layor didn’t find her (she is marked with a small X in the image). Layer was later convicted and spent the rest of his life in prison.


Wolf Family funeral, near Turtle Lake, North Dakota, 1920-04-28. North Dakota Memories Collection, North Dakota State Library.

Digital Horizons has many funeral images across its collections. A few of the rather morbid ones include:

Girls Who Code

The North Dakota State Library is excited to announce its partnership with Girls Who Code. Girls Who Code brings computer science opportunities to elementary, middle, and high school girls in your community—no coding experience is necessary to facilitate a weekly club.

After signing up, facilitators will receive access to the club curriculum completely free and can learn to code right alongside the students.

3–5th grade club: This club is run similar to a book club and does not need computer access. Books are provided for free. Check out the sample curriculum here.

6–12th grade club: This club does require computer access for each participant. To view the learning platform and sample curriculum, follow the instructions below.

  1. Visit the online learning platform, Girls Who Code HQ
  2. Create an HQ Account by clicking Sign Up and “I want to start a club or I want to volunteer for a club.” This does not obligate you to host a club.
  3. Click on the different icons to learn more about the clubs.

To learn more about the Girls Who Code organization, you can check out these links: Overview; Club Summary

To apply to host a club, click here. Remember to indicate North Dakota State Library as your partner affiliation.

For more information, please contact Abby Ebach at or 701-328-4680.

Teamwork Training

Working with a team can sometimes be difficult. However, it’s one of the most important things we do as librarians. Working together with staff, the public, and local government is an integral part to success for your organization. Below are trainings and webinars to help you and your staff to train to work better as a team.

Universal Class is an online database provided through the state library. Any North Dakota resident can create an account using a library card from their local public library to take the training classes for free. They can be taken for PD credit with tests and a completion certificate or informally without the tests and certificate. Once you make an account, you’ll be able to see the length of each course in hours and sessions as well as a syllabus. Here are a few courses that are relevant to training and working well as a team that can help boost a staff member’s willingness to work with others on their team:

If you have any questions about Universal Class, you can contact the state library at 701-328-4622.


Webjunction webinars:

“Our personalities affect how we view and relate to the world. Each of us have different learning and communication styles, fears, insecurities, and defense mechanisms. This presentation will provide you with the tools to recognize your own and others’ differences and become more aware of how they affect your relationships with customers and co-workers.”

“We are all so busy! Who has time to deal with conflict? When conflict occurs, and we are confronted with a colleague, library patron, supervisor, or board member who is frustrated and upset, it can be tempting to identify a quick fix. However, when we do take the time to practice clear communication to uncover what people really need, we can get to better outcomes. Healthy communication involves actions that show you are really listening, communication with people who are angry or upset in a way that their needs can be addressed and resolved, and knowing your own emotions and needs and effective ways to express them. Practicing healthy communication skills will boost your self-confidence and contribute to a happier workplace.”

“Don’t let the pressure of working at the library bring you or your staff down. People want a work environment that is challenging, encourages trial and error, and makes them feel that they matter. It’s time to make the workplace exciting again, all throughout the library’s culture. Here are some things to do to make work fun again.”