Author Archives: Trevor Martinson

Embedded Videos on Digital Horizons

Digital Horizons has taken streaming historic videos to the next level. Normally, to watch a video on Digital Horizons, you would have to click on a link that would take you elsewhere, or you would have to download the video. Not anymore! A new feature now allows for embedded videos on Digital Horizons. Now you can search and stream in one convenient location.

This feature on Digital Horizons began with the “Prairie Memories – The Vietnam War Years” collection, and will soon be expanding to other collections. The State Library has been working on adding this feature to its “North Dakota State Documents” collection. Here is an example:

Macaroni Menu Magic

North Dakota State Documents Collection, North Dakota State Library.

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!

You can browse the North Dakota State Library collections on Digital Horizons here:


Books Lists – Best Books of 2017

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a book to recommend to a patron? Looking for some books to add to your library’s collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

2017 has come and gone. With the end of one year and the beginning of another, we can look back on the best books from 2017. Review the categories in the lists below to find the perfect book for you, your library, or your patrons.


Comics/ Graphic Novels





Technology Plan Resources

A technology plan outlines a library’s goals and strategies for utilizing technology to achieve its overall mission, goals and objectives. It also addresses the library’s current inventory of technology equipment and software utilized in the library, as well as a plan for the future purchase/replacement/maintenance of equipment and software.

While it is good practice for libraries to have technology plans, not all libraries are required to do so. However, the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries does require a current technology plan to be on file at the State Library for libraries in tier 5 (service population of 25,001+).



State Libraries


Space Needs Assessment

What is a space needs assessment?

Basically, a space needs assessment is a process that documents and analyzes the space needs of a library.

Is my library required to do a space needs assessment? 

While it is a good practice for all libraries to conduct space needs assessments, not all libraries are required to do so.

The North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries does require space needs assessments for libraries in tiers 3, 4, & 5 (service populations of 5,001-12,500, 12,501-25,000, & 25,000+ respectively). According the the Standards, a “library director with the library board completes an in-house space needs assessment every 5 years and makes report of findings to primary funding entity.”

Space Needs Assessment Resources

Trendy Transformations

[updated December 2017]

Another North Dakota Library Association (NDLA) conference is in the books, and what a wonderful conference it was! There were great keynote speakers and sessions. The 2017 theme was: Libraries Transform. The idea of transforming ourselves and libraries was prevalent during the pre-conferences, keynotes, and sessions.

For me, John Spears, Chief Librarian and CEO of the Pikes Peak Library District, kicked off the transformation subject with his pre-conference session “The Nitty-Gritty of Transforming Your Library, Your Community…and Yourself.” In his session, Mr. Spears said don’t transform and seek change just for the sake of doing it. Change for a reason. Transform to meet a need.

So what are some “trending” library transformations? Some trendy transformations include (all of which were discussed at some point at the conference):

Do away with overdue fines

Ask yourself these questions: What is the point of overdue fines? Do overdue fines work?

Basically, library fines exist to punish patrons who did not abide by the rules. The patron is late returning the book and potentially causing another patron to wait even longer for the item. But should libraries be places that punish patrons? Is that their purpose?

Fines function almost as a scare tactic. Patrons can fear fines, and as a result, they can fear libraries. Return the book or else! Return the book or we’ll send the Seinfeld library cop after you! Does this scare tactic work? In one way it does. Think about this: it can scare people away from the library completely.

Fines are stressful (for patrons and libraries). Think about how much time and effort is spent on fines by library staff. Is that time/ effort worth it?

Is this a radical idea that may ruffle some feathers? Possibly. Nobody ever said transformation was easy. But can change result in better outcomes (even if the change seems scary)? Absolutely.

Do some research on this topic and conduct a test to see if this is right for your library. Many libraries across the country are already abolishing fines.

  • Fallon, C. (2017). Libraries are dropping overdue fines – but can they afford to? Huffington Post. Retrieved from
  • Graham, R. (2017). Long overdue: Why public libraries are finally eliminating the late-return fine. Slate. Retrieved from
  • Marx, A.W. (2017). The case against library fines – according to the head of the New York Public Library. Quartz. Retrieved from
  • Pyatetsky, J. (2016). The end of overdue fines? Public Libraries Online. Retrieved from

Genrefication (do away with Dewey and LC)

Genrefication is the process of organizing, classifying, and categorizing items into genres. This is the bookstore method of organizing books. This classification is much easier for patrons, and this is why bookstores use it. To the bookstores, when patrons can find books easier they have a better experience and are likely to buy more books.

Organizing books by genres and subgenres makes it much easier to browse, and a lot of times this is what patrons want to do. Many patrons do not have experience with Dewey or LC. They may have learned it, but that was many years ago. Or they’ve never learned it so why are they expected to know it?

It is also important to point out that children do not learn about decimals until mid-elementary school.

Genrefication is particularly popular in school libraries and other libraries with smaller collections. Libraries who have switched to this method have reported increased circulation.


A SOPAC, or shared online public access catalog, allows patrons to add their own keywords and subject headings. This was brought up during the John Spears pre-conference. The example he provided is “heart attack.” The official subject heading for “heart attack” is “myocardial infarction.” It’s possible the average patron may now know or remember this. Why not make your online catalog more user-friendly?


This trendy transformation was discussed on the last day of the conference during Doug Johnson’s keynote: “Changed But Still Critical: Brick and Mortar Libraries in the Digital Age.” Doug Johnson is the Director of Technology for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage (MN) Public Schools. He said during his presentation that the layout of the library matters. Some of the things he said is to do away with the traditional study carrels and invest in short shelving with wheels for improved mobility when the library is reorganized down the road. Basically he said to think outside of the box instead of doing things the old fashioned way.

Why continue to do something because it’s something you’ve always done? If you think about it, that’s not a good reason.

Grants – Oct., Nov., Dec. 2017


School and Library Grant Opportunities


Grants to Educators (NEA Foundation)

Deadline: October 15, 2017

The NEA Foundation supports new ideas and practices to strengthen teaching and learning. Their goal is to fund and share successful strategies to educate and prepare students for bright and rewarding futures. Funding preference will be given to projects that incorporate STEM and/or global learning.

Find out more and apply at:


English Literacy for New Immigrants

Deadline: October 31, 2017

Vernon Library Supplies will be giving away their 2017 operating profits to libraries and other non-profit organizations with programs designed to help new immigrants achieve English literacy and proficiency.  Grants of up to $5,000 will be given out on December 1 for programs in 2018.

Find out more and apply at:


State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant

Deadline: October 31, 2017

State Farm grants focus on safety, education, and community development. Charitable funding is awarded to educational institutions and eligible nonprofit organizations. Grant amount requested must be $5,000 or more.

Find out more and apply at:


Carnegie-Whitney Grant

Deadline: November 3, 2017

Provides grants for the preparation and publication of popular or scholarly reading lists, indexes, and other bibliographical and library aids that will be useful to users of all types of libraries. Grants of up to $5,000 are awarded annually and are intended to cover preparation costs appropriate to the development of a useful product, including the cost of research, compilation, and production exclusive of printing.

To find out more or apply, visit their site at:


EBSCO ALA Midwinter Meeting Sponsorship

Deadline: November 6, 2017

This award is designed to allow librarians to attend the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association. The grant provides up to $1,500 in reimbursed expenses. Applicants must be ALA members and currently work as a librarian.

For more information and to apply:


Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation Grant

Deadline: November 10, 2017

The Foundation awards grants to support community-based non-profit organizations. They will consider requests to support museums, schools, programs for youth, seniors, and the handicapped, and other community-based organizations and their programs. Grants typically range from $1,000 to $20,000.

For more information and to apply:


Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant

Deadline: November 15, 2017

This grant from the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is designed to encourage reading programs for children in public libraries by providing $3,000 in financial assistance. Applicants must be members of ALCS and ALA.

For more information and to apply:


AgriBank Rural Community Grant Fund

Deadline: November 30, 2017

Grants up to $50,000 will be available within the Rural Community Grant Fund to facilitate infrastructure improvement and/or development initiatives encompassing housing projects, health, safety and environmental programs, medical facilities, educational programs and more. Disbursements through this fund are designated for projects and programs in rural communities in western North Dakota.

For more information and to apply:


Baker & Taylor/YALSA Collection Development Grant

Deadline: December 1, 2017

The purpose of this award is to give $1,000 for collection development to public libraries who work directly with young adults (ages 12-18). Applicants must be members of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Find out more and apply here:


Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant

Deadline: December 1, 2017

This award, established by the Preservation and Reformatting Section of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), allows librarians with 5 or fewer years of experience in the libraries and archives preservation field to attend the ALA Annual Conference. The award is a $1,250 cash grant to be used toward registration fees, airfare, and lodging.

Find out more and apply here:


Regional Stem Days for Students

Deadline: December 29, 2017

ND STEM is looking to encourage educational entities and business/industry partners to participate in STEM activities and projects for K-12 students. K-12 districts, Area Career and Technology Centers, REA’s, Universities, and other entities who directly impact K-12 education are eligible to apply. Grant requests may not exceed $4,000. Funds may be used for presenter travel and fees, activity supplies, transportation of students, and facility rental, but not to supplant state and local funds nor to fund existing programs.

Find out more and apply here:


Walmart Community Grant Program

Deadline: December 31, 2017

The Walmart Community Grant Program awards grants ranging from $250 to $2,500 to eligible nonprofit organizations that operate on the local level and directly benefit the service area of the facility from which they are requesting funding.

Find out more and apply at:


Awesome Foundation

Deadline: ongoing (15th of each month)

The Cass-Clay Chapter of the Awesome Foundation awards a $1,000 grant each month to those who can demonstrate and deliver great projects to make the Cass-Clay area an even more awesome place to live. The grant cycle ends on the 15th of every month, with an award made the 15th of the following month.

Find out more and apply at:


Enslow Publishing

Deadline: ongoing (1st of each month)

Every month Enslow Publishing selects a winner of their free books contest. The winner may choose $100 worth of Enslow titles. No purchase is necessary. Simply fill out the online form each month for a chance to win.

Find out more and apply at:

Book Lists – Game of Thrones

Are you a fan of the HBO television series Game of Thrones? Are you a fan of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire book series? If so, here are some great book lists for you!

Book Lists – Children

Looking for a good children’s book to read? Looking for a good children’s book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good children’s book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!


CodeDak logo

At the 2017 Summer Summits, Library Development staff presented on coding and coding clubs; and robots, too! Several robots were featured in our coding themed presentation (the slides can be viewed here); but we were only able to demonstrate one of the robots (the Sphero). But never fear, YouTube is here!

Through the power of YouTube, you can see all of these robots in action and learn more about them in the process. Enjoy!







Dash and Dot


The Finch




Lego WeDo 2.0



Get Your Library Ready for the Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017, the Moon will pass in front of the sun and cast its shadow will across North America, resulting in a solar eclipse.

Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina, and parts of a few other states will be lucky enough to witness the total solar eclipse (a spectacle like this hasn’t been visible in the continental United States in just under 40 years). The rest of us will experience a partial solar eclipse (the moon will cover part of the sun).

Check out this cool video by NASA that predicts the trajectory of the total and partial solar eclipse:


Some are calling this the celestial event of the century. Don’t let your library miss out on this great opportunity!

Here are some great resources to get your library ready for the solar eclipse: