Category Archives: Studies

Archiving in Rural Libraries: The Basics

Libraries in small towns around the country are running into the problem of being the only historical repository for their town. Sure they could send their materials to the State Archives or Historical Society but then they would lose all those materials that made their town so unique. Archiving these items does not have to be time-consuming, crazy expensive, or difficult. All it takes is a little direction and knowledge on where to purchase the preservation items.

The most basic way to preserve different documents, photographs, or small books is to put them in acid & lignin free folders and boxes that will protect them from damaging light, dirt, and bugs. If there just is not time to organize all of the items, put them in the folders and boxes as they are to prevent further damage to them until there is time to archive them.

For those that have a bit more time the documents can be organized chronologically or by subject. It depends on what you, as the archivist, think would be a reliable narration of the town’s history. If the documents show the history of the town as a whole, I would suggest chronological organization so that they tell the full story. But if there are several collections of items that all discuss the same event then organizing them by subject may be more pertinent to the story you want to tell. There is no wrong way to organize these items so have fun with looking over them and learning more about your town and library.

Places to purchase the folders and boxes:

  1. Gaylord Archival Supplies
    1. This company caters to smaller institutions by allowing a smaller amount of items to be ordered at one time.
    2. Suggested box: Classic Storage Box
    3. Suggested folders: Letter Size File Folders
  2. Hollinger Metal Edge:
    1. This company tends to cater to larger institutions by requiring a minimum amount of items to be ordered on selected items.
    2. Suggested box: Standard Record Storage Boxes
    3. Suggested folders: Letter Size Tabbed File Folders
  3. Staples:
    1. As a general office supply store their items will be the cheapest option however they may not be acid & lignin free.
    2. Suggested box: Letter/Legal Size Storage Boxes
    3. Suggested folders: Three Tab File Folders


Note: The reason for acid & lignin free materials is so that the folders and boxes do not react with the natural acid in the documents or photographs during their years in storage. This reaction is what causes the discoloration (yellowing) in items overtime.

Early Literacy Skills and Story Time

2840740920_7be2b55a23_z[1]Researchers at the University of Washington Information School have conducted a study called Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully 2 (VIEWS2). It is the first study which demonstrates that “Storytimes can provide many opportunities to help children develop early literacy skills.”

This seems obvious, right? Isn’t that the whole purpose of story time? While it may seem readily apparent that the goal of story time is to increase children’s early literacy skills, it is important to remember that there are key concepts that we can address during story time to increase understanding of these ideas.

The VIEWS2 study resulted in resources demonstrating how to incorporate eight early literacy concepts into your story times. The concepts include:

Each resource page includes a definition of the concept and a brief video (under 3 minutes), along with a concept tool and a tip sheet.

What are your favorite ways to incorporate early literacy skills into story time? Share your suggestions in the comments!

World War II in North Dakota

State Historical Society of North Dakota (2003-P-16-07B)

State Historical Society of North Dakota (2003-P-16-07B)

75 years ago today, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany.  This is the day that many consider the official start of World War II. How do you connect that to North Dakota? Many North Dakota citizens served in the war or helped the war effort on the home front. 

Digital Horizons has many images and personal items documenting the lives of North Dakotans during the war. The best way to search for these items is to use the search phrase “World War, 1939-1945”. The above image is a photo of the barracks at Fort Lincoln where German sailors and people of German and Japanese descent were held from 1941-1946.

New (and Final) Pew Internet Report on Libraries

Pew Internet and American Life Project

From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers – and Beyond, a new report on libraries from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, was released last Thursday. The purpose of this, the final report from Pew’s public library initiative, is to create a typology of America’s engagement with public libraries. Relying on analysis of statistics gathered for previous Pew reports, researchers sorted Americans into groups describing their usage and opinion of, and connection to, public libraries.

The typology establishes nine main categories which describe the spectrum of public engagement with libraries:

  • Library Lovers
  • Information Omnivores
  • Solid Center
  • Print Traditionalists
  • Not for Me
  • Young and Restless
  • Rooted and Roadblocked
  • Distant Admirers
  • Off the Grid

Continue reading

Why Do We Sleep?

This question has long puzzled researchers and there have been many theories. Only recently have scientists linked sleep to memory storage. In one study, Dr. Maiken Nedergaard and her associates found that during sleep, the brain essentially goes through a rinse cycle. The brain physically cleans itself of toxins that build up during the day.


Sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain.  While we sleep, our brain cells shrink, increasing the space between them by as much as 60 percent. The increased space allows cerebrospinal fluid to move freely and wash away cellular waste.  When we wake, the brain cells enlarge and the flow slows to a trickle.

Some of the residue removed is linked to Alzheimer’s. The study speculates that it is probably no coincidence that sleep disorders are linked to dementia. Adequate sleep may be vital in slowing the progression of brain diseases.

We cannot abstain from sleep, even if we wanted to. Every animal sleeps. Scientists and researchers are closer than ever to uncovering the mysteries of what exactly happens when we sleep, and why we need sleep.

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”– W.C. Fields