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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




Starting a Coding Club at Your Library (2)

CodeDak logo

In the first installment, we introduced you to CodeDak, the State Library’s initiative to encourage and support running coding clubs in libraries throughout the state. We looked at the exigent need to provide safe, fun, and free opportunities for our youth to learn coding and computer science. Now we’re going to define some terms and detail the bare bones of what you need to get started. This guide is far from comprehensive, but fear not—there’s more to come in future issues of the Flickertale!

Coding: Also called programming, computer programming, or scripting, this is the practice of creating sets of machine-interpretable instructions that make a computer do your bidding. This is an incredibly powerful skillset, as computers are in almost everything, including phones, drones, refrigerators, and rubber duckies. The applications of coding range from creating games and apps, automating routine processes like sorting, making robots dance, performing complex math, modeling weather patterns, even creating art and music—anything a coder can dream of.

Programming Language: Just as people use a wide variety of languages to communicate with each other, there are many different languages for communicating with computers. Common ones taught in coding clubs include: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Scratch, and Ruby on Rails.

Block Coding: A visual style of coding where instructions are represented as Continue reading

Starting a Coding Club at Your Library (1)

CodeDak logo

The Library Development Department of the North Dakota State Library has begun a new initiative focused on coding in libraries. It’s our goal to see libraries throughout the state participate in this year’s Hour of Code. More than that, we want to work with you to start a coding club in your library. Please, please, please don’t be frightened or rage quit your job. You’ve totally got this and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Before we get into the weeds, I wanted to provide a few reasons behind why we’re doing this:

  • Currently there are more than 500,000 computing jobs open nationwide (572 in North Dakota)
  • Last year, less than 43,000 computer science students graduated into the workforce (117 in North Dakota)
  • Computer science drives job growth and innovation throughout our economy and computing occupations are the number one source of all new wages in the U.S.
  • North Dakota has no K-12 computer science curriculum standards nor are North Dakota high schools required to offer computer science courses (though to their great credit, many do)
  • Learn more at:

Continue reading

2017 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees Have Been Announced

In case you haven’t already heard: YALSA has announced the Teens’ Top Ten nominees for 2017!

The list is comprised of the 26 books, along with summaries, that were nominated and chosen by teens as the favorites from 2016. Now is a great time to encourage the teens at your library to read the nominees, so they will be ready to vote for their favorites between August 15 and Teen Read Week (October 8-14, 2017).  Winners will be announced the week of October 15.

The nominee list and other information, including a guide on how to promote the books, a downloadable toolkit, and answers to frequently asked questions, can be found here:

“We’re Closed” signs

454736426_1280x720The holiday season is upon us and, with that, your library will probably be closed at some point to give employees time with their families. With the holiday season comes winter weather.  Unfortunately, the snow and cold has already set in and libraries around the state have had to be closed due to the weather.

When letting your patrons know the library is closed, whether it is scheduled because of a holiday or last-minute because of bad weather, be sure to remind them that the online library resources are still accessible 24/7. Just because they can’t go into the physical building, doesn’t mean they can’t reap the benefits of all the online resources that your library is providing.  They can still access TutorND, Universal Class, OverDrive (if your library provides it), etc.

If your library has a website or Facebook page where you can post about the closure(s), be sure to provide direct links to the online resources available at your library. If you are posting a sign on the library’s door, include your website’s url with information on how to access the online resources.

Holiday Hiatus

Happy holidays from the State Library!

Christmas Tree 2015

The State Library trees at the Capitol

We’ll be taking a blog break for the holidays.

Check back in early January for new content!

Screen PBS Documentaries for Free at Your Library

Logo for PBS's POV documentary film seriesPBS allows libraries to register to borrow and screen select documentary DVDs, free of charge. They even have discussion guides, lesson plans and reading lists to accompany these films. New additions to their lending library collection are added each year in association with their POV series. Their 2015 lineup includes The Overnighters, a feature-length award-winning film set in North Dakota’s oilfields. Not convinced? Scope their trailers!

In order for your library to participate, you do need to register in the POV Community Network. Once you register, you will receive an email with an activation link and temporary password. Use these to activate your account. You will then be ready to go–to make requests, you will simply need to log in to your account and click “Create an Event” to register and schedule a screening.

Over 80 high-quality documentary films on sundry topics and of various lengths are currently available to libraries through this program, and more get added each year.

Outside the Lines: Libraries Reintroduced

Outside the Lines logoThis September, libraries everywhere will once again celebrate Outside the Lines in their local communities. Last year, 178 libraries across the U.S. and Canada participated. This year, let’s help that number grow through increased participation in North Dakota!

Outside the Lines is a way of demonstrating that libraries are more relevant than ever before. It’s about showing people libraries have changed, instead of simply telling them.

Outside the Lines is a week-long celebration demonstrating the creativity and innovation happening in libraries. It’s about stepping out and engaging the community you serve outside of the building you traditionally serve them in. Whether your organization is large or small, a school library or a public library, you can participate by hosting at least one event or campaign that:

  1. Gets people thinking — and talking — about libraries in a different way
  2. Showcases the library out in the community
  3. Highlights how your library is relevant to people’s lives
  4. Represents your local community
  5. Is active and gets people engaged
  6. Is extraordinary and unexpected
  7. Most importantly, is fun!

Outside the Lines is scheduled for September 13-19, 2015. Registration is not yet live, but you can learn more about the event at their official site or by checking out this Storify of how libraries participated in 2014.

Holiday Hiatus

We’re taking a break for the holidays. Enjoy your time with friends and family, and check back the week of January 5 for new content!

Elegant Christmas background with snowflakes and place for text.


L3ND – The Bremer Rural Libraries and Literacy Leadership Institute

Bremer Rural Libraries and Literacy Leadership Institute LogoI’m pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for North Dakota libraries and literacy organizations to participate in the Libraries and Literacy Leadership  (L3) Institute of 2015 and 2016.  The deadline for libraries or literacy organizations to apply is January 31, 2015.

This is a unique opportunity for organizations to build their capacity and leadership abilities.  The Institute runs for a year and includes three rounds of on-site trainings and additional webinars, a year-long relationship with an experienced mentor, development of an actionable plan to build leadership capacity, and a seed grant to implement the plans of participating organizations.  All costs for participants are covered.

Participating institutions are required to be in or near (within 25 miles) a Bremer Bank community or reside within a tribal reservation in North Dakota.  Applicants can check on the nearest Bremer Bank at: To Learn more or apply, simply click through to the following:

L3ND Application Info & Requirements (PDF)

L3ND Application (Word Document)     L3ND Application (PDF)

If you are interested in applying or have questions about the application process or requirements, please feel free to contact Stu Wilson at  For any literacy specific questions, please contact Dan Backman at