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May 28, 2008

What Are You Listening To?

Since creating On the Road with MINITEX podcasts for Reference Services, I have received numerous inquiries as to what podcasts I listen. Well, my main three areas of interest are art, travel and librarianship. Below is just a sampling of some of my top library-related podcasts to which I subscribe. 
·         ACRL Podcasts: Discussions and interviews with academic librarians and often are expansions of their publications’ articles. 
·         LibVibe: Headlines from all over the library world in about 5 minutes a week! 
·         Nancy Pearl Book Reviews: It is a great reader’s advisory tool with the expert Nancy Pearl.
·         NPR StoryCorps: I think this is a great testament to the tradition of oral history and also an example of how we can get to know our neighbors and our country a little bit better through someone else’s experiences. (A bit of a stretch for library-related, but I just had to include it because it is so interesting!) 
·         NYT Tech Talk: A weekly podcast on technology (Slate is another good one to which I subscribe). 
·         OCLC PARcasts: A great NEW series of interviews where Programs and Research staff ask industry thought leaders, “What’s keeping you awake at night?”
·         OPAL Podcasts: Technologies, interviews, book discussions and more are covered here.
·         PALINET: Another network with lots to say about their local members and the national scene. 
·         SirsiDynix Institute: Great recorded webinars from movers and shakers in the industry along with discussions on upcoming technologies.
For even more podcast suggestions, visit the Podcast section of the Library Success Wiki at: http://liswiki.org/wiki/Podcasts 

What are your favorite podcasts? Let us know by commenting to this post!

PLA in LJ News

The latest issue of Library Journal, May 1, 2008, contains an excellent summary of highlights from PLA. Though, many of library staff from the MINITEX region were able to attend due to Minneapolis hosting the conference, if you were at all like me, there were two or more sessions during one timeslot I wanted to attend, so reading others’ thoughts from panels I couldn’t make it to I find extremely valuable.    For example, I did not make it to Jack Polings’ discussion of how one of the 356 empty Wal-Mart stores in Texas was converted into a public library. He brought up the benefits such as amply parking, site space and cost-effective, however he also stated that patrons should not have to walk one-tenth of a mile to obtain services, so they set up mobile service desks.  To read more LJ highlights from the conference, visit: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6551194.html

May 22, 2008

Practical Time Management

Practical Time Management: How to Get Things Done When You Don't Have Time, People, or Resources

State Library Services will be bringing Pat Wagner to five locations in Minnesota, June 23-27, 2008, for a workshop called: Practical Time Management.


Patricia Wagner, Pattern Research, Inc.


One of the most common complaints heard from staff is, "There's so little time. How do I find the time?" Join in the challenge and the fun! Listen, practice, and learn:

How to be productive and effective, even when you feel stretched too thin.
How to make hard choices when demands on your time conflict.
What to do when they cut your budget.
How and when to draw a line in the sand.

Dates and Locations:

M 6/23 Chanhassen: Chanhassen Public Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd., Chanhassen, MN 55317

T 6/24 Mankato: Traverse de Sioux Library System Office, 1400 Madison Ave. Suite 622 Mankato MN 56001 (east end of shopping center)

W 6/25 Granite Falls: Minnesota West Community and Technical College, 1593 11th Ave, Granite Falls, MN 56241

Th 6/26 St. Cloud: St. Cloud Public Library, 405 St. Germain St. W., St. Cloud, MN 56301-3667

F 6/27 Cloquet: Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, 2101 14th St, Cloquet MN 55720


Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.
Workshop is from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
This will include a working lunch which will be provided (to those who register by June 13).


Staff of libraries and library organizations of all types


No charge. Lunch included .

Mileage Reimbursement:

Available, with priority given to those who submit a mileage reimbursement request with registration or by June 13. To confirm reimbursement is available, apply in advance. Don't hesitate to submit a request. (Funding is extensive, but not unlimited.) Reimbursements will be made after the workshops.


Deadline: Friday, June 13 (Lunch cannot be guaranteed for those registering after this date.)

To register, select a date and location and select a registration option.

Online Registration: http://mn.webjunction.org - Click on "Calendar of Events"; locate desired date, click to open event, scroll down to complete registration form.

Email: If preferred, send registration to Mary Ann Van Cura at maryann.vancura@state.mn.us

Note: When local practice requires it, consult your library or regional system for attendance, approval or registration instructions.

Please call or email with questions or observations.

Mary Ann

Mary Ann Van Cura
Library Development & Continuing Education Coordinator
State Library Services
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113
651-582-8632 voice 651-582-8752 fax

Gale Product Updates

Dear Valued Customers:

Gale is pleased to announce that we will be performing a technology upgrade on Thursday 5/22/2008 from 10:00PM to 2:00AM 5/23/2008. During this upgrade Gale will be releasing new products, adding exciting new features to your existing online products, and installing network enhancements that will improve reliability and improve performance. Detailed communication regarding the new products and features will be forthcoming.

During the upgrade you may experience intermittent disruptions accessing your Gale subscriptions. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Best Regards,
Gale Technical Support
800-877-4253 (Option 4)

May 19, 2008

The Internet and Consumer Choice

The latest pew Internet report just came out, " The Internet and consumer choice."  Highlights include:

  • 58 percent say the information they got online helped introduce them to their new community and 57 percent say it reduced the number of places they looked at.

  • 49 percent of cell phone buyers who used the Internet in their research say an online source mattered most compared to 46 percent who said something found offline made the most difference.

  • 58 percent say the information they got online helped introduce them to their new community and 57 percent say it reduced the number of places they looked at.

May 15, 2008

Scholarly Article about ELM Coverage

Meghan Lafferty, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Librarian, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities wrote and intriguing article about smaller academic institutions and companies that often cannot afford the big-time chemistry databases, and how ELM assists in filling that void.  You can read her article "Does Chemistry Content in a State Electronic Library Meet the Needs of Smaller Academic Institutions and Companies?" in the publication Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Winter 2008, available at: http://www.istl.org/08-winter/refereed4.html 

May 12, 2008

Attracting and Engaging Library Users

This was the last College of DuPage teleconference of the season and features a Minnesota library staff member on the panel!
Library Challenges & Opportunities 2008
Tools of Engagement: Attracting and Engaging Library Users
This video will be available via streaming for approximately 30 days.  After this date MINITEX will have a copy of the program that may be borrowed.
Here is the link for video streaming Tools of Engagement: Attracting and Engaging Library Users.
Description: What are the most creative libraries doing to engage current and potential users of the library? Join us as we explore great new ideas for reaching and engaging users and look at some results of users' involvement in shaping library services, programs, and spaces. This program will go beyond PR, to involving our various communities of users in shaping the libraries of the future.
·         Jennifer Edwins - Loan Services Manager and Assistant to the College Librarian at Gould Library at Carleton College
·         Mary Evangeliste - Director of User Services & Outreach at Gettysburg College and co-founder of Fearless Future: Marketing & Design
·         Valerie Gross - Director & CEO at Howard County Library (MD)
·         Jennifer Kelley - Resident Librarian at the College of DuPage

May 8, 2008

Surf the Web in Spanish

From “LisNews” for 5/01/08:
Want to Surf the Web in Spanish? Here's a Guide

PR Newswire announced today (http://newsblaze.com/story/2008043011530400003.pnw/newsblaze/HIGHTECH/High-Tech.html) that Finding Dulcinea has launched a Spanish-language version of its Web Guides which includes: "How to Search the Web," "Health," "U.S. Politics," "Immigration," "Cinco de Mayo" and "Survival Guide to New York City." FindingDulcinea (http://www.findingdulcinea.com/home.html ) (Librarian of the Internet) plans to add more Spanish-language Web Guides in the future, based on user feedback.

The AOL Latino 2006 Hispanic Cyberstudy revealed that only 15 percent of U.S. Hispanic Internet users read online content in Spanish only, with most users switching back and forth between English and Spanish.

Finding Dulcinea is a division of Dulcinea Media, Inc. "a Silicon Alley team of savvy Internet users" according to their website (http://www.findingdulcinea.com/info/about-finding-dulcinea.html) . Their mission is to "untangle the Web, freeing it of clutter and spotlighting only the sites that matter."

May 7, 2008

ARLIS Two Innovative Sessions

Two innovative sessions that are available on the web are What’s Hot & What’s Not: Trends in Technologies and Services in Libraries and Visual Pedagogy: Do You See What I See?.   The first session showed innovative projects using web 2.0 tools, such as mashups to display public art location on campus along with links to the library catalog about that artwork/artist. The second discussed innovative techniques to engage patrons, such as a fellow IU graduate of mine, Jessica Bozeman, at Depauw University discussed their recent Murder Mystery to involve art students with databases, print collection and visual resources in order to solve the murder. 
 You can find posters for these sessions and others, at: http://arlisnamw.wordpress.com/virtual-poster-sessions/

ARLIS They Never Covered This in Library School: Maps

I was lucky enough to attend a three-hour workshop on Maps and Atlases at the Denver Public Library, lead by two map librarians and one art librarian. We learned the basics of reading a map, such as projection, coordinates, title, direction, scale and legend. I learned that with maps it is best to start narrow (look for the most specific area/location) and then broaden it out if you can’t find it. Also, the scale of 1:24,000 is the USGS most common scale to get the most details. What is the most famous ariel photo in history? A photo of Cuba in 1962. We played with Google Earth and Terraserver. Along with learning about this great FREE resource by a map collector in California, David Rumsey, who is digitizing his entire collection of over 17,000 historical maps for free educational use. You can find this site, at: http://www.davidrumsey.com/   
I hope to create a short workshop using this as the basis for the MINITEX region, so stay posted! Also, don’t forget that MINITEX Reference Service has access to the U’s Map Library and we use it to answer numerous genealogy questions using the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and the Andreas maps. 

ARLIS Sell It!

Another presentation I went to at ARLIS was Sell It! The session presenter was Jeanette Valenti, a Professor of Human Communication, and discussed presentation techniques. It was very nice because she got audience interaction by having us discuss within a small group what makes us nervous, and what works for us to minimize those feelings of nervousness? The first point she made was to know your audience! Know that your audience is rooting for you and wants you to succeed. She also suggest practicing so you are familiar with props, dialogue, etc. Also, carpe diem; seize every opportunity to speak from meetings to impromptu presentations- you get better with practice. Be organized- keep it simple and stick to the main points. Use human interest components, such as humor and stories, but be true to yourself. (For example, I am really poor at telling jokes, so rather than trying to be funny I tell a story or share a current event.) Another item she suggested is to have a backup plan. How often does technology fail just when you need it? Have screen shots and handouts to supplement and save you if the technology fails. These and others were the highlights of her presentation. 

ARLIS Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk

Prior to the Art Librarian Society of North American Conference I assisted in adding content for the Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk. At the conference I staffed the booth, answered questions on Web 2.0 tools, and demonstrated things, along with creating first-time accounts for participants. Rebecca Cooper, a colleague and the Kiosk coordinator, at The Society if the Cincinnati Library, created wonderful MOO Cards and other handouts that had our wiki URL and a place to write down login information for newly created accounts. It was a wonderful experience, with approx. 120 participants visiting over two days. Also, we got some major press from the closing speaker on literacy, David Silver, who was fabulous and used us as an example in his blog post he used as a basis for his presentation. You are read his post here: http://silverinsf.blogspot.com/2008/05/literacy-e-literacy-me-literacy-we.html
You can look at our wiki to learn more about Web 2.0 technology, at: http://artlibrarytech.pbwiki.com/

Green Use of Paper

I thought these facts listed in the March/April 2008 issue of Training were interesting.  You can read the full article, "It's Not Easy being Green" in EBSCO Business Source Premier. 

Did You Know?

• 1 tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,333 sheets.

• 1 ream of paper (500 sheets) uses 6% of a tree.

• The average cost of a wasted page is $0.06, and the average employee prints 6 wasted pages per day--1,410 wasted pages per year at a cost of $84 per employee.

• The average U.S. office worker prints 10,000 pages a year.

• In 2004, the U.S. used 8 million tons of office paper (3.2 billion reams)--the equivalent of 178 million trees.

• The U.S. uses enough office paper each year to build a 10-foot-high wall that's 6,815 miles long. That's more than the distance from New York to Tokyo.

• Production of 1 ton of copy paper uses 11,134 kWh (the same amount of energy an average household uses in 10 months).

• Making a single sheet of copy paper can use more than 13 ounces of water--more than a typical soda can.

• Production of 1 ton of copy paper produces 19,075 gallons of waste water; 2,278 pounds of solid waste; and 5,690 pounds of green house gases (the equivalent of 6 months of car exhaust).

• It takes 3 tons of wood to produce 1 ton of copy paper.


Great Manga Summary!

If you are interested in manga, or your library collects it, don't miss out on Wired's November 2007 issue that talked about manga in two articles.  (Sorry, I know it is late, but thought it was still valid to point out- it was just routed through the office to my desk).  The first, Japan, Ink, discussed how big publishers cornered the market, but now amateurs are the hottest thing.  The second, is a "10-page graphic guide to Japan's coolest export."

Japan, Inc.: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/15-11/ff_manga

10-pageguide: http://www.wired.com/special_multimedia/2007/1511_ff_manga


From MCTC:

The Minneapolis Community and Technical College Library has launched a
half-hour long radio show on BlogTalkRadio. Listen to our inaugural
show at:


We discuss incorporating humor in teaching and learning with Craig
Hergert, MCTC English faculty member and part-time stand-up comedian.

Our show "airs" live every two weeks from 11-11:30 a.m. on Friday
mornings. Our next live show is Friday May 16. Or,
you can listen to the archived shows at the above link anytime after the
live show ends.

NetLibrary Webinar

New webinar about NetLibrary from OCLC:
The "Using eBooks" session is a free, 60-minute web-based session for an overview and demonstration of NetLibrary and how users can get the most from your library's eBook collection. Topics will include: getting started, creating end-user accounts, searching for titles, copying and pasting text, printing pages, adding notes, saving titles to a favorites list, plus other features and functions. The session will also review the essential resources available to help your users access NetLibrary eBooks with ease.

Registration is available here: http://www.oclc.org/support/training/netlibrary/successlive/default.htm

Personally, I love using NetLibrary. I think it's an untapped gold mine not only of resources by of organizing books and the content in books for leisure and research. People are always amazed at the capabilities within NetLibrary whenever I talk about it in webinars. Now get the info straight from the source.

I have thought of a couple of updates I would like to see integrated into NetLibrary to make them more appealling to the general population: 1. When saving a book to your personal account have an amazon.com-like feature of "...other people who have saved this book also saved these books..." and 2. Allow us to contribute and share content kind of like LibraryThing or looking at a way to connect it to outside content such as author info like Open Library.

May 6, 2008

What Keeps You Up At Night?

The first in a new series of podcasts and webinars from Programs and Research staff is now available on the OCLC Web site.

The podcasts are recorded impromptu interviews in which Programs and Research staff ask industry thought leaders “What’s keeping you awake at night?”


For more information, visit: http://www.oclc.org/programsandresearch/parcasts/default.htm

Best eReference 2007

Don't miss the April 15, 2008, issue of Library Journal.  Brian Coutts and Cheryl LaGuardia wrote "Best Reference 2007" (p. 44- 49) which includes "...homage to ten outstanding electronic resources, several of which front-line reference librarians have been anxiously anticipating for years, others that came out of the blue to delight and inform us."  
One of the titles included is Ladybugs of Alberta, which discusses the cute, friendly ladybugs we are all familiar with from our childhood, along with a discussion of the recent infestations of a “Japanese” variety that “has become somewhat of a plague.” A sample of other titles includes are: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, The Encyclopedia of American Journalism, British Short Story, and Vault Online Career Library.

April issue of MINITEX Reference Notes

The extended April issue of MINITEX Reference Notes is up on the web and ready for viewing!  This month’s issue includes information on the AskMN—Minnesota's Statewide Cooperative Virtual Reference Service, Rethinking Reference F2F, Literary Legends In Our Time, Introducing the EBSCOhost 2.0 Support Center, PLA Conference Tidbits, Buffalo Community Middle School—ELM Walk-In Workshop, MELSA is the Recipient of the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, SCImagine! 2008: Robots take over the Library, and more!  
To link to the current or past issues go to http://www.minitex.umn.edu/publications/refnotes/ .
Don’t miss out on this timely information!

May 1, 2008

Online Learning is Growing by the Gigabyte

From Minnesota Public Radio at:


(Go to URL for photo and links to audio and resources)

Online Learning is Growing by the Gigabyte

Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio

April 23, 2008

Children and parents around the state this spring are picking elementary and
high schools for next fall. But more and more students won't be going to a
school at all. These students will take classes at home, by computer. Online
learning has been growing by the gigabyte in Minnesota and around the
country, and that's only likely to increase this year.

Royalton, Minn. - Alexa Olson is one of the thousands of kids in Minnesota
going to school via the Internet.

"I wake up in the morning. I sign onto my classes, check to make sure that I
did everything that was needed," Olson said. "I usually do a good five hours
a day, like a normal school day, to keep up in my classes."

Olson reads textbooks, and hands in papers and gets grades, too, like any
other high school junior. But that's about as traditional as it gets.

"You can sign on whenever you want. Sometimes I sign on in the evening, when
I'm feeling lazy," Olson said. "The teachers mostly call when they want to
talk to you, otherwise it's mostly by e-mail."

"There's chances when you can have live chat, but I really don't go into
that," Olson continued. "But they have podcasts, where your teacher will
like, record a lecture for you to listen to. But otherwise, it's pretty much
on your own time."

There are 4,500 more kids like Olson across Minnesota.

"As we get into the next stage of growth, we'll see more of a blending of
online learning and meeting a teacher face to face."

- John Watson, Evergreen Associates

It's a tiny fraction of the 840,000 kids in public schools, but it's growing
steadily. If these students were all in the same town, they'd make one of
the biggest school districts in the state.

And there's no turning back for online learning. An industry trade group,
the North American Council For Online Learning, has just set nationwide
teaching benchmarks that will standardize the field.

Online enrollment in Minnesota shot up 50 percent last year. And the
nation's biggest online high school, Insight Schools, will start enrolling
students through the Brooklyn Center district this fall.

"It's starting to get the attention of all sorts of folks, because it's
starting to reach that critical mass. In fact, it has reached that critical
mass," says John Watson, with Evergreen Associates, a Colorado consulting
group. He's author of the leading survey of online education nationwide.

"I think broadband is part of it, because, as you get more and more
broadband penetration, it gets easier to learn online," Watson said.

"But I think part of it, too, is that there is this realization that there's
enough of a history here that these schools work," Watson continued. "We've
got students who are satisfied. We've got parents who are satisfied, and
that's what tends to spread the word more than anything else."

And there is a lot to like. In southeast Minnesota, for instance, two online
programs are helping keep the doors open at the local schools.

The Houston-based Minnesota Virtual Academy offers online classes to
hundreds of kids all over the state. It adds to the regular enrollment of
about 450 kids in the town's regular schools.

Online classes are also extremely flexible. Kids can go to school online
full time or just for some part of the regular school day. They can get just
electives their schools don't offer, or a whole curriculum.

Teachers can tailor their classes for special education students or gifted

Online education can also reach kids that traditional schools haven't,
according to assistant Minnesota Education Commissioner Morgan Brown.

"If you've got dropouts, where they have jobs or other commitments but they
want to come back and work towards a degree, they can arrange those time
slots," said Brown. "The whole advantage of online learning is that there's
a flexibility, in terms of the time frame."

It was health problems that got Alexa Olson online. Her mom, Jody Scott
Olson, said a hard-to-pinpoint immune disorder was making Alexa subject to
what seemed like every bug in Little Falls High School.

"And every time she was sick for two weeks, the school was processing her as
a dropout, and she was falling increasingly behind," said Jody Olson. "At
some point we just decided to look at online high school as an option, so
she wasn't missing so much of the curriculum."

Olson says her daughter has since gone from heading for a remedial math
class to getting A's and B's in her classwork.

But the benefits of online education come at a cost, too. Although online
education can be more flexible, experts say it isn't really any cheaper, per
student, than traditional classroom education.

Concerns are also rising over accountability. Online programs are regulated
by the Minnesota Department of Education, and students have to take the same
tests and meet the same state requirements as traditional students. But it's
hard to tell what's going on on the Internet.

"As we go forward, we need to make sure there is enough oversight so we can
maintain the quality," said Tom Dooher, head of Education Minnesota, the
state's teachers' union.

The group has already taken the state to court over online education once.
Although some of his members teach online already, Dooher says Minnesota
kids and parents would regret outsourcing education to the Internet.

"Distance learning can work if it's done properly. But you lose that
interaction that kids get in a school setting, and it simply doesn't fit
every students learning style," said Dooher. "You need to have some
self-motivation, and some other qualities that make sure that the student
gets everything they can out of the course."

But Jody Scott Olson says kids like her daughter are already living
important parts of their lives online. It would be hard to make school

"Alexa's managed to stay in touch with her friends via MySpace and other
online things. You know, her primary access to her friends has been via the
Internet, anyways," said Jody Olson.

Alexa Olson hopes to graduate, online, next spring.