February 15, 2012

New Videos for Librarians, Educators, and Researchers

We've had a YouTube channel for a while and have been steadily adding some great content for Minnesota librarians and researchers. Check out some of our latest videos:

Plus, you'll find classics on ELM databases like Encyclopedia Britannica, Points of View Reference Center, Consumer Health Complete, and more. And short tutorials on research topics, like Consumer Research and Business Research.

Please view, use, and share these videos as you see fit. Thanks!

May 20, 2011

In-Person Britannica Training - June 9th

In-Person Britannica Training
Minitex is pleased to offer training on the ELM suite of Britannica resources. Darcy McCanless, of Britannica, will be presenting three separate sessions on Thursday, June 9, 2011, at the University of Minnesota's Wilson Library, Room S30C. Register for one, two, or all three sessions!

Britannica Online Academic Edition
Join us to learn new ways to get students started on their projects using Britannica Online Academic Edition. During this 2-hour, hands-on training session, participants will have their questions answered and learn about Britannica Online's special features, including:
- Research tools to compare countries using demographic and economic statistics, including built-in graphing and charting tools.
- The Workspace storage tool for students and faculty to collect their own research materials for future use.
- Resources for every subject including History, Geography, Art, Humanities, Business, Science, and Technology.
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
To register click here.

Britannica Online Public Library Edition

Join us to learn ways to help both children and adults find answers to their questions and get started on projects, using the new Britannica Online Public Library Edition. Bring your questions and our Expert Britannica Trainer will be glad to answer them during this 2 hour presentation. Participants will learn about special features including:
- "Kids" section with reference and educational materials for elementary and middle school students.
- The World Data Analyst for patrons to study and compare different statistics from countries all over the world.
- The Workspace storage tool for patrons to collect their own research materials for future use.
- Resources for every subject including History, Geography, Art, Humanities, Business, Science, and Technology.
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
To register click here.

Britannica Online School Edition
Join us to learn new ways to do research projects with students using Britannica Online School Edition and to get ideas for integrating technology into your classroom! Bring your questions and we will be glad to answer them during this 1.5 hour presentation. Elementary, middle/junior high, and high schools will learn about special features including:
- The Workspace storage tool for students to collect their own research materials for future use.
- Classroom curriculum resources for American History, World Studies, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and all levels of Language Arts and Math.
- Expanded video and media content, including a video download feature.
- Learning Zone feature for PreK-2nd grade students
- Integration of Minnesota Academic Standards
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
To register click here.

February 22, 2011

20 Things I Learned

You've got to see it for yourself! This eBook created by the Google Chrome Team explains and illustrates 20 different "things" about the Internet and web browsers that you may have always been curious about but didn't ask. Each "Thing" as well as the entire book is shareable via Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and is also printable.

Check out 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web

September 8, 2010

NY Times: Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits

A very interesting article in the NY Times asserts that our seemingly collective acceptance of different learning styles, dedicated study areas, and extended study sessions is pretty much wrong. To support this potential game-changer, the author turns to a review of the research literature.

"In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying ... The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on."

Does this give you pause to reflect on how you present library instruction to students or the public, or how you talk to learners about studying?

August 12, 2010

Information-Seeking Behavior in the Big Lebowski

This paper helps me truly appreciate Library Science. "'New Shit Has Come to Light': Information-Seeking Behavior in the Big Lebowski" takes a close look at the 1998 Coen Brother's movie and aligns movie characters to successful (and unsuccessful) research behavior. The paper illustrates "the intricate, self-defined nature of information seeking behavior and the ways in which personal characteristics contribute to the success or failure of an information search."

If you've seen the movie, I bet you've seen it many times. If you haven't, you should (as long as your tolerance for surrealism and depictions of near-constant drug use is high). The movie, in conjunction with this article, may change the way you talk about research to students, hipsters, and library users of all most types.

October 20, 2009

History Day @ Your Library

Teachers and media specialists along with public and academic librarians involved with History Day are invited to attend this info-filled day focused on making the most of library resources for students and teachers working on History Day in Minnesota.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
8:00am - 4:30pm
Minnesota History Center - St. Paul, MN


Two attendees from the same library/organization can attend for the price of one!

If you've already registered, just have your friend write your name in the appropriate box on the registration form - it's that easy!

Please register by October 28

Also remember that Metronet has Continuing Education scholarships available for members in the 7-county metro area. Scholarships can cover the cost of registration, a substitute, travel costs, etc. Visit to learn more and download the application form.

Metronet, Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), and History Day in Minnesota are joining forces to present a conference-style workshop to help teachers and students effectively use library resources. Participants will learn the steps of a History Day project and how it differs from the ordinary research project. Twenty break-out sessions on research, reliable resources, and responsible use of information will provide tools and tips on making History Day a success for students, teachers, and librarians. A special panel of "Innovative Individuals in History" will highlight the day.

Lunch in Café Minnesota and parking are included in the $40 registration fee. Registration deadline is October 28 and space is limited to the first 100 registrations. Online registration can be found at Additional information (publicity flyer and sessions/schedule) can be found at Questions? Email

Metronet and MELSA are state-sponsored organizations that work to bring all kinds of libraries--public, university, school, and special--from around the metro area together to tackle relevant issues and services.

July 16, 2009

June Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web!

And actually has been for quite some time. Sorry! Forgot to post it here before heading to the ALA annual conference.

In the June issue of Reference Notes, you'll find:

- A new catalog option from OCLC
- An update on new AskMN member libraries
- A note about a former Minnesota librarian turned ASCLA RUSA executive director
- An innovative tool to pre-limit catalog searches
- Examples of information literacy and college readiness programs across the P-20 spectrum
- Guidance in creating DIY maps
- Yahoo!Pipes in 2.0 minutes
- A re-cap of the MN Digital Library annual meeting
- A call for applications for digitization projects through the MN Digital Library
- A story about new literacy skills and the Scratch software
- A recorded conversation between five MN library directors about dealing with budget shortfalls, and...
- A model for successful customer service from online shoe retailer Zappos.

Find the June issue, along with past issues, at:

June 25, 2009

The Importance of Citing Your Sources

It's not just schoolkids that get in trouble for not citing their sources. The editor of Wired, Chris Anderson, has recently come under fire for not attributing several quotes used in his book to the source: Wikipedia. Read more from an LA Times Blog article: "Chris Anderson's 'Free' Appears to Borrow Freely from Wikipedia and Other Sources." Mr. Anderson's excuse? "[I]nability to find a good citation format for web resources." I guess one could find fault with the MLA, APA, Turabian, or Chicago styles of website citation - if one was looking - but it seems like you'd want to use something to cite your source. Especially as an editor of a widely-read publication.

June 3, 2009

New Statewide Databases Announced

From the announcement:

On behalf of Minnesota's State Library Services, Online Dakota Information Network (ODIN), the North Dakota State Library, South Dakota Library Network (SDLN), the South Dakota State Library, and itself, Minitex is pleased to announce our joint, 3-state participation in licensing the databases and database packages recommended by the Minitex Electronic Information Resources (MEIR) Task Force as a result of the Request for Proposal (RFP) that was issued in 2008-2009. These partners realize the importance of statewide access to a common suite of databases to the libraries and school media centers within and among the three states.

In coordination with Elaine Kelash, Buyer, University of Minnesota Purchasing, Minitex will finalize license agreements with the following vendors for access to the following statewide electronic resources. These resources will be available beginning July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2012.

Continue reading "New Statewide Databases Announced" »

May 29, 2009

New MINITEX Reference Services Webinar

MINITEX Reference Services is pleased to announce the following upcoming webinars.

Please register today before sessions become full!

To get more information and to register go to
Designing an Online Reference Service: One Size Does Not Fit All

Currently Offered Sessions

Thursday, June 04, 2009 - 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm (Central Time)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm (Central Time)

Friday, June 12, 2009 - 10:00 am - 11:00 am (Central Time)

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm (Central Time)

Are you thinking about setting up an online reference service for your library, perhaps reviewing the current system you have in place, or even adding to or supplementing a current service? There are many options available with online reference services, and it can be challenging to know what is out there and what may be a good fit for your library. There are many issues to consider such as size, training, funding, administration, and hours of operation. This hour-long webinar is designed to give librarians an overview of various online reference services, features of each type, what may work best for your library, and other issues such as staffing, scheduling, and training.

April 20, 2009

MnKnows - Spread the Word!

Help us spread the word about MnKnows - Dig Deeper @ Your Library (, the new portal that gives Minnesota students and library patrons one-stop access to five statewide library services: MnLINK Gateway, Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM), Minnesota Reflections, AskMN, and the Research Project Calculator. We've established a website where you can retrieve the MnKnows logos to add to your library's website and use for other publicity purposes.

• See: "About" page on the MnKnows website: ("Help Us Promote MnKnows")

Minnesota academic and state government libraries are receiving a packet of MnKnows bookmarks (100 per packet) in the Delivery System. If you want more packets, please see the contact information at the end of this message.

Minnesota public libraries are receiving bookmarks through their regional public library systems.

Minnesota media centers - please contact us directly to let us know how many bookmarks you need for your schools.

Continue reading "MnKnows - Spread the Word!" »

February 24, 2009

Disruptive Innovation: A Conversation With Clayton M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn

From Education Week:

Live Online Chat:

Disruptive Innovation: A Conversation With Clayton M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn
When: Wednesday, February 25, 12-1:30 p.m. Eastern time

Click here to submit questions in advance.

Sponsored by:

An idea that was once on the margins of the national education debate—that schools should customize learning to better meet the needs of individual students—has moved far closer to the mainstream. Today, some leading scholars see fundamental changes starting to take root, in part because of new avenues of customization made possible by digital technology. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, a recent book co-authored by best-selling business expert Clayton M. Christensen, has touched a nerve by predicting that within a decade, half of all courses at the high school level will be delivered online.

Join us for an exclusive online discussion with Mr. Christensen and his co-author, Michael B. Horn. They argue that each student needs a customized learning approach to maximize his or her potential because people learn differently from one another. When a teaching approach is better aligned with a student’s aptitudes, they believe, understanding will come more easily and the student will be more motivated in school.

Related Stories:

About the Guests:

Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution.

Michael B. Horn is co-founder and the executive director of the Innosight Institute, a nonprofit think tank whose mission is to apply Mr. Christensen’s theories of disruptive innovation to solve social problems.

This chat will be moderated by Kevin Bushweller, Executive Editor of Education Week’s Digital Directions.

February 22, 2009

Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia

From Joyce Antler, Jewish Women's Archive Advisory Committee Chair

On March 1, 2009, the Jewish Women's Archive will launch the free, online version of Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Professors Paula Hyman of Yale University and Dalia Ofer of Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Previously available only on CD-ROM, the Encyclopedia is the first comprehensive source on the history of Jewish women and includes more than 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs and illustrations. The Encyclopedia nearly doubles the content available on and gives Internet users all over the world free and easy access to a wealth of information.

To keep the Encyclopedia current, we hope to add new entries from time to time and to update published pieces as necessary.

February 17, 2009

NYTimes Article: In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update

If you haven't seen it, there is a great article in the NYTimes Future of Reading Series called, "In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update."  The article is about what one school librarian in Brooklyn has been doing to promote and teach information literacy to her students.  To read the article click here.

February 12, 2009

Have You Seen this Citation Tool?

Many library databases (including a number of the ELM databases) help students and researchers create source citations to be included in their project or report bibliographies. For those that don’t, and for other types of research sources, from books to periodicals to multimedia, consider KnightCite. This excellent interactive tool from the Hekman Library of Calvin College takes basic information on each source and formats citations according to MLA, APA, or Chicago citation styles. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. Your students just might thank you.

February 4, 2009

Your Students' New Favorite Online Learning Tool

An article from Technology Horizons in Education Journal, called “Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools for Young Learners” lists some intriguing free and cheap technology tools to help the young folks among us get their learn on. I bet school and youth services librarians are already getting some good mileage out of tools like these.

One online learning site that I’ve been intrigued with, but never used, is called Cramberry (review from Read Write Web). You can use it to make free online flash cards for studying and can then access those cards from anywhere you’ve got an Internet connection. 
What are some favorite online learning aids of the young people in your life/worklife?

January 21, 2009

Online Research Goes Video

Where are students turning with increasing frequency for research help? According to a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, they’re turning to YouTube. The article, titled “Is YouTube the next Google?,” relays new search statistics that put YouTube ahead of Yahoo! Search in terms of popularity and tells the story of one nine-year-old who starts his homework research with YouTube.

Has your library ever put videos online as a way to reach out to your students, no matter their age? If so, drop a link in the comments, because we’d love to see examples.

And don’t think it’s just students embracing online video. A site called TeacherTube aggregates instructional videos and lesson plans from all grade levels and curriculum areas. Teachers, librarians, and other educators - as well as students - can browse through thousands of videos by broad topic channel and can keyword search for videos on specific subjects.    

It’s important for libraries to stake a claim where people are looking for information. In the case of students and teachers, from grade school to college, the next frontier seems to be online video.

January 12, 2009

Teaching & Learning in Second Life - Conference

Alliance Library System and LearningTimes are pleased to announce an exciting conference featuring science and virtual worlds. On January 30th we are "Stepping Into Science" and taking the day to explore the possibilities of using virtual worlds to learn about and teach science. The conference will be taking place entirely in Second Life and will feature a keynote and panel discussion as well as small breakout sessions, field trips and an opportunity participate in "Science Friday", NPR's live broadcast from Second Life.

For more information and to register, click here:

Speakers and field trips will include:

- Troy McConaghy (Scientist and Educator who has been involved with Second Life for over three years)
- Dr. George Djorgovski (Caltech and Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics (MICA))
- Joanna Scott (Writer for Nature and manages Second Nature on Second Life)
- Adrienne J. Gauthier, M.Ed. (Instructional Technology Specialist, Steward Observatory)
- Tony Crider (Elon University)

This online conference provides a great opportunity for anyone interested in exploring the latest in science education using 3D, immersive, virtual worlds.

It is ideal for anyone who might be at any stage of implementing education projects using virtual worlds.

There will be many opportunities to ask questions and discuss ideas with our speakers and guides as well as others attending the conference.

Those new to Second Life are encouraged to attend! We'll even be offering Second Life orientations before the 30th so if you've been meaning to check out Second Life, but haven't quite gotten around to it this is a great and structured opportunity to learn about some fantastic projects and also take Second Life for a spin.

The conference will be held live online in Second Life on January 30th. The registration fee is $65 per person. (Group rates are available.)

For more information on the conference, please visit:

Please freely distribute this invitation to those you might thing would interested in attending!

October 24, 2008

New Technology Test Assessment - Outsell

New Technology Assessment Test: Can America Wait Until 2012?
by Laurence Bloom, Affiliate Analyst - Boston, Massachusetts

Starting in 2012, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) will for the first time measure technology literacy and proficiency among K-12 students on a national level. This new test, which underscores the need for students to compete globally in technology skills, will have a positive impact on the education system and publishers.

Important Details: Since there are no nationwide standards for technology achievement, and as technology skills among students becoming increasingly important, NAEP has awarded WestEd with a $1.9 million, 18-month contract to develop the framework for the 2012 NAEP Technological Literacy Assessment that defines and measures students' knowledge and skills in understanding important technological tools.

WestEd plans to collaborate with multiple groups, including but not limited to policy makers, education technology experts and groups, teachers, and employers to advise WestEd on the content and design of the assessment framework. Ultimately, NAEP's governing board will review and approve WestEd's framework sometime late next year and decide which grade level will be tested in 2012.

Implications: While the framework is slated to be approved by late next year, one has to wonder why it would take a further three years to actually implement the test to students. By all accounts, politicians and business leaders continue to echo concerns about the ability of the US educational system to teach appropriate technology skills in preparation for a competitive tech-centric global marketplace. Since NCLB (No Child Left Behind) has included language, developed by the Department of Education and ITSE, the International Society for Technology in Education, that requires students to be able to demonstrate technological literacy by the end of the eighth grade, it is still a bit curious why it has taken so long to implement national definitions and testing standards on technology literacy. In June 2007, ISTE released a revised edition of the National Education Technology Standards for Students (NETS) which contains specific proficiencies necessary for a student to be considered technologically literate. ISTE will no doubt be an important and influential contributor to WestEd's assessment exam framework.

Given these new national standards and a call for national testing, the new assessment exam framework will provide publishers with a new avenue for building revenue growth from districts and schools. The opportunity will likely become akin to the demand and spending for science assessment tests by the education community over the last few years. On the flip side, these new exams call into question the continued concerns that there are too many tests for students to take and that K-12 education experience is simply becoming one long series of tests.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether the newly elected President will have a different stance on additional testing. Senator Obama has indicated that he would like to improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college, while also focusing on science and technology readiness. Senator McCain has more generally characterized the status of preparing children as "deplorable" compared to other industrialized nations. (see Insights 24 July 2008, K-12 Education Agendas of Presidential Candidates Present Different Implications for Suppliers).

Given his opinion that American students are unprepared for the future compared to other countries, it is plausible to infer that Senator McCain would also be in favor of more rigorous technology teaching and testing in schools. All this said, while it's a long way from completion, publishers should continue to monitor the developments of the technology assessment framework, as it will certainly have an impact on future product development activities and revenue generating opportunities.

September 17, 2008

Gale Resources in ELM

Gale is pleased to announce a major enhancement to the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) suite of K-12 resources for the coming year!

In addition to Kids InfoBits, InfoTrac Junior Edition, InfoTrac Student Edition, Junior Reference Collection, Discovering Collection, and Professional Collection, you now have access to 4 additional resources effective immediately:

- Student Resource Center Gold
- Expanded Academic ASAP
- Educator's Reference Complete
- General Science Collection

Minnesota libraries with current subscriptions to these resources will receive a pro-rated credit for the remainder of their subscription. Robin Sabbath of Gale's Customer Center will be contacting you about the amount of your credit. If you have questions now, please call her at 800/347-4253 extension 1884 or email her at

You can call Gale's Large Account Technical Specialist Andrew Soifer at 800/347-4253 extension 8890 for any technical assistance with these resources.

If you have other questions regarding this enhancement, please contact MINITEX at or 612-624-4150 or 800-462-5348 and ask for Reference Services.

More information on these resources follows.

Continue reading "Gale Resources in ELM" »

May 22, 2008

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)

April 10, 2008

26th Annual Johnson O'Malley Title VII Indian Education Conference

Location: Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Fond du Lac Reservation, Cloquet, MN

Dates: July 17-18, 2008 (1-½ days of workshops and speakers)

July 17 8:30-5:15
July 18 8:30-12

The mission of this annual conference is to provide quality training and resources for administrators, educators, teachers, and parents that meet the unique cultural and educational needs of American Indian learners.

Fee: $50 in advance/$75 after June 1

Program Proposals: If you have questions, please call the Department of Education-Office of Indian Education, Roseville at 651-582-8831 or Valerie Tanner at The College of St. Scholastica (218) 723-6014.

For questions concerning registration please contact FDL Accounting: 218.878.7536

Bridget Paulson
Program Accounting Director
Fond du Lac Reservation
1720 Big Lake Road
Cloquet, Minnesota 55720
Fax: 218-878-8152

For all other questions:
Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Jennifer Trotterchaude, 218.878.7547

For registration forms and additional information:

March 31, 2008

Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper


I just ran across an interesting presentation on the Dig_Ref Listserv.  A group of teachers and librarians had students post their term papers to wikipedia.  An interesting statistic, said that Wikipedia entries are at the top of search engine results 27% of the time.  It also allows collaboration with the external community.  To listen to the free, archived Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper presentation on the project, visit:

March 14, 2008

Free Resources

From Library Hotline / February 25, 2008

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, in recognition of Women's History Month in March, is offering free resources on its Women's History Month Web site, accessible at

They include biographies, quizzes, activities, time lines, and more to complement classroom topics.


February 27, 2008

Evaluating Web Content

Trudi Jacobson and Laura Cohen of the University Libraries University at Albany, SUNY have recently rewritten their mid-90s guide to helping students and others evaluate Web sites. The new version of this document reflects the impact of Web 2.0. It can be found at They still consider it as a work in progress. Check it out - it looks great and quite useful!

January 31, 2008

Facebook application now available at

From OCLC Abstracts - January 21, 2008, Vol. 11, No. 3

"The new WorldCat Facebook application provides access to WorldCat searches and user-created lists from personalized pages within a Facebook account. The application includes a home screen with the WorldCat search box, as well as quick links to WorldCat searches based on topics listed in a Facebook profile as personal interests. The application also includes:

-- a built-in, advanced WorldCat search;

-- a panel that allows users to invite other Facebook friends to install WorldCat;

-- a "Something to Read" panel that displays books recently added to WorldCat lists; and

-- a "Favorite WorldCat Lists" panel where users track their own lists or those of other WorldCat users."

To read more click here.

Grassroots Group Grows Mini-SKILLs Bill in Washington State

- Excerpt from American Libraries online current news -

"Characterizing school library media specialists as "an endangered species," Washington State Sen. Tracey J. Eide (D-Federal Way) introduced a bill January 22 that codifies through a per-pupil formula how many credentialed school library media specialists should be employed by each district and offers some $55 million to fund the initiative. Its aim of guaranteeing the presence in school libraries of certificated staff echoes the language of the federal SKILLs (Strengthening Kids' Interest in Learning and Libraries) Act, introduced in June 2007 as an unfunded amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act and scheduled for Senate committee review in February."

Read the full article here.

Also read, complementary blog entry "Building True Advocacy for School Libraries" - January 25, 2008.

January 25, 2008

Building True Advocacy for School Libraries

If you haven't done so already, take some time to read Debra Kay Logan's article, "Putting Students First" in the January/February issue of American Libraries. This one is worth your time, attention, and discussion.

Logan passionately pursues an essential question, "When we talk about advocating for school libraries, what do we truly mean?" Moreover, she urges readers to think about this question from administrative and budgetary viewpoints. Logan states, "School libraries are traditionally seen as rooms with resources, with school librarians viewed as keepers of materials. Under this pretense, it's no wonder that libraries and librarians are sometimes thought of as expendable."

So, what do we do to effectively advocate for school libraries? Logan sums up our strategy by stating that we need to:

1.) Change the nature of our advocacy messages

"To become effective advocates, our profession must shift the focus of our messages from speaking out about school libraries to promoting and supporting student learning and achievement. Student success is the business of schools. Student learning is at the core of meaningful advocacy messages."

"We need to have stakeholders advocate for them, and it is our job to build this stakeholder support."

2.) Motivate stakeholders to advocate

"When research evidence is presented in isolation, listeners inevitably question the validity of research. Instead of simply sharing research studies, school librarians need to 'mash up' research findings with what we know about our specific programs."

3.) Mash up the data

"To start, we need to clearly and consistently articulate and highlight the research showing the connections between strong school library programs and student learning and success. This forms a firm foundation for stakeholder advocacy."

"Next, document the connection between research in the library and reading and writing standards as an integral part of the weekly lesson plans."

"When crafting an advocacy message, focus on specific and essential student needs..."

"Share evidence that ties research findings with what is happening in your school."

4.) Remember that it's all about the students

"All along we have known that school libraries play a critical and unique part in helping schools achieve their goals for students. However, our messages have sounded like school libraries and librarians are an ends, not means. It's time to adjust these messages and become advocates for students and student learning."

We want to know what you think of Logan's article. Post your comment here, on our blog. In what ways have you promoted your school library? Have you built stakeholder support? If so, how? Have you experienced success with your advocacy efforts?

Logan, Debra Kay. "Putting students first: we must change the focus of our messages from school libraries to student learning and achievement." American Libraries 39.1-2 (Jan-Feb 2008): 56(4). Professional Collection. Gale. MINITEX. 25 Jan. 2008

December 3, 2007

Metronet Information Literacy Initiative, Round 2

Metronet, a Minnesota Multitype Library Cooperation System servicing all library types in the 7 county metropolitan area, has embarked on a new project for their second year in collaboration with the St. Paul Public Schools on integrating information literacy skills. This year's project or initiative is incorporating the concept of "23 Things" which helps teachers and media specialists become more familiar with technology and how it can be applied to libraries and the K-12 classroom.

Read more to learn how the Metronet Information Literacy Project is incorporating the "23 Things" model into their initiative at:

November 13, 2007

Research Project Calculator Plus is Online!

If you have a link to the Research Project Calculator (RPC) on your website, you may have noticed today that the new Research Project Calculator is now available.  If you check the “include teacher information” dialog box, you will see both the student information and advice for teachers planning research projects.
Imagine a teacher’s manual where the student page is surrounded by information for the teacher. Sample exercises and tip sheets are also included. For a complete description of this link to the November issue of the MEMORANDUM.

The new RPC also has an option where students can enter their email address and receive periodic reminders about their timeline, with links to further information.

RPC Plus is still under construction so you will see further changes.
Please use the “Tell us what you thought of the RPC” link to report issues or suggestions.  Check it out here: RPC.

September 28, 2007

Yahoo! Teachers

Yahoo! Teachers is a lesson planning and collaboration tool for educators to create lesson plans and share them with others. The creation of lesson plans is facilitated by a widget called Gobbler, which enables users to copy and paste content (text, images, or entire web pages) from any web site into a folder in their portfolio. Folders contain pre-assigned metadata concerning the content, including subject, grade level, and state learning standards. Content placed in a folder is automatically marked with this metadata. This is crucial in the No Child Left Behind environment so that teachers can meet federal testing requirements. Once collected, content in the folders can be pasted into a rich text editor to enable teachers to create handouts and worksheets.

From Outsell Insights 9/28/07

August 30, 2007

Slam the Boards!

Slam the Boards! invites all librarians for a day of answers. That's right. Mark your calendar for Monday, Sept. 10. Log on to an "Answer" site such as Yahoo Answers, Amazon's Askville, The WikiPedia Reference Desk - see a list of others at

The point of this day-long deluge of helpful and accurate answers to people's questions on these sites is to, first and foremost, answer people's questions but also to market ourselves as librarians. Let them know that their question was answered by a librarian and that's what we do, that's one of the services their local public library provides.

Like MySpace and Facebook, it's another way of extending ourselves outside the walls of our own libraries and reaching out to where the people are. You may want to prepare by visiting any of the answer sites in advance and see if you need to set up an account to answer questions and you may even want to dip your toe in the water and try answering a question in advance as well just to get the feel for how the site works. It's not much different than a digital reference service.

This great idea was started by Caleb Tucker-Raymond.

July 25, 2007

Reference Services Offers On-Site ELM Training

In case you didnt' know, MINITEX Reference Services offers on-site ELM training in your library or media center.  We are more than happy to come to you to train staff on the wonderful resources in ELM.  We will try to customize the training to fit your needs as much as possible.  We offer training from informative ELM overviews to longer, more in-depth, hands-on sessions.  We can focus on one specific ELM resource, or cover them all (with adequate time allowed).  If you are interested in setting up ELM training in your area, contact Beth Staats at or 1-800-462-5348 or 1-612-624-7873. 

July 16, 2007

ACRL Online Seminar – Assessing Student Learning Outcomes

In April I had the opportunity to take a 3 week online seminar sponsored by ACRL on Instructional Assessment. The course was geared more towards instruction in an academic setting, however, I was able to use the points and resources talked about and have it relate to instruction with librarians. The course was divided into 3 sections, one for each week: planning for assessment; developing learning objectives; and developing a design for assessment.

In the first week we looked at an overview of the assessment process and began an assessment plan for an instructional course. We looked at instruments and methodology that would be used for our assessment plans. I found Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain,, to be extremely useful for this piece.

In week two we looked at objectives for information literacy instruction and worked on developing learning objectives and learning outcomes that were part of the assessment plan. For week three we looked at developing assessment measures, choosing the right instrument, designing and using the instrument, how to analyze data, and how to evaluate results.

Throughout the process we met in groups each week to discuss how our assignments were going, any questions we had, and to talk about the readings and discuss how best the ideas and methodology might be used in different instructional settings. This online chat with the instructors and other participants helped to see what questions others had and how each week’s assignments were going. It also helped me stay on target with the readings and course objectives. This was the first ongoing online seminar I had taken and was pleasantly surprised at the structure and design for the online environment. I have started to use the information I learned from the seminar and well as the resources provided in helping design my webinars and in-person training sessions and workshops and found this assessment process to help stay on focus with the agenda and tasks I want people to walk away with. I would highly suggest taking a look at the online seminars available through ACRL’s E-Learning website:

June 20, 2007

Wikis in plain English

Check out this YouTube video on creating wikis!

June 13, 2007

Podcast Evaluation Tool

We all know how to evaluate books and websites, right?  What about podcasts? In the May/June 2007 issue of Online there is an article by Adam Bennington titled, Stick it in your Ear: Keeping Current with Podcasts.  It has 10 points to consider when evaluating whether or not to suggest a Podcast to your customers. You may read this article through Academic Search Premier, one of the ELM databases, at:

June 4, 2007

Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy

The ACRL Arts Section and Instruction Section invite you to visit the Virtual Poster Sessions being offered in connection with their joint program at ALA 2007 in Washington, D.C. The conference program, titled "Eye to I: Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy," will explore the relationship between these two sets of abilities. The poster sessions and more information about the conference program can be found at:


The poster sessions offer practical approaches to teaching information literacy and visual literacy, new ideas for integrating multiple literacy skills into your instruction, and tips for collaborations that connect information literacy, visual literacy, and student learning.

Announcement from: dig_ref listserv

May 30, 2007

Immigrants in Minnesota

Here are a few resources about Immigrants in Minnesota that would benefit both media specialists and teachers alike.

Immigration in MN Overview from the Minneapolis Foundation:

Immigrants in Minnesota from MDL:

Energy of a Nation: Immigration Resources from the MN Advocates for Human Rights:

May 29, 2007

Surgery videos


They are more doctor-training than nurse-training oriented, but at least you can see the procedure. And if you actually need to have the procedure yourself, you can get an idea of what it will be like -- if you really want to know!

This is from a post on the LIBREF-L listserv by Phyllis Bratton.  This resource is great for science lirbarian in acadmeics to link to and promote; media specialists to aid their biology and other science classes in K12; public lirbarians to aid patrons in researching an upcoming procedure they or someone they know might be having. 

There are all sorts of videos of real surgeries on Medline here:



May 16, 2007



From Calisphere:

"Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items -- including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts -- reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations.

Calisphere is a public service project of the California Digital Library (CDL). Through the use of technology and innovation, the CDL supports the assembly and creative use of scholarship for the UC libraries and the communities they serve. Learn more about the CDL."

May 10, 2007

Learning 2.0

Recently on the ILI-listerv (ACRL's Instruction Section Information Literacy Instruction Discussion List) a discussion thread has been started on ways to deliver staff training for libraries on topics such as Web 2.0.

One of the members responded by pointing to an online resource called "Learning 2.0." It is a resource that can be customized and tailored to your own institution. The right-hand column provides links to other libraries doing the Learning 2.0 program.

May 9, 2007


Wow! This is a terrific video "starring" Vermont librarian, Jessamyn West. It shows her installing "Ubuntu" to two computers that were donated to The Calef Library in Washington, Vermont. Ubuntu comes bundled with Open Source software such as OpenOffice, Gimp (like Photoshop), Firefox, and Gaim (Instant Messenger). This is a great work-around for those who do not want to or cannot purchase various software programs. Check it out!

Encyclopedia of Life

Recently launced is a new "Wikipedia-like" website for biology enthusiasts, Encyclopedia of Life. The goal of the project is to create a free online resource that catalogs and describes all the planet's known species.

Wild Music - Experience the Sounds & Songs of Life

If you haven't yet visited the traveling exhibition, "Wild Music," at the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, you may want to as it moves on to Raleigh, NC on May 14th. The final day is this Sunday, May 13th.

It's a large exhibition at 4,000 square feet and is a production of the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Music. Additionally, major support has also come from the National Science Foundation. Harman International, Inc. and the NEC Foundation of America are supporters as well. For more on the exhibition

However, if you won't be visiting the Science Museum of Minnesota this week or weekend, check out the "Wild Music" website - this can be a great source for student activities and/or personal enjoyment long after the exhibit has traveled far from Minnesota. The site can be viewed in English or Spanish.

Experience "Wild Music" online!

May 4, 2007

More Tutorials!

These two tutorials are at the top of my list for content and delivery. Check it out!

Plagiarism tutorial from Paul Robeson Library of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey:

CLUE - from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries (a tutorial to orient the student to UW-Madison Libraries and college level research tools and strategies):

Outstanding Tutorial on Business Research

Check out this outstanding tutorial!!

From the ILI-L listserv:

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of
the Instruction Section of ACRL announces its site of the month for February 2007.

To read the full interview and browse the archive of previous profiles, please see

*** PRIMO Site of the Month Interview, February 2007 ***

A Beginner's Guide to Business Research

Author: Louise Klusek
Institution: Baruch College, The City University of New York

Interviewer: Britt Fagerheim

Description: A Beginner's Guide to Business Research is an e-learning
module designed specifically for students doing company research for the
first time. This module is a required information literacy component of
Introduction to Business, a 1000-level course required of all students
intending to major in business at Baruch College. The Guide covers two
major sources of information: company websites (including annual
reports, 10-K filings, webcasts and press releases) and business
databases for news, company profiles, histories and up-to-date stock

April 18, 2007

Free Lesson Plans

Check out a full selection of free Thomson Gale lesson plans, including primary and secondary-level Earth Day lessons and MANY MORE.

April 3, 2007

Planet Earth

If you haven't had a chance to watch the new mini series on the Discovery channel called Planet Earth, check it out! This would be a great series to purchase for science courses in the K12.

March 20, 2007

ACRL offering Webcast on Combating Plagiarism

From ACRL:

The Role of the Librarian in Combating Student Plagiarism

Webcast Date: April 16, 2007

Webcast Time: 11:00 a.m. Pacific, 1:00 p.m. Central, 2:00 p.m. Eastern

This 1.5-hour Webcast from ACRL explores the role of the academic librarian in combating student plagiarism, the "culture of copy" that our students inhabit and why plagiarism poses problems for higher education professionals including academic librarians, why use of discipline based approaches helps combat plagiarism effectively, how to design effective information literacy session assignments to help students understand how they can avoid plagiarism, and more.

Lynn Lampert, coordinator of information literacy and instruction at California State University-Northridge will lead this Webcast, which is based on her half-day 2006 Midwinter ACRL preconference, "Combating the Culture of Copy: Information Literacy Interventions for Plagiarism."

Registration is limited to 60. ACRL and ALA members receive a registration discount. For complete information, including a link to registration, go to:

February 23, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

A documentary not only worth seeing but also a must have for your collections!


An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
with Al Gore, directed by Davis Guggenheim

From IMDB:
A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

"In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"In the movie he is merely excellent. But in person...he presents a combination of intellectual force, emotional vibrancy and moral urgency that has hardly been seen in American public life in recent years." - David Denby, The New Yorker

"one of the most important films ever." - Larry King

"[Al Gore] he is not only forcing us to confront the problem, he is also looking for realistic solutions ... [Gore] firmly believes that environmental responsibility and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive." - Amanda Gefter, New Scientist

"I was skeptical that Al Gore was really going to change how I thought about global warming. I was wrong. I now believe that An Inconvenient Truth is the most important film that anyone will see this year. We have become accustomed to hearing about global warming in a muted, disconnected way ... but at last someone has marshalled all the fragments of information and woven it into a single, breathtaking whole. ... we can only comprehend global warming if we take the widest possible view, and we can't access that viewpoint while wearing party-political blinders."
- Dave Hoskin, Metro

Minnesota Population Center

Check out this public resource!

From the MPC:

The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) is a University-wide interdisciplinary cooperative for demographic research. The MPC serves sixty faculty members and research associates from ten colleges and nineteen departments at the University of Minnesota, and employs nearly a hundred research support staff, including computer programmers and technicians, administrative staff, research assistants, and data-entry staff. As a leading developer and disseminator of demographic data, we also serve a broader audience of some 6,000 demographic researchers worldwide.

February 13, 2007

The Inspired Librarian

Another blog to check out: The Inspired Librarian by Sally Daniels. Daniels is a school library media specialist in New York. She has blogged on some interesting topics and links to helpful sites and resources.

The Blue Skunk Blog

Check out Doug Johnson's The Blue Skunk Blog

From his bio: Doug Johnson has been the Director of Media and Technology for the Mankato Public Schools since 1991 and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Minnesota State University, Mankato since 1990.


At a recent conference I had the pleasure of meeting two representatives from ISEEK. Check out their site!

This description from their website:

ISEEK, the Internet System for Education and Employment Knowledge, is a web-based gateway to Minnesota career, employment, education, and business development information and services. The Internet system helps you make smart choices about careers, employment, education, and business growth.

ISEEK provides information in four main areas:

  • explore careers

  • plan your education

  • find a job

  • grow your business
  • To learn more about ISEEK visit: What is ISEEK?

    School Library 2.0

    Check out the School Library Journal 2006 Webcast series on blogs, podcasts, and wikis and how these can be used in the classroom at:

    Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will find links to the following webcasts:

  • Blogs - Host: Will Richardson, well-known presenter on the ed-tech circuit and author of the popular blog weblogg-ed. (posted October 15, 2006)
  • Podcasts - Host: Sarah Chauncey, library media specialist, Grandview Elementary School, East Ramapo, NY. (posted November 15, 2006)
  • Wikis - Host: Wendy Stephens, librarian, Buckhorn High School, New Market, AL. (posted December 15, 2006)
  • NASA

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration provides some terrific resources for kids, students, educators, and researchers. Check out their homepage and the left navigation bar for these resources. Some of these resources include homework help, Internet and multimedia resources, learning and student opportunities, contacts for students and educators, career information, research assistance, and professional development. You can also find these resources at NASA Education.


    WebJunction Minnesota has a brand new look!

    Check it out at:

    (C)ollectanea!: Collected Perspectives On Copyright

    From Marvin Stewart, Event Specialist at Center for Intellectual Property, University of Maryland University College -

    The Center for Intellectual Property (CIP) at the University of Maryland University College is excited to announce the launch of a new blog portal addressing the cultural, political and legal context of copyright issues:


    Continue reading "(C)ollectanea!: Collected Perspectives On Copyright" »

    February 1, 2007

    School Media Podcast

    From the MEMO list
    A school media podcast is now available online at These podcasts are designed to share information and best practices among media specialists, teachers, and administrators from around Minnesota and beyond! There will be one podcast posted each month featuring a new guest. There are currently two posts—one of Mert Thompson, Professor of Information Media at St. Cloud State University discussing the relationship between the media specialist and the classroom teacher, and the other featuring Don Clausen of Jefferson High School in Alexandria, MN talking about virtual media centers. You may either listen to the podcasts at your computer or download them to an MP3 player.

    January 29, 2007

    Engaging 'Tweens and Teens

    From MEMO listserv

    Engaging 'Tweens and Teens

    By Raleigh T. Philp

    Download a PDF of this article (

    Showing teachers how to cope with the developing -- and often baffling -- teenage brain.

    This is an excerpt from Raleigh T. Philp's recently published book 'Tweens and Teens: A Brain-Compatible Approach in Reaching Middle and High School Students.

    The single most important thing a teacher must do is manage the learning state of his or her students. Twenty minutes is probably the maximum time that most people can stay in a positive learning state without a change of stimulus. Most students may even be aware that they have moved down the spectrum from a positive learning state to a feeling of the brain being out to lunch! An effective teacher is aware of the looks on the faces of students, the squirming, and general disinterest. These teachers are always scanning the class for signs of learning fatigue and know what to do to ameliorate the problem.

    Continue reading "Engaging 'Tweens and Teens" »

    December 19, 2006

    Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

    The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection is a general collection of more than 250,000 maps covering all areas of the world. This online collection has been created by the University of Texas at Austin Libraries.

    This amazing collection includes maps of:

  • The World
  • Africa
  • The Americas including United States, Canada and Mexico
  • Asia
  • Australia and the Pacific
  • Europe
  • The Middle East
  • Polar Regions and Oceans
  • Russia and the Former Soviet Republics
  • The United States including National Parks and Monuments

    Furthermore, you can find historical maps, outline maps, and maps of current interest (i.e. Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Somalia).

    Explore the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection online!!

  • Printable Maps of the U.S.

    Made available FREE at, these sets of printable maps include:

  • Congressional Districts for the 109th Congress
  • Federal Lands and Indian Reservations
  • Precipitation of the Individual States and of the Conterminous States
  • Presidential Elections 1789 to 2000
  • Reference and Outline Maps of the United States
  • Satellite View
  • Territorial Acquisitions of the United States
  • Time Zones
  • West Nile Virus 2000

    Check it out!

  • November 16, 2006

    The "Second Wave" and Beyond: Primary Sources of the Women's Movement, 1960-Present

    The "Second Wave" and Beyond scholarly community, launced in April 2006, is an innovative form of electronic communication and research that brings together feminist thinkers, both scholars and activists, to create a stimulating and supportive environment in which to pose and analyze compelling questions about feminist activism and theories, define new directions for historical research on this period, and provide a new venue for publishing traditional articles but also for writing and recording this history in ways made possible by the medium of online publication.

    More specifically, look here to find dicussions, chronologies, oral histories and memoirs, images, reviews, bibliographies, resource links, teaching and research resources, and more.

    October 20, 2006

    Cool FREE science simulations

    I can’t take credit for finding these resources, the booth next to ELM’s at the STEM conference was demonstrating these to teachers and it was a HUGE hit!

    These agent based simulations can be used to demonstrate a variety of concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and social systems. There are many tools that do this but two of the “best” are NetLogo and Breve.

    Continue reading "Cool FREE science simulations" »

    August 16, 2006


    Established in 2002, ReadWriteThink is a partnership between the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of Engish (NCTE), and the Verizon Foundation. The ReadWriteThink website features standards-based lesson plans that can be selected according to grade band (K–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12) and area of literacy practice and literacy engagements. Each lesson is research-based, and includes a detailed instructional plan. The lesson plans include worksheets, activities, and resources. Moreover, all content is organized around The IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts. ReadWriteThink also has a collection of Web resources. These resources are selected in adherence to a set of criteria and are reviewed. Web resources can be selected and sorted by grade band (K–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12) and resource type.

    Education World

    Education World - The Educator's Best Friend is a website that includes:

    A search engine for educational websites
    Original content, including lesson plans, information on how to integrate technology in the classroom, and articles written by education experts
    Site reviews
    Daily features and columns
    Teacher and principal profiles
    Wire Side Chats with the important names in education
    Employment listings

    August 10, 2006

    Library of Congress - The Learning Page

    The Learning Page is a Library of Congress website especially designed for teachers offering help in using the American Memory Collections in classroom curriculum including tips, tricks, rationale for using primary sources, activities, and lesson plans.