Library News


September 12, 2012

New Minitex Director

Posted on behalf of Wendy Lougee, University Librarian, University of Minnesota.


I am pleased to share the exciting news about the successful search for a new director of Minitex. Valerie Horton, Executive Director of the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC), will assume the role in early December.

Ms. Horton brings an extraordinary portfolio to the Minitex leadership position. As the founding director of CLiC, she has developed robust programs of resource sharing, as well as open source library systems and continuing education. Earlier appointments as a library director (Mesa State College), systems and budget officer (New Mexico State University), ALA International Library Fellow, and systems librarian (Brown University) round out her rich record. Her commitment to collaboration is evidenced in her lead roles in the open access journal Collaborative Librarianship and in conferences around the challenging topic of delivery and in her extensive contributions to our profession.

The search process has been expansive. The search committee, with representatives across the various sectors of the Minitex community, did a stellar job, bringing us an exceptional pool of finalists. The engagement of our communities was significant, with well over 150 individuals online watching the public presentations. Feedback from participants was equally strong, with abundant commentary from individuals across the region. I want to thank the search committee, particularly the chair Linda DeBeau-Melting, for managing this inclusive process. And thank you to all who contributed to this important search.

Valerie hopes to visit Minnesota in the months before her official start, and looks forward to working with the fabulous Minitex staff and deeply committed library communities across Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Wendy Pradt Lougee
University Librarian, University of Minnesota

March 23, 2011

Statistical Compendia Branch Slated to be "Defunded"

The 2012 Budget includes the U.S. Census Bureau's termination of its Statistical Compendia Branch which has been responsible for the publication of Statistical Abstracts, State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, County and City Data Book, and more.

To try and help save these essential public resources please read ALA's Action Alert and send a message to Congress!

March 22, 2011

C&RL = Open Acess

ACRL's College and Research Libraries journal will be going open access with this year's May issue. You'll be able to access the full-text from 1997 to present at their publication website:

Learn more here.

February 22, 2011

MDL Recognized in Rochester Post Bulletin

Rochester Post Bulletin's Greg Sellnow discusses the importance of preservation and the Minnesota Digital Library - read for yourself:

I'm Just Sayin': Letters recall life during Civil War - by Greg Sellnow

February 9, 2011

2011 Horizon Report - Now Available!

From Joan K. Lippincott, Associate Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information

The 2011 Horizon Report, a collaborative initiative of the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) is now available for free download from:

Each year the report identifies and describes key trends that a group of experts believe will have an impact on teaching, learning and creative inquiry. This year, some of those trends are: electronic books, mobiles, augmented reality, game-based learning, gesture-based computing, and learning analytics.

December 20, 2010

WebJunction and MELSA kick off free Jobs and Small Business Webinar Series

From OCLC Cooperative News:

Starting in January and extending through May, WebJunction will be hosting a series of webinars produced by MELSA, the Metropolitan Library Service Agency in Minnesota, on topics related to serving the workforce in your community. The first event in this new Jobs and Small Business Webinar Series will focus on Understanding Unemployment Insurance and Its Impact On Your Customers.

This webinar will take place on January 27, from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

We will be joined by an Unemployment Insurance Specialist from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, who will explain how the service works. In addition, Alice Neve, Public Service Manager at St. Paul Public Library, will describe how your library can support UI customers. Using her library as an example, she will describe how to collaborate with local UI offices, analyze challenges and implement solutions throughout your library system. This webinar is free and open to all.

To register for this webinar

December 1, 2010

RSS Service Achievement Award

From RUSA Listserv:

When you think of RSS, does someone in particular pop into your mind?

Do you know someone who is always willing to step up to the plate and help RSS attain its goals? Or perhaps this person has made a significant contribution in one aspect of RSS?

If you know someone, shouldn't this person be commended for his/her work?

If you answered yes, then take a few minutes and nominate him/her for the first annual RSS Service Achievement Award!

Nominate someone today!

The Reference and Services Section of RUSA is pleased to solicit nominations for its first annual RSS Service Achievement Award. This award, which will be presented at the annual RSS Open House and the RUSA annual awards ceremony, honors an RSS member's contributions to the section. The recipient will be chosen based on either sustained contributions towards attaining the goals of RSS or a single significant contribution that has resulted in a positive impact upon the work of the section. To make a nomination please send a letter detailing specifically how the nominee has met either of these criteria to the award committee chair. The deadline has been extended to January 15.

November 22, 2010

Free online conference from WJ: Serving the 21st Century Patron

From OCLC Cooperative eNews:

You are invited to attend WebJunction's second free online conference, "Serving the 21st Century Patron," on December 1-2.

Over the course of eight sessions and with several speakers, we'll focus on the changing needs and evolving approaches related to customer service in 21st-century libraries.

Be sure not to miss the final session, Battledecks, which challenges speakers to present an unknown set of slides--and the audience gets to choose the best result!

Space for the conference is limited, so register now.

Staff are also encouraged to attend as a cohort under a single registration: not only does this allow more people to attend, but you benefit from face-to-face discussion, as your group convenes in a single room with the sessions projected. Members who did this at our first conference provided these tips for successful cohort attendance.

* Get session and registration details

October 20, 2010

The Friends of the St. Catherine University Libraries Host Ginny Cooper

Ginny Cooper, Chief Librarian of the District of Columbia Public Library on Monday, November 1, 2010 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in Rauenhorst Hall, 3rd floor, Coeur de Catherine. This event is free and open to the public.

Meet Ginny Cooper, a Minnesotan, Past President of the Public Library Association, and recipient of the Charlie Robinson Award from the Public Library Association. Ginny has been recognized for being a public library director who has been a risk-taker, an innovator, and an agent of change.

Ginny will talk about public libraries, library careers and her own career trajectory.

Please join the Friends of the St. Catherine Libraries and the faculty and students of the MLIS Department in thanking the Friends of the Library and Development and Services Library for their generous funding of a new "Friends of the Library Development & Services Research and Collection Fund" supporting student and faculty research and library collections.

RSVP by October 27 to Rita Schultz (651) 690-6649 or

September 14, 2010

(Articulating) the Value of (Academic) Libraries

An Inside Higher Ed article called "The Value of Libraries" points to an ACRL study written by the prolific Megan Oakleaf of Syracuse University. The paper pulls from library literature and beyond to help provide language to college libraries looking to articulate their value to the campus in times of financial scrutiny. As both the paper and the Inside Higher Ed write-up are careful to note, college libraries are already valuable, but may not be "armed with the data and vocabulary to articulate their value." (thanks to Todd Digby for the link)

July 8, 2010

Keeping Current with Technology: Things on a Stick News

It all started with 23 Things on a Stick. That self-paced online learning program, put on by the seven Minnesota Multitype Library Systems, walked participants through twenty three web-based 2.0 tools and websites. Each week a new tool was uncovered via individual exercises and small group discussions. It was so popular that the Multitypes developed a new program, More Things on a Stick. Both of these programs have been completed, but you can access archives and exercises indefinitely at each respective website.

So what's next? How can you continue to stay up to date on evolving technologies? By following the 2010 incarnation of Things on a Stick, Things on a Stick News. Every month, several new tools are considered and presented. The News has been streaming since January and continues to highlight relevant and engaging tools and technologies. Follow the blog or sign up to receive Things on a Stick News in your inbox once every month - you'll be the tech-savvier for it.

June 11, 2010

May Reference Notes

The May 2010 issue of Reference Notes is now available.

By spending 10 minutes of your day with us, you'll learn more about summer read programs, developing your library's DIY collection, helping job seekers, spotting technology trends and applying them to the library world, and lots more. Or you could watch that Lady Gaga library spoof video for the 14th and 15th time. (If this is the first you've heard of that video, 1. You don't spend enough time on the Internet, and 2. Check out the "This 'n That from the Web" section in this issue for the link.)

Here's the full TOC:

What Every Job Seeker (and Librarian) Should Know

Top Ten Emerging Technologies for 2010

Internet Archive to Digitize One Million Books for Visually Impaired

This 'n That from the Web

ELM Radio Spots

ELM Spotlight: Britannica Online Reference Center

DIY: Collection Development Tips

Summer Read Programs: Make a Splash @ Your Library

Give Your Library a Technology Make Over - It's Easy!

LOEX: I Only Know the 'X' Stands for Excellent

May 18, 2010

April Reference Notes

The April 2010 issue of Reference Notes is now available.

In this issue, you'll find published evidence of how libraries help people, examples of adaptive technologies already built into the computers at your library, news about a prominent MN librarian and new Fulbright Scholar Grant recipient, and insight into two ELM education-focused databases.

We've also included a pull-out insert that we hope you'll share with your colleagues. It details our reference referral service and the instructional opportunities we provide.

Here's the full TOC:

Minitex Reference Insert
Libraries Help People Succeed
Scrolling on the Web
Mary Wagner Awarded Fulbright Scholar Grant
Adaptive Technology Services
ELM Spotlight: Educator's Reference Complete and Professional Development Collection
New ELM Tutorials
Modern Web Browser Security: Best Practices
Reference Renaissance 2010
MN Digital Library Annual Meeting

April 13, 2010

Technology Trends Teleconference Available for 30 Days

If you didn't get a chance to catch Marshall Breeding and Eric Lease Morgan's live online discussion of the future of finding, creating, and using information in libraries, presented by the College of DuPage, you can view it online for the next 30 days or so.

To get the link, drop a quick email to mtxref at

In "Technology Trends in Libraries: Tools, Skills, Staffing, Training" which was broadcast on April 9th, Breeding and Morgan discuss next generation discovery services and the semantic web; digital preservation; and open access publishing.

March 5, 2010

The Book as Social Contract

There's a good post from Dan Cohen, The Social Contract of Scholarly Publishing, talking about the what happens in that last steps of presenting a finished product (book) to the public.

Behavioral economists know that although the perception of value can come from the intrinsic worth of the good itself (e.g., the quality of a wine, already rather subjective), it is often influenced by many other factors, such as price and packaging (the wine bottle, how the wine is presented for tasting). These elements trigger a reaction based on stereotypes--if it's expensive and looks well-wrapped, it must be valuable. The book and article have an abundance of these value triggers from generations of use, but we are just beginning to understand equivalent value triggers online--thus the critical importance of web design, and why the logo of a trusted institution or a university press can still matter greatly, even if it appears on a website rather than a book.

Thanks to for picking up on this great piece.

February 24, 2010

Cataloging Teleconference Available for 30 Days

If you missed the live streaming version of last week's College of DuPage teleconference on cataloging, you can see a recorded version of it online for the next thirty days or so.

Cataloging: Where are we now? Where are we going?

How in the world we got here not covered. ;)

Send an email to mtxref at for the link to this recorded webinar.

Minitex makes this and all DuPage teleconferences available forever, or at least as long as DVDs are compatible with your viewing device. Request a DVD copy of this and other past sessions here.

February 5, 2010

Making the Best of a Shrinking Budget

The archived version of last week's College of DuPage teleconference on creative practices in times of economic contraction is now available online. But only for a short time. View "Making the Best of a Shrinking Budget" online for the next month or so. After that you can borrow it on DVD from Minitex, along with all past DuPage presentations.

Join Leslie Burger, Director of the Princeton (NJ) Public Library and founder of Library Development Solutions, Alice Calabrese-Berry, Executive Director of Metropolitan (Chicago) Library System and Mary Case, Director of Libraries at the University of Illinois at Chicago for a discussion of best ways to deal with these difficult budget trends. What principles should guide librarians in saving money? How can we sustain our core services? Our panelists will share their knowledge and experience and explore creative library practices in this new economy.

August 25, 2009

Library rules via movie

Making a movie is very easy these days. Here is a great example of rules posted for a library made by Mary Rumsey, Foreign, Comparative & International Law Librarian at the University of Minnesota:Rules for using the Law Library. Mary used which is a program that allows you to transform your text into a movie - for free.

June 16, 2009

Search Engine Visibility and the Future of Libraries

Steve Rubel, over at the Micro Persuasion blog, evocatively writes that Google is every brand's homepage. For the purposes of today's post, let's substitute "library" for "brand." Google is every library's homepage. Let's face that fact. We know that information-seeking students, business people, and citizens go to Google first, and may turn to a library if they can't find what they're looking for there. So how can we capitalize on that?

Rubel highlights several ways that brands [libraries] can become more visible to Google searchers in his company's "Search Engine Visibility" position paper. A lot of this is focused on public relations professionals, and trots out baleful expressions like "search engine marketing" (as important as, okay, I'll grudgingly admit that is), but the broad concept of this position paper is highly relevant to the future of libraries. The content that libraries make available has to be visible to search engines, because that is where people look for information. Articles, books, programming... all of it has to be findable via Google.

Continue reading "Search Engine Visibility and the Future of Libraries" »

June 12, 2009

Libraries in the news again!

The Today Show ran a segment on how libraries are helping during the economic downturn yesterday morning. To view the segment, click here. It almost seems like old news now, libraries being featured in media stories about how people are flocking to them for the "free" resources and extraordinary services from highly qualified and experienced staff. I say, "Keep it coming!" We need to keep flooding media outlets with these types of stories showing the value we add to our communities. The more opportunities for people to hear these stories the better for all aspects.

In an email sent out to the Minitex listservs yesterday, Bruce Pomerantz also reminds us about resources we have from ALA to stay on top of recession issues:

Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit

Get tips, tools and messages that work.

Get the word out!

Thanks Bruce!

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" »

June 1, 2009

New Webinar Produced by MLA's Public Library Division

The WebJunction Minnesota Team (State Library Services, Metronet, & Minitex) is pleased to sponsor and announce the following upcoming webinar produced by the Public Library Division of the Minnesota Library Association.

Please register today!

To get more information and to register go to

Minnesota Public Library Budget Shortfalls: A Conversation
Monday, June 08, 2009 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (Central Time)

Register Here!

Continue reading "New Webinar Produced by MLA's Public Library Division " »

May 22, 2009

How College Students Use Their Libraries

A new report from Primary Research Group (available for purchase here) looks at student use of academic library reference departments. Some findings recounted in the press release:

• 21.36% of the students in the sample say that they have sought assistance from a reference librarian within the past month. Students raised in cities were significantly more likely than others, especially those raised in suburbs, to have sought help from a reference librarian within the past month.
• 50% of students at research universities (most of which surely have subject specialists for most majors or concentrations) do not believe that their college library has a subject specialist for their chosen or planned major.
• Close to 19% of students in the fine or performing arts have ever asked reference questions via email, the highest percentage among all types of majors or concentrations.
• 9.87% of the students in the sample said that asking the reference librarian a question was a little embarrassing and that consequently they tried to figure it out for themselves and another 10.38% said that the reference librarians seem busy and that is seems that they would be pestering them by asking them for assistance.

For more on how students use academic libraries, view and download the free and highly detailed report Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester.

May 14, 2009

Historical Newspapers from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities have a joint venture that may be of interest to researchers and history enthusiasts. Chronicling America provides information on newspapers published since 1690 from across the U.S.

Use the Newspaper Directory to locate titles by location, date, or even ethnic or labor group focus. Once you've found one or more newspapers of interest, the site can help connect you with libraries in your area that own them. A search for Minnesota newspapers yielded some 3,000 title entries (though some entries were duplicates).

The site also includes digitized images of a set of newspapers, including the St. Paul Daily Globe from the late 1800s. Search for these on the Search Newspapers page.

This topic begs mention of several other resources. WorldCat, for instance, can help you locate and request newspapers via interlibrary loan. WorldCat is one of the ELM databases. Another excellent source is Minnesota Reflections. This site from the MN Digital Library provides online access to historical primary source materials including plat maps, diaries, letters, and photos.

May 4, 2009

Will These New Search Tools Make Us Worse Searchers?

Internet search providers are doing some innovative things these days. Recently, two examples surfaced: Wolfram/Alpha, which returns answers rather than sources; and Netbase, which looks at the language surrounding a search term to expand on a topic's context.

Web Tool "as Important as Google" [Wolfram/Alpha], BBC News
A Smarter Search for What Ails You [Netbase], Technology Review

Many of these new search technologies promise to analyze the context of data and return specific answers to our questions, as opposed to current search engines that bring us to sources where we can find the answers. It's a fine point, but an important one. Current search technologies require us to know of or at least analyze the source for an answer. New tech does more of this legwork for us in terms of sifting through a source to find data. But what does this mean, besides allowing us to type in "population Rhode Island" and being shown a number, rather than the Census Bureau web page where that number comes from?

It means that the source is hidden or at least obfuscated, which begs a couple of questions: First, commercial vendors are presenting data rather than sources. Who says they have the principle of good information as a primary motive? Second, such services further remove searchers from the process of search and make us less responsible for checking the sources for found information. We'll potentially be more reliant on the search tool, and less reliant on our own critical thinking skills.

I'm not saying that the Internet should be a place that requires a higher education to use, but I do think a higher level of skepticism can't hurt. Some aspects of these technologies are easily lovable (quicker reference-type answers, making the Internet more practical for everyone, automatic relationship-building between topics) but some other aspects make me nervous. What do you think?

April 29, 2009

Staying Current with Academic Journals

Have you seen the new issue of the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics? How about SIMILE (Studies in Media Information & Literacy Education)? The Journal of Informetics? No? Well, surely you've seen the latest Knowledge and Information Systems, right?

Right? ...Anybody?

If you're in academia (or of that mindset) and find yourself in the horrifically shameful position of not knowing what's currently being discussed in your field's academic publications, consider TicTocs. This free site indexes the tables of contents from thousands of academic publications, and delivers whichever of those TOCs you select directly to your RSS feed reader. So you can stay current with the most recent findings from the International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology.

Or whichever publications you're genuinely, or contractually-obligated to be, interested in.

I might also add that many of the ELM databases, such as Academic Search Premier, offer the option of setting up automatic alerts. These alerts let you know (by email or RSS feed) when new articles are added that match your interests - not just from specific publications but also on specific topics from specific publications. Just run your search and look for the "Alert/Save/Share" link in the upper-right corner of your results listing.

April 28, 2009

April Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web!

The April issue of Minitex Reference Notes is up on the web and available for viewing. The April issue highlights the Spring 2009 MnPALS Reference User Group Work Day, Homeschoolers Unite at RiverCentre, Promoting Minnesota Media Centers, April is National Poetry Month! Full-Text Poems in ELM: Discovering Collection, and a Web Site Recommendation - The issue can be read at

April 24, 2009

OCLC releases new report, Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want

This new report summarizes the findings of research conducted by OCLC on what constitutes quality in library online catalogs from both end users' and librarians' points of view. You can view the full report here.

April 20, 2009

Streaming Video of 4/16/09 "An Ounce of Prevention" Teleconference

Minitex is pleased to announce that availability of the Soaring to Excellence teleconference, "An Ounce of Prevention: Health Reference Basics."

The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.

Don't miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!

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!" »

April 8, 2009

March Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web!

The March issue of Minitex Reference Notes is up on the web and ready for viewing!

This month's stories include:

- A Minitex name change and new site
- A profile of Ada Comstock - Educator and Transformer
- A recap of the Library Technology Conference at Macalester College, including Information Commons, Eric Lease Morgan, Library 2.0 and Google Apps, E-Resource Management, What Everything Has to Do with Everything, Library Technology Programs for Baby Boomers and Beyond, and Learning for Digital Natives
- A one-year birthday celebration for AskMN
- Replies from you regarding last issue's "Dogs Who Like a Good Story"
- 2.0 Tools in 2.0 Minutes
- ALA and Woman's Day
- Small Towns with Big Library Programs
- Teleconferences
- Minnesota Librarians Among Library Journal 'Movers and Shakers'

Find the March issue and past issues here:

Promoting MN Media Centers

Media specialists have their work cut out for them. With shrinking school budgets comes greater pressure to show the value of library resources. At the same time, expanding responsibilities leave fewer moments in the day to build strategies to highlight this value - and not even enough time to stay current with how peers are handling the situation.

We don't have the answer to this problem, but we'd like to propose a place where we can all talk about the question together. We've just put up a new WebJunction Minnesota group dedicated to helping media specialists highlight the value of their media centers to their institutions. Visit and join the "MN Promoting Your Media Center to Teachers" group and participate in discussions with your peers about successful strategies to reach out to teachers and students.

Visit the Documents tab for links and documents you can use and the Discussions tab to see and add to what's being talked about. Sign up for a free WebJunction MN account by following the "Create an Account" link in the box toward the upper-right of the page. Then join the group to read and share teacher outreach successes, questions, and frustrations.

And for more online social networking goodness, don't forget about the excellent MEMO Ning, where you can chat with and learn from media specialists and IT professionals from across the state.

March 26, 2009

Your Library is not Batman

Does your library have a Twitter handle, a Facebook site, a MySpace page, a YouTube channel, and a FriendFeed account? If so, you've got quite a social media utility belt. But do you need all those tools? Rohit Bhargava at the Influential Marketing Blog wonders if libraries, er, brands that try to have a presence everywhere spread themselves too thin and don't have an impact anywhere. Sure, Batman needed a utility belt, but does your library? Leave a note in the comments with your thoughts.

March 10, 2009

Minnesota Historical Society Interview

Here is an interesting interview with Minnesota Historical Society Acquisitions Librarian Patrick Coleman. Coleman takes a look at the seamy, steamy and entertaining world of Minnesota pulp fiction and science fiction. This was posted on

February 26, 2009

Marketing to the Irrational People Who Don't Use Your Library

It doesn’t make any sense to avoid using a library. You know that and I know that. Every library offers resources that are already paid for that can make a person’s life better, their decisions wiser, and their free time more enjoyably spent. So, why then aren’t libraries used by every rational person? Seth Godin, a marketing consultant and author, thinks it’s because customers are irrational. You can tell them all about how your library will save them money and time and you can go into great detail about the benefits you offer – but customers on the whole don’t care about that. What they care about is what their friends and family think, or the hassle of going out of their way to get a library card, or the embarrassment of not knowing how to find a book. Relatively little things. Relatively irrational things when compared to all the tangible benefits libraries offer, but things that deter new library users nonetheless – which means that we might need to be more irrational when reaching out to new patrons or students or clients. We might need to change the focus from what our library offers, to what our potential customers want.

So what’s the best way to tell potential customers that your library has an easy way to find books, or a hassle-free library card application process, or that their friends and family are already using the library? Well, when you’re pondering that question, it might be helpful to hear actual stories about different marketing tools from businesses that have used them. The feedback contained in Marketing Sherpa’s 2009 Marketing Wisdom report can help you identify outreach pitfalls to avoid and opportunities to engage. What are proven ways to reach customers by email? What 2.0 tools have garnered marketing success for businesses? How can search engine marketing, mobile marketing, and web design increase customer involvement? You’ll find insight into these topics and more with the Marketing Sherpa report.

Humans are not logic-machines. We’re often motivated by insecurity, or whimsy, or our peers rather than the cold, hard facts. Marketers use this to their advantage, and so, too, can libraries.

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.

Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the Soaring to Excellence 2009 teleconference, "Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark."

The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.

Don't miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!

Program Overview
Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark

A. A Primer for Programming

1. Identifying Your Patrons' Needs
2. Planning for Successful Implementation
3. Adaptation is Key
4. Common Pitfalls

B. Programming for Youth

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

C. Programming for Adults

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

D. Programming for Seniors

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

E. Question and Answer Session

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 16, 2009

Libraries in the News: StarTribune and Pioneer Press

More write ups about how library usage is up during tough times. This time, two great articles in StarTribune and Pioneer Press from Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009.

In the StarTribune article, Users aren't the only ones looking to save at libraries, talks about library services overall are up and people finding the need greater than ever to not only take advantage of the library resources such as books and videos but also computer use and technology classes. People fear budget cuts will take away many of these resources that people depend on. Also note the +25 comments of StarTribune readers about their thoughts on budget cuts and the place of the library.

In the Pioneer Press, Melanie Huggins, Director of St. Paul Public Libraries, writes a descriptive editorial about the ways libraries need to be thinking of positioning itself for the next few years. She talks about the library as value to the community and what that is worth. Being the place for learning and development, libraries need to tap into the demands currently facing the community at large: Help people find, get and create jobs, get kids ready to learn, and make sure youth are successful in school. Very well put.

There is a swell of talk around the need for libraries in these tough times and it's great to continuously find new articles from newspapers across the country as well as in our own State hearing about how libraries and librarians are meeting the needs and demands of their communities.

On another note, ALA is announcing Woman's Day magazine contest. Write stories to promote libraries and get published in Woman's Day. Another great media tool to promote library usage and resources!

February 5, 2009

PennSound - Poetry You Can Download

While researching for a poem by Elizabeth Alexander, I learned of a terrific web resource created by collaborative entities at the University of Pennsylvania.

"PennSound (, launched January 1, 2005, is a Web-based archive for noncommercial distribution of the largest collection of poetry sound files on the Internet. PennSound offers a large variety of digital recordings of poems..." (

PennSound is sponsored by Penn's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and co-directed by Al Filreis, English professor and director of Penn's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, and Charles Bernstein, Penn English professor.

"The poetry sound files are retrievable both from a library catalog by authors' names and via Web search engines. PennSound combines aspects of a library archive and a Web music-download site. Basic bibliographic information is incorporated in each file so that a user downloads not only the sound but also key facts about the recording, including author, title, place and date of the recording, series, as well as copyright information." (

Give it a spin!

January 29, 2009

University of Minnesota receives 2009 Exellence in Academic Libraries award

The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Libraries has been selected by the American Library Association/Association of College and Research Libraries to receive the 2009 Excellence in Academic Libraries award. This award recognizes the accomplishments of library staff “as they come together as members of a team to support the mission of their institution.” This is a wonderful tribute to the creativity, dedication, and excellent service that our staff provide to the campus.

ALA/ACRL report can be accessed here or here.

January 27, 2009

Top Technology Trends to Watch in Education

Great article from Chronicle of Higher Ed reviewing the 2009 Horizon Report:

'Horizon Report' Names Top Technology Trends to Watch in Education

More services will be running on cellphones or handheld computers, and more devices will be able to broadcast their location to others, says a new report from Educause's Learning Initiative and the New Media Consortium.

The "2009 Horizon Report," the latest edition of the annual list of technology trends to watch in education, is compiled based on news reports, research studies, and interviews with experts.

Topping the list of hot technologies are smart phones and other mobile devices. The authors noted that smart phones can now run third-party applications, which could revolutionize how such devices are used in education by consolidating numerous teaching, learning, and administrative tools into devices that fit into the palms of students' hands.

Another top trend identified in the report is cloud computing, which refers to Web-based applications and services. Such services, many of which are free, will allow campus users to access more tools and information at a lower cost - although it may make users increasingly dependent on their hosts, the report says.

The prevalence of electronics that have "geo-locators" - that is, that are capable of knowing where they are - could have important applications for field research, specifically with regard to tracking the movement of animal populations or mapping data sets to study weather, migration, or urban development patterns, the report says. Similarly, "smart" objects - which are aware not only of their locations but of themselves and their environment - are already used in some libraries for tracking and tagging materials and may have analogous applications across a number of academic disciplines.

Though the Internet has proved to be a helpful resource for many students and professors, the sheer volume of its content can make finding relevant information a tedious chore at times. According to the report, the personal Web - i.e., widgets and services that help connect individual users to the Web-based information relevant to them - will allow students, professors, and administrators to use the Web more efficiently.

In a similar vein, semantic-aware applications will emerge to allow students to use one of the Internet's more popular features - Web search - more efficiently, the authors predict. Semantic-aware applications refer to technology designed to analyze the meaning of phrases typed into search boxes, rather than just the keywords. Beyond search technology, the report says that semantic-aware applications may eventually help researchers organize and present their findings in ways that more easily describe conceptual relationships among collected data. --Steve Kolowich

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 20, 2009

More Things On a Stick Program To Launch in January

More Things On a Stick Program To Launch in January

ST.PAUL, Minnesota (January 15, 2009) --Minnesota's seven multicounty, multitype library systems (multitypes) will launch the More Things On a Stick: A Library Learning 2.0 Program on January 20, 2009.. This program is the new version of the very popular 23 Things On a Stick Program sponsored the Minnesota Multitypes last year. Staff in academic, school, public and special libraries, as well as members of library Governing and Advisory Boards are invited to participate in this fun, self-paced program that encourages participants to experiment with various Web 2.0 tools. Mashups, more organizational and productivity tools, and deeper uses of RSS and Delicious are just a few of the new offerings in 2009.

All details about how to participate and suggestions for getting ready are now available online at Registration will begin on January 20th at this same address (as part of Thing 1). Those who complete all 23 Things plus the evaluation within 17 weeks will win a completion prize.

Continue reading "More Things On a Stick Program To Launch in January" »

January 14, 2009

Resources for Libraries in Hard Economic Times

ALA released a resource for libraries in hard economic times.

The "Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit" is available at

Additional resources:
Media coverage of libraries' role during the current economic crisis.

A relevant past article by ALA:
ALA: Library Funding to Help Get America Back on Track

Minnesota media coverage of libraries' role in hard economic times can be found at:

WebJunction pathfinder: Focus on Libraries in Tough Economic Times

January 13, 2009

The Future of Reference

Periodically, the librarians of the U of M campus get together for an informal discussion session.  Yesterday they met to discuss an article by Stephen Abrams, and I was happy to be able to take part. The article is available here for now (Evolution to Revolution to Chaos? Reference in Transition) and is archived in full text in several ELM databases, including Academic Search Premier and InfoTrac Student Edition. In the article, Abrams offers fourteen potential scenarios for the future of library reference service. Abrams glosses over the “bricks” of library buildings (saying that these have been “renovated to within an inch of their lives into commons, research, community, teen, and scholarly spaces” where library services are successfully put into context) and breezes right past the “clicks” of online library service (touting the profession’s creation of “websites, elearning objects, and licensing for more content than individual libraries ever dreamed of having in the past!”). Instead, he focuses his fourteen scenarios on our “tricks” – those things we do so successfully to help people find information when they’re in our libraries. The biggest challenge to reference services in the coming era, Abrams says, is transferring this expertise – and marketing it as such – to the online environment.

I won’t go over each scenario here, but I would recommend giving the article a scan if you haven’t seen it already. The ideas are in turn logical and provocative, interesting and challenging. If you had to pick one of these scenarios as being the most likely, which would it be? Which one would you most like to be a part of professionally?

The discussion in the room was interesting; here are some random notes that may provide food for thought as you’re thinking about reference in the 21st Century:

Continue reading "The Future of Reference" »

December 29, 2008

Congratulations Lisbeth Boutang!

"Lisbeth Boutang, children's librarian at Cloquet Public library, has been named the Grand Prize Winner of the "What I Wish Everyone Knew About Librarians" essay contest. Librarians from all over the U.S. were invited to write essays to tell the world what they want others to know about librarians." Read the full article here.

December 19, 2008

Library Usage/Patronage soars - MPR Report

Another great article highlighting the importance and popularity of libraries during an economic downturn. Library usage increases with the recession, reported by MPR, talks with Pat Conaly, Washington County Library director, and Susan Nemitz, Ramsey County Library director. All aspects of library usage are up, "computers, access to the Internet, help with writing your resume, job search programs," said Conaly. It's not unusual to see 100 people show up for storytime as well.

Conaly and Nemitz along with the overall report did a great job highlighting many services and aspects of the library, more than just books, that so often can get overlooked in news coverage. It's great to see and hear all this exciting talk about libraries these days. It is great promotion from outside the library world and something we should definitely capitalize on in many ways. Voices can be powerful tools.

October 29, 2008

Minneapolis Public LIbrary is in the Top Ten

MSN City Guide has put together a list of America's 10 Coolest Public Libraries which includes Seattle Central Public Library, Seattle, Boston Copley Public Library, Boston, and our very own Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis. Among the notable touts include the 38.5 miles of shelving, the open space that puts "the entire library is on view from nearly every vantage point, and a combination of transparent and translucent glass with Minnesota imagery like water, snow, trees and prairie grass decorate the building."

October 19, 2008

Library patronage is up!

From Medill Reports, Chicago: Crumbling economy drives library traffic.

According to this report, Chicago area branch libraries are planning for bigger, better facilities even with a struggling economy: "Chicago libraries have seen a 28 percent boost in circulation this year as consumers look for ways to save a buck."

Read the full article HERE.

September 15, 2008

Doors Open at New St. Cloud Public Library

St. Cloud Public Library has a new location! St. Cloud Times talks about the new building here and here (with video tour of the new library). Congratulations St. Cloud!

July 7, 2008

OCLC WorldMap

From OCLC:

The OCLC WorldMap is a prototype system that provides an interactive visual tool for selecting and displaying international library holdings represented in WorldCat, and publishing, library, cultural heritage, and collection data.

The OCLC WorldMap allows users to select countries of interest, then to compare various library and cultural heritage data by country.

WorldMap will generate interactive graphs that compare several different kinds of data for up to four countries at a time. The data includes the number of:

* Holdings in WorldCat for titles published in each country,
* Languages represented in WorldCat for titles published in each country,
* Titles in WorldCat published in each country; or
* Libraries in each country (broken down by type of library),
* Library volumes in each country (broken down by type of library),
* Certified/degreed librarians in each country (broken down by type of library),
* Registered library users in each country (broken down by type of library),
* Library expenditures (in US $), for each country (broken down type of library),
* Cultural heritage institutions (museums and archives) in each country, and
* Publishers in each country.

Results are displayed on a new screen. In addition, the tabs for each country on the new screen allow viewing of the complete dataset for each country, and the sources for the data (N/A indicates no data are available). A key to the display (.pdf: 607K/6 pp.) is available.

The data for the map were generated from WorldCat and more than forty other sources. The non-WorldCat data in the prototype, however, may not be complete. OCLC is not responsible for incomplete or inaccurate data. If you know of other data sources that can be used to update our data, please let us know.

For more information on OCLC WorldMap

June 2, 2008

The Parallel Information Universe

In The Parallel Information Universe Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, asserts that the Web 2.0 buzz is just as much about a change in focus as it is the new technology. This "change in focus to participation, user control, sharing, openness, and networking" is the core of Eisenberg's point - that these new Web 2.0 technologies provide a "parallel information universe." And since the libraries' founding principles are based on meeting patrons' information needs, then libraries must take a lead in this "parallel information universe." The purpose of the article is to provide an environmental scan and a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis for a variety of new technologies.

Take a moment to check out this article in Library Journal - May 2008. A pdf full-text version is available through Academic Search Premier.

Eisenberg, Mike. "The Parallel Information Universe." Library Journal 133.8 (2008): 22-5.

Exclusive Twin Cities Appearance - David Hajdu

The Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries and the Children's Literature Research Collections proudly present the exclusive Twin Cities appearance by David Hajdu, author of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America.

Tuesday, July 8
7:30 p.m.
Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 21st Avenue South
University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus

Dessert reception follows with books available for sale courtesy of Red Balloon Bookshop. David Hajdu will be signing books during the reception.

Comic books, not rock-and-roll, created the generation gap. They also spawned juvenile delinquency, crime, sexual deviance, and things of unspeakable depravity. Long before Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan from the waist up, long before Jerry Lee Lewis married his cousin, long before James Dean yelled, "You're tearing me apart," teachers, politicians, priests, and parents were lining up across from comic book publishers, writers, artists, and children at bonfires and Senate hearings decrying the evil that was the ten-cent plague.

David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America comprises the last book in an informal trilogy about American popular culture at mid-century, and radically revises common notions of popular culture, the generation gap, and the divide between "high" and "low" art.

This special event with David Hajdu is part of an evening celebration honoring John Borger and his gift of almost 40,000 comic books to the Children's Literature Research Collections at the University Libraries.

For more information contact Lanaya Stangret at (612) 624-9339 or

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.

Continue reading "Practical Time Management" »

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 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.

Continue reading "Online Learning is Growing by the Gigabyte" »

April 18, 2008

Spring Conferences!

Planning for spring conferences is heating up! There are (or have been) a number of new and ongoing learning opportunities specifically for or including reference services staff this spring 2008:

• PLA, March 25 - 29, 2008
• MnPALS Reference User Group Workday, March 28, 2008
ARLD Day (Academic and Research Libraries Division, Minnesota Library Association), April 25, 2008
MINITEX ILL Conference, May 5, 2008
e-Learning Summit, May 21 - 22, 2008
Midwest Library Technology Conference, May 29-30, 2008

In light of these exciting and unique opportunities, the planning committee for the University of Minnesota/MINITEX Library Information Network Reference Symposium has decided to cancel our 6th Symposium, on May 12, 2008. Rather, we strongly encourage you to register for and participate in these unique opportunities. We'll see you there!

April 16, 2008

Libraries in the news

I thought I would highlight an article from about libraries: No Ones Reading and Our Libraries Are Closing and a string being discussed on Libraries in crisis?.

The article talks about how libraries are booming across the country but seem to be ailing in MN, specifically, Minneapolis libraries. It's true, Minneapolis Public Library system has been plagued with budget cuts and financial woes for a long time. I don't think anyone can deny that. Granted, this is a very thin and short commentary about MPL. I appreciate the author's highlight of the need/want for more library hours and bringing this to other's attention. The more noise there is about libraries, in general, the more (outspoken) support there will be for them. However, he fails to mention the merger of MPL with Hennepin County Library System, impact on both systems and what some outlooks are for the new merged system. It would have even been great if he attempted an interview with one or two staff from MPL or HCL.'s discussion string is very interesting. Certainly a lot of people are interested in keeping libraries strong and thriving (yay!) as you can see from the number of responses in this string. For those that are not familiar with, it is a community support (mainly) Twin Cities blog that brings to light various topics concerning Minnesota and allows anyone and everyone to comment about that topic. It's a ginormous virtual chat room. I pay close attention to the comments posted here about anything related to libraries because it's like being able to poll your entire community and hear straight from the what they think without any bias or leading.

Things I found interesting from some of the comments are:

- No one has any really good Flickr pictures of libraries, so I'm not sure if it's worth going.
- I like how I can use my library card to use various research databases for free through HC library. I was suffering from database withdrawl after graduation. Does anyone know if I can do this via Mpls libraries?
- Yes you can use MPL databases remotely with your library card.
- google books making libraries obsolete makes me laugh.
- I am all for phone free zones with in the library but I think in order for libraries to survive they must get on board with the open office lwork style embraced by todays knowledge worker.
- I also like going to the Central Library and getting a huge pile of books to page through while sitting on the north side in the comfy chairs and all the windows. Once I'm done, I get to leave them there and someone else reshelves them.
- I gotta say that filters suck. Librarians professional ethics tie their hands- they're in the information business not the censorship racket.

You can read the comments for yourself. does have a good library discussion going at least once a month. I must say, there are a lot of people out there that appreciate and support libraries. Maybe this is something we as librarians could tap into or at least watch closer to get a better sense of what our community is saying about libraries to others rather than to libraries directly.

March 6, 2008

Nancy Pearl Workshops in Minnesota!


Nancy Pearl - Improving Readers' Advisory Skills Workshop

Sunday, March 30, 2008
2-4 pm
St. Paul -- Jeanne d'Arc Auditorium, College of St. Catherine, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Note: The time is 2-4pm for this workshop only; all other workshops are 9-noon.
And, 2 hours of certification credit are available for the March 30 workshop. The other workshops last 3 hours and are eligible for 3 hours of certification credit.

Workshop Announcement Details - All Locations:

Doorways into Reading: Improving Readers' Advisory Skills (with Nancy Pearl)

Nancy Pearl will present this workshop at 8 Minnesota locations. The session will focus on defining, refining, and using the concept of doorways into reading; the role of mood and motivation in selecting a good book to read; as well as offering tips and tricks to use in readers' advisory work at the reference desk. The workshop covers the readers' advisory transaction and readers' advisory tools.

Presenter: Nancy Pearl. The New York Times calls her the talk of librarian circles. Readers cannot get enough of her recommendations while bookstores and libraries offer standing room only whenever she visits. Since the release of the best-selling Book Lust in 2003 and the Librarian Action Figure modeled in her likeness, Nancy Pearl has become a rock star among readers and the tastemaker people turn to when deciding what to read next.

Cost: No charge! See funding statement below.
Audience: Library staff from all types of libraries and anyone working on the Minnesota Certification Program. (You do not have to be a participant in Minnesota Certification Program to attend the workshop.)

Minnesota Certification Program Competencies Addressed:
Readers' Advisory: Public Services A8, A9, B2, B6, B9, B11
Registration: Register by sending an email with your name and affiliation to Rebecca Patton, Advance registration for the 3/30 workshop is requested, but not required.

Registration Deadline: For the March 30 workshop, there is no registration deadline.

Contact: Rebecca Patton,

Sponsored by: Minnesota Certification Program

Funding: The Institute of Museum and Library Services, a Federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning and State Library Services, the Minnesota State Library Agency, supports this workshop at the regional library systems with funding under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

March 3, 2008

Pew Report - Early Internet Adopters

From OCLC Abstracts
March 3, 2008, Vol. 11, No. 9

A portrait of early adopters: Why people went online--and why they stayed

The Pew Internet & American Life Project's recent survey of longtime Internet users shows that the things that first brought them online are still going strong on the Internet today.

• Then, it was bulletin boards; now, it's social networking sites.

• Then, it was the adventure of exploring the new cyberworld; now, it's upgrading to broadband and wireless connections to explore even more aggressively.

Yet there are changes in their activities and motives. In the early days, most Internet users consumed material from Web sites. These days they are just as likely to produce material. One common refrain is that they think more change lies ahead and they are eager to watch and participate.

Click here to read the report.

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!

February 22, 2008

Reaching Your Students Where They Are

Check out this great overview video of mobile library services for the academic library by Michelle Jacobs at UCLA, College Library!

Video: 9:31 min.

February 18, 2008

State of the State

If you read the Pioneer Press editorial on Governor Pawlenty's State of the State last week, you may remember this excerpt from the speech:

In regards to revolutionizing education through technology Governor Pawlenty said, "Let's get started by developing a world-class, digitally stored, always available, anywhere, anytime, jaw-dropping, eye-popping teaching toolbox accessible to all our teachers and students."

Well, MINITEX Reference would like to say that we already do have many tools of this very nature that are a part of that toolbox.

All Minnesota residents have free, 24/7 access to the Electronic Library for Minnesota comprised of 15 databases with full-text articles to subscription journals, magazines and newspapers, electronic books, images, videos, sound files, primary source documents, and more!

All Minnesota residents have free, 24/7 access to the MnLINK Gateway which includes access to online catalogs from over 20 Minnesota library systems

All Minnesota residents have free, 24/7 access to the Research Project Calculator which is a web-based research guide targeted to high school students that creates a timeline for completing an assignment or research project.

All Minnesota residents have free, 24/7 access to the Minnesota Digital Library which is creating a digital collection of the state's unique resources and special collections. The Minnesota Digital Library supports education, scholarship, and enrichment through Internet access to this collection.

Please take a moment to check out these resources!

Up to the challenge, maybe. February 14, 2008. p8B. Saint Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, MN).

February 11, 2008

University of Minnesota Art Exhibits

From -- Deborah Boudewyns

Paradise & Purgatory Exhibit Opens This Week with Reception on Thursday (February 14)

Two art exhibits -- one of works by University of Minnesota graduate students, and one of images from the University's Gorman Rare Art Book Collection -- explore themes of salvation and damnation in art. Work ranging from the 4th century to the present informs viewers of possible routes to spiritual redemption and the disasters that might befall moral transgressors.
The exhibit can be found throughout Wilson Library and the Music Library starting this Thursday, February 14.

For more exhibit details, go to the Libraries events blog:



Becoming Minnesota
Elmer L. Andersen Library Gallery
Now through March 12

Destination Shaanxi: Material Culture at the End of the Silk Road
Elmer L. Andersen Library, 2nd and 3rd floors
Through February 15

February 1, 2008

Pew Report- Internet Searches that Solve Problems

This report, funded with a grant from IMLS, came out of a partnership between the University of Illinois -Urbana-Champaign and the Pew Internet & American Life Project.  It highlights several major findings like: "For help with a variety of common problems, more people turn to the internet than consult experts or family members to provide information and resources", and, "members of Gen Y are the leading users of libraries for help solving problems and in more general patronage."  The results of this survey challenge the notion that libraries are losing their relevance but "libraries drew visits by more than half of Americans (53%) in the past year for all kinds of purposes, not just the problems mentioned in this survey. And it was the young adults in tech-loving Generation Y (age 18-30) who led the pack. Compared to their elders, Gen Y members were the most likely to use libraries for problem-solving information and in general patronage for any purpose."  Click here to link to the full report or here to link to a report summary.

January 31, 2008

Librarian Perceptions on Automation

An interesting new study from - Perceptions 2007: an International Survey of Library Automation talks about "major differences in satisfaction in the products and companies from which libraries acquire their automation systems". This should be of great interest to any librarin to works with or is part of the decision process for purchasing products and dealing with vendors. I have my own perceptions and in my own circles of librarian talk about using products, dealing with vendors, and the effects of these products. So many times the librarians I have talked to and I come to the conclusion we wished we could combine the best qualities of certain products/software to have the one perfect product/software instead of the give/take relationship we continually have to play. It's great to see reactions and perceptions from other librarians and what we could possibly use/take from the survey is also an interesting thing to think about.

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

January 7, 2008

Pew Report on Information Search Techniques

This is a little late but still worth mentioning. There is a new Pew Report out as of the first of the year on Information Searches That Solve Problems. From the skimming I gave it I thought it was a really good report that will definitely be in my tags waiting for a full review. I apologize for being so pathetically busy, but if you want a more thorough review of the report I would suggest checking out Meredith Farkas' blog.

23 Things On a Stick Program to Launch in January


23 Things On a Stick Program to Launch in January

St. Paul, Minnesota (January 7, 2008)--Minnesota's seven multicounty, multitype library systems (multitypes) will launch a twelve-week 23 Things on a Stick: A Library Learning 2.0 Program online on January 20, 2008. Staff in academic, school, public and special libraries, as well as members of library Governing and Advisory Boards are invited to participate in this fun, self-paced program that encourages participants to experiment with various Web 2.0 tools including photo editing, wikis, blogs, RSS, and more. Those who complete all 23 Things on a Stick within twelve weeks will win a completion prize.

This program will be the focus of breakout sessions on January 28th at the MEMO Midwinter Conference in Alexandria, MN. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the program and set up their blogs. It is not necessary to attend Midwinter to participate in 23 Things On a Stick. All details for participation and completion will be available online after January 20th at

Continue reading "23 Things On a Stick Program to Launch in January" »

December 27, 2007

Get Ready for 23 Things on a Stick!

Sponsored by the 7 multitype library organizations in Minnesota, "23 Things on a Stick: A Library Learning 2.0 Program" will be launched on January 20, 2008. Staff, trustees, and Friends in all types of libraries across the entire state of Minnesota are invited to participate. This is a 12 week self-paced, self-directed program designed to get staff involved in learning and using web 2.0 tools such as Flickr, blogs, RSS, wikis, and other useful, interesting, and intriquing tools. Anyone that registers for the program by Feb. 15 and completes all 23 Things by April 13 will receive a gift for completion and be eligible to win other cool prizes.

If you want to read more about this learning program check out the news post on SELCO/SELS website and look for a more indepth article in the January issue of MINITEX Reference Notes.

December 26, 2007

EPA Libraries to Reopen

From Library Journal: Thanks to $3 million from Congress, EPA will reopen closed libraries. Six libraries out of 24 libraries had closed due to funding cuts from the government will reopen over the next 18 months. In addition, they will continue with plans to consolidate nine laboratory libraries to save money and streamline services with the purpose to increase access to digitized materials.

December 14, 2007

A Nightmare or an Opportunity?

It is the second-most-visited education/reference site on the Internet, 400 million answers and searchable archives, natural language recognition - also dubbed "every middle school teacher's worst nightmare about the Web." What is it?!

Find out by reading our December issue of Reference Notes coming soon! Look for it here.

December 5, 2007

Your Life Work: The Librarian

Enjoy a ten minute break and a chuckle with this one! This short video is one installment in the "Your Life Work" series entitled, "The Librarian," from Vocational Guidance Films, Inc. produced in the 1940s.

December 3, 2007

Exhibits at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Libraries

Online Exhibit from Plant Path - "Botanical Art of a Different Kind"
Highlighting botanical art in phytopathology from the Plant Pathology Library collection.
To see it, go to the Plant Pathology Library website:
and click on Online Exhibit: "Botanical Art of a Different Kind"

The World in the Libraries: International Collections
Periodicals and Government Publications Library (GPL), Basement Wilson Library
Through December 20

Art in the Libraries Exhibition
Music Library (70 Ferguson Hall) and Wilson Library
Through December 20

The Map that Named America, 1507-2007
James Ford Bell Library, 4th Floor Wilson Library
The Bell Library staff will be happy to schedule group and class--and holiday guest--tours during regular hours as well as evenings and weekends. Call Maggie or Lynnette at 624-1528, or send an e-mail to
Through December 31

Worlds Within: An Exhibit of Works of Fantasy from the Children's Literature Research Collections
Elmer L. Andersen Library Exhibit Gallery
Through January 2, 2008

Destination Shaanxi: Material Culture at the End of the Silk Road
Elmer L. Andersen Library, 2nd and 3rd floors
Through February 15, 2008

November 14, 2007

Library Software Manifesto

Roy Tennant over at TechEssence.Info has published his Library Software Manifesto. He offers a good list of relationship expectations between library and vendor and library and patron. Something we all could brush up on now and then.

Meredith Farkas also points out that John Blyberg also published a great post on ILS Customer Bill of Rights that coincides with Tennants piece nicely.

November 1, 2007

Internet Librarian

If you were like me, you were too busy with MLA Annual Conference to pay attention to Internet Library Annual Conference that took place this past weeken in Monterey, CA. However, Jenny Levine over at The Shifted Librarian gives some good notes to share on some of the sessions that took place. Thanks Jenny for blogging your way through the conference! Much appreciated.

Of particular note is the session on Integrating Libraries & Online Communities Online by Glenn Peterson and Marilyn Turner of Hennepin County Libraries talking about

October 30, 2007

Librarian 2.0 Manifesto

This is a great video I found on YouTube. Enjoy!

October 1, 2007

MINITEX Website Survey

We have extended the duration of our Web site survey -- if you haven't already, please take a moment to let us know what you think of the MINITEX Web site's new layout and added features:

August 3, 2007

Minnesota Book Awards Author Event Program

From the
Minnesota Book Awards Coordinator
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is delighted to announce a new Minnesota Book Awards initiative made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education - Office of State Library Services. Effective immediately, Minnesota libraries and affiliated nonprofit library organizations are invited to apply for funding to host an author event or series featuring Minnesota Book Awards winners or finalists.

A total of $5,000 is available for author events occurring between September 1, 2007 and April 30, 2008. The maximum that may be requested for funding reimbursement by any one library or affiliated organization during this funding period is $500.

To apply, fill out the application form in pdf or word doc and return it by e-mail, fax, or mail. Applications are currently being accepted, and requests will be approved for organizations meeting all stated requirements on a first-come, first-serve basis. Review of applications will begin Friday, August 17, 2007. Interested organizations are encouraged to apply early!

To learn more about the Minnesota Book Awards Author Event Program click here. Organizations are encouraged to feature finalists or winners from the most recent Book Awards, although this isn't a requirement. A complete listing of winners and finalists from throughout the Book Awards' 19 year history is available on The Friends website.

July 24, 2007

First Publication of Journal of Web Librarianship

The first issue of Journal of Web Librarianship has been published by Haworth Press. Check out a FREE sample copy by selecting "Free Sample Print Copy" from the right-hand column via the link above. You can also get an RSS feed for the journal's TOC.

Also freely available are the journal's first two podcasts, interviews with Joe Janes and Jody Condit Fagan, hosted by Deanna Christina Sukkar, on the journal's homepage,

And, to stay up to date with latest news about JWL, visit the Editorial Blog, at

Check it out!

July 23, 2007

The Future of the California Statewide Cooperative Digital Reference Service

Librarian in Black blogger, Sarah Houghton-Jan, recently posted an article on the future for California libraries' statewide chat reference. She states that although the state is currently offering this service free to CA residents, it is completely dependent on state and grant funding outside of regular budget lines for it's survival. Each year funding for the service has been less and less. Last year and this coming year there has been enough funding to keep the service up and running but there has not been enough to maintain a coordinator to administer the service.

There has been A LOT of discussion about this on the DigRef listserv. Some of the points highly in the discussion string are how to libraries firm up funding for their newly added services/projects? How do you transition from a grant fund base to having your service incorporated in the permanent budget structure? Also, it's important to set (achievable) goals for your library so that you have something to fall back on when you have to defend your service and also something to tout when you want to promote your successful service. What and who will define these goals?

I think the most important thing when you are trying to transition a project or service from temporary funding to permanent funding is that you have successful measureable goals that prove your service or project have/can make an inpact in your community. Also, it is important that the ones that administer the service or project be actively involved in creating those goals because otherwise, those goals will be created by individuals that are not involved in the project or service and may not know or understand the mission of that service or project. They could create goals that are not in scope with the project/service or its intended outcomes.

It will be interesting to see how California structures their AskNow statewide digital reference service to receive enough funding to keep it going.

July 17, 2007

The Open Library

You may have heard of the Open Library Project. It's an ambitious project with the intent of digitizing every book in existence. Now, obviously, there are issues with books in copyright. As they state on their website:

"The Open Library strives to make materials as openly available as is legally allowed... (They) will rely on Creative Commons licenses to encourage the greatest possible degree of access to and reuse of the materials, consistent with respect for the rights of content owners and contributors."

Currently they are in the process of digitizing out-of-copyright items with the help of such partners as Internet Archive, Johns Hopkins University Libraries, MSN Search, National Archives (United Kingdom), Research Libraries Group (RLG), Smithsonian Institution Libraries, University of California, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Yahoo!.

They just unveiled the demo site that gives you a sneak peek at the creation and future of this hefty projection called The Open Library. You can even take a guide tour to get a better feel for this ambitious site.

July 12, 2007

Why We Need Librarians

I haven't seen this before and I don't think it's made the round of listservs (that I'm subscribed to). Plus it was posted during ALA conference so I'm just getting around to it now. So here is a post by David Weinberg in Everything is Miscellaneous about Why We Need Librarians. Very interesting post. He argues that we need both tagging and a systematic cataloging structure in our web 2.0 world. He is responding to a paper by Thomas Mann, Peloponnesian War and the Future of Reference, Cataloging,
and Scholarship in Research Libraries
. I just came across these and haven't delved into them yet but I thought I'd throw it out to you for your reading pleasure as well.
Let me know what you think.

MINITEX Reference Staff Participate as QuestionPoint Editors

MINITEX Reference Services staff, Beth Staats and Carla Steinberg Pfahl, have volunteered to be QuestionPoint editors of Global Knowledge Base records. There are a total of 25 editors nationwide working to edit an ongoing list of records of about 3000 question and answer pieces. These records need to be edited to delete out private information, extraneous information, and delete records that do not necessarily need to be in the Global Knowledge Base. Paula Rumbaugh from OCLC and Peter Armenti from Library of Congress were the only editors of the Global Knowledge Base but have realized that it has become a bit unwieldy and sent a message out for participation. The Global Knowledge Base is viewable by anyone and can be accessed via a library offering QuestionPoint Email and/or Chat reference. The Knowledge Base is also available to the public directly via OCLC from:

June 24, 2007

ALA President's Presentation: Robert F Kennedy Jr

ALA President, Leslie Berger:
-discussion on environmental policies
-tranform libraries/comunities - create advocates
-emerging leaders group - identified 120 issues to work with
-looking for new emerging leaders, find info on pres' website
ALA's 1st agenda for 21st century libraries:
-fully articulated national library agenda as we receive more feedback, give yours
-visit her site for more info about Library Transformers program

Dana Gioia, president of NEA - talking about The Big Read program
-partnering with libraries to get public to read books, more about that at website
-need libraries to sign up

Robert F Kennedy Jr named Time Mag's heros for the planets in the success of helping Hudson River project - The River Keeper's
-we're not protecting the environment for the sake of the fish and the bird's we're protecting it because we recognize it as the foundation of our planet
-the worst thing that can happen to the envir. is that it becomes the province of one party
-you can't talk honestly @ the environ. w/o speaking critically @ the current administration
-concerted effort to eviscerate the last 30 yrs. of environment work is happening at the white house
-white house appointees in environmental areas are full of anti-environmental/pro-corporate Bush friends
-top 100 environ. officials in this govt are the worst actors w/in each of those industries
-their jobs are not to support the public interest but enrich the pres' policies and agenda
-"liberal media" - there's no such thing, a few things but there is a "right wing media" - talk radio is 90% controlled by the right
-decline begann in 1988 abolish the fairness doctrine by reagan -fairness doctrine included:
1. had to air news of public interest - doesn't include paris hilton - means news critical ofr us making rational choices
2. giving an opinion you had to give both sides
3. you had to avoid consolidation - keep diversity of control (localized)
-reagan abolished it as a favor to christian right and big studio heads
-results: consolidated to 5 guys deciding the news we get
-news dept. have become corp. profit centers
-got rid of foreign news bureaus - none anymore, we rely on bbc

we're the leaders of the free world but we don't know what's going on in the world

-we don't hear about the critical issues that pertains to groups instead the entertain us w celebs

we know more about tom cruise and katy than we do about global warming

you cannot have a democracy for very long w/o an informed public

-he gets the same replies from republicans that he does from liberals

republicans are just democrats who don't know what's going on

-10 lowest diverce rate states were all blue states - 10 highest were red states
-10 lowest teen preg. rates were all blue states - 10 highest were red states
-the real difference was information deficit
-this is an informational issue
-huge information deficit among people who voted for bush - believed sadam hussein bombed the world trade center - bush strongly supported the kioto pact
-getting their info. from fox news and talk radio
-posed to them said what if sadam hussein didn't bomb the world trade center - they said we should not go in to iraq
-the value of the info is the key

-T. jefferson - not to deprvie the public their rights but to forcibly apply them - you are a danger to all if you don't have/know you're rights
-i'm highly paraphrasing hear - he's talking real fast

on his air america radio show he talks about coal burning plants
-he has asthma, 1 out of 3 black children have it
-400 coal burning plants burning illeagally
-clinton admin was processing the worst 52 of them
-bush was being given $$ from this group - he came in and ordered the cases dropped
-bush dropped the clean air act so now those plants don't have to meet any level requirements
-bush's decision to drop this kills 18000 americans every year 6x's the # from 9/11
-epa announced 19 states fish unsafe because of mercury
-all states but wyoming some or all fish unsafe to eat - wyoming not tested don't know figures - cheney's state
-every woman of child bearing years should get mercury levels tested. you can getting them tested thru his website

-accd. to cdc there are thousands of children born in this country every year exposed to dangerous levels of mercury
-this industry donated $100 million to bush campaign - bush admin is scrapping clinton program

-adironacks - protected area - today 1/5th of lakes there are steril and bush has rolled back the provisions protecting the area

-story of suing west virginia coal mining industries over filling river beds with coal waste and how the judges decision was overturned by change in definition of the term "fill" in the clean air act making it legal - read his book!!!

goodd environ. policy is identical to good economic policy

enivon. injury is deficit spending - quick cash for years of disaster we/our kids may not recover from

free market is the most efficient and democratic way to distrib. the goods of the land
-poluters make themselves rich by lowering the quality for everyone else - somebody cheating the free market and getting a free ride, a subsidy

-he's losing his voice

river keepers - catch the cheaters - internalize your costs the same way you internalize your profits

-no such thing as the common good, community-owned resources

-we should not let corps. run our govt - they don't want free market - they want profits
t. roosevelt - said that ameica would never be destroyed by a foreign enemy
f. roosevelt said during wwii that the donination of the govt by corp power is the essence of facism

-we need and informed public that can recognize all the milestones of tyranny and we need an independent and aggressive press that wis willing to stand up to the power
we no longer have that in the u.s.

nature enriches us - economically , yes - also esthically, culturally, spiritually
-we destroy nature we diminish ourselves
-we fight for environ. because we believe the trees will have more value in the ground than torn out

- i don't want my kids to grow up in a world with no commercial fisherman on the shores or family farms

-we know ourselves best by immersing ourselves in creation - great piece on god speaking to us through nature and art... we can not cut ourselves off from that

jesus was challenging those of his day which were religious fundementalists
-religion at it's best is a search for the truth - fundamentaalism is an end to that - there is all there is we need to know

-we are rooted in nature in this country, that's (one of the places) our values come from - an american democracy came out of the forest

-nature is the critically defining theme

this admis: ruthless capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich - they have violate every part that mandates the christian faith

230 yrs of discipline vision of democracy of both dems. and repubs. has been washed away in the last 6 years from this admin.

-this admin are war hogs, like war but want others to fight it for them, they don't understand the idea of america - the idea that america was born on.
-these people don't understand what makes america worth fighting for - they are ok with taking away rights, habius corpus... because we're in danger
-but we're not we were when we had 25,000 nuclear warheads pointin at us but we didn't wiretap or torchure....

got get his book, i didn't do his speach justice

June 22, 2007

Reinventing Refernece | ALA Conference | David Free & David King

Tag-team presentation with David Free and David King talking about podcasting and vlogging (video blogging) for libraries and reference services.

Free's talk: Wide World of Podcasting: Implications for Libraries (presentation available on his site - he's also blogging about the conference and this workshop as we speak!)
what are libraries doing? Lots! check out:
-ask a ninja: what is podcasting - ok not a library but funny
-student moniter marketing survey - what's in? beer 59%, ipod 79%
-ohio u. alden library audio tour - staff or student led tours by floor or download entire tour
-pierce county (wa) library system - book reviews
-orange county (fl) library system - podcasts of storytime for kids
-fairfield university library - 1-2 minute pods - perfect length
-cal state university - fulton - library guide for nursing - rich learning environment of the library

Instructional podcasting mashup:
1.) brief assignment overview podcast
2.) audio/video tours of specific library areas
3.) online tutorials/podcasts for assignment specific resources & services
4.) subject guides/cheat sheets

Have a plan: see also
Why? is this something we can use in our library & help our users - enhance our services - help fulfill mission of library
-why/how is the tech you use in the library going to help you reach your users/help your users

Podcasting Tips:
-create good content
-consider your voice
-be passionate & entertaining
-online/script, but don't read!
-find a quiet place
-remember your listeners
-multiple voices rock!

-creative commons podcasting legal guide/see also

How often?
-have content on a regular basis - people will expect to have content from you.

-try to get as many people involved about your podcasts as possible - take advantage of resources you already have available

7 steps to podcast heaven:

ok, battery dying, i'll have to post the rest tonight...

Reinventing Refernece | ALA Conference | Michael Stephens

Michael Stephens gave the first presentation of the Reinvented Reference Preconference all-day workshop. He just finished and we're in a break before David Ward from UIUC will be next talking about IM Reference Services.

Stephens' talk was on the future of user services and web 2.0. He was a great speaker and I find it hard to see how the other speakers will compare to this first one. He was so energetic that I couldn't get a good photo of him, he kept moving around too much. He had a lot of interesting things to say and a lot of which I have covered in this blog over the past year. So you can see, I liked his talk and agreed with a lot of what he had to say.

Libraries need to let go of control
-in regards to Do's & Don'ts signs in the library - don't ban technology because it's technology - let users keep their cell phones on, let users game and access email, give them space to explore
Go where the users are
-must read - Cluetrain manifesto (haven't read it yet but will put it on my booklist)
-the Hyperlinked Organization/Hyperlinked Library - have conversations, be open and honest, be transparent, PEOPLE WANT TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS (believe it or not)
-Involve and engage your users - user centered planning, involve frontline staff in planning because they hear what the users are saying
-content - offer the mechanism (for the user) to create content - on library website and other places, be the engager, teacher, learner
-be involved with training web 2.0 - talked about Learning 2.0 (I've blogged about this before)
-why do this? reach a segment of your users that might not encounter the library any other way
Emerging Tech Group
-start a group to focus on emerging technology - meet once a month/6 x's a yr, blog about your meetings/findings/discoveries
-be a trendspotter of tech and web
-apply blogging to internal communications
Adopt a 2.0 philosophy
-in your mindset of how you approach your library board and the higher up's.
-learn from gamers
-discover, play & experience new tools
5 Things You Can Do Now:
1.) Be a trendspotter
2.) Form an emerging tech committee
3.) Try a Learning 2.0 program
4.) Create a "What's New" blog (ah-hem! like this one??)
5.) Explore the idea of presence

-don't do everything, pick and choose the things that work the best for you.

whew! ok David Ward is up, I'll blog about that next...

June 19, 2007

UIC and the Future of Virtual Reality

I forgot to post this earlier but there is a great article in the Chicago Tribune: UIC working on making virtual chats a reality (FYI: this is a ProQuest link). Snipit:

"Graphics technology is already good enough to create realistic-looking human avatars in 3-D, said Jason Leigh, director of UIC's Electronic Visualization Laboratory. Speech recognition is better than 90 percent accurate, and imaging-processing speeds by computers are close to real time.

UIC also has developed technology that provides viewers with 3-D images that do not require wearing special glasses.

One important factor in the project is to impart appropriate body language to the avatar as it responds to comments and questions, said Steve Jones, a UIC professor of communication.

"In real life, it's just assumed that you can read a person's responses without saying anything," said Jones. A subtle hesitation before speaking can have meaning, but such nuances have been mostly lacking in software programs created so far."

This isn't specific to digital reference but it's not far to see the connection and usage in that arena.

Research Libraries in the Age of Google

On Friday, June 15th, Anne Kenney, Interim University Librarian at Cornell University gave a one-hour talk on how academic libraries need to move forward in order to remain relevant in the years ahead.  Kenney began by discussing what the libraries are not.  Libraries are not, “the center of the information solar system,”librarians and users alike use free resources available outside the brick and motor building.  Libraries are not” the starting point for information inquiry.”  Google and other search engines have “transformed how we look at discovery.”  Libraries are also not the only “trusted kid on the block.”  Kenney directed the audience towards the 2005 OCLC report showed quantity and quality are what is valued when searching for information; “search engines ranked higher than librarians in this area” (  She also pointed out that today’s world is all about self-service and libraries are not easy to use.  She referred to the YouTube video by Penn State Libraries, which illustrates the hoops libraries make patrons jump through to find periodicals (  



Continue reading "Research Libraries in the Age of Google" »

June 13, 2007

Hill Reference Library Closes Railroad Magnate's Archive

This from American Libraries Direct:

"After more than 30 years of owning the personal papers of railroad magnate James J. Hill (1838-1916), the James J. Hill Reference Library is looking for a new home for them. The private business reference library in Saint Paul, Minnesota, closed the archive June 1 after announcing that it no longer matched the library's mission of providing practical information to the global business community...."

Read more....

June 6, 2007

U of M Libraries Join Google Digitization Project

The University of Minnestoa Libraries along with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which includes the "Big 10" institutions plus the University of Chicago, have mad an agreement with Google to digitize up to 10 million volumes from the CIC collections, with particular focus on "collections of distinction." Continuously updated information will be available through CIC's website.

University Libraries will be joining other universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Michigan, California, and Texas. Similar to those agreements, the CIC plan will address volumes in the general collections, but the "collections of distinction" is a new twist. These are focused areas of historic strength in each CIC library which will be digitized in their entirety. Further, the CIC agreement represents significant collective action in coordinating large-scale digitization. University Libraries hope to include up to one million volumes from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities holdings (archives and special collections are not included).

The project has the enthusiastic support of the provost and president. They recognize the incredible opportunity this presents and the public benefit that will come from access to the collections CIC has developed over many institutional lifetimes.

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."

April 18, 2007

Are Reference Desks Dying Out?

There's an interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed discussing the need for the reference desk and the value of face-to-face interaction. The article is very interesting in that it brings up many different points of views and stronly advocating outreach to the patron, be it online, via text message on the phone, or in the coffee shop (still, face to face).

This has generated a lot of discussion on the DigRef listserv with varying degress of responses. Most librarians agree that we need to be there for patrons/students and all points of need, not just online (the most convenient). But face to face should not be necessarily be thought of as the reference desk. There are many other types of face to face reference transactions that take place. It's interesting to here about some of the libraries that have already done away with the reference desk but I would interested to find out if any of them have kept or transitioned to an information desk and have monitored, at all, for the need of face to face or reference desk at-the point/time-of need-service.

What are your thoughts about this?

April 11, 2007

MELSA video

Take a look at the newest MELSA promotion... 19 minute production for public television. First aired this past Saturday night.

From the following site, look under the "Backstage" category and choose... "Beyond Books."

April 9, 2007

Impact of Technology on Teaching and Learning

Here is an interesting article about how online tools such as blogs and wikis are aiding the teaching environment, reaching more students, and creating a new forum for peer-review/editing of work, developmental writing, and critical thinking.

:"The emergence of blogs and wikis within higher education is causing the academy to reexamine traditionally held pedagogical beliefs".

"While the pervasiveness of the technologies is growing outside of the academy, many are wondering how they can be included within the academy".

This is a very interesting read and does a good job of showing how valuable blogs and wikis, and web 2.0 tools in general, can aid in instruction, collaboration, and learning.

April 3, 2007


BALTIMORE - The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) unveiled its Top Ten Assumptions for the future of academic and research libraries today during the ACRL's 13th National Conference held March 29 to April 1 in Baltimore.

The ACRL Research Committee developed the top ten assumptions after surveying member leaders and conducting a literature review. A panel representing community and liberal arts colleges, research university libraries, as well as an observer of the higher education environment reacted and commented upon the assumptions at the ACRL National Conference.

A podcast featuring Snelson and Mullins discussing the top ten assumptions is available at Read more by Mullins and committee members in the April issue of College & Research Libraries News at


March 29, 2007

An Upbeat Article on Libraries

Here is a new article by the President of ACRL in Inside Higher Ed: Libraries at the Cutting Edge. Despite Google and access to more and more resources libraries still have a place and they are reinventing themselves to stay recognizable and interesting places.

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

Spring forward with RUSA online courses

From RUSA:

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) offers participants the opportunity to focus on their professional growth this spring by registering for one of the following Internet-based continuing education courses:

Business Reference 101
February 12 - March 9, 2007 and April 30 - May 25, 2007

A business reference course for library staff and researchers that teaches the process of business research and about both free and fee-based resources.

Marketing Basics for Library

April 3 - May 4, 2007

A new RUSA online course designed as an introduction to marketing, which focuses on the uses of marketing and explains basic marketing tenets using the framework of libraries. A course project will involve students creating a marketing plan for a library.

Reference Interview
March 12 - April 6, 2007

This course focuses on the methods of evaluating reference service, behavioral aspects of reference service, and the different types of questions that can be used to help patrons identify what they need. The courses provide social interaction during scheduled chat sessions with the instructor and other students, which allows students in the United States and overseas to share information and ideas on practices used in their organization, state or country.

**The registration prices for a course is $130 for RUSA members, $160 for ALA members, $190 for non-ALA members and $100 for students and retirees. For more information or to register, visit:

RUSA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a leading association for reference and user services professionals. To learn more about RUSA, visit

February 13, 2007


WebJunction Minnesota has a brand new look!

Check it out at:

October 2, 2006

Name change

FYI- Kristen Meyer has changed her name to Kristen Mastel. Her e-mail and phone number will remain the same.

August 25, 2006

What, When Why, How of Reference Referral

MINITEX offers extensive reference and referral services to help you find answers to your questions on any topic, and when we say any topic, we mean it!

Continue reading "What, When Why, How of Reference Referral" »

June 22, 2006

Welcome new staff

Welcome the three newbies! (left to right) Carla Pfahl (returnie), Kristen Mastel and Jennifer Hootman!