Hey Central MN: You’re Invited to an Edible Book Festival!

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ediblebooks_button (1)Save the Date for Some Serious Book Fun in April!

CMLE is pleased to co-sponsor this upcoming SCSU Library event and invites all library/school media staff in Central MN to join in the fun!

WHAT? Create and bring a piece of edible art related to books: it can be a pun on a title, refer to a scene or character, look like a book or somehow be inspired by a book. All materials must be edible – but may or may not taste good together; tastiness receives no points! No time to create? Come as a spectator, vote for your favorites, and take in additional entertainment, treats, and fun. (No registration required for spectators)

WHO? Whether you’re library staff, a voracious reader, professional chef, starving artist, and/or someone who just likes to play with their food, you’re eligible to join in the fun! Group entries are welcome too, so consider creating your entry with colleagues!

Get all of the details here!

Public Library Day 2015 is coming!

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Arboretum ParkThe Minnesota Public Library Day is approaching!  This year’s event will be at the Grands at Mulligan in Sartell, MN on Tuesday, April 28th, 2015.  Registration opens on March 13th.

This is a great opportunity to network and connect with colleagues. This event is offered by the Public Libraries Division (PLD) of MLA. Topics of the day will include:

  • Makerspaces
  • Teen tech squads
  • Diffusing security issues when you’re by yourself

For more information, click here.

Concerned about costs?  Apply for a CMLE scholarship of up to $200 – the money is yours to use for registration, hotel, mileage, meals, or to subsidize the cost of your employer hiring a substitute worker while you are away.  The application process is easy, and approaching your boss to say you have found a way to contribute $200, they will see that you have taken initiative!

For more events like Public Library Day, check our our Events/Initiatives page.

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/nlzryfd, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Road Trip? See the MN Book Awards Finalists!

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MN BACan’t get enough of the Minnesota Book Awards?  For the next month, public libraries in the metro region will be hosting Minnesota Book Awards finalists – each library hosts a different category, and the finalists from each category will be present to read from their nominated works.  Some events include appearances by previous winners, too!
While we realize that these events are all in the Twin Cities, you can save on the cost of attending the Gala and still get to know these great Minnesota authors!  Some are during the week, and others are on the weekend – opening up the possibility for a much-needed night on the town or weekend getaway!  You can get the details on these eight events here.  Once you’re on the page, scroll down to “Public Libraries Celebrate the Minnesota Book Awards.”

Students go beyond just tech support

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640px-Clock_CogsMany schools are thinking about or already have a “Geek Squad” type program in their schools. Students providing tech support for students in a 1:1 or BYOD environment. Andrew P. Marcinek from Burlington Public Schools (MA) decided to add even more to the idea. He developed a graded, half-year elective class where students would take part in:

  • hands-on study of technology integration
  • assess problem sets throughout the day
  • solving problems for students and teachers
  • developing resources for staff
  • complete and maintain several running projects that address technology integration

Rather than students being on the outside of the process, they can help influence and shape it. “One of the biggest mistakes a school leader or district technology director can make is to think that they can honestly control every aspect of a students’ digital life” says Marcinek. “It’s an impossible task. Instead of working within a culture of restrictions and redactions, school leaders should develop and design paradigms that empower students to use technology.”

Check out the course outline or read the whole story here.

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/mp8ymx8, licensed under CC BY 3.0

Need help with a personal book purge?

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lilacs at windowThis is the time of year when we all start thinking about spring cleaning – whether we do it or not is another matter entirely.  Jeanette Solomon of Book Riot found herself in a situation some of us may find ourselves in from time to time: her colossal book collection was causing her a generous amount of stress.  Tired of owning plenty of unread books, she began to weed out her collection.  “There were so many books I’d accumulated for so many reasons that simply no longer mattered to me,” Solomon writes.  While she loves looking at other people’s bookshelves, Solomon loves seeing her own “pared down shelves and only having positive feelings about the books that live there.”

See the full article for more on how Solomon’s book purge changed her mood for the better – and how she understands that book purging isn’t for everyone.

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/ms34bvj, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Engage college alumni with MOOCs?

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The Chronicle for Higher Education recently had an article about Colgate University using MOOCs to engage with their alumni and community members.

Basically, Colgate offered them as “fusion” courses: in-person courses for Colgate students with an additional online component that brought in alumni. The fusion courses were free for alumni, but “that doesn’t mean the university wouldn’t take donations,” said Kevin Lynch, the university’s chief information officer, “and those types of courses could serve as an indirect approach to fund raising in the future.”

Early results seem promising. “Colgate officials consider the program a success because it exposed students to new perspectives and encouraged faculty members to try new things and re-evaluate their teaching methods.”

With colleges continually trying to reach and engage their alumni, besides sporting events, online MOOCs might just be another way.

Read the entire piece here at The Chronicle.

Image credit: http://fancycrave.com, licensed under CC0 1.0

Makerspace Mania: What is a makerspace?

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15854128181_5c4ec55106_kMarch is makerspace month here at CMLE! This month we’ll have a series of  blog posts with the makerspace theme. This week we try to figure out what makes a makerspace?


Can you define something that can really be anything? That seems to be the quandary with makerspaces. Is a table full of LEGOs a makerspace? How about a place where you can take apart air conditioners? Makerspaces seem to be things that are only limited by the creator’s imagination. One definition:

Makerspaces are spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn.

But we can go deeper than that! Recently in Information Technology and Libraries, the editorial board wrote about makerspaces. “After all, in a very real sense that is what libraries do—and have done, for thousands of years: buy sometimes expensive technology tailored to the needs and interest of the local community and make it available on a shared basis.”

Makerspaces are spaces where people are creating, inventing, and learning, but they also provide a space where everyone has equal access.

The O’Reilly/DARPA Makerspace Playbook can also help us describe the goals of a makerspace: “By helping schools and communities everywhere establish Makerspaces, we expect to build your Makerspace users’ literacy in design, science, technology, engineering, art, and math. . . . We see making as a gateway to deeper engagement in science and engineering but also art and design. Makerspaces share some aspects of the shop class, home economics class, the art studio and science lab. In effect, a Makerspace is a physical mashup of these different places that allows projects to integrate these different kinds of skills.”

Makerspaces are skill-based learning spaces that are open to all, where people are creating and inventing.

Finally, we include a video from Mita Williams, user experience librarian at the University of Windsor, where she talks about makerspaces.

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/l92kuy3, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0