Buy Yourself Something Nice

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Want to treat yourself?  Need a gift for a fellow book lover?  Out of Print is an online shop that sells literary-inspired shirts, jewelry, bags, notebooks, phone cases, and more! Redbubble is another great shop for book-themed gifts – and they even have some home decor too!

Need a onsie featuring ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’? (Out of Print)

R's Christmas Sweater by rydiachacha

How about Ron’s Christmas present (‘Harry Potter’)? (Redbubble)

Or an ‘Animal Farm’ tote? (Out of Print)

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe by Ebonrook

Or maybe you just need a new Edgar Allan Poe case for your phone (‘The Telltale Heart’).  (Redbubble)

Out of Print’s merchandise is all book-related, while Redbubble has non-literary products as well.  You can search both sites by book title, author, or character (i.e. “Hermione throw pillow”) to find some pretty amazing things!

Recommended App: instaGrok

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instaGrokRecently, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) came out with their 25 Best Apps for Teaching & Learning for 2014.  The apps were chosen because they foster innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration.

InstaGrok is one such app.  The search tool displays search results “on an interactive content map which includes images, videos, and text resources” (AASL).  Students also have a journal that they can use to take notes and pin resources to their individual Grok.

InstaGrok is available for free on iOS and Android, and is recommended for all grades K-12.  Check our this video that highlights all the great things you can do in InstaGrok:

For more apps, check out our 2014-2015 Recommended App archive!


MN Legislative Update

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Capital SunsetThe following legislative update was written by Elaine Keefe, library lobbyist for the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and Information Technology Educators of MN (ITEM).

Recieved Tuesday, January 27, 2015 7:09 PM


Governor’s Budget:  Today Governor Dayton released his proposed budget for the FY 16-17 biennium.  There are no changes in funding for any library programs.  All remain at current funding levels.  The Governor is proposing to increase the general education formula by 1% in each year of the biennium, for a total cost of $174.4 million.  The general education formula is the primary source of funding for school library media programs.  The Governor’s budget also  includes $30 million for grants to expand broadband access.

Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA) and Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA):  Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL-N. St. Paul), chair of the Senate E-12 Budget Division, introduced SF 78, a bill increasing funding for TEA to $9.75 million per year.  This is the amount requested on the MLA/ITEM platform.  I asked Senator Wiger to amend the bill to include the increase for RLTA to $3.3 million per year as requested on our platform, and he has agreed to do so.  The bill was scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, January 20.  Mary Mehsikomer and I were slated to testify, but the committee ran out of time.  The bill will be brought back at a future hearing.   In the House, Rep. Ron Kresha (R – Little Falls), vice-chair of the House Education Finance Committee, has agreed to introduce a bill to increase funding for both TEA and RLTA.

Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) and Multi-type Funding:  Senator Tom Saxhaug (DFL – Grand Rapids) has agreed to introduce a bill to increase RLBSS to $18.57 million per year and Multi-type funding to $2.6 million per year.  These are the amounts requested on the MLA/ITEM platform.  I hope to have chief author in the House lined up this week.

House Legacy Hearing:  On Monday the House Legacy Committee held its first hearing of the session.  Rep. Dean Urdahl (R- Grove City), chair of the committee, announced that they would follow the same process as in the past, meaning that it is not necessary to have a bill introduced to request Legacy funds.  The Minnesota Historical Society presented its request at this hearing, and Valerie Horton gave excellent testimony about the Minnesota Digital Library, which is funded through the Historical Society’s Legacy appropriation.

Elaine Keefe
Capitol Hill Associates
525 Park Street, Suite 310
St. Paul, MN 55103
(cell) 612-590-1244

Image credit:, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Notable Dates for your Noggin: February 2015

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Calendar Banner

Introducing our new monthly update – Notable Dates for your Noggin!  Each month we’ll bring you a compiled list of fun national holidays, birthdays of authors, and publication dates of favorite books.  You can use these for your own personal use or for some library inspiration!

Did we miss anything?  Let us know if we did!

For our calendar of library events, including conferences and library days, check out our Events/Initiatives page.

And for more Notable Dates for Your Noggin, check out our Notable Dates page.

Get ready for the St. Cloud Public Library History Day Hullabaloo!

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February is upon us and the History Day Hullabaloo at the St. Cloud Public Library is happening Saturday February 14 from 11am – 3pm.

Great River Regional is here to help with research librarians available to visit any branch library or school – to assist with any and all research needs. They even have a cool poster you can use to publicize the event!

Need even more? Look no further than the History Day resources at ELM:
ELM databases for History Day
History Day Research in Minnesota tutorial
ELM Learning Center Course: ELM for History Day

The data behind trends in information literacy

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google_studentsInformation literacy is extremely important to students of all levels. Recently Easybib collected data from more than 1,200 librarians and over 10,000 students regarding information literacy. In their succinct infographic, they compare 2012 responses to 2014. There are some surprises but also some glimmers of hope that changes are happening.

Take a look at the whole PDF and see what’s happening with information literacy.

Updates from State Library Services

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state_mnTO: Minnesota Libraries
FROM: State Library Services
DATE: January 27, 2015
SUBJECT: Summer and At-Risk Food Programs, Meetup, 90-Second Newbery, and more

Updates from State Library Services

Summer and At-Risk Food Programs for Kids – Webinar Reminder
Public libraries can help make sure kids have access to nutritious food when school is not in session by participating in summer and/or afterschool food programs. Begin planning your library’s summer 2015 participation by attending an informational webinar on February 4, 2015 at 11 a.m. Jenny Butcher, USDA Summer Food Service Program Coordinator at MDE, will share how you can get involved. Register here today. Please contact Jennifer Verbrugge at with questions or to request a reasonable accommodation to participate in this event. Note: MDE requires a two-week advance notice in order to provide the requested accommodation and requires a 48-hour notice in order to cancel a requested accommodation.

Libraries Serving Youth Meetup
Registration opens on February 14, 2015 for State Library Services’ first-ever Libraries Serving Youth Meetup. Here’s a chance for school librarians and public librarians to meet, network and share ideas. Learn about successful public library and school collaborations, get creative ideas and enjoy a free lunch. Presenters include Erin Smith, Mike Evavold, Nina Shimmin, Donna Ohlgren, Chad Lubbers, Ellen Morehouse and Brianna Belanger. The Meetup is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stay tuned to the State Library Services website and listserv for more information. For more details, please contact Jennifer Verbrugge at or 651-582-8356 with questions.

90-Second Newbery Film Festival News
We’re excited that Minnesota kid movie-makers submitted 35 entries to this year’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. Festival host James Kennedy is now selecting the Minnesota videos that will be shown at the first-ever Minnesota screening on February 28, 2015, from 3-4:30 p.m. at Hennepin County – Minneapolis Central. Although pre-registration isn’t required, we’d love to know you’re coming. RSVP to attend the event, which will be co-hosted by madcap authors James Kennedy (The Order of Odd-Fish) and Kelly Barnhill (The Witch’s Boy). For more details, please contact Jennifer Verbrugge at or 651-582-8356.

Help People in Your Community Reach Their College Goals
Minnesota College Goal, a statewide volunteer program that provides free information and assistance to students and families completing the FAFSA, is looking for sites to host financial aid events and would like to partner with libraries. Hosting a Minnesota College Goal event in your area provides students the opportunity to complete their FAFSA with the support of trained professionals. To learn more or to register as a host site, visit the Minnesota College Goal website. Contact Emily Kissane at or 651-582-8508 with any questions.

Ignite Afterschool
Ignite Afterschool is a statewide network of organizations dedicated to engaging young people in quality afterschool activities. Proposals are now being accepted and registration is open for “Powering Learning. Expanding Possibilities,” a statewide out-of-school time learning and STEM conference co-hosted by Ignite and the Minnesota STEM Network that will be held at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center on April 14-15, 2015. For more information, please contact Jennifer Nelson at or 651-582-8791.