Let’s Vote! CMLE is getting a new name!

Vote with check for v

We are working on some identity changes! CMLE has been growing and changing over the last few years, and we are ready for a new name.

Thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions and votes in our poll to ponder words and concepts that are important to us all in a multitype library system! We have taken some of those top-rated ideas and grouped them into names, and we have added in a few other potentially good words and ideas.

Now we ask you to browse through these ideas for names, and vote for the one(s) you like! Multiple votes are okay.

We don’t promise to use one of these, if other great ideas come up. So if you have suggestions that add to the joy of being in a multitype system, go ahead and share them!!

Training Tips: Websites That Smell?! The FART Test!

We have an older article on this topic, and it gets a lot of attention! So we wanted to update it, to be sure everyone who wanted this info had a chance to see it. Website design is crucial for all organizations, including libraries!

Check out this article from Minitex, by Jennifer Hootman:

“You’ve likely heard of various mnemonic acronyms designed to help students remember the checklist for evaluating information and websites. The CRAAP or RADCAB tests may ring a bell or perhaps these are the very ones you use.  Many school and academic staff have been using these “tests” or similar checklists for many years.  Now enter the scene, FART test!  Yep, that’s right, FART test.

Amy Gillespie shares this teaching strategy in her recent Knowledge Quest blog post, “Web Evaluation: Does This Website Smell Funny to You?”  She has relied on the CRAAP test to teach information evaluation skills to her middle and high school students but was in need of something more age-appropriate for elementary students.  Gillespie admits that using the FART test does result in a loss of about 5 minutes of class time to giggles and a variety of fart-like noises.  But she assures us that it’s well worth it.

Here are the actual FART test questions according to Gillespie:

F: Is the site Friendly to the eyes? Is it easy to read? Did the creator take time to make a well designed website? Is the site free of lots of flashy things that distract you from the text? If someone doesn’t bother to present the information in a neat fashion, the information may not be worth using.

A: Does the Author have Authority? Is he an expert on the issue? Does the author identify herself and give you a way to contact her and ask a question? If someone doesn’t bother to take credit for his work, that may be a sign that he doesn’t want to be connected to it.

R: Is the information Repeated elsewhere? Does the author cite her sources so you can verify her information? If you find the most fascinating tidbit of information, but only one person claims to know it, and can’t tell you where she learned that, and no other source confirms it, it’s probably not a piece of information you want to use.

T: Is the information Timely? When was the information published? Is your topic time sensitive? Has the website been updated recently? Old information doesn’t help with current issue research and websites that have been abandoned may not be the best sources.

Finally, you have to ask yourself, does something smell bad gnabout this site?

A Gillespie. (2016, Feb. 9). Web Evaluation: Does This Website Smell Funny to You?

I have to agree with Gillespie that this evaluation checklist is, indeed, memorable and provides students with a natural bridge to the CRAAP test.”

CMLE Reads Across MN: The Life We Bury

The Life We Bury, Book 1 in the Detective Max Rupert Series , by Allen Eskens.

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and it also has many interesting books. In this series, we are sharing some of the books we like from Minnesota, or Minnesota authors.

We are mapping our literary journey around Minnesota, so you can see all the interesting places where our books are set. Follow our progress on our Google Map, accessible by clicking that link or searching for the title CMLE Reads Across Minnesota! (We located this book, entirely arbitrarily, at the Spam Museum in Austin – because it’s a cool place, and it was mentioned in the book.  Enjoy!)

From Goodreads: “College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.

Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?”

Spotlight News: IMLS is in trouble (Yes – again!)


I am so, so very tired of writing this same article. But, here we are again!! Usually it’s Paul Ryan who tries to destroy federal funding of libraries; but this time the budget comes from the White House, and yes – eliminates the IMLS and federal funding for libraries.

I AM LITERALLY SO FURIOUS ABOUT HAVING TO KEEP HAVING THIS CONVERSATION OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT I AM SCREAMING AS I TYPE! I would really like to stop doing this. I would like to have the kind of world where libraries, and their amazing contributions to their communities, are just automatically funded. Where libraries are not treated as if they are some kind of disposable indulgence that can be waved away on a whim. Where we get money because our ROI is pretty darn fantastic!!!

We will never tell you who to vote for – that is always your important choice, and a decision you make  for yourself. But we know libraries are important in your life. You can see how libraries make a difference in the lives of your patrons. You know that the communities you serve, however they are defined, are better because your library is there.

You know this. I know this.

But once again, we need you to go tell some politicians this basic truth.

You might not receive money directly from the IMLS; but know that the power of our federal agency does impact on your library and your work. When we have no voice in Washington – then what? How easy will it be to think all libraries are just meaningless? That your library, and your job, can just be waved away? Too easy.

And of course, we all benefit directly from IMLS money to Minnesota. Nearly $3 million dollars each year comes to us from IMLS; read all about it here.

CMLE is hosting a Virtual Library Legislative day event on March 6, to mirror the in-person Legislative Day happening in St. Paul. We would love it if you could go to the in-person event – and we will give members scholarship money to go tell legislators about the value of your library! If you can’t go, we want you to come to us that day; we will feed you cookies as you tell your stakeholders about the value of the library.

I say this all the time, but it’s so true. Who is standing up for your library, for your patrons, and for your community? You just have us; we just have you. We both need to get on this, and to overwhelm these bozos who do not understand the value of libraries, so I can stop writing this same thing every year!!

Here is a press release from ALA:

Advocacy Alert: Federal Library Funding

Send an Email  Tweet at Congress 

What Happened

This week, the White House released its budget proposal for FY2019. As we anticipated, the budget proposed a significant cut to federal library funding. The administration’s budget proposal eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides approximately $183 million in direct funding to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The budget proposal also eliminates the $27 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy program administered by the Department of Education.

Why It Matters

These proposed cuts would impact many libraries across the country. While public and school libraries would see the largest effects, academic libraries with state-funded databases are also implicated. Since each state is required to match one-third of their federal LSTA grants, any cut to LSTA in the FY2019 budget is likely to lead to a cut on the state level. In addition, the cuts to IAL specifically target school library funding, which will make it harder for vulnerable schools to acquire the books, resources, and training needed to provide high-quality literacy programs for their students. 

Wait, What Happened to the FY 2018 Budget?

Last week, Congress passed and the president signed an FY2018 budget deal that will likely include at least level funding for federal library programs at FY 2017 levels. While this budget agreement is a positive step towards resolving the FY 2018 budget, Congress will still be working on the final spending bill for a few more weeks. The ALA Washington Office will continue to monitor progress on the bill.  

What You Can Do Now

Congress will have the final say on budget allocations for these programs in the FY2019 budget. Now is the time to let them know how important federal library funding is to their constituents. Use the ALA Action Center to send your Representatives an email  and ask for their public support of library funding throughout the FY2019 appropriations cycle.

This will be a many-step process and we will need your help at key times along the way. Stay tuned for updates.

 Send an Email  Tweet at Congress 

Need More Information?

Visit District Dispatch for up-to-date news from the ALA Washington Office or and find additional resources on our website.

Here is a press release from the Corporate Committee for Library  Investment Issues:

“The Corporate Committee for Library Investment (CCLI), an organization of more than 90 U.S. corporations united to support federal library funding, believes that the proposed cuts to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) damage critical economic and educational infrastructure. We urge Congress to restore full federal funding for America’s libraries in the FY2019 budget.

Like last year, CCLI’s message to members of Congress remains the same: libraries are worth the investment. Libraries and library businesses themselves spend more than $8 billion on goods and services provided by thousands of businesses. They bring leaders, experts, entrepreneurs, veterans, students and other community members together to solve difficult problems— from access to opportunity and academic success, to work-readiness and literacy. Furthermore, they launch careers, spark passions and offer countless materials, programs and services to bolster the overall health and wellness of the communities which they, and CCLI companies, serve.

CCLI does business in every state in the nation, collectively gener­ating several billion dollars in annual revenue, employing thousands of people and financially enabling scores of other businesses in our supply and service chains to hire thousands more. The health of our businesses, our workers and all of our communities is inseparable from the health of libraries and their full federal funding.”

Right now, I’m going to go flop on my couch, feel sorry for myself and for libraries, and maybe have some healing Ben and Jerry’s. Tomorrow, I’ll be ready to dive back in and ADVOCATE for libraries!!! Join me!!!

African American Read-In at CMLE

From February 1st – 28th, participate in the African American Read In.  The goal is to “document readers making the celebration of African American literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities.” The celebration encourages places like schools, churches, libraries, professional organizations and citizens to get involved in making literacy “a significant part of Black History Month by hosting and coordinating community Read-Ins.”

To help you plan your own event, check out these resources from Read Write Think.org that include links to classroom activities, a Library of Congress exhibit, and a host report card for you to record what happened at your own event.

Also visit NCTE’s site, which has this toolkit to help you prepare for your read in event. The toolkit has links to multiple booklists to help you with reading material selection.

To help our members – and any library people! – celebrate, CMLE will host our own African-American Read In! Tuesday, Feb. 20, at our headquarters location we will be available to talk books all day! From 11:00 to 1:00 we invite people to drop by with their lunch (Val’s is across the street, if you need something!), and have a discussion about African-American books you read, the ones you want to read, and look at the books we have in our office. Definitely feel free to bring in books/titles/authors you want us all to admire!

Join us, and Official Office Dog Lady Grey, in celebrating African-American literature!!

We support libraries!