Infographics for You to Use: Fun Ones!

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Want to use infographics in your space, but don’t have the time to create your own from scratch?  Well, thanks to A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet, we have infographics of all kinds – this last week, five fun ones!  Click on the links to see the full infographics.

29 29 Ways to Stay Creative
 comic At-A-Glance Comic Tutorials
 Tales Telling Tales: The Evolution of Four Stories
 Twain The Top 10 List of Famous Mark Twain Quotes
 HP A Visual Summary of Harry Potter

More Infographics for You to Use: Reading and its Benefits, Libraries and Librarians, Books and eBooks, Information Literacy, Copyright, Attribution, and PlagiarismDigital Citizens, Press and Visuals, and Writing and Grammar.

We’ve Learned

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LightbulbWe at CMLE have learned that Debbie Disher is retiring from the Holdingford Schools. Over the years Debbie has been a rock star participant in our region. She often offered a helping hand when we sought programming feedback or stepped up when we needed an informal presenter too! We wish Debbie only the best in this exciting new journey.

Welcome to Debbies replacements: Audrey Thornborrow (Technology Integrationist, .8) and Kathryn Young (Reading Specialist, .4).

We’ve also learned that the Cambridge-Isanti Schools District is searching for a Technician/Network Engineer. The posting open until it is filled. Click here to view a PDF job description.

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

Minnesota Legislative Updates

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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). Being its near the end of the legislation season, this post contains 4 separate updates

Received Tuesday May 19, 2015 at 10:17 PM

I originally sent this update this afternoon, but it has been held up because of  the attachment (the Governor’s veto message). To expedite this, I have deleted the attachment and am providing a link to the governor’s veto message:

Recieved Tuesday, May 19, 2015 4:48 PM

Session Ends:  Last night at midnight, the Legislature adjourned as required by the constitution.  However, there will be a special session to pass an education bill, a legacy bill and possibly other bills as well.

Education Bill Veto:  Attached is Governor Dayton’s veto message regarding the education bill.  In a press conference this afternoon, the governor described the last-minute negotiations on the education bill yesterday.  He offered to sign the bill if legislators would add $125 million — $55 million for School Readiness and the rest to increase the general education formula by 2% each year (the bill passed by the Legislature increased the formula by 1.5% in FY 16 and by 2% in FY 17).  House Republicans would not agree to add more than $100 million, so negotiations collapsed.

Governor Dayton will call a special session, but not until there is an agreement signed by the leaders of all four caucuses specifying exactly what will be acted upon during the special session.  Governor Dayton said he would prefer to wrap it up by June 1, because by law, that is the date that layoff notices must be sent to state employees whose agencies are not funded.  The Capitol is not available for the special session due to the renovations taking place, so the special session will have to take place at another venue.  It must be in St. Paul.

Legacy Bill:  The legacy bill passed the House last night, but did not pass the Senate.  This was not because of any controversy over the bill – they simply ran out of time before the midnight adjournment deadline.  Governor Dayton indicated that he thinks it is very important that the legacy bill pass in the special session.  There was one change made to legacy funding for the regional library systems at the last minute – rather than $1.7 million in FY 16 and $2.7 million in FY 17, the final bill provides $2.2 million in each year.  The funding is the same overall.  Funding for the Minnesota Digital Library remains at $300,000 per year.

Broadband:  The omnibus jobs and economic development conference committee had great difficulty in reaching agreement.  They ultimately settled on a bare-bones bill that passed just seconds before the session ended. It provides $10.838 million for broadband grants in FY 16 only.  This is down from the $20 million provided last year and the $30 million proposed by Governor Dayton.

Seed Library Exemption:  The omnibus agriculture policy bill, HF 1554, includes an exemption from seed regulations for “interpersonal sharing of seed for home, educational, charitable or personal non-commercial use.”  The bill was presented to the governor on May 15, which means that he has until midnight on Tuesday to sign or veto it.  I fully expect him to sign the bill.  It passed the House 102-25 and passed the Senate 64-0.

Student Information:  In my previous description of the omnibus education bill, I neglected to mention that the provision initiated by the St. Paul Public Schools to conform Minnesota’s data privacy law to federal law with respect to students records is included in the bill.  This will allow school districts to share students addresses with their local public library for the purpose of obtaining library cards for all students without having to make the addresses public.


Recieved: Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 4:45 PM

It has been a wild weekend at the Capitol, featuring round the clock negotiations.  Legislators are racing to get the major budget bills passed before midnight on Monday.  Here is the status of the major budget bills and the library issues within them:

E-12 EDUCATION:  Early Friday afternoon House Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Bakk announced to the media that they had reached an agreement on budget targets.  Significantly, Governor Dayton did not appear with them.  On Saturday morning the Governor announced that he did not agree with the $400 million target set by Bakk and Daudt for increased funding for education. Dayton said that he would veto any bill providing less than $550 million, with at least $173 million for expanding school-based preschool for all 4 year olds.  Despite the veto threat, Bakk and Daudt directed the education conferees to proceed with negotiating a $400 million bill.

The conference committee put in long hours and finally met in public to unveil their agreement at 1am Sunday morning, wrapping up the meeting at 3am.  Here are the major components of the bill:

General Education Formula:  The general education formula will increase by 1.5% in FY 16 and by 2% in FY 17.  This is the main source of funding for school library media programs.  72% of the $400 million went for this increase in the general education formula.

Early Learning:  The competition between supporters of early learning scholarships and those of school-based preschool programs was at times tense.  In the end, legislators decided to increase the scholarships by $30.75 million over the next 2 years and to increase School Readiness (a school-based program for at-risk children) by the same amount.  The bill also includes $3.5 million for the Parent Aware early childhood rating system. This ate up another 17% of the $400 million. They did not include Governor Dayton’s proposal for preschool for all 4 year olds, which may cause the bill to be vetoed.

School Facilities:  The bill includes $32 million for facilities maintenance.  Funding for facilities maintenance was the top priority of rural schools.

As you can tell, these major components left almost nothing for other initiatives.  As a result, the bill includes no additional funding for libraries, telecommunications equity aid or after school programs.

The bill does include the language aligning Regional Library Telecommunications Aid with the federal e-rate program.  It also repeals the requirement that schools have a technology plan on file with MDE in order to be eligible for Telecommunications Equity Aid.

What if the bill is vetoed?  If the Governor vetoes the bill, the usual scenario would be for the Governor and legislative leaders to negotiate a new bill and then for the Governor to call a special session to pass the bill.  However, the renovation of the Capitol calls for the House and Senate chambers and all offices in the Capitol to be shut down on Tuesday, May 19.  Legislators have been warned that a delay to accommodate a special session would be very costly.  There has been speculation that an education bill is not needed because the general education formula would continue to be paid to schools without passing an education bill.  However, all other streams of funding would cease, including library appropriations.  In a memo to the media, Commissioner Cassellius pointed out that even schools would not get their money because MDE would have no budget to pay staff to process payments.

HIGHER EDUCATION:  The higher education conference committee reached agreement on its bill last night, and the bill just passed on the Senate floor by a vote of 57-8.   It will next go to the House for passage.   The bill maintains current funding for Minitex and MnLINK.  It increases funding for the University of Minnesota by $53.2 million and for MnSCU by $101.4 million.

LEGACY:   The Legacy conference committee convened shortly after midnight on Saturday night /Sunday morning.  The arts and cultural heritage article was discussed first.  As initially presented, it included the House position on funding for regional public libraries of $1.5 million in FY 16 and $2.5 million in FY 17.  After a brief recess, the conferees returned and Senator Cohen said that the one area that made him “a little queasy” was library funding, and he moved to add $200,000 per year to the appropriation.  It passed unanimously.  The final number is $1.7 million in FY 16 and $2.7 million in FY 17.  Thank you to all of you who contacted the conferees.  I do think it made a difference.

The Legacy bill also includes $300,000 per year for the Minnesota Digital Library.  That is the same as the current level of funding for MDL.

TAXES:  The agreement between Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Bakk is that there will be no tax bill this year.  House Republicans had wanted more than $2 billion in tax cuts.  In return, Senate DFLers agreed to pass only a “lights on” transportation bill, rather than the comprehensive funding bill that had been their top priority.  The agreement leaves about $1.4 billion on the bottom line for legislators to use next year for tax cuts and a transportation package.

Governor Dayton is scheduled to hold a press conference later today.  I will keep you posted if anything major changes.

Received: Friday, May 15, 2015 at 2:32 PM

Budget Negotiations:  Governor Dayton and legislative leaders have still not reached an agreement on budget targets for 7 of the 9 major budget bills (they have agreed on targets for the higher education and public safety bills).  Even if they announce an agreement on the remaining 7 bills this afternoon, it is questionable whether there is time for conference committees to negotiate the details of their budget bills, have staff assemble the bills, and then get them passed by the House and Senate by the adjournment deadline, which is Monday at midnight.  Despite the time crunch, legislative leaders are still saying they hope to complete their work on time.  Earlier today a resolution passed the Senate to allow conference committees to meet around the clock.  Ordinarily, conference committees are prohibited from meeting between 12am and 7am.

Education Conference Committee:  The education conference committee met yesterday for the first time in a week.  They took testimony on competing proposals to expand early learning, which has been a sticking point in the budget negotiations.  At the end of the meeting the chairs (Senator Wiger and Rep. Loon) announced that staff had compiled a list of 80 same and similar provisions in the House and Senate bills that they were prepared to adopt.  However, they took no action on those provisions and did not make the list public.  I assume that the change in the distribution of RLTA to have it more closely align with the federal e-rate program is one of the items on the list.

Library Construction Grants:  Our bill to provide $10 million for Library Construction Grants in next year’s bonding bill was introduced yesterday in the Senate and today in the House.  The bill numbers and authors are listed below:

SF 2179   Chief author:  Senator Kent Eken (DFL – Twin Valley)  Co-authors: Senator Bill Ingebrigsten (R – Alexandria), Senator LeRoy Stumpf (DFL – Plummer), Senator Dave Senjem (R – Rochester) and  Senator Bev Scalze (DFL – Little Canada)

HF 2353  Chief author:  Rep. Jeff Howe (R – Cold Spring)  Co-authors: Rep. Dean Urdahl (R – Grove City), Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL – St. Paul), Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL – Hermantown) and Rep. Bud Nornes (R – Fergus Falls.

2016 Legislative Session:  According to a concurrent resolution introduced today, the 2016 session will convene on Tuesday,  March 8.   That would mean the session would run for 11 weeks if the Legislature adjourned on Monday, May 23, which is the constitutional adjournment deadline

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

Where Have the Media Specialists Gone in 2015?

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We’ve Crunched the Data! This is the fifth year that CMLE has been pulling the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) data and studying the slow decline of school library media specialists in our CMLE twelve-county region. Sharing the data is our attempt to engage people in helping think of solutions to this issue. If there is inadequate media specialist staffing in high schools, are students going to be prepared with the skills they need to be successful in college? Will middle schoolers be prepared to do high school work, and when students have no library program at school, are they simply going to the public library for assistance? Are the public libraries funded or staffed to absorb this work on a large scale? Everyone is stretched for resources, so it is critical that K-12, public, and academic libraries all step up to do their part.

Without further ado, here is data for Aitkin, Benton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright counties in MN. In a nutshell, the grim news is…..

  • 90 individual schools (45%) in Central MN have no licensed media specialist. This compares with 79 individual schools in 2014, 53 in 2013, and 48 in 2012.
  • 52% of the schools without a media specialist are middle, secondary, or high schools. A whopping 70% of secondary schools are functioning without licensed staff!
  • 43 elementary schools have no media specialist (compared to 38 in 2014 and 28 in 2013), yet as far as I know, we are still focused statewide on demonstrating reading proficiency by 3rd grade!
  • 16 out of 52 districts (31%) have no media specialist in any school in the district. This compares to 16 in 2014, 14 in 2013, and 9 in 2012!
  • Is there any good news? Yes. The great news is that 35% of CMLE schools have a full time media specialist. Let’s applaud those school administrators for understanding the value of maintaining a professionally staffed school media center.

According to public 2014-2015 MDE data, here are the CMLE school districts with no licensed media specialists in any school: Annandale, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Bertha Hewitt, Browerville, Eagle Valley, East Central, Foley, Kimball, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Maple Lake, McGregor, Onamia, Royalton, Staples-Motley, Swanville, and Willow River. Are parents in these districts aware of this issue?

CMLE will use this data in its advocacy work, in targeting its programming, and in working statewide to bring attention to this growing problem. How can we change this trend?  All Minnesota students deserve a high quality, K-12 academic experience that prepares them for the next step in their life. We need students to be able to proficiently use  the research process and to think critically about competing sources of information. These are key lifelong skills needed by all high-functioning members of society.

If you have comments, solutions, or ideas, please email me at

Road Trip: Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire

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Mini Maker Faire logoThe Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire is coming up fast! Take a road trip to the MN State Fairgrounds to check out all the DIY talent and projects that our Great State has to offer! “You’ll find arts and crafts, science and engineering, food and music – all in a family-friendly, hands-on environment,” the website says. Over 200 local and regional ‘makers’ will show and tell their stuff on Saturday, May 30. Check out the site for more information (including volunteer opportunities). Already made up your mind? Get your tickets here.

For more events, be sure to keep an eye on our Events/Initiatives page.

Minneapolis is most literate city in US

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Off the Train and Into the Big Apple, Grand Central, NYCDid you know that Minneapolis was recently ranked the nation’s most literate city? Up from number two last year, the city beat out Washington DC for number one!

What sets us apart? Did you know that MN has some of the largest book publishers outside of New York, Boston, and Chicago? Local publishers include but aren’t limited to: Lerners, Capstone, Graywolf, Coffee House, Milkweed, MnHS, and UMN press. Did you also know, there are at least 130,000 MN published titles in WorldCat?

So, a great big cheer for Minneapolis and the state of MN for supporting literature and publishing!

Image credit:, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Schools: The Myth of Having Summers Off

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Lake St. Peter [2]If you work in a school then you’ve likely heard the remark: “Must be nice having summers off.” The perception will likely never change but Heather Wolpert-Gawron of Edutopia is here to spread the word that teachers are yearlong learners themselves, besides working at a school.

Her list of 9 Education-Related Summer Tasks will seem like a to-do list for some, but for others, it might help spread the word that everyone who works at a school doesn’t simply have their summers off:

1. We work summer school.
2. We attend department and curriculum meetings.
3. We improve on our curriculum.
4. We curate and develop libraries of new lessons.
5. We learn the new technology or curriculum programs purchased by our schools.
6. We write, blog, or comment.
7. We continue our own professional development or help run others.
8. We set up our classroom environments for the next year.
9. I heal and recharge my batteries.

Image credit:, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0