CMLE Reads Across MN: We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down

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!

This week’s book was suggested by CMLE member Violet Fox. Do you have a good Minnesota book to suggest? Tell us about it! We love Minnesota books.

We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter, by Rachael Hanel “Rachael Hanel’s name was inscribed on a gravestone when she was eleven years old. Yet this wasn’t at all unusual in her world: her father was a gravedigger in the small Minnesota town of Waseca, and death was her family’s business. Her parents were forty-two years old and in good health when they erected their gravestone—Rachael’s name was simply a branch on the sprawling family tree etched on the back of the stone. As she puts it: I grew up in cemeteries.

And you don’t grow up in cemeteries—surrounded by headstones and stories, questions, curiosity—without becoming an adept and sensitive observer of death and loss as experienced by the people in this small town. For Rachael Hanel, wandering among tombstones, reading the names, and wondering about the townsfolk and their lives, death was, in many ways, beautiful and mysterious. Death and mourning: these she understood. But when Rachael’s father—Digger O’Dell—passes away suddenly when she is fifteen, she and her family are abruptly and harshly transformed from bystanders to participants. And for the first time, Rachael realizes that death and grief are very different.”

Spotlight Program: Winter Festival of Gifts: A Season of Giving

Misty winter afternoon (5277611659)At CMLE, we so enjoy all our different types of libraries, archives, and other members! Seeing all the work you are doing is so inspiring; and we want to return the favor by helping you to find some of the great programming going on around the profession.

Each week we will share an interesting program we find. It may inspire you to do exactly the same thing; or to try something related; or just to try out some different programming ideas. (Check out our podcast episode on Library Programming; you can tune in here! Or, of course, subscribe or stream to enjoy any of the episodes!)

By Jennifer Massa, Fiction Program Librarian, Mount Prospect (Ill.) Public Library

“A food drive with a twist, Winter Festival of Gifts (WFoG) has become a beloved annual tradition at Mount Prospect Public Library (MPPL) as a means to creatively give back to the community, while at the same time highlighting staff talent. Diane Davis, pioneer of the program, took time to share the ins and outs of this celebration of giving.

Winter Festival of Gifts is a food-for-crafts charity program for staff members at the Mount Prospect Public Library.Jennifer Massa: Could you tell us a little bit about WFoG? What is it? What is the purpose?

Diane Davis: It is a food-for-crafts exchange to collect canned and boxed food items for local people in need around the holidays. Staff members trade a canned or boxed food item for a ticket to be used in a giveaway for various arts and crafts items. It is set right after Thanksgiving and runs through the second week of December, but isn’t a Christmas program.

JM: Could you give us some examples of the donated gifts?

DD: Lots of baked goods, which we learned the hard way needed to be made for the winner at a time agreed on by both the donor and winning ticket holder. No perishable items on the display! Lots of knit and crochet scarves and hats, paintings, handmade holiday greeting cards and baskets of jams. A few years back we added re-gifted items so that more people could participate. We received donations of yards of 40-year-old unused silk fabric; jewelry (both handmade and mass-produced); unused cell phone covers and chargers; sets of beautiful old china; a warm winter basket of soup made to order containing a soup mug and crocheted scarf; mosaic glass; crochet animals; and more than I can list!

JM: How did WFoG originate?

DD: The WFoG started at MPPL in 2010. My talented colleagues had gifted me with so many lovely knit and baked goods and fun little items that I joked about all of us starting a business. The idea for the giveaway began with admiration for their crafting abilities and wondering how we could use those skills to raise money for local people in need. The plans grew quickly once I started asking my friends to help organize and more staff members got involved, and voila!

JM: How have you tried to encourage donations of gifts and goods?

DD: The WFoG committee has members from most of the departments at MPPL, and committee members are responsible for giving staff tickets for their canned and boxed items. For the fifth year, we decided to expand a bit and decorated the staff room bulletin board, added a large paper thermometer to reflect the number of items received during the two-week period the program was live, and on opening day left mini Take Five candy bars in the mailbox of each staff member. We broke records that year with the number of donated items and the amount of food sent to the local food bank. Over 1,300 canned and boxed food items, I believe.

 The program is a morale booster during a stressful time of the year, winners are thrilled with their gifts and, most of all, you’re helping to feed neighbors in need.JM: How has WFoG grown throughout the years?

DD: We went from around 40 craft items the first year to receiving 100 donations yearly. After opening up the donations to items that aren’t handmade (re-gifting) it really exploded.

JM: What have been the challenges in running WFoG?

DD: It takes a dedicated and creative group of people to make it work. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best! Amy Haffner, Julie Collins and Elaine Ball were amazing, and so many others have been instrumental in putting on the WFoG program each year. By year seven, the last year I chaired the committee, we had the timing down for everything that needed to be done and people in place to do what was needed. Special thanks to MPPL’s webmaster Chris Amling and IT specialist Linda Gadja for putting up donation submission forms and keeping the staff up to date.”

(Read the rest of this article here!)

Participants for IMLS funded project, “Future Ready with the Library” announced

From the American Library Association:

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), has announced the 24 participants of its IMLS grant funded project, Future Ready with the Library. The 24 participants make up the second cohort of the project.

The participants are:

  • Bartz, Vicky. Ortonville (Minnesota) Public Library
  • Bauer, Mary. Cedaredge (Colorado) Public Library
  • Bundy, Amanda. Kaibab Paiute Tribal Library; Fredonia, AZ
  • Burley, Linda. Burley (Idaho) Public Library
  • Chalman, Kate. Charles Ralph Holland Public Library; Gainsboro, TN
  • Crawford, Claire. Geneseo (Illinois) Public Library
  • Deck, Todd. Tahama County Library; Red Bluff, CA
  • DeHoff, Lois. John R Wooden Middle School; Martinsville, ID
  • Dickerson, Heather. Lewis and Clark Library; Lincoln, MT
  • Durbin, Cynthia. Cascade (Idaho) Public Library
  • Fee, Jay. Keene (New Hampshire) Public Library
  • Gillum, Holly. Ashley Public Library; Hamburg, AR
  • Heideman, Ann. Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Library; Mount Pleasant, MI
  • Hollingsworth, Erin. Tuzzy Consortium Library; Barrow, AK
  • Hutchinson, Bailee. Bolivar- Hardeman County Library; Bolivar, TN
  • Kesseler, Nisa. Petosky (Michigan) District Library
  • Kunnerup, Carol. Mott (North Dakota) Public Library
  • Lancaster, Abby. Lincoln County Library System; Afton, WY
  • Mayfield, Pattie. Bertha Voyer Library; Honey Grove, TX
  • McCann, Robin. Perry Middle School; Perry, OH
  • Shimek, Allison. Fayette Public Library; LaGrange, TX
  • Simpson, Sherry. Dover (Arkansas) Public Library
  • Walker, Keri. St. James Parish Library; Vacherie, LA
  • Wickham, Meredith. J Elliot McMullin Public Library; Newton, MS

“I’m excited to see how the library staff in Cohort 2 partner with community organizations to transform library services for and with middle school students in their small, rural, and tribal communities,” said YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell. “Enabling teens to not only explore their passions, but to develop career and college ready skills, is critical to teens’ personal growth, academic success, and career development – a key component of YALSA’s vision for 21st century public library services.” Continue reading Participants for IMLS funded project, “Future Ready with the Library” announced

Minnesota Reads and Writes

For writers interested in easy-to-use, free resources for publishing and sharing e-books, and for readers interested in reading e-books by local writers, your Minnesota libraries bring you MN Writes MN Reads.

Are you writing a book for Nanowrimo? Or, would you like to write something??

You can follow the directions on this website! Here are a few quick notes:

  • Upload your ebook using SELF-e for inclusion in Indie Minnesota, a statewide collection promoting local authors.
  • After a book is uploaded, it is reviewed to ensure that it is technically sound and does not infringe on copyrights.
  • This initial review takes a few days. After that, the book will appear in Indie Minnesota.
  • Fiction books in English will be reviewed by reviewers at Library Journal. The best reviewed books are included in a special curated collection, SELF-e Select, that is available to readers across the country.
  • The review process for SELF-e Select takes one to two months. Authors are notified by Library Journal/SELF-e if their book is selected for this collection.

Then: Whamoo! (It’s publishing term of art. Well – it should be!) You are not only a published author, but your book is available to library patrons across the state!

Share this with your patrons, and let’s see some great Minnesota books shared!

Episode 215 Library Impact and ROI

Water drop impact on a water-surface - (5)

(Tune in for a bonus episode Dec 7 on handling stress!)

Check our full information page for all our material!

This is our last episode of Season Two! It has been great talking about all these topics this season, and communicating with you. Thanks so much for downloading and listening – it means a lot to us. We are already starting to work on Season Three, which will start early in 2018. And in the meantime, you can go to our website, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, our social media, our online book groups. You can listen to all of our archive of podcast episodes from Seasons One and Two on our website (or your favorite app!). So we are not leaving you; we just have some different communication strategies to connect with you!

This week we are talking about the impact libraries have on their community, and ways to evaluate your Return on Investment (or ROI).

You know libraries are great. We know libraries are great. But, do your patrons know all about it? How about your Board? Your funders?

It is not enough to be able to say, “we are so neat!” and expect people to give you money and support. Instead, you need to be able to show, with specific data, how neat you are. Fortunately, this is amazingly easy to do! Any type of library and information science organization, including libraries of all types, archives, museums, and more, all will make big returns on the investments made in us. We just have to be able to show it, and then to loudly share that information with everyone else!

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Whatever tool you use, we hope you enjoy it! Thanks for listening, and sharing ideas on libraries!

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