Get ready: Season Three of Linking our Libraries is coming!

We are getting ready to put out Season Three of Linking Our Libraries – the podcast focusing on library training topics. No matter what you do in libraries/archives/nonprofits – we have episodes to help you to be more effective in your library!

This season we are creating a toolbox of skills. One of the training topics we get a lot of requests for is Leadership and Management skills. We will be building on these topics in future training opportunities, but this season we will present you with fifteen topics important for success as a leader in your organization.

Topics will be grouped, and will build on previous topics. So we start at the very beginning, with a look at some management theories to give everyone a foundation of ideas about your own leadership style. We progress through ethics, some HR topics, and then into different kinds of planning – the defining skill of a good manager. We wrap up with some strategies for bringing together groups of people, including looking at the organizational culture, communication, and teamwork.

We have several Guest Hosts, who bring their own experiences and library ideas with them to share with all of us. This is one of the big values in being part of a multitype system – our guests come from all types of libraries: public, academic, school, and special; so when they share their ideas we know those ideas will resonate across all our libraries!

We like the idea of a fifteen-episode season with a theme – especially a theme our members have requested more information on for their own skill building. We hope you like it too!

Subscribe today, to be sure you get each new episode as it drops. Episodes will drop every Thursday at 6am – for those who just can’t wait for their next dose of leadership and management skill training!

Spotlight Program: Beginning Street Art

Banksy 28 October installment from "Better Out Than In" New York City residency

I love to see art and art programs in the library – and this one looked really interesting! Check out this report by By Lisa Fipps, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement, Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, Ind.

“Beginning Street Art was an active companion program to Banksy Booked @KHPCL, the theme for a number of active and passive programs to coincide with a six-week exhibit of Banksy’s “Haight Street Rat” street art.

YA author Shannon Lee Alexander’s work-in-progress is about a character from an abusive home in a stagnant, some would even say dying, Appalachian town. She’s done a lot of research about street art for the novel, and it’s now become one of her passions. I asked her if she would lead teens in a workshop to explain graffiti and give participants an opportunity to try the various types of street art.

I assumed only teens would be interested, but quickly realized that adults wanted to know more and try it, too. So I opened up the program to both audiences. The program was informational and skill-building. It also brought generations together. I worked with Shannon to make it a two-fer by asking her to talk about her two published books, and sell and sign them at the event as well….

Just having a Banksy piece helped draw a lot of attention to KHCPL and, therefore, I received a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for Beginning Street Art and all the programs associated with the exhibit.

I emailed the flier to all the art teachers at the five high schools in the county. I met with the Visitor’s Bureau to market Banksy Booked @KHCPL and the passive and active programs associated with it to cities in Indiana and beyond. That marketing led to a listing in the Visit Indiana’s August Festivals & Events newsletter and, with an audience of at least 50,000. The Visitor’s Bureau also paid for social marketing ads.

I also created paid social media ads. I pay for monthly radio advertising and included information about Beginning Street Art in the month leading up to Banksy Booked @KHCPL. I sent out press releases to all three local newspapers, which published stories about it. Since the Banksy Booked @KHCPL story was picked up by the Associated Press, it further marketed Beginning Street Art.

I worked with graphics to get a sign up near the Banksy that provided the history of the “Haight Street Rat” and explained the various companion active and passive programs, including Beginning Street Art. I included information about Beginning Street Art in our newsletter that is mailed to 40,000 homes in our taxing district. I wrote about it in our enewsletter, which goes out to about 5,000 subscribers. I asked the graphic artist to create fliers for all three locations and our two bookmobiles. ”

Episode 115: Minnesota books!

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Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This episode is the end of Season One for us – but never fear, we are not leaving you. Season Three of our library training podcast, Linking Our Libraries, starts next Thursday: Feb, 2.  Season Two of Books and Beverages will be back Thursday May 17. (Our first episode will be Pets, with some returning special guest hosts!)

This week we are discussing Minnesota books! We will look at books set in Minnesota, and books by Minnesota authors.


We have guests, we have our genre. We just need our beverages. Fortunately, we all came prepared with something to sip while we talk about our books. Each week we like to connect the theme of our books with our beverages. Each beverage will have a recipe or a link on our episode page, so you can try them yourself!  Obviously, feel free to sip along with us with any beverage that is right for you. Just join us in celebrating books, and discussing books!

As Minnesotans, of course we have a wide variety of different beverages from all the cultures that make up our great state! But this week we are focused on sharing some local beers. It’s cold and dark outside, and a lot of us sip on local beers to celebrate the snow. When it’s hot and summery outside, a lot of us are outside camping, fishing, hiking, or engaging in other outdoor activities – and sipping on local beers is part of that tradition as well! We will have links to all these on our website, to encourage you to try out some new beverages for yourself!

Genre Suggestions

We have a huge diversity of cultures and languages in Minnesota. There are a lot of Scandinavian descendants, as well as German descendants. And we have several Indian tribes across the state including Chippewa, Ojibwe, Lower Sioux, and Ojibwa or Anishinaabe. We have many groups of cultures who have moved here in the last fifty years, including strong populations of Vietnamese, Hmong, and Somali people.

We live in big cities, and small rural areas. We have deciduous trees and forests filled with pine trees. We root for the Vikings and the Wild. We have a pretty impressive great lake: Lake Superior; and to back that up we are known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes – but that doesn’t cover our whole range of lakes. We have waterfalls and historic sites. In short, we are a land filled with a diverse set of people and natural settings – and the literature of Minnesota is likewise exciting and diverse, and is filled with different kinds of settings, people, and genres!

We love Minnesota books, and are collecting them on our website. Each week we publish a review of a book set in Minnesota in our series: CMLE Reads Across MN. We also have a google map where we locate each of these books, so you can see how geographically diverse our state – and our books – are to read! We link to this series so you can check it out yourself.

AASL Recommended Apps: Content Creation: Toontastic 3D

Last summer, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) announced their Best Apps for Teaching and Learning 2017. The apps encourage qualities such as creativity and collaboration, and encourage discovery and curiosity.

The app Toontastic 3D lets your students create cartoons that are animated and narrated. Pick from their existing characters and settings or draw your own. Add some background music to your story, then export your creation as a video to a mobile device. For answers to common questions about the app, check out their Tips page.

Level: Elementary +
Platform: iOS | Android
Cost: FREE

This review of the app from Common Sense Education gives the app four out of five stars and includes some lesson and activity ideas. Tech Crunch has this article about the app which includes an interview with one of Toontastic 3D’s product managers.

Watch this quick video demo to see all the fun you can have with this app:

Guest Post for CMLE Reads Across MN: Minnesota 13: Stearns County’s Wet Wild Prohibition Days

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 is a guest post from CMLE member Violet Fox. Want to write a book review for us? Let us know

I’m always looking for a way to feel more connected with the history of central Minnesota, and I was delighted to stumble upon a very interesting part of our history—the illicit history of moonshine!

The 2016 documentary “Minnesota 13: From Grain to Glass” (directed by Kelly Nathe and Norah Shapiro) and the 2007 book Minnesota 13: Stearns County’s Wet Wild Prohibition Days (written by Elaine Davis) both tell the story of an apparently excellent version of moonshine known as Minnesota 13. This clear distilled whiskey, made with a variety of corn developed by the University of Minnesota for a shorter growing season, was well-known throughout Minnesota and beyond. One of the old timers in the documentary tells a joke about a sailor at a bar in Hong Kong who sees a sign that reads, “If we don’t have the liquor you ask for, your drinks are free all evening”; the sailor asks for Minnesota 13, and the bartender replies, “Do you want Bowlus or Holdingford?”

The documentary highlighted many historical organizations in the area, including the archives of the Stearns History Museum, the Holdingford Area Historical Society, and the Dassel History Center. Local archivists and historians told fascinating stories of people struggling through the Depression who saw distilling moonshine during Prohibition as a way to feed their families and keep their farms. Both the book and the movie take care to place the illicit liquor trade in its historical context. Central Minnesota is an island of German Catholics, and while many Minnesotan Lutherans were teetotalers, the German Catholics saw drinking (especially beer) as an integral part of their culture. Religious leaders in the area looked the other way as their parishioners broke the law; distilling moonshine may have been illegal, but it wasn’t immoral. In fact, the documentary claims that the monks of Saint John’s Abbey ran and owned one of the biggest stills in Stearns County!

The documentary goes on to tell the story of a modern micro-distillery (11wells, based in St. Paul) dedicated to bringing the original flavor back, from growing Minnesota 13 corn from heritage seeds to distilling a whiskey inspired by the moonshine (though they use oats, wheat, and barley in addition to the original corn mash). This book and film shine light on the bootlegging stories of this supposedly sleepy part of Minnesota; if you live in this area, you’ll enjoy knowing more about its fascinating history.

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