State Library Update: 4/14/2016

MDE logo retrieved online 12/17/13..

TO: Minnesota Libraries
FROM: State Library Services
DATE: April 14, 2016
SUBJECT: Updates from State Library Services

Register Today to Attend Better Together
Better Together: Strengthening Adult Learning Opportunities is an educational and networking event designed to foster local partnerships among libraries, adult basic education, and workforce organizations to collaboratively build a stronger, more highly skilled workforce. At each session, you’ll hear promising practices for collaboration across organizations and learn about free resources that promote digital literacy and workforce skills.

You’ll also have a chance to work with your local partners to develop a cooperative project. To help put your ideas for collaboration into action, we are able to offer a competitive grant opportunity that will award up to ten grants with a maximum of $5,000/applicant. At least one of your project partners must attend a Better Together workshop and proposed projects must show promise for sustainability. More information, including an application, will be available at Better Together sessions.

Register today for the workshop nearest you:

April 29, 2016 – Roseville at Minnesota Department of Education
May 9, 2016 – Mankato at Country Inn and Suites
May 16, 2016 – Grand Rapids at Saw Mill Inn

For more information, to request an accommodation, or to be included on a mailing list for future announcements, please contact Emily Kissane (651-582-8508).

Rant or Rave–Rate Our Reporting Process
Thanks to all the library directors and other report filers for collecting and reporting your library’s performance measures for Minnesota’s 2015 Public Library Report. State Library Services values your contribution in creating an accurate and useful statistical tool for decision-making. We understand the work involved and want to improve the process for you. We would greatly appreciate your feedback for this reporting period. The results will inform us about how we could improve the 2016 annual report. Please complete this brief, anonymous 2015 Annual Public Library Report feedback survey by May 2. Answer any or all of the nine questions. The next steps for State Library Services will be to upload the federally-required data to the IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) database for review and vetting. If you have questions, feel free to contact Joe Manion (651-582-8640).

Your Library Can Feed Hungry Minds and Bodies This Summer
Fewer than 15 percent of Minnesota kids who benefit from the free or reduced-price school lunch program have access to summer and afterschool food programs. Limited access to free food programs, particularly during the summer, leaves many children with empty bellies. Public libraries are key community locations for kids to find access to nutritious food when school is not in session. Begin planning your summer 2016 participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) by viewing this archived webinar presented by Jenny Butcher, SFSP Coordinator at MDE. If you’re a public library in the metro area, you might consider Youthprise as a food service sponsor. Check out this new video that highlights some of the good work their nutrition program is already doing in the Twin Cities. Please contact Jen Verbrugge (651-582-8356) for more information.

Congratulations to Thorson Memorial Library!
Thorson Memorial Library in Elbow Lake was awarded a $41,500 Library Construction Grant for improvements to lighting, air circulation, air quality, and flooring. The project will reverse a mid-70s lowering of the ceiling and open up the building to its original 17 foot height.

Project Manager John Kreft is an industrial technology teacher for West Central Area Schools, and students in his Community Projects class will help with and learn from the construction project.

Thorson Memorial Library’s grant is from an allocation made by the 2014 Minnesota Legislature. The Library Construction Grant is a competitive dollar-for-dollar matching grant program funded by state bonds. The program provides public libraries with funding for renovation, construction, and improvement projects that result in more accessible library facilities. Please contact Emily Kissane (651-582-8508) for more information.

Free GED Testing
Earlier this week, Governor Mark Dayton announced that any Minnesotan can take the GED test, for free, through June 30, 2016. Interested people can register online at the GED website or contact their local Adult Basic Education program. Staff at each program will help with the registration process and provide resources and classes to prepare for taking the test. LearningExpress Library, available through the state-funded Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM), offers free GED assessment, interactive skill-building and online test preparation. Visit the ELM website for hands-on activities and fact sheets to learn more about how LearningExpress Library can help prepare students to take the GED.

Wow! Northstar Reaches 1 Million Mark
As of early April, 1,000,000 online digital literacy assessments have been completed through the Northstar public website. The Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment tool has grown rapidly since its creation in 2011. It is an online tool that quickly assesses and quantifies the digital literacy knowledge of lower-skilled computer users. Job-seekers can earn a Northstar certificate to demonstrate to potential employers their technology competencies. The Northstar Standards have been adopted as content standards for Adult Basic Education by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), are used in 136 Minnesota program sites, and are integrated into the new Minnesota Adult Diploma. Northstar is housed at the Minnesota Literacy Council and was partially funded by Library Services and Technology grants through MDE.

Investigate the Frontiers of STEM Learning — High-Tech vs Low-Tech STEM Programming, What’s Right for Your Library?
From high-tech Maker Spaces with 3-D printers, recording studios, and drill presses to low-tech paper coding activities, libraries across the country are re-examining what it means to “do STEM.”

On Wednesday, April 20 at Noon (CST), join Ashley Kazyaka (Library Development Project Manager at the Colorado State Library) along with Keliann Laconte (Professional Development Manager at the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute) and Anne Holland (Public Engagement Manager, also at NCIL) for a webinar that will give a brief overview of current practice in public libraries. Then, stick around for an open conversation among webinar participants about implementing STEM programming in their libraries as well as barriers they may face. There’s no right answer, so join in and share your way!

Register for the webinar here. The password to register is “star1”. This interactive webinar will be VoiP only, so you will need to use a laptop, or a desktop computer with a microphone and headset (there will be no call-in option). If you have any problems with your registration, please contact Anne Holland for assistance.