State Library Updates: 5/26/16

MDE logo retrieved online 12/17/13..

TO: Minnesota Libraries
FROM: State Library Services
DATE: May 26, 2016
SUBJECT: Updates from State Library Services

Better Together: Strengthening Adult Learning Communities
At three Better Together workshops this spring, 180 participants learned creative approaches to leveraging their expertise to serve adult learners and to improve Minnesota’s workforce. The workshops offered library, adult basic education and workforce center professionals a chance to team up to address the needs of students, workers, job seekers, and employers.

Better Together attendees also learned more about online resources including the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment, the Minnesota Literacy Council’s digital literacy curriculum, and the Electronic Library for Minnesota’s computer skills center.

With Workforce Innovation Act incentive funds earned by Adult Basic Education, the Minnesota Department of Education is able to offer up to ten competitive grants of up to $5,000 for projects designed to increase collaboration between the three partners and improve adult literacy and/or workforce outcomes, especially in the area of digital literacy. Grants must be submitted by Adult Basic Education and at least one partner had to attend a Better Together session. For information, please contact Julie Dincau (651-582-8681) or Emily Kissane (651-582-8508).

Steps Toward a Minnesota Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan Continue
In April and May, MDE hosted ten public meetings to explore ESSA with large, diverse groups of stakeholders. Comments and presentations from most of the feedback sessions are now available on MDE’s website.

In July and August, work groups will be convened with the goal of informing the framework for Minnesota’s plan. Next steps are listed on this tentative timeline, and MDE anticipates submitting its plan in early 2017. Please send questions and comments to

MDE and MetaMetrics® Help Combat Summer Learning Loss for Your Students
Summer is upon us–and with it, the end of formal classroom time for many children. Leaving behind a structured learning environment often results in summer learning loss. Instead of progressing in their reading and mathematics skills, students may flatline or slip in their abilities. Low-income children are especially susceptible to loss, since they often lack access to books at home.

To combat this trend, MDE is teaming up with MetaMetrics® this year to provide opportunities for summer reading and math learning. The Summer Reading and the Summer Math Challenge engage families and students in summer learning. Find out more about Metametrics® summer learning opportunities, including materials you can use to promote these programs, on the MDE website.

Welcoming New Staff at MBTBL
Etta Thornburg joined the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library as Audio Visual Education Specialist in early May. Ms. Thornburg will be helping to re-launch the volunteer recording program that will create digital audio recordings of locally selected materials. Prior to joining MDE, Ms. Thornburg was employed at Planned Parenthood in Des Moines, Iowa as their Education and Health Services Program Manager and brings a great deal of volunteer management and library experience to this position. For more information, contact Catherine Durivage (1-800-722-0550).

Study Released on the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
A division of the Library of Congress, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), provides free audio and braille materials for U.S. residents who cannot read standard print due to visual and other disabilities. The NLS program uses federal funds to provide these materials through a national network of libraries, including our own Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault which serves about 10,000 people across the state.

The NLS is always looking for new ways to better serve its clients, and the answer is often found in new technologies. A recent study conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirmed the importance of NLS’s ongoing quest for improved services, and even went so far as to recommend that Congress consider authorizing NLS to provide its users wireless devices for reading electronic braille files. This could mean a big change from the cartridges and talking book players many customers are currently using.

For more information about the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library, please contact Catherine Durivage (1-800-722-0550).

School Librarians, You’re 2 Cool 2 Be 4-gotten–Stay in Touch This Summer
School is nearly out for the summer. If you’re looking at a work break for the next few months, please consider staying connected with State Library Services. We promise to keep you updated about workshops, programming and more. Sign up with your summer email address today! Please contact Jen Verbrugge (651-582-8356) with questions.

Register Today for the Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium
The eighth annual Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium provides an opportunity for educators, librarians, administrators, counselors, psychologists, school board members and parents to gain a greater understanding of the unique needs of gifted and high potential learners. Invited speakers include many of the field’s finest regionally, nationally and internationally known presenters.

All are welcome to register and attend the symposium, June 13-16, 2016 at Austin High School, 301 3rd Street NW in Austin. Sessions will address best practices for the assessment of students for services, program models, social and emotional needs, instructional strategies, under-represented populations, under-achievement, integration of STEM and technology, and specific content in the areas of science, mathematics, language arts and social studies. The symposium fee is $200 and attendance is limited. Registration closes on June 1, so sign up today. Please contact Wendy Behrens (651-582-8786) for more information.