All posts by Mary Wilkins-Jordan

CMLE Reads Across MN: Rez Life

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, but 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!


Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life, by David Treuer



This week I’ve been reading the nonfiction book Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life, by David Treuer. I’m about half-way through it, and feel like I’m learning a lot about life on reservations. Growing up as a white person, in the cornfields of Central Illinois, I knew essentially nothing about modern Indian life. As I’ve traveled more, especially out West, and spent more time visiting both modern and historic sites, reading and talking with people, I’m learning more about the different history and cultures of tribes. (I cried when visiting Big Hole National Battlefield and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument – but it would be hard not to. And you see how much more there is to learn in these visits.)

So I am always interested in learning more,  and more about Minnesota cultures. I found this book in the shop at the Grand Portage National Monument. (Yes: I’ve never passed a single state or national park/forest/monument that I didn’t want to visit!) I’m not finished with it yet; but am enjoying it enough to recommend. Treuer explains some of the challenges faced by his tribe, the Ojibwe; and also the larger picture of life on reservations, with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

As with other cultures I don’t share, it’s daunting to realize how much I don’t know, and that I will never understand it all. But more understanding, more learning, and more ideas about the ways other people approach life is always good!

As a member of the library profession, I definitely like to learn more – and to have another interesting book to recommend!

From Amazon:

“Celebrated novelist David Treuer has gained a reputation for writing fiction that expands the horizons of Native American literature. In Rez Life, his first full-length work of nonfiction, Treuer brings a novelist’s storytelling skill and an eye for detail to a complex and subtle examination of Native American reservation life, past and present.

With authoritative research and reportage, Treuer illuminates misunderstood contemporary issues of sovereignty, treaty rights, and natural-resource conservation. He traces the waves of public policy that have disenfranchised and exploited Native Americans, exposing the tension that has marked the historical relationship between the United States government and the Native American population. Through the eyes of students, teachers, government administrators, lawyers, and tribal court judges, he shows how casinos, tribal government, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have transformed the landscape of Native American life.

A member of the Ojibwe of northern Minnesota, Treuer grew up on Leech Lake Reservation, but was educated in mainstream America. Exploring crime and poverty, casinos and wealth, and the preservation of native language and culture, Rez Life is a strikingly original work of history and reportage, a must read for anyone interested in the Native American story.”

Episode 207 Strategic Planning

Wikimedia Strategic planning 09

This week we are talking about Strategic Planning.

Did everyone panic a little bit there? No need!

Strategic Planning is one of those things that sounds scary and hard and like it will take you a huge amount of time. But really, it’s just thinking about the future and what you want to do in your library. Generally strategic plans will be about three to five years. After that point, it becomes tougher to know what is going to be happening in your library and in the world around you. The idea is that it is a long term plan. Shorter time periods are tactical plans, or project plans.

(We are working on a new Strategic Plan here at CMLE; so if you are in our geographic region expect that we will be asking you for your ideas as we create and modify plans to help serve our community!)

Today we are going to do a quick overview of the steps involved in Strategic Planning. Your planning process may be more complex, or may be more compressed – you should work on it the way that makes sense for your library and for your community. There are a lot of different ways to create a good plan; but these steps will get you there!

Contents on our full information page:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Guest Host Kathy Parker
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion
  • Sample Plans
  • 30 Sample Vision Statements
  • 50 Sample Mission Statements


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

Want to talk with us about this topic? Do you, your staff, or your organization need training in this topic? Want to write a policy, or develop a program? We are here for you!
Click here to get started!

Coming Soon: Books and Beverages!

Coffee and Book (33396455176)

Did you read our article last week on BHAGs? If so, you not only got a quick leadership lesson, but also a spoiler on one of CMLE’s upcoming programs!

Our library training podcast, Linking Our Libraries, has been so fun; and we have had a lot of good feedback from members and other listeners. We have really enjoyed talking about library topics, and with our library guests! And a surprising number of people have mentioned one of their favorite segments in each episode is when we talk about the books we are reading.

Of course, as library people, we love books! We like reading  them, we like talking about them. I spend a significant percent of my time, when visiting our member libraries, telling myself to NOT TOUCH ALL THE BOOKS. #TheStruggleIsReal

So we decided to add a second podcast! It will be called Books and Beverages. The idea is two-fold.

  • First: we want to chat about books, and to have fun doing it! There are so many great books to read out there, that we are establishing a weekly theme. (Otherwise, we might spend too much time on my go-to genre of Urban Fantasy, and talk about werewolves every week! Have you read Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series? Do so!!)
  • Second: we do like to provide some educational content to our work. So this podcast will also help library people in their Reader’s Advisory work! If you don’t do that – no worries. We will be talking about fun stuff; but there will also be material available on our website to help you learn more about RA work, and about each week’s genre in specific.

We want this to be fun – like a book group! Instead of making book assignments (we already have that!), we just want to hang out with you and chat. We are inviting in guests to be part of each episode, to get a diverse set of ideas and suggestions. We will talk about our favorites, or be baffled about the genre. We will share titles we loved, we will talk about the books we just couldn’t finish, and everyone will leave with ideas for at least a new book or two to read!

And of course, we will have the one thing that really makes a book group complete: beverages. As we start each episode, we will be enjoying our beverages; and as you – the listener – are also members of this book group, you should also have a beverage! If you are listening at 9pm, and your beverage of choice is a glass of wine – great! If you are listening at 9am, and your beverage is a steaming mug of coffee – great! And if you have having a day that requires you to reverse those – we are not judging!

Just take a few minutes to sit back, relax, and sip along with us as we talk about books.

It will be fun. We will all get some good book ideas. And we will all have some time to just enjoy being together for a while, with our books.

Books. Beverages. Libraries. What could be better?

Our first episode will drop Tuesday, October 17. In the meantime, keep listening to our Linking Our Libraries episodes, dropping every Thursday morning!

Would you like to be a Guest Host on Books and Beverages? Are you passionate about your genre?? We want to hang out with you and talk about books!
Fill out the form below, and tell us your genre. We will try to get to everyone, and if we miss you this season, there will be many, many more!


Spotlight Program: Citizen Science Partnerships

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. (On November 9, 2017, we will drop a podcast episode on Library Programming; you can tune in here to check it out! Or, of course, subscribe or stream to enjoy any of the episodes!)

Citizen Science Program

As a mulitype system, we are always enthused about partnerships and sharing across different types of libraries. This program sounded really fun – and a great way to share resources and skills across academic and public libraries.

Citizen science programs can be great ways to bring people into your  public library, and to get them involved with your resources. Adding in the expertise of an academic institution to bring in expertise just builds the interest! (Note that this is funded by an IMLS grant – yet another great program from this organization!! Tell your federal representative and senators to keep funding for libraries!)

Can you do some science? Are you interested in exploring this? Let’s talk! We can help you to find a member to partner with, and you can offer some new, exciting programs to your community!


ASU Citizen Science grant project ASU’s 2016 Citizen Science Maker Summit: (from left to right) Narendra Das, a research scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Dan Stanton, associate librarian for academic services at ASU Library and co-investigator on the grant; Darlene Cavalier, professor of practice in ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society and principal investigator on the grant; Catherine Hoffman, managing director of SciStarter; Micah Lande, assistant professor and Tooker Professor at The Polytechnic School; and Brianne Fisher, former ASU graduate student. Download Full Image

Arizona State University aims to position public libraries as key facilitators of citizen science, a collaborative process between scientists and the general public to spur the collection of data.

Through a new grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), researchers from the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and ASU Library will develop field-tested, replicable resource toolkits for public libraries to provide to everyday people contributing to real research, from right where they are.

Despite growing interest from public libraries to incorporate citizen science programming into their role as go-to community hubs, Dan Stanton, associate librarian for academic services at ASU Library, says there are no documented road maps, best practices or models to follow.

“Our project team is well equipped to address this need, as there is substantial expertise in the area of citizen science here at ASU,” said Stanton, co-investigator on the grant.

Led by Darlene Cavalier, a professor of practice in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the grant brings together an interdisciplinary team of faculty and librarians to build on previous work around citizen science — a practice rapidly gaining in popularity, particularly at ASU.

In 2016, ASU hosted the Citizen Science Maker Summit, organized by Cavalier, who is also the founder of SciStarter, an online platform and ASU research affiliate, where more than 1,600 citizen science projects are registered online and open for support and participation. The projects include everything from observing or recording natural phenomena to developing software or instrumentation.

Cavalier also serves on the National Academy of Sciences committee on citizen science and is the co-founder of the Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST) network.

“We know from previous research that too frequently the lack of access to low-cost instruments, coupled with an unmet desire to feel part of a community, creates a barrier to entry for would-be citizen scientists,” Cavalier said. “We are grateful to IMLS for supporting our effort to understand how the characteristics and capacities of librarians, their local communities and the scientists who need help from those communities can be supported through public libraries.”

As part of the grant, ASU will partner with six Arizona public libraries representing a mix of urban and rural and youth and senior populations.

The toolkits that will be developed for the libraries will offer multiple entry points that acknowledge varying library capacities and diversity of patrons.

Risa Robinson, coordinator of the grant and the assistant director of learning services at ASU Library, says libraries are ideal conduits for citizen science.

“Citizen science represents the kind of low-cost but impactful programming public libraries have always provided,” she said.

“With the increasing demand for science literacy, the growing interest in citizen science and the library’s strong community anchor, this partnership makes sense.””

Weekly holiday: World Gratitude Day!

All of us at CMLE are fans of celebrating – you should see our office with our seasonally changing decorations! So each week we look at anther fun holiday we can celebrate.

This week we are ready to celebrate World Gratitude Day! Thursday, Sept.  21 is this exciting day, celebrated around the world.

So what are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for the waterfalls, hiking trails, and lovely state parks all over Minnesota!

At CMLE HQ, we are grateful for many things – but of course, a lot of them of them revolve around libraries! We are grateful for our members. We are grateful for our library visits. We are grateful for our assorted friends and supporters. We are grateful for Orville, our Official Office Bear, our plants, and decorations. We are grateful for our podcasts, our social gatherings with members, and all the fun library things we get to do!

I’m thankful for nice doggies, especially wearing life jackets!

So look around your library. What are you grateful for this week? Patrons? Co-workers? The neat books you have?? Take a few moments to ponder this for yourself, and to remember that even in the annoying days that happen in any library job – we have a lot of good things to be grateful for here in this generally good profession! Feel free to leave grateful comments below!

If you have not had one of these doughnuts in Grand Marais, you have missed a wonderful experience – one to be grateful for in any event!