All posts by Mary Wilkins-Jordan

Learn to build your own Android app

Look how cute he is! Let’s build an app!

There are many interesting apps available for library use, and we are looking at some of them this week. But what if you want something that is unique to the special needs of your library? What if you want to stretch yourself and your tech skills by trying something new? What if you just don’t want to pay for an app??

You might be the perfect audience for this (free!) Udacity class!

Android Development for Beginners How to Make an Android App gives you some training in Java and programming for Android. “This course is designed for students who are new to programming, and want to learn how to build Android apps. You don’t need any programming experience to take this course. If you’ve been using a smartphone to surf the web and chat with friends, then you’re our perfect target student!”

Your library may want to reach out to patrons in a way that works for them, and speaks to them with tools they are already using. “Android powers over 80 percent of the world’s smartphones, and represents an incredible opportunity for developers everywhere. The next billion people coming online will interact with the internet for the very first time on a mobile device. Building for Android gives you the best opportunity to reach these users and make an impact — both in your community, and on the world.”

You may not need to connect to everyone in the world – but you do want to connect with as many of your potential users as possible; and an app you create may be one tool to help make that happen!


Performing marshmallows: the keys to a great team

Together We Achieve More!

Teamwork! It is always a complicated topic in libraries, and yet so very important for us to function together.

Maybe part of the problem with this is that few people are ever taught HOW to be part of a team. Assuming that one person will lead it all, and everyone else can hang back and criticize, is terrible teamwork. (Project Runway is starting their newest season, and you can watch it for some great examples of people who have no idea how to work together – despite that their professional lives literally depend on it!) (And, there is sewing. It’s not all management lessons!)

Many people have studied teamwork, in an effort to figure out how we can be better at it, and get better results. In 1965 Bruce Tuckman developed a model of team development that has provided a good road map for teams to follow as they develop. He suggested a few defined stages:

  • Forming: the initial coming together, good behavior by everyone, not yet really together
  • Storming: conflicts arise as the group gets organized, with different ideas and strategies bumping against each other; this does not mean things are going badly – it is part of the growth!
  • Norming: moving past the conflicts and everyone is feeling like a team – ready to wear matching shirts or other signs of team harmony
  • Performing: getting down to the action, with everyone ready to move the team forward toward the goal
  • Adjourning: this stage was added in 1997, working with Mary Ann Jensen; this describes that when the team purpose has ended, there is a sadness everyone feels that needs to be acknowledged.

Even just knowing that there are stages and paths to better team action can be helpful to people who may feel doubtful about participating. I have spoken with many library managers and directors who are not happy with the way their staff works in teams; more experience in how a good team can work would be helpful to everyone!

So, what does this have to do with marshmallows? Tom Wujec is here to explain! Watch his TED Talk and see how he gets teams to collaborate, and how they can get started on big projects.

Have you done a marshmallow test? Try it out before you read all about it – you don’t want to spoil your experience! If you have a team project coming up, or want to help your staff teams start off with a fun experience (that’s one of those “cheery-fake” activities that annoys people), try a marshmallow problem to get everyone working together.

Think about the teams in your library. You may work with a team of people who do what you do (preservation, kid books, cataloging, and more), and you also work with a larger team of people who all are interested in the work of your library (Board members, teachers, students, and more). Getting everyone to work together and master the performing stage is a challenge; but working with some structures that help to guide people into more effective teamwork can help make it a better experience for everyone involved!




























  • Adjourning













Community Grants from Walmart


Does your library have an idea for a program or service you could set up to benefit your community? Walmart might be able to help!

Through their Community Grant Program, the Walmart Foundation provides funds to nonprofit and government organizations serving communities. “Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have identified four core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Opportunity.”

The guidelines are here; so read through them to see if your idea might fit into their funding. The deadline for this round of grants is December  31, 2016; but if your idea is more suitable for setting up later, this is an annual program.

They have set up an FAQ section here, and reading through these might give you some ideas.

CMLE Libraries: Do you want to discuss some grant ideas? Want to get some help in writing your application, or a second set of eyes? Email or call us, and we will be happy to help out on your application material!


RUSA Achievements Awards and Grants


Call from RUSA!

The Reference and User Services Association announced a call for nominations!

“RUSA encourages members to nominate their colleagues whose work has influenced their thinking and performance and whose outstanding contributions merit recognition by the profession. RUSA has, and will continue to, nominate, select and honor the very best in the field of reference and user services with the continued support of industry sponsors.”

Are you doing some great work in Reference? Do you have a colleague, in your library or in another one, who is doing great work? Nominate yourself or someone else! (Self nominations are fine here; you may know better than anyone else around you how well you are doing in Reference work, and it’s great to nominate yourself.)

There are CMLE librarians doing some great work; if you want to work on one of these nominations, they can make a big difference in the professional life of a winner. Contact Mary at CMLE headquarters to talk about the form, and for help in writing and editing your nomination.

There are a wide variety of awards available, reflecting the breadth of Reference work in today’s libraries. Here are just a few examples of the full list:


Questions about these awards should be directed to Leighann Wood, Sr. Program Officer, More information about these awards, including nominating instructions, can be found on RUSA’s awards webpage.



100 Days of Learning with Boeing


Perry the Platapus van
Perry the Platy-bus

Phineas and Ferb may have had 104 days of summer vacation, but Boeing is presenting teachers and kids with 100 days of STEM learning!

Working with their partners for education, Boeing has assembled 100 days of projects to encourage K-12 kids and their teachers to explore and have fun with all kinds of STEM projects. “With 100 years of innovation experience behind us, Boeing is looking ahead to the next century of possibilities with 100 Days of Learning. These days are meant to spark young people’s natural sense of curiosity and show them just how astronomical their impact on the world can be.”

The lessons are broken into several categories, including:

As you click on each challenge, which could be Deploy a Satellite, CubeSats, Build a Lightweight Airplane Wing, or 97 other ideas, you go to the Curiosity Machine website. The Boeing-inspired lessons are here, and there are many more topics and lessons available. Most of them have a suggested grade level for students to work through it, though everything is open to all so students and teachers can explore any project.

You need to sign up for a free account to get access to all the materials, and these are broken into categories of Student, Mentor, Educator, and Parent. Everyone can see the materials required for each project, and an inspiration video to get you started. Educators can post their own notes and photos, to be viewed by their students.

With 100 Boeing-inspired projects to try here, and dozens more available through the Curiosity Machine, there will be tons of material available to explore for everyone!