All posts by Mary Wilkins-Jordan


(From PC Magazine, By Molly K. McLaughlin)

“Codecademy has a bold mission—to rethink education from the bottom up—and it’s working on that on the web and out in the world through a handful of nonprofit initiatives. On the web, Codecademy offers courses to make learning to code and designing websites fun and easy. You can choose to learn specific languages, such as JavaScript, or even learn the (IBM) Watson API. Even better, all the classes are free, though a new paid plan offers additional learning tools and live support. This makes Codecademy our Editors’ Choice for free online coding classes.

Note: Codecademy is focused on teaching beginners. There are some advanced courses covering Ruby, PHP, and AngularJS, but you won’t find C or Java classes here. In the coming months, Codecademy will be rolling out new courses and refreshing its interface. Some older courses will be discontinued; if you’re in the middle of one, your progress will be lost, but your achievements will be saved, so you’ll still be able to track which courses (new and old) you’ve completed. Continue reading Codecademy

Minnesota Principal Defends Absolutely True Diary from Challenge

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie



This article is from  the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

“Good news from Minnesota! Following receipt of a letter from National Coalition Against Censorship member organizations including CBLDF, the principal of New London-Spicer Middle School responded that she will recommend keeping Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in the 8th grade curriculum. The book was challenged by parents who said it contained “gratuitous and unnecessary” profanity and references to sexual acts.

This challenge to Alexie’s novel is not to be confused with the one in neighboring Wisconsin, where the superintendent of the Sauk Prairie School District is also recommending that it remain in the curriculum. In the Minnesota case, NCAC members this week sent a letter to New London-Spicer Middle School principal Trish Perry urging her to consider the value of the book as a whole, and the negative precedent that would be set by allowing a few parents to dictate curricular selections for all students. Yesterday, Perry responded to thank NCAC for the letter and said she will recommend that Absolutely True Diary be retained because she “[values] the work that is in the book.”

Perry’s support is certainly a positive step, but it may not be the end of the line for this challenge. According to New London-Spicer School District policy, if the complainants are unsatisfied with her recommendation they may request a meeting with the superintendent and then the school board. Although Perry is defending the book in this case, this type of challenge policy leaves curricular materials too vulnerable to unilateral censorship by one person, as we’ve seen in past cases. The letter from NCAC also recommended that New London-Spicer revise its policy to adopt the more common model of forming a review committee to consider challenges to materials, and offered assistance in formulating such a policy if needed.

Luckily, New London-Spicer superintendent Paul Carlson also seems to support the book, saying in a radio interview that it contains “some very good topics about a 14-year-old boy who wants to better his life and overcome poverty.” He plans to meet with the complainants as well, but expects that the challenge will be on the agenda at the next school board meeting on June 12.

Below, check out the letter NCAC sent to Principal Perry this week. We will be on the lookout for updates!

(Read the rest of this article here!)

How to Be an Influential Librarian – Leading and Mentoring from Wherever you Are

Dear Colleagues,

As you begin to build your schedules for ALA, please consider including this excellent program:

How to Be an Influential Librarian – Leading and Mentoring from Wherever you Are

Sponsored by: ALCTS Leadership Development Committee

Cosponsored by: LLAMA Mentoring Committee and the ALA New Members Round Table (NMRT)

Saturday, June 24th from 1:30-2:30 pm

Librarians in any stage of their career can learn to be influential leaders in not only their own organization, but the library world as a whole. Attendees will learn how to build and leverage strong mentor/mentee relationships, both formal and informal, allowing them to connect and influence from either role. By focusing on interpersonal and communication skills, attendees will be able to effectively support their colleagues and organization by leading from wherever they are.

Our speakers represent librarians from early, mid, and late career points. We have Madison Sullivan (a new librarian at the University of Washington and formerly a fellow at NCSU), Rachel Fleming (the Collections Initiatives Librarian at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), and Maureen Sullivan (leadership consultant and past president of ALA). We’re hoping this session will be engaging, allowing both speakers and attendees to connect and share their experiences.

Catherine Soehner

LLAMA Mentoring Committee

Update from the Lobbyists for MN Libraries

File:Minnesota State Capitol.jpg

Special Session adjourns Sine Die

Early this morning the Minnesota Legislature adjourned their Special Session ‘Sine Die’ having passed the seven bills in the global agreement with Gov. Mark Dayton.

The bills detailed a $46 million budget including $650 million reduction in taxes, $483 million for education, $300 million for transportation and nearly $1 billion in bonding for public works. All of the bills now will go to the governor for his signature or veto.

While the governor signed the global agreement that kicked off the special session, there were few details in that original document. As a result, activists, union leaders and some high-ranking DFLers are urging him to veto all or some of the agreement.

While general expectations are that Gov. Dayton will sign or veto the bills by the middle to end of next week, he has 14 days to consider the bills passed in the special session after they’re presented to him. The legislature has three days to present the special session bills to the Governor.

Bonding Bill
The bonding bill contains $2 million for library construction and renovation grants. There are no earmarks for these funds so an open grant process will ensue at the MN Department of Education. Sam Samuel P. Walseth Capitol Hill Associates 525 Park Street, Suite 255 St. Paul, MN 55103

Library Lock-ins for Adults

Lock Clipart
(From Public Libraries Online, by Melanie A. Lyttle and Shawn D. Walsh)

It’s a Friday night and library staff are planning to be awake for the next twelve hours, plus the time it takes for them to drive home and fall exhausted into bed. It’s another lock-in, but this time the youngest attendees are 18. It’s an adult lock-in, and just like when they were in high school, there is no expectation of sleep. Squeezed in around jobs and school, new adults make time to gather with their friends at the library and be kids again.

We can’t say that this is an activity that would work everywhere. It seems quite situation-dependent. For example, our Adult Library Lock-In consisted of a core group who grew up attending lock-ins and other library programs. However, this time they brought their college friends, roommates, co-workers, and significant others to meet the librarians and former classmates they spent hours with at the library sometimes as long as five years ago.

How does an adult lock-in look different from a high school lock-in? Instead of large coolers filled with lemonade and water there is a carafe of very strong coffee and some 2 liter bottles of soft drinks. There isn’t a litany of rules to go over at the beginning so everyone behaves because everyone is an adult now. Anyone can leave when they want because most have cars, so there isn’t a need to call an over-sleeping parent and remind them to come get their child in the morning. There is more talking among the participants at the beginning of the event as they catch up with each other on what they have been doing since the last time they saw each other. Even in the age of social media it seems like talking face-to-face is still the best way to get information. There are also new friends from outside the community. It isn’t just kids from the local schools in the area.

How does an adult lock-in look the same as a high school lock-in? There are current and retro-gaming systems set up around the building. Tables are filled with board games ready to play. One television is ready for movie-watching. There is still pizza to eat, and someone still wants to organize a game of capture the flag. There are still people who decide to curl up in a niche on a comfy chair and read during the night, and there are still one or two people who decided to sleep for an hour or two during the event.

Why an adult lock-in? Whether these new adults are attending some type of post-secondary education in the area or farther away, they still want to come home. For many of them the library was their home during high school. This was their third place other than school and home. They could be themselves here. Now they want to share that with their significant other, their college roommate, or their co-worker who likes the same things they do. It is also a time to show the important adults in their lives, the librarians, that they have grown up and become something. Now they tell the librarians about their jobs, their classes, and their internships. And just like during high school, the librarians listen attentively, praise their efforts, and remind these young adults that they still believe they can do anything.

These kids aren’t kids anymore. They are now able to vote for library levies and generally support or ignore libraries. Soon they will have kids of their own, and hopefully they will bring their babies to your library for storytime!

(Read this entire article here!)