Category Archives: Communication

Spotlight Library News Story: Ransomware in Spartanburg!


We have talked about the dangers of ransomware in prior articles. (See: Ransomware hits St. Louis Public Library and The Best Ransomware Protection of 2017) And here we are again, with another library being hit by a ransomware demand.

Check out the excerpt of this story below, read the entire thing, and then look around your library to see what you can do to help protect your library from ransomware attacks!! Don’t gamble on losing all your online information to thieves; take a few steps now to protect your library.

Spartanburg public library computer system hit by ransomware

“Users of Spartanburg County Public Libraries were unable to check out or return books for a second day Tuesday after a ransomware attack sent out by cybercriminals shut down the library system’s computer network and website.

County Librarian Todd Stephens said technicians were working on the problem and had no idea when services and access to the online catalog will be restored, although the main library and all 10 branches remain open.

“Somebody has taken hostage the public’s library data,” he said. “We just don’t know the extent of the damage at this point. We are going to be down for an uncertain amount of time until our guys slowly bring everything up.”

Stephens said he immediately notified the library board of trustees and Spartanburg County administration. He said he hasn’t yet contacted law enforcement.

Shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, a library Internet technician noticed suspicious activity, Stephens said.

“When he engaged, he received notification that our system was hit with a ransomware attack,” Stephens said. “We immediately shut down all computer-related services, including computer use, wireless, checking out and checking in (library materials).”

The attacker demanded payment of 3.6 to 3.8 bitcoins, which Stephens said was estimated to be $36,000 or more.

Stephens said he has no intention of meeting the attacker’s demands.

“We don’t believe it is a data breach, we believe it’s a hostage situation” in exchange for releasing all the library’s computer data — which totals about 740,000 physical and online digital items, he said.

Stephens said the library does not keep on file users’ sensitive information such as Social Security, credit card or driver’s license numbers.

Those who use credit cards to pay library fines have no need to worry because a third party vendor is used, he said.

“We just don’t know the extent of the damage at this point,” Stephens said.

He said the attack is similar to one in December in Mecklenburg County, N.C. An employee opened a malicious “phishing” email and accessed an attached file that triggered the attack. Mecklenburg County officials rejected the demand for 2 bitcoins for the release of the locked data, and eventually restored the data.

Apparently, the Spartanburg library system attacker sent out the virus by email as far back as September, but just recently someone from the public or an employee opened it and triggered the attack, Stephens said.”

(read the rest of this article here!)

#LoveYourMNLibrary with CMLE!

Valentine's day M&Ms in the shape of a heart (8418026760)
We aren’t shy about it at all: at CMLE we looove our libraries! And we also love libraries in general! So we are celebrating the love-filled month of February looking at libraries across Minnesota. You are definitely invited to join in on the library-love-fest with fast facts about your own library!

We are collecting facts and ideas at #LoveYourMNLibrary. Each weekday we have a new cool thing one of the libraries in Minnesota is doing, hosting, or promoting. As I am a data nerd, I have collected a list of libraries across the state, and am using to select a new library each day.  We share something interesting from that library, and hope everyone else is inspired to try new things – or to bask in the glow of the wonderfulness that already is you!

This is just a quick taste of the excellent things happening in our libraries. We know there are SO many more fun things libraries of all types are trying across Minnesota. Dive in and share some with us, so we can all feel the library love!!

Stop by CMLE on Tuesdays in February for Office Hours!

We hold Office Hours at CMLE because we want to be easily available to our members, especially if you’d like to have a face-to-face conversation about any important (or fun!) library topics. We encourage you to stop by, no appointment necessary, to chat with us about any library issues you may be working on!

CMLE Office Hours will be held each Tuesday of the month of Febrary: the 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th. Note: Lady Grey will NOT be available for library consultation on Feb. 13th. Office Hours are held from 11am to 1pm at our headquarters location in the cmERDC building at 570 1st St. SE in St. Cloud, MN 56304.

Of course, if you need to set up a time to chat (or if you’d like us to visit you) definitely email us at and we’ll work something out!

This Saturday: Author Signings at Great River Regional Library!

Take some time this coming Saturday between 2pm-4pm to celebrate the launch of the Axis 360 platform at the St. Cloud Public Library! Axis 360 is the new ebook and audiobook provider. There will be an author signing where you’ll have the chance to meet Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours, and Raghavan Iyer, author of Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked. Plus, there will be refreshments and giveaways! Sounds like  fun!

Find more information on the GRRL website.

“Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong. ”

“Who knew a potato could ever taste so good? Raghavan Iyer, that’s who! A master teacher and beloved, award-winning cookbook author, Raghavan pays tribute to his favorite ingredient in a continent-by-continent celebration of the amazing potato.”


Episode 301: Let’s Get Started! Management Theories for Us All

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Welcome back to Season Three of Linking Our Libraries! This season we are spending time looking at different tools you can use to be a better manager and leader in your library, archive, history center, or other nonprofit. Over the next 15 episodes, we will cover some groupings of topics: Foundational Ideas, Human Resources, Looking Ahead, and Other People. You do not need to become an expert in any of these skills; but understanding all of them will make you a better leader in your organization.

If you like libraries, archives, or history centers; or if you work in a nonprofit; or if you just want to learn more about management and leadership, you are in the right place!

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and our job is to help libraries! We are a multi-type library system, with member libraries of all sorts: public, schools, academics, special libraries, archives, and history centers. Yes – we are pretty lucky!

This season we are looking at a variety of topics related to management and leadership. Our focus is on libraries, but our topics are relevant to all types of nonprofits working to improve their leadership skills.

Do you want to talk with us about a topic? Want us to set up some training for you? Check out website under “Can We Help You?” and let’s talk!


The Basics

This week we begin with Foundational Ideas.

As a manager, figuring out all the different stuff you need to do can be overwhelming. But everything is easier when you have a roadmap to follow; and fortunately, management is filled with them!

In this episode, we will spend some time looking at some management theories. This will give you some understanding of ideas worked out by people who have spent their careers thinking about the best way to do management well. You may choose to incorporate some of these ideas, or not, as you begin to build your own personal management style. It is always valuable to know what people have done on the past, to help you feel confident in your job.