Library Technology Conference Summary: A CMLE Scholarship

The following was submitted by a CMLE scholarship recipient.

 Submitted by: Laura Mackenthun, Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School Media Specialist

With the help of a scholarship from CMLE, I was able to attend The Library Technology Conference at Macalaster College on March 14 and 15.  As a middle school media specialist, I found this conference filled with opportunities to discover ways to consider and implement technologies for use with students and staff.  Furthermore, because this conference was intended for people from all library types, it also provided an opportunity I don’t have often–and that is to consider how my media center and the students with whom I work today are part of a bigger system of libraries, information technology, and media literacy.

The keynote speakers Andrew McLaughlin, Chad Mairn, and Larry Johnson (I’d suggest doing some research on these speakers and their thoughts!)  provided “big picture” views of technology and how the world may look in years to come.  Our library patrons–of any age and from any library type—live in a world filled with technology.  People are active consumers, users and creators of technology, technology is more accessible, and technology has potential beyond what we can envision.

The conference sessions provided opportunities to learn how information literacy is being taught, new technology tools for use in libraries, and online safety.

The balance of “big picture” thinking and “day to day” practical information that this conference presented was definitely valuable.  I came back to working with my middle school students and staff with ideas to implement and investigate further.

Newspapers in the Digital Era

A recent study, from the PEW Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, has uncovered some interesting data regarding the newspaper industry. This study involved not only review of proprietary data from individual newspapers, but also in-depth interviews with over a dozen major media companies. Overall, the study found that only slow progress is being made as newspapers begin to move into the digital future – though there are some success stories worth review.

Currently, newspapers continue to only put a small effort into new digital revenues and tactics and trends show that newspapers are continuing to contract – resulting in staff layoffs, a small reduction in the number of U.S. newspapers, and possibly a reduction in print editions – from daily editions to select days a week.

In all, 38 newspapers from six different companies were involved in the study. On average it was found that newspapers are losing print advertising dollars at seven times the rate that they are growing digital ad revenue in the last full fiscal year. Some of these newspapers are even seeing their digital revenue fall by up to 37% in the last year. Even with major setbacks like these, there are some success stories. One newspaper, in particular, saw digital ad revenue grow by 63% and print grow 8%.

Many of the “success stories” are utilizing new strategies for growing their business including “smart” or targeted marketing based on customer’s online behavior,  advertising on mobile devices, holding events, offering consultation, or selling business products.

The data is showing that the newspapers that are showing some positive numbers are taking some huge risks. One media executive speculated that when undertaking a major overhaul for the digital era, that the newspaper has a 90% risk of failure and only a 10% chance of success. Even with such a risk, it is likely inevitable that newspapers will have to adapt to the digital environment – or fail. The research shows that though newspapers have increased subscription costs, their overall revenue is still down by more than 40% in the last decade. Scary numbers, indeed! To read more about this study, visit

Finalists Named for the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards

The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library have announced the finalists for the 24th annual Minnesota Book Awards! To see a list of all the finalists by category, please visit The categories include: Children’s Literature, General Nonfiction, Genre Fiction, Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, Minnesota, Novel & Short Story, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature.

 Also of note, the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala, when the winners will be announced, will be held on Saturday, April 14th. Visit the main Minnesota Book Awards site for additional information and resources.

Keep your eyes peeled for another blog post from us during the month of March about how you can play a part in selecting the Readers’ Choice Award winner!

TIES Conference Summary: A CMLE Scholarship

The following was submitted by a CMLE scholarship recipient.

 Submitted by: Deborah Disher, Holdingford Media Specialist

 The place to be on December 12 & 13th was the TIES Conference at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.  Here you would have found 3,100 educators learning about new technology and what others are doing in their classrooms and districts.  I have attended TIES for more years than I would like to admit too, but it never fails to give me new ideas, renew my passion for technology, and motivate me to share ideas with staff and students.  This year was no exception.

 One of the most interesting things that seemed to come up in many sessions was that of a “flipped classroom”.  Where teachers tape their presentation and post to the web and students then listen to the presentations as homework.  During class time students do what would normally have been assigned as homework and the teacher is there to assist them.  Class time can also be used to go more in-depth.  I can see this being very beneficial, especially in math classes.  What a different way to think of teaching!  

 I attended a session on staff training that gave me some new ideas.  One idea I liked was what they called, “Speed Geeking”. During “Speed Geeking”, staff will spend ten minutes at different stations being introduced to some new tool.  After offering a “Speed Geeking” program it’s a good idea to offer a period of time for post-session discussion. During the post-session discussion, questions can be asked of staff attendees about what they learned, what they liked, whether the format of the class effective, and suggestions for improvement.  Later on, a follow-up can be done, asking if staff is using what they learned and if they need further help, advice, or assistance.

 I am anxiously awaiting our next staff development days so that we can try “Speed Geeking”. I also plan to setup up some after school sessions to share some of the other great ideas I learned.  All in all, the conference was great and I would encourage anyone who has never attended to try it next year.

History Day Palooza @ SCSU – Press Release

St. Cloud State University to help area students with history research during History Day Palooza @ SCSU

 St. Cloud – St. Cloud State University invites middle school and high school students to participate in “History Day Palooza @ SCSU,” which will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 in the James W. Miller Learning Resources Center at St. Cloud State University. Check in will begin at 8:30 a.m.

 St. Cloud State University and Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange librarians and SCSU History Day staff will provide training on library resources and research topics for area students working on their National History Day 2012 projects. They will be joined by Minnesota Historical Society History Day staff and a Minitex librarian. This year’s National History Day is focused on the theme “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.”

 Students participating in History Day Palooza @ SCSU will learn about the resources for doing history research that are available to them in the Miller Center library at St. Cloud State, and other libraries throughout the state. Librarians and St. Cloud State University history and education students will help students find books, articles and other resources in the Miller Center, write bibliographies, focus their topics, analyze and present their information, and add depth and personalized history to their projects.

 During History Day Palooza @ SCSU, students will also learn about materials available from other libraries in Minnesota and may request materials from those libraries through the interlibrary loan service provided by the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange.

 Students will be introduced to “Minnesota Reflections,” a growing collection of more than 85,000 digital copies of historical treasures from across Minnesota. They will also be introduced to the collection of resources available through the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). Minnesota Historical Society will also be on hand to offer advice on History Day projects.

 Teachers should register their students, but, if necessary, students may register themselves. Registration must include any adults who will accompany the student or group, including volunteers and parents. Registration deadline is Jan. 25. Registration is available at Space is limited so register soon.

Parking in all SCSU surface lots, including the pay lot on the north of the Miller Center, is free on weekends. Parking is available on nearby streets as well. Fees apply in the parking ramp.

 History Day Palooza @ SCSU is sponsored by the St. Cloud State University Learning Resources Services, Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, the SCSU History Department, the Minnesota Digital Library, Minitex, the Minnesota Historical Society and the SCSU College of Liberal Arts.

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