24th Annual Minnesota Book Award Winners Announced

On April 14th, nearly 800 people attended the Minnesota Book Awards Gala. During the event, winners in eight categories were selected and acknowledged, along with the Readers’ Choice Award. The nine winners include: BookSpeak! Poems about Books by Laura Purdie Salas for Children’s Literature, Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Lawsuit on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto for General Nonfiction, Big Wheat by Richard A. Thompson for Genre Fiction, A Song at Twilight: Of Alzheimer’s and Love by Nancy Paddock for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, Pioneer Modernists: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists by Julie L’Enfant for the Award for Minnesota, The Law of Miracles and Other Stories  by Gregory Blake Smith for Novel & Short Story, Whorled by Ed Bok Lee for Poetry, With or Without You by Brian Farrey for Young People’s Literature, and The Tanglewood Terror by Kurtis Scaletta for the Readers’ Choice Award.

More information about the award winners and finalists can be found at http://www.thefriends.org/programs/mnbookawards/award_winners_and_finalists.html.

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees!

Happy reading, Minnesota!

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 http://www.journalism.org/node/28629.

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 http://www.thefriends.org/programs/mnbookawards/mba_author_news.html#24thfinalists. 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 http://www.thefriends.org/programs/mnbookawards.html 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!

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