Tag Archives: CMLE members

Unexpected Member Event: John Scalzi at St. John’s!

It’s no secret that all of us at CMLE HQ love to read books – we have a whole podcast book group about it after all! And we have a lot of book fans around the system, who cheerfully tell us how much they like the book recommendations in our Linking Our Libraries podcast, the book suggestion series on our blog, and the series CMLE Reads Across Minnesota (complete with Google mapping!)

So, yeah. We are fans of reading. You are fans of reading. It’s pretty much a professional requirement to be a fan of reading – and we are all doing it well.

And when one of my favorite authors is announced as a speaker at a wonderful member library – am I pleased? Reader: Yes.  There may possibly have been joyous dancing around the office as I celebrated that news!

Kathy Parker, the head of the libraries at St. John’s and St. Ben’s, was a Guest Host on our Books and Beverages book group podcast the week we discussed SciFi.  She broke the exciting news – and thankfully she told us in advance, or I would have hijacked the entire discussion to talk about nothing else! (We had fun in this episode – definitely go listen to it!)

So I was excited to go! I dug out my Red Shirts paper book (I own all his other books in audio format – great to listen to, but awkward to have signed) and trudged out to St. John’s.

Not only was it a very fun presentation on technology, and the not-always-apparent impacts it has on us, but this turned into an impromptu CMLE member event! We had a bunch of people there from Great River’s St. Cloud library, and from St. John’s and St. Ben’s.  We even had unofficial “members” we adopted right into the group. Thanks so much to Gerri Moeller from the Viking Library System (and her husband), and to Chris (with the excellent Glacier hat!), who joined in the fun!

There were books available for sale at the end, and John was signing books. Did I make a fool of myself in my overflowing excitement at getting to talk to one of my favorite authors? Yes. Yes I did. But, who cares? We all had fun, it turned out to be a good CMLE member event, and I was very happy! (Ariel got her book addressed to “My favorite Shakespearean mermaid” – so obviously he’s cool!)

Thank you so much to all the CMLE members (and adopted members!) who came to the event. It is always wonderful to see you!!

Thank you to Kathy Parker for alerting us, and organizing the event. And for being such a great podcast guest!! Check her out on the Strategic Planning episode, as well as the SciFi episode.

Thank you to St. John’s for making this event open to the public, so we could all enjoy it!This was my first time in this auditorium, and it was very nice.

And, of course, thank you to John Scalzi (@scalzi on Twitter) for providing us with interesting entertainment, and for all the books!! (And for not getting distressed at an overly-excited librarian who gushed maybe a little much; but is a much calmer fan most of the time! And who really does take your books camping; they are wonderful to listen to when alone in the dark woods!)

CMLE Resource: Libraries After Dark

After your day at working at a library (whether it is a school library, academic, public, history center, museum, or other) it’s nice to leave the world of libraries behind to spend some time pursuing your hobbies. Whether that means meeting up with your band for practice, heading to a state park to go hiking, or settling in at home with your quilting project, we would like to hear about it! We are starting a new page called Libraries After Dark, to highlight our library people and their interesting talents and hobbies.

It’s clear to us at CMLE that libraries are places where people with diverse interests, hobbies, and talents tend to work. And after the library is closed (or after your shift ends, either one) the people that work there leave their libraries to go engage in interesting activities!

So we thought it would be fun to collect stories of our library people’s “hidden talents” in order to share them with each other! It’s so fun to get a glimpse into what our members are passionate about (besides libraries, of course!) and the goal of our page is to share those hobbies and skills. Some of our members are musicians, artists, master gardeners, bakers, or love hiking. Does this sound like I’m describing you? Please let us know! We’d love to feature you on our Libraries After Dark page and in this series on our blog! And no, you don’t need to be an “expert” in your area of interest – just the fact that you are trying something new is exciting! Let us know if you have a hobby, talent, or area of expertise that you’d like to write about for our blog. We’re happy to share videos, post pictures, or link to content that you’ve created (as long as it is appropriate). We can’t wait to hear about it!

Tomorrow, August 16th: CMLE Office Hours!

At CMLE HQ we are always happy to talk with our members about anything library related! Tomorrow is Wednesday August 16th and we will be having Office Hours from 11am – 1pm. 

If you are working on a project, doing some planning, or have any library questions or issues, feel free to stop by and chat with Mary and Angie. We will have a canine guest in the office too, should you have need of a therapy dog! 🙂

CMLE Headquarters
570 1st Street SE 
St. Cloud, MN 56307

CMLE Summer Social Activities!

You know how much we like to hang out with our members (and other library friends!); and we miss you when things are slower in the summertime!

After our recent poll to see what things people might want to do to gather and chat libraries (and other fun stuff!) this summer, we are setting up a few events. Our top vote-getters in different categories were for dinner and tea time, and to have meals/chatting instead of discussions or postcard parties. Our top locations people want to go were St Cloud and Cambridge.  So we are starting with these, but can expand these if people want to have more opportunities to get together and chat about library stuff!

  • Thursday, July 20 at 5:30pm We will be at the White Horse Restaurant and Bar: 809 West Saint Germain, St Cloud, MN 56301. They do not take reservations, so we will plan to just be a few minutes early and to hold a table (or two!) as library people come in.
  • We are rescheduling our Cambridge event! If you have a place you would like to meet, just check in!

There were also a number of votes from people who just wanted an opportunity to drop into CMLE’s Headquarters (570 1st Street SE, St Cloud, MN 56304). So we are setting up HQ Office Hours! Of course, members are always welcome to drop in to chat about things or to come by and ask focused questions about projects, planning, and any other library topic at any time. (We love guests!) This will just provide a definite time where we will be in the office, and ready to chat with you!

Starting Wednesday, July 12, and every other Wednesday after that (we define this as: all Wednesdays with an even numbered date), we will be in the office from 11:00 to 1:00, and ready to chat about writing policies, working through materials selections, negotiating with vendors, planning your website or social media, going to conferences as a presenter or an attendee, zines/manga/pop culture coolness, or anything else you want to discuss! Would you like to just come say hi for a minute, and put a face to our names? Do it! You can test out the bike desks, see the plants and ever-changing seasonal decorations, and check in on Orville The Official Office Bear! No need to call ahead, just drop in and we will be happy to see you.

And of course, if you want to casually chat at other times, just check in and we will set up a time. We are not formal here – we just want to hang out and talk about libraries!

We are looking forward to seeing you this summer, and hearing all about your adventures!

A visit to the Paynesville public library!

When you visit the Paynesville public library, you immediately know this is a library where you will feel at home, where they are interested in your library experience, and where they have taken care to be sure you find what you want.

You can see that right away in this library, as you head right for this very welcoming desk! Great material, lots of colors, fun displays – it’s all right here! You come in here, and you know you are going to enjoy yourself, and find people who will help you get everything you need.

I love this display! Not only are the materials easy to see and easy to find, but look at that art on the wall! This kind of detail can really help attract your patrons to material around your library.

On a nearby wall is this creative and obvious statement that good times are to be found right here! Again, drawing this kind of attention to the great things a library has to offer means patrons can easily find things they want.

Helping patrons to feel comfortable in any library should be a priority for staff. In this library, you can see that a relatively small space is arranged to make it feel open; and this comfy couch would inspire people to plop down and enjoy reading a book, or a magazine, or the newspaper. Thinking about these kinds of uses for your space can be a great way to either drive patrons away from a dark, overcrowded library, or inspire them to come inside and enjoy all your great stuff!

I love to see bookshelves, and these shelves, with such a nice mix of titles faced out to draw the eye, neat rows, and those cool book kits, just makes you want to grab a whole bunch of books and go read them on the couch! (I’m sure that can’t just be me – look at those great materials!)

Involving members of the community in the work you do is a great way to inspire them to keep coming back to your library. And this community -created art is such a great demonstration! Each flower here was painted by a different person; so kids can bring their parents inside and show them the specific artistic masterpiece they created! Adding in art is always good, and there are several other paintings around this library. Adding in these bright colors makes any building feel more cheerful and welcoming!

While I can’t guarantee that everyone will be fortunate enough to get a personalized tour of this library – you just might! The staff are all enthusiastic about their work and their library, and you can see that not only in their excitement over their materials, but in this nice Juvenile Fiction collection!

And what is this space? It is inside the neatest library playhouse I’ve seen!! Built by library staff and family, this fantastic house is in the Children’s section of the library. You can go thru the door, if you are appropriately sized, and then test out the furniture inside. There are even all these great murals around the inside of the house – it’s fantastic!


I’ve said this many times, but every library I’ve ever visited had some interesting and cool things – and you can really see it here!

If we have not visited your library yet, we miss you!! Let us know when we can come visit!