Tag Archives: School media center

Podcasting – Jumping in Head First


check out Maria’s actual setup – pretty cool!

(by Guest Blogger Maria Burnham, from Sauk Rapids-Rice High School; read about our visit to her library!)

I’ve been a big fan of podcasts for a long time, and I love that podcasts are, once again, on the radar and a popular topic of conversation.  Several times over the last few months I’ve heard people say, “Have you listened to [insert podcast name]?  It’s so great!”  Podcasts sometimes feel like short little audio books; perfect snippets for those of us with limited spare time or those of us with commitment issues.  I listen to popular podcasts like Serial and Hidden Brain, literary podcasts like The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, music podcasts like Tiny Desk, and book podcasts like Book Riot.

Recently, I decided that it was time to take podcasting into my own hands.  I’m an avid reader, and because of my role as the school’s “librarian” (even though that’s not my official title), I’m often asked to help others find a book.  In conjunction, I’m also in a high school setting which can sometimes be a finicky place to get reading traffic in to the library.  High schools aren’t like elementary and middle schools where classes of kids come down once a week to check books in and out.  Instead, I often rely on the roaming traveler in the book stacks or the rare, “My friend said I just HAVE to read this book!” for foot traffic.  Podcasting seemed like the logical blending of these two situations.  I could push out my book recommendations and at the same time try to create a bit more excitement about reading and the new books we have available.

Continue reading Podcasting – Jumping in Head First

Calling on Academic Librarians! We need your input on student needs!

Are you an academic librarian? We need you!

Do you know an academic librarian? Forward this on!

Maria Burnham is the media specialist at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. She wants to be sure her students leave school post-secondary ready, a goal of her building and of her district. But what does that really mean for libraries??

We do not have a good sense of what students need to know to be successful when they get to you in an academic library. So we are asking you!

This is a quick survey (same survey in all those links above!), and it should only take you about five minutes to complete.

Maria will collect the responses, and turn it into some material that she can use to help her teachers and students to know what it is they need to know to be successful! We can also share the results with you, and we will be building on this work to reach out to libraries across the CMLE system, and across the state.

We all want students to be ready for their next step after high school; let’s see what we can do to make that happen!

We really want to get input from all types of academic libraries, so your help is really appreciated!! We know you are busy as you wind up your semester; so to thank you CMLE will award a $10 gift card from Amazon.com to a randomly chosen person who completes the entire survey before Dec. 16.

Thank you for your help!


A visit to Kimball High School

A visit to Kimball High School library reveals a library dedicated to helping student patrons, and thinking about the future of libraries! Library Media Specialist Lori Miller showed me around her library; and then we had a chance to sit down and chat with some other technology staffers to talk about libraries and the future. That is one of the really fun parts about these visits – talking with colleagues about libraries is just great! And CMLE is here to help our members to be successful; so we are always available to talk about library history, present, and future.


Of course libraries are more than “just” books (as if that would be bad!); but our foundation is always books – the original technology for reading! Never needs charging or refreshing; and having a paper copy means you never worry about losing your license to the content. So the books are important. The bookshelves are neatly arranged, have cool posters on the end-caps to draw in prospective readers (it worked on me!), and the display of books makes them easily accessible and ready to grab – always a benefit when considering circulation stats! Continue reading A visit to Kimball High School

A Visit to the Avon Elementary School Library

Angie and I were invited to visit the Avon Elementary School library, where we were in the capable hands of Cathy Studer and Gayle. They showed us around their very nice library, in between helping their young patrons and teachers in technology distress. (A busy library’s work is never done!) Teaching a class in the computer lab behind the library was Dana Dingmann, and swamped with busy kids working on assorted projects. Dana also helps in the library, and works on devices for the school.

looks good enough to eat!

When you walk in the door you immediately see this great display. It changes monthly, and this month they are focused on food and books. This theme carries over to other displays in the library.

important library supplies

Check out the really cute basket of crayons! This food-themed strategy for putting out crayons for patron is on all the work tables in the library. The library is also available for backup for the school’s technology needs. They have a laptop cart with 30 laptops, and iPad cart with 30 devices, and another cart of 30 Chromebooks. Each classroom works on a 2:1 ratio of tech tools – Chromebooks and iPads – to student. Cathy and Gayle are available to work with everyone to be sure the tech is effective in teaching and learning. And there was a copy of a Magic Tree House series book – one of my favorites! Continue reading A Visit to the Avon Elementary School Library

Visiting Apollo High School

The excitement in visiting this school started immediately, as I stopped at the space capsule outside to admire it. Yes: a real NASA training capsule, just like the astronauts rode to the moon! I knew this was going to be an exciting trip, and the library did not let me down. Media Specialist Susan Hoffman was there to show me around and to answer all my questions about her very nice library.


Everything is better with fish!

This fish tank is the first thing you see as you walk into the big, open library area. It gives visitors a good welcome and establishes the library as a place where possibly unexpected great things will appear – always a good idea for libraries!

Spoooky holidays on the calendar!

This calendar was so fun! As we were near Halloween, it was great to see all the appropriately spooky holidays mentioned here. I love to celebrate holidays, and at CMLE Headquarters we are enthusiastic decorators. (You need to stop in and visit us!) I had no idea that Haunted Refrigerator Night was a thing – but it is! I was simultaneously terrified, and seized with the urge to clean out my leftovers. There was no time for that, as there were so many other things to see in the library.

We will always have paper books!

Libraries, as we all know, do so much more than hand out paper books to deserving readers as we did back in the olden days of library work.  Now we have all kinds of tools to reach out to our patrons, to connect with their information needs, and to provide some fun. This display of New Books meets a few different goals in a library setting. Of course, new books are always fun, and any bibliophile will happily browse here (I did!).  But this shelf is special, because those multiple copies of books you see are books from the book club run in this library! (Susan will be contributing a Guest Blog on her book club; and the information should be good for everyone considering starting a group).

Looking at it all

You can get an idea of the huge size of the library space here (As is always important in a library and in a school, I am struggling here not to get any student patrons in the pictures; so angles can be a little odd. It is a truly outstanding “problem” that the library was filled with students!).  I love this sign with all the values being embraced in the library here in one place.  Students see this as they enter the large space, and it seems like it would give a good perspective on being part of the community of learners here. Diversity issues can be tough to work with each day; and it is good to see them being publicly embraced.

As you look toward the right in this picture, you can not quite see the two completely filled computer stations. Each has 32 terminals. There is also access to the iPad cart filled with tablets, laptops to lend out, and other technology tools available for students to use in their learning endeavors.


Apollo Eagle art!

It is always good to see art in a library – a visual reminder that information comes in all kinds of formats, and we should be ready to share them all. This was particularly interesting art, as it is a chain saw carving done by Minnesota artist Jerry Faber (Walker, MN). This kind of traditional art has information and meaning beyond the message of the Apollo Eagle; it also demonstrates the value of folk art done by talented artists working with tools available to them. Art is for everyone!

Reader’s Advisory tools

It is probably no surprise that I, along with almost all library people, am a big reader. So, when I saw these really good binders filled with book suggestions, it was a struggle to not just stand there and take notes about the recommendations! And no – I was not able to stop myself from picking them up and flipping thru the pages.  As another demonstration of reaching out to patrons with different kinds of tools – some people will be more comfortable with paper and binders, while others will flinch away and reach for a phone to look online. Both types of searching are fine; we need to be ready to respond to all patrons with information tools that work for them. So not only did I enjoy these, but other patrons had obviously been using them as well!

Be like Batman!

On the way out, I saw this at the Circ Desk! Working with students can add a level of complexity to any library job; and it is important to keep up your sense of humor! And again – this is a great way to reach out to the patrons who need to hear a message. They may not necessarily recognize the 14th Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden (follow her on Twitter @LibnOfCongress); but everyone knows Batman. While it may be difficult to calculate the ROI on the sign in terms of returned materials, just the moment of seeing it and having a quick laugh may plant the seed of returned books in the patrons!

As always, there were so many other great things to see here! Use these posts as opportunity to reach out to your colleagues. Library people across CMLE are doing all kinds of different and interesting things; let’s connect to talk about issues faced across the system! CMLE Headquarters is here to make everyone stronger!