New PD Opportunity! Media Landscapes: 23 Things

Get in on the Fun & Learning!
The seven Minnesota Multicounty Multitype Library Systems (Multitypes) have created a new 23 Things on a Stick in collaboration with Minitex called Media Landscapes: 23 Things.

Media Landscapes: 23 Things (ML:23) is designed to help library staff engage more deeply with the issues and concepts addressed in the Media Landscapes Campaign. By working together through these Things, we will all have a greater understanding of disinformation, information/digital literacy, and how to address these issues in various library settings. 

Hundreds of library staff and others have attended the first three Media Landscapes presentations. Each has been full of information and thought-provoking questions. Join ML:23 to expand your knowledge and have the opportunity to discuss and share with others.

The self-paced curriculum is available online here. The Things will be released gradually as more Media Landscapes speakers are scheduled. The series will remain up indefinitely for Minnesota library staff and others to complete the Things. 

Register Now

NewsLitCamp with Star Tribune

The upcoming NewsLitCamp on June 15th is designed for middle and high school teachers and media specialists in Minnesota, and features a full day of free synchronous sessions and live interactions with Star Tribune journalists and experts from the News Literacy Project. 

Why attend? As an educator, you directly influence how your students process everything they read, watch, and hear. You’ll leave NewsLitCamp with new ideas, skills, and resources to help your students navigate today’s complex and challenging information landscape. The goal is to help teachers and librarians develop expertise in news literacy education, share specialized teaching resources, and provide a behind-the-scenes view of the newsgathering process — demystifying what distinguishes quality journalism from rumors, hoaxes and other types of misinformation.

Register here to reserve your seat! 

Renee Hobbs on propaganda

On March 23, we had the pleasure of hosting Renee Hobbs, Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Media Education Lab, as our first speaker in the Media Landscapes campaign.

In her lively and thought-provoking webinar, Navigating a World Full of Propaganda, Hobbs spoke about the powerful emotional aspects of propaganda and gave examples of how it can be used for both good (PSAs) and not so good (radicalization), how we can model for our patrons and students ways in which to engage critically: to notice and question propaganda when we encounter–and create–it, and the role algorithmic personalization plays in how propaganda is spread.

Thanks to all who attended! Please join us for our next speaker in the Media Landscapes series: John Mack Freeman on April 13.

Media Landscapes campaign launches

We are excited to announce the launch of a year-long campaign to support libraries as they grapple with today’s fractured and challenging media landscape.  The campaign will include: 

  • Invited speakers external to the library community on topics such as misinformation, filter bubbles, radicalism, and media literacy.
  • An open invitation for speakers from within the Minnesota library community on best practices in information literacy instruction and programming.
  • An on-demand collection of resources for libraries.

To see more specifics on this campaign including goals, upcoming events, resources, and partners please visit the dedicated Media Landscapes campaign page.

As part of the Media Landscapes campaign, we are looking for Minnesota librarians and educators to share their expertise, best practices, and programming ideas around information and media literacy topics. If you are interested in offering a presentation as part of this campaign, please submit a proposal through the Call for Proposals form.

To kick-off this campaign we are happy to offer the following opportunities to learn from experts Renee Hobbs and John Mack Freeman. Both will be offering 1-hour long virtual presentations.  See below for more information or to register.

Navigating a World Full of Propaganda
Renee Hobbs
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CST
Click here for more information or to register

Deep Fakes and the Misinformation Landscape
John Mack Freeman
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CST
Click here for more information or to register

Tips for finding and using existing bibliographic records  

Susan Vossberg
Susan Vossberg

MLIS, Technical Services Librarian, Northwestern Health Sciences University

Copy cataloging, the process of editing a pre-existing bibliographic record instead of creating a completely new record from scratch, is a thing of beauty for catalogers and non-catalogers alike. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.  Accessing an existing bibliographic record takes the stress and guess work out of how to add records to your online catalog that get your users to exactly what they’re looking for.    

Click on the following link to access helpful information on ways to locate existing bibliographic records.    

Bib Records  

In my next column I will start breaking down the components of a bibliographic record by listing definitions of each required and/or important and give examples on how to construct them.

Cataloging needs survey open

Woman at the library, she is searching books on the bookshelf and picking a textbook, hand close up

by Susan Vossberg, MLIS, Technical Services Librarian, Northwestern Health Sciences University

Because of a need for assistance with cataloging expressed by attendees at a recent Level Up! session, I am interested in designing a cataloging class, an ongoing informational blog, or other means of helping answer cataloging questions from library staff members.

If interested, please fill out this brief survey by February 26. Indicate the kinds of cataloging help you need, and the way you would like to get that help.

Based on survey results, I will design informational programs that will best meet the needs of interested library members.

Thank you for your assistance.

WebJunction Course: Creating Pathways to Civil Legal Justice

Text courtesy of Hayley Coble, Librarian II, Anoka County Library

What do you do when a patron asks you for help finding a specific legal form? If you give them a list of lawyers practicing in the county, is that okay? What is the line between providing information, and providing legal advice?

Do these questions, and any questions involving legal reference, make you freeze up and panic? WebJunction can help! Recently, WebJunction created a self-paced course on Civil Legal Justice and providing legal reference to library patrons. The course is 9 hours long over a series of four modules, and it can be done at your own pace (I did it over about 4-5 weeks), and is completely free! It was created with help from the Legal Service Corporation, which provides civil legal help to low-income Americans to help ensure that justice is available to everyone – not just to those who can afford to pay an attorney.

In this course, you learn about the many reasons why lower-income Americans often do not seek legal aid for their civil legal problems, and about how we as librarians can help connect them to sources that can help them with their legal needs. Also included is resources for librarians, including law libraries, courts, state bar associations, and other places that it is good to cultivate partnerships with. You also learn how to build a strong legal reference collection (spoiler alert: You can find most of what you will need online!), and how to conduct a legal reference interview. With interactive videos, a bounty of resources and references, and short assignments that challenge you to become familiar with free and low-cost civil legal resources in your area, this course will prepare you for when those strange and terrifying legal questions arise, and will give you the confidence to handle them as you would any reference question.

I went into this course knowing absolutely nothing about civil legal justice, or how to do legal reference. Now, I am confident that when someone has a question for legal reference, I will know where to look to get them started. And I can do so without worrying that I am providing legal advice! This course was absolutely wonderful, and I learned so much. If you are also interested in civil legal justice or in helping to provide legal reference services, you can sign up for the course here: ​​​​

Hayley Coble, Librarian II, Anoka County Library

Self-publish for free with the MLPP!

Courtesy of Gina Drellack, Education Consultant/Coach with the Northwest Service Cooperative

Hello, Aspiring Authors!

Let’s learn about self-publishing with the Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project, or MLPP! Thanks to your library, you can now create, edit, format and generate print-ready and eBook formats for your book—all for free, using the nationally-recognized Pressbooks platform!

Learn more about self-publishing. Explore this tool for personal, classroom, and administrative uses. Create your own Pressbooks account. And start creating your book! 

NOTE: This service is available for free to Minnesota residents. 

This course offers a CEU certificate for one clock hour.  

Click here to register:

Happy creating!!

MN Library Professional Development Needs

Originally published in Minitex News

At this week’s MLA session: Level Up MN!, Ann Walker Smalley from Metronet, Matt Lee from Minitex, and I introduced the new Level Up MN website:, a one-stop site for library PD in Minnesota. The site, developed by a network of Minnesota library organizations, aims to support all types of library staff in their professional growth by offering a state-wide PD calendar, links to self-directed learning opportunities, a blog for sharing news and tips, and more. 

In addition to wanting to spread the word about the Level Up site, we also wanted to collect information about the types of PD MN libraries currently need. As you can see from the list below generated at the session, our needs are many and varied! If you know of upcoming PD opportunities that could help libraries meet these needs, please post event information on the calendar, share tips, best practices, or summaries of helpful PD on the blog, or add to the list of PD needs on this form.

Let’s use Level Up to support each other and build a stronger Minnesota library community!

Current MN library PD needs: 

  • Basic library instruction for new employees
  • Cataloging lessons
  • Marketing & (virtual) outreach
  • Antiracism, diversity, equity, inclusion
  • Reference best practices
  • Virtual reference tools
  • Using virtual library/collaboration tools
  • Curriculum mapping
  • Public library de-escalation techniques
  • Doing more with less
  • EDI in libraries
  • Linked data
  • Archives management
  • Best practices for genrefying collections
  • Database instruction
  • Critical management studies
  • How to connect with faculty and make meaningful relationships
  • Reader’s advisory
  • How to explain to patrons what we do
  • Attracting and retaining training participants
  • Project management
  • Resilience/empathy training

Libraries Serving Youth Meetup: #OwnVoices

(Originally published in Minitex News)

This year’s Libraries Serving Youth Meetup on June 15 included an author panel featuring four prominent Minnesota authors, a presentation from the Minnesota Department of Education on using data to better understand youth in your communities, and #OwnVoices book talks from Minnesota librarians. The event was moderated by Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen of St. Kate’s MLIS program and hosted on Zoom by the Minnesota Library Association.

One of the highlights of the day for me was hearing the authors read excerpts from their books:

Kao Kalia Yang – The Shared Room
Melina Mangal – The Vast Wonder of the World
Shannon Gibney – See No Color
Dr. Brenda Child – Bowwow Powwow
They also talked about what #OwnVoices means to them. This ongoing movement to diversify children’s books started in 2015 as an idea by Corinne Duyvis, and the hashtag has taken on a life of its own marking book recommendations, questions, and discussions.

Kao Kalia Yang shared a story in which as a child, she asked her neighborhood bookmobile librarian, “Do you have any books about someone like me?” “No, I’m sorry,” the librarian replied after not finding any books about Hmong children. It wasn’t until later while reading Ronald Takaki’s Strangers from a Different Shore that she finally saw Hmong people mentioned. She recalled running immediately over to her parents exclaiming, “We are real because we are in books!”

The other authors echoed the importance of seeing yourself in stories written and illustrated by cultural insiders. Indeed, the repercussions of not seeing yourself, Shannon Gibney stated, is a form of “epistemic violence.” As Sarah Park Dahlen and David Huyck’s now widely circulated infographic about Diversity in Children’s Books glaringly shows, there is still so much work to be done. This work is our work. As librarians and educators committed to equity, we must strive to get #OwnVoices stories into the hands of our young readers.