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.

Metronet’s School Library Talkabout: Virtual Wind Down

Calling all School Library Media Specialists!

With the end of the year fast approaching & things ever changing, let’s get together (virtually) to chat. Talk end-of-year strategy, ideas to start the fall, preparation work for summer, best practices, & more! Whatever you’d like to discuss, bring your ideas & bring your questions. Everyone welcome; you do not need to be a Metronet member.

Metronet is hosting an open house on Wednesday, May 27, 4pm – 6pm.

Register here to be sent the login information.