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.

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.

Annual Conferences Are Coming Soon!

2019 MLA Annual Conference

Stronger Together

September 19-20, 2019 at Mystic Lake Center

Join MLA in Prior Lake to celebrate all the ways libraries and communities are Stronger Together! Through collaboration, whether internally in developing new services to support a growing need within our communities or by strengthening partnerships between different types of libraries to support the information needs of all, libraries are showing how to successfully work together.  Use this conference and networking opportunity to showcase your everyday collaborations alongside developing programs. And along the way, support the association’s move forward with its new strategic plan, designed to help accomplish together what none can do alone.

2019 ITEM Fall Conference
Come Together
October 10-12, Minneapolis Marriott NW
Brooklyn Park, MN

Save the Date: LibTech 2020

Mark your calendars to join library folks March 18-19, 2020, on the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, MN for the annual Library Technology Conference!
#LTC2020 will provide an opportunity to discuss changing technologies as they affect library services, share tech innovations and experiments with colleagues, and gain skills you can apply in your library. The conference features thought-provoking keynote speakers, insightful presentations and panels, and interactive workshops.

Registration: Conference registration will open December 4, 2019 at noon. Registration will close once maximum number of registrants is reached. Watch the conference website, Facebook, or Twitter feeds for additional info.
Call for Proposals: The call for session proposals will open in mid-late August. Conference registration fills fast and being a session presenter is a great way to guarantee yourself a spot!
Announcement: We will be taking a break from LibTech after the 2020 conference, so there will be no 2021 conference. Decisions for after 2021 have not been made.