Monday, January 25, 2010

The Role of Public Libraries in Local Economic Development

By Daria Bossman, Assistant State Librarian

The basic premise of a report based on research conducted by the Urban Libraries Council is that a perceivable change is taking place in the 21st Century within public libraries. Support and funding for this study was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates and the Geraldine R. Dodge foundations. The study notes the shift in the role public libraries play within their communities - from a passive place for quiet recreational reading and research to an active agent for local economic development. This 26 page report focused on four main ways public libraries in any size community can broaden their impact on and contributions to their local economic development conditions. These four areas are 1) early literacy/school readiness, 2) workforce development, 3) small business support and 4) physical development. This study is entitled, Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development. The report concluded that public “libraries are helping to raise levels of literacy, digital dexterity and entrepreneurial activity in communities…rather than succumbing to obsolescence with the advent of new information technologies, the basic business of public libraries is being recast.” (26)

Libraries have long been recognized as one of the most important community institutions for adult and child literacy development. However, new information emerging in the child development arena is uncovering a strong connection between early literacy investments and improved school outcomes later on. Few community services, perhaps apart from the local medical facility and local police, enjoy the type of public support that is given to public libraries. In a recent national public opinion poll conducted by the American Library Association, over 90 percent of all respondents said, “They believe libraries are places of opportunity for education, self-help and offer free access to all.” (4) Given the current economic situation, libraries have felt the constraints of increased demand along with rising costs and limited or constricted funding. Librarians and library boards have increasingly felt the need to justify their existence in light of other community realities such as increased personal ownership of computers and the increased content available on the Internet.

A number of economic research tools are now being used to measure the public value of libraries, including the cost-benefit impacts and return on investment (known as ROE) that public libraries generate. These studies consistently identify positive economic impacts made by libraries at the national, state and local levels. (5) For instance, public libraries now have a host of new opportunities to become more actively engaged in local workforce development initiatives and networks. Job information resources and specialized workforce programs in local libraries have the potential to reach a much wider group of job seekers than federal or state “one-step centers.” Public libraries have reputations as trusted, quality community information sources, high use volume and widespread geographical distribution within a given state. For these reasons, public libraries in even the smallest of communities should be one-stop centers for business and community development as well as the more traditional services of reading and educational literacy.

Chapters two and three of the report examine two key strategies for building the human capital of area residents - early literacy interventions for children and support services for job seekers. Chapter four identifies examples of some of the new business supports available through visionary local library systems. Finally, chapter five highlights ways in which communities are pursuing public library placement and construction as a way to create vibrant public spaces, all the while greatly expanding and broadening the definition of mixed development in communities. A myriad of other examples “further underscore the variety of ways in which public libraries are making” our cities and towns stronger. (6)

Public libraries, which enjoy high usage rates and high favorability nationwide, are becoming increasingly engaged in local workforce support service networks. By providing opportunities to consolidate job information resources, broadening literacy efforts, and conducting targeted outreach to immigrants, minorities and the technology “have nots,” the public library is providing valuable support to build local workforce strength and resiliency. These efforts will insure our local public libraries their vibrancy and continued local support for years to come.

Urban Libraries Council, “Making Cities Stronger: Public Library contributions to Local Economic Development.”

Originally published at

Winter weeding can eliminate those awful books

By Jasmine Rockwell

Many of us do spring cleaning but we know that spring can often be one of the busiest times in our libraries. In schools it’s the frantic end-of-school-time, which brings a rash of last minute assignments, the round-up of all those overdue books, graduation and reports. At the same time public libraries are gearing up for summer reading programs. As a follower of the Awful Library Books blog, I have noticed that an alarming number of young adult non-fiction titles that are beyond out-of-date have been featured recently. While the titles that are featured on that blog are mostly from libraries in Michigan, it makes me wonder just how many titles like that are sitting on shelves in other states – like South Dakota. So why not take a quick scan of your non-fiction sections now? Remember, just because a book is old does not make it “historical.” Sometimes old is just old!

Originally published at

What is Library Development reading?

Sara Wylie, Research Associate at the South Dakota State Library, is reading The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle. The Vintage Caper is a light mystery centered on the theft of a hot-shot entertainment lawyer’s expensive collection of Bordeaux wine worth three million dollars. His insurance company calls on the expertise of Sam Levitt, a lawyer and wine connoisseur with a slightly shady criminal past, to try to locate the missing wine. His investigation leads him to Paris, Bordeaux, and Marseille with the help of Sophie Costas, a fellow French wine and food enthusiast.
book cover of The Vintage Caper. Image used with permission from

Peter Mayle is well known for his non-fiction books, A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence, and several novels also based in France. This book will have wine and French food lovers longing to stroll through the streets of Paris or Marseille to find that special bistro and, of course, a great bottle of wine.

Other titles now being read by Library Development staff include:

  • Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff.
  • Bird Girl by Velma Wallis
  • Floodgates by Mary Anna Evans
  • Hunted by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
  • Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb
  • Murder At Longbourn by Tracy Kiely
  • Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie.
  • Pilgrims by Garrison Keillor
  • Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick
  • Silent Spirit by Margaret Coel
  • Waiting for Coyote's Call: an Eco-Memoir From the Missouri River Bluff by Jerry Wilson
  • Your Dog is in the Bar by Celia Rensch Day

Originally published at

Online book group opportunity focuses on inquiry circles

The TeacherLibrarian Ning is starting on online book discussion group for school librarians and other educators. The first title selected is Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels.
book cover of Comprehension and collaboration - image used with permission from

For more information go to TeacherLibrarianNing: Inquiry Circles Book Group.

Originally published at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kick-off using Lexile measures in the library, classroom and at home

By Marta Lemke, Language Arts Curriculum Specialist for the Department of Education

Strong literacy skills are essential for success in school and in life. Teachers, librarians and parents can now use students’ Lexile® measures to connect them with materials that meet their learning needs and support the development of reading skills. A study conducted last spring linked a student’s Dakota STEP reading score with a corresponding Lexile measure.

In Focus: Barb Nickolas, Government Publications Associate

Hello! I am Barb Nickolas. During the past 20 years of my paraprofessional career I have worked in various areas of the State Library. For the last six years I have worked with state and federal publications. The State Library is the State Distribution Center distributing state documents on a monthly basis to eight depository libraries across South Dakota. It has also been a federal depository library since 1973.

photo of Barb Nickolas, Government Publications Extraordinaire.

I had a wonderful childhood growing up in Lebanon where South Dakota's first outdoor swimming pool is still going strong. I am the youngest of four children. My sister was attending college when I was born. My mother often told me the story that a nun went into her classroom shortly after my birth whispering, "Claire Ann, your mother just had a little girl.”

I loved being read to and remember Mom and Dad reading to us in crooks of arms as did babysitters and older siblings. As I grew, my love of books grew. I remember books about Toyland, Mother Goose, Black Beauty and hand-me-downs from my cousins. I am sure we had classroom libraries, but nothing could compare to the bookmobile. With great anticipation we waited in line to climb the big steps and see the walls of books and inhale the smell of them. I close my eyes now and can still see the wonderment on our little faces.

When I began third grade we moved to Bowdle. It was a city of paved streets, smooth bike rides and new kids. Bowdle is known to have South Dakota's tallest water tower. Mrs. Erbe was the librarian in the school. She was stern, shaking her finger at the boys. She liked quiet in her library; but away from the library she taught history and was jovial. I did enjoy her classes. I spent little time in the high school library with the exception of typing catalog cards. I remember typing three rows down, two spaces over, cards getting stuck in the plastic guide and all the other little quirks. We were told those cards were sent to the State Library. The State Library was tucked in the back of my mind, filled with catalog cards and I set a goal to someday make a visit there.

I started college with the mindset of becoming a first grade teacher. I wanted to be a stepping stone for small faces yearning to learn how to read. Facing unforeseen obstacles in life, as we all do, after two years of education, I changed my major to library science. I was a member of the last class to graduate from Northern State College with a Bachelor's Degree in Library Media. As I applied for positions I volunteered at the public library which looked good, but didn't pay much. I then began work in the serial's department at Northern which also trained me to process state and federal publications. I did love the college campus. If you've been to Northern you know how the treetops meet and canopy much of the campus, there are miles of sidewalk that lead to everywhere, you see students relaxing on the green and people greeting each other.

After learning so much with good people, it was time to move onward and there were openings at the State Library. Imagine my excitement. Knowing several people on staff, I applied and began working in the circulation department in December 1991. I moved to interlibrary loan and enjoyed helping many individuals and librarians from school and public libraries locate hard-to-find requests and renew books. As for the catalog cards, I now work with a beautiful shelflist which holds in its many drawers the state and federal collections. Did I type the cards? No, but I have created new ones and it seems to complete a circle that started a lifetime ago.

Driving home from busy days at work, my family awaits me. I have two “kids” named Buster and Carlee. They are rescued, adopted and loved. They are taste testers for our dog treat business, Bab's Bites 'n Bones. We live in a cozy log cabin many friends and I built several years ago on a patch of prairie. We all enjoy walks, car rides, sunrise, sunset and storytime.

Originally published at

AncestryLibrary and HeritageQuest answer family trivia questions

When did Uncle Art pass on? Who were his neighbors when he lived out on the farm? On what ship did great-grandfather come to the U.S.? Questions such as these may surface as families gather for the holidays. Answers may be only a few clicks away in State Library genealogy electronic resources found at

Young Adult Library Services Association offers news via Web 2.0

Want more news from the Young Adult Library Services Association?

Check the YALSA blog or subscribe to YALSA's Twitter. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed of YALSA's weekly news column, the YALSA Update, published on Thursdays on the YALSA blog. For more information go to YALSA’s News & Events page.

Originally published at

SDSL Research Staff recommends science and health resources

The mission of The Why Files, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is to explore the science, math and technology behind the news of the day, and to present those topics in a clear, accessible and accurate manner.

Science Daily provides breaking science news and articles from the world's leading universities and research organizations.

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day: Discover the cosmos. Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured by this NASA Web site, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Reliable health information from the Federal government is found here. Locate drug information and health resources for consumers from the publishers of the Physicians Desk Reference.

CDC: H1N1 Flu. The home page for H1N1 flu resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Originally published at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Listservs, e-mail lists, e-mail groups and you

How do other libraries deal with a certain issue? Where can I share a great resource with colleagues? Joining a listserv is an easy way to communicate with many people at once.

Listservs, which may be known as e-mail lists or e-mail groups, are an effective, efficient way to contact people sharing similar interests, to learn more about a topic, to discuss issues and to make professional contacts. Listservs have been around almost as long as e-mail.

Some organizations, such as the State Library, only send listserv communications. Are you on the list?

When signing up for a listserv, consider these questions:

  • Is the topic appropriate for you?
  • Do you receive this information in other ways?
  • Is the list high or low traffic?
  • Is there a digest option? If the list has lots of posts, you can sign up in digest mode and receive one long daily/weekly post rather than many shorter ones that may feel overwhelming.

When you sign up for a listserv, keep the subscription information. This will also tell you how to unsubscribe and answer other listserv management questions. Subscribing, unsubscribing and other management tasks are sent to a different e-mail address than the address for posting messages. A “subscribe” or “unsubscribe” message sent to the address for posting messages results in every member receiving that message, not in getting subscribed or unsubscribed.

Many listservs have their own rules. Some lists are moderated, meaning that a person serving as the list owner must approve of posts before they are sent. Unmoderated lists offer faster posting opportunities but can also offer more off-topic posts.

When posting to a listserv here are a few tips to remember:

  • Be specific in the subject heading, so uninterested readers can delete
  • You are sending a message to all members. Apply courtesy and professionalism.
  • If you want to reply to a certain person, use that person’s e-mail, not the listserv e-mail.
  • If you reply to a previous post, delete all of that post but the pertinent information.

To find listservs relevant to South Dakota libraries, the State Library provides this list SDSL: Discussion Groups

Originally published at

ALSC offers catchy marketing idea

Take a look at the Kids! @ your library tool kit.
It includes a catchy new song for free downloading and other great ideas. Read more at ALSC: Marketing at You Library.

Originally published at

Creating a Nation of Readers

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

Green Thumb Gala raises funds and involvement at the Sturgis Public Library

By Marjorie DeJong, Assistant Director Sturgis Public Library

It might be winter outside now, but spring is just around the corner. We should welcome a little green into our libraries whenever we can.

The digital branch - a new and essential branch on the library tree

How many branches does your library have? Does your community have easy access in every neighborhood? What about in your digital neighborhood?

Monday, January 4, 2010

News about librarians and libraries across the state

To help keep everyone up-to-date with their library colleagues across the state, here‘s news of some very recent position changes and additions. For a full library directory go to

If we missed you or someone you know, please send updates to Joan Upell at

  • Laura Allard is now the librarian at Memorial Middle School in Sioux Falls.
  • Nicole Ulvestad is the librarian at the new R.F. Pettigrew Elementary School Library in Sioux Falls.
  • Robert Flint is the librarian at the new Camelot Intermediate School Library in Brookings.
  • Jean Kirschenman is the new librarian at the Brookings High School Library.
  • Sherry Bauman and Audrey Harrington now share school library duties at the Elkton School/Public Library. Sherry is also the public librarian.
  • Sara Snaza is now at Koch Elementary School Library in Milbank.
  • Erica Rorvik is now the public librarian at the Moody County Resource Center in Flandreau.
  • Anne Stahl is new in the Bridgewater School Library.
  • Lindsay Hansen is the new public librarian at the Centerville School/Public Library.
  • Beth Wells is now at the Renberg School Library in Sioux Falls.
  • Elizabeth Rush is new to the Avon School Library.
  • Joyce Mann is now the librarian at the Tripp-Delmont School Library in Tripp.
  • Dawn Wright is the Summit School Librarian.
  • Amy DeNomme is the librarian at the new Fred Assman Elementary School Library in Brandon Valley.
  • Joyce Waddell is the Bison School District librarian.
  • Ashley Schaefer is at the Hoven JH/SH Library.
  • Kimberly Darata is at the Douglas School District in Box Elder.
  • Avany Langdeau is now at the Stanley County School District.
  • Jeanine Woodward is new to the White River School District.
  • Rhonda Prince is the librarian for Hill City Elementary School.
  • Marilyn Kaiser is in the library at Hot Springs JH/SH School.
  • Jo Richey is new to the New Underwood School District Library.
  • Tara King is at Grandview, South Park and Pinedale Schools in Rapid City.
  • Debra Legros is at Rocky Ford School in Shannon County.
  • Lori Walker is the new Wall School District librarian.
  • Michelle Sowards is at Calvary Christian School in Rapid City.
  • Brandon Vaca is the librarian at Red Cloud High School.
  • David Big Eagle is now at Crow Creek Tribal High School Library.
  • Sherri Raschke is the librarian for the Little Wound JH/SH School.
  • Terri Langdeau is now in the Lower Brule School Library.
  • Chuck Ferraro is the librarian at the STAR Academy, East Campus.

Originally published at

Phillip Hoose wins 2009 National Book Award

The 2009 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature was awarded to Phillip Hoose’s Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.
book cover of Claudette Colvin: Twice toward justice. Image used with permission from

Other nominees included:

  • Deborah Heiligman’s Charles and Emma: the Darwins’ Leap of Faith
  • David Small’s Stitches
  • Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times, and 
  • Rita Williams-Garcia’s Jumped.

For more details go to National Book Foundation and School Library Journal.

Originally published at

De Smet and Centerville are named among America’s Star Libraries

South Dakota is honored to have two star-rated libraries in Library Journal’s second round of national rating of public libraries, the LJ Index of Public Library Service, announced on Nov. 15. The Hazel L. Meyer Memorial Library in De Smet is now recognized as a four star library and the Centerville Community Library is once again in the five star category.

Lead-Deadwood re-purposes the old card catalog

repurposed card catalog, Lead-Deadwood South Dakota

Lead-Deadwood’s school librarian, Gary Linn, knows the value of good wood and thus couldn’t bear to part with his library’s solid wood card catalog. Rather than relegate it to the world of junk, he kept the catalog and uses its partially-opened drawers to display library books.

Originally published at

Improving Literacy grant provides professional development and resources

The librarians of Dupree, Timber Lake and Eagle Butte Upper Elementary schools are gleefully expanding their professional development opportunities and resources. By applying as a consortium under the grant-writing leadership of Eagle Butte’s Mark Peacock, the three Cheyenne River Reservation school libraries were awarded an Improving Literacy through School Libraries grant in the amount of about $286,000. So far those funds have enabled the librarians to attend the annual South Dakota Library Association Conference in Aberdeen and the American Association of School Librarians Conference held recently in Charlotte, NC.
The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries funds allowed the librarians and their grant-writer to attend the recent AASL national conference - Gay Mraz, Peggy McLellan, Mark Peacock, and (not pictured) Marilyn Schweitzer.

All three of the school libraries have extended hours to provide services beyond the traditional school day. In the works are plans to update or enhance their automation systems. Purchases of new library materials have already been made, with more planned. Some of those purchases include library books, AR quizzes, digital Playaways, laptop and desktop computers (both replacements and additional units), digital cameras, TV sets and DVD players.

Originally published at