Thursday, December 29, 2016

Open eBooks – An eBook Solution for Schools

School librarians... Are you struggling to afford ebooks? Title I schools, special education...this is for you! Open eBooks is a solution that offers thousands of high interest ebooks for free!

Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces Project

Fifteen small U.S. public libraries have been selected to participate in the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project led by OCLC in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). The libraries, chosen from 106 completed applications, are located in 12 different states and serve communities ranging in size from 1,000 to 21,000 people. SDSL is proud to announce that one of our own has been chosen: Madison Public Library! Congratulations!

Each library will be represented by a staff member, who will be guided through a training program designed by WebJunction, the learning program of OCLC Research. Participants will apply what they learn to reimagine and reconfigure library space to support socially engaging and active learning programming that addresses a defined community need.

"These libraries were chosen based on a well-articulated understanding of their communities, commitment to championing economic and educational success, and an enthusiasm for bringing the voice of community members to their planning process," said Sharon Streams, Director, WebJunction. "We are excited to work with these libraries as they create spaces that will encourage people to explore, play and learn together. We can't wait to get started."

Over an 18-month period, participants will be introduced to the principles of placemaking, community engagement and human-centered space design. After conducting community input, action planning and prototype activities, the libraries will implement a learning space using a starter set of materials.

This two-year project is funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Library programming ideas here!

Because all those author talks, storytimes, computer classes, community dialogues, concerts, makerspaces, book clubs, art exhibitions, and ESL courses don't plan themselves., sponsored by the American Library Association, is a great resource for programming ideas. Plug in your library type, budget, age group, topic, and program type and find a page full of ideas that have been tried and tested by other libraries. Contributing libraries give advice on planning, marketing, and program execution. You can share your library programming ideas, too. Take a few minutes to check it out!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Why Should You Care About Text Complexity?

Text complexity and readability are big talk in education. Readability measures such as Lexile used in Scholastic Reading Counts! and ATOS used in Accelerated Reader help librarians and teachers make more informed decisions in relation to student reading level. This knowledge helps to make differentiated instruction faster and easier. If teachers know the Lexile measure of students, they can match reading and research resources to ability level across all content areas. Several school related SDSL eResources have the ability to refine by Lexile. This option is particularly helpful for students with special needs, ENL students, and elementary/middle school aged students.

Use the Advanced Search feature in these databases to refine your search by Lexile:

  • SIRS
  • World Book
  • Explora (new this year!)
  • Proquest
  • Tumblebook

For more information about text complexity, this handout is available on the SDSL site. Contact Alissa Adams, School Library Technology Coordinator for assistance.

Jump Start Summer Reading Workshops Announced

Announcing the 2017 Jump Start summer reading workshops. Choose from one of eight locations at a library near you.

  • Thursday, February 23rd: Rawlins Municipal Library (Pierre)
  • Friday, February 24th: Grace Balloch Memorial Library (Spearfish), Huron Public Library; Beresford Public Library or Watertown Regional Library
  • Thursday, March 2nd: Custer County Library
  • Monday, March 6th: Beulah Williams Library (Northern State, Aberdeen)
  • Friday, March 17th: Yankton Community Library

art of girl and boy building with books and gears

All workshops will be 10 am to 3 pm, local time, with a break for lunch. The local site will coordinate lunch. Each person registering should bring a craft, activity, or game to share with the group. Each person should register separately. Each registrant will receive a kit of sample activities and supplies.

Register today!

Planning a new library space? There’s a worksheet for that!

Are you planning to build or remodel in your library? Space planning worksheets can help you estimate your library’s needs. Why use a worksheet? These tools will make planning easier, they are tried and tested, and they will give you credibility when you present your request to stakeholders.

Here are a couple of examples of library space planning worksheets developed by state library organizations. These are Excel worksheets that walk you through the calculations from population estimation to how many reader seats you’ll need.

More information about public library space needs can be found in the SDSL Trustee Wiki.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

South Dakota's Five-Star Libraries

South Dakota again has several public libraries which have been nationally recognized for their efficient use of resources (expenditures) in comparison to their outputs in five distinct areas: Print circulation, visits, program attendance, public Internet usage and e-book circulation. Historically, the four measures included in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service have been circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public Internet computer use. This year the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service added a fifth statistical measure to the scoring—circulation of electronic materials, or e-circ for short. Because the LJ Index is based on data collected by the Public Libraries Survey (PLS)—a federal-state cooperative project of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the state library agencies—the Index could not add new measures until now.

A South Dakota Public Library receiving 5-Stars was once again Centerville while 4-Star designations went to Freeman and Beresford and 3-Stars to Parker and Scotland Community Public Library. Congratulations to these wonderful public libraries that do an outstanding job providing resources and programming to their respective communities!

Do your library trustees do tech?

Our libraries offer public computers, Wi-Fi, ebooks, emagazines, downloadable and streaming services for audiobooks, music, and movies. Libraries have websites, blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts. We have online catalogs and virtual reference services. How well do your trustees understand your tech offerings? It is essential to have tech savvy trustees who can make informed decisions about library services and be better advocates for your library.

Here are a few ideas for coaxing trustees into the 21st century:*

  • Use email to communicate with trustees.
  • Post the meeting agenda and documents on the library’s website. This supports green library efforts and means trustees have to go online to get meeting materials.
  • Encourage your library board president to post a welcome message on the library’s website or blog.
  • Spend a few minutes of each library board meeting demonstrating one of the library’s tech services.
  • Encourage your trustees to take the technology training courses offered in WebJunction.
  • Get your trustees to explore a personal interest like learning a language through Mango, genealogy through Ancestry or Heritage, or adult learning courses on Learning Express.

Remember that continuing education for trustees is one of the SD State Public Library Standards for all levels of accreditation. So why not make it tech training?

*Thanks for Bonnie McKewon, State Library of Iowa, for some of these suggestions.

ALA website offers advice and resources for challenges to library materials

Has your library faced a challenge from residents to restrict any of its library materials? The ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom offers resources and advice on its Challenges to Library Materials webpage. Here are a few tips to help you manage or possibly even head off a confrontation.

  • Have a selection policy that you follow and be sure that your collections represent sufficiently diverse points of view.
  • Be sure to have copies of your library’s reconsideration (complaint) form at the front desk in the event that someone wants to raise a challenge. ALA has a Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources template that you can download.
  • Have review procedures that you follow to the letter if a challenge happens.

If a challenge goes forward, ALA reminds you to focus on these three points:

  1. Libraries provide ideas and information across the spectrum of social and political views.
  2. Libraries are one of our great democratic institutions. They provide freedom for all people.
  3. Parents are responsible for supervising their own children’s library use.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Take the Challenge…The School Library Twitter Challenge!

Are you ready for a challenge?

The #schsdsl Twitter Challenge is a continuing education opportunity for school library staff that is a series of 20 tasks all relating to Twitter. It’s self-paced and on-demand so as long as participants can successfully complete it in 30 days, they can earn 5 continuing ed. contact hours. The goal is to introduce school library staff to Twitter as a professional learning tool and to encourage them to participate in the #schsdsl Twitter Chats – first chat starts Jan.18, 4 pm CT/ 3 pm MT!

For more information and to get started, visit or contact Alissa Adams, School Library Technology Coordinator.

Scholastic and SD’s First Lady Recognize Castlewood Public School for Summer Reading

This year’s Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge theme, “Be a Reading Superhero,” encouraged kids to build their “reading muscles” by reading more and logging their reading minutes to earn virtual rewards. Throughout the 18 weeks of summer, kids unlocked fun digital stories from 19 children’s authors who shared how they became reading superheroes including R.L. Stine, Angela Cervantes, Varian Johnson and more.

Since the program launched in May, kids across the globe spent 204,594,918 minutes reading! It’s an incredible accomplishment, and they couldn’t have done it without the students of South Dakota. Here are some exciting stats about the participating from schools in South Dakota:

  • Kids in South Dakota read 123,318 minutes.
  • Castlewood Public School in Castlewood logged 64,790 minutes, making them the #1 school in the state!

Scholastic sent a personalized plaque to the school congratulating them on their achievement. The plaque was presented to the school on Wednesday, November 30th by South Dakota First Lady Daugaard as a 2016 Summer Challenge Reading Ambassador.
South Dakota First Lady Linda Daugaard presents Castlewood Public Scool with their plaque from Scholastic

South Dakota First Lady Linda Daugaard, 2016 Summer Challenge Reading Ambassador
with Castlewood Public School students who logged over 64,000 minutes summer reading with Scholastic.

For more information about the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge see

National Endowment for the Arts announces Big Read Grants

Applications for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has just announced the applications for its Big Read grant program are now available on

Encouraging communities to come together over literature to broaden our worlds, the NEA Big Read program this year is offering a choice of 28 different reading selections. Approximately 75 communities across the United States will be awarded grants ranging from $5,000 - $20,000 to implement a program locally. Grant applications are due Thursday, January 26, 2017, at 4 pm CST.

For more information about the grants and the application process please visit the website above.

Don’t Let Weeding Become a Topic for the Newspaper

At the recent Colorado Library Association/Mountain Plains Library Association conference in Loveland, CO, MPLA President Mickey Coalwell presented a great session on weeding nightmares and how they can be prevented.

We’ve all heard the stories. The local library weeds its’ collection (as it should), and a ruckus is raised because “there were all these wonderful books in the dumpster!” Newspaper articles are written, letters to the editor abound, the library director is in danger of losing his/her job.

This scenario can be completely avoided by educating your local community about the responsibilities of the library. It is the library responsibility to remove outdated, unused and unpopular materials to make room for new materials. The library must have a weeding policy and follow it. Educate not just the public, but also the library staff on the importance of de-selecting library materials on a regular, year-round basis. This prevents that “filling the dumpster” scene because the library is purging materials in smaller batches on a regular schedule. Write a newspaper or library newsletter article describing the process the library uses to ensure that patrons have fresh, new materials to check out every month.

Also, remember there are many things to do with de-selected books rather than throw them in a dumpster. Can you recycle them? Check with your community recycling program. Sell them at a Friends of the Library book sale or ongoing book sale if you have the space in the library. Many discarded books are used by art teachers for class projects. Companies like Better World Books will sell your discarded books for you. There are many options other than the garbage for weeded books.

For more information on weeding, visit and

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Native American Health and Wellness Storytelling Contest

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) is pleased to announce a digital storytelling Challenge, or competition, in honor of Native American Heritage Month. The Challenge, entitled Storytelling about Health and Wellness in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities is to develop a brief (five minutes or less) digital story that communicates how traditions and heritage promote health within American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Submissions must be made by January 31, 2017.

The first place winner will receive $4,000; second place will receive $3,000; third place will receive $2,000; and two honorable mentions will each receive $500. Awards will be announced the week of March 6th, 2017. The first place winner will also be invited to an upcoming meeting of the NIH Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee. Travel will be reimbursed for those invitees.

The submission is a video that describes: 1) how heritage and tradition leads to health and wellness in AI/AN communities; and 2) how future research can improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Submissions are limited to a video that may not exceed five minutes. Winning entries may be posted on the NIH web site. Submissions must be substantially free of scientific jargon and understandable by viewers without scientific/technical backgrounds.

For more details on the specific requirements of submissions, please go to the announcement of the challenge on the THRO website. If you have any questions, please do reach out to us at or 301-402-9852.

Patron Support for South Dakota Titles to Go

If your library is member of South Dakota Titles To Go and you have a patron with a technical issue, there is a fast and simple way to get help. OverDrive has a Technical Support form that your library can access via the OverDrive Marketplace.

Overdrive Marketplace Web Header: screenshot of top navigation bar

This may be a technical error on the patron’s device or a behind the scenes issue from the platform.

The OverDrive Support Team will be able to use their in-house technology to try and replicate the situation happening. Please fill it out the Support Form to the best of your abilities and give as much information as possible.

Overdrive Marketplace Contact Us: Technical Support Button: Complete our support form for just about any issue including end-user questions about OverDrive and more. Invoicing Support Button for help with payments, content credit and other invoicing issues.