Updates from State Library Services

Updates from State Library Services

February 5, 2019

Updates from State Library Services


Grant reviewers needed

  State Library Services is looking for LSTA grant reviewers. Reviewers read and score approximately six applications and participate in a half-day review discussion. Sometimes the review discussion is not needed. Some experience with grant writing, administration or review is preferred. Please contact Leah Larson or 651-582-8604 to learn more.

 Library staff discover next generation writers

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated.  Through the Awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, publication and scholarships. Alumni include writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Bernard Malamud, Marc Brown, Myla Goldberg and Joyce Carol Oates.

State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education, developed a 15-member Minnesota Region-at-Large team of librarians to read and rate writing submissions from creative teens in grades 7-12. Writing categories included critical essay, dramatic script, flash fiction, humor, journalism, novel writing, personal essay and memoir, poetry, science fiction and fantasy, and short story. Criteria included originality, technical skill and emergence of a personal voice with an authentic and unique point of view and style.

One hundred eighty-nine Minnesota students received a Scholastic 2018 Writing Award. Twenty-six received Gold; 83, silver; and 80 Honorable Mention. Five of the gold award winners are American Voices Nominees—the highest honor. American Voices Nominees include: Ben Lee, Blake School; Tre’ Warner, Breck School; Clara McMillan, Providence Academy; Peyton Resner, St. Michael-Albertville High School (for poetry); and Ebba Safverblad-Nelson, Perpich Center (for science fiction/fantasy). Scholastic lists all of the Minnesota Writing Award recipients on their website.

Data rules!


Data rules because taxpayers and purse-string holders have always demanded accountability, and public libraries have always employed data analysis to help make their case. As quality control and continuous improvement guru William Edwards Deming said, “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.“ 

Public libraries are mandated by statute to submit annual reports to the Department of Education each year. A portion of this annual data is also submitted to the Institute of Museums and Library Services for the Public Libraries in the United States Survey. Statistics include input and output measures related to facilities, services, programs, collections, staffing, hours of operation, and income and expenditures. Survey results contribute to a national file of public library data that is available to the library research community, local, state and federal policy makers, and the public. All 12 regional library systems and 140 public libraries in the state complete the survey. The 2018 online survey is now open through April 1. We greatly appreciate the time and expertise library directors and filers contribute to the success of the report.

You can access individual public library reports and statewide data summaries on the Library Statistics webpage of the MDE website. Please contact Joe Manion 651-582-8640 with questions or data requests.

Updates from MDE

Kids need food all year long 

During the school year, many Minnesota families depend on the free or reduced-price meals their children get at school.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is looking for eligible schools and libraries to sponsor the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or become a site.

If you are interested in being a new sponsor or becoming a SFSP site under an existing sponsor, contact MDE's Food and Nutrition Service at 651-582-8526, 1-800-366-8922 (MN Toll-free), or mde.fns@state.mn.us.  More information about the summer food program is available on the MDE and USDA Summer Food Service Program websites.

Updates from our Partners

Anoka County Library wins awards for innovative teen volunteer program


Anoka County Library transformed its teen volunteer program. The re-imagined program allows teens to utilize their skills and create great learning experiences for themselves and library users. The program was recognized with two innovation awards—the County Achievement Award from the Association of Minnesota Counties and the Minnesota Local Government Innovation Award from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Stacy Hendren, Crooked Lake Library manager; Katlin Heidgerken-Greene, Northtown Library librarian; and Jennifer Gerbig, Northtown Library library associate, wanted to make teen’s volunteer experiences more meaningful for them. The group shifted their perspective from “what can teens do for the library” to “what can the library do for teens.” Rather than just assign tasks, they developed relationships with volunteers and created opportunities for teens to use their individual talents and interests to build job skills and improve the library experience for patrons.

This shift in focus resulted in a new VolunTeen program. Staff now interview teens to determine their interests and needs. Volunteers attend an orientation and participate in weekly work sessions to collaborate with staff and other volunteers. A project notebook gathers program information, assignments and schedules in a single resource. At the end of summer, VolunTeens showcase their work in a display and receive an official evaluation and customized button. Results included more volunteers, increased retention, greater engagement with other volunteers and library staff members, and improved library services. One teen created a book-themed diorama for the children’s area. Another organized a creative scavenger hunt and Storywalk. Others led STEM projects for elementary students and advised staff on how to fill collection gaps.

The success of Anoka County Library’s VolunTeen program is based on staff training using The Youth Program Quality Assessment tool and Believe It. Build It: Minnesota’s Guide to Effective Afterschool Practices from the University of Minnesota’s Extension services and Center for Youth Development and Ignite AfterSchool. The program is replicable and can be shared widely with other libraries.

To learn more, read Hendren and Heidgerken-Greene’s article, “VolunTeen Summers: The Experience,” In the October 2017 issue of VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates).

door with paint falling off

How cold was it?   

It was so cold in Mountain Iron when the polar vortex descended that the paint fell off the delivery door at the Arrowhead Library System headquarters!
Did the paint head south?

About State Library Services

State Library Services staff cropped

State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), partners with libraries to achieve equity and excellence in our collective work for Minnesotans. Division staff are consultants who help libraries plan, develop and implement high-quality services that address community needs. State Library Services administers federal grant, state aid, and state grant programs that benefit all types of libraries.