MALF connects Friends of Library organizations, provides valuable resources to support their work, and is a strong voice for Friends of Library groups and libraries throughout Minnesota.
The Pipestone Area Friends of the Library organized nearly a decade ago, but only just last year secured full 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
Why the long delay? In short, “tales from other applicants of complicated forms, years of legal wrangling, and major expenses deterred any serious attempts,” explained Deb Brockberg, secretary and treasurer of the group.
For many years, the Friends found that they could get by without formally incorporating. “We registered with the IRS and received an EIN, but that was as far as we got… and really, as far as we needed to go, to maintain our small membership and meet our rather limited objectives.”
Even so, the many advantages of incorporating proved tantalizing. “Basically, 501c3 status would allow us to be more visible in fundraising at all levels,” Brockberg said. “If we took this step, PAFL would qualify for grants that require official nonprofit classification. Applying for other awards would become easier, too.” Furthermore, “we knew we could benefit from book sale income that had been in limbo without proper credentials.”
In 2014, at long last, the Pipestone Area Friends of the Library decided to take that next big step. All in all, “it was not as complicated and drawn out as we had imagined,” Brockberg reported. Although Pipestone’s leaders did encounter some form language hard for laypeople to comprehend, “we had helpful guidance from a hired accountant.”
That cost, and several others, were defrayed by the Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF)’s special Goss-Nordley Grant. This fund exists for the express purpose of providing developing Friends groups with much-needed funds to defray costs associated with the incorporation process.
Brockberg and her colleagues highly recommend the Gross-Nordley Grant to other unincorporated Friends groups in Minnesota. “Even including all the normal interruptions of busy schedules, the whole process took us only about ten months! We owe that to our great accountant, and to MALF.”
Held each October, Teen Read Week is a national celebration that often goes unobserved – a fact attributable, at least in large part to, to a lack of funds to coordinate teen-oriented programming. This year, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is partnering up with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to change that.
Over the summer, a YALSA judging committee will award ten $1,000 Teen Read Week “activity grants” to deserving public libraries (and, where appropriate, partnering Friends groups) interested in coordinating special programs during Teen Read Week 2015 (October 18-24).
Innovative concepts are encouraged. Program proposals that are inclusive of underserved teen populations – including but not limited to ESL learners and teens with disabilities – are of particular interest.
Both library systems and individual branch libraries are eligible to be considered. Proposed programming must be held on the library premises. Each applying organization must also have a current YALSA member in their ranks. Click here for more details.
Applications are due Monday, June 1. Grant recipients will be notified by Monday, July 13.
On Friday, June 5, the Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF) and community partners in Ely, Minn., will dedicate the state’s sixth and newest Literary Landmark™ in honor of renowned conservationist and author Sigurd F. Olson.
Vermillion Community College in Ely, Olson’s academic home, will house the Literary Landmark plaque, and will play host to a keynote dedication event during a weekend filled with tributes to the literary luminary and treats for area visitors. The ceremony will commence at 4 p.m. in Vermillion Community College's Fine Arts Center.
Chuck Wick, a close personal friend of Olson's and a founding member of the Listening Point Foundation that preserves his legacy, will share favorite memories of the author before the plaque unveiling. Attendees will also hear from Doug Wood, president of the Listening Point Foundation; Shawn Bina, VCC provost; Gail Sheddy, president of the Friends of the Ely Library, and MALF’s own president Mary Ann Bernat.
Attendees can plan on making a weekend of it. The Ely-Winton Historical Society invites all to a free exhibit on the life and career of Sigurd Olson, conveniently located on the VCC campus and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The local Friends will also host a tour of the new Ely Public Library facility before the dedication ceremony, at 2 p.m.
On Saturday, June 6, Literary Landmark guests are invited to attend Author! Author!, a local literary showcase put on by Ely Greenstone Public Art. Additionally, Listening Point Foundation will host two guided tours of "Listening Point," Olson's lakeside retreat on Burntside Lake (10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.). Call 218-365-8889 to make reservations.
If your Friends group is actively coordinating author programming events for your library, local mystery favorite Brian Freeman wants to hear from you! Freeman is author of the bestselling Jonathan Stride detective series, set in and around Duluth.
Later this year, to mark the tenth anniversary of Stride’s debut, Freeman will travel widely across the state and deliver special presentations to library audiences on his series and its many Minnesota influences.
While details are still in the works, approximately twenty events total are likely to be scheduled for September and October 2015. Contact Brian Freeman directly through his website to learn more about the upcoming regional tour and other partnership possibilities in your area.
Library advocacy is a perennial concern for Friends of the Library. How do we move beyond our traditional “comfort zone” of fundraising to marshal real community support for libraries and their continued funding? Courtney Young, president of the American Library Association (ALA), will deliver a keynote presentation on that topic at this year’s St. Catherine University MLIS Program Summit.
Join co-sponsors ALA, St. Catherine’s University, and MELSA for this special event on Monday, April 27. The MLIS Summit will be held from 5-8 p.m. on campus in St. Paul, in the the Coeur de Catherine building’s Rauenhorst Ballroom. The event is free, but advance registration is appreciated.
Can't make it to that afternoon’s keynote lecture? No problem! Join MELSA the following morning -- 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28 -- for an encore with Courtney Young at the Roseville Public Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N. If this better suits your schedule, please register online by April 22.