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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.

 

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NATIONAL LIBRARY LEGISLATIVE DAY!

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Today, Meinders Community Library in Pipestone, Minnesota is home to a state-of-the-art makerspace – one that a public library in a community three times Pipestone’s size would envy. Its free resources range from 3D printers and stop motion animation equipment, to cricut machines and industrial staplers.

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A well-equipped makerspace represents a significant financial commitment, and one that Meinders Library did not make lightly. In order to gauge interest for and demand in these cutting-edge library amenities, the Library turned to the Pipestone Area Friends of the Library.

On May 20, 2017, the Friends hosted “Full STEAM Ahead,” a celebration of science and creativity that showcased the various technologies available through a permanent makerspace. (For those unfamiliar with it, STEAM is an education acronym for Science • Technology • Engineering • Art • Mathematics.)

In total, the program featured more than 25 free activities and presentations. Crowd favorites included book binding, wool spinning, kite making and cricut crafting seminars.

Thanks to a robust publicity campaign and strong relationship with the area school, which adjoins the Meinders Library, more than 100 attendees of all ages participated in the day-long extravaganza. That healthy turnout approached the Library’s all-time event record – not bad, especially for a library with a programming budget of zero dollars in 2017.

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However, as the saying goes, nothing comes from nothing. The Friends donated 100+ volunteer hours to the planning and execution of Full STEAM Ahead. Other community volunteers contributed another 20+. Local businesses provided a complimentary lunch and refreshments for all guests.  

Full STEAM Ahead proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Pipestone area was ready for a permanent makerspace. After the program’s resounding success, the Library applied for a $25,000 grant through the competitive State Farm Neighborhood Assist® program. The Friends’ resounding success with the Full STEAM Ahead pilot set it apart from other applicants. Out of nearly 2,000 submissions, Pipestone was selected as one of only 40 to get the full $25,000 amount.

This is a huge boon for the community, and in particular for Pipestone Area Public Schools. “Because the Library is attached, students are able to use the new [makerspace] for school projects,” said director Jody Wacker. “It’s doing much to equalize economic disparity.”

Evy Nordley Finalist Spotlight: Brainerd, Minn.

Posted by jim on September 21, 2018

While board games are a popular pastime, they suffer from a drawback: the gameplay experience is a decidedly two-dimensional one. The Friends of the Brainerd Public Library turned that on its head last year with a wildly popular CLUE murder mystery event.

Hosted at the Brainerd Public Library (where else?), this first-of-its-kind role playing event brought to life the popular Hasbro game and its stately mansion setting.

The Friends of the Brainerd Public Library are no strangers to experimental programming. In 2014, they won the Evy Nordley Award for “Wine & Words,” an author gala fundraiser. Last year, they were runners-up with “Books, Burgers & Brews,” a truly unique literary dining experience held in Crow Wing County restaurants and pubs.

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However, while these previous initiatives targeted the public at large, invitations to the CLUE Event were restricted to just one special audience: members of area book clubs.

“You may think that creating an exclusive event for book clubs is preaching to the choir, but that is not true,” explained Friends president Sheila DeChantal.”Many book clubs do not utilize their local library – and more so, they do not know the resources that today’s libraries provide.”

In the run-up to the big day, each area book club received a “summons” (delivered in ornate envelopes appropriately marked Confidential). More than 100 book club members answered that call.

Many dressed in period costumes, complementing the Victorian veneer given to Brainerd Public Library for the day. “A local photographer loaned us backdrops, including bookshelves and a study, which really completed the setting,” DeChantal recalled.

The Friends organizers tasked guests with solving a murder by visiting sixteen themed areas within the Library. Just like in the board game CLUE, players used process of elimination to zero in on a murder weapon, the scene of the crime – and its perpetrator.

Going the extra mile, the Friends also secured an event liquor from the City and offered a free beer tasting. Hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and coffee were also donated by area businesses. Each attendee left with a Friends of the Library swap bag containing promo materials about the group and the Library, chocolates, and coupons for local breweries and coffeehouses.

Impressively, thanks to in-kind donations, the Friends were able to put on the CLUE Event with only $200 of their own money.

MLA Conference 'Early Bird' Window Closing Soon

Posted by jim on September 03, 2018

Before your Labor Day ramps up in earnest, take two minutes to pre-register for the Minnesota Library Association conference at the reduced Early Bird rates.

After the Wednesday, September 5 cutoff, the cost to participate jumps from $71 to $93 for those registering at the (Thursday-only) Friends rate. For folks inclined to stay for the conference’s full run, registration for non-MLA members jumps from $330 to $412.


On the fence? Take a look at MALF’s special, half-day track of Friends of the Library programming for October 11. You can also view the entire conference schedule, here

If you love your library enough to call yourself a Friend of the Library, odds are high that you have strong and positive feelings about the people who staff it, as well! If you think that your library boasts a librarian who is a cut above the rest, consider nominating her or him for the 2018 'I Love My Librarian!' Award.

As the name suggests, this long-standing American Library Association program recognizes the service of exemplary public, academic, or school librarians. Ten individuals are honored each year, and awarded $5,000 each (plus a travel stipend to attend a December recognition ceremony in New York City).


Click here to learn more, and to nominate someone. Be sure to do so before Monday, October 1. Note that applications must be submitted online, and in just one browsing session. (In other words, you cannot save and return to your work.) Your candidate must hold an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited university, and be practicing in the field currently, in order to be eligible. Click here for application suggestions from ALA.

MALF Announces 2018 MLA Programming Track

Posted by jim on August 02, 2018

MALF is proud to reprise our role as a premier sponsor of the annual Minnesota Library Association conference! 

Why? MLA is the library field’s best chance all year to brush up on best practices, learn about emerging trends in their dynamic field, and network with peers from across Minnesota. Day 1 of the Conference doubles as an invaluable opportunity for Friends of the Library to do the same! Join us in Saint Cloud on Thursday, October 11 for a half day of Friends-specific programming.  

9:10 – 10:00 a.m. | What Does ‘Library Advocacy’ Actually Look Like?* 

We’ve all heard, time and again, that healthy and sustained public funding requires active library advocacy. Our panel of experts will unpackage this catch-all term – what it means in practical terms, and where you fit in. Questions to be addressed include: Who are all the players, and what is the role of Friends of the Library? Can citizen advocates overstep? How do you develop effective advocacy plans? How do you approach members of the State Legislature? 

*Panel co-sponsored with the Minnesota Library Trustees Association (MLTA). Panelists will include, as a special guest, a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Stay tuned for the announcement!  

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Evy Nordley Award & Stand Up Friends Recognition 

MALF’s flagship yearly prize recognizes innovative and replicable Friends of the Library programs. Come listen to our 2018 finalists – Friends of the Brainerd Public Library (“CLUE Event”), Friends of the Buffalo Library (“Reading Space Project”), Pipestone Area Friends of the Library (“Full STEAM Ahead”) – share a little about their Evy Nordley candidates. Winner receives $1,000! We will also name and honor more than a dozen recipients of this year’s Stand Up for Standout Friends honor. 

1:00 – 1:50 p.m. | MALF Annual Meeting & Idea Popcorn 

Meet the Minnesota Association of Library Friends board of directors, and learn about the organization’s 2017-2018 highlights. After this brief meeting (open to non-members as well as members), we will have our always popular “popcorn- style” Friends idea sharing session. Typical topics include membership recruitment and retention, fundraising, and effective advocacy. Attendees are encouraged to bring samples and resources to share at this informal session. 

Registration is now open. Make sure to do so by September 5 to secure the early bird rate of $71. Friends pay $93 for a Thursday ticket after that date.  

Coming from out of town? Details on nearby hotels – and the conference’s discount lodging rate – are available here.