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.
On March 4-5, the polar vortex - and yet another snowfall - did little to deter library supporters representing all corners of the state from congregating at the Capitol in St. Paul for Minnesota Library Legislative Day.
Coordinated by MLA and the Minnesota Educational Media Organization (MEMO), Library Legislative Day is the apex of the state’s library advocacy calendar. It is our easiest and best chance all year round to meet with elected representatives and to voice our communities’ support for library programs and funding.
As in years past, organizers prefaced that window of time for meetings with a very informative legislative briefing.
Official agenda items of special interest this year included increased funding for educational telecommunications costs, the creation of a task force to address problems associated with unfair eBook pricing, and the inclusion of public library accessibility grants in an upcoming bonding bill. You can read the official MLA/MEMO platform in its entirety here.
Naturally, the annual event also doubles as an excellent opportunity to meet likeminded Friends and to share ideas and experiences. In years past, some attendees have even reported that this is the most useful takeaway from their entire experience!
For the first time, MALF capitalized on this by adding a semiformal meet-and-greet to the regular itinerary. Library Friends, trustees, and staffers gathered at the Kelly Inn’s Sweetwater Grill to exchange stories and advocacy techniques.
Photo 1: Past and present MALF Board members Mary Ann Bernat, Kim Edson, Carol Walsh, and Barbara Byers were among the 100+ that turned out for Minnesota Library Legislative Day 2014.
Photo 2: Nick Dimassis, Director of Carver Co. Library, and Mollie Stanford, regional librarian in the Arrowhead Library System, were also among those that turned out. (Here, they take a moment out of their busy days to learn a little about MALF programs and initiatives.)
On February 1, after months of intense planning, the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries pulled off a great fundraiser. A Gatsby-great fundraiser, to be more precise.
Organizers tore a page straight from the Great American Novel and hosted a “Great Gatsby Gala” at the Roseville Library. (As many Minnesota bibliophiles know, author F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul – less than ten miles from the Roseville Library venue.)
The evening, emceed by Minnesota Public Radio personality Kerri Miller, contained several elements common to Friends fundraisers. Silent and live auctions boasted over seventy donated items ranging from one-of-a-kind specialty items, to gift baskets, to fun dining, theater and sightseeing experiences.
The rest of the night was, as the name promised, a real blast from the past. Highlights included Roaring Twenties style dance lessons, a costume contest recognizing most authentic period dress, and a photo booth with Gastby-era props.
Commensurate with the party’s Roaring Twenties theme, planners set an ambitious fundraising goal of $20,000. By the end of the night, Ramsey County had met and surpassed that mark, with the live auction alone bringing in upwards of $8,000.
Attendance was equally impressive, with 200 “flappers” and “fellas” turning out. Missed the big event? Don’t worry! The Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries is already hard at work planning a second annual gala for spring 2015.
Contrary to what the weather might suggest, another spring season chock-full of library advocacy opportunities is rapidly approaching!
Closest to home, we’re thrilled to pass along full details for Minnesota Library Legislative Day, March 4-5 in St. Paul. The annual event will culminate in a broad-based show of support on the Capitol grounds. Click here for a full itinerary of events.
As a primer, feel free to read over a near-final version of the year’s Legislative Platform, put together by the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and the Minnesota Educational Media Organization (MEMO).
This event is open to the public, and library advocates with no professional or other formal association with Minnesota libraries are strongly encouraged to attend! Participation is free, but it is requested that you register by 11:59 p.m. Friday, February 28.
Registration for National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) in Washington, D.C., opened recently as well. ALA has slated this year’s events for May 5-6. Mark those calendars, and we’ll pass along more details as they become available!
We can spout statistics, show pictures, and give examples illustrating the value public libraries offer, but what legislators want above all else is to hear the voices of their constituents.
If you can’t make it to St. Paul for next month’s activities, there are still ways to make your voice heard around Library Legsiative Day. And if you are from a library represented by the Plum Creek or Pioneerland regional library system, you can do so in a new and very innovative way!
Shelly Grace, executive director of SAMMIE (Southwest Area Multicounty Multitype Interlibrary Exchange), is currently coordinating a grassroot campaign in which patron advocates in southwest Minnesota are invited to fill out a special Library Legislative Day postcard and leave it at their local branch. SAMMIE will collect these and see that they get to the Capitol in early March.
Please try to get your postcard submitted by the end of the month. (Libraries need to gather and mail their collections to SAMMIE no later than Monday, March 3.)
Click to download:
Direct any questions you may have to Shelly Grace at 507-532-9013.
Letter campaigns have proven time and again to be a very effective tool. Of course, you can send them year-round, no matter which part of the state you hail from. Click here to find out who represents you, and how best to contact them.
The Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF) is excited to add a little something new to the line-up this Library Legislative Day. We will host a semiformal gathering Tuesday, March 4 after the regularly scheduled 5 p.m. legislative briefing.
Library Friends, trustees and staff members are encouraged to join us at The Kelly Inn's Sweetwater Bar and Grill, 161 St. Anthony Ave., St. Paul, at or around 6:30 p.m. This is a phenomenol opportunity to network with peers and colleagues from all corners of the state and to share strategies and experiences related to effective library advocacy.
MALF will provide appetizers. Dinner and drinks are available from the restaurant’s menu. Please send a brief email RSVP to Kim Edson, email@example.com, by Friday, February 28 if you plan to attend.