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.
While only a small fraction of the nation’s library supporters can make the trek out to Washington each spring for National Library Legislative Day, each and every one of us can make use of this important advocacy opportunity and should have May 2-3 marked on our calendars.
Back by popular demand, the American Library Association is pleased to announce ‘Virtual’ Library Legislative Day. In conjunction with NLLD, Friends of the Library and other supporters are encouraged to call the office of, or write to, their congressional representatives.
ALA’s Washington Office, in partnership with the ALA Office for Library Advocacy, has crafted talking points to assist you. In brief, national priorities for the next fiscal year include: increased support for school libraries, PATRIOT Act reforms, LSTA appropriations, and a push to make more taxpayer-funded research freely available to all (through libraries and otherwise).
Click here to learn more about each ALA priority and the bills relating to them. Click here to learn how best to get in touch with the people representing you in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Minnesota’s library community lost another trailblazer last week. Nowell D. Leitzke, a prominent Friend and one-time president of the Minnesota Association of Library Friends, passed away on April 18 at age 87 in Saint Paul.
Leitzke began his distinguished library services career in north central Wisconsin, where he served as the first-ever bookmobile driver in the state’s largest county. He later moved to Minnesota, eventually serving in leadership roles in Faribault, Austin and Ramsey County. Leitzke later spent two distinguished decades with the Minnesota Department of Education Office of Library Development and Services.
Leitzke’s tireless support for public libraries extended well beyond the business day. In addition to serving on the MALF board, he was a long-time and avid supporter of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.
Congratulations to Skip Levesque, recipient of MALF’s first-ever National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) Grant!
Skip, of St. Michael, will represent MALF and the Minnesota library community generally in Washington next month during NLLD. Coordinated by the American Library Association, this annual, two-day event is the highest profile library advocacy opportunity in the country. Minnesota attendees will receive an in-depth briefing on library legislation before getting the opportunity to meet in person with members of our own congressional delegation.
Skip is currently serving as president of the Friends of the St Michael - Albertville - Hanover Library. In that capacity, he recently oversaw the library’s first ever Founders Recognition event (in celebration of the library’s twenty-fifth anniversary), as well as a record-setting fall book sale.
We look forward to hearing Skip’s report of his experiences in D.C. – and will of course be sure to share the highlights!
For many communities, the public library is the immediate area’s only cultural institution of note. It is hardly surprising, then, that staff and Friends at libraries often do their best to extend their range of services beyond the obvious, to arts appreciation and education opportunities.
If this is a priority of yours – regardless of your library’s or community’s size – the National Endowment for the Arts encourages you to explore its Challenge America grant. Challenge America’s broad raison d'etre is to engage underserved elements of the public "with diverse and excellent art.” In this context, ‘underserved’ is very board; it encompasses any group whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.
Projects underwritten include but are not limited to art festivals, special exhibits, readings and recitals, broadcasts and live performances, and other activities highlighting the work of a guest artist. Campaigns to increase art appreciation and awareness in your area more generally will also be considered.
Libraries and 501(c)3 Friends of the Library organizations may apply. However, note that the Challenge America grant amount is fixed at $10,000. If you do not think that your project or initiative could responsibly deploy this budget, please do not apply. Note also that all grants require a nonfederal match of at least 1:1. Click here to learn more, and to apply. Preliminary applications are due this month, so don’t delay!
Minnesota is prominent in the vanguard of the “seed lending library” movement, one of public libraries’ most successful and innovative experiments to date in gardening and agro-education.
If your library is looking to invest in such a program – or desires ‘seed money’ for another program centered around environmental topics and geared toward young people – the Captain Planet Foundation may be able to help. As the name suggests, this foundation (the brainchild of Ted Turner) exists to foster “high quality, hands-on environmental stewardship projects.”
Through its so-called Small Grant Program, the Captain Planet Foundation is currently inviting schools and 501(c)3 nonprofits to apply for between $500 and $2500 to aid in the coordination of new initiatives that are “project-based, performed by youth, and have real environmental outcomes or implications.”
Visit their website for project examples from past years, and for a comprehensive FAQ. Preferential consideration is given to requesters who have secured at least 50 percent matching or in-kind funding for their project. Note that library landscaping and beautification projects are ineligible. Apply by Friday, September 30 at latest for consideration.
If your library is interested in diversifying their children’s programming and offering more STEM-centered activities and events, consider applying instead for the foundation’s EcoTech Grant. Grants in the amount of $2,500 will be awarded to schools and non-profit organizations coordinating programs based around STEM. Strongest attention will be paid to applications focused around the role of technology in ongoing addressing environmental problems. (The EcoTech Grant entries window is currently closed, but will re-open soon.)