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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Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Posted by jim on January 02, 2020

Each year, a special round table of the American Library Association bestows the coveted Coretta Scott King Award. Named after the civil rights leader, this prize recognizes outstanding work for young adults written by African American authors and about the African American experience. 

But what happens to the thousands of books that are submitted after these national competitions have concluded?

In this case, ALA donates complete sets of the year’s entries to worthy organizations: schools, social service agencies, churches, and of course libraries! Donations include a full set of the winning and runner-up titles for the year, and total 60-100 books in all (depending on the year’s candidate pool).

Interested libraries and Friends should contact ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services by Friday, January 31. Applicants are asked to provide statements about why they should be considered, and how this specific material acquisition will aid their work. Supplementary materials are also encouraged, if they bolster your case.

Click here for additional details on eligibility, including a detailed rubric on how proposals are scored. Click here to jump straight to the online application.

Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation

Posted by jim on December 30, 2019

While you’re in that state of mind – Penguin Random House is offering yet another opportunity to receive new books for your library.

Last year, the publisher and its foundation piloted the Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation. Its intent is to acknowledge and elevate libraries that have overcome noteworthy hardships (budget cuts, overall economic conditions, natural disasters, etc.).

Emphasis is given to applicants who can demonstrate (1) a successful track record for community collaborations, (2) a sustained dedication to reaching and nurturing new readers within their community, or (3) a commitment to innovative practices and programs in spite of hardships.

Four runners-up will receive $1,000 in books from Penguin Random House. One grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize. Applications are due Tuesday, February 4. Winners will be notified by May. Visit their website to learn more!

Favorite 'Mini-Grant' Program Returning In 2020

Posted by jim on December 06, 2019

Speaking of revamped websites, NLLD is not the only one to boast a new and expanded online presence this year. The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation – administrator of the ever-popular Keats mini-grant program – also has a new site, just in time for the 2020 cycle.

Named after the bestselling and Caldecott Award- winning illustrator, this Foundation offers 70 annual “mini-grants” to public libraries and schools, to put on whatever children’s program they desire. Since the Foundation’s inception, the program has awarded nearly $1,000,000 – that’s a lot of mini-grants!

Need inspiration? The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation’s recently remodeled
 website is chock full of replicable examples. For instance, the most recent Minnesota grantee (Beaver Lake Education Center in Maplewood) self-published a “collage homage” of a favorite Keats book, by having each classroom contribute a page in a different artistic medium (paper mache, oil paints, etc.)

Mini-grants are capped at $500. Applicants seeking consideration in 2020 should submit their materials online by March 31, 2020.
 Click here to learn more.

Note: Friends of the Library organizations are ineligible for this program unless partnering directly with their affiliated Library. If, for whatever reason, this presents an issue for your hoped-for program, consider MALF’s own
 Chris D. Olson Event & Programming Grant as an alternative!

You’re never too young to be a user of, and lover of, your library. In this spirit, United for Libraries invites Friends groups to partner on its impactful and long-running Books for Babies program in 2020. 

What’s it all about? In brief, the Books for Babies team assembles inexpensive “gift kits” specially tailored to parents of newborns. Contents include an informational booklet and brochures on developing early literacy skills, one or several “Baby’s First Book” boardbooks, a bib, and “Baby’s First Library Card” (to be exchanged for the real thing at your local branch!)

How do these kits get into the hands of new and expectant parents? Organizations (typically but not exclusively Friends of the Library) purchase a number of their choosing for their area. Many supplement the kit basics with more local resources: brochures and magnets promoting your library’s pertinent services, a calendar of upcoming storytime dates, a Friends membership flyer, etc.

The customizability options are nearly endless, but the objective remains the same: “encourage parents to engage in developmentally helpful literacy activities, and instill a love of libraries from a young age.” 
Click here to learn about package pricing (starting at $8/per), recommended distribution strategies, success stories, and more.

MALF Member Survey - Last Chance!

Posted by jim on November 14, 2019

Heartfelt thanks to the dozens of you who have taken time to fill out MALF’s online questionnaire. Your input has exceeded our expectations – both in terms of the sheer number of responses, and the frank, usable feedback we will be able to tap as our Board of Directors charts MALF’s future.

In light of this positive response, we are extending the survey window. You now have until Friday, November 15 to tell us: “How can we help you help your library?” (On average, respondents to date have taken 8-12 minutes on the questionnaire, so the time commitment is a modest one.) Click here to take part!