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NATIONAL LIBRARY LEGISLATIVE DAY!

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Join MLA’s New Legislative Working Committee!

Posted by jim on July 21, 2017

logo.jpgAre you a Friend interested in expanding your view and doing something to aid all Minnesota libraries? Do you want to learn more about legislative processes that affect public library funding? Can you squeeze another volunteer assignment into your fall and winter schedule?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all these questions, the Minnesota Library Association invites you to join its brand new Legislative Working Committee. MLA members from all walks of life are invited to contribute their skills set to this endeavor. Committee responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: drafting legislative committee documents (such as the annual MLA advocacy platform), organizing Minnesota Library Legislative Day, and planning the yearly Library Legislative Forum.

No prior legislative, lobbying, or event planning experience is required. Click here to learn more, and click here to fill out a short form expressing your interest. You may direct any specific questions to incoming MLA legislative chair Ann Walker Smalley (ann@metronet.lib.mn.us / 651-646-0475).

ALA Announces Newest Programming Opportunity

Posted by jim on July 16, 2017

partner-ala.pngALA’s Programs Office strives to make popular and meaningful traveling exhibits available to member libraries throughout the country. Their latest such endeavor, sure to be a hit, is a novel partnership with Ken Burns. The award-winning documentarian’s most recent film, “The Vietnam War,” is intended to spark a national conversation about America’s most divisive and misunderstood foreign war.

In advance of the documentary’s September 17 debut on PBS, ALA invites applications from public libraries interested in coordinating adult programming around the War in Vietnam. Fifty entrants, chosen by a panel of judges, will receive the entire 18-hour series, full performance rights, and a host of “program in a box” print and e- resources. Winners will also receive pre-made promotional materials and an opportunity to partner with their local PBS station on tie-ins.

Interested parties must agree to schedule at least one tie-in event at the library between August 30 and January 1, and to submit a brief impact report by February 1. Note that no financial stipend is provided. Click here to read the FAQs, and to apply. Do so by end of day August 1.

Evy Nordley Nominee Spotlight: Brainerd

Posted by jim on July 13, 2017

On March 20, 2017, literati in Brainerd dined on the “Mae Holland-aise Burger”: a truly unique entrée composed of bacon, cheddar, hollandaise drizzle, and a heaping side of literary inside jokes. Mae Holland is the plucky protagonist in The Circle by Dave Eggers.

It is only one of many one-of-kind dishes prepared in recent months for the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library and their guests as part of “Books, Burgers and Brews.” The Friends inaugurated this innovative program in October 2016, in hopes of spreading the group’s fundraising and messaging to an inviting locale outside the library.

Untitled.jpgBooks, Burgers and Brews is held at Prairie Bay, a popular farm-to-table eatery not far from downtown. Each month, the restaurant's book-loving head chefs crafts a menu themed to that month's Friends book club selection.

"Working together with the Library, we chose titles that we felt would be appealing to both men and women," explained organizer Sheila DeChantal. The first selection was sci fi favorite The Martian, by Andy Weir. That dinner drew about 35 attendees – and an encouraging high proportion of men.

“We were looking to have that elusive mix of men and women,” DeChantal said. “We were also targeting non-readers and 'dormant' readers.”

Attendance now tops 40 during any given month. Recent installments have included the non-fiction hit Hidden Figures (Margot Lee Shetterly), which centers around African American women at NASA in the 1960s and inspired the spicy pepper “Blast Off Burger,” and The Nest (Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney), namesake of the fried onion Nest Egg Burger.

Each month's dinner is accompanied by a short program, including a slideshow presentation and live author Skype discussions when possible.

The Friends had initially planned to take a hiatus during the summer months, and pick back up in the fall. However, due to program growth and pending promotional opportunities, Books, Burgers and Brews is now held year-round. Moreover, the owners of Prairie Bay are actively exploring the possibility of bringing this novel book club idea to two other venues they own in the Brainerd area.

In addition to greater awareness about the Brainerd Public Library and its Friends, the series has yielded other dividends, as well. The Friends purchase 20 copies of each highlighted title for the Library’s collection, and have leveraged “BBB” as a way to stoke interest in Brainerd's book-club-in-a-bag offerings.

Thank you to the Friends of the Library groups throughout Minnesota who submitted entries for this year’s Evy Nordley Award for Best Project. Our judges have difficult decisions ahead of them!

As we inch closer to this year’s Minnesota Library Association conference, when the winner and runners-up will be announced, it is our privilege to showcase each nominee (starting alphabetically). Like what you’re reading? Stay subscribed for more success stories and replicable ideas.   


“Blind Date With A Book”

In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, the Friends of the Austin Public Library set up fifty blind dates! But, this feat of matchmaking took a different form from what you probably have in mind.

February fundraiser “Blind Date With A Book” generated several hundred dollars for the Friends, and invaluable exposure with new audiences in Austin. The idea stemmed from a board of directors brainstorming sessions last fall. The Friends wanted a fresh idea with modest costs attached – a tall order, as any fundraising volunteer can attest!

Capitalizing on an inventory of like-new books they had on hand from a recent book sale, they decided to put a Valentine’s twist on the traditional Friends book sale model. They wrapped hundreds of books, representing a wide range of genres, in plain paper, which they then tapped into their artistic talents to ornament. They priced these anonymous “book dates” at $5.00 for a hardcover, or $5.00 for two paperbacks.

As an added incentive for picky and curious readers alike, the organizers decided to include keywords and other clues written on each.

In addition to the library, the Friends partnered with a local coffeehouse to set up a table in a highly trafficked corner of downtown. “We decided we needed to move outside of the library to draw more attention to our group,” explained member Sue Grove. On sale days, Friends volunteered to “staff” the table at the coffee shop and handle transactions.

Friends of the Austin Public Library received significant local publicity, including a front-page story in the newspaper and a feature on a popular radio talk show.

All told, the Friends sold 50 wrapped books; with additional donations, they netted $393.00 over the course of the event (more than 50 percent above their target)!

“’Blind Date’ is such a fun project to put on, and it can be easily replicated by any Friends group!” explained Grove. Given their initial success and the relative ease of scaling up the program, organizers are already committed to holding a sequel “Blind Date With A Book” in 2018. Next time around, they are going to expand their offerings to include children’s and young adult titles, and thereby make it an all-ages event.

MLA Invites Award Noms From 'Friends'

Posted by jim on June 20, 2017

freadom_thelostogle_com.jpgFriends of the Library boast a better understanding than most of what goes into the day-to-day operation of a public library, and are therefore in a good position to spot exemplary librarianship. In light of this fact, the Minnesota Library Association invites you to put forward a staff colleague for one of several upcoming awards.

Nominations are currently being accepted for:

‘Above & Beyond’ Award: MLA’s highest prize honors “significant contributions to the Minnesota library community.” Friends, library staffers, trustees, and legislators are all eligible, as are a range of institutions (public or special libraries, schools, foundations, etc.). Up to three Above & Beyond Awards may be given each year.

William G. Asp Distinguished Career Award: Able leadership is key to any library’s success. The Distinguished Career Award is for a veteran with a track record of “positive development in libraries and the improvement of library services.”

Lars Steltzner Intellectual Freedom Award: Named after a Minnesota elementary school media specialist and vocal member of the state’s Coalition for Intellectual Freedom, the Steltzer Prize recognizes an educator who has opposed censorship activities in schools – or actively contributed in some other way to the preservation of students’ intellectual freedom rights.

MLA membership is required to put forward a nomination. Other requirements vary by award. Click here for more information, and to submit a nomination online. Deadline is Monday, August 14!