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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Best Buy Foundation Offering Technology Grants

Posted by jim on June 15, 2016

Capture.pngAs any library Friend or staffer will tell you – quite contrary to the stereotype that persists in some quarters – libraries are much more than simply repositories for print books. In many communities, among other purposes, the public library serves as the central access point for technology and tech education. In recognition of this fact, the Best Buy Foundation is extending its popular Best Buy Community Grants program to eligible libraries and 501(c)3 Friends groups.

The cardinal aim of this program is to empower organizations that “provide teens with places and opportunities to develop twenty-first century technology skills that will inspire future education and career choices.” As their website explains, “too many teens have little or no access to technology and, as a result, they fall behind their peers.”

Activities eligible for support include classes and initiatives focused on computer programming, digital imaging, music production, robotics, and mobile app development. Grants average $5,000, but up to $10,000 is available to strongly qualified candidates.

For a list of eligibility requirements, click here. (The Best Buy Foundation offers a pre-application quiz to help make it easy.) Note that only Friends and libraries located within 50 miles of a Best Buy store location will be considered. Submit your application by Friday, July 1. Applicants will be notified about the outcome of their proposal by September 15.

One thing we’ve learned in our collaborations with Friends across Minnesota is that, while every group faces challenges, each can boast at least a few standout members – movers and shakers whose dedication, creativity and boundless energy help the organization overcome those obstacles.  What is lacking, by contrast, are good opportunities to acknowledge these outstanding contributors statewide.

In recognition of this fact, MALF is pleased to introduce our newest initiative, “Stand Up For Standout Friends.” Each and every member organization is invited to put forward the name of one individual for this special annual honor, in thanks for standout efforts in furtherance of Friends of the Library work.

Standout Friends from across the state will be honored this fall in a number of ways:

  • A personalized, matted, and frameable Certificate of Recognition for each recipient
  • Special acknowledgment during ‘Library Friends Day,’ part of the Minnesota Library Association conference
  • Permanent place of honor on the Gallery of Friends, a new MALF website portal now in development
  • Official notification, tendered by MALF, to your local Mayor’s office
  • Mention on the official MALF Blog and in an e-newsletter feature
  • Recognition in an upcoming quarterly newsletter

What constitutes standout work? In short, it is up to you! Some may wish to acknowledge a current or former board member or other executive for their contributions in a leadership role. Others may choose to honor a Friend who has been with their organization since the beginning. You are also welcome to bestow the honorific based on number of hours volunteered, amount of money raised, or any mix of these and other factors.


Each member organization may only submit one name per year for the Standout Friends honor. Any Friend is eligible, provided he or she is part of a Friends of the Library group current in its MALF membership and is willing to have his or her name shared publically on award materials distributed across the state. In order to prevent duplicated efforts, MALF asks, though does not require, that the nomination come to us from the current president of each member Friends group.

Please fill out the Standout Friend Nomination Form and return to us by email (to: info@mnlibraryfriends.org). If necessary, you may also mail a paper copy to our office (MALF, 1080 Montreal Ave., Ste. 2, St. Paul, MN, 55116). Applications must be received or postmarked by Friday, August 12, 2016.

Submit your application today for MALF’s flagship prize, the Evy Nordley Award for ‘Best Project by Friends of the Library.’

Each year, we recognize original ideas and innovative projects created by Friends with this first-of-its-kind honor. Any Friends-supported project is eligible for consideration, provided project implementation began after January 1 of the preceding year (in this case, 2015). Examples include print publications, programming events, membership drives, fundraising campaigns, and digital initiatives.

Entry submission is free, but participation requires a current MALF membership. (Contestants unaffiliated with MALF are welcome to submit membership application and annual dues along with their Evy Nordley entry materials.) All entries for the 2016 cycle must be postmarked by Friday, June 17.

Each cycle, three finalists will be notified over the summer and invited to give a ten-minute presentation describing the design, development and impact of their Friends effort at the annual fall Minnesota Library Association (MLA) Conference. The winner will be announced at this time, and be awarded $1,000. Runners-up will receive $250 and a framable Certificates of Recognition.

YALSA Offers Ten 'Teen Read Week' Grants

Posted by jim on May 07, 2016

October 9-15 is national Teen Read Week. While the fall may seem a long way off, now is a good time to turn an eye to tie-in programming.

Why? Over the summer, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is partnering up with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to give select libraries a head start in their planning and funding. As in years past, a YALSA judging committee plans to award ten $1,000 Teen Read Week “activity grants” to deserving public libraries – and, where appropriate, partnering Friends groups – interested in coordinating special programs any time October 9-15.

Teen Read WeekThe focus for the 2016 cycle is on ESL and multilingualism. Program ideas catering to the estimated 22% of the nation’s youth who speak a language other than English in the home will receive top priority.  Tip:Take into account YALSA teen program best practices, which you can find here.

Click here to learn more, and to apply. Your application is due by June 1. Recipients will be notified the week of July 11.

vote.pngWhile 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.