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MALF Blog

Minnesota Association of Library Friends

2019 Evy Nordley Award: T-Minus Ten Days!

Posted by jim on June 10, 2019

This e-newsletter doubles as our last chance to remind and encourage you to apply for the 2019 Evy Nordley Award. Applications must be received/postmarked by June 21.

While we can’t tell you what your odds of winning are, we can say with some certainly: better than you think. Over the past five years alone, at least two Friends of the Library groups wavered over whether even to take part, and came away with the top prize!

You may simply be too close to your project, or too aware of the challenges and shortcomings, to fully appreciate how impressive your latest Friends initiative really was. And what is there to lose? Applicants typically report that compiling materials and submitting a nomination takes them less than two hours.

Click here to learn more, and to apply. Remember, anything from innovative membership solicitations, to successful fundraising efforts, to a gangbusters book sale are eligible for Evy Nordley consideration.

MALF Welcomes Loretta Ellsworth

Posted by jim on June 03, 2019

MALF welcomes a new member to its board of directors this month: Loretta Ellsworth of Lakeville (Dakota County).

Ellsworth is the author of five books, including four young adult novels. Her adult debut, Stars Over Clear Lake, is an historical fiction romance set during World War II. It won her a host of honors, including ALA’s Notable Book designation, the Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Honor Award, and the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award (NEMBA).

Ellsworth is a former teacher, and holds a master’s degree in writing for children from Hamline University. She is a regular judge of the Minnesota Book Awards, and has also volunteers with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Ellsworth has been involved with her local Friends of the (Lakeville) Heritage Library for fourteen years. Eleven years ago, she pioneered OneBook, OneLakeville, a hugely successfully community reads program which she continues to chair for the Friends today.

MALF’s mission work is board-driven, and a new recruit like Loretta is certainly something to celebrate. If you would like to consider contributing time and talents to bettering Friends and libraries in Minnesota, reach out to us at info@mnlibrayfriends.org. Our Nominating Committee would be delighted to talk over directorship, contributions to one of MALF’s working group, or some other role with our organization.

As anyone working in the library field can tell you, school media centers are habitually underfunded. This is particularly true in inner city neighborhoods and poverty-stricken areas. Consequently, their collection development budgets tend to be quite tight.

If this is the case at your school, Scholastic Inc. wants to help. In partnership with New York Times bestselling author James Patterson, the publisher
is donating $1,250,000 to school library collection development. In all, 4,500 recipients will be chosen. Five hundred “new teachers” (defined as 0-3 years on the job) can win $500. An additional 4,000 teachers and school librarians will be awarded $250/each.

Applying is simple – truly, couldn’t be easier! All applicants are asked to do is verify their credentials and write 100 words on how a $250 or $500 donation would benefit their library and student body.
Click here for details.

Major Benefactor Citation: How Does It Work?

Posted by jim on May 24, 2019

According to one estimate, Americans gave $410 billion in 2018. Those donors come from every stratum of society. Unsurprisingly, however, only a handful of patrons are in a position to give $10,000 or more to their favorite cause. Where these do exist, however, they should be recognized for their largesse and community spirit.  

united-for-libs.pngWith that in mind, United for Libraries (the Friends arm of the American Library Association) is offering members 

and non-members special ‘Major Benefactor Citations.’ This commendation is meant to acknowledge and honor outstanding library supporters, and to encourage others to follow their generous example.

The Major Benefactor Citation consists of a custom plaque for the benefactor, and another for the requesting Friends group. United for Libraries also provides recipients with a variety of informational sheets and promotions templates to build an event around the Citation and promote library giving.

In addition, all Major Benefactor Citation recipients are featured on the United for Libraries website and in a press release issued by ALA.

Monetary and in-kind contributions to library operations or programming are all eligible for this recognition. Click here for more information. 

"Sing Their Praises" - MCN Unsung Hero Award

Posted by jim on May 05, 2019

Every day, volunteers of all kinds work tirelessly, but without fanfare, to better their communities. They rarely receive the recognition that these selfless contributions deserve.

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits knows this. For the past four years, the organization has offered its prestigious Unsung Hero Award, “in acknowledgment of the recipient’s role in creating a positive impact on Minnesota.”


Candidates must be Minnesota residents, and self-nominations will not be accepted. Otherwise, eligibility criteria are few!

While the award is a competitive one, top prize includes $10,000 and a special recognition at MCN’s annual conference in Rochester in October.
 Click here to up on application procedures – and about 2015-2018 recipients, to better gauge if the colleague you have in mind would be competitive. Submit by Monday, May 27. As always, good luck!

While you’re at it: Be sure to submit your high achiever for MALF’s own Stand Up for Standout Friends. This Friends-specific recognition opportunity is open to all MALF member organizations. Click here to review recipient honors and application steps. Stand Up for Standout Friends submissions are due Friday, August 2.

Nestled in the heart of Appalachia, the three-branch Madison County Public Libraries system is one of the smallest in North Carolina. It is also, in many ways, the most impressive – this according to Library Journal, who named it the “Best Small Library in America” last year.

The reasons for Madison’s selection are many, but its programmatic achievements top the list. Last year, event and class attendance exceeded 16,000. That’s pretty astounding, for a library serving a population of only 21,000 (and which does so on a modest budget, to boot).

The annual ‘Best Small Library’ distinction is bestowed annually by Library Journal and Baker & Taylor. As the name suggests, its intent is to encourage and showcase the exemplary work of modestly-sized libraries. The winner receives $5,000, a
 feature story in Library Journal, and a number of other perks.

Do you feel that your Friends efforts contribute to making your local library the ‘Best’ of its kind? Consider nominating it for the 2019 award cycle, which runs from now to July 2.


Judging is based on a number of factors, including: creativity in developing and implementing replicable programming; volunteer support base; sustained cooperation with other community organizations; and evidence of the library’s long-standing value as a community center. Only public libraries with service populations under 25,000 are eligible for consideration.

For more information, including comprehensive judging criteria and step-by-step nomination instructions,
 visit Library Journal.

Evy Nordley Entries Due June 21

Posted by jim on April 16, 2019

While you have awards on the mind, spare a thought for MALF’s own Evy Nordley Award for Best Project. Evy Nordley is one of only a handful of monetary prizes in the country earmarked specifically and solely for Friends of the Library efforts.

Top prize is $1,000, with first- and second- place runners-up each also receiving an honorarium. Finalists will also have an opportunity to share details about their outstanding library program, membership drive, fundraising campaign, or other initiative with peers at the 2019 Minnesota Library Association conference.


Click here to brush up on entry requirements and recommendations, and to download the 2019 nomination form.

Mark your calendars: Applications are due June 21. MLA 2019 will be held this year on September 19-20, at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake. Registration and other conference details will follow early this summer.

April 'Quick Tip': TechSoup Webinars

Posted by jim on April 12, 2019

Public libraries are an ever-evolving community institution. And, just as libraries themselves must adapt with the times, so must we. This is often easier said than done, however.

Fortunately, TechSoup offers a comprehensive (and free!) library of
 recorded webinars to help Friends understand the latest charity trends, and to integrate best practices into their day-to-day operations. This archive truly runs the gamut – how to write a killer grant application, leverage social media for effective storytelling, migrate your Friends’ data to “the cloud,” and so much more. Each session is led by an industry expert, and runs between 30-60 minutes in length.

Not sure where to start? Look for the 
Categories menu option, and review the twenty topic areas TechSoup has to choose from.

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