Chris Olson Honored As MALF’s First “Library Friend of the Year”

Veteran MALF members may know Minnesota Library Friends Day (traditionally, the Friday of each year’s MLA Conference) best as the platform through which MALF announces the winner of the annual Evy Nordley Award. This year, panel attendees got what they came for – plus something extra. For the first time ever, in addition to the traditional slate of awards and acknowledgements, MALF bestowed a brand new honor: “Library Friend of the Year.”

MLA_011.JPGChris Olson, Executive Director for the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), came away with the inaugural award.

The choice came as no surprise to those who know Olson. His devotion as a Friend of the Library knows no bounds – least of all geographic ones. Prominent among other library-related travels, he is a frequent attendee at National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C.

Closer to home, Olson has been affiliated with MALF, in a variety of capacities, for over twenty years (official terms of office: 1990-94, 1997-07, and 2009-11). In that time, he left a footprint on nearly every aspect of MALF operations: from membership, to futures planning, to newsletter and communications work. Olson also served a term as MALF President and another as Secretary pro tem.

He is also the principal author behind MALF’s “Guidelines for Organization: Friends of the Library,” now in its third edition.

Olson’s other library experiences and achievements to date include time as Executive Director of Cooperating Libraries in Consortium (CLIC), and many years as the public information officer for the Lake Agassiz Regional Library system in northwestern Minnesota. He also served for a time as councilor for the American Library Association, and has taught library and information science classes as an adjunct at St. Catherine’s University.

Congratulations, Chris!