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Register Now for State and Federal Library Legislative Days

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Posted by jim under Events, Advocacy

Contrary to what the weather might suggest, another spring season chock-full of library advocacy opportunities is rapidly approaching!

MLA-logo-2014.pngClosest to home, we’re thrilled to pass along full details for Minnesota Library Legislative Day, March 4-5 in St. Paul. The annual event will culminate in a broad-based show of support on the Capitol grounds. Click here for a full itinerary of events.

As a primer, feel free to read over a near-final version of the year’s Legislative Platform, put together by the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and the Minnesota Educational Media Organization (MEMO).

This event is open to the public, and library advocates with no professional or other formal association with Minnesota libraries are strongly encouraged to attend! Participation is free, but it is requested that you register by 11:59 p.m. Friday, February 28.

Registration for National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) in Washington, D.C., opened recently as well. ALA has slated this year’s events for May 5-6. Mark those calendars, and we’ll pass along more details as they become available!

Timely Alternatives to Library Legislative Day

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Posted by jim under Advocacy, Campaigns

We can spout statistics, show pictures, and give examples illustrating the value public libraries offer, but what legislators want above all else is to hear the voices of their constituents.

If you can’t make it to St. Paul for next month’s activities, there are still ways to make your voice heard around Library Legsiative Day. And if you are from a library represented by the Plum Creek or Pioneerland regional library system, you can do so in a new and very innovative way!

Shelly Grace, executive director of SAMMIE (Southwest Area Multicounty Multitype Interlibrary Exchange), is currently coordinating a grassroot campaign in which patron advocates in southwest Minnesota are invited to fill out a special Library Legislative Day postcard and leave it at their local branch. SAMMIE will collect these and see that they get to the Capitol in early March.

Please try to get your postcard submitted by the end of the month. (Libraries need to gather and mail their collections to SAMMIE no later than Monday, March 3.)

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Click to download:

Direct any questions you may have to Shelly Grace at 507-532-9013.

Letter campaigns have proven time and again to be a very effective tool. Of course, you can send them year-round, no matter which part of the state you hail from. Click here to find out who represents you, and how best to contact them.

Join MALF for a “Dinner with ‘Friends’”

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Posted by jim under Events

The Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF) is excited to add a little something new to the line-up this Library Legislative Day. We will host a semiformal gathering Tuesday, March 4 after the regularly scheduled 5 p.m. legislative briefing.

Library Friends, trustees and staff members are encouraged to join us at The Kelly Inn's Sweetwater Bar and Grill, 161 St. Anthony Ave., St. Paul, at or around 6:30 p.m. This is a phenomenol opportunity to network with peers and colleagues from all corners of the state and to share strategies and experiences related to effective library advocacy.

MALF will provide appetizers. Dinner and drinks are available from the restaurant’s menu. Please send a brief email RSVP to Kim Edson, kedson@rochester.lib.mn.us, by Friday, February 28 if you plan to attend.

Minnesota’s 2014 LSTA Grant Window is Approaching

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Posted by jim

download_1.jpgAs no one connected with the field needs reminding, libraries rank high on the list of America’s most valuable, valued and versatile public institutions. Federal legislation like the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) aims to ensure they stay so for future generations.

The LSTA’s long-term goals include expanding libraries’ informational and educational resources, fostering the interconnectedness of public libraries, and enhancing the library experience for youth, disadvantage groups, and those in comparatively underserved (usually rural) areas of the country.

In broad brushstrokes, the LSTA consists of two parts: a competitive awards program coordinated at the national level, plus a large state grants component. In Minnesota, the latter is administrated by State Library Services, part of the Department of Education.

If you have a project on the docket that falls within an area of emphasis identified by State Library Services in its current Five Year Plan, you are strongly encouraged to submit a bid when the next grant application round opens on Tuesday, March 4.

If submission requirements seem a bit daunting, don’t worry. An informational webinar is scheduled for 1-2 p.m. Friday, March 7 to help you get started. Advance registration is not required.

Looking to get inspired? Click here to read abstracts on 2013’s twelve grant recipients.

Library Friend in Rochester Receives an “AmaZING” Recognition

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Posted by jim under Awards

The line between Friend of the Library and friend to the community is a thin one. Some would argue that, in point of fact, there really is no difference at all.

Pat Stephenson, a standout member of the Friends of the Rochester Public Library, is a shining example of the impact Friends of the Library can have on their community at large. Her efforts were acknowledged recently by local NBC affiliate KTTC with the outlet’s “KTTC AmaZING Woman Award.”

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The honor came as a shock to no one – least of all her nominator, fellow ‘Friend’ Cathie Armstrong. “Pat, now retired, puts in the equivalent of a full-time job volunteering at the Rochester Public Library.” In her free time, such as it is, “she also volunteers for any organization that needs assistance with books or literacy. She is on a one-woman mission to make sure that people of all ages have access to books.”

Stephenson is a driver behind the success of reading initiatives like World Book Night and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in the greater Rochester area, and is also a familiar face around the Ronald McDonald House, the Women's Shelter, and the Dorothy Day House.

At the library itself, she is equally visible in the day-to-day operations of the Friends of the Library Bookstore and coordinates the system’s popular Saturday and periodic auditorium sales.

Congratulations – and thank you – Pat Stephenson!

Does your Friends group boast a multitalented member of Stephenson’s caliber? Strongly consider nominating him or her for any local television or newspaper community service awards available in your area. It only takes a moment, and the exposure could bring in more members!

Photo Credit: KTTC