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Barbi Byers Named MALF's Third 'Library Friend of the Year'

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Posted by jim under Awards

The Minnesota Association of Library Friends is closing in on its fortieth anniversary – a major milestone, and one that many nonprofits never get the opportunity to celebrate. We owe our longevity and success to the active involvement of Friends generally, and the long-term support of several individuals in particular. Barbara Byers undoubtedly ranks near the top of this list.
 
“Barbi Byers has been active in MALF from its earliest days, serving first as liaison to the group for the Washington County Library system,” notes MALF President Mary Ann Bernat. Barbi worked as a librarian in Washington County for most of her career (from 1971-1995). Fortunately for all of us, her affiliation with MALF has lasted even longer.
 
Mary Ann Bernat & Barbi ByersBarbi’s involvement culminated in 1998, when she became president of the MALF Board of Directors. She would lead in that post until 2010, and then serve another three equally productive years as Secretary.
 

Among other highlights, Barbi spearheaded the push for what would become MALF’s flagship honor, the annual Evy Nordley Award for Best Project by Friends of the Library.

 
MALF has not been the only beneficiary of Barbi’s largesse over the years. She is incredibly active with the Minnesota Library Association and its Library Trustees and Advocates (MLTA) division. MLA has even named Barbi a recipient of its President’s Award.
 
Barbi has also served time as a citizen representative on the State Library Advisory Council, and collaborated with the state Department of Education on the production of a first-of-its-kind publication about managing small and one-person libraries.
 
Barbi’s generosity does not stop with libraries. From 1998 to 2012, she sat on the board of the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education. For about a decade, she also coordinated a drive to send surplus hospital supplies to medical clinics in Malawi.
 
Library Friend of the Year PlaqueOn October 8, in recognition of her many and varied contributions – both to MALF and the Minnesota library community more generally – MALF named Barbi Byers the ‘Library Friend of the Year’ at the 2015 Minnesota Library Association Conference.
 
“I arrived at the conference early, ostensibly for a MALF nominating committee update during breakfast,” Barbi said. “I was completely surprised when Mary Ann Bernat stepped up to the podium and presented me with this meaningful award, complete with a beautifully engraved walnut bookend.”
 
Congratulations, Barbi!

The Evy Nordley Award Goes To....

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Posted by jim under Awards, Evy Nordley

Christmas came early this year for the Friends of the Austin Public Library, deserving winners of the 2015 Evy Nordley Award of Best Project by Friends of the Library.

Austin took home that prize – MALF’s most distinguished – on October 8, during the annual Minnesota Library Association conference. Click here to read more about their award-winning project: a new and replicable holiday book sale model, and one that you yourself might want to consider adopting. 
 
“Winning the Evy Nordley Award is an affirmation that what our Friends group is doing is providing real services and benefits to our community,” said president Sue Grove. “The $1,000 grant attached to the Evy Nordley will serve as ‘seed money’ as we explore other innovative projects.”

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One Week Until National Friends of Libraries Week

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Posted by jim under Events

Between MALF’s seasonal workshops and the annual MLA conference, fall is a busy time for Friends of the Library in Minnesota. Even so, it’s important to remember what is happening on the national stage. October 18-24 is National Friends of Libraries Week!

National Friends of Libraries Week is sponsored and coordinated by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association and MALF’s national counterpart. Its intent, simply put, is to foster an environment conducive to promoting Friends groups and our important work. It doubles as an excellent opportunity for your library, Board of Trustees, or local officials to recognize your group for its ongoing support.


Naturally, this week-long celebration is an extremely customizable one. Apart from the broad mission sketched out above, appropriate ways to celebrate Friends of Libraries Week are nearly as many and varied as America’s countless Friends groups!

Indeed, in years past, these have ranged from the simple and straightforward, like week-long membership campaigns and fundraising drives, to the unexpected and sometimes wacky – like an in-library demonstration from a world champion chocolate strawberry dipper. (Yes, really!)


United for Libraries has posted on its website a number of ideas, stories, and downloadable resources to help you get started. Click here for posters, sample letters to the editor, template public proclamations, and much much more.

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