As 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: firstname.lastname@example.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.