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Urgent: Help Us Save Federal IMLS!

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Posted by jim under Advocacy

As you may already have heard, the new White House budget proposal calls for the defunding of the Institute of Museum & Library Services. IMLS is the only agency charged with providing federal assistance to our nation’s public libraries.

This is not the first time that vital library funding has been in jeopardy - and Friends have successfully mobilized local grassroots support in defense of their favorite public institution in the past. Here’s hoping that this is another one of those times.

Here is a list of things you can do to advocate on behalf of IMLS and libraries across the country.

1. First and foremost, contact your congressional representatives. Voice your stalwart support for IMLS and federal LSTA fundingUnsure who represents you in one or both chambers? Take advantage of the State of Minnesota’s convenient “Who Represents Me?” website. Details for the offices of senators Franken and Klobuchar, as well as all eight members of the Minnesota delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, are available here.

2. Odds are, your library has directly benefited from IMLS in the past. Check it out in the agency’s 
searchable database, and share these stories far and wide – through social media, and any other avenues open to you. If you use Twitter or Facebook, be sure to use the #SaveIMLS hashtag.

3. Sign up to receive the American Library Association’s helpful Action Alerts, in order to stay abreast of developments.

4. It’s not too late to sign up for National Library Legislative Day 2017, scheduled for May 1-2 in Washington, D.C. 
Click here for details, including advocacy itinerary, RSVP details, hotel accommodation options, and more. It’s no small commitment, but boots on the ground this year make more difference than ever.

Vernon Offers $5,000 Grants For Library Immigrant Services

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Posted by jim under Grants

Libraries are among any community’s best (and in some places and cases, only) resources for new immigrants to gain English language proficiency, workforce assistance, and other services vital to acclimating to life in a new country.

In recognition of this fact, Georgia-based Vernon Library Supplies, a privately owned and operated materials vendor, is donating 100% of its 2017 profits to benefit libraries across the country in their ongoing efforts to serve immigrants.

“Immigrants and their successful integration into the country have been critical to what has made America into the wonderful country it is,” said company president Shai Robkin. “We therefore owe our libraries a great debt of gratitude.”

Up to $5,000 is available to libraries that can prove a diverse demographic/patron base, demonstrate a history of serving New Americans, and lay out a game plan for wisely spending any money awarded. Click here to learn more, and to apply.

Applications must be received by October 31, 2017. Decisions will be made on or before December 1.

MALF Welcomes Two New Leaders

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Posted by jim under Board of Directors

MALF is thrilled to announce the introduction of two new Board of Directors members to our growing ranks: Jim Weygand and Roseanne Byrne.

Roseanne Byrne
brings impressive library field ‘bona fides’ to MALF. Prior to moving to Minnesota, she served for a time as assistant deputy director and youth services librarian for the Des Plaines (IL) Public Library. Byrne has since worked in three MELSA library systems, including time as an assistant branch manager with the Saint Paul Public Library, nearly 25 years in various capacities at Hennepin County Library, and 13 years with Dakota County Library (including time as system deputy director). She is a highly active, and founding, member of the Wentworth – Dakota Friends of the Library.

Jim Weygand is deeply invested in public libraries and other public causes in the southwest Twin Cities metro. Although a (retired) semiconductor process engineer by trade, residents of Carver County will know Weygand best as a past City Council member and Mayor of Carver. He recently finished serving nearly a full decade on the Library Board of Carver County Library. Weygand is currently President of the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) Trustee and Advocates division, and a dedicated member of the Minnesota Library Association board.

Interested in learning more about serving on the MALF Board, and other volunteering opportunities with the Friends? Email info@mnlibraryfriends.org, and we will be happy to get you in touch with our Nominating Committee.

Snapdragon Book Foundation Offers School Library Support

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Posted by jim under Grants

Friends of the Library know as well as anyone that school media centers routinely face budget shortfalls and cuts. Unfortunately, this is especially true in poorer communities – in the schools where children could most benefit from a robust library.

If your local school media center serves a high proportion of disadvantaged students, the Snapdragon Book Foundation wants to help. For nearly a decade, this organization (started by a former librarian, who understands the challenges faced by these important facilities), has been providing much needed monetary assistance to school libraries looking to expand their lending collections.

If your media center is looking to purchase materials within the next nine months, visit their website to see if you are eligible. Before proceeding, be sure to check out their thorough FAQ.

Last year, the Snapdragon Book Foundation received more than 500 applications – and awarded a number of grants ranging from $1,500 to $15,000. Apply by Sunday, April 16 to be considered for the 2017 cycle.