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Minnesota Seeks 'Letters About Literature' Volunteer Judges

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Posted by jim under Volunteering

hqdefault.jpgIn the coming weeks, thousands of Minnesota schoolchildren will pen letters to their favorite writers, living or dead, about how that author’s work has changed them or their world view. It’s not merely a fun creative exercise – though it certainly is that. All across the country, students 4-12 are tackling this writing prompt as part of “Letters About Literature.”

The Library of Congress kickstarted the program back in 2000, and continues to provide oversight. However, entries are judged and prizes awarded on the state level. Here in Minnesota, the state’s Center for the Book coordinates first- and second-round judging. With so many entries incoming, coordinators are seeking volunteers with librarian, educator or experience (professional or volunteer) to read and assess letters. ‘Workload’ is projected to be approximately 50 one- to two-page letters per judge.

Entrants are judged by age category (grades 4-5, 7-8 and 9-12). If you have preference(s), be sure to mention these in your email. Letters ranked highly by you will be considered for statewide (and ultimately national) award consideration. If interested, contact with Alayne Hopkins (alayne@thefriends.org) for more information or to put your name forward.

"Minnesota Libraries Transform Because…"

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Posted by jim under Advocacy

In the past year, frequent and attentive library goers may have seen tantalizing "Because" statements plastered to their library’s walls, doors, and shelf endcaps. ("Because access equals opportunity." "Because a library card is the most important school supply of all."). These messages are the output of a viral publicity campaign conducted by the American Library Association. “Because” statements answer the rhetorical but important question: Why are our libraries so important?

This month, in response to ALA’s phenomenal success on the national level, the Minnesota Library Association's new Legislative Working Group just announced a tagline contest of its own: "Minnesota Libraries Transform Because…"

Entering is simple! Complete the sentence, and post to Twitter along with #mnlibrariestransform. You are welcome to submit your entry online, instead. Collected submission may be used in collateral materials created for Minnesota Library Legislative Day and Virtual Library Legislate Week 2018 (scheduled for March 5-8).

One lucky winner will also receive a large, decorative print of their “Because” statement (and bragging rights, to boot)! Make sure you submit your entry by Friday, February 2. Good luck!

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Institute of Museum and Library Services Needs Our Help!

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Posted by jim under Advocacy

download.jpgYou may not know the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) by name. However, every time you visit a public library, you have the IMLS - in part - to thank for the amenities you used and the service you received. Among other duties, IMLS stewards Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) funding, the only federal dollars exclusively set aside for libraries.

LSTA is the pot through which 1,500+ state grants are funded each year. In recent years, Minnesota's population-based allotment has hovered around $2.7 million, so much is at stake!

In the coming months, IMLS is up for reauthorization (a piece of legislation passed by Congress certifying a program or department’s continued relevance). IMLS and LSTA were last reauthorized back in 2010. With a new and uncertain fiscal year on the horizon, authorization is perhaps more important than ever.

Constituents can contact their congressional representatives and encourage them to support bipartisan bill “S. 2271” (aka Museum and Library Services Act of 2017) in the Senate. You can read more about the renewal bill here.