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Minnesota's Largest Friends Author Gala

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Posted by jim

Looking for something else to do in October? Opus & Olives, the marquee author gala of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, is slated for Sunday, October 13. Hollywood actress Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek, Orange is the New Black) will emcee a night headlined by New York Times bestsellers Mark Bowden, Jennifer Chiaverini, and Chris Pavone – and breakout newcomer Maaza Mengiste. Click here for information on venue and tickets.

Author luncheons and galas are an increasingly popular Friends fundraising platform. Inspired to research your own? Consider exploring the Center for the Book’s new
 Minnesota Writers Directorywhich lists authors alongside details on appearances and engagements they will consider.

A Grand Day For Grand Rapids!

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Posted by jim under MLA Conference, Awards

Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library had a grand day indeed last Thursday, October 19. During the long-awaited MLA Conference in Prior Lake, representative Mary Jo Wimmer came away with the top prize in MALF’s annual Evy Nordley contest. It was no mean feat, either; MALF fielded a higher than average number of project entries from across Minnesota in the 2019 cycle.

Grand Rapids’ show-stopping project, “Pop-Up Book Sales,” stood a cut above the rest due to its innovative nature and great promise as both a sustainable and replicable fundraising model.

The reasoning behind organizers’ departure from the tried-and-true book sale model is simple yet profound. Over the past decade, reading habits have changed for a significant slice of bibliophiles. In this era of e-readers, trekking to the library or book store is no requirement – you can find materials from the comfort of your couch. With grassroots initiatives like Little Free Libraries, physical books and serendipitous discovery are attainable close to home, as well.

Pop up sales, held in a nontraditional (read “non-library”) location, seemed like a logical enough extension on the trends.


Click here to read more about this project, and the runners-up from Austin (“Murder Mystery at Hormel Historic Home”), Brainerd (“Little Free Library Partnership”), and Red Wing (“Telling Our Library’s Story”).

Megan Smolenyak Offers No-Gimmick Genealogy Grants

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Posted by jim

In many communities, the public library is not just the best, but the only place to turn for research on local history and family genealogy. Unfortunately, maintaining and building upon existing genealogy collections is extremely challenging for many libraries, given the many competing demands on their strained budgets.

If this conundrum describes you, acclaimed genealogist, bestselling author and television personality Megan Smolenyak wants to hear from you! For nearly twenty years, Smolenyak has offered quarterly grants to museums, libraries, and other institutions requiring seed funds to kickstart a genealogy project or initiative.

Named after her mother, the so-called Seton Shields Genealogy Grant is refreshingly broad in its scope! However, proposals that are innovative in nature or offer a project model which other libraries would find replicable are particularly competitive.


Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis, with between one and three grant recipients selected quarterly. Amounts given differ based on demonstrated need. Click here to apply, or here to read up on the 213 grantees selected by Megan Smolenyak to date!

2019 MALF Workshop: Reserve Your Spot!

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Posted by jim

Registration is now open for our 2019 workshop series, "Storming the Forts: Library Service on the Move." Click here for program details. 

All three sessions are free to attend, and it is not necessary for you to be a member of MALF or any Library Friends organization to do so. A complimentary lunch will be provided at each location. (Registration is required, to ensure the appropriate number of lunches and informational packets. Please do so by Thursday, September 26.)

Thursday, October 3

Fergus Falls Public Library
205 E. Hampden Ave., Fergus Falls, 56537

Friday, October 4
Ramsey Co. Library - White Bear Lake
2150 2nd St., White Bear Lake, 55110

Saturday, October 5
Marshall-Lyon Co. Library
201 C. St., Marshall, 56258