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MALF Blog

Minnesota Association of Library Friends

National Library Legislative Day Registration Opens

Posted by jim on December 28, 2017

You are cordially invited to the 44th annual National Library Legislative Day, officially slated for May 7-8, 2018. Registration will remain open through March, but with the busy holiday season about to ramp up, why delay?

Veteran advocates and new participants alike are encouraged to participate in this once-a-year advocacy opportunity. Attendees will be treated to a day-long training session before the main event: meeting with the congressmen and women who represent you and are charting the future course for public libraries in America.


Click here to learn more, and to reserve your space. (Note that a full and detailed Legislative Day itinerary will not be available until late April. A platform detailing national library priorities will also be available at that time.)

As in other recent years, events will be based around the Liaison Hotel in Washington, D.C. Interested in attending NLLD, and looking for ways to defray the trip costs? Consider applying for a special stipend offered to non-librarian participants through the White House Conference on Library and Information Services Taskforce (WHCLIST).
 Click here for full details. 

Public Libraries and Net Neutrality

Posted by jim on December 11, 2017

Free, equitable access to information is a bedrock principle which all public libraries share. In the digital sphere, that equal access is safeguarded by “net neutrality.” In brief, net neutrality is a legal doctrine which forces internet service providers to treat all online data the same, regardless of user or site content.

Without existing net neutrality protections, cable and DSL companies can "stack the deck" by providing faster connections to favored websites and restricting access to in-demand web resources at will.

On Thursday, December 14, the Federal Communications Commission will vote to repeal those protections. Between now and this critical vote, the American Library Association strongly recommends that library advocates across the country contact the FCC and petition for the continuation of the existing net neutrality policy.  

“Now that the internet has become the primary mechanism for delivering information, services and applications to the general public, it is especially important that commercial internet service providers are not able to control or manipulate the content of these communications. Libraries, our patrons, and America’s communities will be at risk if the FCC repeals all protections contained in its 2015 Open Internet Order with no plans to replace with any enforceable rules.” (Click here to read the full statement.)

Making your voice heard only takes a minute. Please consider signing petitions at 
Change.org and Whitehouse.gov

MALF Bids A Fond Farewell

Posted by jim on December 06, 2017

download.jpgAs the year draws to a close, we big an official farewell to one of our longest serving board members, Howie Burke.

Howie’s involvement with MALF stretches back nearly a decade. As president of Friends of the St. Michael / Albertville / Hanover Library, he shepherded the organization through its first-ever capital campaign in 2009-2010. “Build It, Together” ultimately exceeded its target, funding multimedia, shelving, tables, and other furnishings for the area’s new library. It garnered St. Michael the 2011 Evy Nordley Award for Best Project.

Howie joined MALF as a board director several years later. A web developer and communications specialist by trade, he joined MALF’s communications committee - and served ably as its chair. He served simultaneously as chair of the membership committee.

His organizational skills and copyediting prowess will be greatly missed! Fortunately for MALF, Howie intends to remain an active citizen member, particularly in the realm of 2018 programming. 

AmeriCorps_VISTA_Logo1_Halftone.jpgIs your library interested in getting a new school readiness program off the ground? Expanding its adult literacy and ESL instruction offerings? Creating a volunteer pipeline to provide students one-on-one tutoring assistance? Establishing a performing arts or creative writing program from the ground up?

Even if those examples don’t quite hit the mark, odds are good that your library aspires to expand its literacy offerings in some way or another. Unfortunately, they are hampered by limited resources – and in particular, limited personnel time.

Minnesota Literacy Council and AmeriCorps VISTA want to help! They are currently scheduling VISTA ambassadors for deployment in Minnesota communities in 2018.

VISTA ambassadors are trained volunteers who make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at an eligible nonprofit organization or public agency. (Most are pursuing or exploring a career in education or public/social services. They are compensated through school scholarships, professional development credits, and a modest living allowance.)

It’s a true win-win arrangement for many. If your library could make effective use of a full-time VISTA educator, click here to learn more. On the fence? Interested parties are invited to attend information sessions on December 14, January 9, and January 18.

Applications must be submitted by Thursday, January 25.

MALF Welcomes Ann Hutton, Sue Hall

Posted by jim on November 29, 2017

Ann-Hutton-500x500.pngMALF is thrilled and privileged to announce the addition of two new, multitalented individuals to our Board of Directors. Friends of the Library familiar with library governance, long-range planning, or fundraising may already know their names.

First, welcome to Ann Hutton. Ann recently retired as executive director of Rochester-based SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Coordinating). Her library expertise and experience in that area date back to 1984, when she accepted a regional librarian position. She assumed the executive director post in 1996, and her accomplishments in the role are many and varied. Recent achievements include completion of an 11-county Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub digitization project, and bringing the Bremer Rural Libraries & Literacy Leadership Institute (L3) to SELCO libraries.

Ann is a long-time and active member of the Minnesota Library Association. She served two terms as legislative chair – as well as chair of the Minnesota Library Council during a critical period when the state lacked a State Librarian. She was inducted onto the ALA Advocacy Honor Roll in 2015.

Sue-BW-Photo-V2-500x500.pngWe are also pleased to welcome Sue Hall, outgoing director of Library Strategies Consulting Group (the in-house consulting arm of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library). Sue co-founded Library Strategies in 2006; it remains the only library consulting firm in the country imbedded inside a library support organization. As a consultant, Sue has helped American libraries in over 30 states – and Romania and Saudi Arabia, to boot.

Sue co-wrote the ALA Press title Beyond Booksales: Raising Real Money for Your Library (2013), and has played a leadership role in multiple statewide or multi-state initiatives. Recent examples include the Bremer Rural Libraries & Literacy Leadership Institute (L3) and Legacy-funded ‘Once Upon a Reader’ one-read program.

Like What MALF Does? Join Our Board!

Posted by jim on November 10, 2017

The Minnesota Association of Library Friends is proud to be a Board-driven organization. In other words, not only do we have a volunteer Board of Directors at the helm –– we rely on this body to staff committees and take on much of the day-to-day and project-oriented work that allows MALF to aid and advocate for Friends in Minnesota.

As we approach a new year, we invite interested candidates from across the state to put their names and credentials forward for consideration! Please email us at your leisure, at info@mnlibraryfriends.org. Include your full name and phone number, and preferably a copy of your resume / curriculum vitae. A member of our Nominating Committee will be back to you.

In particular, we welcome queries from candidates with a finance background (nonprofit, corporate, or public sector). Responsibilities of particular note include sitting on MALF’s finance and investment committee, driving internal audits when appropriate, and identifying cost saving opportunities as able.

Furthermore, MALF’s treasurer is slated to rotate out of that important role by 2019. A replacement is sought to take over treasurer duties after a long transitional period. Treasurer’s added responsibilities include budgeting oversight, submitting and tracking payments, and active collaboration with MALF’s president, staff, and accountant.

Past Award Applicants, MALF Wants Your Feedback!

Posted by jim on October 23, 2017

MALF’s Grants & Awards Committee is currently surveying past applicants for the Evy Nordley Award for Best Project by Friends of the Library.

If you’ve applied in the past, but did not do so in 2017, we would appreciate your honest input on this topicClick here to complete the survey. (If your Friends of the Library group DID submit in 2017, or has NEVER submitted, you may disregard.)

Did we mention… it’s only three questions! Please reply by Friday, October 27

Congratulations to the devoted Friends of the Library at Marine Library Association, winners of the 2017 Evy Nordley Award for Best Project. MALF made the announcement Friday, October 6 at the Minnesota Library Association conference, after a 10-minute presentation by Mary Burke on the conception and implementation of “Once Upon A River.”

DSC_0245.JPGAlong with Burke, Friends leaders Loralee DiLorenzo and Sue Logan made the 100-mile trek from Rochester to accept the custom award plaque and $1,000 cash prize.

In order to truly appreciate this inaugural program, a little background on the Marine Community Library is necessary. Back in 2011, the Washington County Library system made the difficult decision to withdraw funding from its small branch in Marine on St. Croix (population 680). Rather than letting this valued public service lapse, this tight-knit, book-loving community banded together to keep their Library running as an all-volunteer organization. Marine Community Library – as it is now known – remains a vital and vibrant resource for the residents of Marine and nearby Scandia.

“Once Upon a River”

The historic Marine Village Hall in Marine on St. Croix is Minnesota's oldest public facility of its kind still used for governmental purposes. However, on October 15, 2016, the 130-year-old building hosted something entirely new.

The Friends of the Marine Library (aka Marine Library Association) hosted "Once Upon A River" at the historic venue. Marine Library Association marketed this unique performance as a blend of photography exhibits, live music, and more celebrating the beautiful St. Croix River and environ.

More than 150 ticket holders turned out for this fundraiser. Headliners included artist Marty Harding and nature photographer Gary Noren, who shared the distinction of being selected as ‘Pine Needles Artists in Residence’ for the St. Croix Watershed Research Station – a big honor, for those in the know.

Other highlights included the 30-member River Chorale, jazz and ragtime clarinetist Butch Thompson, and renowned pianist and accordionist Dan Chouinard.

e18d71c247b99a2ae09a17e5b75b4265.jpgGiven the environmental theming, the Friends were able to convince the St. Croix River Association, St. Croix Watershed Research Station (Science Museum of Minnesota), and the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (National Park Service) to partner on the funding, design, and promotion of this first-of-its kind endeavor.

Moreover, the Marine Library Association’s dedicated promotions team went all out, designing a well-circulated poster and securing plugs in area newspapers and other media.

"Once Upon A River" packed the house and then some. Some hopefuls who had not purchased their ticket in advance could not get into the Village Hall, noted organizer Loralee DiLorenzo. (This is, as they say, a good problem to have.) Fortunately, some of the exhibits on display at OUAR are slated to enjoy a long second life in other Washington County venues. This includes the popular artwork of Harding and Noren.

At the end of the night, the Marine Library Association had netted $7,735. Success is attributable not just to ticket sales and sponsorship support, but to the Friends’ stellar job securing in-kind donations for the program. This included over $3,500 in comped audio visual support from a local vendor, among other services.