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MALF Blog

Minnesota Association of Library Friends

"Minnesota Libraries Transform Because…"

Posted by jim on January 12, 2018

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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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.

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.

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