Minnesota Association of Library Friends

Rochester Friends and Friends' Bookstore

Posted by jim on March 29, 2011

This entry, written by Friends of the Rochester Public Library PastPresident, Shirley Edmonson, itemizes the work this group has done.  MALF congratulates this award-winning member of the Association for its strong support of libraries.


LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE:  http://friendsbookstorerochmn.blogspot.com/2011/03/presidents-column-2010-activities.html

     The Friends had a busy year in 2010 with ongoing and new activities. Thanks to the generous donation of many thousands of books by the Rochester community, the Library was able to add or replace 10,593 items in their collection for an estimated value of $250,684. The Friends of Rochester Pubic Library sorted all of the contributed materials to permit the selection of these items for the current RPL collection.

     Not only were the Friends responsible for regular bookstore sales of other selected items throughout the year, but we staffed and managed five large auditorium book sales including Rochsterfest and Winterfest and multiple other special sales. Our bookstore profits check for 2009 given in January 2010 was $50,000. In addition, the Friends made another pledged cash contribution of $25,901 to pay for specific requested library projects, plus special requests of $4,000 during the year, for a total value of $330,581. Our 2010 pledge of $15,000 for a self-check machine is carrying over to 2011.

The Friends: --Volunteered for the Minnesota Library Association meeting in Rochester, where we won the MLA “Best Friends Project” Evy Nordley Award, including $1,500 for “The Threads of Our Community” quilt project. We hosted a celebration of the quilt unveiling for the artists and families. -- Helped with the RACE exhibit. --Participated at the August ARTIgras event at Mayo Park with a booth that gave us visibility. --Won a $1,500 prize from the Unique Management Services survey drawing. The money was donated toward purchase of a Mac Pro laptop computer and software to enable the Library staff to improve their online communications and video projects. --Donated money to buy six new tables for the children’s area and $1,565 to pay for the electrical work needed in replacing the computers in the Children’s area of the Library. --Donated $400.00 toward purchasing a Cricut Cutter Machine for the Children’s Department. --Bought new carts and tables for the book store and book sorting area. --Sold books online, which has enhanced our ability to pledge more money to the Library. --Backed the Library sponsored Rochester Reads event, Summer Children’s programs, Library programming, databases and software, materials and training with $25,901. --Provided volunteers and refreshments for the History Hullabaloo in January 2011, sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society to aid students with their research for History Day projects. --Increased our visibility through the Internet and social networking. In addition to the Library’s website, we have a bookstore blog and are on Facebook and Twitter.

Projects we are continuing are: Read With Me (books for the young child), mailing books to the military in various areas of the world, donating books to Channel One, recycling of printer cartridges, paying for a parking space for volunteers in the ramp next to the Library, and providing a Library staff appreciation breakfast. A big “Thank You” to our members, who donate so much time to the Library, as well as dues for membership. You make all of the above possible.

Shirley Edmonson, Friends Past President (2010)

Every year the Friends’ Bookstore donates their yearly profits to the library. This year business was doing so well in the bookstore, they were able to donate $52,000!

These funds go towards library programming, expanding collections, etc. The Bookstore is run completely by volunteers and their inventory consists of donations from generous donors who want to share their books with other people in the community and help the library at the same time. It really is a win-win situation! 

UI and MELSA team up to improve UI services

DEED’s Unemployment Insurance Division (UI) and the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) hosted a webinar titled “Understanding Unemployment Insurance and Its Impact on Your Library Customers” on Jan. 27.  Nearly 300 library staff from across the nation participated in the training session.

The objective was to suggest ways in which libraries and Unemployment Insurance programs can partner to provide improved resources and support to unemployed workers.

There is a growing need to educate library staff so they can better assist their customers who apply for UI online, according to MELSA’s Jobs and Small Business Task Force. And that number is significant.  More than 80 percent of Minnesota‘s UI applicants apply for benefits and request payments online.  A large proportion of these UI customers use library computers because they provide free Internet access.

Ed Seel, a supervisor with the UI Program, explained that it’s essential for applicants to be provided with timely, accurate information, since UI is receiving 3,000 to 5,000 applications for benefits each week. That’s why library staffers’ role assisting customers with the UI website is vital. 

He gave important instructions to pass on to library customers applying for UI benefits.  Applicants should:

·         Apply for benefits immediately after being separated from employment;

·         Apply to the state where they worked most recently (which may not be the state where the applicant lives); and

·         Refrain from using websites that charge fees for UI information to be used to apply for benefits. Minnesota applicants should always use the state’s official UI website:www.UIMN.org.  

Alice Neve, public services manager at St. Paul Public Libraries, spoke about best practices for improving services. She said that library staff members in St. Paul see peak demand for the UI website each Monday morning.  Since more customers need help using the website during that time, staff meetings have been rescheduled, and library hours have been adjusted.

The webinar, moderated by Melinda Ludwiczak, MELSA project manager, was the first in a series of libraries, jobs, and small business webinars offered in collaboration with MELSA’s Jobs and Small Business Task Force.

The topic of the second webinar, scheduled for April 20, is “Working with Your WorkForce Center.”  Examples of programs, services, and tools that libraries can use to assist the unemployed and job seekers in their communities are available at http://www.webjunction.org/workforce-resources. The archive that contains resources for the webinar held Jan. 27 is available here.  For information and registration for the webinar scheduled for April 20, click here.

PHILADELPHIA – The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is accepting applications for the Baker & Taylor Awards, given to Friends of the Library groups. Applications are due May 2, 2011.

The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is accepting applications for the Baker & Taylor Awards, given to Friends of the Library groups. Applications are due May 2, 2011.


Please take a moment to read Governor Dayton’s proclamation, which highlights the important services State Services for the Blind provides to Minnesotans through our Communication Center and in coordination with the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library.


Governor's Proclamation - Talking Book Awareness

Minnesota Talking Book Awareness Day is tomorrow  - March 3, 2011.  This is in honor of the 80th anniversary of the National Library Service and the first National Talking Book Awareness Day. 

Minnesota Library Lost to Fire - Cosmos, MN

Posted by admin on February 27, 2011

The Association wishes to extend its sympathy to the staff and community members affected by the total loss of the community library in Cosmos, MN, to fire.  We are very grateful that nobody was injured, but a community anchor like a library is a major loss in a small town like Cosmos.

(Link to original article below.)


COSMOS -- Crews are still at the scene of an early morning fire at the Cosmos city library that reportedly destroyed the structure.  Roads are blocked in the area. The fire was reported at 5:11 this morning. (2.24.2011)

The roof of the structure had collapsed around 7 a.m., according to Jody Fruetel, who was arriving home from work at that time and has been watching the fire from her home all morning. She is the wife of Fire Chief Jon Fruetel.  She said the library is housed in an existing building on Main Street that had been renovated about a year ago.  The library is located across the street from the city park and right next to the fire department.

The loss of the library is "devastating" for the small Meeker County town, she said, adding it's the main place where children in the community gather.

An important article for library supporters....

Posted by jim on February 24, 2011

While our economy seems to be slowly staggering back to its feet, state and municipal governments remain hard-hit as the result of lost tax revenues, lost stimulus money and pension fund payments that have grown to monstrous size to make up for the market losses of 2007 and 2008. Those governments are cutting everywhere they can and public libraries nationwide have been one of the biggest and least deserved losers in the process.

Widespread public access to knowledge, like public education, is one of the pillars of our democracy, a guarantee that we can maintain a well-informed citizenry.

But libraries seem to be losing out in the funding battles, due, in part, to the mistaken belief that they are somehow anachronistic in an age when so many Americans have instant computer access to information through the Internet. This is, frankly, a let-them-eat-cake-attitude that threatens to destroy a network of public assets that remains critical in our country.

Millions of Americans simply cannot afford to replace what libraries have traditionally offered for free -- access to books, computers and research assistance. Ironically, the importance of these services is even greater in a time of economic uncertainty.

For Americans facing job losses, working to gain new skills and seeking assistance in an increasingly digital world, U.S. public libraries are first responders. Two-thirds of libraries report they provide the only free access to computers and the Internet in their communities. Libraries function as crucial technology hubs, not merely for free Web access, but those who need computer training and assistance. Library business centers help support entrepreneurship and retraining

For thousands and thousands of American kids, libraries are the only safe place they can find to study, a haven free from the dangers of street or the numbing temptations of television. As schools cutback services, the library looms even more important to countless children. And libraries often offer young parents the only chance they can provide to inculcate their children in a culture of books, one of the most essential building blocks for success in school.

For the elderly, libraries are often important community centers that help them escape the loneliness of old age.

Most important of all, perhaps, a library within a community stands as a testimonial to its values, its belief in universal access to literature and knowledge.

The value of all of these services has been widely accepted in our nation for at least a century. But we have now entered an era of unprecedented budget cuts.

For example, in California, Governor Brown's new proposed budget decreases General Fund assistance for public libraries by $30.4 million, eliminating the California Library Services Act, Public Library Foundation and the California Library Literacy and English Acquisition Services -- that is, access, resource sharing and adult literacy. In Texas, the cuts are even more stark, with the new budget proposing complete elimination of several programs that have either provided direct aid to libraries or irreplaceable programs, like those that created shared databases. Even in my own community, a small city on the northern edge of Chicago where a major university sits, my neighbors and I have been struggling to save a small branch library that was pivotal to the education of many neighborhood kids.

Librarians know that shrinking budgets demand hard choices, and they do not expect to be exempt as local and state governments endure the hardest times they have faced since the Depression. But it is wrong to cut library budgets disproportionately compared to other reductions, and that is what is happening around the country.

I count myself as one of millions of Americans whose life simply would not be the same without the libraries that supported my learning. We cannot take that opportunity away from so many Americans who need that help urgently now.

Scott Turow is the author most-recently of "Innocent," a sequel to "Presumed Innocent," and president of the Authors Guild.

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