Minnesota Association of Library Friends

Registration open for 2011 MLA conference

Posted by jim on August 15, 2011

2011 annual Minnesota Library Conference:

Superior Value for Life


Wednesday through Friday,
October 12-14

Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Duluth.

Registration is now open for MLA's 2011 Annual Conference! This three-day conference will be held October 12-14, 2011, in Duluth, Minnesota, and will be of value to all library professionals and supporters.
Visit www.mnlibraryassociation.org/mlaconference2011 for complete details and registration. 

Celebrate Minnesota Libraries - Sneak Preview!

Posted by jim on April 14, 2011

View photos at the Star Tribune Lifestyle web report:



Cass Lake Library, Cass Lake, MN


12 Ways Libraries Are Good for the Country

American Libraries Magazine (link to original article)




By Leonard Kniffel

A gift from American Libraries magazine of one dozen ideals toward which libraries strive.


Americans love their libraries, and advances in technology have multiplied the ways in which libraries enrich the quality of life in their communities. Whether they are in an elementary school or a university, a museum or a corporation, public or private, our nation’s libraries offer a lifetime of learning. To library supporters everywhere—Friends, trustees, board members, patrons, and volunteers—American Libraries magazine offers this gift of 12 ideals toward which librarians strive as they provide comprehensive access to the record of human existence. It will take all of us, in a spirit of pride and freedom, to maintain libraries as a living reality in a free nation through the 21st century.

1. Libraries sustain democracy.

Libraries provide access to information and multiple points of view so that people can make knowledgeable decisions on public policy throughout their lives. With their collections, programs, and professional expertise, librarians help their patrons identify accurate and authoritative data and use information resources wisely to stay informed. The public library is the only institution in American society whose purpose is to guard against the tyrannies of ignorance and conformity.

2. Libraries break down boundaries.

Libraries of various kinds offer services and programs for people at all literacy levels, readers with little or no English skills, preschoolers, students, homebound senior citizens, prisoners, homeless or impoverished individuals, and persons with physical or learning disabilities. Libraries rid us of fences that obstruct our vision and our ability to communicate and to educate ourselves.

3. Libraries level the playing field.

By making access to information resources and technology available to all, regardless of income, class, or background, a public library levels the playing field and helps close the gap between the rich and the poor. Libraries unite people and make their resources available to everyone in the community, regardless of social status. There are more public libraries than McDonald’s restaurants in the United States.

4. Libraries value the individual.

Libraries offer choices between mainstream and alternative viewpoints, between traditional and visionary concepts, and between monocultural and multicultural perspectives. Library doors swing open for independent thinking without prejudgment. Library collections and services offer the historical global, cultural, and political perspective that is necessary to foster a spirit of exploration that challenges orthodoxy and conformity.

5. Libraries nourish creativity.

By providing an atmosphere that stimulates curiosity, libraries create opportunities for unstructured learning and serendipitous discovery. As repositories not only of books but of images and a wide variety of media, libraries offer access to the accumulated record of mankind with assistance from professional staff delivering these resources through the physical library, the web, and outreach services.

6. Libraries open young minds.

Children’s and young adult librarians offer story hours, book talks, summer reading activities, career planning, art projects, gaming competitions, and other programs to spark youthful imaginations. Bringing children into a library can transport them from the commonplace to the extraordinary. From story hours for preschoolers to career planning for high schoolers, children’s librarians make a difference because they care about the unique developmental needs of every individual who comes to them for help.

7. Libraries return high dividends.

Libraries offer big returns to the communities they serve—anywhere from $1.30 to $10 in services for every $1 invested in them. Strong public and school libraries make a city or town more desirable as a business location. Americans check out an average of more than seven books a year from public libraries, and it costs them roughly $34 in taxes—about the cost of a single hardcover book.

8. Libraries build communities.

People gather at the library to find and share information, experience and experiment with the arts and media, and engage in community discussions and games. No narrow definition will work for libraries. There is the community of scholars, the deaf community, the gay community, the gaming community, and countless others, each with its libraries and specialized collections. Libraries validate and unify; they save lives, literally and by preserving the record of those lives.

9. Libraries support families.

Libraries offer an alternate venue for parents and their children to enhance activities traditionally conducted at home by providing homework centers, parenting collections, after-school programs, outreach, one-on-one reading, and early literacy programs. Like the families they serve, libraries everywhere are adapting to meet the economic and social challenges of the 21st century. In libraries, families find professionals dedicated to keeping their services family-friendly by offering a diverse selection of materials to which people of many backgrounds can relate.

10. Libraries build technology skills.

Library services and programs foster critical-thinking skills and information literacy. Nearly 100% of American libraries offer internet access and assistance with problem-solving aptitude, scientific inquiry, cross-disciplinary thinking, media literacy, productivity and leadership skills, civic engagement, global awareness, and health and environmental awareness. Library patrons search for jobs online, polish résumés with word processing software, fill out applications, research new professions, sign up for career workshops, and look for financial assistance. Public libraries serve as technology hubs by offering a wide range of public access computing and internet access services at no charge to users.

11. Libraries offer sanctuary.

By providing an atmosphere conducive to reflection, libraries induce a feeling of serenity and transcendence that opens the mind to new ideas and interpretations. In the library we are answerable to no one. We can be alone with our private thoughts, fantasies, hopes, and dreams, and we are free to nourish what is most precious to us with the silent companionship of others who share our quest. Libraries are places where computers and databases provide superior access to information and they offer an atmosphere of light and textures that beautiful architecture and design foster.

12. Libraries preserve the past.

Libraries are repositories of community history, oral narratives, and audiovisual records of events and culture, and when these local resources are digitized and placed online as digital libraries, communities and cultures thousands of miles away can share in the experience. Libraries and information science and technology enable us to communicate through distance and time with the living and the dead. A library is a miracle kept available by the meticulous resource description and access that is the work of the librarian. Libraries preserve the record and help their patrons make sense of it in the Information Age.

Originally published as a cover story in American Libraries, December 1995. Adapted and updated by Leonard Kniffel, December 2010.

MALF Newsletter - Spring 2011

Posted by jim on March 30, 2011

The Association published its quarterly newsletter last week.  We are excited about the direction we are taking and hope that you will share your suggestions and comments with us.

View the HTML Version here:



Or, the PDF here:


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.


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