"Libraries: Stronger Together"

Minnesota Library Association Conference 2019


MALF is proud to reprise our role as a premier sponsor of the annual Minnesota Library Association conference! 

Why? MLA is the library field’s best chance all year to brush up on best practices, learn about emerging trends in their dynamic field, and network with peers from across Minnesota. Day 1 of the Conference doubles as an invaluable opportunity for Friends of the Library to do the same! Join us in Prior Lake on Thursday, September 19 for a half day of Friends-specific programming. 

9:10 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Take A Risk: Friends Idea Sharing

Friends of the Library across the state share common goals and face a similar slate of challenges. We can learn so much from each other’s successes and failures, but opportunities to do so in person are few and far between! For this reason, MALF is excited to bring its popular “popcorn style” idea sharing session back to MLA for its eighth year! In a nod to the Mystic Lake Casino next door, we particularly want to hear about your “gambles”: times when your Friends went out on a limb with something new, if and how it paid off, and well-intended efforts you will never reprise! (We all have at least one, right?)

We will cap off this kickoff session with a brief “Annual Meeting,” during which MALF president Nancy Guerino will lay out MALF’s year in review.

11:35 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Lunch Keynote (Dr. Michele A.L. Villagran)

Lunch on Thursday is included in your registration fee. Dr. Villagran, an esteemed library science professor from San Jose State University, will deliver a keynote lecture on workplace conflicts. Public libraries are a confluence point for members of a wide array of communities. In the abstract, this is a big part of their appeal and innate value. In practice, cultural misunderstandings or assumptions can cause friction between front-line staff and library patrons from different backgrounds. Dr. Villagran will offer a primer on how to spot self-biases and take other steps to ensure pleasant, meaningful, and equitable staff interactions for all of a library’s patrons.

2:15 p.m. – 3:05 p.m. | Evy Nordley Award & Stand Up Friends Recognition

MALF’s flagship prize, the annual Evy Nordley Award, recognizes innovative and replicable Friends of the Library activities. For the first time since 2007, four (versus the standard three) member Friends organizations have made it through to the finalist round! Each representative will offer a 10-12 minute presentation on their Evy Nordley project or initiative. All will walk away with a cash prize, but who will clinch the top spot and $1,000?

MALF will also take a moment to recognize the 2019 class of Standout Friends. These are twelve in number and hail from the following communities: Bemidji, Benson, Brainerd, Cook, Douglas, Grand Rapids, Kasson, Milaca, Northfield, Park Rapids, Redwood Falls, and Saint Peter.

3:35 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. | Pockets of Joy: A Minnesota Author's Journey

Journalist and beloved KARE-11 (NBC) personality Boxane Battle will join MALF for a special keynote centered on her personal journey of self-discovery – and the integral role of reading and libraries in her personal story. Titled Pockets of Joy, her talk takes its name from her first memoir (aptly subtitled “Deciding to Be Happy, Choosing to Be Free”). Battle’s debut won the MIPA’s prestigious Midwest Book Award, and picked up sterling endorsements by such taste makers as national talk show host Tavis Smiley and philanthropist Maria Shriver.

How has your local library contributed to your own joyful experiences over the years? What can Friends and staff do to ensure that the library experience is a memorable and joyful one for all? There are no easy, one-dimensional answers to such questions, but we promise that this talk will prime the pump for creative, outside-the-box thinking.


Registration is now open. Make sure to do so by August 9 to secure the early bird rate of $70. Friends pay $95 for a Thursday ticket after that date. 

Coming from out of town? Details on nearby hotels – and the conference’s discount lodging rate – are available here.  



Newsletter Sign-up