MALF connects Friends of Library organizations, provides valuable resources to support their work, and is a strong voice for Friends of Library groups and libraries throughout Minnesota.




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MALF Welcomes Three New Directors

Posted by jim on November 6, 2020

MALF is thrilled to close out 2020, and start up the New Year, with three new leaders. Each brings experience and a skill set that will be a major asset to our board of directors. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to each in turn:
Ed Fagerlund is a retired economist from Stillwater. He appreciates how libraries help citizens, how Friends groups help libraries, and how MALF helps Friends groups. Ed is already intimately familiar with MALF’s mission and work, having already spent one term on our board (about a decade ago). Moreover, he served as organization treasurer in 2012-2013 – a key leadership post he will return to in 2021. 

Before retirement, Ed’s diverse career in his field included time as a Peace Corps volunteer at an Ecuador credit union, and teaching economics in Kansas and Minnesota. His financial acumen will be a huge boon to MALF operations.
Marjorie (Marge) McPeak enjoyed a long and fruitful tenure with Hennepin County Library, one of the largest library systems in the country. Over the course of nearly three decades, she rotated between the Southdale, Penn Lake, Edina and Eden Prairie locations during pivotal points in those libraries’ history. (For example, Marge saw the grand opening of the 60,000-square-foot Southdale branch and the evolution of Eden Prairie from a double-wide trailer to a 10,000-square-foot building.)

After retiring in 1996, Marge moved to the Lake Vermilion area. In her new home, she has deployed her hard-won expertise on the board of the Arrowhead Regional Library system.
Carol Steele is a long-time member of the Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library – where she spent seven years as either president or co-chair. The local Friends marked several singular achievements over her tenure. For example, attendance at annual meetings increased six-fold, due in large part to efforts enacted by Carol.

Over the National Friends of Library Week in 2013 alone, the Friends’ promotional efforts netted a +25% increase in membership. Carol's group gained a national commendation that same year from the American Library Association for their robust Friends Week efforts.

Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library honored Carol as a Standout Friend during the MALF recognition program's debut year (2016).

WELCOME, Ed, Marge and Carol!

2020 Standout Friends Featurette #1: Benson

Posted by jim on October 26, 2020

Did you know that there are distinct Norwegian and American stylistic schools of knitting? Hege Herfindahl is expert in both, and has freely shared her skills for years with classes and clubs at the Benson Public Library. It’s just one of many ways in which this Standout Friend contributes to the success of this small library.

Herfindahl is closing in on a decade as part of the governing board of Friends of the Benson Library, and is presently in the middle of a productive term as vice president. However, much of her support falls under “other duties as assigned” (knitting coaching most definitely included).

"Hege is always willing to lend a hand at any library event or activity – whether that is simply hanging holiday decorations, or assisting with twice yearly book sales," shared head librarian Nicole Schmiesing. She can also be found promoting and attending Benson’s book clubs, artfully arranging materials for the Friends’ silent auction, and even scooping out ice cream rewards for young readers during the Summer Reading Program.

"Benson Public Library truly does appreciate all of the countless hours Hege has put in over the last eight plus years!" Schmiesing said.

Click here for a minute-long video featurette on Hege Herfindahl. Click here to view a video montage celebrating MALF’s full 2020 class of Standout Friends. Visiour website for details on our equally impressive 2016-2019 classes of honorees.


Two Popular 'Giving Holidays' Fast Approaching

Posted by jim on October 9, 2020

November 19 - Give to the Max Day
COVID-19 has upended a host of 2020 holidays and traditions. Happily, this year's Give to the Max Day is not one of them. Minnesota's semi-official giving holiday is a-go for Thursday, November 19. As in years past, GTMD brings with it a host of “bonus” fundraising opportunities. In total, a prize pool of $100,000 will be distributed to eligible nonprofits across 140 so-called golden ticket giveaways.

Friends of the Library across Minnesota have reported great success with Give to the Max Day – in no small part because of the campaign’s longevity, visibility, and donor trust. And the prospect of a $500-$6,000 golden ticket (one is awarded every 15 minutes) sure doesn’t hurt!

New to GTMD? 
Click here for donation solicitation tips and promotional resources.
December 1 - Giving Tuesday
If there’s a downside to Give to the Max Day, it is that Friends often find themselves competing with other nonprofits in their area for the same charitable dollars. As an alternative (or supplement to) next month’s competitive Give to the Max Day, consider Giving Tuesday.

Brainchild of the United Nations Foundation, Giving Tuesday falls the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in this case, Sunday, December 1), and is intended as a charitable counterweight to the commercialism of Black Friday. Since its inception in 2012, nonprofit fundraising on this day has ballooned from <$20 million to upwards of $400 million.

Now a standalone organization with leadership support from the Gates Foundation, Giving Tuesday offers nonprofits of all types a valuable toolkit, communications templates, and other tips for making the most of this giving “holiday.”  
Click here for further details (including, again, that treasure trove of usable resources).

"Virtual Galas, Real-World Lessons"

Posted by jim on October 6, 2020


Dinnertime galas – where Friends and other donors wine and dine with popular authors to benefit their library – are a favorite fundraiser model in communities large and small. For obvious reasons, though, it’s not a strategy that translates with great ease into the digital space!

Fresh off their first-ever virtual Opus & Olives event (Minnesota’s largest Friends-sponsored author gala, and one that’s been on the scene 16 years), The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library are hosting a FREE webinar on the subject.

Liz Boyd (Director of Special Events) and Greg Giles (Sr. Director of Development) will recap what went well, what didn’t, and offer replicable ideas worth your consideration. Hosts will also welcome your stories about transitioning long-standing fundraisers to the virtual space – good, bad, and otherwise!

“Virtual Galas, Real-World Lessons” will take place 12:00-1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 14. 
Click here to register for the free webinar.

'Saturday Splash' Recap

Posted by jim on October 1, 2020

wkkk.jpgICYMI: Friends from Crookston to Rochester – and many points in between – convened virtually on September 19 for MALF’s inaugural Saturday Splash mini-conference. New York Times bestselling novelist William Kent Krueger delivered a stirring keynote on the timeless power of storytelling, and emceed MALF’s annual awards presentation.
If you missed the morning’s “edu-tainment,” care to revisit, or want to share with colleagues, Saturday Splash is now available for encore viewing on YouTube.

  ●  Saturday Splash (all segments) [1:50:43]
  ●  Evy Nordley Awards [41:51]
  ●  2020 Stand Up Friends Montage (full) [13:16]
If you joined us on the 19th and have not yet filled out the attendee survey, we would greatly appreciate your candid thoughts on Saturday Splash (both content and mode of delivery). Your feedback will be a shaping factor in MALF’s future virtual programming!