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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Posted by jim on November 30, 2021

As the year winds towards its close, we’re looking ahead eagerly to what’s in store for 2022. MALF will have some exciting updates to share after the holidays. For now, though, we will restrict ourselves to a bit of year-end “housekeeping.”

Be on the lookout: Renewal notices for all individual and institutional MALF members went out in the mail earlier this week. Rates remain unchanged – just $25/group, $10/individual. This dues structure reflects MALF’s hope and intention to involve as many Minnesota library advocates as possible!

If you are unsure of your membership status, your contact details have changed over the past year, or you do not see that December letter, feel free to contact our office at or 651-366-6492.

Free December Webinar Spotlights Volunteer Retention

Posted by jim on November 15, 2021

Finding and recruiting new help is a challenge common to Friends – and shared by nearly all volunteer-run organizations. If your group has grappled with enlistment recently, be sure to watch MALF’s summer webinar on the topic (“Making New Friends”).

However, as any seasoned volunteer coordinator will tell you, recruiting is only half the battle. In order to be sustainable, Friends must be effective at volunteer retention, as well. In a nutshell, this means engaging and motivating volunteers in ways that increase the likelihood that one-time assistance grows into a long-term commitment to your cause.

That is easier said than done, even under ideal conditions… And with pandemic cautions and restrictions still an ever-present part of our lives, it is safe to say that we’re all operating under less-than-ideal circumstances. Across Minnesota and beyond, Friends of the Library are emerging from a slow period forced by COVID-19 and finding it challenging to mobilize and energize their volunteer workforce.

Fortunately, the news is not all bad. According to VolunteerMatch and The Nonprofit Times, the number of Americans willing to donate time and energy to a meaningful cause is stable, or even growing, across a wide range of sectors. Without exception, the nonprofits able to maintain these numbers are intentional about their retention strategies.

Beth Steinhorn, president of VQ Volunteer Strategies, will join MALF on 
Tuesday, December 7 (12:00-1:30 p.m. CST) to discuss exactly that!

In ‘Making New Friends,’ Steinhorn offered us insights learned from decades of experience coaching nonprofits as diverse as Meals on Wheels, the American Farm Bureau, and the Public Library Association. In this follow-up ('Staying Friends'), we will delve into replicable strategies and other best practices specific to volunteer retention.

In addition to an info-packed 90 minutes, attendees will come away with a valuable pdf handbook (“Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers in Uncertain Times”).

And here’s the best part. Attendance is FREE – to MALF members and non-members alike! Click here to save your seat. Be sure to do so no later than Monday, December 6.

Available Now: "Flockin' Flamingoes" - Unabridged

Posted by jim on November 8, 2021

If you joined MALF last month for Saturday Splash, you heard in real time that Friends of the Austin Public Library is the new crown holder for the annual Evy Nordley Award. (Read more here.) Their fun, fresh and alliteratively named Flockin’ Flamingoes Fundraiser won plaudits from both our judging committee and the Saturday Splash audience.

Our only regret is that, due to the constraints of conference run time, we did not get a chance to broadcast everything that Friends president Bethie Carlton recorded for us. If you missed the original program or want a “deep dive,” you can now view the full 20-minute presentation about Flockin’ Flamingoes Fundraiser on MALF’s YouTube channel!

Click here to learn all about Austin’s project planning, execution and evaluation, including an answer to a question you never thought to ask: How many plastic flamingoes can fit in a Prius?

ALA Grant Opportunity: "Let's Talk About It"

Posted by jim on October 29, 2021

Libraries are a unique nexus point for community collaboration and open dialogue. Indeed, nearly all libraries coordinate adult programming – events that, in many communities, few other institutions are as well equipped to host.

In recognition of this fact, the American Library Association created its
 Let’s Talk About It (LTAI) series. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, LTAI is a ten-week, scholar-led curriculum that invites a library’s staff and patrons to do a “deep dive” on a topic core to American history, society or identity. Each cycle is based around a curated selection of books on that topic.

Women’s Suffrage is the focus of the next round, slated for next March - September. ALA will select up to 25 interested libraries to co-host this 2022 installment of Let’s Talk About It.

Winners each receive $1,000 towards program costs (including but not limited to speaker honorariums). Participating libraries also receive ten copies each of five book titles focused on the suffrage movement, plus enjoy support and resources from ALA’s Programs Office.

Click here to learn more. Be sure to submit before the December 1, 2021 deadline!

Prepare Today For 'Give to the Max Day'

Posted by jim on October 21, 2021

Charities view December as the pivotal month for fundraising. Donors often wait until this proverbial last minute to make year-end, tax-exempt contributions to their favorite causes. Fortunately for not-for-profits here in Minnesota, though, there is a golden opportunity to kickstart year-end fundraising a full month early!

Give to the Max Day 2021 (#GTMD21), the state’s semi-official giving holiday, is slated for Thursday, November 18. Last year, more than 3,000 nonprofits – including dozens of Friends of the Library groups – got in on the action and raised upwards of $30 million. That’s a new record!

New to Give to the Max Day, but interested in taking advantage this time around? GiveMN, the organization which stewards GTMD, has helpfully compiled a variety of free resources – including many created specifically for fundraising novices! These include a “DIY” fundraising campaign planning workbook, downloadable templates and graphics, and no-cost workshop opportunities. 
Click here to learn more!