Another Way to Give Thanks…

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Posted by jim under Awards

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Family and friends doubtless top the list, but library Friends and patrons commonly cite another group: the top-notched librarians and other library staffers they see and interact with on a regular basis.

The Public Library Association is offering an interesting opportunity to say “thank you” to them this holiday season. Now through Monday, December 2, PLA invites you to nominate a library staff person for one or several of nine special awards and grants. Of particular interest to Friends of the Library nominators are:

  • Allie Beth Martin Award. This award honors a public librarian who has demonstrated “extraordinary range and depth of knowledge” about library materials and “has the distinguished ability to share that knowledge.”
  • Charlie Robinson Award. This award honors “a public library director who, over a period of seven years, has been a risk taker, an innovator and/or a change agent in a public library.”
  • Polaris Innovation in Technology John Iliff Award. This award honors a librarian that has used technology as a tool to improve services.

A special jury will evaluate all nominations later this winter, and winners will be announced in February 2014. Awards will then be presented at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

Click here for more information on PLA Awards, and email them directly at with any questions you may have.


The Public Library Association is a division of the American Lirbary Association. ‘Like’ them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter! 

Friends: Know an Exceptional Library Trustee? Nominate Them for ALA’s 2014 ‘Trustee Citation’

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Posted by jim under Awards

Here’s your trivia for the day. MALF’s national-level counterpart, United for Libraries, is formally known as “United for Libraries: the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations.” It’s a long name, but one that accurately reflects the situation on the ground. Friends of the Library customarily enjoy a close relationship with their system’s Board of Trustees.

In recognition of this relationship, United for Libraries strongly encourages Friends of the Library to consider nominating a local trustee for ALA’s prestigious 2014 “Trustee Citation.”

This special honor is bestowed annually in recognition of “exemplary service to library development” on the local, state, and/or national level. While some 60,000 Americans serve as library trustees each year, only a small fraction are strong candidates for the citation.

If you would like to nominate someone your organization works closely with (including a trustee who doubles as an active Friends member), you will need to prepare:

  • A one- to five-page statement of support describing, in roughly chronological order, the nominee’s library-related activities.
  • A supplementary list of the candidate’s library-related achievements to date.

Baseline eligibility requirements include: membership in ALA and the trustees section of United for Libraries, and active participation as a trustee within the preceding year. Applications must be received by Tuesday, December 31, 2013. Visit the United for Libraries website for more information. (A complete list of winners to date can also be found on the site.) Email direct questions to

“Books for Babies” Instills a Love of Reading and Libraries at an Early Age

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Posted by jim under Education, Programs

b4blogo.jpgOdds are good that your Friends of the Library group strives to reach out to and engage a range of demographics: from retired adults, all the way down to teens and young adults. But did you know that your group's efforts to stoke a life-long interest in reading and learning can begin even at birth?

United for Libraries and co-partners are making this possible with the “Books for Babies” program. Books for Babies assembles inexpensive “gift kits” specially tailored to parents of newborns. Contents include an informational booklet and brochures on developing early literacy skills, one or several “Baby’s First Book” boardbooks, a bib, and “Baby’s First Library Card” (to be exchanged for the real thing at your local branch!)

How do these kits get into the hands of new and expectant parents? Organizations (Women’s Clubs and Junior Leagues, in addition to Friends of the Library) purchase a number of their choosing for their local area. Many supplement the kit basics with more local resources: brochures and magnets giving your library system’s branch hours, a calendar of upcoming story time event dates, a Friends membership flyer, etc.

The customizability options are nearly endless, but the core mission remains the same: encourage parents to engage in developmentally appropriate literacy activities with their babies. There’s no more sure way to guarantee the appreciation and use of our public libraries well into the future!

Tip: If your group is not currently in a position to finance this program independently, consider partnering up with another local nonprofit. The Friends of the Ely Library, for instance, is currently partnering with the local chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to bring “Books for Babies” to new parents in the greater Arrowhead region. Thus far, it has been a great success for all involved. 

If this sounds like an avenue worth pursuing, visit United for Libraries’ “Books for Babies” page for pricing packages, distribution strategies, success stories, and other details.

Give to the Max Day is Just Around the Corner!

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Posted by jim under Awards

event-logo-vertical.jpgMALF’s annual Evy Nordley Award for ‘Best Project by Friends of the Library’ is proof positive that Friends of the Library are more savvy with and appreciative of creative fundraisers than most. This being the case, GiveMN’s annual “Give to the Max Day” is right up our alley!

As you may already know, Give to the Max Day is a statewide fundraiser organized each year through GiveMN. Nonprofits representing a wide variety of backgrounds and missions are encouraged to “claim” their GiveMN web page associated with their charity and, in advance of (and on) the big day, solicit donations through an easy-to-use payment portal.

Since the program’s launch in 2009, it has raised more than $50 million for over 6,700 nonprofit organizations and schools. Last year alone, $13.4 million was raised! This year’s Give to the Max Day – Thursday, November 14 – promises to be the biggest and best yet.

Give to the Max Day’s success can be traced to its format. The process is designed to be extremely approachable for all parties involved.

Interested in giving it a shot? GiveMN’s website provides everything needed to get you started. Getting up and running should only take an hour or so -- and it’s time well invested!

Has your Friends of the Library group done anything for Give to the Max Day in years past? If you’d like to share your experiences and advice with Friends in other parts of Minnesota, email MALF at We’ll post your comments!

Last but not least, consider MALF when choosing your own Give to the Max Day fund recipients. Bookmark our page for November 14, or pre-schedule an automatic donation now.