National Science Foundation, Endowment for the Humanities Announce Grant Opportunities for Rural Libraries

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If, like 77% of American libraries, your branch serves a predominantly rural population (i.e., with a population under 25,000), several recently announced grant opportunities may be of interest to you!

National Science Foundation “Pushing the Limit” Programming Grant

If your Friends group represents a small and rural Minnesota library looking to bolster its Adult programming offerings in the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, the National Science Foundation wants to work with you!

Last year, in a special pilot program, the Foundation and its partners collaborated with 20 libraries throughout the country to bring adult science programming to the masses. This year, organizers want to roll out something similar at 75 more institutions.

Details may vary considerably by location and according community interest. To apply, all you need is a scientific theme, the kernel of an idea, and the cooperation of a local science professional or teacher (who will help library staff conduct the program). If your library is chosen, you will receive $2,500 toward expenses, curriculum development support from National Science Foundation partners, free materials, and comprehensive online training for library staff and volunteers.

Applications are due by May 15, 2013. Click here for more information. Click here to jump straight to the application.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Preservation Assistance Grants

Perhaps your library’s most pressing needs at the moment are more in the areas of inventory circulation, preservation or cataloguing than in programming. If so, a Preservation Assistance Grant may be right for you.

The National Endowment for the Humanities awards these annually to help worthy “libraries, museums, [and related institutions] improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. These may include special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine art objects…  historical objects, and digital materials.”

Grants vary in size according to need, as determined by the NEH judging committee.

If you have an ongoing or potential project that fits into the description above, you are strongly encouraged to apply. In the last five competition cycles, NEH received an average of 316 entries each year and, averaged out, provided financial assistance to 113 (a full 36%!) each cycle.

Click here for more information. Feel free to direct any specific questions to, or (202) 606-8570.

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MLA Invites Your Proposals for Conference Programming

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In the inimitable words of science educator and bestselling author Bill Nye: “Keep your ears always open… Everyone you meet knows something that you don’t.” By that same token, everyone around you could learn something from you! In this spirit, the Minnesota Library Association is opening up the floor to library staff, trustees and Friends for proposals on panel programming at this year’s annual MLA Conference.

Specifically, convention organizers are soliciting suggestions from professionals willing to share their expertise on any and all of the below subjects:

  • Authors, Literature, and Cultural Programming
  • Children & Young Adults
  • Collection Management & Technical Services
  • Digital Information & Technologies
  • Library Trustees & Friends
  • Public Services
  • Support Staff Interests

Acceptable presentation formats include single or multiple speakers, panel discussions, case studies, and/or demonstrations of projects. Bear in mind that session blocks run exactly 60 minutes.

If you have the kernel of an idea you think would be suitable, click here to fill out an online proposal!* The deadline is Friday, April 26. The MLA Conference Committee will consider each entry, and applicants will be notified by Friday, May 17 if their proposal is accepted.

This year’s MLA Conference will be held October 10-11 at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. Click here for more information on this premiere event.

*Note: The proposal form must be completed by the person who will serve as the point of contact for this session proposal. (The point of contact does not need to be a session presenter - but s/he will serve as the liaison between the conference planners and any session presenters for the purposes of this proposal.)

MCN Solicits 'Nonprofit Leadership Awards' Nominations; Friends of the Library Leaders Are Eligible

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Most Friends of the Library groups are helmed by a small but capable cadre of library lovers. Whether it be by a rotating Board of Directors, or just one or two devoted and multitalented individuals, it falls to this leadership to harness the community’s affinity for the library and library services to productive ends. Each year, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) honors the aptitude and sustained efforts of such leaders with its Nonprofit Leadership Awards.

Leaders in the Minnesota’s greater non-profit community – much as those found in the microcosm of the state’s diverse Friends organizations – are different ages, come from different backgrounds, and bring to fruition groundbreaking or otherwise exemplary projects at various stages of their careers. In recognition of this fact, MCN awards this high honor not to one, but to three recipients. It is soliciting applications for:

  • Catalytic Leader: “nominees who ‘lead from the middle’”
  • Visionary Leader: “nominees with five years’ experience as senior leaders”
  • Transformational Leader: “nominee with 20 years’ experience as transformational leaders”

Well-qualified candidates will meet these general but crucial criteria:

  • Dedicated to working in the nonprofit sector
  • Interested in building organizational, individual and sector leadership
  • Instill passion in themselves and the people with whom they work
  • Aware of their role and impact in their organization and the sector
  • Reflective on past experience to lead in the present and future
  • Collaborate well with other people and organizations as well as across sectors

Detailed criteria for each of the three categories are available here.

Does your Friends organization’s President, Secretary, or Treasurer epitomize the ideals of the sector? Nominate them for a 2013 Nonprofit Leadership Award now!

The deadline for entries is Friday, May 3, 2013. The Selection Committee will accept nominations from anyone familiar with the candidate. No self-nominations will be accepted. Winners will be recognized at the 2013 Nonprofit Leadership Conference on June 25 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

ALA Annual Conference Offers Early Bird Specials; Book Your Spot Before April 12!

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Library Friends, time is running out to book your spot at an early bird rate at the American Library Association (ALA)’s 2013 annual conference. The event will be held Friday, June 28-Monday, July 1 in Chicago in and around McCormick Place, one of the Midwest’s premier convention facilities.

If you register before Friday, April 12, admission is only $230 for current ALA members and $255 for non-members. Additional discounts are available for library students and retired professionals previously affiliated with ALA.

Registration includes unlimited access to the exhibit hall and admission to top-notch panels, keynotes, and discussion forums in every library-related specialty. (Preconferences and certain ticketed events cost extra.) If you have never attended an ALA-sponsored, national-scale conference, the links below lead to information on various facets of the programming, and may help you determine if 2013 is the year you finally make the leap!

If you wait until after Friday, ticket prices jump to $245 for members and $320 for non-members. Book between Monday, April 13 and Friday, June 21, and those figures jump to $270 and $390, respectively.

Click here to register.

Applications Now Being Accepted for Baker & Taylor Awards, Banned Book Week Grants

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While you and your Friends of the Library group are pulling together materials for your 2013 MALF Evy Nordley Award entry, here are two similar, recently announced award and grant opportunities you may find of interest.


Baker & Taylor Awards

The Baker & Taylor Awards – put on annually by United for Libraries (formerly ALTAFF), a division of ALA – recognize Friends groups and library Foundations “for outstanding efforts in support of their library.” The program differs from others of its sort in that entries can be centered around one specific project, OR describe a number of activities hosted by a Friends group or Foundation in calendar year 2012.

The number of winners varies from year to year. Each receives $1,000 and recognition at a high-profile United for Libraries event later this year

Judging is based on the following criteria:

  • Planning: Friends/Foundation, library, and community involvement; use of resources; appropriateness of the activity; and, measurable goals and objectives.
  • Implementation: Use of resources; public relations; task monitoring; and broad membership involvement.
  • Evaluation: Assessment of activity or program; measurable results.
  • Innovation: New idea or implementation; creative involvement of people; fresh use of public relations
  • Community Relations: Broad support by the community in planning and implementation.

Submissions are due May 1, 2013. Winners will be notified by May 15, 2013. Entrants must have current United for Libraries membership status. For more information:

Banned Book Week “Read Out” Grants

Is your Friends of the Library group looking for its next big program or event? This year, the Freedom to Read Foundation, through its Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund, is pleased to announce the distribution of grants to organizations looking to host an event in conjunction with Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. This year’s festivities are slated for September 22-28.

The Freedom to Read Foundation is providing monetary grants to support “read outs” – public events at which people gather to read from books that have been banned or challenged over the years. (Other, related events may also be eligible.)

Among other requirements, applicants must include a planning and budget outlines for their projects, agree to record the event (if selected), and agree to provide a written accounting after the fact. Grants in a variety of sums will be given to selected candidates at the discretion of a judging committee. Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2013.

For more information::

Food Writer Beth Dooley 'Dishes Her Story' at 6th Annual Lunch for Libraries

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Posted by jim under Events, Fundraising

Twin Cities-based food writer and restaurant critic Beth Dooley will speak at the sixth annual Lunch for Libraries Wednesday, June 12 at Kagin Commons, Macalester College in St. Paul.

Book sales and signing will begin at 11:30 a.m., and lunch and author chat will follow at noon.

Dooley has been writing about food for more than 20 years. Her eight books include “Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook”; “The Northern Heartland Kitchen”; and co-author with Lucia Watson of “Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland”, a James Beard nominee (University of Minnesota Press). She is working on a collection of essays, “In Winter’s Kitchen” (Milkweed Editions)..

Tickets are $40 each or $300 to sponsor a table for eight. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Judy Todd, MELSA, at 651-645-5731 or email

The Minnesota Library Foundation raises and distributes funds to enhance services and increase public awareness of all Minnesota libraries. Lunch for Libraries, the foundation’s annual fundraising event, has raised more than $10,000 for libraries throughout the state and leadership training for emerging library leaders.