SELCO Announces “Sharing Between Friends” Workshop for Library Friends and Staff

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Posted by jim under Workshops,Workshops

share.jpgSoutheastern Libraries Coordinating (SELCO) invites Minnesota library staff, Friends, trustees and Board Members to kick off the summer together with a special day-long workshop in Rochester.

If you are available, please join keynote presenter Chris Olson, Director of MELSA and former Minnesota Library Association of Friends President, at SELCO Headquarters from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18.

The agenda is built around synergy. After a morning keynote, attendees will share with each other through a combination of idea sharing modules, planning discussions, and Q&As. All pertinent topics are eligible for discussion, from fundraising, to programming, to legal issues.

Because of the collaborative nature of “Sharing Between Friends,” participants are strongly encouraged to come prepared with one or two best practices or programs to share with the group.

Complete itinerary:

  • Registration & Refreshments: 9:00-9:30 a.m.
  • Keynote Presentation by Chris Olson: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Catered Lunch: 11:30-12:15 p.m. 
  • Sharing of Best Practices and Programming Ideas: 12:15-2:15 p.m.
  • Wrap-up, Q&As, and Small Group Planning Discussions: 2:15-3:00 p.m.

The workshop is free, but there is a $10 fee to cover the cost of lunch. (Registrants will be invoiced upon registration) Click here to register. Please do so by Friday, June 14. Can’t make it? Don’t worry! All program ideas will be recorded and posted to the SELCO website after the workshop.

SELCO is one of Minnesota's 12 regional public library systems. The membership is comprised of a federation of locally autonomous public libraries and 11 counties. This unique blend of rural and urban members presents challenges and surprises in meeting the diverse needs of the consortium members and the patrons served by the libraries.

The Libri Foundation Offering Grants (up to $1,050) to Rural Friends Groups

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Posted by jim under Grants

Many of Minnesota’s most active and dynamic Friends of the Library groups are located in rural areas. This stands to reason. Smaller communities have at their disposal fewer public spaces and free-to-all resources than do their larger counterparts, lending the library a larger public presence. If you are from such a community and represent such a library, The Libri Foundation wants to help you with its popular and generous “Books for Children” grant program.

Since 1990, The Libri Foundation has worked directly with Friends groups to augment the selection of children’s books available to patrons at rural libraries. To date, it has donated over $5.25 million worth of new, hardcover children’s books to 3,000 libraries in all 50 states.

The process is simple. Your group, through a fundraiser or other means, is asked to put up between $50 and $350 for new children’s inventory. The Foundation then matches this sum at a two-to-one basis – capping out at $1,050, if you do the math.

The Foundation maintains a 700-title (and growing) booklist, from which each partnering Friends group picks an assortment of books. The selection is diverse, geared toward: general circulation; toddler, preschool, after-school, and summer reading programs; “book buddy” clubs; school projects; and, teacher curriculum support.

Grant eligibility requirements:

  • Libraries should be in a rural area, have a limited operating budget, and an active children's department. For grant purposes, “rural” is considered to be at least 30 miles from a city with a population over 40,000.
  • Applications are accepted from independent libraries as well as libraries which are part of a county, regional, or cooperative library system. A library system may also apply if all the libraries in the system meet these requirements.
  • Interested county libraries should serve a population under 16,000. Interested town libraries should serve a population under 10,000.
  • Applications are accepted from school libraries only if they also serve as the public library (i.e. it is open to everyone in the community, has some summer hours, and there is no public library in town).
  • Town libraries with total operating budgets over $150,000 and county libraries with total operating budgets over $350,000 are rarely given grants. The average total operating budget of a “Books for Children” grant recipient is less than $40,000.

Click here to learn more and to begin the online application process. Alternatively, to receive a paper application in the mail, please email your name and your library's name and mailing address to The Libri Foundation at

Applications must be submitted or postmarked by Thursday, August 15, 2013.

MALF Wants YOU on its Board of Directors!

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Posted by jim under Opportunities,Opportunities

The Minnesota Association of Library Friends is seeking five individuals to fill 2014 vacancies on its Board of Directors. Board members serve a two-year term with the option of a subsequent renewal, commit to attending (at minimum) quarterly meetings, and sit on two or more working committees:

  • By-Laws
  • Communications & Marketing
  • Finance
  • Membership
  • Nominating
  • Programming

BOD.jpgApplicants from a wide variety of backgrounds are needed. No prior experience working in a library setting or serving on a nonprofit Board is required. For details, email the MALF Nominating Committee at or contact Barbi Byers at 651-235-0845.

The American Library Association, on its advocacy website “,” lists twenty ways that Friends can help their libraries. These range widely, from lobbying and fundraising to programming and shelving/inventory assistance. Of course, any single volunteer, no matter how multitalented and dedicated, would be hard pressed to pursue more than a few of these at once and all on their own. Fortunately, there’s an alternative: joining a Friends Board of Directors and pooling your time and resources with like-minded volunteers!

Please spread the word!

MALF's Carol Walsh Recaps National Library Legislative Day 2013

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Posted by jim under Advocacy,Advocacy

arol-walsh-blog.jpgI’m back from National Library Legislative Day in Washington, DC, readjusting to a short stack of work, and turning my attention to what’s happening at the State Capitol in terms of library funding and issues.

This is my third consecutive year advocating for libraries on the national level, and every year I learn something new about advocacy that I hope will sharpen my focus over time. This year, eight of us traveled to DC from the great state of Minnesota: Bob Boese, who recently finished a stint as interim director for the Northwest Regional Library System, was our state coordinator. Peter Pearson, president of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library; Melinda Ludwiczak, MELSA project manager and her spouse Thad Ludwiczak ; Jim Weikum, who wears two hats as director of the Arrowhead Library System and mayor of Biwabik and his spouse Kris Weikum; and Michael Scott, assistant director of SELCO. Geographic representation was a nice balance!

NLLD kicked off May 7 with a full day of briefings on key issues for libraries – and there were a lot of them, including appropriations, access to federal research, LEARN Act, school library programs, and Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Broadband, copyright, e-books, surveillance and privacy were additional issues.

Does this look like a daunting list?

Keep this in mind: For the most part, we’re all meeting with legislative aides, not our elected representatives. We have, at the most, a half hour. It would be impossible to plow through every issue given the time available and the number in our group.

So how do we adjust? We determine the most important library issues, both locally and to the state and run with that.

For example, continued funding for LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) affects public libraries. MELSA’s latest LSTA grant is being used to revamp the way summer reading programs have an impact on youth. ALA is requesting that LSTA be funded at $184.7 million for fiscal year 2014.

WIA is another important issue, and Minnesota is a pioneer in that regard. Reauthorizing WIA authorizes public libraries that offer employment, training and literacy services as ‘one-stop partners’. One-stops in Minnesota are called WorkForce Centers. Kit Hadley, St. Paul Public Library director, played a leading role in legislation that gave libraries a seat at the table of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council. Marlene Moulton Janssen, director of the Anoka County Library, has an advisory role with the GWDC. Libraries and WorkForce Centers are working together in many ways -- such as helping patrons find jobs, accessing, showing patrons how to navigate the Unemployment Insurance system – and we thoroughly explained this to each aide we met.

Will you join us next year? Save the date: May 5-6, 2014 at the Liaison Hotel, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. For more information, see

--Carol Walsh

Attention Twin Cities Library Friends: Metronet Seeks Citizen Board Members

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Posted by jim under Volunteering,Volunteering

Metronet, the metro-wide multitype library system, is currently seeking three dedicated citizen representatives to sit on its Board of Directors.

If you’re unfamiliar with the organization, you’re probably asking: “What is a multitype library system?” Unlike the regional public systems you are likely more familiar with, multitypes serve every type of library and archive, including primary school media centers, collegiate facilities, and special collections.

Metronet’s governance structure mirrors this make up. The organization is helmed at all times by a Board of nine: one representative each from primary school, public, academic and special library settings, augmented by five citizen delegates. The Metronet Board of Directors meets six times a year and provides fiscal oversight and both short- and long-term operations planning.

Candidates for the three openings must not be currently employed nor seeking employment in a library, but should have a demonstrable interest in library work in all its facets. Applicants should also be current residents of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Retired librarians are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Think you might be interested? Click here to read a more detailed job description, and to apply. Applications are due June 15. The term of office begins July 1, 2013. 

MALF to Designate Sinclair Lewis Homestead in Sauk Centre as an ALA/United for Libraries “Literary Landmark”

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Posted by jim under Literary Landmarks

What do F. Scott Fitzgerald’s St. Paul birthplace and Willa Cather’s beloved Nebraska prairie home have in common with a corner tavern in New York, a cemetery in Virginia, and a courthouse in Michigan?** All are Literary Landmarks, sites with a strong historical connection to prominent American authors recognized through a joint partnership between United for Libraries’s Literary Landmarks Association and a local affiliate.

This summer, the Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF), along with the Sinclair Lewis Foundation and other local partners, is thrilled to be such a sponsor and to add the Sinclair Lewis House in Sauk Centre, Minn. to the esteemed and growing list.

Harry Sinclair Lewis is perhaps best known for penning the great American novels Main StreetBabbit, Arrowsmith,  and Dodsworth, and for being the first writer from the United States to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature (1930).

On July 16 (4:00 p.m.), MALF and the Sinclair Lewis Foundation will dedicate a custom plaque at the homestead acknowledging both the books and the man – in particular “his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters.” The ceremony will be one of the lynchpin events at Sauk Centre’s “Sinclair Lewis Days”, an annual, week-long festival celebrating the community and its most famous native son.

Mark your calendars, and stay tuned to the MALF Blog and Twitter account (@MNLibraryFriend) for more details!

**You may still be asking yourself: “How is it that a tavern, a cemetery, and a courthouse are significant to the history of American literature?” New York City’s Pete’s Tavern was a favorite haunt of author O. Henry.  Bland Cemetery in Jordan’s Point, Virginia, is the final resting place of Revolutionary War patriot and pamphleteer Richard Bland. The Marquette County Courthouse in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was the workplace inspiration for Judge John D. Voelker’s bestselling mystery and detective novels. You can read more about the nearly 150 Literary Landmarks by clicking here. You can jump straight to the Fitzgerald house and other Minnesota landmarks by clicking here.

Friends Groups, Apply Now for MCN’s Prestigious Mission and Excellence Awards

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Posted by jim under Awards,Awards, Conferences

If your Friends of the Library groups is a members of or otherwise affiliated with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, you probably already know that the state association’s 2013 annual conference is slated for October 24-25 this year. What you may not know is that May is the time to start preparing.

That’s the case, at least, if your Friends group wants to be considered for any of a number of prestigious awards and acknowledgements. The program, called the Minnesota Nonprofit Mission and Excellence Awards, is an important cornerstone of the yearly conference. If your organization has had an active and successful year, you may want to consider submitting an application for…

Nonprofit Mission Award

A tradition since 1987, the Nonprofit Mission Award showcases the outstanding work of nonprofits in the categories of:

  • Innovation
  • Anti-Racism Initiative(s)
  • Advocacy
  • Responsive Philanthropy

You may nominate any nonprofit, including one you are a member or employee of. You can find the necessary forms here. (In addition, a full list of past recipients and their award videos are available online.) Nominations must be submitted by May 30, 2013.

Nonprofit Excellence Award

Newer to the roster of distinctions are the Excellence Awards, two prizes awarded annually to Minnesota (or Minnesota-based) nonprofits in acknowledgement of a long-standing tradition of exemplary performance, as outlined in MCN’s popular Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence.

Two Excellence Awards are given to help broaden the field for worthy nonprofits of all types and sizes; one goes to an organization with a $1.5 million or higher operation budget, while the other is reserved for smaller outfits.

Applications for the Excellence Awards should be self-submitted by the organization and require extensive advance planning. You can learn more here.

We at MALF wish the best to all Friends group entrants!