Is Your FOL Looking to Start or Reboot a Library Book Club? This Webinar Is For You!

comments (0)
Posted by jim under Webinar

stack-of-books.jpgIn the last twenty years, Friends of the Library everywhere have diversified their original programs and initiatives. Even so, for many, tried-and-true book clubs and book sales remain their bread and butter.

If your Friends of the Library group is looking to start or reboot a library book club, consider registering for a free, hour-long webinar on the subject hosted by Booklist (a book review journal put out by the ALA). The session is scheduled for 1:00-2:00 CST Tuesday, July 16.

Topics will include advice for start-ups, tips on locating new titles, and guidance on finding and writing great group discussion questions. The webinar will conclude with “a whirlwind tour of must-know websites for book discussion leaders.”

The session will be led by Rebecca Vnuk, Reference and Collection Management Editor for Booklist. She will be joined by reps from HarperCollins, Random House Library Marketing, and Sourcebooks.

Click here to register.

MALF to Designate Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home in Sauk Centre as a “Literary Landmark” - And You're Invited!

comments (0)
Posted by jim under Events

Lewis_Boyhood_home4.jpgWhat 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 and recognized through a joint partnership between United for Libraries’ Literary Landmarks Association and local affiliates.

This summer, the Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF), together with the Sinclair Lewis Foundation, is thrilled to be such a partner and to add the Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home in Sauk Centre, Minn., to the esteemed and growing list of Literary Landmarks.

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

MALF and the Sinclair Lewis Foundation will dedicate a custom-made plaque at his Boyhood Home, 810 Sinclair Lewis Ave., at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16. 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.

A short presentation will accompany the plaque dedication. Jim Umhoefer, President of the Sinclair Lewis Foundation’s board of directors, will serve as emcee. MALF president Mary Ann Bernat and Lewis author Roberta Olson will deliver short addresses, followed by a keynote from local publisher and Lewis historian Dave Simpkins.

The event is free to the public, and no advanced registration is necessary. After the program, attendees are invited to take part in a complimentary tour of the Boyhood Home (normally $5 for adults).

For more information on Sinclair Lewis and the plaque installation, visit the MALF Blog and the Sauk Centre Chamber of Commerce’s Sinclair Lewis Days events calendar. For more information on the national Literary Landmarks program, including a complete list of previous designees, click here.

**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, Va., 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 at

Advance Registration for Summer ALA Conference Ends FRIDAY

comments (0)
Posted by jim under Conference

This summer, the American Library Association is holding its big Annual Conference & Exhibition right here in the Midwest! Events will be held Friday, June 28-Monday, July 1 in Chicago. If you would like to attend all or part of the weekend but haven’t yet registered, note that advance registration ends on Friday, June 21 at 11:59 CST.

hourglass_with_sand.pngBook your spot now! 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!

Are You the “Best Small Library in America”?

comments (0)
Posted by jim under Awards

libraryjournal.jpgIf your Friends of the Library organization submitted an entry to the 2013 Evy Nordley Award contest, it’s clear that you are pleased with the work your group is doing for your library. In turn, are you equally pleased with the work your library is doing in and for the community? If the answer is a resounding YES, and you are represent a community of under 25,000 residents, consider nominating your branch or system for “Best Small Library in America”!

The annual ‘Best Small Library’ distinction is bestowed annually by Library Journal and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As the name suggests, its intent is to encourage and showcase the exemplary work of modestly-sized libraries. The winner will receive $20,000, a feature story in Library Journal, and a number of other perks.

Judging is based on a number of factors, including: creativity in developing and implementing replicable programming, availability of computers/Internet and tech support, sustained cooperation with other libraries, and evidence of the library’s long-standing value as a community center.

Entry is free, and anyone – staff or volunteer, Friend or patron – is encouraged to submit a nomination. For more information, including eligibility requirements, comprehensive judging criteria, and step-by-step nomination instructions, visit Library Journal online. All materials must be postmarked by October 14, 2013.

ALA Opens Registration for 2013 Summer Virtual Conference to Library Staff and Friends

comments (0)
Posted by jim under Conference,

teleconference.jpgLibrary staff, like practitioners of many other trades, rely on national and regional professional conferences to drive their dynamic field forward. These conferences serve simultaneously as think tank, exhibition, idea sharing platform, and professional development tool. In short, something you want to be a part of. The inevitable downside, of course, is that these ventures can be quite pricey with registration, hotel stay, and transportation costs factored in – to say nothing of the opportunity cost of work not getting done at the office. Each year, the American Library Association offers something by way of a middle ground: the two-day summer ALA Virtual Conference.

The ALA Virtual Conference is just what it sounds like. Registrants, from the comfort of their home or office, simply log in to enjoy a host of keynote presentations, lectures on any number of library-related topics, and interactive conversation-based Web sessions.

This year’s event is slated for Wednesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 25. The cost is $70 for ALA members, and $80 for non-members. Alternatively, groups of up to 15 may register an equal number of IP addresses for the flat rate of $325 for members and $350 for non-members.

This year’s theme is “Mapping Transformation: Experimentation and Innovation.” Topics of particular interest to Friends of the Library will include – but are by no means limited to! – new directions for libraries vis-à-vis digital content; transformational community engagement tactics; best practices for community space utilization; “gamification” and “loud programming” in libraries; and, the popular and growing Little Free Libraries project.

Click here for more information, including a complete itinerary and list of presenters. Click here to jump straight to registration.