Tutoring Opportunity for Friends of the Library

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Posted by jim under Opportunities

readingcorps.pngIf there’s one thing Friends of the Library seem to be universally good at, it is spreading their appreciation for and love of books and reading. The Minnesota Reading Corps, a state-wide program organized under AmeriCorps (often called the ‘domestic Peace Corps’), is looking for volunteers just like you to tutor and foster a love of reading in Minnesota schoolchildren. 

Over the 2013-14 academic year, the Minnesota Reading Corps and its sister organization, the Minnesota Math Corps, is looking to place 1,000 tutors in schools where children are identified as needing a little extra support. The goal is ambitious, but reachable. The Minnesota Reading Corps already has a presence in over 500 elementary schools, preschools, and head start centers across the state.

As a tutor, you will receive hands-on training in research-based strategies, bolster your career network, and become eligible for financial awards to further your own educations. If you become heavily involved, you may also be eligible for a living allowance.

Of course, the biggest and best award is knowing you are having a positive and tangible impact on your community. With your help, we will be one step closer to ensuring that Minnesota’s youth are successful readers by the end of the third grade and proficient in math by the end of eighth.

For more information on the Minnesota Reading Corps, AmeriCorps, and the tutoring opportunity, visit MinnesotaReadingCorps.org, or email recruitment@mnedc.org. Note: MRC is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by MALF.

MALF and Partners Dedicate Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home as Minnesota’s Fourth ALA “Literary Landmark”

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Posted by jim under Events

Lewis_Boyhood_home4.jpgNovelist Sinclair Lewis, one of central Minnesota’s most famous native sons, lies buried in Sauk Centre under a modest headstone. Of his many and varied literary achievements, his epitaph lists only “Author of Main Street.” Passersby might wrongfully infer from this that Sauk Centre has all but forgotten Lewis, the local boy who gained international literary acclaim and immortalized a fictionalized version of the town in 1920’s Main Street.

Walk just one mile down the road from the cemetery to the author’s Boyhood Home, however, and you will see how wrong you are in this assessment. Take just one look at the well maintained home (originally built in 1889, and a National Historic Landmark since 1968), now a major tourist draw and center for Lewis scholarship and symposia, and you will realize that Sauk Centre is enamored with Sinclair Lewis now more than ever.

Rather than his later life, career, and death, the Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home focuses foremost on the Nobel laureate’s early and formative years in Stearns County. On Tuesday, July 16, in recognition of the site’s literary significance and historic value, the Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF), in partnership with the Sinclair Lewis Foundation and with support from several other local organizations, dedicated a plaque designating the Boyhood Home as an American Library Association/United for Libraries “Literary Landmark.” The plaque concisely sums up Lewis’ life and distinctions, reading:

Sinclair_Lewis_009.JPG“Harry Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) spent his formative years in this home. Lewis was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters." His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American society and capitalist values, as well as for their strong characterizations of modern working women.“
-Minnesota Association of Library Friends & Sinclair Lewis Foundation   July 16, 2013

The ceremony was one of the linchpin events at Sauk Centre’s “Sinclair Lewis Days,” an annual, week-long festival celebrating the community and its most famous native son. Turnout beat expectations, with over 50 people in attendance. Attendees included District 12B Rep. Paul Anderson (R) and Sauk Centre Mayor Brad Kirckof.

Speakers included MALF President Mary Ann Bernat, who spoke about United for Libraries and the Literary Landmark program; biographer Roberta Olson, who gave a brief sketch of the youth’s years in Sauk Centre; and local author and publisher Dave Simpkins, who is currently researching Lewis’s diaries for an exciting upcoming volume on the author.

Sinclair_Lewis_005.JPGSorry you missed the event? The site, at 810 Sinclair Lewis Ave., is open for viewing and tours Tuesday-Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Please call the Sauk Centre Chamber of Commerce at (320) 352-5201 for daily hours.

The Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home is Minnesota’s fourth Literary Landmark, and the first to be co-sponsored by MALF. For more information on the national Literary Landmarks program, including a complete list of previous designees, visit ala.org/united. 

For more details on last week's festivities, see:

Director of State Library Services Nancy Walton to Retire at End of the Summer

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Posted by jim under Nancy Walton, retirement, Minnesota, library policy

MALF wants to take a moment to congratulate Nancy Walton, State Librarian and Director of State Library Services, on her upcoming retirement – and on a tremendously fruitful career in public service. Walton announced her retirement earlier this month; after a transition period, she will step down from her role at the end of August.

Walton has worked with Minnesota libraries and on library policy issues for over two decades. “Nancy [has been a] tireless advocate for libraries, data privacy, library broadband access, literacy, and life-long learning,” said Library Development & Continuing Education Specialist Mary Ann Van Cura. “Her personal and professional commitment has resulted in high service to Minnesota.”

Her distinguished career also includes as highlights time spent as librarian/manager at institutions in Maryland, California… and Morocco!

In Walton’s honor, State Library Services is holding a celebration 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at the Minnesota Dept. of Education in Roseville. Library staff and advocates from across the state are invited to attend! Click here to RSVP. (Reservations are not strictly required, but are of great assistance to the event planners.) If needed, click here for directions.

Registration is NOW OPEN for MALF's Summer Workshop Series!

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Posted by jim under Workshops

As libraries adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of patrons, Friends of the Library groups must also evolve. While the need itself is readily apparent, many organizations struggle when it comes down to actually formulating a plan and putting it into motion. This year, MALF’s 2013 summer workshop series, “Drafting the Blueprint: Building Friends,” will focus on bringing the Friends of the Library concept fully into the twenty-first century.

Host and keynote speaker Ann Walker Smalley (director of Metronet) will lead participants through a day of panels, presentations and participatory activities designed to help you:

  • Understand your library’s place in the larger ‘library universe’
  • Refine your mission and purpose to better align with that new and fresh perspective
  • Learn about key issues facing libraries today, and what you can do about them
  • Collaborate better with other library players (Board, staff, etc.)
  • Build your member base and sustain that growth

Cost is $10.00 per registrant, and lunch is included. 

Dates, Locations, and Schedule
As in years past, in recognition of the broad geographic distribution of Minnesota's Friends groups, the workshop will be repeated in its entirety in three different venues across the state.

Wed., Aug. 21: Mankato 
Blue Earth County Library, 100 E. Main St.
Sat, Aug. 24: Fergus Falls
Fergus Falls Public Library, 205 E. Hampden Ave.
Sat., Sept. 7: Mountain Iron
Mountain Iron Public Library, 5742 Mountain Ave.

9:00 a.m.  …….. Registration
9:30-12 p.m…...  Building Friends
12-1 p.m. ……....  Working Lunch
1-2 p.m. ……...   “Beyond the Book Sale”
2:15-3:15 p.m...  “Keeping the Flame Alive”

Registration is easy – no drafting tools required! Here are your options:

I want to both register and pay at this time.

  • Print and fill out the PDF registration form available on our website. Mail with check made payable to “MALF” ($10 x no. of people you are registering for) to our office: MALF, 325 Cedar St., Ste. 555, St. Paul, MN, 55101. (Please note: Refunds not available.)

I want to register now and pay my $10 at the door.

  • Option 1. Fill out and submit the registration e-form located on our website at the bottom of the Workshops page.
  • Option 2. Print and fill out the PDF registration form available on our website. Check box next to “Register now, pay at the door” and mail to our office: MALF, 325 Cedar St., Ste. 555, St. Paul, MN, 55101.
  • Option 3. Email us directly at info@mnlibraryfriends.org with: workshop location/date you want to register for, number of people you are reserving seats for, and both name AND email address for each of those individuals. (Spots will only be reserved for people for whom both name and email address are on file.)

We will follow up via email to confirm your registration, and send you reminders in advance of your workshop.

Registration for the two August sessions closes Friday, August 16. Registration for the September session closes Friday, August 30Please remember to reserve your spot. Lunch and information packets can only be guaranteed to those that RSVP before the deadlines.

ALA Wants YOU to Host Traveling Exhibit on the 1930s Dust Bowl

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Posted by jim

Many libraries and Friends of the Library groups have turned to temporary and traveling exhibits as a way both to lure new patrons into the library and to get them to stay longer. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, however, many are deterred by the expense and expertise necessary to research and construct a professional-caliber exhibit. If this is true for you, the American Library Association may have the perfect solution.

ALA’s Public Programs Office is currently looking for 25 libraries across the country to host a 300-square foot traveling historical exhibit on the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Entitled Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry, the exhibit is tailored to teach public audiences both about this tumultuous period of America’s past and about ecological consequences human actions can have in our own day.

Venues chosen to host the exhibit (each for a six-week period) will also be given resources to present associated public programs in their communities. The details of these exciting offerings can be found here. Winners will also receive $1,200 from ALA (through funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities) to help offset costs.

Public, academic, and special collection libraries are all strongly encouraged to supply - provided only that they have 300 square feet free and suitable for a traveling exhibit. To learn more about eligibility, additional benefits of participation, and how to apply, click here. All applications must be received by Monday, September 30, 2013. Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry will begin in April 2014 and end its run in March 2016. 

Catch Up On What You Missed at the ’13 ALA Annual Conference

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Posted by jim under Events, Conferences


Bibliophiles everywhere will tell you that much of their joy for reading stems from a desire to act and learn vicariously through a book’s characters.

Librarians, Friends and trustees unable to attend the annual ALA Conference this month in Chicago can put that same skill to good use, thanks to wonderful wrap-up and summary materials compiled and posted by the host organization.

Click here for a description and discussion of the exciting weekend’s many preconferences, exhibitions, panels, and speeches by such notables as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual, authors Khaled Hosseini and Ann Pratchett, and ALA President Maureen Sullivan.

At final count, an impressive 26,362 registrants attended the Conference this year. Even so, that leaves thousands of library and literacy professionals (not to mention Friends) who could not be physically present this year. Feel free to share this resource widely.

And, in case you were wondering…

ALA’s next big national conference, the annual Midwinter Meeting, is slated for January 24-28, 2014, in Philadelphia, PA. The Next Annual Conference will take place June 26-July 1 in Las Vegas, NV.