Start Your Planning – Friends of Libraries Week Is Coming Up Fast!

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Posted by jim under Events, Awards,Events, Awards

Did you know that Friends of the Library have their very own national “holiday”? We do! Moreover, not only is it an annual event – it’s a celebration that runs for an entire week each fall.

National Friends of Libraries Week is sponsored and, to a certain extent, coordinated by United for Libraries (formerly ALTAFF). Its two-fold purpose is to:

  • Foster an environment conducive to promoting your Friends group and its projects,
  • Offer an opportunity for your library, Board of Trustees and community officials to recognize your group for its ongoing support.

To these ends, United for Libraries has posted on its website a number of stories and downloadable resources to help you get started. Click here for posters, sample letters to the editor, template public proclamations, and much much more.

This year’s event will be Sunday, October 20 to Saturday, October 26.

calendar_clip_art-1.jpgAs you’ve doubtless gleaned by now, even if National Friends of Libraries Week is a completely new concept to you, this weeklong celebration is an extremely customizable one. Apart from the overall mission sketched out above, appropriate ways to celebrate Friends of Libraries Week are nearly as many and varied as America’s countless Friends groups. In years past, these have ranged from the simple and straightforward, like weeklong membership campaigns and fundraising drives, to the unexpected and sometimes wacky – like an in-library demonstration from a world champion chocolate strawberry dipper.

If you are moved to do something particularly exciting or innovative, consider applying for UfL’s “Friends of Libraries Week Award” once the event has passed. Applicants need only provide a one- or two-page summary of their October activities. Judging will be based “on creativity and innovation; involvement of Friends, library staff, Trustees, and/or advisory committee; recognition of Friends group, and promotion of Friends group to the community, school, students, and/or faculty.” The winner will receive a small monetary prize.  

Visit their website for more details. You can read about previous years’ winners here. Applications for the 2013 award cycle are due Monday, December 2.

Register Now For MLA Conference + Library Friends Day!

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Posted by jim under Conferences, Events


It's that time again!

Each year, the slow but inevitable creep towards fall brings with it shorter days, cooler temperatures, and an end to those three-day summer weekends. It’s not all bad, though. Fall also heralds the countdown to the Minnesota Library Association conference!

As most of our audience is already undoubtedly aware, the annual MLA Conference is one of the linchpin events in the Minnesota library community’s professional development and networking calendar. This year’s event, slated for October 10-11 in St. Cloud’s River’s Edge Convention Center, promises to be better than ever, with over 60 sessions/panels and 40 exhibitors.

Friends of the Library will be well represented – particularly on Day 2, “Library Friends Day.” We will feature MALF-sponsored panels and activities on our website as the date draws nearer, so stay tuned! Can’t wait? For a sneak peek, click here for a comprehensive MLA Conference itinerary.

If you are a member of MALF or any Minnesota Friends of the Library group, or if you are serving on a library board, you are eligible for special rates! Register by September 6 to attend Friday, October 11 for $60. Register after September 6 and pay $75 for workshops, keynote speakers, meals, exhibits, and networking among Friends. (Card or other proof of membership not need.) Click here for more information and to begin the registration process.

NEH/ACHO Offers Planning Grants for Library Humanities Programming

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Posted by jim under Grants, Opportunities

NEH.jpgIf you have the kernel of an idea for a new library program or exhibit and like to see things out fully from beginning to end, NEH’s ‘America’s Historical and Cultural Organizations’ (ACHO) division has a grant opportunity that might be right up your alley. NEH/ACHO is currently accepting applications from libraries and museums looking to produce a public program (or programs) in any area of the humanities. That includes history, the performing arts, language, and – of course – literature.

Specifically, funds are available toward planning and early stages of project development. Acceptable uses include “consultation with scholars, refinement of humanities themes, preliminary design, testing, and audience evaluation.”

Note that a wide variety of programming formats are eligible for grant assistance. Besides traditional exhibits, these include book discussion groups, educational film nights, and living history presentations.

The application deadline for programs tentatively slated to start in or after April 2014 is August 14, 2013. If this is too compressed a timeline for your library or Friends group, don’t worry. The next application cycle will open shortly.

Note: Both funding resources and the number of eligible applicants can vary widely  from year to year. In the last five competition years, the Planning Grants program has received an average of 78 applications and provided an average of seven awards per year – a funding ratio of nearly 10 percent!

For more information, visit You can direct specific questions to NEH’s Division of Public Programs at 202-606-8269 or