MALF's Year in Review

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Posted by jim

year_in_review__large.pngFor MALF, 2015 was something of a banner year. Highlights from our year in review are almost too numerous to mention, but include...

In short, it’s been a busy year! Clearly, we couldn’t do any of it without Friends like you. Your membership is a visible marker of the fact that Minnesotans care about the health of our libraries. 

Goodbye and Heartfelt Thanks

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Posted by jim under MALF Board

As they say, January is a time of new beginnings – and not just a new calendar year. For MALF, it marks the start of a new membership year, a new events cycle, and the welcoming in of new members to the Board of Directors. Some changes are more bittersweet, however. MALF must also say goodbye to two leaders, Debby Frenzel and Mary Ann Sandeen.

Debby Frenzel joined our ranks in January 2014. She is a long-time citizen advocate for libraries and a past secretary of the Friends of the Maple Grove Library. Frenzel served both on MALF’s finance committee and programming committee. The latter saw something of a banner year in 2014. Sandeen proved instrumental in organizing our fall workshop series, which drew a record number of attendees to five sites across the state.

Mary Ann Sandeen joined the Board the same month. She is an accomplished Friend, having served as both president of the Friends at the Stillwater Public Library and founder of the Stillwater Public Library Foundation. She is also a past president of the Stillwater Public Library Board of Trustees. Like Frenzel, Sandeen brought her talent and experience to bear on MALF’s programming committee. Her organizing efforts were particularly felt at the large St. Cloud workshop session on September 27.

Thank you for all your hard work, and best of luck in all your future endeavors!

“StoryCorps @ Your Library” Aims to Preserve Local History

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Posted by jim under Grants, Opportunities

storycorps_logo.jpgPublic libraries are a traditional focal point for the preservation of local history. In recognition of this fact, ALA is partnering with StoryCorps – a national nonprofit oral history project – to give select libraries a jump-start on ongoing history initiatives.

The “StoryCorps @ Your Library” program will provide recording equipment, training, and promotional support to ten community documentation projects. Interviewees will be pulled from libraries’ service communities, but project scope can be as wide or narrow as the partnering library chooses.

StoryCorps will pay to give each and every interviewee a copy of their segment, and copies will also be deposited with the Library of Congress. Click here to read up on the guidelines and begin the application process. Click here to read success stories from the first round of “StoryCorps @ Your Library” partnerships. Direct questions to the ALA Public Programs Office at or 312-280-5045.

Applications must be received by Friday, February 6.

Apply Today for an MLIS Sparks! Ignition Innovation Grant

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Posted by jim under Grants, Opportunities

IMLS_Logo2.jpgLibraries work tirelessly to meet the changing needs of their public. Unfortunately, tight budgets across the country leave little room for innovative experimentation. If your library has a promising service improvement in mind but lacks the money to implement it, the Institute of Museum and Library Services wants to help.

The federal agency, through its Sparks! Ignition program, is providing grants to support the deployment, testing and evaluation of promising and groundbreaking new tools, products, services and organizational practices.

Public libraries of all sizes are eligible to apply, as are most institutions of higher education (including public and nonprofit universities). Successful proposals will address problems, challenges, or needs of broad relevance to libraries everywhere. A proposed project should test a specific, innovative response to the identified problem and present a plan to make the findings widely and openly accessible. Projects should have broad potential impact and significant innovation.

Grant amounts vary. Click here to learn more. Entries must be received by February 2

Library Journal Recognizes Unsung Heroes of the Library with Paralibrarian Award

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Posted by jim under Awards

lj.pngFull-time, degree-holding librarians represent only a minority of the people who make public libraries run smoothly. In point of fact, Friends, volunteers, and library paraprofessionals are responsible for much of the day-to-day work.

If your Friends of the Library group contains a paraprofessional who goes above and beyond the call of duty in support of the library, or you work closely with one, Library Journal encourages you to nominate them for "Paralibrarian of the Year."

Evaluation criteria include excellence in job performance, a forward-thinking mentality and record as a trailblazer, and a clear commitment to the concept of “free access to information for all.” Nominators are asked to compose a short letter describing, in 500 words or less, why your favorite paralibrarian is a strong candidate for this high honor. Additional supporting letters are welcome, and accompanying materials will be accepted, but precedence is given to the nominating letter.

Library Journal will feature one winner in its March 2015 issue. Paralibrarian of the Year also comes with a $1,500 cash prize and a special reception at the ALA Conference in June.

Click here for more information, and to read up on past winners. Direct questions to

Nominate Your Library for the LibraryAware Community Award!

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Posted by jim under Awards

lj.pngLiteracy, digital access, and job training are top priorities in communities across America – so it’s no surprise that these same goals are paramount concerns in our public libraries. Even so, some libraries go above and beyond in their mission not only to serve, but to collaborate with and improve, their local community. If this describes your library, it may be a strong contender forLibrary Journal’s prestigious LibraryAware Community Award.

The annual award, sponsored by the EBSCO Publishing division of the same name, exists to “recognize a library (or library system) that has demonstrated its ability to make its community ‘aware’ of what the library can do for it – and delivers on that promise.” Qualitative benchmarks are numerous and detailed on the Library Journal website.

Libraries and communities of all size are eligible for consideration. Anyone may submit a nomination, including Friends, library staffers, and government employees or officials. Organizers will announce and award the winner during National Library Week. Top prize includes $10,000, a special ceremony, and a featurette in an upcoming edition of Library Journal. A runner-up with receive $7,500, and third place receives $5,000.

Nominations must be postmarked or emailed by January 19, 2015Click here for more information, and to begin the application process!