‘El Día de los Libros’ is Just Around the Corner!

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Posted by jim under Events, Programming

dia.jpgOn April 30, libraries and Friends all over the country will host youth programming as part of El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros – a celebration of culture commonly abbreviated simply as " Día."

It’s not too late to coordinate a tie-in event of your own! Contrary to what the name might suggest, participation in “Day of the Book” does not presuppose great familiarity with Spanish language or culture. In fact, the yearly observance is not even confined to one culture. It’s become a showcase for all traditions, languages, and books that are shaping the world’s next generation of readers and leaders.

Just last year, Friends events covered the gamut alphabetically from Arabic and French all the way to Turkish and Vietnamese!

What form your cultural programming takes is largely up to you. Coordinators with the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), part of ALA, have helpfully provided a variety of valuable free resources to get you started. These include activity materials ranging from coloring books to reading lists and logs. Posters, badges, and other publicity materials are available, too. You can also register your program with ALA’s National Día Day Registry for added publicity.

For more information, visit their website, or go straight to the organizers’ comprehensive "Resource Guide: Everything You Need to ‘Do Día.’”

Edwards Trust Wants to Recognize and Reward Your Teen Literacy Initiatives

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Posted by jim under Grants

maggie.jpgTeens – and particularly teenage boys – can be a tricky demographic to get reading. Happily, on the whole, they are also more receptive than most to library programs and initiatives aimed at instilling that valuable love of reading.

In this vein, the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust is offering generous grants of approximately $500-$2000 to public and school libraries who go above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of teen literacy. The Trust is named after a groundbreaking young adult librarian who transformed teen services nationally through tireless work as an ALA leader in the 1930s-60s.

In particular, the Trust wishes to recognize and reward projects aimed at promoting 1) reading for pleasure, or 2) the effective training of YA librarians.

Applications are being accepted and considered on a continual basis. Candidates will be graded on program design and management, on thoroughness and quality of evaluation measures, and on cost and cost effectiveness.

For more information, visit the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust online, or jump straight to the pdf application

‘Citizens-Save-Libraries’ Brings Professional Consultants to Needy Libraries, Friends

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Posted by jim under Grants

If you’ve always suspected your library would benefit from a professional consultation but balked at the price tag, ALA may have just the solution you’re seeking. Thanks to generous financial support from the Neal-Schuman Foundation, ALA is gearing up for the second and last round of its ‘Citizens-Save-Libraries’ grant program.

The program’s goals are twofold. First, Citizens-Save-Libraries aims to directly help ten libraries across the country which are facing acute budgetary challenges. Specifically, ALA will pay all costs associated with bringing a small team of expert advocates to those locations. Once ‘on the ground,’ these experts will help Friends and staff develop blueprints for effective advocacy aimed at saving or increasing the library’s budget.

If your library is not currently facing financial challenges of note, you can still benefit indirectly. Eligibility is contingent on the chosen libraries’ willingness to “pay it forward” by mentoring other libraries in their area and sharing insights in conferences and webinars. Check out the website to read about the Cycle 1 participants and what they had to say about library advocacy.

If your Friends group represents a library in need, consider applying for the current cycle. Be aware that you must be willing to provide a:

  • Minimum of five volunteers committed to working on a leadership team. Each member understands that this commitment may require at least weekly meetings for up to 90 days.
  • Leadership team available for two days of on-site, in-person training (approximately 4-5 hours each day) between June 1, 2013-May 1, 2014.
  • Local volunteer willing to become a “mentor” for other libraries in the state and/or region. (Mentor may be invited to participate in a one-time live webinar and may also be asked to give an advocacy program at state library conference.)
  • Support of the library’s Board of Trustees and support of the library director is also a requirement.

Click here to download the application. Note: You must submit your materials by Tuesday, April 15. Grantees will be notified by Thursday, May 15. Professional consultations will begin in June and continue through May 2015.

MALF’s 2014 Evy Nordley Award Cycle Now Open!

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Posted by jim under Awards

Summer is just around the corner. Really! We promise. These last of the dull, wintery days offer the perfect opportunity to get a jump-start on your application for MALF’s 2014 Evy Nordley Award for Best Project by Friends of the Library.

Named after one of the organization’s founders, MALF’s highest honor is a vehicle through which member Friends groups can share their replicable ideas and success stories with peers throughout the state. Top prize is $1,000 and a custom plaque. Two runners-up will receive $250 and Certificates of Recognition.

Almost any Friends-support project is eligible – including efforts jointly sponsored or developed by the library or another institution. Common project types include membership drives, fundraising campaigns, marketing or rebranding success stories, and technology collaborations. But the sky is the limit! Click the links below for more information on applying.

Looking to learn a little more about the Award’s history or its namesake, Evy Nordley? Browse the resources below:

Submissions are due June 15, 2014. Finalists will be notified, and asked to give a ten-minute presentation describing the design, development and impact of their Friends effort during the annual conference of the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) on October 8-9, 2014, in Mankato, Minn.

Event Recap: Minnesota Library Legislative Day

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Posted by jim under Events, Advocacy

On March 4-5, the polar vortex - and yet another snowfall - did little to deter library supporters representing all corners of the state from congregating at the Capitol in St. Paul for Minnesota Library Legislative Day.

MN-3-5-14-1.jpgCoordinated by MLA and the Minnesota Educational Media Organization (MEMO), Library Legislative Day is the apex of the state’s library advocacy calendar. It is our easiest and best chance all year round to meet with elected representatives and to voice our communities’ support for library programs and funding.

As in years past, organizers prefaced that window of time for meetings with a very informative legislative briefing.

Official agenda items of special interest this year included increased funding for educational telecommunications costs, the creation of a task force to address problems associated with unfair eBook pricing, and the inclusion of public library accessibility grants in an upcoming bonding bill. You can read the official MLA/MEMO platform in its entirety here.

MLA-MEMO-MALF.jpgNaturally, the annual event also doubles as an excellent opportunity to meet likeminded Friends and to share ideas and experiences. In years past, some attendees have even reported that this is the most useful takeaway from their entire experience!

For the first time, MALF capitalized on this by adding a semiformal meet-and-greet to the regular itinerary. Library Friends, trustees, and staffers gathered at the Kelly Inn’s Sweetwater Grill to exchange stories and advocacy techniques. 

Photo 1: Past and present MALF Board members Mary Ann Bernat, Kim Edson, Carol Walsh, and Barbara Byers were among the 100+ that turned out for Minnesota Library Legislative Day 2014.

Photo 2: Nick Dimassis, Director of Carver Co. Library, and Mollie Stanford, regional librarian in the Arrowhead Library System, were also among those that turned out. (Here, they take a moment out of their busy days to learn a little about MALF programs and initiatives.)


Gatsby Gala a ‘Roaring’ Success for Ramsey Co. Friends

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Posted by jim under Fundraisers, Events

flappers.jpgOn February 1, after months of intense planning, the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries pulled off a great fundraiser. A Gatsby-great fundraiser, to be more precise.

Organizers tore a page straight from the Great American Novel and hosted a “Great Gatsby Gala” at the Roseville Library. (As many Minnesota bibliophiles know, author F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul – less than ten miles from the Roseville Library venue.)

The evening, emceed by Minnesota Public Radio personality Kerri Miller, contained several elements common to Friends fundraisers. Silent and live auctions boasted over seventy donated items ranging from one-of-a-kind specialty items, to gift baskets, to fun dining, theater and sightseeing experiences.

The rest of the night was, as the name promised, a real blast from the past. Highlights included Roaring Twenties style dance lessons, a costume contest recognizing most authentic period dress, and a photo booth with Gastby-era props.

Commensurate with the party’s Roaring Twenties theme, planners set an ambitious fundraising goal of $20,000. By the end of the night, Ramsey County had met and surpassed that mark, with the live auction alone bringing in upwards of $8,000.

Attendance was equally impressive, with 200 “flappers” and “fellas” turning out. Missed the big event? Don’t worry! The Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries is already hard at work planning a second annual gala for spring 2015.