Past Award Applicants, MALF Wants Your Feedback!

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Posted by jim

MALF’s Grants & Awards Committee is currently surveying past applicants for the Evy Nordley Award for Best Project by Friends of the Library.

If you’ve applied in the past, but did not do so in 2017, we would appreciate your honest input on this topicClick here to complete the survey. (If your Friends of the Library group DID submit in 2017, or has NEVER submitted, you may disregard.)

Did we mention… it’s only three questions! Please reply by Friday, October 27

2017 Evy Nordley Winner: Marine Library Association (Marine on St. Croix)

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Congratulations to the devoted Friends of the Library at Marine Library Association, winners of the 2017 Evy Nordley Award for Best Project. MALF made the announcement Friday, October 6 at the Minnesota Library Association conference, after a 10-minute presentation by Mary Burke on the conception and implementation of “Once Upon A River.”

DSC_0245.JPGAlong with Burke, Friends leaders Loralee DiLorenzo and Sue Logan made the 100-mile trek from Rochester to accept the custom award plaque and $1,000 cash prize.

In order to truly appreciate this inaugural program, a little background on the Marine Community Library is necessary. Back in 2011, the Washington County Library system made the difficult decision to withdraw funding from its small branch in Marine on St. Croix (population 680). Rather than letting this valued public service lapse, this tight-knit, book-loving community banded together to keep their Library running as an all-volunteer organization. Marine Community Library – as it is now known – remains a vital and vibrant resource for the residents of Marine and nearby Scandia.

“Once Upon a River”

The historic Marine Village Hall in Marine on St. Croix is Minnesota's oldest public facility of its kind still used for governmental purposes. However, on October 15, 2016, the 130-year-old building hosted something entirely new.

The Friends of the Marine Library (aka Marine Library Association) hosted "Once Upon A River" at the historic venue. Marine Library Association marketed this unique performance as a blend of photography exhibits, live music, and more celebrating the beautiful St. Croix River and environ.

More than 150 ticket holders turned out for this fundraiser. Headliners included artist Marty Harding and nature photographer Gary Noren, who shared the distinction of being selected as ‘Pine Needles Artists in Residence’ for the St. Croix Watershed Research Station – a big honor, for those in the know.

Other highlights included the 30-member River Chorale, jazz and ragtime clarinetist Butch Thompson, and renowned pianist and accordionist Dan Chouinard.

e18d71c247b99a2ae09a17e5b75b4265.jpgGiven the environmental theming, the Friends were able to convince the St. Croix River Association, St. Croix Watershed Research Station (Science Museum of Minnesota), and the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (National Park Service) to partner on the funding, design, and promotion of this first-of-its kind endeavor.

Moreover, the Marine Library Association’s dedicated promotions team went all out, designing a well-circulated poster and securing plugs in area newspapers and other media.

"Once Upon A River" packed the house and then some. Some hopefuls who had not purchased their ticket in advance could not get into the Village Hall, noted organizer Loralee DiLorenzo. (This is, as they say, a good problem to have.) Fortunately, some of the exhibits on display at OUAR are slated to enjoy a long second life in other Washington County venues. This includes the popular artwork of Harding and Noren.

At the end of the night, the Marine Library Association had netted $7,735. Success is attributable not just to ticket sales and sponsorship support, but to the Friends’ stellar job securing in-kind donations for the program. This included over $3,500 in comped audio visual support from a local vendor, among other services.

2017 MLA Conference Programming Recap

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Nearly fifty Friends of the Library joined MALF leaders at Rochester’s beautiful Mayo Civic Center on Friday, October 6 for “Library Friends Day 2017,” an integral part of the annual Minnesota Library Association conference.

MALF, a proud premier sponsor of the Conference, hosted three panels. In the morning, Sue Grove (president of the Friends of the Austin Public Library), Rollin Hall (mayor of Wabasha), Ann Hutton (retired director of SELCO), Joe Owens (past president of the Friends of the Ely Public Library), and Jim Weygand (president of MLA’s Trustee and Advocates division) led a packed session on “Collaborations That Engage Communities In Transforming Libraries.”


Hutton offered a helpful primer on the patchwork of library governance structures co-existing in Minnesota, as well as the varied funding steams that support the hundreds of libraries throughout our state. Hall and Weygand discussed what supportive government leaders – and “average joe” citizens – can do to foster an atmosphere conducive to public financial support for the local library. Owens talked about how the Friends of the Ely Public Library marshalled community support to help build the new, large and beautiful Ely Public Library (one of the most noteworthy Friends victories in the past few years).

After a stirring lunchtime keynote by Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, the Friends attendees reconvened for MALF’s Annual Meeting and semi-formal Idea Exchange.

Capping off the afternoon, MALF president Judy Schotzko recognized Minnesota’s twenty Standout Friends. Two of these, Joyce Harlow (Red Wing) and Corinne Lenort (Blooming Prairie) were in attendance! We also heard from Sue Grove (Austin), Sheila DeChantal (Brainerd), and Mary Burke (Marine), finalists for this year’s Evy Nordley Award.

'Empowering Friends' Workshop Recap

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Last month, Dr. Julie Todaro – immediate past president of the American Library Association – zigzagged 715 miles across Minnesota to keynote MALF workshops in Rochester, Stillwater and Cook. Todaro focused on her passion, the art and science of storytelling.

Her thesis is this: Storytelling is a highly effective way to convince public officials (at all levels of government) of the impact and continued relevance of libraries.

Dr. Todaro offered attendees a mix of adaptable frameworks to consider, along with helpful real-life examples. Attendees particularly appreciated Todaro’s hierarchy of credible sources.

Ranked from most credible and best to use, to least credible and best used sparingly, these include:

  • Irrefutable Data: Statistically significant, unquestionable data from a highly credible source.
  • Substantial Data: “Point-in-time” information or directionally accurate data (includes most surveys).
  • Expert Commentary: Quotes from industry experts (leading community members, peers in appropriate fields) can be considered a summary or synthesis of information.
  • Anecdotal Data: Although many consider anecdotal data only “example” or “endorsement” data, it can be data driven! What separates it from Substantial Data is that it includes only one or two data points or examples that support your case.
  • Quotes: Comments from business people, parents, students, etc. can illustrate need and use, and be sprinkled in as powerful evidence.
  • Your Opinion: From the perspective of the audience, your opinion is typically too biased to be considered supporting evidence.

Details on this information hierarchy, and other storytelling best practices covered by Dr. Todaro at MALF’s fall workshops, is available in a 23-page handout available through the MALF office. Email info@mnlibraryfriends if interested.

MALF extends a sincere thank you to the hosts of the three workshops: Reagen Thalacker and the SELCO staff in Rochester; Mary Ann Sandeen and the Friends of the Stillwater Public Library; and Crystal Phillips and the Friends of the Cook Library. Dr. Todaro reports enjoying her travels in Minnesota and the expressions of friendship offered at each session.