2017 MLA Conference Programming Recap

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.