One Book | One Minnesota: A Good Time for the Truth

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Posted by jim under Programming

Across our state, libraries and Friends groups of all sizes are grappling with a pair of year-defining issues. COVID-19, and the resultant closure of brick-and-mortar libraries, has created social isolation and exacerbated existing resource gaps in many communities. This, alone, would make 2020 an historic year for Minnesota –– but of course, that’s not all. Since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, our state has also become a flashpoint for national conversations about race and racism.  

With this background in mind, the Minnesota Center for the Book kickstarted a statewide community read program. (Its inaugural season, featuring Newbery Award winner Kate DiCamillo and her beloved classic Because of Winn-Dixie, engaged libraries, classrooms, and book clubs across the state. More than 3,000 attendees “turned out” – virtually, that is – for a capstone talk and Q&A by the author herself on May 20. You can view a recording
 here.)

Over the summer, the Center for the Book and its partners invite readers to take an unflinching – and, frankly, long overdue – look at the stark racial disparities all around us. As a vehicle for this exploration, the second One Book | One Minnesota selection is A Good Time for the Truth. In this series of essays, sixteen of Minnesota’s best writers offer candid and often heart-wrenching stories about what it means to be a Native person or person of color in modern-day Minnesota.


How Friends Can Participate

Now through August 23, residents of Minnesota can access a free e-book copy of A Good Time for the Truth through EBooks Minnesota! In addition, a variety of reading guides and other downloadable resources are available (here) for book clubs and other interested parties.

Naturally, with a topic as broad and as sensitive as racism, brave and honest conversations can be difficult to start. In recognition of this fact, the Minnesota Center for the Book has curated lists of both authors/speakers and experienced discussion facilitators for libraries, Friends groups, and private workplaces to turn to for assistance.

This list includes 13 of the A Good Time for the Truth essayists, including collection editor Sun Yung Shin and Minnesota Book Award winners Heid E. Erdrich, Shannon Gibney, Carolyn Holbrook, Diane Wilson, and Kao Kalia Yang. (See the complete list
 here.) Each is ready and eminently qualified to lead your group through a productive conversation around race and racism… through Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, or any number of other virtual tools.

Click here for further details, including honorarium recommendations for invited speakers.

Note: If you are an active member of MALF, your Friends are encouraged to consider our Chris D. Olson Event & Programming Grant as a means to cover some (and very possibly, all) expenses attendant with such a program!

Evy Nordley Award: Deadline Fast Approaching!

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If you wrack your brain and think waaaay back, can you remember the year 2019? Given the eventful, tumultuous year we’re only mid-way through, it can be surprisingly difficult! However, before library closures and social distancing measures interrupted the flow of “normal” operations, Minnesota’s many Friends of the Library groups conducted a number of clever and successful fundraisers, membership drives, and library programs. We’d hate to give them short shrift.

Remember: Friends initiatives orchestrated any time after January 1, 2019 are eligible for MALF’s 2020 Evy Nordley Award for Best Project. Top prize is $1,000, and monetary prizes will also be awarded to runners-up.

Given the current climate, MALF is foregoing the traditional finalist presentation component of the Award. In lieu of any in-person presentation, a rep from each finalist group will instead be asked to prepare a brief PowerPoint and record an 8-10- minute talk outlining the planning and implementation of their project. MALF will handle all tech considerations, including but not limited to recording and editing. Recordings can be done at a time convenient for each finalist.

After some light postproduction work, these short packages will be shared with MALF’s membership. MP4 files will also be given to the participating finalists, to be used as a video “calling card” to promote The Friends’ visibility and recruitment efforts!

Applications are due this Friday, July 10
. See our website for program details and application form.

Reminder: Members-Only COVID-19 Grant Program

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One week remains to put your Friends of the Library forward as a candidate for MALF’s special COVID-19 Grant Response Program. Up to ten grants, each of ≤ $500, are available. Qualified expenses include virtual programming, direct operational costs incurred by Friends, and direct support to the library.

Eligible applicants are support organizations that (1) serve a Minnesota-based public, school K-12, college/university, or special library, (2) are 501(c)3 nonprofits eligible to receive tax-deductible donations, and in good standing with the IRS and Minnesota Secretary of State, (3) are current in their annual MALF membership dues, and (4) are willing to report back on expenditures and impacts using a 1-page template provided by MALF. 

Additional details, plus application form, are available
 here.

June 10 Webinar - Last Call!

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Thanks to everyone who has registered for tomorrow’s (1-3 p.m.) webinar, Library Leadership Cultivation - During COVID-19, and Beyond. We’re expecting a good crowd!

Attendees can expect a primer on a board’s Five Major Responsibilities, pointers on sowing seeds for future success, and low-pressure breakout activities that will drive these messages home.

Missed the sign-up cutoff? Good news: MALF is accepting a limited number of late registrants. Send an email to info@mnlibraryfriends.org before 11 a.m. on June 10, and a representative will share log-in details.

About Our Speaker: Since founding Trillium Leadership Development in 1992, Mary Jo Wimmer has coached dozens of not-for-profits, businesses and civic bodies across rural Minnesota toward actualizing their mission statements and achieving full organizational potential. Her core competencies include teamwork cultivation, leadership training, training on workplace conflict, and assisting organizations with intercultural competency development.

"Now, Today, This Very Minute..."

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Earlier this month, global library cooperative OCLC released a stirring call to action. It reads, in part:

“We sometimes refer to libraries and archives as memory institutions. That’s not a bad description. But it’s not complete. Because memory implies something that is in the past. Something that isn’t active. And so much of what happens in the work we do for our communities happens now, today, this very minute.

What is happening now requires a response. We must speak out against racism and injustice.”

In the two weeks since George Floyd’s tragic and shocking death in Minneapolis, libraries across the country have taken up OCLC’s call. Action plans differ – such is the nature of the diverse library landscape. We strongly encourage you to reach out to your library’s leadership about their equity initiatives (ongoing and in the works), and how the Friends might intersect with and amplify that work.


Looking for resources on how to spark a meaningful dialogue about racism and institutional inequities? Metronet has bundled curated lists of books, articles, documentaries (and more) in recent issues of MetroBriefs. They have thoughtfully archived recent issues of the publication here.

Reminder: Register for 'Library Leadership Cultivation'

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Speaking of standout leaders, take a moment and reflect. Does your Friends group have a strong pipeline of up-and-coming leaders? Is your recruitment process effectively stalled? Something in between?

Regardless of where exactly you fall on this spectrum, you’ll likely learn something of value in MALF’s upcoming webinar Library Leadership Cultivation: COVID-19, and Beyond.

Mary Jo Wimmer, business coach and founder of Trillium Leadership Development, will discuss recruitment, orientation, and board development more generally on Wednesday, June 10 (1:00 – 3:00 p.m.). As with our in-person workshops, the webinar is free to attend. However, advance registration is required.

In another nod to the surreal times we are collectively living through, MALF will cap the June 10 webinar with a free-form ideas sharing component. As with our in-person “popcorn style” sharing sessions (which we’ve enjoyed bringing to communities across the state since 2012), this is a no-agenda opportunity to air frustrations, share ideas, and learn a little about what your counterparts across Minnesota are up to.

Reminder: COVID-19 Grant Response Program

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MALF is still accepting applications for its COVID-19 Grant Response Program. Up to $500 is available per eligible Friends group to defray operational costs, jumpstart virtual programming, or provide direct support to your library in this time of pandemic.

What’s the catch? There isn’t one. Our newest grant program is intended to be broad and responsive in nature. After all, even in good times, library systems and the Friends groups supporting them are each a little different. As we inch towards recovery and a new normal, it stands to reason that each will do it a little differently.

Applications for this inaugural cycle of the COVID-19 Grant Response Program will be accepted, on a rolling basis, through Friday, June 19 and until certain cap limits are reached. Early submissions are encouraged, as the MALF Board of Directors will evaluate proposals and award funds on a monthly basis (and only until caps are hit). Click here for details.

Back by Popular Demand: Stand Up for Standout Friends

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Over the past four years, Friends of the Library groups in Minnesota have recognized an astounding sixty volunteers with MALF’s Stand Up for Standout Friends honorific. Interest in this program has far exceeded our modest expectations for it (not that we’re complaining)! Given this enthusiasm, MALF is pleased to announce that SUFSF will continue in 2020 – and, like so many things, make the jump to the virtual space.

What Are ‘Standout’ Qualities?
In short, it is up to you! Some may wish to acknowledge a current or former board member or other executive for their contributions in a leadership role. Others may choose to honor a Friend who has been with their organization since the beginning. You are also welcome to bestow the honorific based on number of hours volunteered, amount of money raised, or any mix of these and other factors.

Program Benefits
MALF’s “Gallery of Friends” – which showcases the contributions and achievement of each Friend – is consistently the most visited section on our website. As in years past, we will feature a write-up on each honoree. We will also share word with United for Libraries (the Friends of the Library arm of the American Library Association), and draft personalized letters to mayors and other public officials in the hometown of each recipient (example).

Due to COVID-19, we will not be able to celebrate the 2020 “class” in person this fall. As a substitute, MALF will honor each in a video that will be aired as part of a soon-to-be-announced virtual Friends event in late September. See the nomination form for details.

Every recipient will also receive a matted and frameable Certificate of Recognition. As a final token of our thanks, honorees will receive a copy of Minnesota Book Award finalist “This Tender Land,” signed and personalized by Minnesota’s own William Kent Krueger!


Eligibility and Next Steps
Each member organization may only submit one name per year for the Standout Friends honor. Any Friend is eligible, provided he or she is part of a Friends of the Library group current in its MALF membership and is willing to have his or her name shared publicly on award materials distributed across the state.

Click here to access the nomination form. Submitters from previous cycles will find much that is familiar. Please pay mind to the acknowledgement checkboxes at the bottom of the page. Note also that, for the first time, we are requesting a photo of your candidate. Submit your application (and supplementary materials as appropriate) to 
info@mnlibraryfriends.org by Friday, August 7.  

Webinar 1: Library Leadership Cultivation - During COVID-19, and Beyond

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Webinar 1: Library Leadership Cultivation - During COVID-19, and Beyond

When we last surveyed our members, many voiced a strong interest in virtual opportunities to learn and network with fellow Friends of the Library. In light of more recent developments, that particular piece of feedback sure seems prescient! So, in lieu of our traditional slate of in-person workshops, MALF is pleased to announce our first-ever webinar.

Our debut topic, by popular demand, will be board and leader cultivation. Nonprofits of all types struggle to recruit would-be leaders, but Friends organizations are particularly familiar with that challenge.

And that’s not the only pain point. Once on board – pardon the pun – new recruits need to be trained in. It sounds so basic, but MALF routinely fields queries from Friends board members confused about their role, responsibilities, and restrictions. This onboarding, or lack thereof, often reflects grey areas in a board’s policies and practices more generally.

Mary Jo Wimmer, business coach and founder of Trillium Leadership Development, will discuss these issues and more on Wednesday, June 10 (1:00 – 3:00 p.m.). As with our in-person workshops, the webinar is free to attend. However, advance registration is required. REGISTER

“We’re living through a strange time. COVID-19 restrictions are impacting every aspect of our lives – volunteer activities, not the least of them,” said Sue Grove, MALF’s vice president of programming. “Our webinars will absolutely take the current climate into account.”

“By moving content to the digital space – versus discontinuing it altogether – we can perhaps bring a silver living to this ‘necessary pause’ in Friends groups’ normal operations.”

In another nod to the surreal times we are collectively living through, MALF will cap the June 10 webinar with a free-form ideas sharing component. As with our in-person “popcorn style” sharing sessions (which we’ve enjoyed bringing to communities across the state since 2012), this is a no-agenda opportunity to air frustrations, share ideas, and learn a little about what your counterparts across Minnesota are up to.

Introducing MALF's COVID-19 Grant Response Program

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In a year defined by a pandemic and its fallout, your library is doubtless facing challenges and uncertainties on an unprecedented scale. You want to help. We want you to, as well.

As one means to that end, the Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF) is proud to announce its COVID-19 Grant Response Program.

What’s the catch? There isn’t one. Our newest grant program is intended to be broad and responsive in nature. After all, even in good times, library systems and the Friends groups supporting them are each a little different. As we inch towards recovery and a new normal, it stands to reason that each will do it a little differently.

As a way of priming the pump, here are examples of expenses that Friends might seek assistance from the COVID-19 Grant Response Program to defray.

  • Operational Costs. In this age of social distancing, most of us are doing things a little differently: videoconferencing instead of meeting in person, hosting fundraisers in the virtual space for the first time, forgoing print newsletters in favor of online ones, and so on. Are the subscriptions and other start-up costs prohibitive for you? Consider this grant. Costs incurred after March 1, 2020 are eligible.

  • Virtual Programming. Libraries everywhere are experimenting with virtual programs to fill the vacuum left by the closure of their brick-and-mortar facilities. So, too, are many enterprising Friends groups. Author honoraria, instructor compensation, and indirect costs like platform maintenance fees are all eligible for consideration.

  • Direct Library Support. Odds are high that your traditional Friends fundraisers have been, or will be, impacted by the pandemic. Perhaps this puts you in a position where you cannot fund a long-ago-identified library need that the Friends had previously intended to bankroll. Similarly, perhaps COVID-19 introduces brand new funding needs that you wish to assist the library with.
In total, ten grants (each capped at a max of $500) are available in this initial phase of the program. MALF will reevaluate needs and resources later in 2020, and communicate a determination about a future for this fund by year’s end.

Applications for this inaugural cycle of the COVID-19 Grant Response Program will be accepted, on a rolling basis, through Friday, June 19, 2020 and until cap limits are reached. Click here for more details, including eligibility requirements and application instructions.

2020 Evy Nordley Award: Upcoming Changes

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COVID-19 is impacting MALF’s grants and awards portfolio in other ways, as well. Most noteworthy are several changes to our flagship Evy Nordley Award for Best Project by Friends of the Library.

As per usual, the 2020 cycle is intended to recognize the previous year’s standout programs – in other words, efforts undertaken after January 1, 2019. Given the timing of the pandemic, MALF hopes to see a (more or less) average number of submissions. So, the Award is still on – and monetary prizes still up for grabs.

MALF strives to make submitting as easy as possible. However, given the unprecedented spring we are all sharing, we are happy to extend the submission deadline: to Friday, July 10.
 Visit our website for application form and instructions. (You can also see examples from 2012-2019. Common project types are special events, successful fundraisers, membership drives, and advocacy campaigns – but the sky is the limit!)

We are also foregoing the traditional finalist presentation component of the Evy Nordley Award.

In lieu of any in-person presentation, a representative from each finalist group will instead be asked to prepare a brief PowerPoint and record a 10-minute talk outlining the planning and implementation of their project. MALF will handle all tech considerations, including but not limited to recording and editing. Recordings can be done at a time convenient for each finalist.

After some light postproduction work, these short packages will be shared with MALF’s membership. MP4 files will also be given to the participating finalists, to be used as a video “calling card” to promote The Friends’ visibility and recruitment efforts.

Impromptu COVID-19 Fundraising "Holidays"

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COVID-19 is turning our calendars upside down, and is creating or exacerbating acute needs in every community. With these realities in mind, several of the nation’s largest grassroots giving initiatives are pivoting to orchestrate giving campaigns over the next month. Opportunities for your Friends to consider:

#GivingTuesdayNow
Not the least of these is Giving Tuesday. For nearly a decade, this self-described “global generosity movement” has offered a platform and tools to empower charities across the world to raise needed funds. (Last year alone, participants raised a combined $2 billion globally.) Giving Tuesday customarily falls late in the year. In recognition of the urgent needs felt by the nonprofits who rely on this giving holiday the most, organizers have just announced a spring supplement called Giving Tuesday Now.

Mark your calendars now for Tuesday, May 5.

#GivingTuesdayNow is gearing up fast. A treasure trove of messaging, templates, and social media strategies are available FREE here. (Sign up for their e-newsletter to keep abreast of additional resources and promotional opportunities as these come online.)


#GiveAtHomeMN
Closer to home, GiveMN – orchestrators behind Give to the Max Day each November – are offering a similar opportunity. Dubbed #GiveAtHomeMN, this weeklong giving campaign will leverage GiveMN’s popular giving platforms to benefit our favorite charities in this time of unprecedented need. GiveMN will also donate proceeds from online processing fees back to participating nonprofits in the form of a rebate.

#GiveAtHomeMN is slated for May 1-8Bookmark their webpage to keep apprised of resources and other developments scheduled to become available in the next week.

Judge the Minnesota Author Project

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MNAuthorProject.pngFor the third year running, a coalition of Minnesota library administrative organizations is coming together to host the Minnesota Author Project. As the name suggests, this novel program (pun intended) recognizes the quality work of first-time authors eager to find a wider audience. Only self- or indie-published materials, and only ebooks by Minnesota authors, are eligible for consideration.

Winners in several categories each receive $1,000, a full-page print spread in Library Journal, and inclusion in Indie Minnesota – a digital collection of local authors available from BiblioBoard Library. Entries are due at the end of May.

Organizers are looking for about a dozen more volunteer judges to evaluate submitted books. Each volunteer can expect to appraise approximately ten submissions between May and August. Judges will receive a webinar training on the user-friendly BiblioBoard e-book platform. Interested in learning more? Please fill out this GoogleDoc at an early convenience.

“Attend” the Minnesota Book Awards

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mnba.pngMinnesota boasts one of the oldest and most robust statewide literary programs in America. Now in its 32nd year, the Minnesota Book Awards were slated to take place at The Ordway on Tuesday, April 28. COVID-19 put an end to those plans, but the announcement celebrations will continue – and are more approachable than ever.

Organizers at the Minnesota Center for the Book (part of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library) will host festivities online starting at 7 p.m. on the 28th. Click here for information on the livestream, which is made possible through a partnership with SPNN studios. Note: Advance registration is requested.

As always, winners will be announced in not one but nine competitive categories: Children’s Literature, General Nonfiction, Genre Fiction, Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, Middle Grade, Minnesota Nonfiction, Novel and Short Story, Poetry, and Young Adult.

Age of Coronavirus: Webinars and More

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Resources, and the best places to find them, are evolving as fast as the virus is spreading. Here is a list of webinars (archived and upcoming) to get you up to speed.

1. American Libraries: Last week, ALA and its American Libraries magazine hosted a panel on how libraries at the vanguard of the pandemic (including those serving King County, Washington and Pisoia, Italy) responded to the rapid situational changes. More than 1,100 attended live! It is available free for viewing.

2. Public Library Association: Every Thursday between March 26 and April 16, PLA will offer free COVID-19 webinars for library stakeholders. Specific topics include “The Current Landscape” (March 26), “Successful Ways to Work Remotely” (April 2), “Managing Stress and Anxiety” (April 9), and “Innovative Solutions in Times of Crisis” (April 16). Each session is all but guaranteed to fill up, so if you are unable to RSVPlook for the archived recordings after the fact!

3. Library Journal: For the foreseeable future, Library Journal has dropped all paywalls on its digital content. Now is a perfect time to do a deep dive into library topics of interest to you. Particularly timely is the FEMA / National Library of Medicine webinar “Libraries and Non-Traditional Facilities in Emergencies.” (Note: Crisis scenarios other than COVID-19 are also covered in this session.)

COVID-19, Libraries, and Friends

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It used to be said that taxes were the only reliable, universal feature of American life. Now, we can all add another commonality to that list: Americans everythwhere are searching for a new normal in the surreal era of COVID-19 mitigation. Libraries and their support organizations are by no means exempt. In fact, due to libraries’ long-standing role as a community gathering place, they are particularly vulnerable. As you know, the majority of public libraries are closed at this time, following CDC and local health official recommendations.

What can we, as Friends, do for our library?
 
1. Stay informed. We don’t doubt that you’re keeping abreast of national and international developments. In addition, there are a growing number of webinars and other online resources popping up specific to librarianship and fundraising. (See below for some jumping off points.) Even if you don’t gain profound, actionable insights, you’ll be gainfully filling time!

2. Check in with staff. In the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, library staff find themselves in precarious employment situations, overtaxed by a need to reinvent their public services, and/or suffering from low morale. Even if you can do very little for them, they will appreciate knowing you’re thinking of them in this hectic time. (Example: The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has a “buddy system” in place, where each branch manager enjoys a one-on-one relationship with a Friends contact throughout the coronavirus upheaval.)

3. Adhere to best practices. We list it last only because we know you’ve heard it so many times before. Follow the CDC/WHO guidelines for social distancing and personal hygiene. Let’s flatten that curve!

COVID-19: What Is MALF's Game Plan?

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In brief, our office has gone virtual, but daily operations will continue unimpeded.

1. Our office space in Saint Paul is closed until further notice. However, mail will be forwarded to the home address of our office manager. Membership dues, grant applications, and other mail will be processed on the normal timetable.

2. Likewise, our office line will roll over into a MALF leader’s personal cell phone. Phone and email coverage will continue as normal.

3. As alluded to above, our slate of member grants are still available! Now may be the perfect time to look ahead to brighter days and get a jump start on late 2020 / 2021 program planning.

4. We are postponing the planned March print newsletter for members. Naturally, the “news du jour” has changed considerably from when we laid it out at the beginning of this month! However, e-newsletters will continue on the normal timetable.

Game On! Gaming Grant

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While books and reading are as central to the your library’s mission as ever, other needs and pastimes are doubtless jockeying for limited funding. As one example, games – board games, video games, and even interactive, on-site opportunities like escape rooms – are a key draw in many areas, particularly for younger patrons.

Recognizing these facts, the American Library Association recently created a Games and Gaming Round Table to advise and assist libraries in this area. Every spring, through the aptly named Game On! grant program, this round table will offer a limited number of $250-$500 grants to kickstart libraries’ gaming efforts. On-site gaming opportunities, off-site programming sponsored by the library, and appropriate collection development efforts are all fair game (pun intended).

Only members of ALA (including its Friends of the Library arm, United for Libraries) are eligible. Grant window will open and close on a rolling basis, with each year’s recipients announced and honored at the ALA Annual conference. Friends of the Library representatives must also be able to prove approval from their library’s branch manager or system director.
 Click here to learn more.

Meet Mary Jo Wimmer

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Along with the New Year, the Minnesota Association of Library Friends welcomed three new directors to its governing board. We’re pleased to introduce them to you, one at a time. Next up:

Mary Jo Wimmer is founder of Trillium Leadership Development. Since founding the firm in 1992, Wimmer has coached dozens of not-for-profits, businesses and civic bodies across rural Minnesota toward actualizing their mission statements and achieving full organizational potential. Her core competencies include teamwork cultivation, leadership training, training on workplace conflict, and assisting organizations with intercultural competency development. 

In addition to her own practice, Wimmer is a senior trainer for the Blandin Foundation's leadership programs and a Forum Discussion Leader for the Anderson Center for Leadership and Management. She has recently written a book on training. Among other volunteer commitments, Wimmer manages the bookstore for the Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library. She has served in that capacity since 2008.

Interested in learning more about a potential leadership role with MALF? Email us any time at info@mnlibraryfriends.org

'Lift Every Voice' Programming Grant

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Interested in bringing memorable poetry experiences to your library’s patrons? The National Endowment for the Humanities and not-for-profit Library of America project may have the perfect opportunity for you.

Applications are currently being solicited for the Lift Every Voice program. Subtitled Why African American Poetry Matters, the intent of this national project is to showcase and explore that group’s many past and present contributions to the corpus of American literature (and poetry in particular).

If selected, participating libraries and other eligible cultural institutions will be required to put on a minimum of two events. One must be a discussion featuring or moderated by a scholar of African American literature. The other can take many forms: a poetry workshop, slam event, panel discussion, or even musical performance!

Thanks to the NEA and other generous sponsors, a full 50 grants of $1,200 will be awarded. However, you must apply by March 20
Click here for full details.

Mark Your Calendars: April 23 Is Library Giving Day 2020

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Fundraising is no easy thing, even for dedicated professionals who do it full time. It’s more daunting still for all-volunteer Friends of the Library, who ordinarily have far less expertise and experience to tap.

If giving campaigns are something you’ve struggled with in the past – or not even begun to explore – take a look at
 Library Giving Day. Brainchild of the Seattle Public Library Foundation, this one-day giving “holiday” is devoted solely to library causes and coincides with National Library Week.

Last year, over the inaugural Library Giving Day, 192 organizations from across the country (and four Canadian provinces, to boot!) took part, and gifts far exceeded organizers’ targets for a first-time giving event.

Thursday, April 23, 2020 marks the second annual Library Giving Day. If you missed out on the fun the last time around, now is the time to lay groundwork. Visit the initiative’s
 website for access to an array of free resources: tips webinars, template promotional and campaign materials, logo graphics, and more.

If you participatebe sure to report your campaign results in the official Library Giving Day portal after the fact. This allows organizers and participants to gauge the growth of the event over time.

News You Can Use: MLA Annual Meeting Takeaways

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Friends of the Library don’t operate in a vacuum, and it is to our advantage to keep up with developments impacting Minnesota’s libraries more generally. In that spirit, our board and staff have identified several recent developments from the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) that might interest you.

1. MLA has just rolled out a special Advocate category for Friends of the Library and other self-identified citizen champions of libraries. The intent is to provide non-practitioners an opportunity to add their voice to MLA’s sustained advocacy efforts at the Capitol. Dues are low, at $10/year. Membership at this new tier does not confer voting privileges or most other benefits associated with MLA membership, and is intended as a supplement to rather than a replacement for involvement with MALF or local Friends of the Library groups. Email MLA’s trustees chair Jim Weygand at jimweygand@aol.com for details.

2. MLA passed a memorial resolution in honor of long-time MLA and MALF leader Joan Larson. You can read MALF’s own obituary on Larson here.

3. An overhaul to the Association’s website (mnlibraryassociation.org) is imminent! Watch that space for updates.

4. The organization has added a Continuing Education Committee to its list of standing bodies, in recognition of the career-long importance of professional development to librarians and paraprofessionals.

Click here for additional updates on the state of the Association.

MALF Welcomes New Director Janet Eaton

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Along with the New Year, the Minnesota Association of Library Friends welcomed three new directors to its governing board. We’re pleased to introduce them to you, one at a time. Next up:

Janet Eaton is a native of Columbia Heights. After a long career as a commercial insurance underwriter and insurance agent, principally in the Pacific Northwest, she moved back to Anoka County in 2005. Fond memories of her childhood library steered Eaton to membership and leadership roles within the Friends of the Anoka County Library – a regional Friends group that supports the libraries in Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Ham Lake, Anoka and St. Francis. Over the past five years, Eaton has served as secretary and, most recently, treasurer of that dynamic group. MALF is thrilled to have Janet involved in our day-to-day finances and investment management.

Interested in learning more about a potential leadership role with MALF? Email us any time at info@mnlibraryfriends.org

Evy Nordley Award - 2020 Contest Now Open!

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Last year, Minnesota’s many Friends of the Library groups funded and coordinated some incredible projects. MALF honored four as part of our annual Evy Nordley Award for Best Project contest. We’re confident that 2020 will be just as productive and impressive!

By popular request, we are making this year’s Evy Nordley application available early. Entries are due before or on Friday, June 12.

Who can apply? Entrants must be based in Minnesota and attached to a public, K-12 school, college/university, or special library. Libraries themselves, along with individuals and non-library charities, cannot apply. Current membership in the Minnesota Association of Library Friends is a prerequisite for consideration. (However, if necessary, annual dues may be submitted with award application.) Previous years’ finalists and winners are strongly encouraged to reenter for the 2020 cycle. You may also submit multiple candidate projects as part of this or any Evy Nordley cycle.

What can you submit? Common project types are special events, successful fundraisers, membership drives, and advocacy campaigns – but the sky is the limit!

Any Friends-supported project is eligible, provided that (1) project implementation began after January 1, 2019; and (2) either the Friends or their library was the primary beneficiary. (In other words, efforts jointly developed with or sponsored by non-Friends organizations are qualified under many circumstances.) If you have specific questions about the eligibility of a particular project, call 651-366-6492 for clarity.

Top prize is $1,000 - with additional financial prizes awarded. 

New Year, New Directors

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Posted by jim

Along with the New Year, the Minnesota Association of Library Friends welcomes three new directors to its governing board. We’re pleased to introduce them to you, one at a time.

Melissa Brechon is a career librarian and retired library administrator. Her resume includes time at the helm of the Austin (Minn.) Public Library and seven-branch Carver County Library in suburban Minneapolis. In recent years, Brechon also filled in as interim director for the Stillwater Public Library and for MELSA, the federated library consortium servicing the Twin Cities. She is currently a library consultant, with an emphasis on community and facility needs assessments. Her list of past clients includes dozens of public libraries in Minnesota, plus dozens more in places as far afield as Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Marathon, Texas; and Bighorn, Wyoming.

Interested in learning more about leadership on the MALF board? Send an email to info@mnlibraryfriends.org.

Captain Planet Foundation Offers ecoSTEM Kits

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Posted by jim under Grants & Awards

STEM learning is a priority of youth services librarians everywhere. However, finding and funding exciting, engaging STEM activities can be a challenge. If this sounds relatable, your Friends group might want to look into the Captain Planet Foundation’s readymade ecoSTEM kits. While these are available for purchase, a limited number are also available free of charge to schools and nonprofits.

At this time, four kits are in production. These include a water kit (with water composition and quality monitoring equipment); energy kit (with solar cells, a mini wind turbine, and infrared thermometers); a pollinator kit (with milkweed seeds, butterfly rearing house, and caterpillars); and a composting kit (including worms and a mushroom farm starter).

Click here for more information on each option - plus details on when and how to apply. The Captain Planet Foundation also offers a variety of other grant opportunities worth checking out.

Coretta Scott King Book Awards

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Posted by jim

Each year, a special round table of the American Library Association bestows the coveted Coretta Scott King Award. Named after the civil rights leader, this prize recognizes outstanding work for young adults written by African American authors and about the African American experience. 

But what happens to the thousands of books that are submitted after these national competitions have concluded?

In this case, ALA donates complete sets of the year’s entries to worthy organizations: schools, social service agencies, churches, and of course libraries! Donations include a full set of the winning and runner-up titles for the year, and total 60-100 books in all (depending on the year’s candidate pool).

Interested libraries and Friends should contact ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services by Friday, January 31. Applicants are asked to provide statements about why they should be considered, and how this specific material acquisition will aid their work. Supplementary materials are also encouraged, if they bolster your case.

Click here for additional details on eligibility, including a detailed rubric on how proposals are scored. Click here to jump straight to the online application.