MALF Announces COVID-19 Grant Recipients | Part 1

Earlier this summer, nearly two dozen Friends of the Library organizations submitted a proposal as part of MALF’s special COVID-19 Response Grant program. This strong turnout – and the diversity of funding priorities identified – offers a compelling proof that Friends provide a vital bulwark to their libraries in tough times. (As if further evidence were needed!) 

In the interest of fairness, MALF’s judging panel conducted a randomized drawing to identify the ten winners. Each will receive a $500 grant for their specified purpose.   

1. Becker County Friends of the Library
As the Lake Agassiz Regional Library system deliberates over reopening plans and procedures, hygiene and PPE are top of mind. Becker County Friends of the Library wish to soften the budgetary impact of these measures. They plan to purchase plexiglass barriers for all service desks; floor decals to signal one-way directional flow and encourage social distancing; and disposable masks for the Detroit Lakes Public Library and satellite LINK locations in the towns of Lake Park, Cormorant and Frazee.

2. Friends of the Buffalo Library
For years, the Buffalo Public Library has touted its services and upcoming events with a roadside sign strategically located along Buffalo’s main traffic corridor. In its current incarnation, the sign is small (limiting what can be advertised) and lightweight (liable to blow over in inclement weather). The Friends will use MALF’s grant to purchase a larger, more durable replacement – one boasting wheels for easy transport and a sand ballast port to combat strong winds. Leftover funds will go toward 24'' x 76‘’standing signs for the Library’s vestibule.

3. Friends of the Cook Library
Last year, generous Friends funding allowed the small but proud Cook Public Library to expand its physical footprint with a front patio. This outdoors addition allows patrons additional space to read and to access the free WiFi. In this Age of Coronavirus, the easy social distancing allowed by the patio makes it an even more valuable asset. Unfortunately, the original project budget could not be stretched to purchase tables or chairs for the new space. The Friends will use MALF’s grant to purchase appropriate furnishings.

4. Friends of the Fergus Falls Library
Library staff everywhere are going “above and beyond the call of duty,” ensuring patrons continuity of vital services during this uncertain and unprecedented time. Needless to say, many of the safety and service measures now in place were not part of their original training! In recognition of this fact, Friends of the Fergus Falls Library wish to allocate money to a staff development fund. MALF’s grant enables the Friends to provide a range of online continuing education and virtual networking opportunities.

5. Jackson County Friends of the Library
Minnesota's libraries sponsored more than 72,000 events, classes and other programs in 2018. That averages out to more than 200 per location! Naturally, 2020 will be a stark contrast given the rash of spring and summer cancellations – plus continuing uncertainly about when group activities can resume. In recognition of this fact, Jackson County Friends of the Library intend to purchase a recording kit for Library staff to conduct virtual storytimes and book clubs. Kit will include an iPad, high quality microphone kit, and tripod with mount.