Minnesota Association of Library Friends

2020 Evy Nordley Award: Upcoming Changes

Posted by jim on May 1, 2020

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"

Posted by jim on April 21, 2020

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:

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.)

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

Posted by jim on April 13, 2020

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

Posted by jim on April 6, 2020

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

Posted by jim on March 24, 2020

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

Posted by jim on March 20, 2020

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?

Posted by jim on March 17, 2020

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

Posted by jim on March 9, 2020

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.

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