Minnesota Association of Library Friends

Now's the chance to do your part in the legislative process. 

A petition on the White House's Website asks for school library funding through a provision in the reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act.  The petition - available here - stands at 6,384 signatures.  Help reach the ultimate goal of 18,616 and sign on!



Every child in America deserves access to an effective school library program. We ask that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provide dedicated funding to help support effective school library programs. Such action will ensure more students have access to the resources and tools that constitute a 21st century learning environment. Reductions in school library programs are creating an ‘access gap’ between schools in wealthier communities versus those where there are high levels of poverty. All students should have an equal opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to learn, to participate, and to compete in today’s world.

Farewell To 2011

Posted by jim on December 30, 2011

Goodbye and Hello

The MALF Board of Directors said goodbye to two long-serving and highly productive board members at its meeting on November 7 and will say hello to four new ones in 2012.


Allen Maffit and Chris Olson have served on the board for 10 years and 17 years, respectively. Both will retire from the board at the end of this year. Allen has served most of his years as treasurer, and Chris has served as membership manager and most recently as board president.

Four new board members will bring many years of experience to help support MALF’s mission.

The Minnesota Association of Library Friends welcomes Ed Fagerlund, Ruth Solie, MaryAnn Bernat and Judy Schotzko to the 2012 board of directors. The four bring diverse talents and experience to support the mission of MALF.

Ed Fagerlund is an economist (PhD) from Stillwater. He worked for the Minnesota Department of Commerce and taught economics at both the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul) and Wichita University (Kansas). Fagerlund will advise the board in matters of finance and is the new board treasurer.

Ruth Solie is the longtime director of the Northern Lights Library Network (she’s officially retired this month!) from Detroit Lakes. She helped establish Friends groups in school, academic and public libraries across the state. Solie understands the importance of citizen advocates and brings her ability to coordinate citizens who support libraries.

Mary Ann Bernat is a retired media specialist from Delano. She served as the president of the Friends of the Delano Public Library from 2002 to 2008. Bernat will help with program planning, fundraising and engaging school libraries with MALF.

Judy Schotzko is a registered nurse specializing in psychiatric and mental health from Wabasha. She is the 2012 president of the Minnesota Library Trustees Association of MLA. Schotzko brings years of board experience focused on campaign finance, environmental and women’s political issues to the MALF board.

Please help us welcome our talented new board members. With the leadership and vision of our new board, 2012 will surely be an exciting year for MALF!


Library Legislative Day at the Capitol is in February, stay tuned for a date to be announced.


MALF Phone Poll

Throughout January and February, consultants will be performing a phone poll on MALF’s behalf.  The poll is the first step in reinvigorating MALF communications.  It will also help to update member contact information as well as explore the possibility of increased digital communication.  The poll will take a little more than five minutes to complete, so it shouldn’t be a big hassle for members. Please help us out and participate in the idea sharing!

National Spotlight Shines On Minneapolis

The Huffington Post featured Minneapolis Public Libraries in part three of its ongoing series on libraries in America

"How Libraries are About More than Just Books"

Teens & Social Media: Pew Report

Posted by jim on December 16, 2011

By Ann Treacy via Blandin on Broadband

Last week Pew Internet & American Life released a report on teens and social media. Some findings surprised me; others did not. To begin the report indicates that...

Fully 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of those online teens are users of social media sites.

I guess I'm a little surprised that 5 percent of those surveyed weren't online. The teen and preteen in my house would have a lot of extra time on their hands if they were in that demographic. The report doesn't focus on who is and isn't online as much as what's happening online.

The not so surprising news is that sometimes kids are mean online - and sometimes they aren't. Sometimes they ignore the meanness, sometimes they step up and defend each other. Here are the numbers:

· 88 percent of social media using teens have seen people been mean online

· 15 percent felt that they had been the target of online cruelty.

· The most popular reaction to witnessing online meanness was to ignore the situation (95 percent)

· 84 percent reported having seen people come to the defense of the targets of meanness

· 80 percent that they themselves have defended folks online.

· 78 percent report at least one good outcome from using social media

· 41 percent report at least one negative outcome

· 44 percent of the teem social media users lie about their age to access social media sites. (Which would indicate to me that 44 percent were under 13, since that's the stated required age for Facebook users.)

Facebook was overwhelming the most popular social media network. Twitter was one of the fastest growing. Google Plus was too new to really rank, though Google Buzz (now defunct or near defunct) was not popular.

I scan my kids' social media use daily - so I wasn't so surprised by most what I found. I was a little surprised at where kids were learning about how to use social media - but I was surprised in a good way. Here is what Pew reports...

For general advice and influence, parents are still the top source for teen internet and cell phone users. However, teens receive advice from a wide array of sources.

· 86% of online and cell phone-using teens say they have received general advice about how to use the internet responsibly and safely from their parents.

· 70% of online and cell-using teens say they have gotten advice about internet safety from teachers or another adult at school.

· 45% have received advice from friends or classmates, 45% have received general advice from an older relative, and 46% have received internet safety advice from a brother, sister, or cousin.

· 58% of teen internet and cell phone users say their parents have been the biggest influence on what they think is appropriate or inappropriate when using the internet or a cell phone.

· 18% of teens say their friends have been their biggest influence on appropriate internet or cell phone behavior.

· 18% say “no one” has influenced them.

I'm surprised because so many parents tell me they are lost when it comes to many of the details - but I think parents get the big picture. I was just having a conversation about kids and social media with colleagues. First - kids don't always understand the details as well as we think. Second - I think they very often miss that big picture - like a strange is a stranger. So in the end I think the Pew Report demonstrates that kids are still kids and parents still have a role to play in helping them become responsible adults (online).

On a personal note - it's super helpful to know the details of social media with young teens. My new best threat is tagging my preteen in Facebook posts in embarrassing places, which would be anywhere with me these days. Stops her from complaining instantly.

The public library: A relevant public resource

Posted by jim on November 2, 2011

By Nick Dimassis, assistant director, East Regional Library System

seattle-library.jpgThe “Got the people, but not the skills” (October 26, Star Tribune) editorial stated that “a highly educated, appropriately skilled workforce is key to reinvigorating job creation,” and that although not in a “position to close the skills gap with a major surge in public spending,” Minnesota can “do more to make the most of its existing resources.”  One of those existing resources not mentioned?  Your public library.

There are over 360 public library outlets in Minnesota, each part of a statewide network whereby any item on any shelf in any library (including academic) can be borrowed by any citizen.  That includes delivery to your local library for pick up.  Sound expensive?  All you need is your public library card.   

Many question the relevance of the public library in this electronic age.  Perhaps dulled by the incessant refrain of “Everything’s on the internet,” many wonder, “Who needs a library anymore?”  Answer: We all do—whether we use it or not.  According to a 2010 report by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, per capita visits to public libraries increased 20% from 1999-2008—the period during which most of the gadgets we take for granted hit the market.  If these are supposed to replace the library, why do folks keep coming?  Because the library adopts and adapts the latest technologies toward one end: providing access to all. 


The editorial identifies secondary and postsecondary educational systems as essential to preparing a workforce for an economy that demands greater service-oriented skills and higher credentials, and online education is seen as an innovative delivery model.  Public libraries daily support such options by offering access to computers, scholarly databases, test proctoring, study rooms, eBooks and, yes, print materials.  

The public library not only supports the various educational systems, it does something none of the others do: it provides unfettered access throughout one’s life.  At any time, you can walk into your public library and use the resources freely.  No questions asked.  No tuition.  (True, the library is not “free”: statewide per capita cost is $33 a year, or, about one-third the cost of one college textbook.) 


Public libraries have not sat on the sidelines while the economy gets pummeled week after week. No, they offer Minnesotans the resources and confidence to get back on the field, for themselves, for their families, for their communities.  Many have availed themselves of the opportunities and found resources on resume-building, interview techniques, and job searching.  

Besides the everyday, point-of-need assistance from trained staff, many public libraries also offer classes for those who recognize they must educate—and re-educate—themselves for a new future.  Legislation initiated by the Minnesota Library Association was recently passed providing for the appointment of a public library advisor to the Governor's Workforce Development Council.  Your public libraries have never been very good at being mere spectators. 

In fact, libraries have a clear understanding of their historic role in educating and workforce creation.  The editorial mentions the need for “creative entrepreneurs” to help get the economy going.  It is not a coincidence that one of America’s most successful, Andrew Carnegie, had a lifelong commitment to the public library.  

As a penniless immigrant from Scotland, Carnegie was forever grateful for what a library offered him.  And he in turn offered it to others: first to employees via a company library and then to all via matching grants for public libraries.  Minnesotans knew an opportunity when they saw it; 66 “Carnegie” libraries were built prior to his death in 1919.  Minnesotans today are no different.  They know the value of their libraries and are not afraid to demand a return on their investment.  

Your public library today is as relevant as it ever was.  If you don’t believe it, go to your nearest branch and look around.  Watch how it’s being used.  Are there kids and teens enjoying the safe learning spaces?  Are there parents and grandparents instilling a love of learning into the toddlers—or maybe just seeking a little quiet time of their own?  Are the computers being used?  Then, ask the librarian what resources might interest you.  

Make the library relevant to you.  It’s yours, after all.




Minnesota library delegation at 2011 National Library Legislative Day (left to right): Nick Dimassis, article author; Michael Scott, SELCO assistant director; Senator Al Franken; Peter Pearson, Friends of the St. Paul Public Library president; Carol Walsh, MALF

Evy Nordley Award Photos

Posted by jim on November 2, 2011


2011 Evy Nordley Award winners Howie Burke (center) and Tom Zander (right) of the Friends of the Saint Michael - Albertville - Hanover Library with MALF Board President Chris Olson (left). The group won the award for their fundraising project "Building it. Together."

That said, my hope is that we'll allocate a good portion of it toward a new effort to gain volunteers to assist our librarian," Burke said. "That is our greatest current need, and by tying everyday volunteer activity with Friends membership, we hope to extend our reach."


The 2011 Evy Nordley Finalists (from left to right): Wendy Moylan, Friends of the St. Paul Public Library; Tom Zander, Friends of the St. Michael – Albertville – Hanover Library; Howie Burke, Friends of the St. Michael – Albertville – Hanover Library; Lois Burnes, Friends of the Red Wing Public Library

Evy Nordley award finalists were Friends of the St. Paul Public Libarary (Book It: The Party!) and Friends of the Red Wing Public Library (Hot Reads for Cold Nights 2011 at the Red Wing Library). They were awarded $250 each for their award-winning – and highly replicable – projects.

Friends of the St. Michael – Albertville – Hanover Library was the winner of the $1,000 Evy Nordley prize for Building it. Together.

John Cotton Dana Awards: Win $10k for your library

Posted by jim on October 28, 2011


Have you had success with a library marketing campaign? If so, share your story—and you could win $10,000 for your library.

jcd-prizes.jpgThe H.W. Wilson Foundation, ALA and its LLAMA division, and EBSCO Publishing are excited to announce that chances to win a JohnCotton Dana (JCD) Award have increased tremendously. Now there are 8 awards, and the amount for each winner has gone up to $10,000!

Presented since 1946, JCD Awards honor outstanding public relations efforts by a library, whether it be a summer reading program, a year-long centennial celebration, fundraising for a new college library, an awareness campaign, an innovative partnership in the community, etc.
Submit your entry today, (forms and guidelines here) detailing the public relations initiatives at your library.

Submissions are due by March 15, 2012. John Cotton Dana Award winners receive a cash development grant presented at an elegant reception hosted by the Foundation and held during the American Library Association annual conference.

2011 Evy Nordley Winner: Building it. Together.

Posted by admin on October 20, 2011

One Friends committee Building It. Together.

nordley-award-winners.jpgBuilding It. Together. is the Evy Nordley award winning Friends project for 2011.

The Building it. Together. project came about as a new civic building, encompassing a library, senior center and city offices, was beginning construction in 2010.

Friends of the St. Michael – Albertville – Hanover Library had in mind to raise $50,000 to replace items from the city’s original building budget.

What was the outcome? The committee – Friends of the Library, Crow River Senior Center and STMA Rotary – have raised just under $80,000 in completed and deferred payment donations. Library furniture, tables, shelving, benches, multimedia and other furnishings are the result.

How did they do it? A top-down effort with a focus on local businesses and organizations. Volunteer solicitors actively approached potential donors during a six-month period. The Central  Minnesota Community Foundation administered funds.

Committee members used a variety of print collateral to inform and motivate donors and generate community excitement. They created ‘sales’  binders outlining the library’s history; advantages and features of the new building; specific needs for fundraising; and levels of recognition, such as meeting room sponsorship opportunities. Solicitation brochures were designed. Cards were handed out at community event and parades. Print advertising, press coverage and a website – – also supported the Friends-led fundraising effort.

Donors of $500 or more received desktop recognition plaques; elegant VIP invitations to the building’s grand opening; and recognition on ribbon-cutting day. The event may be over and the building is being actively used, but the Friends work continues. Friends are presently providing members with updates on how donations are being used.

How did the committee come up with the name? According to Howie Burke, Friends president, and Tom Zander, past president, the group came up with Building It. Together.

MN Receives $750k Through Innovative Labor Grant

Posted by admin on October 19, 2011

Adapted from U.S. Department of Labor press release.

job-search-websites-05.jpgMinnesota is one of five states to receive grant money from the U.S. Department of Labor to design and implement innovative strategies that will improve re-employment services for unemployed workers. States receiving these funds responded to a "call to innovate" around a new national vision and framework that aim to create an integrated workforce customer registration process, use real-time data for enhanced decision-making, highlight skills transferability and leverage social media tools.

Libraries have been at the frontline of this innovative work with the development of work-force related programs designed to get unemployed people back to work. Classes offering resume and cover-letter help, digital literacy training and posting job opportunities through social media are just a few ways libraries have been helping the unemployed.

"Getting America back to work is a top priority of the Department of Labor," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Doing so requires more creative thinking and innovative solutions than ever before, and these grants will help states take the next steps to improve services to unemployed workers."

IdahoMississippiNew York and Oregon will also use the funds to design a common "front door" to the workforce system to ensure Unemployment Insurance claimants have immediate access to re-employment services when they file claims for benefits; improve data integration and assess transferable skills to help claimants and workforce professionals make decisions; and effectively incorporate social media to connect unemployed workers with jobs. The tools and resources developed by the states will be implemented in partnership with Local Workforce Boards and One-Stop Career Centers, and will serve as a model to improve re-employment services nationally.

These grants are awarded in partnership with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies and are funded through the Workforce Investment Act.  

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