Minnesota Association of Library Friends

MALF Newsletter - Spring 2011

Posted by jim on March 30, 2011

The Association published its quarterly newsletter last week.  We are excited about the direction we are taking and hope that you will share your suggestions and comments with us.

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Rochester Friends and Friends' Bookstore

Posted by jim on March 29, 2011

This entry, written by Friends of the Rochester Public Library PastPresident, Shirley Edmonson, itemizes the work this group has done.  MALF congratulates this award-winning member of the Association for its strong support of libraries.



     The Friends had a busy year in 2010 with ongoing and new activities. Thanks to the generous donation of many thousands of books by the Rochester community, the Library was able to add or replace 10,593 items in their collection for an estimated value of $250,684. The Friends of Rochester Pubic Library sorted all of the contributed materials to permit the selection of these items for the current RPL collection.

     Not only were the Friends responsible for regular bookstore sales of other selected items throughout the year, but we staffed and managed five large auditorium book sales including Rochsterfest and Winterfest and multiple other special sales. Our bookstore profits check for 2009 given in January 2010 was $50,000. In addition, the Friends made another pledged cash contribution of $25,901 to pay for specific requested library projects, plus special requests of $4,000 during the year, for a total value of $330,581. Our 2010 pledge of $15,000 for a self-check machine is carrying over to 2011.

The Friends: --Volunteered for the Minnesota Library Association meeting in Rochester, where we won the MLA “Best Friends Project” Evy Nordley Award, including $1,500 for “The Threads of Our Community” quilt project. We hosted a celebration of the quilt unveiling for the artists and families. -- Helped with the RACE exhibit. --Participated at the August ARTIgras event at Mayo Park with a booth that gave us visibility. --Won a $1,500 prize from the Unique Management Services survey drawing. The money was donated toward purchase of a Mac Pro laptop computer and software to enable the Library staff to improve their online communications and video projects. --Donated money to buy six new tables for the children’s area and $1,565 to pay for the electrical work needed in replacing the computers in the Children’s area of the Library. --Donated $400.00 toward purchasing a Cricut Cutter Machine for the Children’s Department. --Bought new carts and tables for the book store and book sorting area. --Sold books online, which has enhanced our ability to pledge more money to the Library. --Backed the Library sponsored Rochester Reads event, Summer Children’s programs, Library programming, databases and software, materials and training with $25,901. --Provided volunteers and refreshments for the History Hullabaloo in January 2011, sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society to aid students with their research for History Day projects. --Increased our visibility through the Internet and social networking. In addition to the Library’s website, we have a bookstore blog and are on Facebook and Twitter.

Projects we are continuing are: Read With Me (books for the young child), mailing books to the military in various areas of the world, donating books to Channel One, recycling of printer cartridges, paying for a parking space for volunteers in the ramp next to the Library, and providing a Library staff appreciation breakfast. A big “Thank You” to our members, who donate so much time to the Library, as well as dues for membership. You make all of the above possible.

Shirley Edmonson, Friends Past President (2010)

Every year the Friends’ Bookstore donates their yearly profits to the library. This year business was doing so well in the bookstore, they were able to donate $52,000!

These funds go towards library programming, expanding collections, etc. The Bookstore is run completely by volunteers and their inventory consists of donations from generous donors who want to share their books with other people in the community and help the library at the same time. It really is a win-win situation! 

UI and MELSA team up to improve UI services

DEED’s Unemployment Insurance Division (UI) and the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) hosted a webinar titled “Understanding Unemployment Insurance and Its Impact on Your Library Customers” on Jan. 27.  Nearly 300 library staff from across the nation participated in the training session.

The objective was to suggest ways in which libraries and Unemployment Insurance programs can partner to provide improved resources and support to unemployed workers.

There is a growing need to educate library staff so they can better assist their customers who apply for UI online, according to MELSA’s Jobs and Small Business Task Force. And that number is significant.  More than 80 percent of Minnesota‘s UI applicants apply for benefits and request payments online.  A large proportion of these UI customers use library computers because they provide free Internet access.

Ed Seel, a supervisor with the UI Program, explained that it’s essential for applicants to be provided with timely, accurate information, since UI is receiving 3,000 to 5,000 applications for benefits each week. That’s why library staffers’ role assisting customers with the UI website is vital. 

He gave important instructions to pass on to library customers applying for UI benefits.  Applicants should:

·         Apply for benefits immediately after being separated from employment;

·         Apply to the state where they worked most recently (which may not be the state where the applicant lives); and

·         Refrain from using websites that charge fees for UI information to be used to apply for benefits. Minnesota applicants should always use the state’s official UI  

Alice Neve, public services manager at St. Paul Public Libraries, spoke about best practices for improving services. She said that library staff members in St. Paul see peak demand for the UI website each Monday morning.  Since more customers need help using the website during that time, staff meetings have been rescheduled, and library hours have been adjusted.

The webinar, moderated by Melinda Ludwiczak, MELSA project manager, was the first in a series of libraries, jobs, and small business webinars offered in collaboration with MELSA’s Jobs and Small Business Task Force.

The topic of the second webinar, scheduled for April 20, is “Working with Your WorkForce Center.”  Examples of programs, services, and tools that libraries can use to assist the unemployed and job seekers in their communities are available at The archive that contains resources for the webinar held Jan. 27 is available here.  For information and registration for the webinar scheduled for April 20, click here.

PHILADELPHIA – The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is accepting applications for the Baker & Taylor Awards, given to Friends of the Library groups. Applications are due May 2, 2011.

The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is accepting applications for the Baker & Taylor Awards, given to Friends of the Library groups. Applications are due May 2, 2011.

Please take a moment to read Governor Dayton’s proclamation, which highlights the important services State Services for the Blind provides to Minnesotans through our Communication Center and in coordination with the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library.


Governor's Proclamation - Talking Book Awareness

Minnesota Talking Book Awareness Day is tomorrow  - March 3, 2011.  This is in honor of the 80th anniversary of the National Library Service and the first National Talking Book Awareness Day. 

Minnesota Library Lost to Fire - Cosmos, MN

Posted by admin on February 27, 2011

The Association wishes to extend its sympathy to the staff and community members affected by the total loss of the community library in Cosmos, MN, to fire.  We are very grateful that nobody was injured, but a community anchor like a library is a major loss in a small town like Cosmos.

(Link to original article below.)

COSMOS -- Crews are still at the scene of an early morning fire at the Cosmos city library that reportedly destroyed the structure.  Roads are blocked in the area. The fire was reported at 5:11 this morning. (2.24.2011)

The roof of the structure had collapsed around 7 a.m., according to Jody Fruetel, who was arriving home from work at that time and has been watching the fire from her home all morning. She is the wife of Fire Chief Jon Fruetel.  She said the library is housed in an existing building on Main Street that had been renovated about a year ago.  The library is located across the street from the city park and right next to the fire department.

The loss of the library is "devastating" for the small Meeker County town, she said, adding it's the main place where children in the community gather.

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