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MALF Blog

Minnesota Association of Library Friends

2021 Evy Nordley Award Materials Now Available

Posted by jim on January 9, 2021

Last year brought monumental challenges for libraries and their Friends. As a silver lining, though, it afforded Friends of the Library an unprecedented opportunity to showcase their creativity and perseverance.

MALF cannot wait to showcase what you managed to learn and accomplish in 2020. Our long-running Evy Nordley Award for Best Project offers a perfect mechanism to do just that.

“Project” is an intentionally broad term. Any Friends-supported project is eligible, provided that (1) project implementation began after January 1, 2020; 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.)

Common project types are special events, successful fundraisers, membership drives, and advocacy campaigns – but the sky is the limit! In a year defined by COVID-19 and long library closures, MALF full expects and absolutely encourages unconventional entries.

Click here for more details, including early access to the application form. Submission deadline is end of day 
Friday, July 9.

transform.jpgWhile we’re in a “grants” frame of mind, spare a minute for the Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant. The mission of this popular annual initiative is to recognize and support libraries’ ability to act as a community nexus and catalyst for change.

That is a broad mandate, to be sure. For this reason, each year’s program spotlights a specific theme. This year, that theme is is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) – with a specific focus on anti-racism. Per ALA, competitive applicants will have “a demonstrated commitment to anti-racism work,” and a clear roadmap for using $2,000 to enhance the library's community engagement around this important and timely topic.

Visit the program’s web page for an extensive FAQ - as well as basic ideas on ‘in scope’ collaborations and programs to spark your thinking. The firm application cutoff is Friday, February 5.

New Programming Grant - Peggy Barber Tribute Grant

Posted by jim on January 5, 2021

peggy.jpgLooking for seed money to kickstart your next Evy Nordley Award contender? Take a look at the American Library Association’s newest assistance program.

Named after the ALA leader who masterminded such programs as National Library Week and the juggernaut Celebrity READ series, the new Peggy Barber Tribute Grant will award $2,500 to three eligible libraries to support their own programming efforts. For this inaugural cycle, ALA's Cultural Communities Fund is specifically inviting proposals centered around humanities programming – a personal passion of Barber’s.

Public, academic, K-12 and special libraries are all eligible for consideration, as are Friends partnerships. Applicants must hold membership in ALA or one of its divisions, either at the institutional or personal level.

Strong preference will be given to libraries that can demonstrate an acute need and general track record of under-funded programming. Additional guidelines are available here. Be prepared to submit your proposal (online only) by Friday, February 5. Click here to do so.

2020 Standout Friends Featurette #2: Ramsey County

Posted by jim on December 9, 2020

Seasonal used book sales are a Friends of the Library staple. However, only a comparative handful of Friends organizations have the wherewithal to maintain a permanent bookstore. Friends of Ramsey County Libraries boasts not just one year-round store, but three – in Maplewood, Roseville and Shoreview. Maintaining inventory and staffing these outlets takes time and commitment.

Fortunately for The Friends, bookstore manager Dianne Marti has proven more than up to that task over the past decade. Mostly recently, Dianne has headed the Maplewood operation. In a normal year, this location alone takes a rotation of 15+ volunteers to staff and raises $16,000-$20,000.


Dianne – who also served on Friends of Ramsey County Libraries’ board of directors from 2010-2019 – remains a visible leader in other areas, as well. In a year defined by COVID, the Friends’ brick-and-mortar stores are shuttered. Already by August, however, “Dianne had secured more than $1,800 through online sales,” explained Friends president Cyndi Cook. “She is also mentoring other bookstore managers to take up a similar role – a much needed boost given our revenue losses due to COVID-19 bookstore closures."

Thank you and congratulations, Dianne! Click here for a minute-long video featurette on this honoree. Click here to view a video montage celebrating MALF’s full 2020 class of Standout Friends. Visit our website for details on our equally impressive 2016-2019 classes of honorees.

Reminder: FREE MALF Webinar On Dec. 7

Posted by jim on December 1, 2020

Communications & Marketing is a broad topic – sometimes frustratingly so. After all, essentially everything your organization does has strategic communications implications. With that conundrum in mind, MALF is pleased to spotlight Communications & Marketing during our last webinar of 2020. Please join us 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT on Monday, December 7 for “’Friend-ly Tips’: Effective Friends Marketing.”

Kim Horton, Sr. Director of Communications at The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, will lead and keynote this session. Click here for full session details.

This webinar is FREE to attend, but you must pre-register.
 Click here to claim your seat. (Please do so by December 6.)

Communications & Marketing is a broad topic – sometimes frustratingly so. After all, essentially everything your organization does has strategic communications implications. However, the concept is difficult to isolate and grapple with on its own, particularly in today’s rapidly evolving communications landscape. And today, COVID-19 and its fallout add yet another level of complexity to the equation!

With these conundrums in mind, MALF is pleased to spotlight Communications & Marketing during our last webinar of 2020. Please join us 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT on Monday, December 7 for “’Friend-ly Tips’: Effective Friends Marketing.”

Kim Horton, Sr. Director of Communications at The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, will lead and keynote this session. Horton honed her craft as an independent strategist, working with an array of Minnesota-based nonprofits and cultural institutions including Literacy Minnesota and The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

She pivoted to Friends work four years ago. In addition to her work with and on behalf of Saint Paul Public Library, Horton is a staff consultant for Library Strategies Consulting Group. In that capacity, she has led branding and messaging campaigns for library entities in Gloucester and Louisville – to name just two from her recent repertoire. Her trainings have also benefited dozens of smaller libraries, particularly in MN and ND.

As is doubtless the case in most communities, 2020 is proving an eventful year for library funding in Saint Paul. Last month, Horton spearheaded an innovative, grassroots public awareness campaign to benefit SPPL. It included the distribution of more than a thousand Friends-branded yard signs across all seven wards of Saint Paul. Horton will tell us a little about it, and scale her learnings from this and many other illustrative marketing campaigns to Friends in communities of all sizes.

This webinar is FREE to attend, but you must pre-register. Click here to claim your seat. (Please do so by December 6.)

MALF Welcomes Three New Directors

Posted by jim on November 6, 2020

MALF is thrilled to close out 2020, and start up the New Year, with three new leaders. Each brings experience and a skill set that will be a major asset to our board of directors. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to each in turn:
 
Ed Fagerlund is a retired economist from Stillwater. He appreciates how libraries help citizens, how Friends groups help libraries, and how MALF helps Friends groups. Ed is already intimately familiar with MALF’s mission and work, having already spent one term on our board (about a decade ago). Moreover, he served as organization treasurer in 2012-2013 – a key leadership post he will return to in 2021. 

Before retirement, Ed’s diverse career in his field included time as a Peace Corps volunteer at an Ecuador credit union, and teaching economics in Kansas and Minnesota. His financial acumen will be a huge boon to MALF operations.
 
Marjorie (Marge) McPeak enjoyed a long and fruitful tenure with Hennepin County Library, one of the largest library systems in the country. Over the course of nearly three decades, she rotated between the Southdale, Penn Lake, Edina and Eden Prairie locations during pivotal points in those libraries’ history. (For example, Marge saw the grand opening of the 60,000-square-foot Southdale branch and the evolution of Eden Prairie from a double-wide trailer to a 10,000-square-foot building.)

After retiring in 1996, Marge moved to the Lake Vermilion area. In her new home, she has deployed her hard-won expertise on the board of the Arrowhead Regional Library system.
 
Carol Steele is a long-time member of the Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library – where she spent seven years as either president or co-chair. The local Friends marked several singular achievements over her tenure. For example, attendance at annual meetings increased six-fold, due in large part to efforts enacted by Carol.

Over the National Friends of Library Week in 2013 alone, the Friends’ promotional efforts netted a +25% increase in membership. Carol's group gained a national commendation that same year from the American Library Association for their robust Friends Week efforts.

Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library honored Carol as a Standout Friend during the MALF recognition program's debut year (2016).

WELCOME, Ed, Marge and Carol!

2020 Standout Friends Featurette #1: Benson

Posted by jim on October 26, 2020

Did you know that there are distinct Norwegian and American stylistic schools of knitting? Hege Herfindahl is expert in both, and has freely shared her skills for years with classes and clubs at the Benson Public Library. It’s just one of many ways in which this Standout Friend contributes to the success of this small library.

Herfindahl is closing in on a decade as part of the governing board of Friends of the Benson Library, and is presently in the middle of a productive term as vice president. However, much of her support falls under “other duties as assigned” (knitting coaching most definitely included).

"Hege is always willing to lend a hand at any library event or activity – whether that is simply hanging holiday decorations, or assisting with twice yearly book sales," shared head librarian Nicole Schmiesing. She can also be found promoting and attending Benson’s book clubs, artfully arranging materials for the Friends’ silent auction, and even scooping out ice cream rewards for young readers during the Summer Reading Program.

"Benson Public Library truly does appreciate all of the countless hours Hege has put in over the last eight plus years!" Schmiesing said.

Click here for a minute-long video featurette on Hege Herfindahl. Click here to view a video montage celebrating MALF’s full 2020 class of Standout Friends. Visiour website for details on our equally impressive 2016-2019 classes of honorees.

 

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