New GRRL Core Values & Strategic Plan

GRRL web logoDuring 2015, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) went through a process to review its core values and strategic plan. The process included public feedback obtained through surveys and community meetings, as well as input from regional stakeholders and the GRRL Board of Trustees. The goal was to make sure the everyone knows where they are going, and that everyone is headed in the same direction!

2016-2020 GRRL Strategic Plan

Here are the highlights —

Strategic Plan for 2016-2020

  • The library mission is: Explore, Learn, Connect.
  • The library’s vision is: The neighborhood gateway: Inspiring Central Minnesota to shape the future through exploration, knowledge and connection.
  • The library is a patron centered organization, and this commitment
    is expressed through three core values: Exceptional Service, Forward Thinking, and Community Focus.

The library’s service priorities are:
Literacy: All users will have the resources they need to develop and improve their literacy skills in order to succeed in school, meet their personal goals and fulfill their responsibilities as students, parents, citizens and workers.
Access: All users will have access to reliable sources of information in welcoming virtual or physical spaces that support community connection and engagement.
Lifelong Learning: All users will have the resources they need to explore topics of personal interest, continue to learn and complement their quality of life.

The library’s organizational priorities are:
Exceptional Service: We will be an empowered, engaged, well-trained staff ready to provide exceptional service.
Operational Excellence: We will use resources effectively in order to be adaptable to future needs.
Community Focus: We will enhance our service to current and future patrons by embracing the diversity of our communities

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MNBA Season Opens Soon

MNBAIt’s almost here – the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards season begins on August 1. Book submissions, special award nominations, and judge applications will open.

Visit the MNBA website for all the details.

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Time for the MLA Silent Auction

Call for nerdy paraphernalia, etc. 

Did you love the Ryan Gosling care package, the sexy librarian apron, the Lego Batman Pinata, or any of the amazing gift cards at last year’s MLA silent auction? These awesome items and many more were all donated by local businesses, organizations, and librarians like you!

If you haveMLA 125 logo handmade items, themed gift baskets, gift certificates or nerdy paraphernalia just randomly sitting around  and you keep asking yourself, “Self, what should I do with this?” consider donating to the MLA silent auction! We would love to see what you can come up with!

We ask that all donations be sent in by September 15, 2016.  Donations can be dropped off or mailed to either of these locations:

St. Paul Drop off:
CLIC Office
Silent Auction
1619 Dayton Avenue, Suite 204
St. Paul, MN 55104
Duluth Drop Off:
Kathryn A. Martin Library
416 Library Drive
Office L274
Duluth, MN 55812

Please include the MLA 2016 Silent Auction Donation Form when you drop off your wonderful items!

Questions? Contact Erica Ross

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New duties for State Librarian

An announcement from Kevin McHenry, Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Assistant Commissioner, regarding operational changes to State Library Services and the Charter Center —

I’d like to share some important news about some operational changes at MDE. Effective today, State Library Services and the Charter Center will now operate under the divisional leadership of Jennifer Nelson. This change was made in order to better meet the business needs of our customers and MDE.

The Charter Center has undertaken several new initiatives in the last couple of years, implementing a first of its kind authorizer evaluation system, a redesigned and transparent complaint process, as well as continued implementation of our federal charter school grant which helps to recognize high-quality charter schools. With all of these changes, now is a perfect time to take a step back and evaluate how we continue to support the work moving forward.

Based on her exemplary work in State Library Services, which led to the division receiving a Governor’s Continuous Improvement Award, I am confident Jennifer will provide excellent leadership and guidance in her expanded role. Our ongoing continuous improvement efforts will allow us to further streamline and align our support to stakeholders and schools and develop new strategies to ensure service delivery in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible.

As always, we thank you for the work you do in support of our students, educators and stakeholders.

Kevin McHenry, Assistant CommissionerMDE Logo 2013

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GRRL Read Down Fines

GRRL web logoThe Great River Regional Library (GRRL) Read Down Your Fines took place   Monday, June 20 through Saturday, June 25.   This event is for children and teens who hold ‘minor’ cards and are unable to borrow library materials because of outstanding fines. It gives them the opportunity to regain library privileges just by reading at the library.

Individuals taking part in the program receive a coupon from the library desk on which
they the record time spent reading in the library. They are allowed to read materials
of their choice, but it must be physical print materials such as a book or magazine. For each 15-minutes spent reading, they eliminate $1 in fines.

Read Down can only be applied to fines for late return of materials. It can’t be applied to
fines or processing fees for lost and damaged items.

Public donations totally funds Read Down Your Fines. Since 2013, more than 800 teens and children have taken advantage of this program and begun using the library again. The average Read Down fine payment is $5.

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SELCO’s Camp Read-a-Lot in a month

Plans are underway for SELCO to host its 8th Annual Camp Read-a-Lot!
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Camp is a professional development opportunity for library staff, teachers, and interested adults who work with children’s literature, focusing on specifically on grades 2-5.Camp Read-A-Lot Logo COLOR  Campers have the chance to read from a set list of books prior to Camp and then spend the day discussing the titles.  Campers will have a chance to hear from Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collection at UMN Libraries and Minnesota children’s book author Trisha Speed Shaskan.

More details on the SELCO Camp Read-a-Lot website

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Library advocacy theme unveiled!

PrintLibrary advocates from across Minnesota began planning for the 2017 Minnesota Legislative session during the annual Library Legislative Forum on July 12, held at the St. Cloud Public Library (GRRL).

Minnesota Loves Libraries will be unifying theme for 2017 library advocacy efforts.  A  smart-looking new logo was unveiled. The original art for the logo is the work of Bernadette Stephenson, GRRL.

Details about the new campaign are still in development  by a CRPLSA Advocacy sub-committee.  Regional staff include:

  • Jon Tatting – ECRL
  • Bernadette Stephenson – GRRL
  • Hillary Stevens – LARL
  • Ken Behringer – MELSA
  • Jennifer Harveland – SELCO

ECRL Director Barbara Misselt is the 2016 Legislative Chair of the Minnesota Library Association.  She is working closely with the sub-committee.

As proof that Minnesotans do indeed love libraries. State Librarian Jen Nelson reported to the Forum that there were 24,340,258 visits to Minnesota’s 355 public libraries in 2015. She also said that 3,860,346 library card holders checked out 52,512,434 physical and electronic library items.

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Appreciation for MNBA Support

MNBAThe Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, as the Library of Congress-designated Minnesota Center for the Book, expressed their appreciation to CRPLSA for financial support of the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards.

2016 MNBA Appreciation Packet for Outreach Partners

The Minnesota Book Awards year begins with nominations opening in August, promotion of the finalists in February and March, and culminates with the Awards Ceremony in April. This is followed by statewide outreach celebrating the winners throughout the spring and summer. And, during each phase, CRPLSA support and involvement expands MNBA horizons to the entire state.

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“Ready Go” Brings Interactive Art to Pioneerland

Pioneerland Library System (PLS) is proud to offer Ready Go to PLS  libraries this summer.  Working with Springboard for the Arts, Ready Go offers an exciting art events that connect people to artist-designed, mobile “tools” that pique curiosity.  Peter Haakon Thompson, Community Development Coordinator at Springboard for the Arts, states, “Ready Go tools bring art and artists out into the world and use an expanded idea of how art can help facilitate conversation and participation.”

PLS ready go 2016The Ready Go projects will include:

  • One Another – a mobile drawing station
  • Streetcorner Letterpress – printing personal postcards from a variety of papers, images, and colors
  • Mobile Sign Shop – carve and paint cabin-like directional signs
  • SPARKit – interactive family crafts activities

Ready Go informational brochure

PLS locations participating in the Ready Go art tour in the coming months include: Appleton, Benson, Bird Island, Canby, Dassel, Dawson, Fairfax, Glencoe, Granite Falls, Hector, Hutchinson, Kerkhoven, Lake Lillian, Litchfield, Montevideo, New London, Ortonville, Spicer, and Willmar.

PLS Executive Director, Laurie Ortega, says, “Ready Go is coming to Pioneerland as part of a regional Legacy program that provides access to art for those living in outstate Minnesota. We’re pleased to bring these creative projects to our libraries as a means to strengthen relationships in our communities, find new ways of interacting, and have fun experiencing art together. We hope you will participate in one of these dynamic art events in your local community.”

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Lunch at the Library

Public libraries are helping make sure kids have access to nutritious food when school is not in session by hosting summer food programs.

  • Once again this summer, Northwest Regional Library (NWRL) staff are reading at meal sites that provide free meals for children and their caregivers in Thief River Falls. The Library Ladies read stories to children as they eat their lunches. NWRL also uses the Once Upon a Reader story strolls to promote early literacy.
  • The Winona Public Library in SELCO is collaborating with the Winona Area Public Schools to provide a FREE lunch program at the library for children ages 18 and under, June 13 – August 26, from 11:30 am-1:00 pm, Monday thru Friday. Children can “grab and go from the lunch bus” or may eat in the bus or on the library’s old front steps.
SELCO Winona Public Library Lunch Bus 2016-06

The Lunch Bus at the Winona Public Library

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RFI for Lobbying and Advocacy Services

MLA logo 2014 croppedThe Minnesota Library Association has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit information from interested parties with respect to Lobbying and Advocacy Services for the Minnesota Library Association and affiliates. MLA will use the information generated by this RFI, in conjunction with other information available to MLA, to determine the solution that is in the best interests of the MLA to fulfill its advocacy needs.

Responses to the RFI are due July 20, 2016.

Request for Information: Lobbying and Advocacy Services

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Ten Pigs Wrap Up in SELCO

Today was the final day of Once Upon a Reader trunk shows in SELCO. Author/illustrator Derek Anderson traveled the region, reading, singing and playing with children in an energetic show based around his book, Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure.

Library staff throughout the region did a great job promoting the shows and, after six days and 12 trunk shows in 11 communities, Derek said he thoroughly enjoyed his time in southeastern Minnesota.

Hundreds of children, caregivers and parents who participated in the high-energy trunk shows agreed. Aimed at pre-K children and their families, this statewide one-book program promotes Minnesota children’s literature and encourages families to Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play together – five practices critical to early literacy skills development.

Additional resources for libraries and parents are free and downloadable at .

A CRPLSA sponsored Library Legacy activity with funds from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
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Legislative Issues Survey

MLA/ITEM 2016 Legislative Forum – Registration Reminder & Interest Survey

Library advocates are invited to gather at the St. Cloud Public Library on Tuesday, July 12th from 9:00am – 3:00pm for the annual Library Legislative Forum. This is the work session to begin planning for the 2017 legislative session.

Reminder: Registration closes on July 5, 2016.

Elaine Keefe, MLA lobbyist, will review the 2016 Legislative Session. The majority of the day will be dedicated to group work – identifying legislative priorities for 2017, as well as ongoing opportunities, challenges, and issues for 2017 and beyond. Come be a part of this opportunity to shape the 2017 legislative agenda!

Click here to take a short survey to express your 2017 issues of concern and help form the library legislative platform

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Bremer Trust Supports Libraries

Working diligently towards its goal to build healthy and vibrant communities, the Otto Bremer Trust recently awarded grants to Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL) and Northwest Regional Library (NWRL).

  • The Moorhead Public Library, LARL headquarters, received a grant from the Otto Bremer Trust to update the Library’s community meeting rooms. The grant for $20,000 with an additional $10,000 in matching funds was used for new carpet, paint, furniture and equipment for the heavily used meeting rooms.
  • NWRL received a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation in the amount of $17,670. to remodel the restrooms at the Godel Memorial Library in Warren. The project will convert existing facilities and make them more accessible.
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Ten Pigs in the News

Ten Pigs round imageTen Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure, author and illustrator,  Derek Anderson and the Dodge Center Public Library made the morning news in southeastern Minnesota.

Check out the KTTC news broadcast.

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Library Lobbyist Survey

A Request from MLA, ITEM, CRPLSA and the Multitypes, please take the Lobbyist Evaluation Survey

The Minnesota Library Association (MLA) holds a letter of agreement for governmental affairs consultant services with Capitol Hill Associates, Inc. on behalf of MLA, ITEM, CRPLSA, and the Multitype Library Systems. The lobbyists, Elaine Keefe and Sam Walseth, are well-known advocates for Minnesota libraries. The letter of agreement between the funding organizations prescribes an annual evaluation to be done by the Steering Committee representatives.

Judging performance of a lobbyist doesn’t necessarily depend on whether the legislature acted favorably on the Minnesota libraries’ platform. There are a number of forces influencing the direction of major legislation over which libraries have little control. Progress often takes place over a long period of time. The evaluation of the lobbyists is to evaluate critically important legislation-related activities and required attributes.

Please rate your perception of how Capitol Hill Associates succeeded in delivering the following services that are listed in the Letter of Agreement. Your responses will go to the Steering Committee, who will complete the evaluation.

If you have questions about the survey, please contact Barbara Misselt, Legislative Chair and ECRL Director.

This survey will close at the end of July 1, 2016.

Take the Survey!

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New GRRL Website

GRRL web logoJust in time for summer, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) launched a new website on June 21.  It immediately offers offers a spash of color with “river” of bookcovers and bold clickable images for library information topics.

GRRLs’ primary goals of the redesign project is to make the website more responsive to provide a more optimized user experience across many different devices and screen sizes. This is a great improvement over the previous website which had been in place since 2008.  A team of GRRL staff are incorporated the improvements on their Drupal platform.

Check it out!

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Legislative Forum 2016 – Registration Open!

Vote for Libraries buttonCalling all MLA and ITEM members and library advocates and trustees — you are invited to gather at Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud on Tuesday, July 12th from 9:00am until 3:00pm for the annual Library Legislative Forum. This is the work session to begin planning for the 2017 legislative session – an appropriations/budget year.

Elaine Keefe, MLA lobbyist, will review the 2016 Legislative Session and provide a preview of what to expect in the 2017 session. The majority of the day will be spent on group work: identifying legislative priorities for 2017, as well as ongoing opportunities, challenges, and issues for 2017 and beyond.

Come be a part of this opportunity to shape the 2017 legislative agenda!

Registration is free and lunch will be provided by MLA. Goodies will be ready for your arrival – Thank you to Minitex!

Click here for more information and to register.

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SELCO’s MNBA Publicity

MNBA logo purpleSELCO created personalized press kits for nine Minnesota Book Award finalists and winners to help promote recent author visits.  The press materials always include a general press release, a sample Facebook post, and a tweet for the library’s Twitter account. Several have expanded  biographical information when it was readily available.

Feel free to use this Library Legacy publicity if an author visits your community!

  • Brenda Child
  • Tricia Cornell
  • Allen Eskens
  • Michael Hall
  • Nicole Helget
  • Julie Klassen
  • Nancy Koester
  • Larry Millet
  • Laura Purdie Salas

SELCO’s 2016 Minnesota Book Award Author Tour press kits

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Apply Now for ARSL Scholarships

Scholarships applications are still being accepted for The Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL)  annual conference.  Apply by June 30!

ARSL-logoARSL Conference Scholarships


Join librarians from around the country at North of Normal, October 27-29, 2016 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo.  #ARSL2016

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Legislative Update 2016-06-10

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Monday, May 23, 2016 by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Tax Bill Veto: On Monday of this week, Governor Dayton pocket-vetoed the omnibus tax bill by taking no action on the bill before the 14 day deadline. His veto was due to concerns about an error in a section of the bill relating to charitable gambling taxes that would have cost the state $101 million in lost revenue over the next three years. The main item of interest to libraries in the tax bill is an increase in aid to cities and counties.

Special Session Outlook: On Tuesday, Governor Dayton met with three of the four legislative caucus leaders (Senator Bakk, Speaker Daudt and Representative Thissen; Senator Hann chose not to attend) to discuss a possible special session to pass a bonding bill, a corrected tax bill and some additional budget items that the governor would like to see enacted. The meeting was brief and nothing was resolved. Reportedly they plan to meet again sometime in the middle of next week.

Since then Governor Dayton has been traveling across the state to drum up public support for his priorities for a special session. High on the governor’s list is a transportation funding package that includes transit in the metro area, which is very controversial with House Republicans.

Bonding Bill: As I have previously reported, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a $1.1 billion bonding bill on the last day of session. The bill passed the House, but time ran out before it could pass the Senate. Later it was discovered that there were a number of projects that appeared on the spreadsheet, but were not actually included in the bill (this was not the case for any library projects).

Governor Dayton and legislative leaders are eager to pass a bonding bill during a special session, but reaching agreement will not be easy. Speaker Daudt has said that the House will revert to its original position of a $600 million bonding bill (even though they never actually brought a bill of that size to the House floor), while Governor Dayton has demanded the inclusion of $183 million for projects that were left out of the bill agreed to by the conference committee.

Bonding Conference Committee Hearing: On Tuesday, June 14 the bonding bill conference committee will meet from 1-4 pm in room 10 of the State Office Building. The purpose of the hearing is to review the conference committee agreement and take public testimony. I expect the discussion to focus on the more controversial projects and those that were included on the spreadsheet but left out of the bill. We will keep you posted.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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Behind the Scenes at the Library…

Floating Collection

East Central Regional Library (ECRL) is moving towards a floating collection throughout its 14 branch consolidated region.  During the pilot period, floating non-print (CDs, DVDs, and books on CD) has demonstrated increased circulation in those areas. Regional staff are considering what format to add next.

Proctoring Policy Change

Based on recommendations from the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) Public Services Team, the resident eligibility requirement was removed from the regional proctoring policy in March 2016. Requests for proctoring have increased at GRRL – up 3 percent from 2015. GRRL charges $10 per session for proctoring.

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Refresh and Revitalize Your Friends Group: MALF Workshop

MALF Brings a New Workshop Series to Minnesota Libraries

By popular demand, “Revitalization” is the focus of this year’s Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF) annual workshop series.  Sally Gardner Reed, Executive Director of United for Libraries, will lead and keynote Refresh and Revitalize Your Friends Group in half-day workshops in four locations across Minnesota.

Questions to consider:  Does your Friends group organize the same slate of events year after year, without appreciable growth or diversification? Does the same handful of long-time volunteers assume all leadership responsibilities, with no real prospect of “new blood” in sight? Is your membership roster stagnant, or worse, declining?

If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, rest assured that you and your Friends group are not alone and Refresh and Revitalize Your Friends Group  is just what you need.  Please join library Friends at one of  four locations across Minnesota:

MALF workshop map 2016Austin Public Library (SELCO)
323 4th Ave NE, Austin, MN, 55912
Wednesday, September 14 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Rum River Library (MELSA)
4201 6th Ave, Anoka, MN, 55303
Thursday, September 15 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Robert Trail Library (MELSA)
14395 S Robert Trail, Rosemount, MN, 55068
Friday, September 16 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Douglas County Library (VLS)
720 Fillmore St., Alexandria, MN, 56308
Saturday, September 17 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Of these sessions, Sally Gardner Reed promises, “We will cover a lot of ground, but focus on how to change the typical ‘structure’ of the Friends group to attract new, young, and active volunteers.”

In addition to the keynote, attendees will participate in small group roundtables, plus have a chance to share thoughts and experiences during an hour-long idea exchange session – a MALF workshop staple, and one of participants’ best opportunities all year to network and share with Friends from across Minnesota.

Refresh and Revitalize Your Friends Group is FREE to attend, and it is not necessary to be a member of MALF or any Library Friends organization. A complimentary lunch will be provided at each location.  Pre-registration is required, to ensure the appropriate number of lunches and informational packets. Registration for all four sessions opens Monday, July 18 and will close in early September. Stay tuned to the MALF Blog for more details.

United for Libraries (formerly Friends of Libraries U.S.A.) is the Friends of the Library arm of the American Library Association, and MALF’s counterpart on the national stage. As executive director, Sally Gardner Reed oversees UFL resource development, strategic planning, and committee assignments.

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Selfie for MLA at 125

MLA 125 logoAs part of the 125th anniversary celebrations, MLA will collect video selfies. Don’t be camera shy.  Share your best MLA memory in two minutes or less.

Here is how:

  • Start by introducing yourself … name, library affiliation (current or past), and note approximately how long you’ve been a MLA member
  • Choose one or two of these suggestions as your selfie focus
    • My most memorable MLA involvement
    • My best MLA networking opportunity
    • My best MLA professional development
    • My best MLA social event
    • My best MLA buddy outside of my workplace (joint selfie an option)
    • My own reflection
  • Send it to

MLA will post the videos on the association’s YouTube channel as well as show them at the conference at the MLA 125th table. Have fun and remember — We Are MLA: Best Memories!

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MELSA wraps up a successful Club Book

MELSA Club Book

As MELSA wraps up a successful Winter/Spring 2016 Club Book season, sincere thanks to the incredible authors who visited the Twin Cities, as well as the wonderful libraries who hosted events. The guest authors shared inspiring stories about their work, writing process, and journey to become bestselling and award-winning writers. MELSA hopes everyone enjoyed these Club Book events and encourage you to take a listen to the more than forty free podcasts that have been created over the past four seasons.

Speakers include Louise Penny, JA Jance, Elizabeth Berg, Amy Thielen, Dave Zirin, Lev Grossman, J. Courtney Sullivan, Amanda Coplin, Sue Miller, Jon Ronson, Ron Rash, Sara Paretsky, Mitchel Zuckoff, and Nikki Giovanni to name just a few.

MELSA will be announce the next season of authors in August, so stay tuned!

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2016 Legislative Session Ends

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Monday, May 23, 2016 by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The 2016 legislative session has ended with very mixed results. Last night the Legislature passed the omnibus tax bill and the omnibus supplemental budget bill. However, as noted in my previous message, the Legislature failed to pass the bonding bill before the midnight deadline for passing bills.

Governor Dayton held a press conference a few minutes ago and indicated he has not yet decided whether to call a special session. He said that he and legislative leaders need time to get some rest and assess the situation.

Bonding Bill: The bonding conference committee reached agreement on a $1.135 billion bill on Sunday evening, just a few hours before the midnight deadline for passing bills. The bill included $2 million for Library Construction Grants and $820,000 for the library at the Minnesota state Career and Technical College in Wadena. It did not include funding for the new East Central Regional Library headquarters/Cambridge Library, the Bagley Library or the Eastside Freedom Library.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 91-39. It was amended in the Senate to raise the limit on how much the Metropolitan Council could contribute to a rail project (clearly aimed at the Southwest Light Rail Transit line) before passing by a vote of 53-12. Because the bill had been amended on the Senate floor, it had to go back to the House for a final vote, but before that happened the House adjourned. It was messy and chaotic and House and Senate leaders are blaming each other for the failure of the bonding bill to make it across the finish line.

Supplemental Budget Bill: The budget bill spends a total of $182 million. It includes $35 million for Border to Border Broadband Grants and $500,000 for grants of up to $50,000 to K-12 schools for broadband Wi-Fi Hotspots. It does not include an increase in total operating capital and does not provide any funding for after school programs.

Omnibus Tax Bill: The tax bill increases aid to cities by $20 million per year and increases aid to counties by $10 million per year.

Legacy Bill: The Legacy bill dealt mainly with appropriations for the Outdoor Heritage Fund, for which appropriations are made annually rather than for the biennium. However, we were keeping an eye on one piece of language designed to reinforce the idea that Legacy funds are meant to supplement, not supplant, previous funding. The original language in the House bill was rather awkward, as a couple of you pointed out to me. The final version included in the bill is much more clear. It states:

“Any state agency or organization requesting a direct appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund must inform the house of representatives and senate committees having jurisdiction over the arts and cultural heritage fund, at the time the request for funding is made, whether the request is supplanting or is a substitution for any previous funding that was not from a legacy fund and was used for the same purpose.”

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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Legislative Update 2016-05-19

The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

End of Session Negotiations: There is still no agreement between legislative leaders and Governor Dayton on targets for the supplemental budget, taxes and transportation. It remains to be seen whether they will reach an agreement in time to get the bills passed before the end of the session. Session must end by midnight on Monday, but the Legislature cannot pass bills on the day of adjournment. This means that bills must be passed by midnight on Sunday night.

Bonding Bill: Today the House bonding bill failed on the House floor. A 3/5 super-majority is required to pass a bonding bill, which means 81 votes are required to pass the House. The bill only received 69 votes. All but two DFLers voted against the bill, while all but 5 Republicans voted for the bill. DFLers complained that the bill was too small and that projects in DFL districts had been passed over in favor of projects in Republican districts.

However, a conference committee has been appointed for HF 748, a bill from last year that will be used as a vehicle for a bonding bill. This is a highly unusual twist in the legislative process.

The Senate conferees are Senator LeRoy Stumpf (DFL – Plummer), Senator Katie Sieben (DFL – Cottage Grove), Senator Jeff Hayden (DFL – Minneapolis), Senator David Tomassoni (DFL – Chisholm) and Senator Carla Nelson (R – Rochester).

The House conferees are Rep. Paul Torkelson (R – Hanska), Rep. Tony Albright (R – Prior Lake), Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R – Ghent), Rep. Bob Vogel (R- Elko New Market) and Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL – St. Paul).

According to a press release issued by the Senate DFL Caucus this afternoon, the conference committee will consider portions of the House, Senate and Governor’s bonding proposals. No meetings have been scheduled for the conference committee as of this writing.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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2016 Legislative Forum

Vote for Libraries buttonSave the date — July 12!

The annual Library Legislative Forum will be held at the St. Cloud Public Library/Great River Regional Library headquarters on July 12th. Mark your calendars! More information will be coming soon.

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Legislative Update 2016-05-16

The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

End of Session Negotiations: The legislative session is nearing the end. Legislators must adjourn no later than Monday, May 23. Since they cannot pass bills on the final day, time is running short for Governor Dayton and legislative leaders to reach agreement on transportation, taxes, a supplemental budget bill and a bonding bill. They met twice last week and so far all they have agreed upon is that they want to reach an agreement on a transportation package before working on the other three bills. Governor Dayton plans to present a compromise proposal on Monday.

Bonding Bill: The Senate’s bonding bill, which spent a total of $1.8 billion, failed on the Senate floor by 1 vote. Bonding bills require a super majority of 3/5, which means 41 votes are needed to pass the Senate. The bill only received 40 votes. Only 1 Republican, Senator Carla Nelson of Rochester, voted for the bill.

During the debate Republicans offered a bonding bill of their own, which spent $992 million. It cut funding for Library Construction Grants to $1 million and eliminated funding for the new East Central Regional Library headquarters/Cambridge Library and the Bagley Public Library. The proposal only garnered 18 votes.

House Republicans still have not brought forward a bonding bill. They originally said they wanted to spend only $600 million, but Speaker Daudt admitted to reporters that a bill of that size will not get the 81 votes needed to pass the House. This prompted Senate Majority Leader Bakk to observe that the Senate bill is too big to pass and the House bill is too small to pass. If a bonding bill does pass this session, it will need to be somewhere in between.

A bill significantly smaller than the Senate bill with more emphasis on transportation projects is likely to come out of the House, and that could mean no funding for Library Construction Grants. Now is the time for members of the House to hear from you.

PLEASE contact your representatives in the House and urge them to make sure that Library Construction Grants are included in the House bonding bill!

Supplemental Budget (HF 2749): A ten member conference committee is negotiating a 600 page omnibus supplemental budget bill. The conferees met three times last week to have staff walk through a side by side comparison of the provisions in the House and Senate bills. Another meeting is scheduled for 6pm tonight (Sunday). Negotiations on budget items cannot get serious until Governor Dayton and legislative leaders agree on how much spending will be included in the bill. That will depend on how much is spent on transportation, which is being negotiated in a separate conference committee. As a reminder, the items we are following in the supplemental budget conference committee are Border to Border Broadband grants, K-12 broadband grants, total operating capital and after school funding. See my April 29 update for details.

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Successful Teen Lit Con 2016

MELSA Teen Lit Con 2016Teen Lit Con 2016: A Huge Success   With an endorsement as the “best event of its kind in the US” from none other than National Book Award Winner Neal Shusterman, Teen Lit Con 2016 closed another chapter on this widely anticipated annual event.

More than 1,000 teens & other YA readers descended on Sibley High School for a day of author talks, breakout sessions, and literary fun. Readers came from as far away as Moorhead, Marshall, and Cedar Rapids, as all parts of the MELSA region. 12 Twin Cities schools received transportation awards to bring students to the event.

The national authors Neal Shusterman, Faith Erin Hicks, Jason Reynolds, and Leigh Bardugo filled the Sibley HS auditorium for their keynotes. Local authors drew enthusiastic readers at their panels. Other breakout sessions on writing & publishing also were packed.

A shout out to the more than 70 Ambassadors from all types of libraries, schools, and ”just people who like books” who helped make this Legacy-funded event a success. Partners Sibley High Sschool and ISD 197 (West St. Paul-Mendoota Heights-Eagen) were also vital to making it happen.

Ambassador Susan Bernstein, Carver County Library, was a champion Tweeter before, during, and after the event. You can see the fun by browsing the Twitter hashtag #teenlitcon for lots of pictures & comments.

As the happy readers streamed out their biggest question was, “When is Teen Lit Con 2017?”

News posting from Ann Walker-Smalley, Metronet

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NLLD Photos

From Washington, DC and the halls of government…

Skip Levesque - GRRL & Judith Schotzko - SELCO

Skip Levesque – GRRL & Judith Schotzko – SELCO

House Office visit with Minnesota library advocates: Judith Schotzko, Skip Levesque, Chris and Jim Weikum

House Office visit with Minnesota library advocates: Judith Schotzko, Skip Levesque, Chris and Jim Weikum














ALA’s photostream for NLLD 2016

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Llamas Visit the Library

Llama Llama Pajama Party

Even a light drizzle on a gray afternoon did not deter over 950 library patrons bedecked in PJs from visiting the St. Cloud Public Library for the annual Llama Llama Pajama Party.  Two llamas were tucked under the overhang of the library’s front entrance and kids and parents alike could clamber inside and around a firetruck and a SWAT vehicle.

The evening’s Storytimes featured community readers including a police officer, US Army Specialist (pictured above), a judge and many costumed characters.  The library also offered crafts and healthy snacks.

This annual event is co-sponsored by the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) and United Way of West Central Minnesota.

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TdSLC Seeks Executive Director

TDS-logo-2013The Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative (TdSLC) is looking for an Executive Director.  This dynamic and challenging position will manage a cooperative that serves libraries in a nine county area around Mankato, Minnesota.  Mankato is a vibrant, fast-growing city, home to Minnesota State University, Mankato and a thriving business community.  The Executive Director reports to a fourteen member Board of Directors.   Members include twenty public libraries (nearly forty branches), school media centers and academic libraries.

Services provided to member libraries include a Sierra (III) online catalog and circulation system, cataloging, delivery, inter-library loan, continuing education, programming and much more through a staff of twelve.   Minimum requirements include a Master’s in
Library Science from a program accredited by ALA and several years of administrative experience.

For further information check out or call 507-386-3022.   Letters of application, resumes and references to:  Competitive salary, depending on experience, and generous benefits.  Applications received by June 10 will receive top priority.

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Minnesotans in Washington

nlld banner 2016 croppedA small continent of Minnesotans visited our nation’s Capitol this National Library Legislative Day, May 2-3, 2016. Jim Weikum, ALS Director and former Minnesota Library Association Legislative Chair, led the group. Also attending NLLD were Judith Schotzko, a SELCO Board Member, and Skip Levesque, the President of the Friends of the St. Michael – Albertville – Hanover Library in GRRL. Skip is the recipient of the first Minnesota Association of Library Friends NLLD grant.

These NLLD advocates asked their Members of Congress in the House and Senate to increase funding for library services, approve a new Treaty to provide electronic materials to the blind worldwide, protect the privacy of email and other electronic communications, and to support legislation that will afford the public broad and free access to government information.

Statewide documentation shared with Congressional staff included recent news from the Minnesota Department of Education on Federal funding for libraries.

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10 Pigs visits ALS

ALS 10 Pigs

Ten Pigs and Derek Anderson at Lake of the Woods School in Baudette

The traveling trunk show featuring author / illustrator, Derek Anderson and Ten Pigs is off to a rollicking good time in the Arrowhead Library System (ALS).

Squeals abounded at the Falls Elementary School in International Falls and the Duluth Public Library.  Complete with props and laughter, children and parents can share the joy of reading in this CRPLSA sponsored statewide initiative.

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ARSL Registration Open

ARSL-logoEarly Bird  conference registration open!


Register now for this fun-filled, informative conference coming to the upper Midwest on Wednesday, October 26 – Sunday, October 30, 2016 in Fargo. Take advantage of this unique close-to-home opportunity to connect, learn and share with rural and small library allies from across the country.

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Legislative Update 2016-05-02

The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The Senate bonding bill (SF 2839) was released this morning, and it contains good news for libraries. Here are the specifics:

Library Construction Grants: The bill includes $2 million for the grants. There are no earmarks, so the entire $2 million would be available for competitive grants. $2 million was the amount included in the governor’s budget.

East Central Regional Library Headquarters and Cambridge Public Library: The bill includes $2.414 million for a new building. That was the amount requested by the city of Cambridge. This must be matched with an equal amount of funding from non-state sources.

Bagley Public Library: The bill includes $50,000 in general fund money for a grant to the city of Bagley for “improvements, furnishings and equipment for the city’s library or to reimburse the city for improvements, furnishings and equipment for the city’s library.” The language is a little unusual because the library project was completed two years ago. The 2014 bonding bill included $50,000 for the project, but the state later determined that this was an ineligible use of state bond funds and in 2015 the appropriation was canceled. That is why this year’s appropriation is from the general fund.

Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Wadena Campus: The bill includes $820,000 to relocate the current library to a new space and to convert the vacated space to a student services center. $820,000 was the amount included in the governor’s budget. This was the only higher education library project proposed this year.

East Side Freedom Library: The bill includes $500,000 from the general fund to renovate the former Arlington Hills Public Library in St. Paul, which recently became the home of the East Side Freedom Library. The library is operated by a nonprofit. Its mission “is to inspire solidarity, advocate for justice and work toward equity for all.”

The Senate bonding bill is even larger than had been rumored, spending a total of $1.8 billion. That is significantly larger than the $1.4 billion proposed by Governor Dayton and triple the amount that House leaders have said they want to spend. Even so, many requests were not funded at all or were funded well below the amount requested. Senator Leroy Stumpf, chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, said they received $5.2 billion in requests. The bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow and then will head to the Senate floor.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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Legislative Update 2016-04-29

The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The legislative session must end no later than 3 weeks from Monday.  Here is an update on issues of interest:

Supplemental Budget:   The House and Senate passed their omnibus supplemental budget bills this week.  The Senate has combined all of its budget bills into one omnibus supplemental budget bill (SF 2356).

The House split the budget into three smaller omnibus budget bills, as follows:

Education and Higher Education  (HF 2749)
Agriculture, Environment and Jobs (HF 3931)
HHS, Public Safety and State Government (HF 3467)

How the bills will be conferenced has not been announced, but it is widely assumed that there will be one conference committee made up of ten members.  The conferees are expected to be appointed early next week.

Broadband:  Last month Governor Dayton proposed $100 million in Border-to-Border Broadband Grants.  The Senate included $85 million in its budget bill, while the House included $15 million for FY 17 and $25 million in FY 18.  The House also included $7 million for broadband grants for schools in its education finance bill.  Those who attended Library Legislative Day heard me describe this new grant program in detail.  For those who were not there, the proposal actually would fund two separate types of grants, as follows:

Broadband Wi-Fi Hotspots:  A school district may apply for a grant to support wireless off-campus learning through a student’s use of a data card, USB modem or other mobile broadband device that enables the student to access learning materials through a mobile broadband connection.  A school district that qualifies for sparsity revenue may apply for a grant to provide Internet access on school buses.  The maximum grant is $100,000 for a school district applying by itself or $200,000 if applying with a community partner such as a public library, community education department or adult basic education program provider.

Capacity Building:  A school district that is a member of a telecommunications cluster may apply for a grant of up to $100,000 to be used in any manner and with any community partners that will allow the district to expand telecommunications access for students, teachers and community members.

Of the $7 million appropriated, $5 million is for the broadband Wi-Fi hotspot grants and $2 million is for the capacity building grants.  This is a one-time appropriation.

Total Operating Capital:  The Senate has included in its budget $10.1 million to provide a one-time increase of $10.88 per pupil in total operating capital.  There is a list of 25 permitted uses of this funding in statute.  Among the permitted uses are:

“To improve and repair school sites and buildings, and equip or reequip school buildings with permanent attached fixtures, including library media centers”
“ To purchase or lease interactive telecommunications equipment”
“To purchase or lease computers and related hardware, software, and annual licensing fees, copying machine, telecommunications equipment, and other non-instructional equipment”
“To purchase new and replacement library media resources or technology”
“To purchase or lease telecommunications equipment, computers and related equipment for integrated information management systems”
“To pay personnel costs directly associated to the acquisition, operation and maintenance of telecommunications systems, computers, related equipment, and network and applications software”

After School Grants:  The Senate has included in its budget bill $500,000 in one-time funding for grants to after school programs.  This is the program that we have worked with Ignite Afterschool to support.

Bonding:  As you may recall, Governor Dayton proposed a $1.4 billion bonding bill, which would be the largest in state history.  It includes $2 million for Library Construction Grants.  House leaders have said they will spend no more than $600 million on a bonding bill, but have not released any specifics and are not expected to do so anytime soon.  Rep. Paul Torkelson, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee, has said that the bonding bill’s fate will depend on reaching agreement on other issues such as taxes and transportation.  House leaders have characterized the bonding bill as “dessert,” which must come last.  The Senate is scheduled to release its bonding bill on Monday.  It is rumored that it will be a little larger than the governor’s proposal.

Legacy:  The House has passed its omnibus legacy funding bill, HF 3829, out of committee.  Unlike the other three funds the Outdoor Heritage Fund appropriations are made annually, and the bulk of the bill is made up of those appropriations.  However, there is one provision of interest to libraries in the bill.  It reinforces the requirement that legacy funds are to be used to supplement rather than supplant existing funding by requiring any entity requesting funding from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to inform the Legislature “if the entity funded the same project or program after 2006 and how the previous project or program was funded.”  This is based on a recommendation from the Legislative Auditor.

Because sales tax revenue has lagged behind projections, there are deficits in three of the four legacy funds, including the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  To resolve the deficit, Minnesota Management and Budget plans to enact a shift by authorizing agencies to “allot only 97% of their FY 17 appropriations, holding back 3% of each appropriation for spending in the following fiscal year, FY 18.”

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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MNBA 2016 Pix & Vid

MNBA at Union Depot 2016Check out 2016 Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony photos and video

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ALS with new web look

ALS logo 2016 newJust launched — a new Arrowhead Library System website!

The ALS website design and migration was managed by Art Unlimited, an online marketing firm,  in Angora, Minnesota.  ALS issued an RFP in Fall 2015 that required a hosted site and the use of a WordPress platform (non-proprietary). Art Unlimited was selected.  Through weekly conference calls,  ALS had access and editorial review throughout the creative process.

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GRRL Vans on the Road

Great River Regional Library’s (GRRL) new vans hit the road this week. The vans are wrapped in graphics and serve as traveling billboards for the region. The designs are the work of Public Relations Graphic Designer, Bernadette Stephenson.

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PCLS Supports Broadband

MN Broadband Vision 2016The Plum Creek Library System (PCLS) endorsed the Minnesota Broadband Vision through a Resolution passed April 4, 2016.

Everyone in Minnesota will be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable us to survive and thrive in our communities and across the globe.

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Earth Day children letters Large

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Lake Superior Libraries Symposium 2016

Lake Superior conference logo 2015Registration for the fifth annual Lake Superior Libraries Symposium is now open!

LSLS16, “NOW That’s What I Call Libraries!” will be held on Friday, May 20th, 2016 at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. Library staff, administrators, trustees, and students from the Upper Midwest and beyond are invited to attend and participate. Register today!

For just $49, you’ll experience:

  • Keynote by Jason Griffey, founder and principal at Evenly Distributed, a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and formerly an Associate Professor and Head of Library Information Technology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • 16 inspiring presentations on exciting and innovative projects happening NOW at rockin’ local and regional libraries of all types
  • A Thursday evening pre-conference social event
  • A Friday evening post-conference social event hosted by At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe.

Pre-Conference Workshop

Also consider attending the pre-conference workshop on innovation in libraries, facilitated by Jason Griffey on Thursday, May 19th from 1:00-4:00 pm. The pre-conference workshop fee is $20 for conference attendees, and $25 for individuals only attending the workshop. Find more information and register here.

Locations, Accommodations & Information

The LSLS16 Conference is located in beautiful Duluth, the gateway to the North Shore of Lake Superior. The region features world class breweries, restaurants, and outdoor activities. Have more questions? Contact us

About LSLS16

The Lake Superior Libraries Symposium is a conference developed by library staff members from Northwestern Wisconsin and Northeastern Minnesota. The Symposium was created to promote resource sharing and communication between organizations and to help librarians develop enhanced professional networks. Our continued operations are thanks to the in-kind and monetary contributions of our supporters.

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Get Carded in International Falls

Watch and enjoy the International Falls Public Library’s community-wide campaign to encourage residents to get a library card and discovery the valuable resources at the library and online.

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MNBA Winners 2016

And the winners are…  MNBA

  • Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall   (Children’s Literature)
  • No House to Call My Home: Love, Family and Other Transgressions by Ryan Berg   (Nonfiction)
  • The Grave Soul by Ellen Hart   (Genre Fiction)
  • Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life by Karen Sabine   (Memoir & Creative Nonfiction)
  • Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury by Larry Millett   (Minnesota)
  • There’s Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter   (Novel & Short Story)
  • Beautiful Wall by Ray Gonzalez   (Poetry)
  • See No Color by Shannon Gibney   (Young People’s Literature)

Each April, authors, publishers and book-lovers celebrate the best of local literature at the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony. Managed by The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, with financial assistance from CRPLSA, this year’s celebration returned to the beautiful and historic Union Depot in Lowertown, Saint Paul. Books, autographs, refreshments, live music, and the announcement of the award winners all made an unforgettable evening!

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Success = Library Legislative Day

Despite the construction making navigation around the Capitol complex a bit tricky, the beautiful spring weather and productive office visits made the 2016 Minnesota Library Legislative a success.  Every year library supporters from across the state go to Library Day at the Capitol, sponsored by the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and Information and Technology Educators of Minnesota (ITEM). Library concerns this year are a $10 million bonding request for library construction funds and initiatives to support border-to-border broadband access.

East Central Regional Library Legislative Day album

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New MELSA Legacy Coordinator

Melsa web logoMELSA has selected Andrea McKennan as the new Public Information Specialist.  Her duties will overlap those previously assigned to Melinda Ludwiczak, the former MELSA Project Manager who retired April 15.  Andrea will be responsible for Library Legacy program coordination and staff liaison responsibilities to the Job & Small Business and the e-Government Task Forces.

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PLD Day 2016 Reminder

Time is running out to register for PLD Day 2016!

Join fellow public library staff for an inspiring day of talks by Gwen Westberg of Patina stores, staff from the University of Minnesota’s TRiO program, and Valerie Horton of Minitex.

Registration for PLD Day ends Thursday, April 21st. Register here!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016, 9:00am-3:30pm

Water Street Inn, 101 Water St South, Stillwater
Free parking is available at the venue

PLD logoPLD Day is an annual event for those who work in or are invested in public libraries. This event is hosted by the Minnesota Library Association’s Public Libraries Division and is sponsored in part by CRPLSA and Minitex.

More information

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On the eve of Legislative Day

Vote for Libraries buttonLibrarians, trustees and Library Friends will gather in St. Paul on April 13 to advocate for the MLA / ITEM Legislative Platform.  The top priority for this “short” legislative session will be inclusion of a $10 million appropriation in the Capital Investment bill for the construction of public library buildings.  Based on projected building projects around the state, public libraries have the potential of $172,883,00 in brick and mortar capital expenses in the next few years.

As you head to the Capital to remind your legislators of the importance of libraries and the structures that hold those services, remember to share news of your visits on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag:  #mnlibleg16

If you cannot make the trek to St. Paul — Call your legislators’ offices and offer your support, and remember to share news with #mnlibleg16.

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