Cow Tours SELCO

A travelogue from Minnesota Author, David LaRochelle as he travels the state with Minnesota Illustrator, Mike Wohnoutka and the Once Upon a Reader star performer – Cow and their adventures in SELCO.

Hello Once Upon a Reader folks!Cow profile pix-crop

June is National Dairy Month so Cow was in high demand for guest appearances, but she took time from her busy schedule to join Mike and me as we visited six more SELCO libraries Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week. Once again the wonderful folks at SELCO (Amy, Amy, Reagan, Cindy and all the great librarians we met) did a fabulous job of welcoming us at each stop.

Monday’s rain didn’t keep the 125 attendees away from joining us at the Rochester Public Library. Despite some bad driving from David (I wish I could blame it on Cow), we made it to our second stop just in the nick of time, which was one of our most unusual venues to date: the weight room at the Rochester Family YMCA. 80 day camp kids and their counselors, spanning a very wide age-range, joined us in this unique location. Cow being the star that she is took it all in stride.

Tuesday was a beautiful day for a drive to the small town of Dodge Center where 50 kids packed the cozy meeting room in the library. It was then on to Spring Valley where Jenny Simon and her crew had the entire library decked out for our visit, with cow balloons, milk cans, window paintings, the Moo! Story Walk, dozens of cow books, and after our show, milk and cookies and a LIVE COW. 200 kids and their caregivers joined us under the storybook tree in the children’s area for our show.

Wednesday morning we had an audience of 150 at the Austin Public Library. We bypassed the Spam Museum (we were afraid it might hit a little too close to home for Cow), and headed to Albert Lea for a performance to 100 in the afternoon. Both libraries had beautiful lake views and the librarians in both stops were well prepared for our visit.

Thanks to all the librarians and the wonderful women at SELCO who made these visits so successful. We are glad that we get to work with you again in September.

Cow is out touring on her own at the moment, but I thought I’d pass along some of the photos from her appearances this past week.

Your bovine buddies,

David, Mike, and Cow

More photos of Cow’s travels throughout Minnesota

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MELSA Seeks Executive Director

Melsa web logoMELSA seeks a regional library system Executive Director.  Using the services of Water & Company – Executive Recruitment the major responsibilities include:

  • Implement the MELSA strategic plan and policies
  • Manage MELSA
  • Administer and oversee agency operations
  • Communicate effectively
  • Provide strategic leadership
  • Manage and oversee the finances of the agency
  • Represent MELSA interests

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume.  The position will remain open until filled but interested applicants are strongly encouraged to apply no later than July 31, 2015. Following this date, applications will be screened against criteria
outlined in the recruiting brochure. On-site interviews will be offered to those candidates named as finalists, with reference checks, background records checks, including credit history, and academic and employment verifications conducted after receiving candidates’ permission. For more information please email Sharon Klump or  call 651.223.3053 (office) or 651.270.6856 (mobile).

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Wyoming Moo-ooo Walk

ECRL Moo storywalk 2015-06Special events abound for Once Upon a Reader
a statewide one-book program designed for Pre-K children to promote early literacy skills.  Even walking and reading at the same time in the East Central Regional Library (ECRL) !

Once Upon a Reader encourages young children and their parents or caregivers to read together.  The featured title for the inaugural two year event is MOO! by Minnesota author David LaRochelle and Minnesota illustrator, Mike Wohnoutka.  The program is being promoted in public libraries throughout the state.


A CRPLSA sponsored Library Legacy activity with funds from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
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Regional library heritage

CRPLSA Boese Houlihan and Scott 2015-06

Bob Boese, John Houlihan, and Tom Scott

An amazing number of years of Minnesota library experience recently gathered for lunch and shared a selfie.

If there were prizes for having worked in the most Minnesota regions, Bob Boese, currently Interim Director at Plum Creek Library System, would win hands down with this diverse employment history:

  • Western Plains Library System 1977-1983
  • Pioneerland Library System 1983-1986
  • East Central Regional Library 1986-2007
  • Northwest Regional Library 2012-2013
  • Plum Creek Library System 2014-2015

John Houlihan – Pioneerland Library System 1992 – 2011

Tom Scott – Plum Creek Library System 1983 – 1995

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Special Session Today

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

The Legislature is holding a special session today. Governor Dayton issued a proclamation at 11pm last night calling legislators into a special session beginning at 10am this morning. Governor Dayton and legislative leaders expressed hope that this would be a one-day special session.

As of this writing both the House and Senate have passed the E-12 Education bill, the Legacy bill and the Jobs and Economic Development bill, all by wide margins. All three of those bills include appropriations of interest to libraries, which I have described in previous reports.

The three bills remaining to be passed are the bonding bill, the Agriculture and Environment bill and the Revisor’s bill. The most controversial is the Agriculture and Environment bill, which is opposed by many environmentalists. Earlier this afternoon the bill failed on the Senate floor by one vote. The vote was 33 in favor and 32 opposed, but it takes 34 votes to pass a bill on the Senate floor. The most likely scenario is that one or more senators who voted no are persuaded to change their votes. If not, a second special session would be required.

When the special session is concluded and Governor Dayton has signed all of the bills, I will send out a comprehensive summary of the 2015 session.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me with questions.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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ALS Sculpture installed in Grand Marais

ALS Grand Marais sculpture installation 2015-06

Installation in progress

The Grand Marais Public Library, an Arrowhead Library System (ALS) member, hosted a sculpture dedication on Friday, June 5 to celebrate the installation of a new work of public art.  The local artist and sculptor Tom Christiansen,was on hand at the dedication as were other local and regional dignitaries.

The sculpture is constructed of spun aluminum. Arranged around the top of the 17-foot tower are a number of large puzzle pieces in bright red, blue or yellow primary colors.  It is easily visible to residents and visitors  traveling along Minnesota’s north shore as the new art piece is located on the the lawn between the library and Highway 61.

Christiansen was selected from a group of fourteen submissions to the initial request for proposal from the library board. There were four finalists, the other three being Nancy Seaton and Sharon Frykman both of Grand Marais and Ann Klefstad of Duluth.

This new addition to the public art presence in Grand Marais was paid for by the Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment through Library Legacy funds made available to the Arrowhead Library System.

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Legislative Update 2015-06-08

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

Special Session: Governor Dayton and legislative leaders have reached agreement on all of the issues to be addressed in the special session with the exception of whether a provision curtailing the authority of the State Auditor should be repealed. Governor Dayton wants the provision repealed but Speaker Daudt says the Legislature will not do that.

Letter Speaker Daudt sent to Governor Dayton today, asking to meet tomorrow to set a date for the special session.

Education Bill: I reported last week at the MLA Legislative Committee meeting that Governor Dayton and Speaker Daudt had agreed to spend $525 million over the base budget for E-12 education, with an increase of 2% per year on the general education formula. At that time, the remaining details were being negotiated. On Friday the final bill and spreadsheet were released. As expected, there were no changes to any library appropriations and no change in the library language that had been agreed upon during the regular session. Early Learning Scholarships were increased by $48 million over the biennium, School Readiness was increased by $31 million and Head Start was increased by $10 million.

Link to the Education Bill

Link to the Education Bill spreadsheet

Other Bills: The remaining bills to be taken up during the special session are the Legacy bill (the same bill that was agreed to by the conference committee), the agriculture/environment bill, a small bonding bill and the jobs and economic development bill. The jobs and economic development bill includes funding for broadband grants of $10,838,000. Although Governor Dayton had initially objected to such a small amount for broadband, he agreed to it in the end. As part of the agreement, an earmark for the city of Annandale was removed. Annandale will have to compete for a broadband grant like everyone else. Finally, the bonding bill cancels $50,000 for the renovation of the Bagley Library that was in the 2014 bonding bill. Those costs cannot be bonded for, according to Senator Stumpf, chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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License to Till

Duluth seed library logo ALS croppedLicense to Till: the Duluth Seed Library

A Minitex webinar featuring Carla Powers and Jocelyn Baker from the Duluth Public Library

Thursday, June 18, 11:0 a.m. – 12:00 Noon

For more information and registration

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PCLS New Executive Director

pcls silhouetteThe Plum Creek Library System (PCLS) Executive Committee is pleased to announce the hiring of Mr. Jim Trojanowski as the new PCLS Executive Director. Jim is currently the Director of the Northern Waters Library Service (NWLS) in Ashland, Wisconsin where he has served since July 2004. NWLS is a federated library system serving 28 libraries in eight northern Wisconsin counties. Prior to that, Trojanowski spent 11 years as Director of Vaughn Public Library in Ashland. He has also worked at the Metropolitan Community College in Omaha and at the Cedar Rapids (IA) Public Library.

A graduate of Bellevue West (NE) High School, Trojanowski has a BA in History and an MA in Library and Information Science, both from the University of Iowa. He has been an active member of the Wisconsin Library Association, served on numerous statewide library committees, and in 2004 he received a Special Humanities Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for his efforts to bring Prime Time Family Reading Time to Wisconsin.

His start date in Minnesota will be Monday, July 6. The Search Committee and Executive Committee both agree his background and experience make him well suited to meet the challenges and opportunities he will face at PCLS.

Trojanowski feels fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the library directors, staff, and trustees within the Plum Creek Library System and he looks forward to becoming an active member of the Minnesota library community.

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MDE Directives for Library Legacy Funds

MN Library Legacy Logo SmallThe Library Legacy appropriation provides grant funds  to the 12 Minnesota regional library systems with the intent “to provide educational opportunities in the arts, history, literary arts, and cultural heritage of Minnesota.”

As distributed by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) these funds “may be used to sponsor programs provided by regional libraries or to provide grants to local arts and cultural heritage programs for programs in partnership with regional libraries.”  To support these efforts, MDE outlines the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund priorities and outcomes for libraries.

As reference in Minnesota Session Law 137

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MN Legislative Update 2015-05-25

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

Additional Vetoes: On Saturday Governor Dayton finished signing and vetoing bills passed in the regular legislative session. In addition to the omnibus education bill, he also vetoed the omnibus jobs bill and the agriculture and environment bill. Among the reasons the governor cited for vetoing the jobs bill was the meager level of funding for broadband grants. As expected, the governor signed the agriculture policy bill, which includes the exemption for seed libraries from agricultural regulations.

Special Session: This afternoon Governor Dayton is holding separate meetings with Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Bakk to begin special session negotiations. The bills that are expected to be part of the special session are the three budget bills that were vetoed – education, jobs and agriculture/environment – plus the Legacy bill and a small bonding bill. Governor Dayton has also mentioned the possibility of agreeing to a temporary income tax cut in exchange for more education funding. He also wants legislators to reverse a provision that was in the omnibus state government bill allowing Greater Minnesota counties to hire private sector auditors rather than having to be audited by the State Auditor. Given that the list of issues to be resolved has grown, many observers are skeptical that the special session can be completed in early June. Governor Dayton has said he wants the special session wrapped up by June 15.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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GRRL Year in Reading

GRRL year in reading logo-webEach month of A Year In Reading the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) encourages library patrons to try something different and expand  personal reading horizons. The categories thus far this year:

  • January’s challenge was to read a book published in the year the patron was were born.
  • In February, patrons were asked to read somebody else’s favorite book.
  • The March challenge was to read a book that’s been adapted into a movie.
  • April to reread a favorite book from childhood.
  • Books from another country is the theme for May.
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Big Library Read: Eyes on You

Eyes on You cover artOverDrive just announced the winner for the next Big Library Read program: Eyes on You by Kate White. In this fast-paced suspense novel, Robin Trainer learns that being a media star comes with its costs; including potentially her own life. Can you guess her perpetrator before the big reveal?

Both the eBook and the eAudiobook formats of the title will be available with unlimited access between June 9 (midday) and June 23 (10:59 PM). Check with your regional library to see if your local library is participating in this nationwide reading event.

For more information on Big Library Read, check out their website.

For promotional material, check the OverDrive Partners site.

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More of Cow’s Adventures

Cow and David with library fans 2015-05Hello Team MOO!

Cow (and Mike and David) have had a very successful month of May, mooing from the top to bottom of Minnesota. 

On May 8 Cow traveled far north, to visit 140 K, 1st, and 2nd graders at the Warren elementary school in the morning, and then performed for 70 folks at the Thief River Falls Public Library in the afternoon. A few days later she made a southern tour of the state, visiting over 200 kids at the Owatonna Public Library in the morning of May 11, and over 200 kids at the stunning Buckham Memorial Library in Faribault in the afternoon. The next day she was eager to visit with 120 day care kids at the Plainview Public Library and then had one of her largest crowds to date, over 250 kindergarteners at the Red Wing Public Library in the afternoon. Her final show of the month was on “da range,” visiting 170 attendees in Mountain Iron.

Once again librarians were incredible, providing lots of activities and handouts for kids to enjoy, and making our job very easy.

All this traveling can be exhausting, even for a seasoned veteran like Cow. She’s now on hiatus for over a month, at a location she’d rather not disclosed for fear of being mobbed by her adoring fans, but she’ll be ready to resume her road tour at the end of June (which she is quick to point out is National Dairy Month).

Here’s her latest photo gallery and pictures from her earlier travels

From Cow’s crew,
David and Mike

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Cow in the News!

Cow profile pixCow – Once Upon a Reader’s star performer made front page news in Mountain Iron.

Check it out

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Legislative Update 2015-05-20

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

Session Ends: Last night at midnight, the Legislature adjourned as required by the constitution. However, there will be a special session to pass an education bill, a legacy bill and possibly other bills as well.

Education Bill Veto: Attached is Governor Dayton’s veto message regarding the education bill. In a press conference this afternoon, the governor described the last-minute negotiations on the education bill yesterday. He offered to sign the bill if legislators would add $125 million — $55 million for School Readiness and the rest to increase the general education formula by 2% each year (the bill passed by the Legislature increased the formula by 1.5% in FY 16 and by 2% in FY 17). House Republicans would not agree to add more than $100 million, so negotiations collapsed.

Governor Dayton will call a special session, but not until there is an agreement signed by the leaders of all four caucuses specifying exactly what will be acted upon during the special session. Governor Dayton said he would prefer to wrap it up by June 1, because by law, that is the date that layoff notices must be sent to state employees whose agencies are not funded. The Capitol is not available for the special session due to the renovations taking place, so the special session will have to take place at another venue. It must be in St. Paul.

Legacy Bill: The legacy bill passed the House last night, but did not pass the Senate. This was not because of any controversy over the bill – they simply ran out of time before the midnight adjournment deadline. Governor Dayton indicated that he thinks it is very important that the legacy bill pass in the special session. There was one change made to legacy funding for the regional library systems at the last minute – rather than $1.7 million in FY 16 and $2.7 million in FY 17, the final bill provides $2.2 million in each year. The funding is the same overall. Funding for the Minnesota Digital Library remains at $300,000 per year.

Broadband: The omnibus jobs and economic development conference committee had great difficulty in reaching agreement. They ultimately settled on a bare-bones bill that passed just seconds before the session ended. It provides $10.838 million for broadband grants in FY 16 only. This is down from the $20 million provided last year and the $30 million proposed by Governor Dayton.

Seed Library Exemption: The omnibus agriculture policy bill, HF 1554, includes an exemption from seed regulations for “interpersonal sharing of seed for home, educational, charitable or personal non-commercial use.” The bill was presented to the governor on May 15, which means that he has until midnight on Tuesday to sign or veto it. I fully expect him to sign the bill. It passed the House 102-25 and passed the Senate 64-0.

Student Information: In my previous description of the omnibus education bill, I neglected to mention that the provision initiated by the St. Paul Public Schools to conform Minnesota’s data privacy law to federal law with respect to students records is included in the bill. This will allow school districts to share students addresses with their local public library for the purpose of obtaining library cards for all students without having to make the addresses public.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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Minnesota Byways for VLS

Ohman MN Byways Pulbic Library book cover.inddDoug Ohman has traveled the state to document historic sites and structures that are quickly being lost to history. During a tour of Viking Library System (VLS) libraries, Doug will share personal stories and the captivating history of some of Minnesota’s most treasured buildings, sites, and monuments  featured in his book series “Minnesota Byways.”

For dates, times and locations, check the VLS  calendar of Library Legacy programs.

Made possible with money from Minnesota’s Art and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.
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Lake Superior Libraries Symposium 2015

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

LSLS15 will be held on Friday, June 5th at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Library staff, administrators, trustees, and students from the Upper Midwest and beyond are invited to attend and participate.

Register today!

Reflecting this year’s conference theme, Sharing Our Stories, breakout sessions will focus on learning from our successes and failures, and crafting stories to demonstrate our impact and advocate for change. The keynote speaker is Char Booth, Director of Research, Teaching, and Learning Services at the Claremont Colleges Library, and a faculty member of the ACRL Information Literacy Immersion Institute. The conference also features a lightning round, deluxe taco bar, and two social events.

More information

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2nd annual Comic-Con in LARL

LARL Comic ConHaving called all heroes, villains, fans of science fiction and fantasy and comic book lovers, the Moorhead Public Library hosted its second annual Comic-Con on Saturday, May 9. The event was held from 2-5 p.m. and included speakers, an open discussion panel, trivia, a costume contest, and face painting provided by the Minnesota State University Moorhead Illustration Guild!

The Moorhead Public Library Comic-Con event featured special guests from Paradox Comics-And-Cards, August Moon Anime, and graphic artist Joel “MOjo” Moen. This is an event for all ages and attendees were encouraged to bring their library cards to check out items from the library’s graphic novel collection.

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McHenry Response to CRPLSA

The CRPLSA directors and each of the 12 regional library board chairs have received a response from Kevin McHenry, Minnesota Department of Education Assistant Commissioner.  McHenry’s letter addresses  CRPLSA’s concerns  regarding earlier  management decisions at PCLS and PLS.   McHenry’s letter summarizes recent MDE investigations:

  1. State Library Services and the Department’s finance staff have completed a review of PCLS.
  2. MDE has asked PLS to provide documentation related to recent telecommunication costs and services.

Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry response to CRPLSA concerns

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MN Legislative Update 2015-05-18

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

It has been a wild weekend at the Capitol, featuring round the clock negotiations and plenty of brinkmanship. Legislators are racing to get the major budget bills passed before midnight on Monday. Here is the status of the major budget bills and the library issues within them:

E-12 EDUCATION: Early Friday afternoon House Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Bakk announced to the media that they had reached an agreement on budget targets. Significantly, Governor Dayton did not appear with them. On Saturday morning the Governor announced that he did not agree with the $400 million target set by Bakk and Daudt for increased funding for education. Dayton said that he would veto any bill providing less than $550 million, with at least $173 million for expanding school-based preschool for all 4 year olds. Despite the veto threat, Bakk and Daudt directed the education conferees to proceed with negotiating a $400 million bill.

The conference committee put in long hours and finally met in public to unveil their agreement at 1am Sunday morning, wrapping up the meeting at 3am. Here are the major components of the bill:

General Education Formula: The general education formula will increase by 1.5% in FY 16 and by 2% in FY 17. This is the main source of funding for school library media programs. 72% of the $400 million went for this increase in the general education formula.

Early Learning: The competition between supporters of early learning scholarships and those of school-based preschool programs was at times tense. In the end, legislators decided to increase the scholarships by $30.75 million over the next 2 years and to increase School Readiness (a school-based program for at-risk children) by the same amount. The bill also includes $3.5 million for the Parent Aware early childhood rating system. This ate up another 17% of the $400 million. They did not include Governor Dayton’s proposal for preschool for all 4 year olds, which may cause the bill to be vetoed.

School Facilities: The bill includes $32 million for facilities maintenance. Funding for facilities maintenance was the top priority of rural schools.

As you can tell, these major components left almost nothing for other initiatives. As a result, the bill includes no additional funding for libraries, telecommunications equity aid or after school programs.

The bill does include the language aligning Regional Library Telecommunications Aid with the federal e-rate program. It also repeals the requirement that schools have a technology plan on file with MDE in order to be eligible for Telecommunications Equity Aid.

What if the bill is vetoed? If the Governor vetoes the bill, the usual scenario would be for the Governor and legislative leaders to negotiate a new bill and then for the Governor to call a special session to pass the bill. However, the renovation of the Capitol calls for the House and Senate chambers and all offices in the Capitol to be shut down on Tuesday, May 19. Legislators have been warned that a delay to accommodate a special session would be very costly. There has been speculation that an education bill is not needed because the general education formula would continue to be paid to schools without passing an education bill. However, all other streams of funding would cease, including library appropriations. In a memo to the media, Commissioner Cassellius pointed out that even schools would not get their money because MDE would have no budget to pay staff to process payments.

HIGHER EDUCATION: The higher education conference committee reached agreement on its bill last night, and the bill just passed on the Senate floor by a vote of 57-8. It will next go to the House for passage. The bill maintains current funding for Minitex and MnLINK. It increases funding for the University of Minnesota by $53.2 million and for MnSCU by $101.4 million.

LEGACY: The Legacy conference committee convened shortly after midnight on Saturday night /Sunday morning. The arts and cultural heritage article was discussed first. As initially presented, it included the House position on funding for regional public libraries of $1.5 million in FY 16 and $2.5 million in FY 17. After a brief recess, the conferees returned and Senator Cohen said that the one area that made him “a little queasy” was library funding, and he moved to add $200,000 per year to the appropriation. It passed unanimously. The final number is $1.7 million in FY 16 and $2.7 million in FY 17. Thank you to all of you who contacted the conferees. I do think it made a difference.

The Legacy bill also includes $300,000 per year for the Minnesota Digital Library. That is the same as the current level of funding for MDL.

TAXES: The agreement between Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Bakk is that there will be no tax bill this year. House Republicans had wanted more than $2 billion in tax cuts. In return, Senate DFLers agreed to pass only a “lights on” transportation bill, rather than the comprehensive funding bill that had been their top priority. The agreement leaves about $1.4 billion on the bottom line for legislators to use next year for tax cuts and a transportation package.

Governor Dayton is scheduled to hold a press conference later today. I will keep you posted if anything major changes.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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Legislative Alert – More Legacy Action Needed

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

Our latest intelligence indicates that the Senate has offered to accept the House position on Legacy funding for regional public libraries.  This would mean that libraries would receive $4 million over the next two years, as compared to $6 million during the current two-year budget period.  If you have not already done so, please contact the members of the conference committee listed below. 

In addition:  Please contact your Senator and ask him or her to urge Senator Cohen to uphold the Senate position on Legacy funding for libraries.  The House position is UNACCEPTABLE.  Your senator will likely assume that Senator Cohen will be fighting to uphold the Senate position, but we have strong reason to believe that Senator Cohen has said privately that he prefers the House position.

Please contact your House member and urge him or her to urge Rep. Urdahl to move to the Senate position on Legacy funding for libraries.  The Senate position is still $50,000 per year below current funding, but is substantially better than the House position.

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Library Legacy Alert: MN Legislative Update 2015-05-11

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

This afternoon the Legacy conference committee was appointed. The ten members of the conference committee will negotiate the differences between the House and Senate Legacy bills over the next few days.

The Senate bill provides $2.95 million per year for regional public libraries. The House bill provides $1.5 million in FY 16 and $2.5 million in FY 17.

lease contact the conferees and ask them to support the Senate level of Legacy funding for libraries!

The conferees are listed below with their contact information:

Rep. Dean Urdahl (R – Grove City)
651-296-4344 or 800-920-5861

Rep. Denny McNamara (R – Hastings)

Rep. Paul Torkelson (R – Hanska)
651-296-9303 or 888-727-3891

Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R-Nisswa)

Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL – Minneapolis)

Senator Dick Cohen (DFL – St. Paul)

Senator Bev Scalze (DFL – Little Canada)

Senator LeRoy Stumpf (DFL – Plummer)

Senator Katie Sieben (DFL – Newport)

Senator Michelle Fischbach (R – Paynesville)

Elaine KeefeCapitol Hill Associates

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NEW MHS Program Offerings

MHS Library Legacy Partnership Logo
The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) has been working hard to create engaging, exciting programs that meet the needs of the library adult audience. They are proud to release the newest Adult Programming Catalog. The programs in this brochure are available to take place in libraries anytime between September 2015 and March 2016.

Last year, MHS tested offering the historic craft offerings as a series. This was very popular and therefore that option is back. Libraries can book just one, or if they are interested in hosting a series – all three. Participants of the workshop this year will learn the art of letter writing, everything from hand lettering to DIY monograms to beautiful pop-up cards.

The lecture offerings highlight favorite topics and speakers: the History of Baseball in Minnesota, WWI and its impact on Minnesota, and back by popular demand – Arn Kind! He’ll be using his highly interactive presentation style to the topic of Minnesota’s Firsts.

Finally, MHS will share a third and final offering that will make a huge impact on local communities — a Dementia Friends Training and Workshop. This training will educate participants in the basics of dementia, tools to be a better “friend” to those caring for or living with dementia, and techniques for creating conversation and connection through historical objects and photographs. MHS hopes you will decide to share this training and spark an important conversation about preparing Dementia Friendly communities in Minnesota.

Minnesota Historical Society Library Programming Catalog Fall: September 2015 – March 2016

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MN Legislative Update 2015-05-08

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

Education Conference Committee: The education conference committee met this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for about 3 hours each day. The first meeting was spent having staff walk through the House and Senate bills. The second meeting featured the completion of the staff walk through of the bills, followed by testimony on facilities, Q-comp and testing. Yesterday’s meeting was devoted to hearing testimony on extended time revenue and early learning scholarships.

The committee will not meet again until Monday. Thus far the meetings have been quite cordial and low-key. Partly this reflects the personalities of the chairs, Senator Wiger and Rep. Loon, neither of whom has a penchant for drama. The other factor is that the tough decision-making won’t get serious until House and Senate leaders and Governor Dayton agree on a budget target for education. I do not expect that to happen until the middle of next week.

Legacy Bill: Last night the Senate passed its version of the omnibus Legacy bill by a vote of 44-9. In his remarks about the bill Senator Cohen acknowledged that two years ago when the Legacy bill was debated on the Senate floor, there was much concern expressed about the low level of funding for libraries, and that he had assured his fellow senators that it would be addressed in the conference committee, and it was. Senator Cohen then pointed out that this year the Senate Legacy bill provides more funding for libraries than the House bill does – the first time that has ever happened. It was great to see that the large number of e-mails you sent to your senators two years ago are still having an impact.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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GRRL Names New Executive Director

Karen PundsackThe Great River Regional Library (GRRL) Board of Trustees has appointed Karen Pundsack as the new Executive Director of the 32-library system.

Pundsack has been serving as interim director since July 2014. She joined GRRL in 1999 as manager of the Sauk Centre branch. She transferred to the Albany branch in 2002, and began working at GRRL headquarters in St. Cloud in 2009 as Associate Director of Patron Services. As interim director, she has steered the library through its annual budget process, overseen significant personnel hiring decisions, and been responsible for maintaining communication between staff, administration and board of trustees.

Pundsack was one of three candidates interviewed in person following a nationwide candidate search and a series of Skype interviews.

A graduate of Albany High School, Pundsack has a degree in Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University, as well as a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is active in various professional library associations and has been a panel presenter at Minnesota Library Association conferences.

Pundsack stated, “I am humbled and grateful to be able to serve residents in this role. I am excited to work with the GRRL staff in this new capacity to serve our residents.”

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Mooing in Vikingland

Since she was in Vikingland, Cow wanted to dress the part

Since she was in Vikingland, Cow wanted to dress the part

Hello MOO! Followers,

Cow (and Mike and David) were out on the road last week, visiting six libraries in the Viking Library System (VLS). All three of us were very, very happy to have Tom Lieberman with us, playing live music before, during, and after our shows. What a rich experience his music made these presentations. We were chaperoned by Gail Nordstrom who joined us at every library, brought us treats, and made us feel like royalty (which of course Cow thinks she is). Thank you, Gail, for your planning, organizing, and thoughtfulness which made this such a successful trip for all of us.

We began our tour on Monday, April 27, with 200 kindergartners and preschoolers joining us in the gym adjacent to the Douglas County Library. Our evening presentation was at a gorgeous old Carnegie Library in Glenwood, where Leslie Randall rolled out the red carpet for us. 70 attendees squeezed into the children’s area for our show. We had a great dinner with Gail and Leslie sitting outside along a lake, watching the sunset and listening to loons. Spring had arrived.

Cow was speechless (almost) when she met Big Ole in Alexandria

Cow was speechless (almost) when she met Big Ole in Alexandria

Tuesday, April 27 we were in the basement of the Thorson Memorial Library. Like all the libraries we visited on this trip, they were very prepared for our visit. 110 kids showed up to see Cow (and Tom and Mike and me). In the evening at the Fergus Falls Library, 105 attendees pulled themselves away from the beautiful spring weather to hear our show.
On our last day, April 28, it was standing room only at the Morris Public Library where 210 attendees crowded in to see us. Our final presentation was to 70 attendees at the Charles M. Dale Elementary School in Browns Valley. We were serenaded by Native American drumming as we left, an opportunity we doubt whether we will have again.

Cow picked out some of her favorite photos to send you. We hope you enjoy them. She is packing again, because we leave tomorrow for Thief River Falls and Warren.

Moo! to one and all!

David, Mike, and Cow

Once Upon a Reader, the Moo! Trunk Shows, and all of Cow’s Adventures are made possible with money from Minnesota’s Art and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.
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NLLD 2015

Vote for Libraries buttonNational Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is a two-day advocacy event sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) where hundreds of library supporters, leaders and patrons gather in Washington, D.C. to meet with their members of Congress to champion national library funding.  Attending from Minnesota were: Jim Weikum, Arrowhead Library System (ALS), Pat Conley, recently of Washington County Library, and Carol Walch, Minnesota Department of Employee Relations and Friend of the St. Paul Public Library.

ALA provides detailed in-person and printed information to NLLD participants and the State Library Services created Minnesota specific info for the library delegation to share with Members of Congress.

National Library Legislative Day also includes a virtual advocacy component for library supporters who cannot attend the Washington meetings—advocates have the option to work remotely to connect with legislators via phone calls, text messages, emails and social media platforms.

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MN Legislative Update 2015-05-05

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

The Legislature must adjourn on midnight on Monday, May 18, just under two weeks from now. Here is the latest news:

Senate Legacy Bill: Yesterday the Senate’s omnibus Legacy bill was unveiled and passed out of the Legacy Subcommittee. The bill appropriates 2.95 million per year for regional public libraries. This is $50,000 less per year than the current appropriation from Legacy funds, but it is far better than the House Legacy appropriation of $1.5 million in FY 16 and $2.5 million in FY 17. The Senate bill allocates $300,00 per year for the Minnesota Digital Library, which is the current level of funding. The House Legacy bill provides $280,000 per year for MDL. The Senate Legacy bill will be heard in the full Senate Finance Committee later today, where it is expected to be passed and sent to the Senate floor.

Education Conference Committee: The education conference committee will meet for the first time this afternoon. Typically the first meeting consists of a walk-through of the side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate bills. You can find the side-by-side comparison for each article of the education bill here.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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MN Legislative Update 2015-04-30

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

Legacy Bill: This afternoon the House passed its omnibus Legacy bill, HF 303, on the floor by a vote of 97-31 . No amendments were proposed to the Arts and Cultural Heritage article of the bill. When Rep. Dean Urdahl described the bill at the beginning of the debate he once again emphasized that there were no cuts in the bill because there is no such thing in Legacy. The Senate Legacy bill is expected to be released next week.

Omnibus Education Finance and Policy Bills: Yesterday the Senate passed its omnibus education finance bill and its omnibus education policy bill on the floor. Last Saturday the House passed its omnibus education finance and policy bill (finance and policy are combined in a single bill).

The House appointed its conferees this afternoon. They are Rep. Jenifer Loon (R – Eden Prairie), Rep. Sondra Erickson (R – Princeton), Rep. Ron Kresha (R – Little Falls), Rep. Bob Dettmer (R- Forest Lake) and Rep. Roz Peterson (R – Lakeville). Senate conferees are expected to be named tomorrow. I will send out an alert with contact information for the conferees once they have all been named.

Here is a rundown of the key issues for libraries in these bills:

Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS): The Senate provides an increase of $1.5 million per year. Because of the 90%/10% payment schedule, the actual amount of the increase will be $1.35 million in FY 16 and $1.5 million in FY 17 and beyond. The Senate also changes the RLBSS formula by reducing the ANTC portion from 25% to 17% and by increasing the base amount from 5% to 13%. The funding increase ensures that every regional library system receives an increase under the new formula. The House has no increase and no formula change.

Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA): Both the House and Senate bills include nearly identical language to more closely align RLTA with the federal e-rate program.

Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA): The Senate increases funding for TEA by $1.5 million per year for the 16-17 biennium only. The House provides no increase.

School Technology: The Senate requires school districts to reserve future increases in revenue from the School Endowment Fund for technology and telecommunications infrastructure, programs and training.

After School: The Senate provides $500,000 per year in the 16-17 biennium only for after school programs. The House provides no funding.

Omnibus Tax Bills: The House passed its omnibus tax bill on the floor yesterday. The provisions I reported on in my April 22 update remained unchanged. The Senate released its omnibus tax bill on Monday and passed it out of committee yesterday. It will be brought up on the Senate floor on Monday. Here are the provisions in the bill of interest to libraries:

Local Government Aid is increased by $21.5 million in FY 17 (payable in calendar year 2016) and by $45.6 million per year in FY 2018 and beyond. LGA will be paid to cities in four installments rather than in two. The new payments dates are March 15, July 15, September 15 and November 15.

County Program Aid is increased by $25 million in FY 17 (payable in calendar year 2016) and by $29.7 million per year in FY 2018 and beyond.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

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Preservation Week 2015

ALA Preservation Week 2015 logoOur nation’s history is at risk, as more than 1.3 billion treasures held at public institutions are endangered due to lack of knowledge about preservation. Individuals also are not aware of the valuable role they play in preserving history through family heirloom, records, and photographs.

Preservation Week is an opportunity to inspire action to preserve collections—in libraries, archives, and museums, of course, but especially the items held and loved by individuals, families, and communities. Preservation Week activities will also raise awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions play in providing sound preservation information.

Individually and as community partners, libraries, museums, and archives are encouraged to do at least one thing, even if it’s small, to celebrate Preservation Week. Host a program, event, or display; put a banner on your website; provide a fact sheet from the Preservation Week website; talk to your policy makers and resource allocators about your community’s preservation needs. focus our combined attention and energy on preserving our information and cultural heritage in all collections.

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ALS Celebrates Civil War History

Arn Kind visited libraries across the Arrowhead Library System (ALS) to share information about the American Civil War in this  final year of the sesquicentennial commemoration.

Through drama, role-playing and living history experiences, Kind gives participants an understanding of this turbulent time and brings history alive. He dresses as a Union soldier and describes the uniform, equipment, and weapons used by soldiers.

A very important part of Arn’s presentations are the artifacts, uniforms and equipment that participants handle as part of this hands-on history experience. At the end, audience members may choose to play an active role in historical events by becoming recruits in the Union Army as they are sworn in and learn some of the rudiments of Hardee’s Light Infantry Tactics Drill Manual while handling wooden replicas of Civil War muskets.

Front page coverage of this ALS program in the Mesabi Daily News with more on  page A12 and even more on page C1

Arn Kind is a member of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment; a reenactment group based out of Fort Snelling. Because this group is noted for its authenticity, they have appeared in many documentaries and historical feature films such as The Blue and the Gray, North & South, Glory, Gettysburg, Dances With Wolves, and Gods and Generals.

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VLS Shared PR

VLS logo imageThe Viking Library System (VLS) member libraries will repeat their successful marketing program of several years ago wherein each library is responsible for a complete set of marketing materials for one month.  The materials will be shared with all of the other libraries, resulting in a full year of marketing materials in return for one month’s concentrated work.

The overall theme is Your Library and the monthly focus topics were developed by the entire group.  Special efforts are made to emphasize the fact that all member libraries belong to a single regional library and work together for the betterment of all.  The monthly collection of marketing materials will  include: posters, bookmarks, press releases, Facebook posts, twitter feeds and radio PSAs.

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MN Legislative Update 2015-04-21

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

House Legacy Bill: Yesterday the House Legacy Committee competed work on its omnibus bill and passed it out of committee. Rep. Dean Urdahl, chair of the committee, made it very clear in his opening remarks that no group was entitled to any particular amount of Legacy funding, regardless of what they had received in the past. As such, there is no such thing as a “cut” in Legacy funds. We all start out at zero for the biennium, and the amounts we receive will fluctuate – sometimes they will be higher and sometimes they will be lower than in the past. He said that some groups needed an “attitude adjustment.”

I spoke with Rep. Urdahl today and he expressed annoyance at the number of e-mails he had received about the level of library funding in the bill. I assured him that his message was loud and clear and that I would convey it to the library community. I also thanked him for including funding for libraries in his bill, acknowledging that he has long been a strong library supporter.

So, thank you to those of you who contacted your legislators and members of the House Legacy Committee. However, we need to stop complaining about the level of funding provided in the House Legacy bill.

Broadband: I reported last Thursday that the House was providing no new funding for broadband grants, while the Senate had $17 million in its budget and the Governor had $30 million in his budget proposal. However, on Friday when the omnibus jobs and energy bill was heard in the House Ways and Means Committee, $8 million was added for broadband grants. Funding for the Office of Broadband, which had been eliminated in the bill, was partially restored.

Library Construction Grants: Today I met with Rep. Jeff Howe (R – Rockville), a member of the House Capital Investment Committee. He agreed to introduce our bill to provide $10 million for Library Construction Grants. The bill is intended to put Library Construction Grants under consideration for inclusion in the 2016 bonding bill. We need to have it introduced this session so that it is on the radar of the House and Senate Capital Investment Committees as they tour the state this fall to look at proposed capital projects.

House Omnibus Tax Bill: Today the House Tax Committee passed its omnibus tax bill. Yesterday the committee took public testimony. The bill makes deep cuts in local government aid for Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth, but not for any other cities. Among the witnesses in opposition to these cuts were Kit Hadley, director of the St. Paul Public Library, and two branch managers. They spoke very eloquently about the impact these cuts would have on library services in St. Paul.

Other provisions of interest in the bill are as follows:

A sales tax exemption for building materials purchased by a contractor under a lump sum contract for buildings used by local governments. This was strongly supported by cities and counties.

An expansion of the current K-12 education expense subtraction to include pre-K expenses and private school tuition. The inclusion of private school tuition was strongly opposed by various school organizations.

A Property Tax Payers’ Empowerment Act, which allows a reverse referendum if a city or county increases its property tax levy over the previous year. The referendum is triggered if a petition signed by 10% of the voters in the last general election is filed by June 30. The referendum must be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This was opposed by cities and counties.

A working group to make recommendations on revising the county program aid distribution formula.

Repeal of library debt service aid for Minneapolis.

Data Practices Training for Local Units of Government: The Senate omnibus state government funding bill passed on the Senate floor yesterday. It includes $100,000 in each year of the biennium for the Department of Administration’s Information and Policy Analysis Division, commonly known as IPAD, to conduct training for local units of government on data practices laws. This was initiated by the League of Minnesota Cities. The funding is not included in the House omnibus state government funding bill.

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2015 MNBA Winners Announced

MNBA logo purpleThe winners of the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards (MNBA) were announced at the Gala Awards Ceremony on April 18, 2015 in St. Paul.  This year’s selections include:

  • Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman & Rick Allen (Children’s Literature)
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life by Nancy Koester (General Nonfiction)
  • The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen (Genre Fiction)
  • Tailings: A Memoir by Kaethe Schwehn (Memoir & Creative Nonfiction)
  • Dangerous Goods by Sean Hill (Poetry)
  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus (Young People’s Literature)
  • Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement by Lori Sturdevant (Minnesota)
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Novel & Short Story)

For more information about the 2015 MNBA winners, please click HERE.

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SELCOtv features MNBA booktalks

MNBA logo purpleThe 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards  Gala is just days away.  In anticipation of this unique literary event, SELCOtv features booktalks by the SELCO staff reviewing the four finalists in each of the eight categories.

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Celebrate National Library Week!


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Mn Legislative Update 2015-04-14

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

Today the House and Senate omnibus education and higher education bills were released. Most library appropriations remained at current levels. Here are the items where changes were proposed:

Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS): The Senate education bill increases RLBSS to $14.92 million in FY 2016 (an increase of $1.35 million) and to $15.070 million in FY 2017 and future years (an increase of $1.5 million). The total increase for the biennium is $2.85 million. The RLBSS formula is modified by increasing the base from 5% to 13% and by decreasing the equalization component from 25% to 17%. The House makes no change in RLBSS, so this will be an item of difference in the conference committee.

Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA): The Senate education bill increases funding for TEA to $5.25 million per year, an increase of $1.5 million per year. The House provides no increase for TEA, so this will be an item of difference in the conference committee.

General Education Formula: The House provides an increase of 0.6% in each year of the biennium, while the Senate provides an increase of 1% per year. The general education formula is the primary source of funding for school library media programs.

MnSCU and the University of Minnesota: There are no general operating increases proposed for either MnSCU or the U of M. The Senate higher education bill includes funding for student tuition relief for both systems, while the House bill provides such funding only for MnSCU.

The committees will take testimony and consider amendments to their omnibus bills this week. The bills will be passed out of their respective committees no later than Thursday evening.

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MELSA’s First Pages

MELSA firstpages logoMELSA libraries throughout the Twin Cities metro area will  host creative writing workshops, First Pages, for budding authors of all ages with teaching artists from The Loft Literary Center.


Made possible with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.
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More Moo! Adventures with Mike, David & Cow

Hello everyone following Cow’s Adventures,

Cow (and Mike and David) have been on the road again, traveling from Moorhead to Inver Grove Heights. Cow has had lots of adventures already this month, and is eager to share her latest photos, so here they are. I’m sorry there are so many, but believe me, this is less than what Cow wanted to send.

We started out with two shows at the Probstfield Center for Education in Moorhead on April 2, with 200+ attendees at the first show and 150+ at the second show. At the Burnhaven Library in Burnsville on April 4 we had about 40 attendees, and in Inver Grove Heights we had about 30 in the audience. At the Maplewood Library where Monica Stratton had LOTS of handouts for the kids, there were 120 attendees. Then today at our two shows at the Northtown Library in Blaine, we filled the room with 125 kids and adults at each show, and had to turn away about 40 folks at each show (one of the librarians gave an impromptu storytime for those who couldn’t fit in our meeting room, and those kids at least got free copies of the book).

We continue to be amazed at some of the wonderful promotion and extension-activities libraries and librarians have been doing with MOO! We are very proud to be part of OUR.

David, Mike, but mostly COW

PS – For the pictures of Cow’s latest travels and earlier library visits

Once Upon a Reader, the Moo! Trunk Shows, and all of Cow’s Adventures are made possible with money from Minnesota’s Art and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.
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Cow visits LARL

LARL Moo! with Sully 2015-04Cow in Moorhead for another Moo! Trunk Show.

One of the happy participants with the touring trio — illustrator Mike Wohnoutka and one of his on-the-spot creations and author David LaRochelle with Cow.

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PLD Day 2015

MLA PLD logoTime is running out to register for for PLD Day 2015!

Registration deadline:  April 15th

Who? All public librarians!

When?   April 28th from 9:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.

Where?  The Grands at Mulligans in Sartell, MN

Why? Because we’re going to have an awesome day!

To register:  Cost for the day, including breakfast snacks and a sit down lunch are $30 for MLA members and $50 for non-members. Sign up today.

PLD Day 2015 is going to be a fun, educational day for ALL public librarians and we encourage you to join us!

In the morning, CRPLSA (Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators) will take us on a tour of Minnesota’s regional library systems – they will talk about funding formulas, organization, service areas, everything you ever wanted to know about the other regions in the state.

Our keynote is Andrew Stehr from Rochester Public Library.  Play It Safe:  Tips on library Security with a focus on handling issues when you’re on your own.  Dealing with security and behavior issues is one of the worst parts of working in a public library.  This session will help take some of the confrontation out of security and help you feel safer when dealing with incidents.

And in the afternoon? We’ve got technology demonstrations, including a 3D printer, Discover Kits from Carver County, and a vinyl cutter – all things that could be very useful for your library in ways you have probably not imagined!

And the last session of the day will be a panel on makerspaces, including some of the demonstrated technologies.  There are ways to create awesome makerspaces in both big and small libraries so don’t think because you have no space, this won’t be useful for you!

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CRPLSA Letter to Assistant Commissioner McHenry

CRPLSA recently communicated two major concerns to Minnnesota Department of Education Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry pertaining to the management and oversight of regional public library systems.

  1. CRPLSA supports the ongoing investigation by the Department and State Library Services (SLS) into recent anomalies in Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA) as created by the FY2015 application from the Pioneerland Library System (PLS).
  2. CRPLSA appreciates the speed with which MDE and SLS conducted the administrative, organizational and fiscal review of Plum Creek Library System (PCLS).  The letter further emphasized that the other regional library staff and governing boards quickly reviewed their individual credit card policies, as well as grant expenditure and reporting policies to verify good management procedures.

Letter to MDE Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry

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MLA opposes statutory changes to regional hiring

A Minnesota Library Association (MLA) has delivered a  letter to legislative leaders opposing an change to the statutes regarding the hiring of regional public library system directors as proposed by Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

While the library community understands that this provision tries to address the issues  outlined in the recent  administrative, organizational, and fiscal review of Plum Creek Library System (PCLS),  CRPLSA does not believe this change will prevent future administrative weakness.   The State Auditor has traditionally been the agency to inform local governments of changes oversight while allowing for the greatest level of local authority.

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MN Legislative Update 2015-04-09

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

Legislative Calendar: On Tuesday legislators returned from their Passover/Easter break. Next week many budget committees will be releasing their omnibus budget bills. The Senate E-12 Education Budget Division will release its omnibus budget bill online next Tuesday. They will take public testimony on Wednesday and then will consider amendments and pass the bill out of committee on Thursday. The House Education Finance Committee has not yet announced when its omnibus bill will be released. There is a great deal of work to be done before the May 18 adjournment deadline.

Budget Targets: Before leaving for the Passover/Easter break, House and Senate leaders announced their budget targets. The education community was shocked and deeply disappointed at the very low targets for education, particularly in the context of a state budget surplus of nearly $1.9 billion. The House has allocated just $157 million in new funding for education over the next two years. The Senate has allocated $350 million. This is in contrast to Governor Dayton’s proposal to spend an additional $694 million on education. The House and Senate targets will make it very difficult to obtain funding increases for libraries, despite the positive reception our bills received when they were heard in committee.

Senate Legacy Hearing: On Monday, April 13 at 6pm the Senate Legacy Subcommittee will be taking testimony on the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Ann Hutton and Melinda Ludwiczak will present our request for regional public libraries. The hearing will take place in Room 15 of the Capitol.

Governor’s Bonding Proposal: This week Governor Dayton released his bonding proposal, which totals $842 million. It includes $2 million for Library Construction Grants. This is the first time funding for this program has been included in a governor’s proposal. The likelihood of a bonding bill of that size is very slim. Traditionally the Legislature passes a fairly small bonding bill in the odd-numbered year session and a much larger bill in the even-numbered year. House Republicans have said they have no interest in passing any bonding bill this year. However, they have left open the possibility that they could agree to a small bill as part of the end-of-session negotiations.

Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA): The governor’s supplemental education budget bill was made public on Tuesday. It includes some changes to the eligible uses of RLTA to more closely align it with the federal e-rate program. The CRPLSA RLTA Committee reviewed the language and suggested two clarifying changes. MDE has agreed to one of them and is considering the other. Last night the House Education Finance Committee took testimony on the governor’s supplemental budget. I testified about that we support the new language on RLTA but were working with MDE on a couple of tweaks to it. I also expressed disappointment that there is no new money for libraries in the governor’s budget and urged the committee to consider including Rep. Nornes’ bill to increase funding for RLBSS and multi-type funding and Rep. Kresha’s bill to increase funding for TEA and RLTA as they put together their omnibus education funding bill.

State of the State: Governor Dayton will deliver his state of the state address tonight at 7pm before a joint session of the Legislature. The address will be live-streamed on many websites, including the House of Representatives website, the StarTribune, the Pioneer Press and MPR and affiliates. The address will also be broadcast live on MPR.

Elaine KeefeCapitol Hill Associates

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Successful History Day Partnership

MHS History Day logoThrough a unique partnership, CRPLSA and the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), enhanced the learning opportunities for 5,429 students participating in 2015 History Day library activities.  This year’s project saw dramatic increases in the number of schools and students served:

  • Total participation (5,429) increased by nearly 1,000 students over FY2014 — that’s a 22% increase in a single year
  • 60 field trips were supported — up 25%
  • Not only were there more field trips, these trips included more students. 3,768 students were supported by field trip funding this year — that’s a 56% increase over FY2014.

Click here for a statewide History Day summary report

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Governor’s Education Policy and Supplemental Budget Items

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will host a conference call with Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry and State Librarian Jennifer Nelson on Monday, April 13. Here are the specifics as shared by MDE

The Governor’s education policy and supplemental budget bills include two proposals recommended by State Library Services. There has been much conversation about the two proposals and we want to ensure that our intent in recommending these changes is clear. In addition to the information provided here, Jennifer Nelson and Kevin McHenry are hosting a conference call on Monday, April 13 from 2:30 to 3 p.m. (1-888-742-5095, Conference Code: 3300487022) that will give you more information about the proposals and an opportunity to ask questions.

A provision in the education policy bill would change Minnesota Statutes, section 134.20, Subdivision 2 to require that the governing board of a regional public library system employ a full-time chief administrative officer. The proposal was modified by the House (HF 1591) after conversations with MDE, to require that the governing board of a regional public library system employ a chief administrative officer who is compensated by no more than one regional public library system.

This proposal was made following State Library Services’ experience in administering state and federal funds managed by two regional systems that contracted with the same individual to serve as chief administrative officer. In addition to concerns about accountability and the appropriate use of state and federal funds, the potential for conflict of interest is high, particularly with an individual who is on contract for two organizations with different business models.

The House proposal addresses these concerns and will ensure the challenges that one regional system may experience with a director do not directly impact the operations of another regional system, nor lead to a perceived or actual conflict of interest in the use of state and federal funds.

The supplemental budget bill includes a provision that modifies Minnesota Statutes, section 134.355 Subdivisions 8-10 to allow regional library telecommunications aid to be used for a wider array of expenses related to providing internet access. The bill clarifies that a regional public library system applicant and the libraries included in its application must file for e-rate, and uses e-rate funding commitment decision letters as a basis for distributing the appropriation. Further, it aligns eligible expenditures with non-voice e-rate category 1 services. It also stipulates that aid may be used for category 2 services if sufficient funds remain once category 1 needs are met in each funding year.

This proposal updates statutory language and will give aid applicants more flexibility in using regional library telecommunications aid to cover the wide range of costs associated with providing internet access in libraries. It also increases accountability for the use of regional library telecommunications aid.

We hope you’ll be able to join the conference call, but please don’t hesitate to contact State Library Services with any other questions. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation to attend the conference call, email Jennifer Nelson or call 651-582-8791. 

MDE Logo 2013

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Lead the Change coming to MN

Lead the Change 2015 graphic

Lead the Change: Professional Development for Library Staff is a full-day, live, interactive workshop that will transform library staff into leaders. Participants will learn their strengths and receive the tools needed to increase their effectiveness and performance and contribute to their library’s success.

May 19, 2015 at the Brookdale Library



  • David Bendekovic – Program Developer and Lead Instructor at the Pennsylvania Library Association Academy for Leadership Studies
  • Kit Hadley – Library Director, St. Paul Public Library
  • Liz Lynch – Director, Lake Agassiz Regional Library

Be a part of this on-going, national movement as Lead the Change travels from city to city providing insights, best practices, dynamic presentations and leadership tools.

Lead the Change website

Lead the Change 2015 locations

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New GRRL Event Guide

GRRL logo and library card

Great River Regional Library (GRRL) published a four-month Event Guide for the first time, featuring programs from May through August. This change required a little more advanced planning, but has been well received by the staff and the public. It will allow regional staff to promote all of the GRRL summer events during the spring class visit season.

In addition to distribution through the branch libraries, GRRL has connected with local organizations in 26 communities where there is not a GRRL library to distribute a supply of Event Guides.

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MLA Annual Conference Call for Proposals

MLA conference logo 2015It’s time to start thinking about the MLA 2015 Annual Conference!

The Minnesota Library Association 2015 Annual Conference will be at the RiverCentre in St. Paul October 8-9.   Search, Create, Inspire, this year’s conference theme chosen by MLA President Maggie Snow, is an opportunity to showcase and share the work we do every day — searching for answers, creating learners, inspiring minds to grow and communities to take action.

The MLA Annual Conference equips library staff with new ideas and tools to stay up-to-date, innovate, and succeed in their careers. A presentation at the conference can have an immediate and lasting impact on local libraries. Please help shape the program at the 2015 conference.

Please complete the proposal submission form if you have a great idea for an MLA 2015 Annual Conference session.  Everything you need to know about submitting a session proposal can be found on the MLA website.

Deadline for session proposals is Friday May 1, 2015.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the MLA Conference Program Committee Chairs.

Michele McGraw and Barbara Svoboda

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