MELSA has named Scott Vrieze as MELSA’s Executive Director.
Previously, Vrieze was University Library Director with the University of Wisconsin-Stout, based in Menomenie, Wisconsin. He also served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association. His professional background includes work with academic libraries, public libraries, academic library consortia, and library advocacy organizations. He has operational, planning, budget, patron service, supervisory, and advocacy experience. He has worked with a MELSA member library system – the Saint Paul Public Library. He holds a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota and the M.L.I.S. degree from the College of Saint Catherine / Dominican University. He is a member of the Council of UW Libraries Director’s Committee and, as mentioned, is the 2019 President of the Wisconsin Library Association.
He will begin his new position on July 8, 2019.
The Viking Library System Governing Board is pleased to announce, after leading a nationwide search, that Erin Smith, Director of the Fergus Falls Public Library (FFPL) in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, has been hired as the next System Administrator for Viking Library System (VLS), headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
Viking Library System Governing Board Chair Wayne Runningen said “We are very pleased to announce this appointment. Erin’s dedication to providing Public Library services to her community will continue in her new role of providing services and support to the entire region that the Viking Library System serves. ”
Smith received her undergraduate degree in English Secondary Education from Minnesota State University Moorhead and her Masters of Library Science Degree from Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania. Smith has served as the Director of FFPL for 8 years. Prior to becoming the director of FFPL, she served as a Children’s Librarian with the Fargo Public Library in Fargo, ND and as the Children’s Librarian for FFPL for four years.
The previous director of the Viking Library System, Gerri Moeller, left for a position with Minitex, an information and resource sharing program of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Smith is expected to assume her duties as VLS System Administrator at the end of July.
Viking Library System is a federated regional public library system providing professional support for 11 member libraries and serves the counties of Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens and Traverse in west central Minnesota.
Regional Public Library Systems were able to successfully secure funding from the MN Legislature for the 2020/21 biennium. Libraries will receive $2.55 million per year, which is a slight increase over the previous $2.25 million during the 2018/19 biennium.
Kristi Hanson has been the director of NWRL since 2013. We wish Kristi the best as she moves on to her next adventure!
Congratulations to Gerri Moeller, previous Viking Library System director on her new position with Minitex.
Moeller has been selected as Minitex’s Associate Director for Resource Sharing and Delivery. Valerie Horton announced the decision this week in an email to staff. Moeller’s first day will be Wednesday, May 29.
Minnesota Library Advocates
Visit this site for information about what is going on in the current legislative session, an overview of how Minnesota libraries and systems work together to meet the needs of all Minnesotans, how to participate in Library Legislative Day, and an introduction for those who may be new to advocacy. For more information, visit: https://sites.google.com/view/minnesotalibraryadvocacy/home
Congratulations to Karen Pundsack, Director of Great River Regional Library on her recently published article How to Avoid Becoming a Ransomware Hostage in the July/August 2018 issue of Public Libraries. Read her article here: http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2018/03/how-to-avoid-becoming-a-ransomware-hostage/
This site is intended to assist both newcomers and old hands advocate for Minnesota libraries of all types. The goal is to provide a one-stop spot for information about what is going on in the current legislative session, an overview of how Minnesota libraries and systems work together to meet the needs of all Minnesotans, how to participate in Library Legislative Day, and an introduction for those who may be new to advocacy. For more information, visit: https://sites.google.com/view/minnesotalibraryadvocacy/home
View the 2018 MLA/ITEM Platform.
Libraries Now Offer Tools to Create and Share Ebooks
Minnesota Libraries are now offering a new suite of resources – collectively called MN Writes MN Reads – to help local authors connect with local readers, and potentially with readers across the country. MN Writes MN Reads consists of three resources that allow authors and readers to create, share, and read ebooks. These resources, Pressbooks, SELF-e, and Biblioboard, are free to members of the community via the MN Writes MN Reads website – www.MNWritesMNReads.org.
Pressbooks enables writers to convert their manuscripts into a variety of ebook formats, including ePub, MOBI, and PDF. Pressbooks helps writers format their books with professional design templates and includes tools to assist with book organization. After converting their book into ebook format, authors can distribute their book however they choose. One free option is SELF-e.
SELF-e is portal for sharing ebooks. Titles submitted to SELF-e undergo a basic screening process and then are added to the statewide MN Writes MN Reads collection. In addition, titles submitted are screened by staff from Library Journal. Library Journal selects a limited number of titles (at this time only fiction) to make available to readers across the country. Authors retain all rights to books submitted to SELF-e.
BiblioBoard is the place where readers find this content. This easy-to-use platform features work from a wide variety of genres, including comics, history, art, graphic novels, young adult novels, and romance. There are an unlimited number of checkouts, meaning that readers never have to wait for a book to be available. In addition, there are no return periods (and therefore never any late fees!).
“Leading indie authors agree that building an audience of readers is the biggest challenge they face. This program marries a great ebook experience with the validation of the most respected library review resource in the world. The result is a program that enables writers to share their work with their local communities and with libraries around the country,” says Mitchell Davis, founder and Chief Business Officer of BiblioBoard, the vendor behind these three resources.
Funding for these services comes from libraries from across the state. As the Metropolitan Library Service Agency Executive Director Ken Behringer explains, “Writers in Minnesota will be able to create content in a variety of ebook formats, and the state’s readers will be able to find that content in a special online collection highlighting those self-published authors.”
Libraries are increasingly places of content creation, in addition to content consumption, and MN Writes MN Reads offers tools to help writers create and share their work. Minnesota Libraries are excited to offer MN Writes MN Reads, which will enable the sharing of a wide and diverse array of local stories. These resources will give local writers broader exposure and give readers access to locally-produced content.
Visit MNWritesMNReads.org for more information.
Once Upon a Reader (OUR) is a Minnesota program designed for pre-k children and their families. If your Minnesota regional library system or public library is interested in using the Once Upon a Reader name, logo, and branding to offer a special program or series by a Minnesota artist, please fill out the
Once Upon a Reader Application for Use.
Stop by and enjoy the beautiful new sculptures of Winter and Autumn at the International Falls Public Library completed by Eric “Erickson” Kulig and dedicated July, 2017.
This is one of the many Legacy programs that benefits our patrons in the Arrowhead Library System.
Session Closure Report – from Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates
While the Governor’s line-item veto of the legislature’s operating budget means the people’s business isn’t quite finished, it is for our practical purposes.
The final Bonding bill, signed into law, appropriates $2 million for library construction and renovation projects.
The final Legacy bill, signed into law, appropriates $2.5 million for library legacy programming for the next two years.
The final E-12 bill, signed into law, doesn’t appropriate new funding for regional library programs.
The 2018 session begins at noon on Tuesday, February 20th.
Gerri Moeller, Director of the Outagamie Waupaca Library System (OWLS) in Appleton, Wisconsin has been hired as the next system administrator for Viking Library System, headquartered in Fergus Falls, MN.
Moeller received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Lawrence University, Wisconsin and her Masters of Information and Library Science from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to becoming the director of OWLS she was the Library Automation Manager and Technology support there for 11 years.
The current long-time director of Viking Library System, Peg Werner, is retiring after 24 ½ years of service in Fergus Falls and 18 years of library experience in Iowa. Moeller is expected to assume her duties in the beginning of June. Werner will retire June 14, 2017.
Viking Library System is a federated regional public library system providing professional support for eleven member libraries and serving the counties of Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens and Traverse in west central Minnesota.
Today is Ann Hutton’s last day at SELCO. Ann started as Regional Librarian at SELCO in 1984, moved to Assistant Director in 1989 and Executive Director in 1996. We offer our sincere thanks for her 33 years of service. We will miss her firm commitment to providing top-notch service to libraries, her tireless advocacy work in the legislature over many years, and her no-nonsense approach to, well, everything. Thanks Ann. We wish you all the best as you retire — enjoy having time to spend with friends and family, knitting, cooking, gardening, traveling — and, of course, reading!
March 8, 2017
ROCHESTER, MN – The SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Cooperating) board of trustees has appointed Krista Ross as the new Executive Director of the library system. Ross will assume the role on April 24. Current Executive Director Ann Hutton will retire on May 1 but will be available afterward to assist in the transition.
Ross is the current Director of the Southwest Wisconsin Library System, headquartered in Fennimore, Wisconsin. Ross’s experience includes work in large and small public libraries in Illinois and Wisconsin and service as Wisconsin Library Association president and board member. She is committed to providing resources and support necessary for staff development and member library success, with demonstrated experience in communication and relationship building, budget management, library user experience, and strategic planning.
“I’m so very honored to be the next SELCO Executive Director,” said Ross. “I’m excited to work with such awesome libraries, trustees and staff.”
Four candidates were interviewed in person following a nationwide candidate search and a series of telephone interviews.
Ross has a degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa, as well as a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa. She is active in various professional library associations and has been a presenter at a number of Wisconsin Library Association conferences.
SELCO serves an 11 county region in Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Winona Counties. The region shares over 3.5 million items through its Integrated Library System, and approximately 3,500 items travel through its interlibrary loan delivery service every day.
Isanti County Commissioner Mike Warring was right on the money when talking about Barbara Misselt during a special recognition of her retirement at this month’s East Central Regional Library Board of Directors meeting. “We always admired how Barb treats people, the staff and the board with respect,” he said.
That statement meant a lot to Barb because it reflects her philosophy — “We need to work together, even if we don’t always agree” – the same philosophy she put into action throughout the past nine years as director of Minnesota’s first regional library system. Overseeing a staff of 80-plus at 14 branch libraries and eight outreach sites, she strived to make sure people worked together across the east central region.
She also has full confidence in the new Executive Director, Carla Lydon, whose first day on the job is April 2, 2017.
“My career at ECRL has been fulfilling and enjoyable because of the professional staff team, at Headquarters and across the branches and the committed Board of Directors,” Barb said. “I am confident in the abilities of Assistant Director Carla Lydon who has been appointed to be the new ECRL Executive Director.”
For Barb, working with the counties and cities in the ECRL region, along with the state’s 11 other regional library systems, is important for the success of the library system. Such collaboration is done for the citizens of Minnesota, and so is advocacy, which recently brought Barb to the state Capitol to testify for Legacy funding. “One success helps others succeed,” she said.
Find a way to say “Yes” is not just a sign found at ECRL headquarters, it’s an expectation that Barb put on herself and staff in service to the public. The ECRL Board highlighted Barb’s adoption of this mindset, which she later explained. “You find a way to attain what goal people want to accomplish,” she said. “Instead of saying no, let’s get creative and find a way to accomplish what you need.”
While Barb’s last day as ECRL’s lead administrator is fast approaching, she is not viewing retirement in the traditional way. “It’s a passage to the next chapter, a transition to the next phase in service to the community,” she said. Barb and husband Ron are moving back home to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where family and a new home await.
ECRL Marketing Assistant
A retirement celebration will be held on Friday, March 31 from 1-4:00 at the ECRL Headquarters in Cambridge. All are welcome to attend.
Washington, DC — Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew released the following statement on the President’s proposed FY 2018 budget, which includes elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Since its inception 20 years ago, the grants and programs the Institute of Museum and Library Services has administered have provided critical support that has enabled museums and libraries across the country to make a tremendous difference in their communities. The institutions we serve provide vital resources that contribute significantly to Americans’ economic development, education, health, and well-being whether by facilitating family learning and catalyzing community change or stimulating economic development through job training and skills development. Our agency’s support enables museums and libraries to offer learning experiences for students and families as well as increase care for and access to the nation’s collections that are entrusted to museums and libraries by the public.
We’ve invested in rural and smaller communities by supporting basic infrastructure and the development of libraries as local community hubs for broadband connectivity and digital literacy training, which has helped hundreds of residents gain job-related skills and, in many cases, find employment. In summary, our grants and programs support libraries and museums as essential contributors to improving Americans’ quality of life.
More than $214 million of our $230 million FY 2016 enacted budget targets museums and libraries directly through our grant programs. This includes $155 million for library services to every state and territory in the country through a population-based formula grant program.
As Congress now begins its work on the FY 2018 budget, our agency will continue to work closely with the Office of Management and Budget. More importantly, we will continue to remain steadfast in our work on behalf of the millions of Americans touched by the services of libraries and museums each day.
The following information was shared via email with the library community on Monday, March 27, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.
Senate E-12 Omnibus Bill
Despite your grassroots efforts, we fell short in the Senate E-12 bill this afternoon. The committee didn’t fund any portion of our library systems request in SF 1033. Instead, the committee put $288 million of their $300 million target into the basic education formula.
There’s another $4 million in the bill to expand early learning programs. There’s $6 million for Reading Core and a few other odds and ends and smaller change items. The Senate E-12 committee heard a request to expand school Broadband Equity Aid, but they didn’t include that funding either. Overall, it’s a very basic E-12 bill with no real drama.
At this point of session we’re in tough shape for our systems’ requests in the E-12 bill. None of the three players; Governor, House & Senate, have much for library initiatives in their education proposals. The House bill has $50,000/year for two years for the Center for the Book.
If the Legislature moves forward with their own ‘round 1’ E-12 package it’s likely the Governor will veto it and demand an increased spending target. He’s asking for $709 million for E-12 where as the legislature is at $300 million in the Senate and $258 million in the House.
Assuming the E-12 target increases in any ‘round 2’ negotiation, the likely places for additional dollars are to get the school general education formula to 2&2, more money for PreK and help with TRA.
Senate Legacy Bill
We’ll likely see the Senate’s Legacy bill rollout Thursday morning at 10am.
There’s still no sign of a House bonding bill. The Senate bonding bill, SF 210, awaits floor action at some point when leadership is ready to take it up. SF 210 includes $2 million for library construction and renovation grants.
This afternoon the Senate E-12 Budget Division chaired by Sen. Carla Nelson (GOP Rochester) reviewed our proposal to amend and increase the RLBSS formula and to increase funding for the multi-county, multi-type library systems.
Many thanks to Ken Behringer, Liz Lynch and Ann Walker Smalley for testifying on behalf of the bill. And many thanks to Sen. Gary Dahms (GOP Redwood Falls) for chief authoring the bill!
Overall the hearing was productive, but there was some frustration by members over the lack of time for questions about the variety of library services provided by the various regions. Overdrive was specifically asked about by Sen. Tomassoni (DFL Chisholm).
Chair Nelson essentially asked our panel about what level of funding is required to hold all the systems harmless if a formula change is made. The panel didn’t reply with a specific figure, but following the hearing Ken and I clarified that the MELSA board approved a resolution to amend the formula with at least $2 million in new funding for RLBSS. Chair Nelson clearly appreciated this information.
Tomorrow morning the state will release the February budget forecast and hopefully the budget news is positive. We can expect House and Senate budget plans to emerge in the next few weeks.
Library Legislative Day is scheduled for Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at the Capital!
Talking Points for 2017:
Library Legacy Request HF 1308 & SF 1134
Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) HF 1382 & SF 1033
RLBSS & Multi-type bill introduced:
HF 1382, Rep. Bud Nornes (GOP Fergus Falls) & SF 1033, Sen. Gary Dahms (GOP Redwood Falls) were introduced this week. These bills include MLA-ITEM RLBSS and Multi-type funding increases. The legislation also includes the agreed upon formula adjustment and clarifications on how and when MDE will calculation regional system aid payments. If passed this would be the first increase in library system funding since state fiscal year 2009.
House Legacy bill introduced:
HF 1308 Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL Hermantown and longtime library champion!) was introduced this week. The Senate companion is chief authored by Sen. Dave Senjem (GOP Rochester) and will receive and official SF bill number on Monday.
Library Capital Investment bill:
Rep. Jeff Howe (GOP Rockville) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (GOP Alexandria) are signed on as chief authors of our $10 million capital investment request for library renovation and construction grants. We will have an official HF bill number on Monday. We’re still gathering co-authors in the Senate.
It’s also important to note that the Senate Capital Investment committee has already moved last session’s failed bonding bill out of committee. SF 210 includes $2 million for library construction and renovation grants.
The city of Walker may be seeking a $400,000 grant to improve their library as a stand-alone bonding proposal this session.
MLA Day at the Capitol
We’re getting excited to see many of you next week for library legislative day. We have many proposals in the works and need your help to advance them.
Sam, Rob and Joe
Capital Hill Associates
The following information was shared via email with the library community on Thursday, January 26, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.
Dayton’s Budget Plan
Governor Dayton announced a budget plan earlier this week that would add significant new revenue into the public education system. $371 million would go toward “2&2” on the basic formula allowance for all students. Another $75 million would go toward expanding his voluntary pre-K program. $40 million would go toward special education. He also proposed $68 million to help solve the Teacher Retirement Association (TRA) solvency problem.
There’s no new funding proposed for library programs, but your legislative team is working on that!
We’re well aware that 2016 did not produce a bonding bill and our $2 million for library renovation and construction projects is still in limbo. Governor Dayton at the start of this session announced a $1.5 billion bonding package that includes the $2 million for library renovation and construction. Later today the Senate Capital Investment Committee is expected to move a significant bonding package out of committee that will include the $2 million for library renovation and construction. The Senate bill is a ‘dust-off’ of the bill that almost passed last session. As for the House, it’s unclear as to what their game plan is on bonding at this point.
RLBSS & Multi-County Multi-Type Funding
Our bill to improve the formula and funding for RLBSS and the Multi-types will be chief authored by Rep. Bud Nornes (GOP Fergus Falls) and Sen. Gary Dahms (GOP Redwood Falls). We’re still gathering co-authors so we won’t have a bill introduction with a bill number for some time yet.
We’ve also begun discussions with and bill drafting for the Library Legacy request, but that won’t appear for some time yet.
Minnesota Library Legislative Day is just around the corner. Library supporters are invited to converge at the Capitol for this important annual event on February 21-22.
Although Wednesday is the highlight, activities begin on Tuesday at the Rice Street Library. After light refreshments and an informal meet-and-greet, representatives of Capitol Hill Associates, MLA’s lobbying team, will provide and update on legislative developments affecting libraries in 2017-2020.
If you are unable to attend the evening briefing, don’t worry. Capitol Hill Associates will host a repeat session the next morning at the Judicial Center (on the capitol grounds). Throughout the day you will have a chance to meet with your legislators and voice your support for libraries and their continued funding.
Click here to learn more, and to register for this free and truly invaluable advocacy opportunity.
The Viking Library System (VLS) announces an excellent opportunity to lead a well-established federated regional public library system. Services are provided directly to the public through bookmobile and outreach services and indirectly through 11 independent member libraries. The system is funded through a combination of county, state, and federal resources.
Requirements for success applicants include: Master of Library Science degree from an ALA-accredited library program, five to seven years of professional public library experience including public library management of financial, administrative, supervisory and operational activities; and an empathy for rural life and library service in a federated context.
For further information including a complete job description and application form check the VLS Director Search website. Applications accepted until position is filled; initial applicant review will begin February 13, 2017.
The successful candidate will be the Executive Director of a 6-county consolidated public library system in east central Minnesota which operates 14 branches and outreach services. The Executive Director reports to an 18 member Board of elected officials and appointed citizens representing the six counties which are Signatories to the East Central Regional
ECRL Vacancy Announcement with information regarding minimum qualifications, key areas of focus and a description of the position.
Application form and job description available at on the ECRL website.
The candidate application and supporting materials are due by Wednesday, January 18, 2017 and should be addressed to:
East Central Regional Library
Attn: Search Committee
244 So. Birch St.
Cambridge, MN 55008
Questions? Contact Mike Warring, Board President, at 763-350-4586
Job search underway in the southeast. SELCO seeks an individual with strong leadership skills to provide direction for a diverse membership and manage SELCO staff at its headquarters in Rochester.
SELCO has created customized webpages offering information to prospective candidates and SELCO/SELS stakeholders. The candidate information includes a warm invitation with an awesome testimonial video and photo essays. Additional links provide information about the regional public and multitype system and libraries around the region, as well as an outline of the search process.
The minimum qualifications require a MLS from an ALA-accredited school. Extensive management experience. Knowledge of multitype library systems. Resumes, with cover letter, will be accepted until January 31, 2017 and interviews will start in February. For more information, contact Sue Hall at Library Strategies, a consulting group of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.
Lake Agassiz Regional Library is thrilled to invite it’s reading public to participate in Hot Reads for Cold Nights, an annual winter reading program for adults.
The LARL program rules are simple: read or listen to four books, audiobooks, eBooks, or eAudiobooks for a chance to win prizes. The program will begin on Monday, January 2 and end Tuesday, February 28. All of LARL’s 22 locations are offering this reading opportunity. Prizes include mugs, totes, calendars and more!
LARL even offers an online resource of title suggestions to make reading choices easier. Use Next 5 Books, LARL’s recommendation program
Library users will more easily access eBooks across multiple systems thanks to SimplyE, a free app from phones and tablets that is being further developed at Minitex.
SimplyE, developed by the New York Public Library, eliminates the need for a user to switch between multiple eBook vendor apps to access collections from a single library. Minitex developers will enhance the functionality to allow users to access eBooks from their public library, their college library, and other shared collections. The work is funded by a $695,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
With over 500 participants representing rural and small libraries in nearly every state and Canada, the recent ARSL – Association of Rural & Small Libraries annual conference in Fargo was a success. CRPLSA provided financial support by underwriting the keynote presentation by Minnesota author and several time winner of the Minnesota Book Award, William Kent Krueger.
Registration for National Library Legislative Day 2017 is now open. To find information about the event, to register, or to book a hotel room, visit ala.org/nlld.
As with previous years, National Library Legislative Day 2017 will be held at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, DC. Briefing day will take place on May 1st, and includes informational sessions about each of the most important legislation issues libraries are facing, as well as advocacy training. On May 2nd, each state delegation will go to their meetings on the Hill with their elected officials.
Registration this year is $50 and includes entry into a reception held on Capitol Hill, along with a folder full of briefing materials, talking points, and information.
Today marks the official launch of Minnesota Loves Libraries, a statewide, grassroots advocacy campaign set to run through January. We are looking for stories that exemplify service, community connections, and individual success. Have you had a positive interaction with a library staff member? Did you attend a program that taught you something? Maybe you were able to access information that helped you get a job or improve your work skills, or maybe a librarian guided you to the perfect book to share with your child at bedtime. Whatever it is, we’d like to hear about it!
Supported by CRPLSA, the campaign is launching statewide and will be administered by each library region individually. Library users are invited to stop by their local library to fill out a postcard or visit Minnesota Loves Libraries to use the online form. The purpose is to gather stories of how Minnesotans use the library and how it makes a difference in their lives.
Library supporters who attend Minnesota Library Legislative Day at the Capitol in March will hand deliver these messages from across the region. Legislators will receive comments from their constituents so that they get a glimpse of library services available in their district, and to provide an opportunity for them to respond directly.
Blustery weather and long winter nights provide the perfect excuse to snuggle down with a good book (or two, or three). The Arrowhead Library System and SELCO winter reading programs will enhance the reading enjoyment whether the reader chooses a paper copy, an audio version or an eBook.
Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL) is happy to announce the launch of 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, a program designed to foster relationship-building and brain development while preparing youth for kindergarten. Thanks to the Minnesota Department of Education through a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, LARL is committed to offering this program to the residents of the seven counties served by LARL, including Becker, Clay, Clearwater, Mahnomen, Norman, Polk, and Wilkin Counties.
This free program encourages parents and caregivers to read to youth from birth to kindergarten and beyond. Each participant will receive a book bag with information about the program, information about the benefits of reading to young children, a library card application, and reading logs for tracking books read. LARL will provide incentives and celebrations for youth and families who complete the program each year.
In effort to best serve youth of this age, and bridge the opportunity gap, LARL will be looking for partnering agencies and organizations to help spread the word about this program. We hope to use this program as a tool to establish new relationships with outside agencies and organizations who currently serve birth-K, in addition to strengthening relationships already in place. Partnering agencies currently include various ECIs, County Health Agencies, and Headstart.
The following information was shared via email with the library community by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.
State Budget Forecast Released
State officials released the November budget forecast for the state of Minnesota on Friday, December 2nd. The forecast estimates that the state will close its current fiscal biennium next June 30th with $678 million left on the bottom line. That figure takes into account $334 million that will be automatically transferred to the state’s budget reserve as required by law. This action will bring the state’s budget reserve to $1.9 billion, just shy of its $2 billion statutory goal.
The forecast shows a $736 million surplus for the next fiscal biennium (FY 18-19). When added to the $678 million current fiscal year projected surplus you get the “$1.4 billion surplus” figure you’re seeing in the headlines. There are two important factors here. The first is that a significant portion of the $1.4 billion surplus figure is one-time money carried forward from the current fiscal year. The second is that there’s no inflationary assumption built into the forecast. If the state applied an estimated CPI factor into the forecast, the FY 18-19 surplus shrinks to $87 million.
The ‘tails’ forecast for FY 20-21 is also important to note. Friday’s data show a $1.5 billion surplus for the tails, but again with no inflationary factor. If an inflationary factor is assumed for the tails that surplus figure disappears and could actually look like a deficit. The bottom line is that while the headline numbers look good, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about the economy moving forward. The current forecast assumes GDP growth just above 2% for the foreseeable future instead of figures north of 3% that were hoped for a year ago.
The major players in St. Paul are all indicating that a special session is a definite possibility. They’re targeting December 20th as the date to come in and tackle some of the major unresolved issues from this year, including; the Tax bill, the Bonding bill and a new proposal to buy down insurance premiums for those buying health coverage through MNSure’s individual market. The Bonding bill is the most significant interest to libraries as it contains $2 million for library construction grants.
Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates