MALF Best: Austin Public Library Friends

Austin Friends and Evy Nordley Award 2015
Sue Grove, President of the Austin Public Library Friends, and Mary Ann Bernat, MALF President

The Friends of the Austin Public Library were recognized for outstanding library support at the recent MLA annual conference.  The Austin Friends received the 2015 Evy Nordley Award for Best Project by Friends of the Library, the most distinguished award from the Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF).

The project grew out of a local need for new reading materials after the closing of a local bookstore.  The Friends negotiated a partnership with the Rochester Barnes & Noble and offered buying opportunities for community members which coincided with special holidays.

Of the award, Friends President Sue Grove stated, “Winning the Evy Nordley Award is an affirmation that what our Friends group is doing is providing real services and benefits to our community.  The $1,000 grant attached to the Evy Nordley will serve as ‘seed money’ as we explore other innovative projects.”

Click here to read more about their award-winning project and how the Friends of the Austin Public Library created a new and replicable holiday book sale model.

Celebrate Lights on Afterschool

While not every library offers organized afterschool programs, many provide  “stealth” learning opportunities just by being open when kids are not in school. On October 22, celebrate the importance of afterschool learning with Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide event recognizing the value of out-of-school-time programs to children, families, & communities.

Ignite logoIgnite Afterschool, Minnesota’s afterschool network, will provide support to libraries hosting Lights On Afterschool celebrations. The activity and planning toolkits, as well as  the social media campaign will  allow libraries to host events that reflect unique community needs, while also connecting celebrations across the state.   Email Jen Verbrugge at State Library Services for more information.

eBooks Minnesota

Minitex and the Minnesota Department of Education State Library Services will launch a two-year pilot project that will create a statewide collection of ebooks. The opening day collection will bring statewide access to school-aged content from Minnesota independent presses. Over time, the goal is to create an ebook collection that is of interest to all age groups and all types of libraries.  Currently, Minitex and State Library Services are seeking input to how best to accomplish long-term collection development and achieve project stability

ebooks MN logoeBooks Minnesota Goals

  • Support Minnesota’s authors
  • Support Minnesota’s independent publishers
  • Bring authors, publishers and librarians together
  • Connect children and youth to ebooks that support school and public library collections
  • Supplement adult ebook collections
  • Preserve Minnesota’s literary heritage
  • Provide ebooks for public, school and academic libraries
  • Purchase from publishers throughout Minnesota

This continuing statewide partnership builds on the 2014 work for Explore eBooks MN.  After a series of webinars and an all-day participatory retreat, the library community identified these outcomes as essential for any future statewide endeavors.

  • Permanent Ownership of Titles
  • Unlimited Access
  • Unlimited Circulation Period
  • DRM-Free
  • Easy to Use
  • Shared, For All Types Libraries
  • Stable Funding   (Two year pilot)
  • Training & Support
  • Infrastructure including for ILL  (In development)
  • Advocacy  (In development)

SELCO’s Hot Reads for 2016

Hot Reads for Cold Nights poster 2016SELCO’s 2016 Hot Reads for Cold Nights theme takes its cue from a cool evening’s walk in new-fallen snow.  As dusk turns to night, the sky takes on a gorgeous ombré effect fading from winter white through numerous shades of purple to a midnight blue.  Even though the air is chilly, you enjoy the beauty of it all knowing you have one of our mugs filled with piping hot cocoa just waiting for you to return.

Reading program products available for purchase

MALF Supported NLLD Scholarship

MALF is pleased to offer a one-time scholarship of $500 to a Friend of the Library interested in traveling to Washington, D.C. on May 2-3, 2016, to advocate for libraries as part of National Library Legislative Day (NLLD).  Coordinated by the American Library Association, this annual, two-day event is the highest profile library advocacy opportunity in the country. Minnesota attendees will receive an in-depth briefing on library legislation before getting the opportunity to meet in person with members of the Minnesota congressional delegation and congressional staff.

This special MALF scholarship is for first-time NLLD participants who currently reside in
Minnesota. Individual-level membership in MALF, or affiliation with a Friends of the Library group that is a member of MALF, is also required.

Informational flyer for MALF – NLLD 2016 Scholarship

Call for MLA Silent Auction Items

MLA conference logo 2015The Silent Auction is a fun annual tradition at the MLA Conference that has been supporting the Minnesota Library Foundation and in turn, the local library community, for twenty years.

Help make this year another success!

While there are always some great donations from local businesses, authors, and even Etsy artists, the auction still needs generous individuals like you to help fill the tables.  As librarians, board members, and Friends are well-rounded and multi-talented people — Do you have a skill, creative hobby, or knack for shopping? Please consider donating an item or service! We also know everyone is human — Are your closets full of barely-touched impulse purchases or unwanted gifts? Bring them in and write them off on your taxes! (No one will tell your Great Aunt you never used that Bundt pan…promise.)

When you’re done searching your closets and tapping into your creative genius, please alert the auction planners, Allison Current and Erica Ross an, an email heads-up at as soon as possible.   Then mail or drop off your items with a donation form at the CLIC Office by September 24th: 

1619 Dayton Avenue Ste. 204
St. Paul, MN 55104 

The Minnesota Library Foundation helps fund the Minnesota Leadership Institute for emerging leaders, supports the Minnesota Book Awards and provides small grants to libraries across the state.

Call for Construction Grant Applications

MDE Logo 2013State Library Services is pleased to announce that applications for round two of the 2014 Library Construction Grant program are now available. The program provides public libraries with funding for renovation, construction, and improvement projects that result in more accessible library facilities. Projects may:

• Remove architectural barriers from a library building or site.
• Remediate conditions hazardous to health or safety.
• Renovate or expand an existing building for use as a library.
• Construct a new library.

The 2014 Minnesota Legislature allocated a total of $2,000,000 to the program, with $857,000 of those funds earmarked for specific projects and the remaining funds for competitive grant awards. An estimated $848,000 in state funding is available to award approximately three grants in the second round.

Application forms and instructions are available on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Grants Management site. Scroll to Library Construction Grant opportunity. Completed applications are due November 10, 2015.

An informational webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9, 2015, from 3-4 p.m. Call-in via phone at 1-888-742-5095 (using conference code 492 064 9083 / meeting number 598 116 941) or participate via WebEx. Pre-registration is not required.

Please email Emily Kissane  or call 651-582-8508 for more information, or to request a reasonable accommodation to attend the online meeting. Note: The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) requires a two-week advance notice in order to provide the requested accommodation and requires a 48-hour notice to cancel a requested accommodation.

LSTA Grants Awarded

MDE Logo 2013State Library Services uses Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds to expand access to learning services, information tools and educational resources in all types of libraries. The State Library helps libraries provide educational and civic engagement opportunities, lifelong learning, workforce development and digital literacy skill-building activities. To achieve this goal, LSTA grants are competitively awarded to fund projects that help Minnesotans in new and innovative ways. The State Library is  pleased to announce the nine successful 2015 LSTA competitive grant-awarded projects.

  • Bloomington Public Schools, “Middle School Makerspaces: A Community of Creators” – $80,084
  • Farmington Public Schools, “Bridging Literacy through Targeted Instruction” – $43,233
  • Friends of Hennepin County Library (MELSA), “Cedar Riverside Library Outreach Project” – $96,912
  • Hmong Cultural Center, “Hmong Resource Center Library Expansion Project” – $12,020
  • Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), “Identifying Access Needs for E-Government Services” – $100,000
  • Robbinsdale Area Schools, “Creating a Culture of Literacy among AVID High School Students”- $64,228
  • Saint Paul Public Schools, “Building Research-Ready Students in SPPS” – $99,866
  • Waconia Public Schools,  “Waconia Digital Navigators: Students at the Helm” – $49,473
  • Waseca-Le Sueur Regional Library System (TdSLC), “Romp and Rhyme” – $20,466

Ortega Appointed as PLS Executive Director

PLS logoThe Pioneerland Library System (PLS) Board of Trustees has appointed Laurie Ortega as the Executive Director of the 31-library system.

Ortega has been serving as Interim Director since February 2015.  She joined PLS as manager of  the Willmar Public Library in 2004.  She began working at PLS headquarters in 2008 as the Assistant Director and as the Director of Library Operations since 2012.

Prior to coming to PLS, Ortega was employed as the librarian for the USGS EROS Data Center in Sioux Falls, SD.

Ortega has a BA in English & Journalism from the University of North Dakota, and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of North Texas.

Ortega stated, “I am pleased and grateful for this opportunity to continue my work in PLS as
their Executive Director.”

GRRL Planning Process

GRRL logo and library cardOver the months of June & July, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) has hosted community feedback sessions in 11 libraries to gather input for a new 2016-2021 strategic plan. They will conduct a user/non-user study in August based on work performed through a St. Cloud State University student service learning project.

Staff input sessions will be held in August as well. GRRL will incorporate technology planning into the overall strategic plan. The regional library target is to finalize the plan for approval at the November GRRL board meeting.

VLS Celebrates 40 Years of Library Service

VLS 40 anniversary posterViking Library System (VLS) celebrated its 40th Anniversary with an Open House on July 17, 2015.  There were displays of historical equipment, materials, services and publicity pieces; service demonstrations by staff members; building and bookmobile tours; a science experiment  for children; Steamroller Printing, and refreshments for all. The VLS Board members served as roaming ambassadors and had a great time.

Guests received a souvenir history booklet, researched and written by Peg Werner – VLS Director. Adding historical perspective to the event, three of the original VLS  founders were able to attend and shared many stories.

Metro e-Government Study through LSTA

Melsa web logoMELSA was awarded a $100,000 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant.  The project seeks to understand the extent to which library users and non-users access e-govenrment and e-learning services.  A Request for Information and Qualifications with a response deadline of August 21, 2015, is posted on the MELSA web site. Minnesota marketing research firms were contacted and directed to the web site.

Information will also be collected on the types of devices people are using to access e-government/library and other internet sites of interest. Using this information it will be used to determine how local governments, libraries, and educational institutions can improve access to e-government and e-learning making it available to all and how libraries and other governing bodies (cities/counties) and
administrators can best deploy services, utilize technology and train staff to support e-government and e-learning.

Manion Joins State Library Staff

From State Librarian, Jennifer Nelson –

Welcome Joe!

State Library Services is delighted to welcome Joe Manion as its new State Data Coordinator. Joe has more than 20 years of experience in public libraries, most recently as Public Services Division Manager for Washington County Library. His work in Washington County included responsibility for library measurement and data collection and he represented the library on a county-wide performance measurement team. In addition to his work in libraries, Joe’s experience includes stints at the Office of the Revisor of Statutes and 10 years as director of marketing, public relations and medical media at Gillette Children’s Hospital. At State Library Services, Joe will lead the public library annual report process and our efforts to establish and measure outcomes for library programs. You can contact him at 651-582-8640 or

MDE Logo 2013

MnLINK Gateway RFP Committee Chooses OCLC

Minitex grahicThe MnLINK Gateway RFP (Request for Procurement) Committee successfully concluded its process by signing a contract with OCLC for their discovery and interlibrary loan solutions on July 2, 2015. The patron interface, OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery, is being customized to meet the needs of libraries and users in the Minitex region. For the next few years, the interlibrary loan function will continue to use the VDX ILL software currently used on the MnLINK Gateway, and will be replaced by WorldShare Interlibrary Loan when OCLC completes the customizations required to meet Minitex needs.

OCLC’s discovery system will be a major improvement for users searching for books, digital images, electronic content, and ebooks using the MnLINK Gateway. Minitex hopes to implement this interface in January 2016. All libraries on the MnLINK Gateway must have their holdings catalogued on OCLC in order to be included in search results. Holdings for all locations need to be up to date in order for WorldCat Discovery to be an effective tool to search library collections. A one-time batch loading reclamation is included in the contract at no extra charge for libraries with either OCLC Cataloging or CatExpress subscriptions. The reclamation must be completed by June 2018, and Minitex encourages libraries to do this as soon as possible. The contract also includes a mechanism to enable the four non-OCLC cataloging libraries currently on the Gateway to be represented in the catalog.

Minitex thanks the committee members who dedicated their time, energy and expertise to this project. We also want to acknowledge the many institutions that generously supported their participation on this committee.

MnLINK RFP Committee Members

  • Nick Banitt – Minitex
  • Ken Behringer – Dakota County Library
  • Mary Lou Dresbach – Minnesota Office of Higher Education
  • Ruth Dukelow – CLIC
  • Sonja Eilertson – PALS
  • Raquel Franklin – Minitex
  • Cheryl Hill – SELCO
  • Ann Hutton – SELCO
  • Karen Kilbride – Hennepin County Library
  • Emily Kissane – Minnesota State Library Services
  • Nicole Murphy – Lake Agassiz Regional Library
  • Dixie Ohlander – Augsburg College
  • Becky Ringwelski – Minitex
  • Greg Sauve – Rochester Public Library
  • Jill Smith – Anoka County Library
  • Darla Sorenson – Traverse des Sioux Library System
  • Paul Swanson – Minitex

More information will be forthcoming. In the meantime, please email Becky Ringwelski or call 612-624-0375 if you have questions.

Minnesota Legislative Session Summary

MLA logo 2014 croppedThe following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Below is a summary of 2015 legislative action (and inaction) affecting libraries. Most of this information has appeared in previous reports.

State Budget Overview: Despite having a nearly $1.9 billion budget surplus, Governor Dayton and legislative leaders were unable to reach a comprehensive budget agreement during the regular legislative session. After the session ended on May 18, Governor Dayton vetoed three major budget bills — the E-12 Education bill, the Agriculture and Environment bill and the Jobs and Economic Development bill. Legislators ran out of time and failed to pass the Legacy bill, the bonding bill and the Revisor’s bill (a technical corrections bill). After intense negotiations conducted largely between Governor Dayton and Speaker Daudt, an agreement was reached to hold a one-day special session to pass new versions of the three budget bills that were vetoed, along with the other three major bills for which time ran out. The special session was held on June 12. A revolt among Senate DFLers who were opposed to controversial provisions in the Agriculture and Environment bill threatened to derail the special session, but in the end all six bills were passed and Governor Dayton immediately signed them into law.

Library Appropriations in the E-12 Budget: Current funding levels were maintained for Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS), Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA), Multi-types, the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) and Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA). The MLA/ITEM platform called for increases in RLBSS, RLTA, Multi-type funding and TEA. We had excellent hearings on each of these requests in both the House Education Finance Committee and the Senate E-12 Budget Division, but the low targets set for education in both bodies ($157 million in the House and $365 million in the Senate) made it extremely difficult to get funding increases. The Senate E-12 education bill did include an increase in RLBSS of $1.5 million per year along with a formula change that increased the base portion and reduced the ANTC portion. The Senate bill also included an increase in funding for TEA of $1.5 million per year for the 16-17 biennium only. Neither of these increases survived the conference committee. The general education formula and early learning were the top priorities for legislators and the governor, and almost all of the new funding ultimately went to those two areas.

School Technology: The Senate E-12 education bill included a provision requiring school districts to reserve future increases in revenue from the School Endowment Fund for technology and telecommunications infrastructure, programs and training. The provision did not survive the conference committee.

After School Funding: The MLA/ITEM platform endorsed funding for high quality after school programs. The Senate E-12 education bill provided $500,000 per year for after school programs in the 16-17 biennium only, but this funding did not survive the conference committee.

General Education Formula: The final E-12 education bill increases the general education formula by 2% in each of the next two years. The formula allowance is going from $5,831 per pupil to $5,948 in FY 2016 and to $6,067 in FY 2017. Just over 2/3 of the new spending in E-12 education went to pay for this increase.

RLTA Language: The final E-12 education bill included language proposed by MDE and supported by MLA that more closely aligns RLTA with the federal e-rate program.

School Technology Plans: The final E-12 education bill repealed a requirement that school districts have a technology plan on file with MDE in order to qualify for TEA. This was proposed by MDE.

1:1 Device Guidelines: The final E-12 education bill requires MDE to research existing 1:1 device programs in Minnesota and across the country to determine best practices and to issue guidelines no later than February 15, 2016 and submit a report to the Legislature.

Data Privacy: The final E-12 education bill also includes a provision conforming Minnesota’s law governing student records to conform to recent changes in federal law. The St. Paul Public Schools initiated this bill to allow them to share student addresses with the St. Paul Public Library so that every student can be issued a public library card at school. Without this legislation the school district would only be able to share student addresses with the public library if the school district classified the addresses as public information.

Legacy Funding for Regional Public Libraries: Regional public libraries will receive $2.2 million in legacy funding in each of the next two years. This is less than the $3 million per year that was allocated for the FY 14-15 biennium. Legislators in both bodies were adamant that no one had a base budget for Legacy funds, and therefore it was not appropriate to characterize it as a cut or even to complain about receiving less than in the previous biennium. The House bill provided $1.5 million for FY 16 and $2.5 million in FY 17, while the Senate bill provided $2.95 million each year. The initial version of the bill that was presented to the public as the conference committee agreement included the House level of funding for regional public libraries. However, an amendment was made at the last minute to add $400,000 over the biennium. Thank you to all of you who contacted the conferees. I do believe you made a difference.

Legacy Funding for the Minnesota Digital Library: The Minnesota Digital Library will receive $300,000 per year, which is the same level of funding provided over the last two years. As in the past, the funding is appropriated to the Minnesota Historical Society with a directive to cooperate with Minitex and jointly share the appropriation.

Higher Education: Funding for Minitex and MnLink will remain at the current level. MnSCU received an increase of $100 million for tuition relief and the University of Minnesota received an increase of $52 million, which includes $30 million for the medical school and $22 million for tuition relief. The Minnesota Electronic Health Library was not funded.

Border to Border Broadband Grants: The final Jobs and Economic Development bill included $10, 838,000 for broadband grants. This is in contrast to the $20 million provided in the 2014 session and the $30 million proposed by Governor Dayton in his budget.

Seed Library: Inspired by the seed library at the Duluth Public Library, the final agriculture policy bill included an exemption from seed regulations for “interpersonal sharing of seed for home, educational, charitable or personal non-commercial use.”

Data Practices Training for Local Government: The League of Minnesota Cities initiated a bill to provide funding so that the Department of Administration could provide training to local government officials on complying with the Minnesota Data Practices Act. The Senate included $100,000 for this in its State Government Finance bill, but the House provided no funding. Like so many other things that were funded in the Senate but not the House, this did not survive the conference committee.

Library Construction Grants: Governor Dayton proposed an unusually large bonding bill for an odd-numbered year, and it included $2 million for Library Construction Grants. This is the first time that a governor has included funding for this program in his capital budget. In the end, the governor and legislators agreed on a far more modest bonding bill consisting mainly of urgent items. In preparation for 2016, we had a bill introduced to provide $10 million for Library Construction Grants (SF 2179/ HF 2353). Our chief authors are Senator Kent Eken (DFL – Twin Valley) and Rep. Jeff Howe (R – Cold Spring).

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

Saint Paul Public Library’s Bookmobile Debuts New Artwork

MELSA SPPL bookmobile 2015The Saint Paul Public Library’s iconic Bookmobile debuted a new wrap in the Grand Old Day Parade on Sunday, June 7. The full vehicle wrap features original artwork by Twin Cities illustrator Julie Boehmer. The design showcases the people and places of Saint Paul, reflecting a community that values lifelong learning, healthy living, and engagement with our vibrant city resources.

A new sponsorship by HealthPartners, facilitated by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, supports the Bookmobile’s new look and its services to the community. The design presents the sponsorship as an essential partnership between two important institutions working to strengthen and improve the future of the communities they serve.

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library hopes to increase awareness of the new design and the sponsorship by HealthPartners with a special offer for everyone in the city to make a difference for their beloved library: For each picture taken of the new Bookmobile and posted to the social media channels Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #stpBookmobile, The Friends will donate $5 to the library, up to a total of $1,000. The campaign runs through Labor Day.

The public is encouraged to share pictures on social media to raise funds for the library  #StPBookmobile

Saint Paul Public Library’s Bookmobile travels throughout the city to deliver library services and collections to communities that may otherwise be unable to access the library. The Bookmobile provides loans of all types of materials, reference assistance, library card registration, and Internet access. The Bookmobile serves about 80 community partners, including housing communities for older and/or disabled adults, after-school partners, and organizations serving children and families. In 2014, the Bookmobile had over 142,000 visits and circulated more than 120,000 items.

News by Chase Maxwell and re-posted with permission


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).

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.”

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.

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

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

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.