End of an era …

MHS Library Legacy Partnership Logo

From Maren Levad, Museum Access Specialist at the Minnesota Historical Society and long-time Library Legacy planning partner …

Dear Library Partners,

As we close out our sixth year of partnership together, I wanted to express my deepest thanks for all of the work you have done for the people of Minnesota. When we first met with library leadership in 2009, this partnership was a germ of an idea about providing high-quality, educational programming to library audiences around the state. That idea and this partnership have since taken on many forms, from library kits and musical concerts to audience-centered programs scalable to all library buildings and staff sizes. We’ve enjoyed getting to know each of the regions involved in the partnership, building relationships with librarians and legacy coordinators around the state, and engaging with lifelong learners in your communities.

Since we launched our first programming catalog in 2010, this partnership has generated some very impressive statistics:

  • Developed more than 50 exclusive programs for libraries

  • Delivered 640 individual programs

  • Served more than 22,000 Minnesotans

This partnership has provided traditional lectures for adults as well as hands-on craft programs, involved libraries with teen oral history camps and traveling exhibits. It has sent Minnesota all-stars like Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard on the road and been the testing ground for live, interactive virtual programs. The topics covered through this partnership have been diverse, including Steampunk Mysteries, the fur trade, and the history of beer in Minnesota. It has been a dizzying whirlwind for us all, and we are so thankful for your support and partnership.

After six years of Legacy funding, both the Minnesota Historical Society and the Minnesota Regional Library Systems find themselves in very different places from where we started. The library regions have built up the experience, structures, and staffing to select and book programs throughout the state. However, program managers now work with smaller budgets causing regional support for this partnership to dwindle. The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is focusing on the final years of its current strategic plan and its staff have learned much about the resources required to run effective statewide outreach. Many outreach programs that existed six years ago have been set aside in favor of more sustainable initiatives.

Due to all of these factors, MNHS will not continue to fund this partnership in the next fiscal year. However, we know that the relationships that we’ve built over this time will continue. MNHS is committed to serving a diverse, lifelong learning audience, and making its resources more inclusive and accessible than ever. Over the next few years, MNHS will push the boundaries of interactive, live virtual programming for senior audiences and develop online and mobile experiences to engage more diverse urban and rural communities around the state. Above all, our organization will continue to provide unique, audience-centered programs at our sites and with partner communities around the state.

Even though this period of program partnership is ending, we know we will be working with many of you in new and exciting capacities in the future. Thank you for six productive and instructive years.