SELCO Supports Broadband Vision

MN Broadband Vision 2016The Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) Board of Directors joins the ALS, ECRL, NWRL, and PLS regional library boards in support of the Minnesota Broadband Vision.  The SELCO resolution stresses the broad array of vital library services which depend on broadband or high speed Internet.  The resolution urges Governor Dayton and the members of the Minnesota Legislature to provide leadership, resources and the necessary legal framework to make this vision a reality.

Libraries around the state are encouraged to seek support from local governing authorities, community groups, and individuals who believe that Internet access is an equity issue for all Minnesotans.

Books By Mail in ALS

ALS BBM imageThe Arrowhead Library System (ALS) proudly continues a 43-year tradition of serving rural readers throughout the vast northeast.  Rural residents in Carlton, Cook, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, and St. Louis counties who don’t live in a city with a public library may request books, DVDs or CD audio books from the ALS regional collection.  Once requests are received, ALS ships the items free of charge to their homes in a canvas zippered bag that includes a return postage label.  Homebound residents of cities with public libraries are also eligible to participate.

Read the Lake County News Chronicle for more info

Planning for 2016 Legislative Session

Preparations for the 2016 Legislative Session is a work in progress for the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and CRPLSA .  The 2016 MLA Legislative Chair will be Barb Misselt, East Central Regional Library (ECRL) director. And, an action item on the agenda at the most recent MLA conference was the approval of the 2016 platform – in concept.  This approval is always given with an eye toward flexibility knowing that issues may change dramatically once the session gets underway.

Vote for Libraries buttonThe start of the regular session will be Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

Most current iteration of the 2016 Library Legislative platform.  Once finalized in early January, Arrowhead Library System (ALS) staff will re-format.

Cow’s continuing MOO-velous Adventures

Ann Hutton with Cow in Winona
It’s hard to tell who was more excited to meet the other, Ann Hutton or Cow. Definitely a Mutual Adoration Society.

Hello Once Upon a Reader Fans!

This past week saw Mike and me and Cow edging closer to the end of our incredible tour.

On Tuesday morning, Sept 22, we presented to 120 attendees at the gorgeous Winona Public Library. Cow was thrilled to meet one of her biggest fans, Ann Hutton. And Ann certainly knew how to treat a diva like Cow; ever since, Cow has been asking why WE don’t treat her with such adoration. That afternoon we traveled to the small town of Houston and presented to 120 preschoolers to second graders at the elementary school. It was our last SELCO show, were taken care of at every SELCO venue where we performed. Thank you so much, ladies.

On Thursday we headed north to present to 90 preschoolers who filled our room at the Grand Rapids library. Another gorgeous site, right on the Mississippi River, and Darla and Tracy could not have been more enthusiastic and helpful. We then wound our way to one of the most secluded sites of our tour, South Ridge School outside of Culver. Cow wanted to take part in the volleyball game that was going on next to us, but we convinced her to perform for the 50 attendees that the Head Start folks had brought in that evening. There were lots of crafts to do and every family got to bring home a book, which is always great to see.

Cow in Grand Rapiids 2015-09
In the wonderful play area at the Grand Rapids Rapids Public Library, Cow spells out one of her favorite words.

And now we are packing our bags for the FINAL leg of our tour. What an amazing adventure we’ve had this past year!

Here are a few photos from this past week.

You’ll hear from us one more time after we return from our final six shows!

David, Mike, but mostly Cow

ALS Sculpture installed in Grand Marais

ALS Grand Marais sculpture installation 2015-06
Installation in progress

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

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

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

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

More of Cow’s Adventures

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Cow’s crew,
David and Mike

ALS Celebrates Civil War History

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

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

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

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

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

MILE Class of 2015 Announced

MLA logo 2014MLA recently announced the 2015 class for the  Minnesota Library Association Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE)! The 25 selectees for this year’s class will meet their peers in a dynamic four-day retreat at beautiful Sugar Lake Lodge near Grand Rapids, MN from May 12-15, 2015. There they will learn about using improvisational humor and creative idea generation to foster approaches to problem solving and strategic planning, explore their personal strengths, and discover how they can be leaders no matter what their position in the library. Following the retreat, they will also benefit from having an 18-month mentorship with a current Minnesota library leader.

Congrats to the MILE 2015 class!

  • Carolyn Avair, East Central Regional Library System
  • Roxanne Backowski, St. Cloud State University
  • Trent Brager, Minnesota School of Business-Rochester
  • Adam Brisk, University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • Julia Carlis, Dakota County Library
  • Amelia Cohoes, Globe University
  • Allison Girres, Pioneerland Library System
  • Shelly Grace, SAMMIE
  • Sarah Hawkins, East Central Regional Library System
  • Stacey Hendren, Anoka County Library
  • Kristin Jones, Carver County Library/Pioneerland Library System
  • Richmond Kinney, Duluth Public Library
  • Kelly Kraemer, College of St. Benedict | St. John’s University
  • Stephanie Langer, Kitchigami Regional Library
  • Rachel Lockman, Minneapolis Community & Technical College
  • Sarah Lo Pinto, Washington County Library
  • Anne Lundquist, Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative
  • Chris Magnusson. Arrowhead Library System
  • Amy Mars, St. Catherine University
  • Lisa Motschke, Scott County Library
  • Jake Odland, Douglas County Library
  • Michael Schnieder, Minnesota School of Business-Elk River
  • Christie Schultz, Dakota County Library
  • Jill Wujcik, Sanford-Brown College
  • Jessica Zillhart, Anoka County Library

New mini grant recipients

IMLS logo

State Library Services is pleased to announce the successful recipients of the second round of Expanded Learning Through Libraries mini-grants.  Each applicant was eligible for up to $10,000 and the final awards ranged from $3,437 to the maximum, $10,000.  These mini-grants support activity-based partnerships between schools and libraries to help connect students with meaningful out-of-school time opportunities that improve community engagement and academic achievement.

Successful recipients include:

  • Bird Island & Olivia Public Libraries and BOLD School District, $4,000 (PLS)
  • Cloquet Public Library, $3,437 (ALS)
  • City of Fergus Falls & Fergus Falls Public Library, $6,850 (VLS)
  • St. Paul Public Library, $10,000 (MELSA)
  • Thorson Memorial Library, $10,000 (VLS)
  • Two Harbors Public Library, $4,876 (ALS)

Duluth Seed Library Faces Challenges

Duluth seed library logo ALSThe Duluth Public Library offers a unique service to area residents by operating a seed library. This community based project benefits local gardeners who wish to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables adapted to local soils and climates. The seeds are shared – not purchased and growers readily understand that seeds from the library have been grown by amateurs with no guarantee of 100% germination or of absolute varietal purity.

While a unique undertaking in Minnesota, the Duluth Seed Library was conceived by Public Library and the Institute for a Sustainable Future, and includes organizational and volunteer support from the Duluth Community Garden Program, the St. Louis County Master Gardeners and other volunteer community members. The Seed Library received a grant for the 2014/2015 growing season from the University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnership.

Faced with legal barriers, the City of Duluth and its Library are seeking support from gardeners and library patrons from around the state. They are requesting a legislative change to the Minnesota Seed Law that will recognize the value of the seed library and enable the interpersonal sharing of seeds produced and shared in good faith by friends and neighbors interested in connecting with the earth and each other.

Sample Resolution – Copy of the Duluth City Council Resolution which may be adapted locally

Personal and/or Organizational Letter of Support

ALS features Henna BodyArt

 ALS Henna program 2014-12Art ~ History ~ Hands-on-Workshop

The Arrowhead Library System (ALS)  is pleased to present the Art and History of Henna Body Art with Kristy Johnson. This free program will include the history and culture of henna through the ages as well as how to mix and apply pure, natural henna. Programs will be offered at 16 ALS locations between December 19, 2014 through January 6, 2015.  Check the ALS events calendar for dates and times.

In this workshop, Kristy will share the history, cultural traditions and science of henna, in a fun relaxed atmosphere packed with hands-on education and experience.  Participants will learn how to prepare the perfect batch of pure natural henna paste, application techniques, and the importance of choosing natural henna, as well as an opportunity to create and practice traditional designs on paper, themselves and other brave students in the workshop!

This ALS program, sponsored funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

ALS Legacy Art in Cook Public Library

ALS Cook Glass Fish

Arrowhead Library System (ALS) member, the Cook Public Library will host glass artist  Ron Benson during Cook’s Country Christmas on Friday, December 5, 2014.  The artist will discuss his work and his inspiration for the library’s glass project. He will  have art available for purchase during the event.

Benson recently completed the library’s public art project.  His work has been purchased by the Smithsonian Institute, the Washington National Cathedral and the  Minnesota History Center.

The library’s public art project sponsored by ALS with funds from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Fund for Library Legacy activities.

ALS Features Henry Boucha around the region

ALS Boucha cover 2014-11The Arrowhead Library System is pleased to present Henry Boucha, author of Henry Boucha, Ojibwa-Native American Olympian in a free program about his life growing up in Warroad, becoming an Olympic and NHL hockey player and how his Ojibwa roots have helped him persevere through challenges and tragedies to become a leader in raising
awareness about Native American athletes today.

The program, including a display of Olympic & NHL hockey memorabilia, will be offered at 16 locations around the ALS region.

This Library Legacy program, sponsored by ALS was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. To learn more about ALS
Legacy Events, see their calendar.

FUN!damental in ALS

ALS logoFrom September 26, 2014 through February 14, 2015 various Arrowhead Library System (ALS) locations will host Brian Rauvola with FUN!damental. Brian will present a three hour hands-on beginning photography workshop about using digital cameras and editing photos. Participants are encourage to bring  their cameras (compact or dSLR), camera manuals, a tripod and other accessories to learn how to use camera’s features to improve picture taking.

Check the ALS Legacy Events for time and location details

Each FUN!damental group will explore the library inside and outside (weather permitting) to practice taking photos while also learning to use light effectively and other artistic elements, such as composition, leading lines, rule of 3rds, etc. to improve images, as well as software to optimize and resize images.

Brian Rauvola has been a semi-professional photographer in the Duluth and the North Shore area for nearly 20 years. He owns and operates the Duluth Photography Institute, which began October 2010 and offers workshops, gallery space, and a fully equipped lighting studio.

Storytimes for Everyone

Every child ready to read logoEasy as Sing, Read, Talk, Write and Play: Storytimes for Everyone

Adults as Partners in Developing Language and Literacy in Young Children

The Minnesota Department of Education, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is proud to bring renowned early literacy educator Saroj Ghoting to Minnesota for a series of workshops designed to give librarians and early childhood educators background in early literacy best practices. The workshops are rooted in the Every Child Ready to Read research-based curriculum released by the Public Library Association in 2011.

Attendees will learn to enhance storytimes and other reading interactions by incorporating information for parents and caregivers into them. Sessions include an overview of the five practices (sing, talk, read, write, play) and real-world techniques for planning storytimes that include valuable content for children and adults.

~Storytimes for Everyone~
Thu., Sept. 4, 2014, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Prior Lake Library
16210 Eagle Creek Avenue SE, Prior Lake

~Storytimes for Everyone~
Fri., Sept. 5, 2014, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Owatonna Public Library
105 N. Elm Avenue, Owatonna

~Storytimes for Everyone~
Mon., Sept. 8, 2014, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Redwood Falls Public Library
509 S. Lincoln Street, Redwood Falls

~Train the Trainer Workshop~
Tue., Sept. 9, 2014, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Minnesota Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville

~Storytimes for Everyone~
Thu., Sept. 11, 2014, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
MN State & Community Tech College
900 Highway 34 East, Detroit Lakes

~Storytimes for Everyone~
Fri., Sept. 12, 2014, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Grand Rapids Area Library
420 N. Pokegama Avenue, Grand Rapids

Visit http://tinyurl.com/ploppce to register. There is no fee to attend, but optional lunch fees may apply, depending on location. Registration is limited.

For more information, email Jackie Blagsvedt or call 651-582-8805.

History Players in Libraries & Schools

MHS LogoUsing props and artifacts, costumed History Players from the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) engage library patrons of all ages in their memorable life stories.  Each lively 45-minute presentation is a fun and stimulating way to learn about the people, places, and events that shaped Minnesota.

The Arrowhead Library System (ALS) created promotional press kits to assist library promotional efforts when hosting a History Player.  Click the links below for information about these important Minnesotans.

Through a partnership between CRPLSA and MHS, the History Players are available for Library Legacy programs.  For more information, contact your regional library Legacy Coordinator.

ALS Visit with 8th District Congressman Nolan

From the newsletter of Congressman Rick Nolan …

ALS at NLLD

“Mayor of Biwabik Jim Weikum and his beautiful family met with me in my office to discuss how we can better invest in school libraries, as well as workforce training programs to help students transition into the workforce – especially important in reducing the high rate of unemployment for young Americans.”

Jim chairs the 2014 Minnesota Library Association Legislative Committee.  He is the Director of the Arrowhead Library System (ALS) and a CRPLSA member.

PLS and SELCO Endorse RLBSS Legislative Initiative

Hand writing formula on blackboardThe SELCO/SELS Board of Directors (SELCO) and Pionnerland Library System (PLS) Board voted unanimously to support a change to the Regional Library Basic System (RLBSS) formula during the 2015 legislative session.   These two regional governing boards join the Arrowhead Library System (ALS)  in endorsing this legislative initiative. During the coming months, each of the other regional library boards will be asked to support the proposal to amend current statutory language.

Minnesota supports regional library service around the state through an appropriation of RLBSS aid administered by the Department of Education. Members of the library community reviewed the current formula and support different percentages while retaining the same calculating factors: base, population, area, and equalization.

The adjusted formula will reduce funding volatility and make budgeting more stable. Should the RLBSS appropriation increase by $1.2 million per year above the current $13.5 million amount, the equalization portion of the formula would be reduced from 25% to 17.5%. If the proposed funding increase is $2 million or greater, then the equalization factors will be reduced from 25% to 15%. In each case, whether equalization is at 17.5% or 15%, the funds previous assigned to that category will shift to the base to cover basic operational expenses.

If approved the new formula would become effective in 2016.

Background information on the proposed RLBSS change.

ALS Endorses Proposed RLBSS Formula Change

Hand writing formula on blackboardThe Board of Arrowhead Library System (ALS) voted unanimously to support a change to the Regional Library Basic System (RLBSS) formula during the 2015 legislative session.  It is the first regional board to do so.  During the coming months, each of the other 11 regional library boards will be asked to support the proposal to amend current statutory language.

Minnesota supports regional library service around the state through an appropriation of RLBSS aid administered by the Department of Education.  Members of the library community reviewed the current formula and support different percentages while retaining the same calculating factors: base, population, area, and equalization.  The adjusted formula is intended to reduce funding volatility.  If approved the new formula would become effective in 2016.

Background information on the proposed RLBSS change.

2014 Legislative Day a Successful Blur

Libraries Strengthen Minnesota logo smallDespite cold temperatures and a yet another snowfall, more than 100 library advocates ventured to St. Paul for discussions with legislators.  The MLA Legislative Committee hosted briefings on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, March 5, which offered the latest details on bill numbers, hearings, and lobbying strategy.

Library advocates promoted the inclusion of public library accessibility and construction grants in the proposed bonding bill, supported increased funding to cover educational telecommunications costs, and encouraged the creation of a task force to explore possible remedies for unfair eBook pricing.  CRPLSA’s Advocacy page has links to the 2014 legislative platform and issue specific talking points.

A busy ALS February

February will be a busy month in the Arrowhead Library System (ALS)!

The Creativity Tank, a group of teaching artists, will visit 16 libraries with hands on art projects for children and families. Program participants will create, connect, learn, share, and grow through a variety of visual arts projects and processes. Each library chose from a variety of programs ranging from creating a book ornament, a storybook theater project, fiber art, or poetry writing.

Workshops to develop and express creativity through meaningful hands-on art experiences.

Author, singer and storyteller Doug Wood will visit five libraries or schools and present his EarthSongs, Earth Stories program for children and young at heart audiences.  Winding up the month, ALS will sponsor Sean Emery circus artist, juggler and all around funny man performing at 23 locations.

ALS Member Friends Group Honored

ALS logoUnited for Libraries recognized the Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library on January 27 at a Gala Author Tea during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. The Minnesota Friends group received a National Friends of Libraries Week Award which is bestowed annually to two groups in acknowledgement of standout achievements during the preceding fall’s Friends of Libraries Week.

The Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library coordinated a kickoff event with the City of Grand Rapids. Mayor Dale Adams signed a special Proclamation designating Oct. 20-26“Friends of the Library Week.” Library staff unveiled a beautiful lobby display thanking the Friends for their many years of service.The Friends went all out in promoting membership and book sales. “During the week, we handed out coupons to library goers for a free book at the Friends bookstore. This brought in many new customers. Once there, a variety of brochures and bookmarks on Friends work and membership were available,” said president and co-chair Carol Steele. They also offered a variety of incentives for joining up (or renewing). These included a drawing for one of five themed gift baskets. By week’s end, “we had increased membership by almost 25 percent!,” Steele said.

Public Library Accessibility and Improvement Grants Awarded

Public Library Accessibility and Improvement Grants announcement from State Librarian, Jennifer Nelson for libraries in ALS and MELSA:

State Library Services is pleased to announce the Round Two 2013 Public Library Accessibility and Improvement grant awardees. With $608,700 in funds available, five completed applications totaling more $1.1 million in requests were received by State Library Services. The two applications receiving top average scores by an independent review committee were approved for funding by Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

Anoka County will receive a grant of $150,000 toward the renovation of the Northtown branch in Blaine. The project will improve the accessibility of the building with an improved entrance, adapt the children’s area and other building spaces. Robert D. Thistle, Anoka County Library Board President noted that “the Library Board is pleased to receive this grant … the funds will allow us to make the service desk, restrooms and book returns accessible to all.”

The City of Ely will receive a grant of $458,699 toward building a new accessible library building. The current library, housed in Ely’s Community Center, has outgrown its space and is not accessible to people with mobility impairments. The new building will bring the library into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines. Rachel Heinrich, director of the Ely Public Library, noted that the grant will help “this ‘end of the road’ community to improve library service to the area residents without a significant tax increase by bridging the gap between cost savings gained by the new building and the payments on the building’s construction.”

The Public Library Accessibility and Improvement Grant program is a one-to-one matching construction grant program intended to support the renovation and construction of public libraries, with a special interest in ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities. The program is funded biennially by an appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature.