It’s almost here — Libraries throughout the state are nearly ready to launch the first-ever, statewide Minnesota Loves Libraries campaign! The time has come to begin gathering stories of how libraries make a difference in people’s lives so we can share those stories with our legislators during the 2017 session.
There will be two ways of collecting stories from library users — 2-sided postcards that libraries may print and cut for patrons to write on and leave at the library and an online form that can be filled out anywhere. Libraries may promote either or both methods, whatever works for a particular location.
A special Minnesota Loves Libraries website has been created for collecting comments. There is a tab on the site with resources for library staff — posters, postcards, and images for use in social media. Some of the posters contain a QR code that will enable patrons to immediately access the website on their mobile devices. Check out the website for FAQs.
A statewide press release will be issued early next week and more details will be shared then, so stay tuned.
CRPLSA thanks the hard working statewide team (Jon Tatting – ECRL, Bernadette Stevens – GRRL, Hillary Stevens – LARL, and Jennifer Harveland – SELCO) that developed the campaign. We hope it will be fun and rewarding for all who participate!
The headquarters of the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) – the St. Cloud Public Library will offer limited services beginning Monday, October 24 as cleaning and restoration work in the St. Cloud Public Library continues. The closing and cleanup work was a result of an arson incident which took place on August 17. The fire caused structural damage and spread smoke and soot particles throughout the building.
Library staff, city officials and seven different cleaning and restoration contractors have worked diligently to make sure the St. Cloud Public Library is back to pre-fire condition and a safe environment for patrons and staff. The damages totaled nearly $1 million dollars. Most of the cleaning has been completed. Final structural repairs will begin this week on a window, window frame, and granite cladding on a structural pillar.
“It has been a huge undertaking! The library building is 115,000 square feet with more than 250,000 items. We know it’s taking a long time but we want to make certain we are being thorough and complete to ensure the building is safe for our entire community.” said Karen Pundsack, GRRL Executive Director.
Services available next week will be holds pick-up, fine payment and pick up of Summer Reading Program prizes during regular hours. Existing meeting room reservations will be honored. However, no new reservations will be taken at this time. Access to the collection and computers will be available at a later date. For more information about library programs, contact the St. Cloud Public Library at 320-650-2500.
The regional library boards governing Great River Regional Library (GRRL) and Plum Creek Library System (PCLS) approved supporting resolutions to seek a statutory formula change tied with an increase in the annual Regional Library Basic System Support appropriation. The formula change will reduce the Equalization factor of the formula from 25% to 15% and increase the Basic System Services factor from 5% to 15%. This will will minimize volatility and stabilize the flow of state financial support.
With the GRRL endorsement on October 18 and PCLS action on October 19, the tally of regional resolutions increases to four following action by ECRL and ALS. Additional regional meetings are scheduled within the next few weeks.
GRRL Board Members have committed to working actively at the Capitol during the upcoming 2017 legislative session and the county commissioners on the PCLS Board will be working through the Association of Minnesota Counties for complimentary support.
Conduct primary and secondary research with the guidance of library staff
Get one-on-one help from History Day staff and mentor
Attend a mini-lesson on a range of topics.
Each year, a broad theme is selected that will help students direct their research to show a connection between the theme and their topics. The 2017 theme, Taking a Stand in History, will allow students to research topics on all levels from local history to ancient history.
The St. Cloud Public Library experienced a fire set by an arsonist on the second floor of the building on August 17th. Currently, regional operations continue including daily delivery to the other 31 Great River Regional Library (GRRL) libraries and interlibrary loan. Open hours are extended temporarily at the Waite Park and Clearwater locations until the St. Cloud Public Library can be reopened. Due to structural damage and the scope of the clean-up and restoration required, GRRL has coordinated with the City of St. Cloud for bids. GRRL staff anticipate clean-up will begin in late September with reopening planned for early October. WJON covered the news story.
During 2015, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) went through a process to review its core values and strategic plan. The process included public feedback obtained through surveys and community meetings, as well as input from regional stakeholders and the GRRL Board of Trustees. The goal was to make sure the everyone knows where they are going, and that everyone is headed in the same direction!
The library’s vision is: The neighborhood gateway: Inspiring Central Minnesota to shape the future through exploration, knowledge and connection.
The library is a patron centered organization, and this commitment
is expressed through three core values: Exceptional Service, Forward Thinking, and Community Focus.
The library’s service priorities are: Literacy: All users will have the resources they need to develop and improve their literacy skills in order to succeed in school, meet their personal goals and fulfill their responsibilities as students, parents, citizens and workers. Access: All users will have access to reliable sources of information in welcoming virtual or physical spaces that support community connection and engagement. Lifelong Learning: All users will have the resources they need to explore topics of personal interest, continue to learn and complement their quality of life.
The library’s organizational priorities are: Exceptional Service: We will be an empowered, engaged, well-trained staff ready to provide exceptional service. Operational Excellence: We will use resources effectively in order to be adaptable to future needs. Community Focus: We will enhance our service to current and future patrons by embracing the diversity of our communities
The Great River Regional Library (GRRL) Read Down Your Fines took place Monday, June 20 through Saturday, June 25. This event is for children and teens who hold ‘minor’ cards and are unable to borrow library materials because of outstanding fines. It gives them the opportunity to regain library privileges just by reading at the library.
Individuals taking part in the program receive a coupon from the library desk on which
they the record time spent reading in the library. They are allowed to read materials
of their choice, but it must be physical print materials such as a book or magazine. For each 15-minutes spent reading, they eliminate $1 in fines.
Read Down can only be applied to fines for late return of materials. It can’t be applied to
fines or processing fees for lost and damaged items.
Public donations totally funds Read Down Your Fines. Since 2013, more than 800 teens and children have taken advantage of this program and begun using the library again. The average Read Down fine payment is $5.
Library advocates from across Minnesota began planning for the 2017 Minnesota Legislative session during the annual Library Legislative Forum on July 12, held at the St. Cloud Public Library (GRRL).
Minnesota Loves Librarieswill be unifying theme for 2017 library advocacy efforts. A smart-looking new logo was unveiled. The original art for the logo is the work of Bernadette Stephenson, GRRL.
Details about the new campaign are still in development by a CRPLSA Advocacy sub-committee. Regional staff include:
Jon Tatting – ECRL
Bernadette Stephenson – GRRL
Hillary Stevens – LARL
Ken Behringer – MELSA
Jennifer Harveland – SELCO
ECRL Director Barbara Misselt is the 2016 Legislative Chair of the Minnesota Library Association. She is working closely with the sub-committee.
As proof that Minnesotans do indeed love libraries. State Librarian Jen Nelson reported to the Forum that there were 24,340,258 visits to Minnesota’s 355 public libraries in 2015. She also said that 3,860,346 library card holders checked out 52,512,434 physical and electronic library items.
Just in time for summer, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) launched a new website on June 21. It immediately offers offers a spash of color with “river” of bookcovers and bold clickable images for library information topics.
GRRLs’ primary goals of the redesign project is to make the website more responsive to provide a more optimized user experience across many different devices and screen sizes. This is a great improvement over the previous website which had been in place since 2008. A team of GRRL staff are incorporated the improvements on their Drupal platform.
East Central Regional Library (ECRL) is moving towards a floating collection throughout its 14 branch consolidated region. During the pilot period, floating non-print (CDs, DVDs, and books on CD) has demonstrated increased circulation in those areas. Regional staff are considering what format to add next.
Proctoring Policy Change
Based on recommendations from the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) Public Services Team, the resident eligibility requirement was removed from the regional proctoring policy in March 2016. Requests for proctoring have increased at GRRL – up 3 percent from 2015. GRRL charges $10 per session for proctoring.
Even a light drizzle on a gray afternoon did not deter over 950 library patrons bedecked in PJs from visiting the St. Cloud Public Library for the annual Llama Llama Pajama Party. Two llamas were tucked under the overhang of the library’s front entrance and kids and parents alike could clamber inside and around a firetruck and a SWAT vehicle.
The evening’s Storytimes featured community readers including a police officer, US Army Specialist (pictured above), a judge and many costumed characters. The library also offered crafts and healthy snacks.
This annual event is co-sponsored by the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) and United Way of West Central Minnesota.
A small continent of Minnesotans visited our nation’s Capitol this National Library Legislative Day, May 2-3, 2016. Jim Weikum, ALS Director and former Minnesota Library Association Legislative Chair, led the group. Also attending NLLD were Judith Schotzko, a SELCO Board Member, and Skip Levesque, the President of the Friends of the St. Michael – Albertville – Hanover Library in GRRL. Skip is the recipient of the first Minnesota Association of Library Friends NLLD grant.
These NLLD advocates asked their Members of Congress in the House and Senate to increase funding for library services, approve a new Treaty to provide electronic materials to the blind worldwide, protect the privacy of email and other electronic communications, and to support legislation that will afford the public broad and free access to government information.
Statewide documentation shared with Congressional staff included recent news from the Minnesota Department of Education on Federal funding for libraries.
Great River Regional Library’s (GRRL) new vans hit the road this week. The vans are wrapped in graphics and serve as traveling billboards for the region. The designs are the work of Public Relations Graphic Designer, Bernadette Stephenson.
By adding their names to the Minnesota Broadband Vision, regional library boards are showing their support for a future in which residents of all generations and backgrounds will have access to affordable, high-quality broadband. Included on the growing list:
Great River Regional Library (GRRL) – March 15
Kitchigami Regional Library (KRLS) – March 17
Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL) – March 17
Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) – March 17
Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative (TdSLC) – March 17
Karen Pundsack, GRRL Executive Director, joined other conference participants as they collaboratively developed a broadband vision for Minnesota:
Everyone in Minnesota will be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable us to survive and thrive in our communities and across the globe.
Cities, counties, community organizations, and regional libraries are actively showing support by endorsing the vision. During the coming months, CRPLSA members will seek approval from their regional library boards. The Bladin Foundation has crafted a draft resolution to aid in generating support. Follow the Broadband Vision Facebook page to keep up with endorsements.
MDL sought content on the history of libraries in Minnesota and GRRL provided exterior and interior images of the St. Cloud Public Library’s original Carnegie building, built in 1902 and torn down in 1981, images of St. Cloud’s second library building, in use from 1979 to 2009, its Bookmobile, the Little Falls Public Library, and the Royalton Community Library.
After 12 community meetings, three staff meetings, a board survey, a user/non-user survey and a survey of non-library communities, the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) is drafting a new long range plan for the next five years. GRRL will fine-tune their mission and vision statements and add core values to the mix.
One of the findings was that the majority of our users come to the library to use books! The board has been actively engaged in developing the plan and met in October to discuss ideas for the draft with a goal to finalize the plan at the November board meeting.
The Minnesota Department of Education, State Library Services, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is excited to bring renowned early literacy educator Saroj Ghoting back to Minnesota for a series of workshops that will give librarians and early childhood educators tools to provide high-quality storytimes and early literacy interactions with pre-readers. The workshops are rooted in the Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition (ECRR2) research-based curriculum released by the Public Library Association.
Over 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.
The 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.”
Great River Regional Library (GRRL) published a four-month Event Guide for the first time, featuring programs from May through August. This change required a little more advanced planning, but has been well received by the staff and the public. It will allow regional staff to promote all of the GRRL summer events during the spring class visit season.
In addition to distribution through the branch libraries, GRRL has connected with local organizations in 26 communities where there is not a GRRL library to distribute a supply of Event Guides.
Cow, Mike Wohnoutka, and David LaRochelle had a very successful week with Moo! Trunk Shows around Minnesota.
On Monday they were in Great River Regional Library (GRRL) with stops at Staples (119 attendees at the morning presentation) and Melrose (49 attendees at the evening presentation.On Tuesday they braved the snow for anoonpresentation in Elk River (49 attendees) and an evening presentation in St. Michael (75 attendees).
The dynamic trio moved to Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative (TdSLC) with a visit at the Mankato Public Library for two library presentations (12 attendees in the morning and 5 attendees in the afternoon…maybe everyone had already seen the Truck Show while at the MLA conference last fall 😉 ).
The Board of Trustees of the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) announce their national search for a collaborative and forward-thinking Executive Director. Working with a nationwide Executive Search firm, John Keister & Associates, GRRL seeks an Executive Director who will:
Exhibit superior leadership and library operations skills
Lead the staff and the library system in a highly professional manner, fostering teamwork and collaboration
Advocate for the library and enthusiastically participate in community events and organizations.
Informational interviews can be arranged during ALA Midwinter in Chicago on Saturday, January 31.
Great River Regional Library (GRRL) has a new public awareness campaign. The video was created by St. Cloud State University students whose management class required a service project and this is the outcome. The students responsible for the infomercial handled all of the production details. They also worked with two cable companies for additional coverage on local stations beyond the web resource.
Great River Regional Library has been experimenting with a new service called “Book a Librarian” at several branch locations. Librarians from the GRRL St. Cloud headquarters have been available at five pilot locations by appointment or on a drop-in basis to meet one-on-one with library patrons and answer lengthy service questions.
“We’ve had a really good response by appointment,” said Patron Services Librarian Connie Laing. In many locations, the library is staffed with only one person making it difficult to provide individualized service without making others wait. A majority of the questions focused on technology. This program provided patrons with individual assistance to learn about a personal device and download eContent from the GRRL virtual collection.
The “Book a Librarian” trial period ended in June. It is under review and will be revised before being offered at additional locations.
The Great River Regional Library (GRRL) Board of Trustees met in special session on July 1 and appointed Karen Pundsack Interim Executive Director. The GRRL Board of Trustees along with leadership staff will work together to manage the transition effectively and conduct the search for a new Executive Director. Karen Punsack fills the position formerly held by Kirsty Smith.
Due to personal reasons including a soon to be published e-book, Kirsty Smith resigned her GRRL position on Monday, June 23, 2014. Kirsty stated in her resignation notice “I have been honored in the trust placed in me in the past eight years. I have also been pleased to work with such wonderful people doing important work. I wish everyone well.”
The management team offered their thanks to Kirsty for her service and dedication to GRRL and wished her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
East Central Regional Library (ECRL)was part of a grant project with Health Access to Minnesota to provide assistance by MNsure navigators at branch libraries. Appointments started out slow, but then were booked solid for an altogether worthwhile venture.
Great River Regional Library (GRRL) hosted a GRRL All Staff Day in April. It is Organization Orientation Part 2, with specific focus placed on GRRL departmental roles and procedures. This in-depth view provided an increased understanding of how various GRRL departments work as a unit and their relationships with other GRRL elements.
Northwest Regional Library (NWRL) has the Storyland Exhibit at the Thief River Falls library. This interactive display allows children to participate in a hands-on activity in each of three areas. Many area schools and daycares have scheduled visits to the display and each child who participates receives a copy of one of the related books to keep. NWRL will host the display through May.
As part of Library Legacy activities, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) commissioned Minneapolis artist, Lisa Arnold, to offer community mosaic workshops and create local art. During the 1-2 hours workshop, attendees learn the basics of making a mosaic and contribute to a community mosaic. Lisa designs the basic format of the mosaic in advance, attendees select glass, tile, and pottery fragments to place within the design. The artist then completes the work after the program by grouting it. The new art piece is displayed in the library.
Each GRRL mosaic was a map of Minnesota with a unique bauble to mark the location of the library. Book titles and subjects are added along the bottom to customize to that location. The Buffalo mosaic features a bison on the Minnesota map where the City of Buffalo is located and offers an example of how the regional project is tailored to each community. This region-wide project will conclude this summer and GRRL will have 32 mosaics – one for each GRRL library.
Regions interested in hosting a similar project are encourage to contact Lisa Arnold directly for more information.