Strengthen Adult Learning Communities

The following information has been shared from State Library Services:

Attend Regional Meetings to Strengthen Adult Learning Communities

Mark your calendar and plan to join colleagues from adult education, libraries and workforce development for Better Together, a full-day learning opportunity. The workshops are designed to increase our collective capacity to work together to improve adult literacy and workforce outcomes for Minnesotans.

At each session, participants will hear promising practices for collaboration across organizations and learn about free resources that promote digital literacy and workforce skills. Attendees also will have a chance to work with local partners to develop a collaborative project.

April 29, 2016 – Roseville at Minnesota Department of Education
May 9, 2016 – Mankato at Country Inn and Suites
May 16, 2016 – Grand Rapids at Saw Mill Inn

Register today for the workshop of your choice. For more information, to request an accommodation, or to be included on a mailing list for future announcements, please contact Emily Kissane (651-582-8508).

Tax Resources Webinar

Attend an Upcoming Tax Resources for Libraries Webinar

The 2016 tax season is coming up quickly! To help libraries serve their communities during the tax season, State Library Services and the Minnesota Department of Revenue invite library staff to attend the Resources for Libraries webinar on Thursday, January 14, 2016 from 10-11 a.m.

The webinar will cover the following topics and allow time for participants questions.

  • Minnesota Department of Revenue updates
  • Common Minnesota credits
  • Important tax dates
  • Identity theft
  • Free tax preparation sites
  • Helpful resources

Join the WebEx meeting online and call 1-888-742-5095 (toll-free) or 1-619-377-3319 using meeting number 594 801 277. The webinar will be recorded. Please email Emily Kissane or call 651-582-8805 with questions or to request the recording link.

LSTA Mini Grants Awarded

State Library Services just announced the projects selected to receive a 2015 Libraries Supporting the World’s Best Workforce LSTA mini grant. The World’s Best Workforce recognizes that Minnesota must have students who are college and career ready and poised to lead the state’s workforce into the future. Minnesota’s libraries are a key resource to help communities across the state achieve these goals. These five projects will directly serve at-risk children and youth (ages 0-25) through improved or expanded library-based services and learning activities.

  • Carver County Library (MELSA) – $8,334 for “Aids to Digital Navigation”
  • Osseo Area Learning Center (MELSA) – $9,995 for “Making, Creating, and Partnering in the Library for College and Career Readiness”
  • South St. Paul Library (MELSA) – $2,809 for “300 Books Before Kindergarten for At-Risk Preschoolers”
  • Waseca LeSueur Regional Library System (TdSLC) – $10,000 for “Library Lab: Connecting Science and Technology to Teens”
  • Washington County Library (MELSA) – $4,904 for “Minecraft: Coding Camp”

For more details about each project, visit the Minnesota Department of Education website

Taxes 101 for Libraries

The 2016 tax season is right around the corner! To help libraries serve their communities during the tax season, State Library Services and Prepare + Prosper’s Claim it! campaign invite library staff to participate in:

Taxes 101 for Minnesota Libraries
Thursday, November 19, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon

The webinar will cover topics such as who needs to file taxes, basics about tax credits for individuals and families with low to moderate income, free tax preparation sites, frequently asked questions, and community resources. The goal of the online session is to give libraries the resources needed to make tax time a little less overwhelming. Register today and then join the WebEx meeting online or call in at 1-888-742-5095 (toll-free) or 1-619-377-3319 using conference code 874 403 3672 / meeting number 593 489 753. Contact Emily Kissane with questions.

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Know When to Hold Em, Know When to Throw (Recycle) Em

MDE Logo 2013Records are vitally important to the operation of any organization; they serve as the organization’s memory and are evidence of past events and the basis for future actions. Join the Government Records Specialist for State Archives at the Minnesota Historical Society for the webinar —

Records Retention for Public Libraries
Wednesday, November 18
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Charles Rodgers of the State Archives Department of the Minnesota Historical Society will present a brief webinar review of the state records laws, the definition of government records, basic records management issues, and the role of the State Archives.  Participants will learn to identify records, assess their value and determine how long to keep them. No registration is necessary, just join the WebEx meeting online or call 1-888-742-5095 (toll-free) or 1-619-377-3319 using conference code 874 403 3672 / meeting number 253 118 533.  Email Jen Verbrugge  with questions.

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 joe.manion@state.mn.us.

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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

CRPLSA Letter to Assistant Commissioner McHenry

CRPLSA recently communicated two major concerns to Minnnesota Department of Education Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry pertaining to the management and oversight of regional public library systems.

  1. CRPLSA supports the ongoing investigation by the Department and State Library Services (SLS) into recent anomalies in Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA) as created by the FY2015 application from the Pioneerland Library System (PLS).
  2. CRPLSA appreciates the speed with which MDE and SLS conducted the administrative, organizational and fiscal review of Plum Creek Library System (PCLS).  The letter further emphasized that the other regional library staff and governing boards quickly reviewed their individual credit card policies, as well as grant expenditure and reporting policies to verify good management procedures.

Letter to MDE Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry

MLA opposes statutory changes to regional hiring

A Minnesota Library Association (MLA) has delivered a  letter to legislative leaders opposing an change to the statutes regarding the hiring of regional public library system directors as proposed by Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

While the library community understands that this provision tries to address the issues  outlined in the recent  administrative, organizational, and fiscal review of Plum Creek Library System (PCLS),  CRPLSA does not believe this change will prevent future administrative weakness.   The State Auditor has traditionally been the agency to inform local governments of changes oversight while allowing for the greatest level of local authority.

Governor’s Education Policy and Supplemental Budget Items

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will host a conference call with Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry and State Librarian Jennifer Nelson on Monday, April 13. Here are the specifics as shared by MDE

The Governor’s education policy and supplemental budget bills include two proposals recommended by State Library Services. There has been much conversation about the two proposals and we want to ensure that our intent in recommending these changes is clear. In addition to the information provided here, Jennifer Nelson and Kevin McHenry are hosting a conference call on Monday, April 13 from 2:30 to 3 p.m. (1-888-742-5095, Conference Code: 3300487022) that will give you more information about the proposals and an opportunity to ask questions.

A provision in the education policy bill would change Minnesota Statutes, section 134.20, Subdivision 2 to require that the governing board of a regional public library system employ a full-time chief administrative officer. The proposal was modified by the House (HF 1591) after conversations with MDE, to require that the governing board of a regional public library system employ a chief administrative officer who is compensated by no more than one regional public library system.

This proposal was made following State Library Services’ experience in administering state and federal funds managed by two regional systems that contracted with the same individual to serve as chief administrative officer. In addition to concerns about accountability and the appropriate use of state and federal funds, the potential for conflict of interest is high, particularly with an individual who is on contract for two organizations with different business models.

The House proposal addresses these concerns and will ensure the challenges that one regional system may experience with a director do not directly impact the operations of another regional system, nor lead to a perceived or actual conflict of interest in the use of state and federal funds.

The supplemental budget bill includes a provision that modifies Minnesota Statutes, section 134.355 Subdivisions 8-10 to allow regional library telecommunications aid to be used for a wider array of expenses related to providing internet access. The bill clarifies that a regional public library system applicant and the libraries included in its application must file for e-rate, and uses e-rate funding commitment decision letters as a basis for distributing the appropriation. Further, it aligns eligible expenditures with non-voice e-rate category 1 services. It also stipulates that aid may be used for category 2 services if sufficient funds remain once category 1 needs are met in each funding year.

This proposal updates statutory language and will give aid applicants more flexibility in using regional library telecommunications aid to cover the wide range of costs associated with providing internet access in libraries. It also increases accountability for the use of regional library telecommunications aid.

We hope you’ll be able to join the conference call, but please don’t hesitate to contact State Library Services with any other questions. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation to attend the conference call, email Jennifer Nelson or call 651-582-8791. 

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MDE Review of PCLS

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) conducted an administrative, organizational, and fiscal review of Plum Creek Library System (PCLS).  The purpose of the review was to examine known weaknesses in these areas and to identify any other potential areas of weakness.  The Review Results provides a summary of the identified weaknesses and recommendations for corrective action.

Updating Regional Library Telecom Aid

From State Librarian Jennifer Nelson – an update for Regional Library Telecommunication Aid (RLTA)

The Governor’s supplemental budget includes a provision to modify Minnesota Statutes, section 134.355, Subd. 8-10, Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA). Established in 1998, RLTA provides state funds to offset the cost of internet access in public libraries that participate in the federal e-rate program. Responding to changes in e-rate and what libraries have told us about their needs, State Library Services has proposed several updates to the program this year.

Specifically, our proposal clarifies that all entities included in a regional library system’s RLTA application must file or be included in an e-rate application. It also ties payments to e-rate funding commitment decision letters. Our intent with this is to ensure that actual costs and e-rate discount rate are documented as the funding year starts. Responding to recent concerns about how RLTA is apportioned, we anticipate that payments will be pro-rated for each applicant based on their e-rate discount. In this way, we can be assured that 100 percent of the eligible expenditures for each applicant are covered between RLTA and e-rate.

The proposal also anticipates that Minnesota libraries will benefit from increased funding for e-rate Category Two services. It directly aligns eligible RLTA expenditures with e-rate non-voice Category One, which allows eligible expenditures to expand or contract as technology changes over time. Likewise, we propose expanding eligible RLTA expenditures to include e-rate Category Two services once Category One needs for a funding year have been met. While this does not guarantee that funds will be available each year, it does mean that if pricing for Category One services decreases, RLTA funds can be used for an array of expenses that contribute to robust access to the internet through public libraries, including internal connections and managed Wi-Fi.

These proposed changes ensure that all libraries are treated equitably and well-supported in their efforts to improve access to the internet, increase bandwidth and update equipment.

For more information, email Jen Nelson or call 651-582-8791.

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LSTA Grant Opportunity

MDE Logo 2013Library Services and Technology Act Competitive Grant Opportunity
Federal Fiscal Year 2015

State Library Services is pleased to announce the 2015 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) competitive grant opportunity. An estimated $650,000 is available to fund grant projects that help to achieve Minnesota’s LSTA Five-Year Plan (2013-2017).

The LSTA Five-Year Plan’s overarching goals are to expand services for learning and access to information and education resources, and to establish and provide a strong infrastructure that promotes equity of access to high-quality library services for all Minnesotans. State Library Services has identified Subgoal 1.2 as a Preferred Subgoal for this grant opportunity. At least $325,000 will be awarded to projects that provide educational opportunities for children and youth. The application and instructions are available at the Minnesota Department of Education’s Grants Management Site.

For more information, please email Jackie Blagsvedt or call: 651-582-8791.

Consultant Group Recommendations

Minnesota’s Commissioner of Education, Brenda Casselius, submitted the Recommendation of the 2014 Libraries and Service Delivery Consultant Group to the Minnesota Legislature.  

The Consultant Group spent several months reviewing options for changing library procedures and governance systems to ensure equitable and cost-effective access to library services statewide. The group  included representatives from the Department of Education, regional public library systems, multicounty multitype library systems, metro and greater Minnesota public libraries, Minitex, public school library media specialists, Office of Higher Education, Association of Minnesota Counties, and League of Minnesota Cities. Members were selected based on knowledge of libraries and library service and dedication to collaboration between library governance systems.

Consultant Work Group Recommendations DRAFT

A draft of the recommendations from the Libraries and Service Delivery Consultant Work Group to the 2015 Minnesota Legislature will be the topic of the Work Group’s final meeting.  The meeting will be held:

Monday, January 12, 2015 from 1:00 -3:00 p.m.
Minnesota Department of Education, Conference Center B, Room 17

The Working Group includes representatives from the Department of Education, regional public library systems, multicounty multitype library systems, metro and greater Minnesota public libraries, Minitex, public school library media specialists, Office of Higher Education, Association of Minnesota Counties, and League of Minnesota Cities.  Members were selected based on knowledge of libraries and library service and dedication to collaboration between library governance systems.

The Libraries and Service Delivery Consultant Work Group has spent several months reviewing options for changing library procedures and governance systems to ensure equitable and cost-effective access to library services statewide. The group’s legislative charge also requested they consider ways to increase access to emerging electronic services. The Commissioner of Education must submit a final report to the Education Policy and Finance Committees of the Minnesota State Legislature by February 1, 2015.

Award for Continuous Improvement

News item from Kevin McHenry, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Education …

State Library Services has received the 2014 Governor’s Award MN Continuous Improvement logofor Continuous Improvement. Under the leadership of Jen Nelson, the State and Federal Programs Team (Jackie Blagsvedt, Emily Kissane and Jennifer Verbrugge) was recognized for their work in streamlining state and federal grant and aid program administration over the last year. Their combined efforts to align program applications, reporting and administration with state statutes, work collaboratively with colleagues in School and Agency Finance and incorporate plain language have led to improved processes and an increased amount of funds available for competitive grants. Specifically, State Library Services increased federal Library Services and Technology Act competitive grant awards by 58 percent in one year, resulting in more options for funding local projects.

Perhaps the most far-reaching impact of streamlining federal and state program administration has been to allow 1.25 FTE to focus on key priorities for State Library Services and the Minnesota Department of Education – achieving the goals articulated in the Governor’s Seven Point Plan for Better Schools. State Library Services staff now work with libraries across the state to improve their capacity to deliver quality early childhood learning experiences and to connect schools and libraries to foster academic success and close the achievement gap.

I hope you will join me in congratulating their recent successes and their commitment to fostering strong libraries in Minnesota.

Kevin McHenry, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Education

MDE Consultant Group Continues

MDE Logo 2013The Libraries and Service Delivery Consultant Group prepares for its fourth meeting on November 17 when it will once again focus on structures and governance.  The group was created by the Commissioner of Education, Brenda Casselius at the direction of the Minnesota Legislature. A final report with recommendations must be submitted to the Legislature by February 1, 2015.

Meeting materials are available on the MDE website.  All meetings are open to the public.

MNsure webinar for library staff

mnsure logo with tag lineMNsure and Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know

MNsure is hosting a webinar designed specifically for the library community.  Participants will get a preview of MNsure’s marketing, outreach, and operations for the upcoming open enrollment period that runs from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. Those participating will also have a chance to ask questions.

Thursday, November 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon

Preregistration is not required.

To view the webinar, please follow this link. Depending on browser settings, you may have to click “join as a participant.” Participants will be able to join the meeting about 10 minutes before it is scheduled to begin. To hear the webinar, dial 1-888-742-5095 and enter Conference Code 9879144187 when prompted.

For more information, email Emily Kissane or call 651-582-8508.

MN High Tech Association supports increased bandwidth for libraries

Vote for Libraries buttonMargaret Anderson Kelliher, President and CEO of the Governor’s Broadband Task Force, has prepared a detailed letter for Commissioner Brenda Cassellius of the Minnesota Department of Education. In the letter, Ms. Anderson Kelliher addresses the importance of adequate broadband connectivity in Minnesota’s libraries and schools. Ms. Anderson Kelliher urges Commissioner Casselius to support increased State funding for the Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA) and Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA) programs. Margaret Anderson Kelliher is the President of the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) and former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

MDE Consultant Group Meets

The Libraries and Service Delivery Consultant Group conducted its first meeting on August 18 at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).  The group includes individuals knowledgeable about libraries and the delivery of library services.  Based on their legislative charge they will review options for changing library procedures and governance systems to ensure equitable and cost-effective access to library services statewide, as well as consider ways to increase access to emerging electronic services.

The MDE website will serve as the collection point for the Libraries and Service Delivery Consultant Group roster and all meeting materials.  All meetings are open to the public.  The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 15 from 1:30-3:30 pm. at MDE.

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State Library Services at the State Fair

Blue Ribbon Reader 2014Join State Library Services for a photo opportunity at the State Fair on August 22, 24, 27 or 31.

Librarians and MDE staff be at the fair with a new, life-size Blue Ribbon Reader cutout that lets readers highlight their favorite book(s) and take a picture. Special guest Governor Mark Dayton is tentatively scheduled to read to children at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, August 27. State Library Services will also have three new bookmarks available for fair goers. One promotes early literacy practices, a second gives parents tips for keeping reading fun, and the third reminds students that a library card is an important back-to-school supply. Check out the Minnesota Department of Education booth in the Education Building.

You can also order bookmarks for your library. Please email Jackie Blagsvedt or call at 651-582-8805 for more information or to place an order.

Mini Grants for Learning

Mini Grant Opportunities for Playful Learning Spaces and Out-of-School Learning Collaborative Programs

State Library Services is pleased to announce a second round of two competitive grant opportunities — Playful Learning in Libraries Mini Grants and Expanded Learning through Libraries Mini Grants. With streamlined applications, mini grants are short term grant awards of up to $10,000 for projects taking place from approximately early-January through September 30, 2015.

Playful Learning in Libraries Mini Grants are offered to bolster the capacity of public libraries to provide welcoming and engaging play-friendly spaces and experiences that engage children ages 0-8 and their parents/caregivers in play and learning. These projects will also ensure that early learners experience a variety of playful activities that support their growth across the six domains of Minnesota’s early childhood indicators of progress. A Playful Learning in Libraries Mini Grant application guidance webinar will be held on August 19, 2014 from 1:30–2:30 p.m. For more information about this opportunity, please email Jackie Blagsvedt, LSTA Coordinator or call 651-582-8805.

Expanded Learning through Libraries Mini Grants are designed to support activity-based partnerships between schools and public libraries.  The overarching goal is to increase organizational capacity to connect students with meaningful out-of-school time opportunities that improve literacy, academic achievement, college readiness and more. An Expanded Learning Mini Grant application guidance webinar will be held on August 19, 2014 from 3:30- 4:30 p.m. For more information about this opportunity, please email Jennifer Verbrugge, Library Program and Partnership Coordinator or call 651-582-8356.

Grant opportunity documents, including timelines, are available on MDE’s grants management site.

To request a reasonable accommodation, please contact Jackie Blagsvedt, LSTA Coordinator. Note: The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) requires advance notice in order to provide the requested accommodation and requires a 48-hour notice to cancel a requested accommodation.

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Call for Construction Grant Reviewers

State Library Services invites applications from individuals interested in participating on the Library Construction Grant review panel. Reviewers will read and score applications and assess applications for adherence to Library Construction Grant guidelines. The panel will meet in October. Please submit a resume and a brief letter detailing experience with library construction projects and services to library patrons with disabilities by 4:30 p.m. on Friday August 1, 2014 to Emily Kissane.

MDE seeks stakeholders for study group

From Jennifer Nelson, State Librarian —

The 2014 Minnesota Legislature directed the commissioner of the Department of Education to consult with people knowledgeable about state libraries and service delivery on increasing service delivery and collaboration between library governance systems. The consultation will include a review of options for changing current library procedures and governance systems and ensuring equitable and cost-effective access to library services statewide. The charge includes consideration of how to increase access to emerging electronic services. A report is due to the legislature on February 1, 2015.

The group will meet monthly at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 18, 2014, from 1:30–3:30 p.m. Meetings are tentatively scheduled for:

  • September 15
  • October 20
  • November 17
  • December 15
  • January 12 (if needed)

Minnesota Session Laws, Chapter 272, Article 7, section 2, specifies broad representation from a number of different interest groups. On behalf of the commissioner, we are now accepting applications from individuals interested in representing the following stakeholders:

  • Metropolitan area public libraries, other than regional public library systems
  • Greater Minnesota public libraries, other than regional public library systems
  • Greater Minnesota public school library media specialists
  • Metropolitan area public school library media specialists
  • Metropolitan area cities
  • Metropolitan area counties

One individual representing each of these stakeholders will be selected from applications received. To apply, please send name, contact information, stakeholder group represented, brief resume and short statement of related experience (no more than one page) by email to: Jennifer.r.nelson@state.mn.us.

Application Deadline: 5 p.m. on Friday July 18, 2014

For more information, email Jennifer Nelson at 651-582-8791.

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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.

Nifty eBook Poster – with one correction

Explore ebook-mn logo 2014

For those around the state who are helping promote the upcoming series of eBook webinars and the August eBook Summit, please swap this poster for any publicity you have already shared.  The time of the June 25 webinar will be one hour later.

Sorry for the inconvenience in swapping posters — Thank you for your help in spreading the news about this important professional discussion.

Revised eBook Minnesota poster

2014 Legislative Changes Impacting Libraries

State Librarian Jen Nelson shares an update on the laws passed in the recently adjourned 2014 legislative session that impact libraries.

Omnibus Capital Investment – Library Construction Grants
A $2 million appropriation will support library construction grants under Minnesota Statutes, section 134.45. The law also clarifies that renovation projects may include remediation of conditions hazardous to health or safety. Of the total appropriation, specific funds were allocated for grants to three cities for library projects: $570,000 to the city of Jackson, $257,000 to the city of Perham and $50,000 to the city of Bagley. State Library Services is in the midst of streamlining and revising the Library Construction Grant application process, and anticipates announcing the timeline for a competitive grant ground in June.

Education Policy – Regional Library Telecommunications Aid
Article 7 Section 1 amends Minnesota Statutes, section 134.355 Subdivision 8 to allow for exceptions to the minimum open hours requirement for regional library telecommunications aid. Applicants may now request exceptions to the open 20 hour per week requirement for short-term closings for emergency maintenance and repairs following a natural disaster, in response to exceptional economic circumstances, building repairs or maintenance that requires public services areas to be closed or to adjust hours of public service to respond to documented seasonal use patterns. We anticipate that this change will streamline the application and reporting process and ensure that libraries have reliable access to necessary funds even when the unexpected happens. State Library Services will be adapting 2014 Regional Library Telecommunication Aid reporting documents to reflect the change, and work with aid recipients to ensure that the new provisions are well understood.

Education Policy – Libraries and Service Delivery
Article 7 Section 2 directs the commissioner of the Department of Education to consult with representatives from a number of library and governmental organizations on ‘options for changing current library procedures and library governance systems to increase collaboration between library systems, ensuring equitable and cost-effective access to library services statewide.’ In addition to access to physical services, the commissioner must consider how to increase access to emerging electronic services. This provision is effective  immediately and a report to the education policy and finance committees is due by February 1, 2015.

State Library Services will be reaching out over the next few weeks to identify people interested in serving on the task force. If you would like more information about the task force, or are interested in participating, please contact Jennifer Nelson, State Librarian, or Kevin McHenry, Assistant Commissioner.

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SELCO Teen Poets Featured in blogged[ED]MN

SELCO Poetic Strokes Wordflow 2014 Two teen poems from SELCO’s new Wordflow anthology are featured in the April 23, 2014  blogg[ED]MN news posting.

Through the benefit of Arts and Cultural Heritage Funding for Library Legacy activities, SELCO has an ongoing commitment to area writers.  Each year the regional library system hosts a poetry writing competition.  The poems selected by a panel of qualified judges are printed in a regional anthology.  Initially dubbed, Poetic Strokes, for adult writers, SELCO expanded the contest in 2013 to include teen literary works which are published as Wordflow.

Kids Design Glass Highlighted

Each of the 14 fantastical glass sculptures created as part of the East Central Regional Library (ECRL) Kids Design Glass project are featured in the new issue of  blogg[ED]MN.

The Minnesota Department of Education introduced blogg[ED]MN, as a new communication tool in January 2014.  From updates on new efforts, investments and policies to interviews with education leaders and profiles of innovative schools, blogg[ED]MN offers a place where readers can stay up to date on what’s going on in Minnesota education.

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New Staff at State Library Services

From State Librarian, Jennifer Nelson:

I’m delighted to announce that Emily Kissane has accepted the position of State Library Program Specialist at State Library Services beginning April 16, 2014. Emily has a wealth of experience that will make a decided contribution to State Library Services. After a six-year stint as a reference and information technology librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College, she moved into the area of educational policy.

In addition to other roles, she served as a policy analyst at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education from 1999-2009, administering statewide technology and library programs, including Minitex, MnLINK and the Learning Network of Minnesota. She developed a depth of knowledge about the needs of greater Minnesota through an assignment as the interim executive director of Minnesota Rural Partners and as a policy analyst for rural school districts.

More recently, her work has focused on higher education policy with an emphasis on research, writing and communications. In addition to an MLS from the University of Iowa, Emily earned an MA in Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute where her thesis dealt with market structure and state funding of K-12 education in Minnesota.

In her role at State Library Services, Emily will administer regional public and multicounty multitype library aid programs, the Public Library Accessibility and Improvement Grant program and will serve as e-rate coordinator for public libraries.

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Mini Grant Opportunity

A recent announcement from State Library Services regarding the availability of Mini Grant Opportunities for Early Learning Spaces and School Age Programs —

State Library Services is pleased to announce two new competitive grant opportunities — Play and Learn Space Mini Grants and Expanded Learning Mini Grants. With streamlined applications, mini grants are short term grant awards of up to $5000 for projects taking place from approximately mid-May 2014 through September 30, 2014.

Play and Learn Space Mini Grants are offered to bolster the capacity of public libraries to create or enhance spaces that engage children ages 0-8 and their parents/caregivers in play and learning. A Play and Learn Space Mini Grant Application Guidance webinar will be held on March 25, 2014 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Expanded Learning Mini Grants are designed to support activity-based partnerships between schools and public libraries. The overarching goal is to connect students with meaningful out of school and summertime opportunities that improve literacy, academic achievement, college readiness and more. An Expanded Learning Mini Grant Application Guidance webinar will be held on March 25, 2014 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Grant opportunity documents, including timelines, are available at Minnesota Department of Education’s grants management site.

For more information about these opportunities, please email Jackie Blagsvedt, LSTA Coordinator or call: 651-582-8805.

To request a reasonable accommodation for the webinars, call 651-582-8805. 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.

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MDE Legislative Update

The following message from Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry was shared with the Minnesota Library Association through its Legislative Chair, Jim Weikum at ALS. It describes MDE  technical and policy initiatives for the 2014 legislative session.

We submitted a technical proposal to amend Minnesota Statutes, section 134.355 Subd. 8, Regional Library Telecommunications Aid, to allow exceptions to the 20-hour per week eligibility requirement. Permitting exceptions for one-time, limited duration situations such as a building closure as a result of natural disaster, or to allow for adjustments to open hours in response to seasonal usage patterns fits with the intent of the legislation while allowing maximum eligibility.

A second technical proposal was submitted to clarify the formula for establishing the state-certified level of library support (maintenance of effort) for counties and cities that provide operating dollars for library services. Currently Minnesota Statutes, section 134.34 does not contain a cross reference to the statutory change made in 2011 through Minnesota Statutes, section 275.761. This creates a significant amount of confusion when communicating with stakeholders about the statutory requirements. Currently, someone reading the statutes has no way of knowing that the provisions of 134.34 have been superseded. While I understand that the library community is interested in pursuing a return to the prior formula, there is a need to ensure that statutes accurately reflect the current requirements.

Finally, we submitted a policy proposal to establish a task force on libraries and service delivery. MDE has had some great success in advancing and promoting issues using task forces. I want to make sure that we are highlighting the work of libraries, particularly in light of recent news articles questioning relevancy. With emerging issues that need to be addressed, such as e-books, a task force can be a catalyst for promoting ideas to work with multiple levels of governance and a positive step forward. There is great energy and enthusiasm within libraries and I would like to see that communicated to a wide audience.

I encourage you to contact me directly if you’d like to discuss any of these proposals. I appreciate any feedback you have to offer. Email Kevin McHenry, Assistant Commissioner, or call 651-582-8250.

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LSTA Grant Opportunity

A recent State Library Services announcement and LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant opportunity:

State Library Services is pleased to announce the 2014 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) competitive grant  opportunity. We welcome applications from any legally established public library, academic library, special library, school library, library cooperative or consortium in Minnesota or any Minnesota organization with tax exempt, non-profit status willing to serve as fiscal agent for a project that benefits a library.

An estimated $600,000 is available to fund grant projects that address the priorities identified in Minnesota’s Five Year LSTA Plan (2013-2017). We welcome proposals that expand programs and services that support Minnesotan’s needs for education, lifelong learning, continuing education, workforce development, 21st century and digital literacy skills; and/or establish a strong infrastructure and build capacity for improved coordination among eligible libraries to improve the quality of and access to library and information services.

Application forms and instructions are available at the Department of Education’s Grants Management Site. Scroll to Library Services and Technology grant opportunity. Please visit the State Library Services LSTA page for the 2014 competitive LSTA anticipated timeline, descriptions of Minnesota’s most recently funded LSTA grants, and Minnesota’s Five Year LSTA Plan (2013-2017).

Please email Jackie Blagsvedt, State Library Services, with any questions or call for more information:  651-582-8805.

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