VLS Seeks Executive Director

The Viking Library System (VLS) announces an excellent opportunity to lead a well-established federated regional public library system.  Services are provided directly to the public through bookmobile and outreach services and indirectly through 11 independent member libraries. The system is funded through a combination of county, state, and federal resources.

Requirements for success applicants include:  Master of Library Science degree from an ALA-accredited library program, five to seven years of professional public library experience including public library management of financial, administrative, supervisory and operational activities; and an empathy for rural life and library service in a federated context.

For further information including a complete job description and application form check the VLS Director Search website.  Applications accepted until position is filled; initial applicant review will begin February 13, 2017.

VLS Endorses RLBSS Formula Change

Hand writing formula on blackboardOn November 15, 2016, the Viking Library System Board approved a resolution supporting a change in the formula by which Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) is calculated and the state aid is distributed to the 12 regions.  The resolution also included the Board’s support for a funding request.  The last increase in RLBSS was approved by the Legislature in 2009.

Refresh and Revitalize Your Friends Group: MALF Workshop

MALF Brings a New Workshop Series to Minnesota Libraries

By popular demand, “Revitalization” is the focus of this year’s Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF) annual workshop series.  Sally Gardner Reed, Executive Director of United for Libraries, will lead and keynote Refresh and Revitalize Your Friends Group in half-day workshops in four locations across Minnesota.

Questions to consider:  Does your Friends group organize the same slate of events year after year, without appreciable growth or diversification? Does the same handful of long-time volunteers assume all leadership responsibilities, with no real prospect of “new blood” in sight? Is your membership roster stagnant, or worse, declining?

If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, rest assured that you and your Friends group are not alone and Refresh and Revitalize Your Friends Group  is just what you need.  Please join library Friends at one of  four locations across Minnesota:

MALF workshop map 2016Austin Public Library (SELCO)
323 4th Ave NE, Austin, MN, 55912
Wednesday, September 14 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Rum River Library (MELSA)
4201 6th Ave, Anoka, MN, 55303
Thursday, September 15 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Robert Trail Library (MELSA)
14395 S Robert Trail, Rosemount, MN, 55068
Friday, September 16 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Douglas County Library (VLS)
720 Fillmore St., Alexandria, MN, 56308
Saturday, September 17 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Of these sessions, Sally Gardner Reed promises, “We will cover a lot of ground, but focus on how to change the typical ‘structure’ of the Friends group to attract new, young, and active volunteers.”

In addition to the keynote, attendees will participate in small group roundtables, plus have a chance to share thoughts and experiences during an hour-long idea exchange session – a MALF workshop staple, and one of participants’ best opportunities all year to network and share with Friends from across Minnesota.

Refresh and Revitalize Your Friends Group is FREE to attend, and it is not necessary to be a member of MALF or any Library Friends organization. A complimentary lunch will be provided at each location.  Pre-registration is required, to ensure the appropriate number of lunches and informational packets. Registration for all four sessions opens Monday, July 18 and will close in early September. Stay tuned to the MALF Blog for more details.

United for Libraries (formerly Friends of Libraries U.S.A.) is the Friends of the Library arm of the American Library Association, and MALF’s counterpart on the national stage. As executive director, Sally Gardner Reed oversees UFL resource development, strategic planning, and committee assignments.

More regional broadband support

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:

MN Broadband Vision 2016Great 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

Viking Library System (VLS) – March 15

With its many community interests, The Blandin Foundation initiated the Minnesota Broadband Vision campaign.  This includes sharing news and information on broadband use, policy and trends.  There is even an “I Endorse the Minnesota Broadband Vision” Facebook page to “like” as well as post local support.

VLS Celebrates 40 Years of Library Service

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

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

Minnesota Byways for VLS

Ohman MN Byways Pulbic Library book cover.inddDoug Ohman has traveled the state to document historic sites and structures that are quickly being lost to history. During a tour of Viking Library System (VLS) libraries, Doug will share personal stories and the captivating history of some of Minnesota’s most treasured buildings, sites, and monuments  featured in his book series “Minnesota Byways.”

For dates, times and locations, check the VLS  calendar of Library Legacy programs.

Made possible with money from Minnesota’s Art and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.

Mooing in Vikingland

Since she was in Vikingland, Cow wanted to dress the part
Since she was in Vikingland, Cow wanted to dress the part

Hello MOO! Followers,

Cow (and Mike and David) were out on the road last week, visiting six libraries in the Viking Library System (VLS). All three of us were very, very happy to have Tom Lieberman with us, playing live music before, during, and after our shows. What a rich experience his music made these presentations. We were chaperoned by Gail Nordstrom who joined us at every library, brought us treats, and made us feel like royalty (which of course Cow thinks she is). Thank you, Gail, for your planning, organizing, and thoughtfulness which made this such a successful trip for all of us.

We began our tour on Monday, April 27, with 200 kindergartners and preschoolers joining us in the gym adjacent to the Douglas County Library. Our evening presentation was at a gorgeous old Carnegie Library in Glenwood, where Leslie Randall rolled out the red carpet for us. 70 attendees squeezed into the children’s area for our show. We had a great dinner with Gail and Leslie sitting outside along a lake, watching the sunset and listening to loons. Spring had arrived.

Cow was speechless (almost) when she met Big Ole in Alexandria
Cow was speechless (almost) when she met Big Ole in Alexandria

Tuesday, April 27 we were in the basement of the Thorson Memorial Library. Like all the libraries we visited on this trip, they were very prepared for our visit. 110 kids showed up to see Cow (and Tom and Mike and me). In the evening at the Fergus Falls Library, 105 attendees pulled themselves away from the beautiful spring weather to hear our show.
On our last day, April 28, it was standing room only at the Morris Public Library where 210 attendees crowded in to see us. Our final presentation was to 70 attendees at the Charles M. Dale Elementary School in Browns Valley. We were serenaded by Native American drumming as we left, an opportunity we doubt whether we will have again.

Cow picked out some of her favorite photos to send you. We hope you enjoy them. She is packing again, because we leave tomorrow for Thief River Falls and Warren.

Moo! to one and all!

David, Mike, and Cow

Once Upon a Reader, the Moo! Trunk Shows, and all of Cow’s Adventures are made possible with money from Minnesota’s Art and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.

VLS Shared PR

VLS logo imageThe Viking Library System (VLS) member libraries will repeat their successful marketing program of several years ago wherein each library is responsible for a complete set of marketing materials for one month.  The materials will be shared with all of the other libraries, resulting in a full year of marketing materials in return for one month’s concentrated work.

The overall theme is Your Library and the monthly focus topics were developed by the entire group.  Special efforts are made to emphasize the fact that all member libraries belong to a single regional library and work together for the betterment of all.  The monthly collection of marketing materials will  include: posters, bookmarks, press releases, Facebook posts, twitter feeds and radio PSAs.

Library Construction Grants

An appropriation to the 2014 Library Construction Grant program provided $2,000,000 for library construction and renovation projects. One-to-one matching grants help build libraries that meet high standards of accessibility and energy efficiency. Three projects were earmarked to receive funds, with the remaining funds awarded through a competitive process. As of March 2, 2015, grant agreements have been executed for the following projects:

City of Jackson – This expansion and renovation project will add 1,500 square feet and install new windows, a new entrance, new information desk, expanded meeting space and an accessible parking, among other improvements. Plum Creek Library System (PCLS) member.  Grant funds appropriated: $570,000

City of Perham – An exterior wall reconstruction project will mitigate mold and restore a safe and healthy environment to the library. The work will also prevent future contamination and damage to the building. Viking Library System (VLS) member. Grant funds appropriated: $257,000

Ramsey County Library (White Bear Lake) – An expanded and remodeled library will offer enhanced areas for children and teens, more public computers, an improved community room and spaces for individual and group study. Renovations to the parking lot will result in more available parking and improved traffic flow. MELSA member.  Grant funds awarded: $200,000

City of Waseca – A redesign and renovation of the library’s layout will result in improvements to the entryway, restroom and meeting rooms to increase the accessibility, functionality and attractiveness of the building. A close working relationship with the Independent Counseling and Advocacy Network will ensure the needs of patrons with all types of disabilities are reflected in the renovation. Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative member.  Grant funds awarded: $75,000

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)

New published author in VLS

Read the Art cover artGail Nordstrom, Viking Library System, and Heidi Hammond, University of St. Catherine, have a new book: Reading the Art in Caldecott Award Books: A Guide to the Illustrations.  This new reference book describes the distinguishing elements within Caldecott Award winning art and will prove a useful tool in understanding book illustrations.

Library – Historical Society partnering in VLS

VLS logo imageFergus Falls Public Library in the Viking Library System (VLS) teamed up with the Otter Tail County Historical Society to bring the exhibit Transfer of Memory to the area. The touring exhibition includes portraits and stories of Minnesota Holocaust survivors. Private and public funds were raised to bring the exhibition to the museum, while Legacy funds sponsored a standing-room-only opening night presentation by creators of the exhibit and a second generation Holocaust survivor; a Coffee Klatch gathering at the museum with the latter speaker; a book discussion of Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance at the library; and a Holocaust survivor documentary film screening at the library. (Note: The exhibit is available from the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.)

The Latehomecommer featured in VLS

Kalia Yang bw photoDouglas County Library sponsored a Hmong cooking demonstration as part of Alexandria’s Community Read endeavor which featured the book The Latehomecomer,
by Kao Kalia Yang. The program took place at a local restaurant – and included samples.

This was Viking Library System’s (VLS) first Library Legacy program that delved into Minnesota’s culinary arts.

Unanimous Vote at VLS

Hand writing formula on blackboardThe Viking Library System (VLS) board voted unanimously on May 20 to support changes to the Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) aid formula.  The formula change will offer a degree of stability to a funding stream fraught with volatility as property values vacillate county-to-county.  The proposal would adjust the portion of funds assigned to Subdivision 6, Adjusted net tax capacity per capita distribution, and shift a small percentage to Base aid distribution as prescribed in Subdivision 5.

Minnesota Statutes 134.355

Proposal to amend current statutory language

VLS is the ninth regional library board to review the RLBSS formula and endorse future legislative action.

Wood Turners on display in VLS

VLS wood tuners program 2014-05Viking Library System (VLS) member, the Thorson Memorial Library in Elbow Lake, hosts rotating art exhibits, with a gallery space for hanging pieces and shelving units for sculpture and pottery. Each exhibit includes a reception and talk by the artist, and often a separate children’s arts workshop.

This month, multimedia artist and printer Michael Weatherly led a workshop in which each child created a multimedia piece to be assembled into the shape of the Grant County Courthouse for display in the library. Later in May, the library will feature an exhibition of pieces by  seven area woodturners and woodworkers, Karl Beck, Robert Goldenstein, Christian Haugen, Richard Lee, Todd Pagel, Rud Wasson, and Jim Wilkus. The library reception will include a live woodturning demonstration.

This project was made possible with money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.

LSTA Activities in MN

State Librarian Jennifer Nelson provided the Minnesota advocates participating in National Library Legislative Day 2014 with a succinct summary of recent Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) activities.  The handout offered an overall statement of purpose, samples of statewide projects, as well as activities with regional or local impact.

Regional grant highlights included:

  • ECRL – Bolstering tech skills
  • MELSA – Reducing barriers to summer reading program participation
  • VLS – Providing a mobile laptop lab to offer tech classes in remote locations

MDE Logo 2013

SELCO & VLS Launch New Library Catalogs

SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Cooperating) and Viking Library System (VLS) are pleased to announce the launch of Enterprise as the new discovery layer of their online public catalogs. Search capabilities have been beefed up and now allow patrons to get very specific in what they might be seeking.

SELCO logo small 2014After conducting usability tests with library staff and the public & applying two months worth of staff feedback, SELCO believes that the new catalog will offer patrons greater features both functional and fun.  Patrons will have the option to view their account right within the same web page where they still are able to see what items they have requested and checked out, but now can also pay any outstanding fines right online! Enhanced features such as book cover art similar to the previous catalog get an extra boost with imbedded reviews from trusted sources and a new Home Room feature on the main page has already been set up with different Rooms to help patrons find favorites in a particular area. SELCO will launch Enterprise at all 90 locations on April 1.

VLS logo imageThe official launch of the VLS Enterprise discovery layer will be during the week of March 31 – April 4. The VLS site will go live with a fairly low-key series of announcements while several of the member libraries will make splashier debuts!  VLS staff provided rooms content design and management training on March 11 – 12 and local library staff have been developing their pages since that time. There will be additional staggered launches as more libraries declare their sites completed.

Telecom Talking Points

Libraries Strengthen Minnesota logo smallCRPLSA director, Peg Werner, VLS, was instrumental in preparing the Broadband and Telecommunications Access for Schools and Libraries legislative talking points. The focus of this legislative initiative supports an increase of $6 million for the school Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA) program, as well as ongoing funding of the current $2.3 million appropriation for  Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA) to ensure equitable access to broadband and Internet services. The talking points outline 10 specific services affected by the availability and the level of bandwidth, ranging from technology support for displaced workers to Internet-based audio and videoconferencing technology is used to connect educators, librarians, and peers across the globe.

More information about CRPLSA legislative initiatives may be found on the Advocacy page.

VLS Hosts Art at the Library

The work of area potter and art instructor Lori Charest will be featured in the Thorson Memorial Library display cases from mid-January through mid-March. The Library is planning a public reception and artist talk, as well as a two-part pottery workshop for children and families.

In February, the Thorson Memorial Library will feature a  Saturday Arts Program with Potter Sean Scott.  Mr. Scott, of Pomme de Terre Pottery, will discuss his approach to working with clay and glazes, then lead a workshop on hand-built pottery for adults and older teens. Pre-registration is required for this event on Saturday, February 8.

Contact the Thorson Memorial Library for more information.

Creating a Legacy, Enriching Lives. These projects were funding in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.