Minnesota Library Futures Initiative Update: 6/15/11

The Minnesota Library Futurists met on June 1st and June 2nd at the Maple Grove Public Library. The group scheduled a two day meeting for the purpose of gathering and building upon our ideas from day to day, and to share and finalize ideas for the outcomes process. The primary focus for the two-day meeting was Marketing and Advocacy, though Collaboration was discussed again as well.

The June 1st meeting kicked off with small group discussions regarding recommendations and possible outcomes for each focus area. The outcomes and recommendations were written, gathered, and submitted to team members from each focus area. Members from each of the focus areas met later to discuss these recommendations. This process ensured that all Futurists had a say in the final outcomes and recommendations for each focus area, not just their own. Later, the Futurists benefited from a panel of speakers on the topic of Marketing. Guest speakers included Meg Gerritsen-Knodl (Senior Librarian – Information and Online Services, Hennepin County Library System), Gail Hedstrom (Director, Elbow Lake Library), and David Lee King (Digital Branch and Services Manager, Topeka Public Library).  Key ideas or pieces of advice during the panel discussion included: marketing libraries well before it’s too late, using multimedia as well as traditional forms of communication to reach potential library users, marketing key items of interest that will attract users – don’t just market the traditional library building, market where your community is, and use your personality and be authentic in your writing style to draw people in. 

The June 2nd meeting focused on Advocacy and began with presentations and a Q&A session with Michael Scott (Assistant Director, SELCO and MLA Legislative Chair) and Mark Ranum (Director, Plum Creek Library System). Michael and Mark shared with the group their experiences in advocating for Minnesota libraries. Michael shared the roles and responsibilities that come with the position of MLA Legislative Chair. Both Michael and Mark expressed that you don’t have to be an expert, rather just care, show up, and make an effort; people currently involved in library advocacy want future library advocates to succeed and they will seek out ways to inform and assist you in becoming more involved.

During the remainder of the meeting, the Futurists focused on small group work and outcomes. Throughout the summer, many of the small focus groups will continue to meet (whether face-to-face or virtually) to develop and construct outcomes. The large group plans to reconvene near the end of summer. The Futurists will share results and outcomes with the library community in the fall.

Do you have ideas about the future Minnesota libraries? Please use this survey to connect with us or join the conversation at our blog.