Updates from State Library Services

Better Together – Strengthening Adult Learning Communities
Please join us for Better Together, a gathering of colleagues from adult education, libraries, and workforce development that will focus on how collaborative digital literacy efforts can increase communities’ capacity to improve adult literacy and workforce outcomes for Minnesotans.

This year’s session will be Monday, May 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., with time for informal networking and discussion afterwards. We will meet at St. Paul Neighborhood Network, 550 Vandalia St., Suite 170, St. Paul.

The day will have two parts: 1) a learning strand highlighting resources that promote digital literacy and workforce skills, and 2) a Northstar strand giving participants the opportunity to provide input for the next level of the Northstar Digital Literacy Project.

Please note that Better Together is the day before the national Net Inclusion 2017 conference, also held in St. Paul.

Register for Better Together today. For more information, please contact Emily Kissane (651-582-8508).

This is What We Heard
Earlier this month, 37 library stakeholders attended listening sessions in Roseville and St. Cloud to share their perspectives on Minnesota’s library needs and priorities in the next five years. This sort of stakeholder feedback will help guide us toward solid goals for our LSTA Five-Year Plan for 2018-2022. Listening session participants agreed that all types of libraries will continue to be a resource for education and information. Print will endure and digital formats will expand. Teaching people how to access and evaluate information will become even more important. As community gathering places, use of library spaces and technology will grow. Developing services for immigrants, seniors, the economically disadvantaged, and those living in remote rural areas will be essential. Critical needs include advocacy, financial support, professional development, and stronger connections within communities and between libraries.

The listening sessions were hosted by State Library Services and conducted by the Management Analysis Division of Minnesota Management and Budget.

Updates from MDE

Apply to Be a 21st Century Community Learning Centers
The Minnesota Department of Education is seeking applications from eligible applicants for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program. Funding is available to establish, sustain, and expand community learning centers in order to provide students—particularly those who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools—with high-quality programs that support the whole child, primarily during non-school hours (including before school, after school, evenings, school release days, and summer.)

City or county governments, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, local education agencies (LEA), non-profit agencies and for-profit corporations, tribal agencies, and other public or private entities are eligible to apply—including libraries. Individuals are not eligible to apply. Specific eligibility criteria are identified in the General Information Section of the grant opportunity instructions document. There is no maximum grant award amount, and the minimum grant award allowed is $50,000 annually.

Please visit the Grant Opportunity webpage and scroll down to this grant opportunity for the application documents. Applications should not be submitted into the SERVS system. The application (cover sheet, assurances, narrative, forms and budget documents) must be received (not postmarked) by Thursday, June 1, 2017, 4:30 p.m. Please contact Eric Billiet for further information.

Updates from Our Partners

Share Your Work – Connecting Children and Families to Nature through Libraries
The Minnesota Children & Nature Connection (MNCNC) would like your help in connecting children and families to nature. They know many Minnesota libraries/media centers are already engaged in such activities, but need your help to get a broader picture of the work being done, and how they might better support you. Please take a few minutes to answer their short Minnesota libraries survey. MNCNC thanks you in advance for your input.

Understanding Measures that Matter
As part of the national Measures that Matter initiative, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) will offer a three-part webinar series about the public library data landscape during May, June, and July. The first webinar, “Measures that Matter: A View into the Current Public Library Data Landscape,” will take place on Tuesday, May 23, 2-3 p.m. Learn more and register on the WebJunction website. Everyone is welcome to attend this webinar. Dates and descriptions for the second and third webinars will be announced soon.

Welcome to the Minnesota Library Publishing Project
The Minnesota Library Publishing Project (MLPP) is a pilot project that provides online publishing tools and training information to support independent authors and small publishers across the state. MLPP is coordinated by Minitex with support from Minnesota’s academic and public libraries.

MLPP’s book design tool is Pressbooks, an easy-to-use, online, cloud-based service that enables authors and publishers to create attractive content using a wide variety of templates and formatting options. Pressbooks assigns each uploaded manuscript a unique URL that authors can use to share their work, and enables authors to export their work in multiple formats. Authors also have a variety of options to create print versions of their book(s).

Learn more at an introductory Pressbooks webinar on Thursday, April 27, 10-10:45 a.m.
The MLPP website also offers training videos, best practices documents, and step-by-step instructions on how to get started with Pressbooks.

Minitex is working with MELSA and CRPLSA on the launch of Library Journal’s SELF-e system, which enables authors to share their work with readers across the state—and potentially across the country. This program will launch in the metro area this summer and will likely spread to the rest of the state shortly thereafter. Stay tuned or contact Andrea McKennan at MELSA for more information. MLPP is an experimental endeavor and your feedback is welcomed.

Other News of Note

A Poem a Day Keeps the Mind at Play
During National Poetry Month in April—and all year round—visit Bookology’s Poetry Mosaic, a website that features a poem read by favorite and new children’s poets each day throughout April. Poets include Joyce Sidman, Pat Mora, J. Patrick Lewis, Nikki Grimes, and more! In your classroom, your library, your homeschool, around the table during your family’s meal—everywhere, listen to poetry out loud.

For the Record

A Brief Look at Community Engagement in Minnesota Public Libraries
For the first time, public libraries reported baseline data on community engagement measures for the 2016 Minnesota Public Library Report. Community engagement depends upon partnerships with diverse stakeholders from public and private spheres. 73 percent of public libraries partnered with one or more organizations to address community needs last year.

When two or more organizations create a partnership they can engage with one another to varying degrees. Among libraries that have partnerships, 89 percent communicate information by attending meetings, distributing promotional materials, setting up displays, making presentations, etc. in order to raise awareness of community needs. 78 percent provide mutual assistance in working toward a common goal by sponsoring activities or recruiting volunteers to address community needs. 64 percent work together to jointly develop and deliver a program or service by sharing staff, resources, and costs for the benefit of participants.

Community partnerships in Minnesota libraries

Also for the first time, public libraries reported baseline data on volunteers for the 2016 Minnesota Public Library Report. Volunteers are individuals who perform a service willingly and without pay. Libraries that collect volunteer numbers (N) reported that 14,292 volunteers (N=264) worked 281,214 hours (N=292) in 2016. That’s the equivalent of 7,030 full-time workers. 2,133 teens (N=205) accounted for 31,418 volunteer hours (N=194).

Library volunteers can be any age but are usually 14 years of age or older. Volunteer tasks in the library include creating library displays, maintaining the condition of physical materials, assisting with annual book sales, making library customers’ visits welcoming and successful, assisting with library programs, assisting customers with computer applications, and returning materials to library shelves.

Volunteers in Minnesota libraries