Legislative Session Now On

This time of year the Legislature is in session and much of my energy and attention is spent on the Capitol in Saint Paul. There is a tension and excitement to the process. With the economy on the downturn, and the economic forecast predictions that state revenues will decline, legislators are displaying fiscal conservatism — especially in the House, where all the members are up for re-election in 2008. My task is to remind them that funding libraries is especially important during rough economic times, when library use has historically increased. Availability of the free services libraries provide is especially important when families and businesses cannot afford to pay for information and recreation access.

February 27th was Library Legislative Day. The Capitol was full of library workers, board members, and Friends, who were engaged in talking to their legislators. I enjoy Legislative Day, and always end up dead tired after walking the tunnels between the State Office Building, the Capitol, and the Judicial Center. Our first appointment this year was at 8:15 a.m., and the last was at 3:30 p.m.

This year is a bonding year, and our biggest issue is to encourage legislators to include money in the bonding bill to fund the Library Construction and Accessibility Program. Six communities in the East Central Region are in various phases of planning for new or expanded libraries. Funding for the bonding bill is critical to library growth.

While Legislative Day is important, we need to keep talking to our legislators through visits, phone calls, and mail (both e-mail and via the postal service.) A super tool to find your state or federal representatives is at: http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/legdir.asp Click on “Who Represents Me?” And then start calling or writing — tell them how important the library is in your community! Thanks for helping us.

Barbara discusses library construction needs with Senator Betsey Wergin, District 16
Sen Betsey Wergin, District 16 11 March, 2008 (Photo 2/27/08)

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

My Health Minnesota Go Local at Rotary

June 30, 2010 Note: The website referenced in this blog post has been decommissioned by the National Library of Medicine. More information about the decision to end its support is available at this technical bulletin.

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association sponsored the program for Cambridge Rotary this noon. The speaker they brought was librarian Karla Block from the UM Bio-Medical Library. Karla talked about the on-line resource My Health Minnesota Go Local, which is part of the National Library of Medicine partnership with libraries and library consortia to provide national coverage of health services. The Minnesota site is one of 24 Go Local projects with many more in development.

Go Local is a tool to bring accurate information about health services in local geographic areas, including hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, support groups, health screening providers and many others.

Go Local is linked on the ECRL site under the menu bar Reference Desk. Look at the Reference Desk section to find links and information guides from ECRL librarians.

Go Local at Rotary
Karla Block, Associate Librarian at the Bio-Medical Library

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Telling Our Library Story

I just finished a presentation for the Cambridge Rotary Club. I’ve done similar presentations before, but I never get over the excitementment of being able to give away so much — and it doesn’t raise my library budget or cost me anything personally.

I started out today’s presentation by asking people to show their library cards . . . . and today’s program-sponsoring Rotarian passed out a prize to everyone who had a library card. While they were proudly holding up their library cards, I told them that was the most valuable card in their wallet. I talked about the services our 14 libraries offer, and about our online services that they can use 24/7. Wow! They were taking notes and asking questions.

As I said, I’ve done pretty much the same presentation in both Regions in which I’ve worked, and the response is the same — total amazement and appreciation for what they didn’t know they’ve had for quite some time now. I wonder how many others haven’t heard about us yet. And I’m reminded that we’ve got a lot of marketing and instruction to do.

I’m looking to go out and talk to as many people as I can and demo our fine products and services. Just call and invite me!

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director