Take Action for Libraries!

Today is Take Action for Libraries Day! While the day is a national effort observed for the first time in 2017 as a response to proposed cuts to federal funds for libraries, there are many ways library advocates can speak up or take action to show how vital libraries are to our communities!

Action can include:

  1. Advocating for laws that advance libraries and protect library funding.
    1. Talk to your city and county officials about the importance of libraries. Approximately 60% of East Central Regional Library’s operating funds comes from our counties. Our cities are key partners in providing and maintaining facilities.
    2. East Central Regional Library receives approximately 27% of its operating funds directly from the state of Minnesota.  The state also provides funds for library legacy programs and grant opportunities for local entities to build new or remodel facilities.  Learn more on the Minnesota Library Advocacy website.
    3. While East Central Regional Library doesn’t receive operating funds directly from the federal government, Minnesota libraries benefit from federal funding that helps provide grant opportunities for public libraries and key services like statewide delivery.  (That’s how your MNLINK request gets to you!) Learn more about federal advocacy issues and information from the American Library Association.
  2. Staying in the loop about essential library programs, resources, and services.
    1. Subscribe to the e-Connect Newsletter.
    2. Like us on Facebook.
    3. Follow us on Twitter.
    4. Follow the East Central Regional Library blog. Click on follow in the lower left-hand corner of your screen, enter your email address, and sign up!
  3. Supporting East Central Regional Library by donating time or money.
  4. Simply taking the time today to tell someone why libraries are important to you!

However you support your library, East Central Regional Library thanks you.

Advocacy for libraries at the Capitol

#MNLibrariesTransform because there are 10,000 opportunities for lakeside reading.

#MNLibrariesTransform was the theme on Tuesday, March 6, when East Central Regional Library staff spent the day at the State Capitol talking to the region’s legislators about issues important to libraries including library funding. This exciting day included appointments with nine members of the House and Senate, delivering the important message about how critical libraries are to the communities they serve. Pictured is Sen. Mark Koran with Executive Director Carla Lydon (left), Rachel Howell and Sarah Hawkins (right).

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Regional library system offers a template for cooperation

From the Star Tribune, January 19, 2009
by Mark Ranum, Minneapolis; Legislative Chair, Minnesota Library Association

Letter of the day: Regional library system offers a template for cooperation

Gov. Tim Pawlenty believes in sharing resources to create efficiency. So do I. He wants to create 15 new “regional enterprises” to manage and run human-services programs. If he wants a successful, working model for these regional enterprises, he should look to the tremendous 50-year history of Minnesota’s 12 regional public libraries. The system was created by the Legislature in 1959 when three counties in east-central Minnesota decided they could save money by working cooperatively to share materials, staffing and services. Over the next 20 years, the rest of the state followed suit. Librarians have created shared collections and services, use new technology wisely, and effectively manage our committed human resources. Librarians and library workers have a terrific track record of creating collaborative and cooperative services to benefit Minnesotans. Local cities and counties provide 90 percent of the funding for library staffing and services. Through cooperative purchasing efforts, we save money on books, magazines, computers and supplies. Local governments already know how much better local library services can be when they come together and share resources. Minnesotans are so used to seamless library services that interlibrary use is now commonplace. When you want to take the book you checked out in Worthington on your vacation to Grand Marais, you can return the book to any library along the way. When you get off work in Roseville, you can stop at the local library to check out that book on CD you listen to while commuting to Eagan. When you want to ensure your child is ready for school, librarians can provide expert early literacy tips and training, fun story times, and new or old favorite books every week for bedtime. And you can choose the library you want to visit based on your home, school or work schedule. All of these benefits come with one library card which you can use at virtually every public library in Minnesota. That’s what I call regional enterprise!

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