Be part of the 2018 Winter Author Tour!

Each year SELCO works with local libraries to build regional author tours around Minnesota Book Award (MNBA) finalists and winners, either with a multiple or single author tour.  For Winter 2018, we will be looking to feature authors who recently won in their categories for the 2017 MNBA Awards.  These authors are as follows:

  • Allen Eskens – The Heavens May Fall (Genre Fiction)
  • Peter Geye – Wintering (Novel & Short Story)
  • Shawn Otto – The War on Science… (General Nonfiction)
  • Cheri Register – The Big Marsh… (Minnesota)
  • Sun Yung Shin – Unbearable Splendor (Poetry)
  • Kao Kalia Yang – The Song Poet… (Memoir & Creative Nonfiction)

As you can tell by the names listed, this tour will feature those authors in the Adult categories from last year’s winners roster.  Unfortunately this time around, the tour did not work for those who fell in the youth categories.

In the application we’ll ask you for your top three choices for authors and the top three availability dates for each of the authors.  We’re looking to plan the tour for dates between February 1 – April , 2018.  Here is information regarding the Authors and their AvailabilityPlease consult these documents prior to making your final selections.

Applications to be a part of the 2018 Winter Author tour will be accepted from August 16-September 13.  Click HERE to apply today!

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

Legacy and Bonding Bill Updates

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Legacy Bill

This evening the Legacy conference committee wrapped up their work on the
omnibus legacy bill. Library Legacy funding is at $2.5 million/year for the
next two years. The Senate position was $2.2 million/year and the House
brought $2.7 & $2.5 million for the next two years, respectively. The House
position largely won out thanks once again to Rep. Mary Murphy’s hard work.
While she wasn’t actually on the conference committee she sat through the
entire hearing tonight to make sure our funding was secure.

Bonding Bill

Last night the House failed to pass the bonding bill that Chair Dean Urdahl
brought forward. Chair Urdahl has maintained our $2 million for library
construction grants through the process. It’s unclear what kind of process,
if any, they will use to resolve a bonding bill for this session. It’s
possible that they will fail to pass a bonding bill again. Hopefully they
figure it out. Our $2 million for library construction grants has been a
part of every bonding iteration in the House, Senate and Governor’s
proposals for over a year.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Unified GOP Budget Plan

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Sunday, April 30, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

At the request of Governor Dayton, GOP leaders in the House and Senate have
come up with a unified plan for negotiations as we enter the final three
weeks of the regular session. The GOP budget plan doesn’t move closer to the
Governor’s positions, but is a merger or splitting the difference between
the House and Senate GOP plans.

The unified plan calls for $1.15 billion in tax cuts, about half way between
the House’s $1.35 billion and the Senate’s $900 million. The Governor
proposed about $300 million in tax cuts last January. For E-12 programs, the
GOP plan goes to the Senate’s level of $300 million, up from the House’s
$271 million. However, this is still a far cry from the Governor’s $709
million in proposed E-12 funding. The GOP plan is insufficient to meet 2&2
on the formula ($371 million price tag) and certainly nowhere near the
Governor’s desired level of spending on preK.

Monday will be a hectic day at the Capitol. The various budget conference
committees will unveil the details of their spending plans. E-12 is
convening at 3pm along with several other conference committees. GOP leaders
are hoping to negotiate a budget plan with the Governor by Thursday, but
that doesn’t seem likely.


The Legacy conference committee met for a walk through of the House and
Senate plans last Thursday. They meet again Tuesday at 9am. Those with
closer ties to Rep. Bob Gunther and Sen. Carrie Ruud might send a last
minute note to them, urging them to support the House’s level of funding for
library legacy programming.


The House is set to finally release a bonding bill early this week. Speaker
Daudt and Ways & Means Chair Jim Knoblach said it will be an $800 million
bill; $200 million of which will go to transportation projects. Library
construction grants have an uphill battle in the House.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Minnesota Book Award Winners

The 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony was held Saturday, April 8, 2017 in St. Paul. Winners of the 2017 Minnesota Book Awards were:

Children’s Literature: Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian

General Nonfiction: The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It by Shawn Otto

Genre Fiction: The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction: The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia Yang

Middle Grade Literature: The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey

Minnesota Nonfiction: The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape by Cheri Register

Novel & Short Story: Wintering by Peter Geye

Poetry: Unbearable Splendor by Sun Yung Shin

Young Adult Literature: The Memory Book by Lara Avery

For more information about the winners and the finalists in all nine categories, click here.



Digital Newspaper Hub Transitions


The Minnesota Historical Society just released a new Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub.   The new Hub implements exciting features and transitions the Hub to a new ProSeek platform (as seen in the Swedish American Newspapers and Historical Minneapolis Tribune sites). The new Hub will bring together the Minnesota digital newspapers, the Historical Minneapolis Tribune newspapers, and sets of digitized Minnesota newspaper titles including over 500,000 pages contributed by SELCO from early newspapers published in southeastern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Historical Society is excited to make this transition and enhance access to Minnesota’s newspapers. Likewise, SELCO is honored to partner with the Historical Society and proud of its role in developing and growing this valuable Minnesota digital newspaper collection documenting over 150 years of Minnesota history!

Announcing MNBA Finalists

On Saturday, January 28, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announced the finalists in nine categories for the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards.  Reviewed and chosen by 27 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community – the categories are:

Eligibility and process — Books created by writers, illustrators or book artists who are Minnesotans are eligible for Minnesota Book Awards. The Awards are given each year for books published in the previous year. For instance, the this selection of finalists were 2016 for consideration in 2017.

The Book Awards process begins with nominations, which are received from authors, publishers and others from throughout the state. From the nominated works, panels of preliminary round judges choose four finalists. Award winners are then selected by different, final round, judging panels.  Of note this year, 15 of the titles were published by Minnesota presses.

The 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards ceremony will be held at the InterContinental Hotel in St. Paul on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.  Seating is limited.  Make early reservations.

SELCO Art Collection Website Launches


With a move to the new building in 2000, the Board of Directors sought to add a touch of color to the long corridors and, from that practical goal, came the SELCO art collection.  SELCO staff and visitors to the office have long enjoyed this collection which features original pieces created by Midwest artists.  With the launch of the SELCO Art Collection website, you can enjoy visual images of the pieces anytime, from the comfort of your web browser.  

Celebrating Art & Culture — to be printed soon

MN Library Legacy Logo Small

Ready to go to press! 

Celebrating Arts & Culture: Minnesota Regional Public Library Systems Legacy Amendment Highlights

The Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators (CRPLSA) has produced a visually compelling written summary of  the public programs and activities funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  Celebrating Arts and Culture will provide a succinct report for the 2017 Minnesota Legislature highlighting the wide variety of Legacy programming that has occurred in libraries throughout the state.  

Celebrating Arts & Culture briefly describes public art projects, live performances, literary programs, art making, and historical and cultural exploration. The Library Legacy story is told through a montage of photographs and personal quotes. The summary graphical demonstrates the breadth of programming funded with Legacy dollars and the unique ability of libraries to provide meaningful cultural events to people in all corners of the state regardless of community size.

Celebrating Arts & Culture: Minnesota Regional Public Library Systems Legacy Amendment Highlights

Libraries can expect a copy very soon.

A CRPLSA sponsored Library Legacy activity made possible with money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota.

LSTA 2016 Results


The results of the most recent Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) competitive grant round have been released and two SELCO libraries are among the recipients.  Congratulations to Albert Lea Public Library and Austin Public Library.

Albert Lea Public Library – $72,505 for Check Out the Internet @ ALPL
Albert Lea Public Library (ALPL) will bridge Freeborn County’s digital access gap with a mobile technology lending program. Grant funds will capitalize on a popular pilot project by adding 60 Wi-Fi hotspots and 25 iPad Airs to its circulating collection. In partnership with Albert Lea Community Education, ALPL will present classes and hands-on demonstrations of the mobile technology to Adult Basic Education students.

Austin Public Library – $43,064 for Austin Area Science Fair Mentoring Project Expansion
Austin Public Library (APL) will take a pivotal role in expanding the Austin Area Science Fair Mentoring Project, a successful community initiative that pairs local STEM professionals with third and fourth grade science fair participants. In doing so, APL aims to increase science literacy and students’ interest in STEM careers. The project will double the number of mentor-student pairs, increase science fair participation and success rates, and connect science fair participants with the library’s mobile technology and high-quality STEM resources.

Hennepin County Library (HCL) is the other public library with a successful application.  It was awarded $58,513 for its Strengthening Families Affected by Incarceration project.  The balance of the $544,843 in 2016 LSTA funds was awarded to five school districts.  Click here for a list of all eight grant recipients and the project abstracts.

Be part of the 2017 Winter Author Tour!

Doug OhmanEach year SELCO works with local libraries to build regional author tours around Minnesota Book Award (MNBA) finalists and winners, either with a multiple or single author tour.  For Winter 2017, we will be featuring regional favorite Doug Ohman between February and April.  An avid speaker, storyteller, and photographer, Doug has deep roots in Minnesota and has been a part of the creation of eight books featuring his photography.  Prairie, Lake, Forest: Minnesota’s State Parks was a 2011 MNBA Finalist and Barns of Minnesota was a Finalist in 2006.  

Ohman has captured the varied essence of the state and has created several photographic series on such subjects as cabins, barns, and schoolhouses.  He also delves into Minnesota’s history by offering programs on The New Deal in Minnesota and the state’s role in the Civil War.  All in all, there are 17 different programs from which a library could choose.  We’re looking to plan the tour for dates between February 18 – April 28, 2017 (no availability on April 1).

Applications to be a part of the 2017 Winter Author tour will be accepted from August 1-31.  Click HERE to apply today!

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