RLBSS Bill Introduced in Legislature

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Saturday, February 16, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist. Additional information was added by SELCO Advocacy Consultant Jennifer Harveland on Monday evening, February 18.

Regional Library Basic System Support
HF1282 was introduced Monday at 3:30pm, chief authored by Rep. Mary Murphy. The bill will provide a $4 million annual increase over the current $13.57 million in regional library system support. The bill also amends the distribution formula to the 12 regional public systems to provide more stability in funding to each system.

Net Neutrality
Last week the House Commerce Committee reviewed HF 136, which is being referred to as the Net Neutrality bill. The legislation would require internet service providers contracting with the state of local government to abide by net neutrality principals. The legislation is opposed internet service providers, the Cable Association and other industry players, who will fight the bill throughout session. The companion bill, SF 317, doesn’t stand a chance to be heard in the Senate. The issue will likely be a point of negotiation between leadership during the conference committee process later in May.
On Wednesday the House Greater Minnesota Jobs & Economic Development committee will hear an overview of the Border-to-Border broadband grant program. Those testifying include:

  • Office of Broadband Development, Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Minnesota Telecom Alliance
  • Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition (MRBC)

The MRBC has asked for $70 million in new broadband funding. Governor Walz has signaled an interest in supporting $80 million for the fund. HF 7 and SF 9 are the MRBC backed bills we’re tracking this session.
Walz Budget due
At noon on Tuesday Governor Walz’s much anticipated two-year operating budget for state government services will be released. There have been no leaks that hint to what will be included in his budget plan. Stay tuned for more information on the Walz budget plan.

Scholarship Report: Heather Acerro – ALA Midwinter Meeting

Event:  American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting — Seattle, WA — January 25-29, 2019

Attendee: Heather Acerro – Head of Youth Services, Rochester Public Library

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

My biggest takeaways from attending ALA Midwinter and participating on the 2019 Randolph Caldecott Committee are the skills and colleagues that I gained through this experience.  In terms of the Caldecott Committee–which involved preparing for meetings, reviewing picture books throughout the year, writing and presenting about picture book art, and participating at in-person meetings at midwinter–my skills in evaluating and discussing art and picture books have increased considerably. I developed a unique methodology based on the preparation materials and the discussions with colleagues.  During the past two years, I have had the opportunity to share my collection selection and evaluation methods with Rochester Community & Technical College literature classes.  Now, after my attendance at ALA Midwinter meetings, I feel that I have much more to share with literature students. I have also gained a wonderful group of fourteen peers who passion for and ideas around youth services work and literature will continue to benefit me and Rochester Public Library for years to come.

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

Each year ALA hosts an “online pajama party” to encourage children to watch the live webcast of the Youth Media Awards press conference.  After attending the Youth Media Awards Press Conference, meeting with colleagues in the exhibit hall, and discussing the activities around this big event, I would like to work with area teachers to host Mock Award programs throughout the year and then celebrate by participating in the pajama party. (http://www.ilovelibraries.org/pjparty)

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would highly recommend participating on an award or booklist committee and attending ALA Midwinter for in-person book discussions.  It is valuable to not only learn book evaluation skills, but also how to respectfully and productively have discussions with colleagues.  These discussion skills do not only apply to books, but can be used for discussing any topic that requires careful listening, thoughtfulness, and clear articulation.

CANCELLED: Route Bravo Delivery for 2.6.19

Due to road conditions the truck for Route Bravo spun out and is currently stuck in a ditch.  As of mid-day, the tow truck has not made it to the driver, and as such we are cancelling delivery for Route Bravo for 2.6.19.  Any schools who were to receive delivery today, 2/6, will instead receive your delivery tomorrow, 2/7, as a make-up day.

Please contact the SELCO office if you have any questions.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Family Group Pilot Report

With the version of Horizon, SirsiDynix released a new feature called family groups. These groups are designed to link borrower accounts together for easier management. Members in the group may be able to checkout materials, pickup holds, or receive notices on behalf of other members.

In the fall of 2018, SELCO worked with the Preston Public Library and the Winona Public Library to pilot this new feature. The goals were to ascertain any technical issues with the product and also to look at how it could work in the SELCO region.

In summary, SELCO was able to discover and resolve several issues both technical and procedural. However, lack of use in peripheral products and the impending move to SaaS have suspended the feature presently.

Read the full report

2019 Session Underway

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Monday, February 4, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The first month of the 2019 session is behind us. As expected, it’s been a slow (and cold) start to the new legislative cycle. The Walz-Flanagan transition is mostly settled- however, second tier agency posts (assistant and deputy commissioners) are still coming together. The new House DFL majority is starting to hum now that staff are settled into their new positions. The House and Senate committees have mostly been conducting overview hearings. A few marquee DFL-backed policy bills are set for their initial hearings this coming week in the House, including legislation on paid sick leave and wage theft prohibitions are on the docket.

The Senate is taking a slower approach as the GOP majority knows the DFL House and Governor Walz will ramp up an ambitious agenda this month and through session. The Senate also has a special session to fill the seat vacated by Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) who took the reins as Commissioner of the Department of Human Services earlier in January. His son, Stu Lourey, is running to replace him in the special election set for Tuesday, February 5th. Rep. Jason Rarick (GOP-Pine City) is a formidable challenger for the Senate District 11 special election and the race is expected to be close. Senate District 11 spans Carleton and Pine Counties. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is hoping to flip this seat and give his caucus a two seat majority, which would provide significant breathing room as they brace for the DFL’s agenda to land in their chamber.

Walz-Flanagan Budget Plan

One thing certain about the Walz-Flanagan operation; it’s a tight-lipped, no leak, operation. Walz’s time in D.C. and his core staff are exhibiting better habits around the ‘cone of silence’ than we’re used to in Minnesota level politics. The new Governor’s budget is due on February 19 and it’s unclear how he’s going to put forward the progressive agenda he campaigned on.

The state’s budget picture isn’t helping him either. The state’s fiscal consultant, IHS, has already signaled a lowering of future GDP figures that we’ll see in the February forecast. The $1.5 billion surplus for the next biennium (FY 20-21) may hold, but the tails projections (FY 22-23) that showed a mere $456 million surplus are expected to vanish at the end of the month when the updated forecast is released. There’s already speculation that the DFL will seek general fund revenue increases to pay for their hoped for education plans.


Your lobbying team has been active in working our top funding priorities into position for the general fund budget debate ahead. Rep. Mary Murphy will champion our proposal to increase funding to the 12 regional public library systems. MLA is asking for a $4 million annual increase to Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) and a formula distribution change that has been approved by the 12 regional library boards. We’re seeking the chief authorship support from another senator.

An emerging library advocate in the legislature is Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL New Brighton). Rep. Kunesh-Podein is a licensed school media specialist. She’s introduced HF 247 which would create an grant pool that schools could apply for to incentive them to hire more licensed school media specialists. We’ve also begun exploring authors for our Legacy and Capital Investment requests. Actual bill numbers for these various proposals are still weeks away as there is a significant amount of time to attain the appropriate permissions for drafting and ‘jacketing’ bills, getting them signed and then formally introduced.

The legislative committee process will heat up in March with the first policy deadline set for March 15. The more significant committee deadlines for MLA-ITEM’s legislative proposals are March 29 and April 12. The legislature will be gone on a Passover/Easter break from April 13 – 22. Session must end on May 20.

CANCELLED: All Delivery Routes on 1.30.19

Due to the extreme cold temperatures, all delivery routes for SELCO/SELS have been cancelled for Wednesday, January 30th.  Delivery will resume as normal on Thursday.  If you have any questions, please contact the Delivery Team at delivery_team@selco.info or call the SELCO office at 507.288.5513.

Please stay safe and warm!

Delivery Route Charlie Cancelled Due to Weather

Route Charlie has been cancelled for delivery today, Monday, January 28th, due to the driver being unable to make it in and no other substitutes being available.

All other routes are currently running.  If anything should change, this post will be updated and an e-mail will be sent to the relevant routes.

If you have any questions, please contact the Delivery Team via delivery_team@selco.info.