Special Session Wraps

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Wednesday, May 29, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Governor Walz called the legislature in for a special session last Friday. The leadership budget deal that was reached on Sunday, May 19th called for a one-day special session to pass the unfinished budget bills. Despite some saber rattling by the minority caucuses about prolonging the special session, they were able to come in Friday morning and get all of the budget bill passed by 7am Saturday morning. With that, legislative activity is done in Minnesota until the legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. 

Despite our strong efforts and the advocacy of Rep. Mary Murhpy and Sen. Mark Johnson, the additional funding and distribution formula change for the 12 regional public library systems was not included in the final education bill. In fact, very little beyond the three major education funding pieces; 2&2 on the basic formula, special education cross-subsidy aid and preK funding, made it into the final E-12 bill. The growth of preK in the E-12 bill continues to drown out other funding initiatives that aren’t directly tied to the core classroom. PreK funding will continue to pose a challenge as the newly adopted PreK funding was only set for two years; therefore school districts will be back in 2021 seeking to secure those dollars again. 

Libraries will see a slight increase in the amount of Legacy funding they have to spend. $2.55 million/year for the next two years is appropriated for library Legacy programming. 

A bonding bill didn’t emerge this session, despite being a stated part of the leadership budget deal. 2020 will see a push for a large bonding bill on the part of Governor Walz and the House DFL.

Legislative Update

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.


School Media Specialist bill advances in the House
Last Friday the House Education Policy committee reviewed HF 247, a bill to incentivize school districts to hire licensed school media specialists. The hearing was very positive and legislators themselves rely heavily on staff for research of legislative ideas so they seemed to understand the need and importance of having licensed school media specialists in school settings.
The bill was sent to the House Education Finance committee where it has already had an informational hearing. The House won’t unveil their omnibus education finance bill for several weeks, but now is a good time to share your support for HF 247 with your House members, especially if they serve on the House Education Finance committee.
The companion bill, SF 2010, has not been reviewed by the Senate E-12 budget committee.
Regional Funding Bill challenged in the Senate
Last week SF 1704 was reviewed by the Senate E-12 committee. Sen. Mark Johnson (R – East Grand Forks) did a great job presenting the bill. E-12 Chair, Carla Nelson (R – Rochester), challenged the testifiers about the need for new state aid for library systems because state law requires counties to maintain their local effort for library funding.
A subsequent message to Chair Nelson clarified that the MOE statute was amended in 2011. Counties were able to secure a permanent change to MOE statutes as they relate to public libraries. Since 2011 a city or county need only provide its library 90% of the funding that it provided in 2011.
Hennepin County Library Director Credential Change
Hennepin County is seeking a change to a specific statutory requirement for the Hennepin County Library Director. HF 2097 (Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL – Golden Valley) was introduced last Thursday and was already reviewed by the House Government Operations committee, which Rep. Freiberg chairs. The bill was passed out of the committee and referred back to the House floor. The committee report was adopted today and the bill was given its Second Reading. That means it rests on the House General Register and in order to be viable as a stand-alone bill the Senate will need to pass the companion (SF 2267) by second deadline which is Friday, March 29th.
SF 2267 is in Senate Local Government, which is chaired by Sen. Dan Hall (R – Dakota County) who also happens to be the chief author of the bill. This committee meets Tuesday mornings at 8:30am so it will be heard either Tuesday the 19th or Tuesday the 26th.
Library Legacy
Our library legacy bill has been introduced in both bodies and is HF 1973 (Mary Murphy) and SF 2210 (Jeff Howe).
Governor’s Bonding bill
Governor Walz’s Bonding bill recommends $1.5M for Library construction and renovation grants. Historically, the administration requests $2 million for this program. The final bonding bill last session provided $1.5 million for funding to this program. MLA routinely requests $10 million in funding for the program.

Bill Tracking “My Bills” Feature
You can use a feature called “My Bills’ to track House and Senate bills by bill number and topic. When you log in, your bills will be listed along with information about recent or upcoming significant action. You must log in to see this information; MyBills does not send email alerts. Library community members have reported that this feature has a lag on updates–it isn’t a “breaking news” source.

MLA/ITEM are the primary activists for these bills: 

Increase Basic Funding for Regional Library Systems 
      Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS)
Increased funding from $13.57 million to $17.57 million annually with a corresponding formula change to provide stable funding for all regional public library systems across the state. The bills include language authorizing expanded uses of RLTA funding. Hearings have been held for both bills and motions were made to consider them for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill.  

HF 247
Create Grant Pool for Library Media Specialists 
MLA and ITEM support funding a grant pool to enable school districts to increase access to licensed library media specialists in districts that face a shortage of licensed media staff. It was heard in the house committee. At this time there is no companion Senate bill.

SF 2210/HF1973
Legacy funding for regional public library systems for arts and cultural heritage programming.  $2.5 million for each year of the biennium. This is the same amount as was appropriated in the last budget cycle.

There are other issues MLA/ITEM supports. Other organizations or groups are the primary activists. In some cases, library advocates are members of these other groups. An example is broadband, where librarians serve as members of task forces and advocacy groups.

Some of the bills that are relevant to the library community:

SF0081/HF835 Minnesota Reads task force creation

SF0209/HF555 ISP adherence to net neutrality

SF1428/HF907 After-school community learning programs appropriation

HF2097/ SF2267 HCL library director requirements

Various broadband bills.

Session Closure

The following information was shared via email with the library community Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

While the Governor’s line-item veto of the legislature’s operating budget
means the people’s business isn’t quite finished, it is for our practical

The final Bonding bill, signed into law, appropriates $2 million for library
construction and renovation projects.

The final Legacy bill, signed into law, appropriates $2.5 million for
library legacy programming for the next two years.

The final E-12 bill, signed into law, doesn’t appropriate new funding for
regional library programs.

If the courts decide against the legislature’s forthcoming lawsuit over the
line-item veto, it’s the Governor’s desire to revisit several items in the
Tax bill. Those items are related to commercial-industrial property taxes
paid to the state, tobacco taxes and changes to the estate tax. He’s also
indicated a desire to revisit the teacher licensure reform package passed in
the E-12 bill.

The 2018 session begins at noon on Tuesday, February 20th.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

2017 Minnesota Book Award Reviews Are Complete

All of the reviews of the Minnesota Book Award finalists have been posted. Sponsored each year by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the award finalists were announced in March. SELCO staff and library staff from around the region contributed to our reviews of the 36 books in nine categories; Poetry, General Nonfiction, Children’s Literature, Genre Fiction, Young Adult Literature, Novel & Short Story, Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, Minnesota, and Middle Grade Literature.

Our thanks to all those who read and contributed reviews. You can find links to the brief reviews on our website or go directly to our MNBA 2017 playlist on SELCOtv. Winners will be announced Saturday, April 8, 2017 at a ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel St. Paul Riverfront and posted on the SELCO Facebook page as they are announced.

Update on Senate Legacy Bill

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

Senate Legacy Bill

The Senate Legacy bill was made public today. The Senate Environment & Legacy committee will go through the bill tomorrow in committee at 10am. The bill includes $2.2 million/year for regional library system legacy funds and $300,000/year for the digital library.

As a reminder, the House Legacy bill includes $2.75 million in FY 18 and $2.5 million in FY 19 for regional library systems legacy funding and $375,000/year for the digital library project.

Here you can see the Senate Legacy spreadsheet (scroll to lines 271 regional systems, 279 digital library).

Click here to view the Senate Legacy bill (scroll to lines 62.29 regional systems, 65.26 digital library).

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates


2017 MN Book Award Reviews

The Minnesota Book Awards are sponsored each year by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. Finalists were announced earlier this month. SELCO staff and library staff from around the region are contributing to our reviews of the 36 books in nine categories; Poetry, General Nonfiction, Children’s Literature, Genre Fiction, Young Adult Literature, Novel & Short Story, Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, Minnesota, and Middle Grade Literature.

You can find links to the brief reviews on our website or go directly to our MNBA 2017 playlist on SELCOtv. We will be posting reviews throughout the month of March. Winners will be announced April 8, 2017 at a ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel St. Paul Riverfront. 

Back to School Packet 2016-17

With the school year beginning we have a brand new Back to School Packet for you.  This year we’ve tried something different and are sending the packet entirely in an electronic form.  You’ll find a link below to a Google Drive folder which includes updates and information on :

  • Executive Director Search
  • SELCO Quick Reference
  • Information Services (Help Desk, eBooks, Cataloging, Circulation, and Citrix)
  • Legacy (Vetted and MNBA)
  • Library Support Services (Delivery, Interlibrary Loan, and Continuing Education)
We’re doing things electronically as an effort to be more green and save on costs.  This way each individual can print what they need or save a copy of a document to their desktop for a quick reference or even bookmark the this link in their web browser to serve as a sort of one-stop shop for some of the basic SELCO/SELS information.  Please share this widely with your staff and should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the office at 507.288.5513.  

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.

Once Upon a Reader – 2016 Season Launch!

OUR Logo - ColorAs we kick off the New Year, the Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators (CRPLSA) is pleased to commence season two of Once Upon a Reader. Aimed at pre-K children and their families, this statewide one-book program  promotes Minnesota children’s literature and encourages families to Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play together – five practices critical to early literacy skills development.

A panel of youth services librarians from across the state selected Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure, by Minnesota author/illustrator Derek Anderson, as the focus of this year’s program. “Anderson combines humor with simple, straightforward rhymes to successfully convey basic counting concepts,” praises School Library Journal. “Because of its big, vivid illustrations and rhythmic, sprightly rhymes, [Ten Pigs] is ideal for sharing with a group as a read-aloud.”

CRPLSA launched Once Upon a Reader’s inaugural season in 2014, with funding from Minnesota’s Legacy Amendment Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund. This year’s season will be observed from March to October and include a diverse mix of tie-in activities, enabling libraries of all sizes and in all corners of the state to participate in the program.

Beginning this spring, Derek Anderson will travel across the state entertaining and educating kids in each participating regional library system with his “Ten Pigs Trunk Show.” During this portable one-man show, the author will read the book aloud, lead a reenactment, sketch, sing, and more. Visit, or click HERE, to see when Derek will be in a community near you.

Additional Once Upon a Reader activity materials are offered through the program’s website. Available for purchase are a waterproof and reusable Story Stroll, sign-sized book pages that allow you to display the Ten Pigs story outside a library or along a path; an Epic Storytime Kit, which includes your own copy of Ten Pigs, four other bath time and barnyard tales, and tie-in crafts; and a 15-piece Ten Pigs Play Kit for libraries to circulate among families and care providers.

Free and downloadable resources include a Ten Pigs scavenger hunt, matching game, drawing activity, bubble adventure, and more!

As Once Upon a Reader ramps up in earnest, library staff are encouraged to join with peers across the state in OUR Resource Share, a Facebook group devoted to the sharing of Once Upon a Reader photos and stories, programming ideas, and resource suggestions. In addition to keeping the conversation going, this Facebook resource allows members to share and download documents where helpful.

Library Legacy RFP

MN Library Legacy Logo SmallThe Council of Regional Public Library Administrators (CRPLSA) is seeking proposals for a creatively produced, visually compelling document covering 2 years (FY2014-FY2015) of public programs and activities funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, created by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment of 2008. Programs include statewide projects such as Once Upon a Reader and the Minnesota Book Awards literary map, as well as projects that have taken place in each of the state’s 12 regional library systems.

This Request for Proposal (RFP) provides the instructions for submitting proposals, the criteria by which a vendor may be selected, and the contractual terms by which CRPLSA intends to manage the relationship between CRPLSA and the selected firm.