Community Collaboration Grants – Round II now available!

Amendment LogoThe Legacy Review Committee met in November and approved five Community Collaboration Grants for full funding.  Congratulations to Cannon Falls, Kasson, Lanesboro, Owatonna, and Winona Public Libraries!

With our budget for the year, there is still approximately $20,000 left for a second round of Community Collaboration Grant applications.  The application is now open.  Applications are due Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 5:00pm.  Approved projects can start after April 22, 2016.
For more information, please see SELCO’s Community Collaboration Page.  If you have any questions, please contact Amy Nelson, Legacy Coordinator at or call the SELCO office at 1.800.992.5061.

Once Upon a Reader selects a new book for season two!

OUR Logo - ColorThe Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators (CRPLSA) is pleased to announce the second season of Once Upon a Reader, a statewide one-­book program.  The program, which focuses on children aged 0-­6, will highlight the importance of reading and sharing books with children. The program is funded through the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Library Legacy Fund.

The book selected for the 2016-­2017 Once Upon a Reader program is Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure.  The book is written and illustrated by Minnesota resident, Derek Anderson. The program will feature original music by local singer/songwriter, Tom Lieberman.

Once Upon a Reader was launched at the Minnesota Library Association Conference, October 8-9 in Saint Paul.  The new season is scheduled to begin in March of 2016 with Trunk Show visits from Derek Anderson hosted by libraries throughout Minnesota.

A special feature of the program will be the distribution of over 14,000 copies of Ten Pigs to every Head Start student in the state, along with curriculum guidelines.  Libraries are encouraged to partner with their local Head Start programs as part of Once Upon a Reader.

Once Upon a Reader will be coordinated by Library Strategies, a consulting group of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.  For more information, contact Once Upon a Reader Coordinator David Katz:


Cow Wraps Up SELCO Tour

Ann Hutton with Cow 2015-09The last of the Once Upon a Reader trunk shows in the SELCO region were held last week in Winona and Houston. Moo! author David LaRochelle sent out a recap of his adventures with illustrator Mike Wohnoutka and Cow, and had some very nice things to say about our region:

On Tuesday morning, Sept 22, we presented to 120 attendees at the gorgeous Winona Library. Cow was thrilled to meet one of her biggest fans, Ann Hutton. And Ann certainly knew how to treat a diva like Cow; ever since, Cow has been asking why WE don’t treat her with such adoration. That afternoon we traveled to the small town of Houston and presented to 120 preschoolers to second graders at the elementary school. It was our last SELCO show, and Amy, Reagan, Jennifer, and all the SELCO crew did an incredible job of making sure we were taken care of at every SELCO venue where we performed. Thank you so much, ladies.

This was a huge endeavor for SELCO and its libraries. Copies of the book were distributed to regional daycare providers, Head Start students, and regional libraries — 2,375 copies in all! SELCO staff put just over 600 miles on the road to the 12 trunk shows that were held across the 11 counties in the region. More than 1,800 people attended the shows, learned more about early literacy, and had a great time.

Now Available – 2016-17 Vetted Performers

Continuing in the tradition of providing a simple “turnkey” program approach for community offerings, SELCO is proud to announce that the 2016-17 Catalog of Vetted Performers are now available to be booked! Following feedback from librarians within our region, the SELCO staff worked diligently to recruit and expand upon our previous offerings. The new catalog features 20 performers and manages to keep some of the favorites and introduces a new crop of richly talented professionals and organizations to its holdings.

Each SELCO/SELS member library is able to book three performers throughout the fiscal year (ending June 30, 2016). From yo-yo Masters to magicians to History Players to animals to musicians and more, libraries will be able to find something in here to suit patrons of all ages. To learn more about how to book a Vetted Performer, please click HERE, or contact

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

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Art Pick Up

After 18 months and 13 installations, the third easel – Experience Art in Southeastern Libraries – traveling art exhibit concluded June 30 when SEMVA artists, Richard Hutton and Betty Devine disassembled the collection one last time.

Artists with work in the show may pick up their artwork at the SELCO office between 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. the days listed below.

Six of 31 pieces were purchased while on display. The new owners agreed to allow their purchases to remain in the show for the duration. Purchases may also be picked up at the SELCO office on the dates listed below.

easel logo smallMonday – Tuesday, July 13 – 14

Thursday – Friday, July 16 – 17

If an artist or a art buyer is unavailable any of these times, contact Sara and arrange for an alternative day and time, 1-800-992-5061.

Dictionary to come to SELCO

Francie Ginocchio donated Dictionary to SELCO. The multi-media collage will be added to SELCO’s collection of Minnesota and mid-west artists on display in the office. Describing this piece Ginocchio states:twp-Francie-Ginocchio

My collage was created from a “found” pocket dictionary, a journal from the 1800’s, stamps and laser-printed rice paper. Dictionary began by altering papers: crumpling, sanding, printing, painting and coating with acrylic medium. After choosing and assembling specific papers, they were heat-fused, tinted with paint, and coated with varnish.

Dictionary has been one of 31 unique artistic interpretations of the easel theme – authors, books, letters or libraries – that toured 13 locations as part of traveling art exhibit for libraries, schools and galleries. The third biennial exhibit began in January 2014 at the Cannon Falls Library and will conclude at the end of this month at its final location at the LeRoy Public Library.

MN Legislative Update 2015-05-20

The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Session Ends: Last night at midnight, the Legislature adjourned as required by the constitution. However, there will be a special session to pass an education bill, a legacy bill and possibly other bills as well.

Education Bill Veto: Attached is Governor Dayton’s veto message regarding the education bill. In a press conference this afternoon, the governor described the last-minute negotiations on the education bill yesterday. He offered to sign the bill if legislators would add $125 million — $55 million for School Readiness and the rest to increase the general education formula by 2% each year (the bill passed by the Legislature increased the formula by 1.5% in FY 16 and by 2% in FY 17). House Republicans would not agree to add more than $100 million, so negotiations collapsed.

Governor Dayton will call a special session, but not until there is an agreement signed by the leaders of all four caucuses specifying exactly what will be acted upon during the special session. Governor Dayton said he would prefer to wrap it up by June 1, because by law, that is the date that layoff notices must be sent to state employees whose agencies are not funded. The Capitol is not available for the special session due to the renovations taking place, so the special session will have to take place at another venue. It must be in St. Paul.

Legacy Bill: The legacy bill passed the House last night, but did not pass the Senate. This was not because of any controversy over the bill – they simply ran out of time before the midnight adjournment deadline. Governor Dayton indicated that he thinks it is very important that the legacy bill pass in the special session. There was one change made to legacy funding for the regional library systems at the last minute – rather than $1.7 million in FY 16 and $2.7 million in FY 17, the final bill provides $2.2 million in each year. The funding is the same overall. Funding for the Minnesota Digital Library remains at $300,000 per year.

Broadband: The omnibus jobs and economic development conference committee had great difficulty in reaching agreement. They ultimately settled on a bare-bones bill that passed just seconds before the session ended. It provides $10.838 million for broadband grants in FY 16 only. This is down from the $20 million provided last year and the $30 million proposed by Governor Dayton.

Seed Library Exemption: The omnibus agriculture policy bill, HF 1554, includes an exemption from seed regulations for “interpersonal sharing of seed for home, educational, charitable or personal non-commercial use.” The bill was presented to the governor on May 15, which means that he has until midnight on Tuesday to sign or veto it. I fully expect him to sign the bill. It passed the House 102-25 and passed the Senate 64-0.

Student Information: In my previous description of the omnibus education bill, I neglected to mention that the provision initiated by the St. Paul Public Schools to conform Minnesota’s data privacy law to federal law with respect to students records is included in the bill. This will allow school districts to share students addresses with their local public library for the purpose of obtaining library cards for all students without having to make the addresses public.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

SELCO calls temporary moratorium for Library Legacy

Good afternoon,

The 2015 Legislature failed to pass the Legacy bill for the upcoming biennium. I am placing a temporary moratorium on any new Library Legacy applications, effective immediately, May 19, 2015. This is a difficult decision but fiscally responsible based on the non-partisan news report from the Session Daily: News from the House:

“It is up to the governor to decide whether he will call a special session to deal with the $540 million omnibus legacy bill passed by the House in the last minutes, leaving no time for it to get through the Senate.”

Any applications for Library Legacy funding which have already been approved such as recent Community Collaborations projects or Vetted Programs will be honored. Likewise, SELCO will go ahead with the final installation of easel on May 21 at the LeRoy Public Library and the Once Upon a Reader: Moo! Trunk Shows that are scheduled in June and September around the region. If you have any questions about already approved projects, please contact the SELCO Legacy Team.

I hope this interruption in Library Legacy support for local programs will only be temporary while we give some time for the dust to settle on what turned out to be a frantic final few hours of the 2015 legislative session.

Having vetoed the Omnibus Education bill, everything will depend on Governor Dayton calling a special session, when that will occur and what level of Legacy funding libraries may or may not receive.

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MN Legislative Update 2015-05-18

The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

It has been a wild weekend at the Capitol, featuring round the clock negotiations and plenty of brinkmanship. Legislators are racing to get the major budget bills passed before midnight on Monday. Here is the status of the major budget bills and the library issues within them:

E-12 EDUCATION: Early Friday afternoon House Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Bakk announced to the media that they had reached an agreement on budget targets. Significantly, Governor Dayton did not appear with them. On Saturday morning the Governor announced that he did not agree with the $400 million target set by Bakk and Daudt for increased funding for education. Dayton said that he would veto any bill providing less than $550 million, with at least $173 million for expanding school-based preschool for all 4 year olds. Despite the veto threat, Bakk and Daudt directed the education conferees to proceed with negotiating a $400 million bill.

The conference committee put in long hours and finally met in public to unveil their agreement at 1am Sunday morning, wrapping up the meeting at 3am. Here are the major components of the bill:

General Education Formula: The general education formula will increase by 1.5% in FY 16 and by 2% in FY 17. This is the main source of funding for school library media programs. 72% of the $400 million went for this increase in the general education formula.

Early Learning: The competition between supporters of early learning scholarships and those of school-based preschool programs was at times tense. In the end, legislators decided to increase the scholarships by $30.75 million over the next 2 years and to increase School Readiness (a school-based program for at-risk children) by the same amount. The bill also includes $3.5 million for the Parent Aware early childhood rating system. This ate up another 17% of the $400 million. They did not include Governor Dayton’s proposal for preschool for all 4 year olds, which may cause the bill to be vetoed.

School Facilities: The bill includes $32 million for facilities maintenance. Funding for facilities maintenance was the top priority of rural schools.

As you can tell, these major components left almost nothing for other initiatives. As a result, the bill includes no additional funding for libraries, telecommunications equity aid or after school programs.

The bill does include the language aligning Regional Library Telecommunications Aid with the federal e-rate program. It also repeals the requirement that schools have a technology plan on file with MDE in order to be eligible for Telecommunications Equity Aid.

What if the bill is vetoed? If the Governor vetoes the bill, the usual scenario would be for the Governor and legislative leaders to negotiate a new bill and then for the Governor to call a special session to pass the bill. However, the renovation of the Capitol calls for the House and Senate chambers and all offices in the Capitol to be shut down on Tuesday, May 19. Legislators have been warned that a delay to accommodate a special session would be very costly. There has been speculation that an education bill is not needed because the general education formula would continue to be paid to schools without passing an education bill. However, all other streams of funding would cease, including library appropriations. In a memo to the media, Commissioner Cassellius pointed out that even schools would not get their money because MDE would have no budget to pay staff to process payments.

HIGHER EDUCATION: The higher education conference committee reached agreement on its bill last night, and the bill just passed on the Senate floor by a vote of 57-8. It will next go to the House for passage. The bill maintains current funding for Minitex and MnLINK. It increases funding for the University of Minnesota by $53.2 million and for MnSCU by $101.4 million.

LEGACY: The Legacy conference committee convened shortly after midnight on Saturday night /Sunday morning. The arts and cultural heritage article was discussed first. As initially presented, it included the House position on funding for regional public libraries of $1.5 million in FY 16 and $2.5 million in FY 17. After a brief recess, the conferees returned and Senator Cohen said that the one area that made him “a little queasy” was library funding, and he moved to add $200,000 per year to the appropriation. It passed unanimously. The final number is $1.7 million in FY 16 and $2.7 million in FY 17. Thank you to all of you who contacted the conferees. I do think it made a difference.

The Legacy bill also includes $300,000 per year for the Minnesota Digital Library. That is the same as the current level of funding for MDL.

TAXES: The agreement between Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Bakk is that there will be no tax bill this year. House Republicans had wanted more than $2 billion in tax cuts. In return, Senate DFLers agreed to pass only a “lights on” transportation bill, rather than the comprehensive funding bill that had been their top priority. The agreement leaves about $1.4 billion on the bottom line for legislators to use next year for tax cuts and a transportation package.

Governor Dayton is scheduled to hold a press conference later today. I will keep you posted if anything major changes.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

Library Legacy Alert: MN Legislative Update 2015-05-14

ACTION ALERT!  The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Our latest intelligence indicates that the Senate has offered to accept the House position on Legacy funding for regional public libraries.  This would mean that libraries would receive $4 million over the next two years, as compared to $6 million during the current two-year budget period.  If you have not already done so, please contact the members of the conference committee listed below. 

In addition:  Please contact your Senator and ask him or her to urge Senator Cohen to uphold the Senate position on Legacy funding for libraries.  The House position is UNACCEPTABLE.  Your senator will likely assume that Senator Cohen will be fighting to uphold the Senate position, but we have strong reason to believe that Senator Cohen has said privately that he prefers the House position.

Please contact your House member and urge him or her to urge Rep. Urdahl to move to the Senate position on Legacy funding for libraries.  The Senate position is still $50,000 per year below current funding, but is substantially better than the House position.

The conferees are listed below with their contact information:

Rep. Dean Urdahl (R – Grove City)
651-296-4344 or 800-920-5861

Rep. Denny McNamara (R – Hastings)

Rep. Paul Torkelson (R – Hanska)
651-296-9303 or 888-727-3891

Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R-Nisswa)

Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL – Minneapolis)

Senator Dick Cohen (DFL – St. Paul)

Senator Bev Scalze (DFL – Little Canada)

Senator LeRoy Stumpf (DFL – Plummer)

Senator Katie Sieben (DFL – Newport)

Senator Michelle Fischbach (R – Paynesville)

Elaine KeefeCapitol Hill Associates