We’d love to work with you. Currently we’re hiring for the position of:

Development Operations and Database Coordinator

Organization Overview

The mission of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is “stronger libraries for stronger communities.”  Established in 1945, we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the work of the Saint Paul Public Library (a department of the City of Saint Paul) through a series of activities: fundraising, advocacy, and programming. In addition to our work locally, we are a state and national resource for libraries, readers, and writers through two additional program areas: the Center for the Book (which includes the Minnesota Book Awards) and Library Strategies Consulting Group. The Friends invests in The Library because we believe libraries strengthen communities by connecting individuals with resources that enrich and improve lives. The Friends has an annual operating budget of $3+ million, a staff of 17 full- and part-time professionals, with offices in the Highland / West 7th neighborhood of Saint Paul.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Vice President of Development and Community Engagement, the Development Operations and Database Coordinator is responsible for the accurate, timely processing of individual solicitations, contributions, acknowledgments, and all aspects of gift accounting. This position coordinates the The Friends’ Annual Fund as well as ticketing for Friends’ events and programs. The Friends’ utilizes Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge as its database of record; this position is the organization’s Raiser’s Edge Power User and database administrator. This position supports the overall achievement of The Friends’ fundraising goals and contributes directly to the fulfillment of The Friends’ mission.

Raiser’s Edge Responsibilities

  • Daily management of the Raiser’s Edge donor database, including maintenance, user accounts, gift entry, data integrity, tracking, and reporting. Daily gift entry will include check, credit card, bank draft, stock gifts, recurring gifts, sponsorships, and in-kind donations.
  • Produce mailing lists, pledge reminders, and invoices in a timely, accurate manner.
  • Identify query and reporting needs; produce reports, as requested.
  • Reconcile and close monthly development financials on time and with consistent accuracy.
  • Create and adhere to data integrity and style standards to create and maintain consistent, comprehensive donor profiles and records. Clean and update data regularly.
  • Create Web Donation Forms as needed, to support appeals and event activities.
  • Perform NCOA updates for direct mail campaigns.
  • Train other Friends staff in Raiser’s Edge proficiency as needed.
  • Participate in local Raiser’s Edge user group meetings to maintain current understanding of software and best practices.

Annual Fund Responsibilities

  • With strategic direction from the Vice President of Development and Community Engagement, develop an annual donor calendar for solicitations, reminders and stewardship mailings to ensure the growth and continuity of The Friends Annual Fund.
  • In partnership with the Community Engagement team, manage content process for all appeals (e.g. solicitation key messages, verbiage, and design).
  • Coordinate and implement the annual operating fund appeals to individual donors, including acquisition, recapture and renewals.
  • Using data and analytics, recommend segmentation for solicitation lists.
  • Generate up-to-date mailing lists as needed for all direct mail appeals, event, and program invitations, and track effectiveness of solicitations and invitations.
  • Create and implement the gift solicitation and acknowledgment mailing activities, with support from the Administrative Assistant.

Event and Community Programs Responsibilities

  • Create online registration forms and supporting Raiser’s Edge event records for more than two dozen annual programs and events.
  • Monitor registration for events and generate requested reports and attendee lists.
  • Oversee acknowledgment process for tax-deductible registrations and sponsorships.
  • Assist the Special Events Director for and at all ticketed events with all guest registration and accommodations.

Community Engagement Team Member Responsibilities

  • Actively participate in Community Engagement Team activities to support the achievement of all fundraising goals.
  • Seek opportunities to elevate the quality and effectiveness of Friends’ programs, events, and fundraising initiatives through strategic and smart use of customer relationship management best practices.
  • Support Friends’ programs and events through onsite participation.
  • Serve as a liaison to the organization’s Finance team.
  • Other duties as requested.

Qualifications

This is a great opportunity for a Raiser’s Edge Power User with at least three years’ active RE experience to engage in the broad activities of an effective, fun, and meaningful fundraising program.  The ideal candidate for this position is seeking to join a team of creative, committed individuals who highly-value personal integrity and professionalism, and regularly achieve high standards of excellence in their work.

  • Minimum three years’ experience (with demonstrable success) working with Raiser’s Edge, preferably as an organization’s administrator or power user.
  • Strong ability and commitment to accuracy and data integrity.
  • A proactive, hands-on operational thinker who will own, in partnership with the President and Vice President of Development and Community Engagement, responsibility for the achievement of the organization’s annual fundraising goals.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and exercise independent action, while also demonstrating interest and ability to work as a member of a team.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
  • College degree is required; five years’ or more of direct Raiser’s Edge experience will be considered in lieu of a college degree.
  • Keen analytic and problem-solving skills which allows for strategic data interpretation.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Experience handling confidential information in an appropriate, professional manner.
  • Prior experience working with a nonprofit Annual Fund campaign is highly desired.

Physical Requirements

This position works in an administrative office environment that is ADA compliant. Qualified candidates must be able to remain in a stationary position at least 50% of the time; the person in this position must be able to operate a computer and other office machinery, such as a copy machine, printer, and telephone. The person in this position frequently communicates with staff and external partners and must be able to exchange accurate information verbally, in writing, and by telephone.

Compensation

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include paid vacation and sick leave, medical and dental coverage, short and long term disability insurance, and access to the organization’s retirement plan.

Application Process

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume outlining qualifications, experience, and achievements to greg@thefriends.org by June 2, 2017. Applicants must specifically address their Raiser’s Edge experience in detail for consideration. No phone calls, please.

Equal Opportunity Employer

It is the policy of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library to provide an equal employment opportunity to all individuals. We are committed to a diverse workforce. We value all employees’ talents and support an environment that is inclusive and respectful. We are strongly committed to this policy, and believe in the concept and spirit of the law. It is the policy of The Friends to comply with all applicable laws that provide equal opportunity to all employees or applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religious belief, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, status with respect to public assistance, disability, age, military status, genetic information, familial status or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal or state law.

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SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, April 25, 2017The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the home of the Minnesota Center for the Book, is pleased to announce the state-level winners of the 2017 Letters About Literature Essay Contest, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English and Common Good Books.

More than 40,000 adolescent and young adult readers nationwide in grades four through twelve participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program, which encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author who has somehow changed their view of the world or themselves. The number of entries from Minnesota’s students was 1,122, and 130 student letters made it through to the state round of judging in the three levels of competition. For more information about the contest, national winners, and free teaching resources to guide students through the reader response and writing process, visit www.read.gov/letters/.

The winners of the Letters About Literature essay competition were selected on three levels: Level I – for grades four through six, Level II – for grades seven and eight, and Level III – for grades nine through twelve.

The winners are:

Level I

Level II

Level III

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:

The Friends, with a staff of 18 and an operating budget of $3 million, produces 70 events per year and provides over $1.5 million in support annually to the library, resulting in the Saint Paul Public Library being recognized as a national leader in serving its community. In recognition of its statewide programs and services, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has been recognized by the Library of Congress as the state’s designated Center for the Book. With a mission of stronger libraries for stronger communities, The Friends supports not only the Saint Paul system, but also libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.

April 10, 2017, SAINT PAUL, MN – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards. In addition to winners in nine categories, The Friends presented the Book Artist and the Kay Sexton Awards to previously announced honorees—respectively, Steven McCarthy and Lou Bellamy. The Minnesota Book Awards are presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota.

Close to 900 people attended the award ceremony at InterContinental Hotel on Saturday, April 8, emceed by Tom Weber, host of “MPR News with Tom Weber” and author of 100 Things to Do in the Twin Cities Before You Die. Announced at the ceremony, the winners of the 2017 Minnesota Book Awards are:

Award for Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books for Africa:
J.J. Austrian – Worm Loves Worm – illustrated by Mike Curato, published by Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins Publishers

When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next. They get married! This irresistible picture book is a celebration of love in all its splendid forms. J.J. Austrian is a graduate of Hamline University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults program. This is his first picture book.

Award for General Nonfiction, sponsored by the College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute and Saint John’s University:
Shawn Otto – The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It published by Milkweed Editions*

Otto’s provocative book investigates the reasons for why and how evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise, and offers a vision, an argument, and compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it’s too late. Otto is an award-winning science advocate, educator, and speaker, and a previous Minnesota Book Award winner.

Award for Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:
Allen Eskens – The Heavens May Fall – published by Seventh Street Books/Prometheus Books

Eskens revisits characters from The Life We Bury in a mystery full of twists and turns, vividly told from two opposing perspectives. Eskens is also the author of The Life We Bury, a Minnesota Book Award finalist, and The Guise of Another. He was a practicing criminal defense attorney for 25 years.

Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels:
Kao Kalia Yang – The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father – published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company

Yang retells the life of her father, Bee Yang, the song poet – a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by America’s Secret War. Yang is also the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, which was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award and the Asian American Literary Award, and received the 2009 Minnesota Book Award.

Award for Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:
Brian Farrey – The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse – published by Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

In this thrilling modern fairytale, Farrey has created an exciting new world where friendship is more powerful than fate and the most important thing is to question everything. Brian Farrey is the author of The Vengekeep Prophecies series and the Stonewall Honor Book and Minnesota Book Award-winner With or Without You.

Award for Minnesota Nonfiction, sponsored by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota:
Cheri Register – The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape – published by Minnesota Historical Society Press*

After stumbling upon her great-grandfather’s scathing critique of the draining of southern Minnesota wetlands, Register uncovers the stories of life on the Big Marsh and of the “connivers” who plotted its end: the Minneapolis land developer, his local fixer, an Illinois banker, and the lovelorn local lawyer who did their footwork. Register is also the author of Packinghouse Daughter, which won a Minnesota Book Award and an American Book Award.

Award for Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul:
Peter Geye – Wintering – published by Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House

When elderly, demented Harry Eide escapes his sickbed and vanishes into the forbidding, northernmost wilderness that surrounds the town of Gunflint, Minnesota, he instantly changes the Eide family, and many other lives, forever. Geye has created an epic tale – a love story spanning 60 years, generations’ worth of feuds, and secrets withheld and revealed. Geye is also the author of the novels Safe from the Sea and Lighthouse Road.

Award for Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
Sun Yung Shin – Unbearable Splendor – published by Coffee House Press*

Who is guest, and who is host? Adoption, Antigone, zombies, clones, and minotaurs – all are building blocks, forming and reforming our ideas in Shin’s groundbreaking new collection. Shin is also the author of poetry collections Rough, and Savage and Skirt Full of Black, which won an Asian American Literary Award and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. She is the editor of the anthology A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota.

Award for Young Adult Literature, sponsored by Brainfuse:
Lara Avery – The Memory Book
– published by Poppy/Little, Brown and Company

Told in letters to herself, the Future Sam, this heartfelt, funny, and bittersweet novel chronicles both the path of a high school valedictorian’s degenerative disease and the major events and little details of her life over the summer that was supposed to be pre-college. Avery is the author of A Million Miles Away and Anything But Ordinary. She lives in Minneapolis, where she is a contributor at Revolver, and at work on her next novel.

Also at the Book Awards ceremony, the tenth annual Book Artist Award was presented to Steven McCarthy, for his “Wee Go Library” project – a mobile collection of 22 altered books found in Little Free Libraries throughout the Twin Cities. The award, sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group and presented with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), recognizes book artists for excellence of a new artistic work and demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community. McCarthy is a professor of graphic design at the University of Minnesota.

Lou Bellamy received the previously announced Kay Sexton Award. For more than four decades, Lou Bellamy has been a champion of African American literature, bringing to light works by African American playwrights, enabling artists to find their voice, and inspiring understanding of the vital role these stories play in our community and history. The Award is sponsored by St. Catherine University.

Books written by a Minnesotan and first published in 2016 were eligible for the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards. A total of 242 books were submitted this year, and 36 books were selected as finalists. The winners were chosen by panels of judges from around the state. Submissions for next year’s awards will open in August, 2017. For more information on the Book Awards process, and a list of finalists and winners since 1988, visit www.thefriends.org/mnba.

The Book Awards ceremony will be broadcast in the weeks to come on Saint Paul Neighborhood Network and TPT-MN Channel. Watch the website for updates on air dates.

The 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long outreach program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Major funding for the Book Awards was provided by Education Minnesota, the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts, the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. Statewide outreach partners include The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and Minnesota State Arts Board. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune.

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher

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This letter was sent to board members and staff of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library on March 16, 2017 in reaction to President Trump’s proposed budget.

Dear Friends Board Member:

President Trump released a partial outline of his 2018 budget today, and this budget includes spending cuts that will directly and severely affect libraries and the people we serve.

In addition to proposing the elimination of two highly-visible federal agencies that support and align with the work of libraries (the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities), the budget would eliminate the critically important Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS has provided nearly $1 million to the Saint Paul Public Library and we have a $250,000 pending application right now. In addition, proposed severe cuts to the Department of Education directly target programs and partnerships that involve library and literacy programs.

The result of these cuts would be devastating to libraries, including our Saint Paul Public Library. Over the coming weeks, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library will work with the American Library Association and other library champions nationwide to mobilize and coordinate opposition to these proposed cuts. (Note: as a tax exempt 501 (c)(3) organization, The Friends is legally able to advocate on behalf of policy issues and proposed legislation. What we cannot do is endorse or support a particular party or candidate.)

Public funding for libraries is not historically a partisan issue and voices of support from all ends of the political spectrum have sustained libraries for more than a century. Please reach out to your own federal legislators in opposition to these proposed cuts.

Saint Paul’s legislators are supportive of cultural funding, so your outreach is to affirm these legislators as they fight for continued cultural and library funding. Make three phone calls and share the message below. If you do not reach a staff member, leave a voicemail message. If you can’t get through, try again later.

Senator Al Franken: 202-224-5641
Senator Amy Klobuchar: 202-224-3244
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (District 4 – Saint Paul): 202-225-6631

I know a few of you live outside of Saint Paul. Keith Ellison’s phone number at his Minneapolis office is 612-522-1212. Freshman Congressman Jason Lewis prefers contact in his Washington office at 202-225-2271. Since Rep. Lewis has not yet had the opportunity to vote for or against library funding, it is particularly important that he hear from his constituents in support of library funding.

Your message:

“I support public libraries and oppose President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, NEA, NEH, and the Department of Education. Libraries leverage the tiny amount of federal funds they receive to create an enormous range of services for virtually all Americans.

“Libraries are trusted centers that provide access to technology, job counseling, safe spaces for children, homework support, entrepreneurship, English language literacy, AND also books. Please fight for library funding in the federal budget.”

Thank you for all you do to support the Saint Paul Public Library and libraries nationwide. Call or email me directly with any questions or ideas you’d like to share. If you are able to speak with a Congressional staff member when you make your calls, please report back to me with any insights that are shared.

Beth Burns
President, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

Lou Bellamy-imageSAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, February 26, 2017The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce Lou Bellamy, founder of Penumbra Theatre, teacher, mentor, and tireless promoter of African American literature, as the winner of the 2017 Kay Sexton Award. The award is presented annually to an individual or organization in recognition of long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading, and literary activity in Minnesota and is part of the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards, presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota.

For more than four decades, Lou Bellamy has been a champion of African American literature, bringing to light works by African American playwrights, enabling artists to find their voice, and inspiring understanding of the vital role these stories play in our community and history. Bellamy founded Penumbra Theatre in 1976, which for 40 years has provided a platform for the promotion of African American dramatic literature, honoring and telling the stories of the African American experience. In the words of Neal Cuthbert, former Vice President of Programs at the McKnight Foundation, Penumbra has, through its acclaimed stage productions, educational programming, and new play development efforts, “had an impact on the creative lives of generations of African American and other writers and has frankly altered the course of artistic expression and development in this community and across the country.” In addition to promoting works on stage at Penumbra, Bellamy has inspired and touched the lives of thousands of youth, cultivating the production of new dramatic literature, poetry, and spoken word. Bellamy’s work has consistently provided a community for new writers, ensuring they have valuable resources and support.

For 38 years, Bellamy was an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, fostering appreciation for and understanding of African American dramatic literature and its context within historical civil rights initiatives. His commitment to connecting students and the larger public with the many voices in African American literature inspired the founding of the Lou Bellamy Rare Book Collection in 2011, a premier collection in the Givens Collection of African American Literature donated anonymously in Bellamy’s honor. This is a growing collection of more than 850 rare volumes, some of which pre-date the Emancipation Proclamation. This collection, combined with the Penumbra Theatre Archives, entrusted to the Givens Collection in 2006, are evidence of Bellamy’s impact in the world of literature, history, and archives. “The archive of Penumbra Theatre presents an enduring record of hundreds of voices, perspectives, and experiences that are critical to our collective understanding of what American life and literature is – what it sounds like, and who gets to tell it,” states Cecily Marcus, Curator of the Givens Collection of African American Literature.

Bellamy is an OBIE Award-winning director and accomplished actor, and under his leadership, Penumbra has grown to be the largest theater of its kind in America and has produced 39 world premieres, including August Wilson’s first professional production. Penumbra also has the distinction of having produced more of Wilson’s plays than any other theater in the world.

Lou Bellamy will be honored on Saturday, April 8, at the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony at InterContinental Hotel Saint Paul Riverfront. Awards will be presented in nine book categories, as well as the annual Book Artist Award. Tickets are on sale now and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org/ceremony or calling 651-222-3242.

Originally created in 1988, the Minnesota Book Awards is now a year-long program that fosters our statewide literary arts community. The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter with two rounds of judging. Winners are announced at the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony. Woven throughout the season are various engagement activities and events that promote the authors and connect the world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state. In recognition of this and its other statewide programs and services, the Library of Congress has recognized The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the state’s designated Center for the Book.

For additional information on the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards, the Awards Ceremony, or the Minnesota Center for the Book, please visit www.thefriends.org or call 651-222-3242. The Minnesota Book Awards is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Generous support for the Book Awards has been provided by the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts; The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation; and The McKnight Foundation. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune. Outreach partners and supporting organizations include Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Augsburg College, The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board, and Twin Cities Public Television.

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SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, January 28, 2017The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce finalists in all nine categories for the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards, presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota. Chosen on Saturday, January 28, by 27 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community – the finalists for each category are:

Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books For Africa:
- Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler (Chronicle Books)

- This Is Not a Cat! by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (Sterling Children’s Books/Sterling Publishing)

- Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Publishers)

- Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer (Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster)

General Nonfiction:

- Canoes: A Natural History in North America by Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims (University of Minnesota Press)*

- Designing Our Way to a Better World by Thomas Fisher (University of Minnesota Press)*

-Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press)*

- The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It by Shawn Otto (Milkweed Editions)*

Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College: 

- The Born and the Made by Robert Spande (self-published)

- The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens (Seventh Street Books/Prometheus Books)

- Rise of the Spring Tide by James Stitt (self-published)

- Stealing the Countess by David Housewright (Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press)

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels:

- I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland by Michelle Leon (Minnesota Historical Society Press) *

- The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia Yang (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company)

-This Is Where I Am: A Memoir by Zeke Caligiuri (University of Minnesota Press)*

- The Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt by Clyde Bellecourt, as told to Jon Lurie (Minnesota Historical Society Press)*

Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:

- Little Cat’s Luck by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

- Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group)*

-The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey (Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)

-Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper (Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan)

Minnesota Nonfiction, sponsored by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota:

- The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape by Cheri Register (Minnesota Historical Society Press)*

-The Ford Century in Minnesota by Brian McMahon (University of Minnesota Press)*

-Richard F. Lack: Catalogue Raisonné 1943-1998 by Gary B. Christensen, biography by Stephen A. Gjertson (Afton Historical Society Press)*

- Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation by Virginia M. Wright-Peterson (Minnesota Historical Society Press)*

Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul:

-The Annie Year by Stephanie Wilbur Ash (Unnamed Press)

- Do Not Find Me by Kathleen Novak (The Permanent Press)

- LaRose by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins Publishers)

- Wintering by Peter Geye (Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House)

Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
- May Day by Gretchen Marquette (Graywolf Press)*

- Tula by Chris Santiago (Milkweed Editions)*

- Unbearable Splendor by Sun Yung Shin (Coffee House Press)*

- Yes Thorn by Amy Munson (Tupelo Press) 

Young Adult Literature, sponsored by Brainfuse:

- Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Publishers)

- LGBTQ+ Athletes Claim the Field: Striving for Equality by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner Publishing Group)*

- The Memory Book by Lara Avery (Poppy/Little, Brown and Company)

-Original Fake by Kirstin Cronn-Mills, art by E. Eero Johnson (G. P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House)

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher.

Award winners will be announced at the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 8, at InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront. The Preface Reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Awards Ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are from $40 – $55 and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org or calling 651-222-3242. The official hashtag for social media is #mnbookawards. All are encouraged to use it when posting comments, status updates, or sharing information about any of the authors or their books.

Originally created in 1988, the Minnesota Book Awards is now a year-long program that fosters the literary arts community in our state with the ultimate goal of creating stronger communities. The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter and into spring with two rounds of judging. Also woven throughout the season are various engagement activities and events that promote the authors and connect the entire world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state. Hosting the Book Awards program led to The Friends’ designation as the Minnesota Center for the Book, which is the state affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

For additional information on the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards, the Awards Ceremony, or the Minnesota Center for the Book, please visit www.thefriends.org or call 651-222-3242. The Minnesota Book Awards is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Generous support for the Book Awards has been provided by the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts; The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation; and The McKnight Foundation. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio; the Star Tribune; and Twin Cities Public Television. Outreach partners and supporting organizations include: Augsburg College; The Loft Literary Center; Minnesota Center for Book Arts; and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:
The Friends, with a staff of 18 and an operating budget of $3 million, produces 70 events per year and provides over $1.5 million in support annually to the library, resulting in the Saint Paul Public Library being recognized as a national leader in serving its community. With a mission of stronger libraries for stronger communities, The Friends supports not only the Saint Paul system, but also libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.

Tell us about your cBeth Burnsareer path prior to coming to The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

I majored in creative writing and theater (or, as my friends say, writing and talking) at St. Olaf College. While in school, I was thrilled to learn that ‘cultural administration’ was a job and I’ve stayed in that field pretty much my entire career. My past employers include the Minnesota Zoo, Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre, MacPhail Center for Music, University of St. Thomas and the National Endowment for the Arts.

What interested you about The Friends?

I love the arts, and my first love is literature. I am always reading a book, and I believe so strongly in the power of literature to cultivate empathy, inspire creativity, and promote learning. Libraries help level the playing field by opening the door to language and literacy for everyone. The Friends is such an important organization because it serves as the voice and advocate for all the great work being undertaken by the Saint Paul Public Library.

What are you most excited for in this new chapter?

I am a lifelong learner, and I am excited to dive into the evolving role of libraries amidst a world of digitization and technology, increasing cultural diversity, economic disparity, aging infrastructures, and many more factors. I am also looking forward to meeting all of the individuals who have been such generous and loyal supporters of The Friends.  I love hearing peoples’ stories about the role that libraries have had in their own lives, and what compels them personally to support this important mission and work.

How do you see your role at The Friends?

I see my role in a couple ways: first, as an advocate and ambassador for the needs of Saint Paul’s libraries. Second, it’s very clear that The Friends is a healthy organization with a talented staff, committed board, and loyal group of supporters. In that respect, my role will be to steward and support all of these individuals in their own work to ensure that libraries have the resources necessary to thrive in Saint Paul.

How do you see the role of the library in the next 20 years?

I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer that question so early in my tenure, as I have yet to meet many of the creative and enormously talented leaders in this field. That said, I do believe that libraries can, should and will be at the heart of their communities in 20 years.  We will continue to need places to gather, to learn, and to be inspired – as individuals and as communities. Libraries are already so responsive to the needs of their constituents that I’m confident they will continue to evolve in a way that supports the changing needs and aspirations for our communities.

Name a book that changed your life.

Only one? “Little Women” was a powerful book in my childhood. I was inspired by Jo’s independence (and that she wanted to be a writer), but I also adored Beth, my namesake, who was so kind and loved music. I received a hardbound copy with illustrations for Christmas in third grade, and I read and reread that book throughout my childhood. I’m sure it influenced my attitudes about loyalty, charity, and every girl’s uniqueness and potential.

If you could be any literary character who would you be?

I’m not sure I would want to be any literary character, but I sure would like to meet a few of them! I love reading biographies for the same reason. I would love to work in Sylvia Beach’s Paris bookstore (Shakespeare & Co.), attend a meeting with Winston Churchill, or follow Katherine Graham around Washington D.C. for a few days.

Quick Facts about Beth:

Hometown: Austin, MN
Resides in: Mac-Groveland neighborhood, Saint Paul
Favorite season: Autumn
Favorite holiday: The whole month of December
Favorite performing artist: Too many to choose and it changes all the time! Musicians: Prince, Beck, Chrissie Hynde; Theater: Mark Rylance, Kevin Kling
Favorite food: My mom’s cardamom bread
Favorite book: Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Currently reading: Cherry by Mary Karr
Favorite place in St. Paul: My backyard

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S.McCarthyGraphic design professor Steven McCarthy receives the 2017 Minnesota Book Artist Award for his Wee Go Library project – a mobile collection of 22 altered books found in Little Free Libraries throughout the Twin Cities.

December 9, 2016, SAINT PAUL, MN – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce Steven McCarthy as the winner of the 2017 Minnesota Book Artist Award for his Wee Go Library project. Sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group, this annual award is presented by the Minnesota Book Awards and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), and recognizes a Minnesota book artist or book artist collaborative group for excellence of a new artistic work. Winners also show demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts through three pieces of supporting previous work, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community.

McCarthy’s award-winning piece is a mobile display unit for 22 altered books selected from Little Free Libraries throughout the Twin Cities. Using various techniques – collage, rebinding, cutting, folding, tearing, gluing – the artist altered the books to create a collection in which used items are reborn as a part of the larger library narrative. Each book is sourced to its donor library with a small pamphlet that has a pin-pointed map and photos of the library structure and sponsoring house. The entire collection is beautifully housed in a custom-built oak and pine display case with felt-lined drawers to hold each of McCarthy’s whimsical creations.

Members of the award committee praised the project as “a play on books, narratives, and libraries,” saying that it “transforms existing text for an experience that is at once random and intentional.”

Another committee member said that McCarthy “creates a personal connection through carefully curated collections of texts; …the cabinetry, layout, and variation of the treatment all fit together to provide the viewer/reader with a unique journey that reveals the true potential of each book itself.”

McCarthy is a professor of graphic design at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. His long-standing interest in theories of design authorship – as both scholar and practitioner – has led to lectures, exhibits, publications and grant-funded research on six continents. His book on the topic, The Designer As… Author, Producer, Activist, Entrepreneur, Curator and Collaborator: New Models for Communicating was published in 2013 by BIS, Amsterdam. McCarthy has been in more than 125 juried and invitational exhibitions and his artist’s books are in prestigious collections. He serves on the board of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Visit his website: http://faculty.design.umn.edu/mccarthy.

A retrospective exhibition celebrating McCarthy’s work will be on display January 20 – March 26 in the Cowles Literary Commons on the second floor of the Open Book building (1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis). A reception and artist presentation will take place Friday, February 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. McCarthy will also receive special recognition and an award at the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards Celebration on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Saint Paul.

About the Minnesota Book Awards:
The Minnesota Book Awards is a project of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, with the Saint Paul Public Library and City of Saint Paul. The program was created in 1988 by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and other organizations as a part of the Festival of the Book. Awards are presented each year to books in nine categories by Minnesota writers or illustrators, as well as the Kay Sexton Award, Book Artist Award, and the biennial Hognander Minnesota History Award. Through its work with the Book Awards, The Friends was designated the Minnesota Center for the Book, a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. To find out more about the Minnesota Book Awards and the Center for the Book, please visit www.thefriends.org/mnbookawards.

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Burns will officially begin leadership of the organization January 1, 2017.

Beth Pic for PRSAINT PAUL,MN, November 10, 2016 —The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announced that, after a national search, its board has selected Beth Burns as the organization’s new president. Beth, who most recently served as Vice Pesident for External Relations at the Minnesota Zoo, will join the staff in early December and officially assume the role on January 1, 2017.

Beth comes to The Friends with a deep understanding of nonprofits and public engagement. In her role at the Zoo, she oversaw a division that included the zoo’s marketing, sales, public relations, membership, guest relations, government affairs, and education programs. As part of that role Beth was responsible for engaging 1.3 million annual visitors, 43,000 member households, and more than 500,000 education program participants.

Beth brings not only a proven track record of effective leadership, but also extensive knowledge of fundraising and advocacy. Prior to joining the zoo, she served as the Executive Director for Lutheran Music Program, where she was the lead fundraiser and led the planning and implementation of the annual fund. She also facilitated the repayment of more than $600,000 in debt while simultaneously growing the annual fund by 28% during the depths of the recession.

She has also held various leadership roles in touring, public affairs and education at the Guthrie Theater and has worked for MacPhail Center for Music, the University of St. Thomas, and the Children’s Theatre Company.

Beth’s commitment to the good of the community goes beyond her professional career to her volunteer engagement. She is a founding board member and officer for the St. Paul-based Minnesota Music Coalition; she served for 17 years on the board of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, and is also a former trustee of 15 Head Theatre Lab and the Minnesota Association for Arts Educators.

Beth received her undergraduate degree in creative writing and theater communications from St. Olaf College and attended graduate school at the University of St. Thomas. She has lived in St. Paul with her husband, Bob, for more than 22 years.

“I know the role that libraries have played in my own life. Reading has provided me with profound moments of education and inspiration throughout my life,” says Beth. “I am excited to share my passion for the written word and serve an organization that is so deeply and organically embedded in every corner of the city I love.”

“We were impressed by Beth’s leadership record and her extensive experience with fundraising and advocacy. She has the combination of skills the board was looking for, and we are confident that she is the right person to guide The Friends into the future,” says Board Chair Joe Bagnoli.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to get to know Beth.

 

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Library Supporters Work to Expand Collections, Update Rondo Library, Continue Digitization, Support “ConnectED” Presidential Initiative

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library have called on elected officials to reinvest in the city’s busiest library and address a one-time need for planning and implementing a citywide, all-students library card initiative. The advocates also struck familiar notes on support for collections and digitization. Representatives acknowledged retiring Friends President, Peter Pearson.

Connect-ED studentThe Advocacy Committee of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has outlined its position platform for the 2017 Saint Paul Public Library budget. Each year, The Friends calls on City of Saint Paul elected officials to address critical needs at the Library. This year the priorities are collections, e-learning platforms, and an integrated website and catalog; improvements to Rondo Library; continued support for digitization; and one-half of the cost of a project manager for ConnectED, a local and Presidential Initiative to ensure all students get electronic public library cards. The other half of the cost of that temporary position will be matched by Saint Paul Public Schools—a partner in implementing the initiative.

After close collaboration with library leadership and with input from supporters, staff and Board members, The Friends’ advocacy committee has developed an official platform and position paper on next year’s library budget. Constituents from neighborhoods across the city have been meeting throughout the summer with their City Council representatives to present their case. They have generally been met with warm receptions and genuine, earnest interest.

Strong public investment in the city’s beloved library system was confirmed, in part, when Mayor Chris Coleman recently included support for Rondo Library in his proposed budget. “Ten years ago we opened the new Rondo Library. At the time it was an innovative facility that combined housing, community meeting space and library services. It remains the most visited library in the city’s system.” Indeed, Rondo has the most visitors among all Saint Paul Public Library locations—twenty percent more than Highland Park, the next busiest. In fact, it boasts an astonishing 17% of total SPPL visits.

In order to keep up with current demand by library patrons, Coleman announced a $500,000 one-time investment in “the jewel of the Rondo Community” to redesign the space for improved flow, to better support the Homework Help Center and workforce programs, and to create a designated area for teens.

Both Library Board Chair Chris Tolbert and Mayor Coleman took some time before the mayor’s library budget address to publicly acknowledge retiring Friends President Peter Pearson for his 25 years of leadership and commitment to the library and the City of Saint Paul. Tolbert called Pearson’s legacy “invaluable,” and the mayor further elaborated: “This is an incredible community that is anchored by the love and passion that people have for their libraries,” telling Pearson directly, “Part of that passion has been fostered by your commitment to making this one of the best library systems in the country. It’s drawing out that community support to invest in the facilities, making sure we have spaces for all our kids to learn, to be a part of… I just want to thank you for that.”

Pearson has announced his retirement as president of The Friends, effective December 31, 2016. During his tenure, The Friends conducted three successful capital campaigns, took on leadership of the Minnesota Book Awards, created the country’s premier book and author event, and developed a nationally-recognized library consulting company, Library Strategies. A national search is currently underway, spearheaded by Ballinger|Leafblad.

In his annual budget address, the Mayor focused on job creation—particularly in areas of Saint Paul with low income residents and people of color, in an effort to close the racial unemployment gap. “According to a Pew Research study released earlier this year, between 2000 and 2014, our middle class actually shrank, with some in our community tumbling out of the middle class,” said Mayor Coleman. “When we layer this widening income gap over the racial disparities that plague the Twin Cities, we understand that the capital city’s response to strengthening the middle class must be to continue to put racial equity at the center of our work.”

At the library budget address, Coleman acknowledged the role libraries can play in this crucial effort. “Libraries can bring people together to have the important conversations we need to have about race, and really begin to understand each other,” he said. “We have more in common than we know, and we need to have dialogues with people in our own community about the toughest issues we face, our shared fears and hopes. The library is a welcoming space for all, if we’re willing to have those conversations.”

The advocates will continue to meet with elected officials throughout the fall to lobby on behalf of the library and the investment needed to meet the needs of learners of all ages while playing a successful role in the city’s racial equity and educational initiatives. The City Council typically finalizes the budget in December. For more information on The Friends’ advocacy platform, please contact Peter Pearson at 651-222-3242 or by email: peterp@thefriends.org.

Click here to see the 2017 Advocacy Platform explained.