Minnesota's Legacy

Northwest Regional Library Legacy Grant SFY 2016 - SFY 2017

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$55,250
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$53,500
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Recipient
Northwest Regional Library
Recipient Type
Libraries
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2015
End Date
June 2019
Activity Type
Digitization/Online Information Access
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Fund Administration
Grants/Contracts
Preservation
Research
Counties Affected
Kittson
Marshall
Pennington
Red Lake
Roseau
Kittson
Marshall
Pennington
Red Lake
Roseau
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2015 Chapter 2--S.F. No. 1, Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 5
Appropriation Language

These amounts are appropriated to the commissioner of education for grants to the 12 Minnesota regional library systems to provide educational opportunities in the arts, history, literary arts, and cultural heritage of Minnesota. These funds must be allocated using the formulas in Minnesota Statutes, section 134.355, subdivisions 3, 4, and 5, with the remaining 25 percent to be distributed to all qualifying systems in an amount proportionate to the number of qualifying system entities in each system. For purposes of this subdivision, "qualifying system entity" means a public library, a regional library system, a regional library system headquarters, a county, or an outreach service program. These funds may be used to sponsor programs provided by regional libraries or to provide grants to local arts and cultural heritage programs for programs in partnership with regional libraries. These funds must be distributed in ten equal payments per year. Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 16A.28, the appropriations encumbered on or before June 30, 2017, as grants or contracts in this subdivision are available until June 30, 2019.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$55,250
Other Funds Leveraged
$3,260
Direct expenses
$58,510
Administration costs
$464
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.1
Measurable Outcome(s)

Total number of activities, programs,and/or events: 80 
Total participation/attendance: 3,964
Total number of partnerships: 8 

Description of Funds
One great project this year was Ross Sutter, in his musical group Trio Larsson, performing Strings Across the Ocean. He and two friends from Sweden, Anders and Maria Larsson, put together a children's program about a couple that emigrates from Sweden to America. Two of the programs were held at elementary schools, and the third was held at a community center. The program focused on themes of tolerance and acceptance, while introducing children to many Swedish instruments such as string bass, accordion, limberjack, fiddle, and the nyckelharpa. We loved this program because it brought together theater and music,while imparting timely lessons about treating the "other" with kindness. Many people in our region are Swedish/Norwegian/Scandinavian, so for some they could learn more about their own heritage through this program. Some patrons commented that their favorite part was learning new Swedish words, and listening to Anders and Maria communicate in Swedish. One teacher commented that her students wanted to learn more about the historical period referred to in the program, and said it raised their curiosity--"that's huge!" she wrote.

Jen Anfinson, a Minnesotan artist, did six workshops for us this past fall. Five of them were an introduction to henna tattooing,and one was a workshop on using natural objects (stones,sea glass, etc.) to make jewelry.This program was slightly different than others, in that there were a limited number of spots available, and patrons had to sign up in advance to participate. The feedback from these programs was great, and afterward patrons were requesting more instructional programming like this, that is creative and educational. It attracted all ages, both men and women. Patrons also liked the limitation on participants (12 people) as it gave them a chance to have an intimate and comfortable experience with new people from the community. Because we wanted to attract teens to this event we held all of our programs after school at either 4pm or 7pm, which meant opening some libraries after hours for this program. One of our librarians said that this small detail changed the mood of the event--everyone was very laid back and open to creating something new. The "after hours" timing let patrons experience the library in a new way. We had many requests to bring Jen back, and as she has dozens of programs available, we probably will! We think that this kind of artistic workshop was very popular in our rural communities because there aren't many opportunities like this--the library, through Legacy funding, is one of the only places where patrons can be introduced to new art, new culture, and new ideas.

Lastly, Jared Sherlock, Comic Magician and Illusionist, was one of our most popular programs to date. Kids loved him because he was very funny and so talented; adults loved him because of his professionalism and ability to weave life lessons into his program. He encouraged the kids to use their local library as a resource for achieving whatever it is they want to pursue, and talked about learning magic tricks as a boy by reading and checking out books from the library. He even talked about asking your librarian to help request a book if you can't find what you're looking for. Free, quality programs like this bring our small communities together and expose them to different types of entertainment, while teaching them to love and value reading and the library. We couldn't have asked for a better way to end our Summer Reading Program.
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2015 Chapter 2--S.F. No. 1, Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 5
Appropriation Language

These amounts are appropriated to the commissioner of education for grants to the 12 Minnesota regional library systems to provide educational opportunities in the arts, history, literary arts, and cultural heritage of Minnesota. These funds must be allocated using the formulas in Minnesota Statutes, section 134.355, subdivisions 3, 4, and 5, with the remaining 25 percent to be distributed to all qualifying systems in an amount proportionate to the number of qualifying system entities in each system. For purposes of this subdivision, "qualifying system entity" means a public library, a regional library system, a regional library system headquarters, a county, or an outreach service program. These funds may be used to sponsor programs provided by regional libraries or to provide grants to local arts and cultural heritage programs for programs in partnership with regional libraries. These funds must be distributed in ten equal payments per year. Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 16A.28, the appropriations encumbered on or before June 30, 2017, as grants or contracts in this subdivision are available until June 30, 2019.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$53,500
Other Funds Leveraged
$2,770
Direct expenses
$54,889
Administration costs
$1,381
Number of full time equivalents funded
.1
Measurable Outcome(s)

Total number of activities, programs, and/or events: 88

Total participation/attendance: 5,758

Total number of partnerships: 14

Description of Funds
The most memorable program funded this period was Patrick Scully’s Leaves of Grass Illuminated. Scully’s solo performance summons the spirit of Walt Whitman, examining his life and works and revealing his many sides. The product of ten years of research, Scully not only examines Whitman’s beloved poetry, but also delves into his personal life, namely, his sexuality. This aspect of Whitman’s life is not widely known, and is typically not taught in literature classes. As Scully explains, however, it had an important impact on Whitman’s life and works, as he brazenly defied censorship and ended up with his works banned in Boston. Homosexuality was not allowed or discussed in his day, and is still considered controversial and taboo to some today.
We experienced some pushback for hosting this program in our region. At one location, a newspaper refused to print our ad (they later acquiesced), and some in the church community angrily confronted the librarian for bringing this program to their town. We pushed on with the program, however, and what followed is my most memorable Legacy program to date. The program concluded, and the audience discussion began immediately. With a mere eleven audience members, the discussion exceeded the length of the program itself. This program awakened an in-depth discussion of how we define ourselves, how others see us, and how we tolerate, accept and embrace differences in others. The fact that this program was so divisive was exactly why we needed to host it, and showed the relevancy of these issues even today. The discussion was honest, captivating, uncomfortable and eye-opening. What started off as contentious and provocative, Scully’s Leaves of Grass Illuminated created a safe space for everyone (even the pastor in the audience) to share their experiences- both of the performance, and of life.
Another notable program this period was Sod House Theater’s production of An Enemy of the People. Sod House Theater of Minneapolis visited Hallock a few months before the production, to get to know the town and the people. They held a free general acting workshop, as well as an information session and call for actors, musicians and volunteers to participate in the performance. They then created a site-specific performance using locals for almost all of the production. What I appreciate most about Sod House’s approach to Community Theater is that, even with a very limited amount of time, they fully immersed themselves in the community. The play began as a “Water Day Celebration,” so before the play began, the cast set up a sort of carnival involving water games that the audience could participate in. The cast included in the text mentions of local businesses; they learned the names of people in the audience to use in the play, and used almost exclusively local talent and local musicians. As a result of the popularity of the production, people came into the library to research the play and its author, generating lots of library traffic. The reception was overwhelmingly positive, with one patron even commenting on her evaluation, “I believe in supporting the ARTS with tax dollars!” This program brought Community Theater to Hallock, which in itself is exciting. But it also brought the town together to celebrate and participate in the arts, which is exactly what we look for from a Legacy program.
Project Overview

Minnesota’s twelve regional library systems, which encompass more than 350 public libraries in all areas of the state, can benefit from a portion of the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Through State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education, each regional library system is eligible to receive a formula-driven allocation from the annual $2.2 million Minnesota Regional Library System Legacy Grant. Northwest Regional Library System (NRL) is a consolidated regional public library system in upper northwest Minnesota. NRL has seven branch public libraries located in five counties: Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, and Roseau.With Arts and Cultural Heritage funds, NRL and its member libraries present an array of arts, cultural, literary, and Minnesota history programs in collaboration with arts and cultural organizations, independent artists, historical societies, and community organizations. Projects contribute to the cultural vitality of the region and build a lasting legacy.

Project Manager
First Name
Kristi
Last Name
Hanson
Organization Name
Northwest Regional Library
Street Address
210 LaBree Ave. N., P.O. Box 593
City
Thief River Falls
State
MN
Zip Code
56701-0593
Phone
(218) 681-1066
Email
hansonk@nwrlib.org