Patriot Act resolution approved at MLA Conf

October 22, 2009


Below is the resolution pertaining to the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act that was approved by the MLA membership at the MLA Annual Conference, Oct 15, 2009:


Resolution on 2009 reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act

Approved by the Minnesota Library Association Board of Directors 10/13/2009

Approved by the Minnesota Library Association Membership 10/15/2009

Whereas, the Minnesota Library Association is committed to encouraging free and open inquiry by preserving the privacy rights of library users, library employees, and persons living in the United States;

Whereas, the Minnesota Library Association opposes governmental actions that suppress or chill free and open inquiry;

Whereas, Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act allows the FBI to secretly request and obtain library records for large numbers of individuals without reason to believe they are involved in illegal activity;

Whereas, Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act permits the FBI to obtain records from libraries by using National Security Letters (NSL) without prior judicial oversight;

Whereas, Section 215 automatically requires and Section 505 permits the FBI to impose a nondisclosure or “gag” order on the recipients, thereby prohibiting the reporting of abuse of government authority and abrogating the recipients’ First Amendment rights;

Whereas, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 25, 2009, that the FBI had used Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act 223 times between 2004 and 20071, and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Justice reported in March 2008 that the FBI had made 192,499 National Security Letter requests from 2003 through 20062;

Whereas, the OIG reported in March 2008 that “the FISA Court twice refused to authorize Section 215 orders based on concerns that the investigation was premised on protected First Amendment activity, and the FBI subsequently issued NSLs to obtain information” without reviewing the underlying investigation to be sure it did not violate the statute’s First Amendment caveat3;

Whereas, members of Congress have introduced legislation to restore privacy rights and address the concerns of the Minnesota Library Association such as: The Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157 in the 108th Congress) and the National Security Letters Reform Act (S. 2088 in the 110th Congress and H.R. 1800); now therefore be it

Resolved that the Minnesota Library Association:

1. Oppose initiatives on the part of the United States government to constrain the free expression of ideas or to inhibit the use of libraries; 

2. Urge Congress to repeal the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded National Security Letter Section 505 and Section 215 authorities that allow the FBI to demand information about people who are not targets of an investigation and to reinstate standards limiting the use of these authorities to obtain information only about terrorism suspects and agents of foreign powers.

3. Urge Congress to allow nondisclosure or “gag” orders of limited scope and duration only when necessary to protect national security and only upon the authority of a court, and ensure that targets of such orders have a meaningful right to challenge them before a fair and neutral arbiter.

4. Urge Congress to intensify its oversight of the use of the USA PATRIOT Act as well as other government surveillance and investigations that limit the privacy rights of library users, library employees, and U.S. persons;

5. Communicate this resolution to Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation, the Minnesota  Legislative Assembly, the Governor of the State of Minnesota, and the Minnesota State Librarian;  

6.  Urge its members, Minnesota librarians, Minnesota library trustees, and all library advocates to ask Congress to restore crucial safeguards protecting civil liberties.



1.  Robert S. Mueller. (March 25, 2009).  “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Accessed through LexisNexis Congressional database.

2.  Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice. (March 2008).  A Review of the FBI’s Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006, p. 110.  Available at


Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice. (March 2008).  A Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders for Business Records in 2006, p. 73.  Available at


MN Library Foundation mini-grants available

October 22, 2009

Heads up!  MLA Foundation mini-grants are available to Minnesota libraries. Application deadline is Dec 31, 2009, for these $500 awards. Click here for the guidelines and application information.

This is a great opportunity to seek supplemental funding for that very special project or event!

Legacy Amendment funds – where are they now?

October 9, 2009

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts » Blog Archive » arts alert: Where are Amendment Dollars Now?

This is a great summary of what is happening with the Legacy Funding being used for the arts acrosss Minnesota. Sheila Smith, from the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts,  has posted this on their Arts Alert blog. Below is an excerpt from the blog post. It includes information and links to what libraries, as well as the other arts groups, are planning with their anticipated funds.

1. Where is the Amendment Money?

Access Points For Amendment Resources:

The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, passed by the voters in November, 2008, created new resources for land conservation, water conservation, parks and arts.

The agencies and programs that received legislative appropriations from the four funds are scrambling now to create programs to make grants across the state. Many of these plans are not yet finalized, but a road map is now emerging for arts and culture organizations and artists in terms of how to access the resources in the Arts and Culture Fund. Because the funds have gone to multiple agencies, artists and arts organizations would be well advised to pay attention to these mulitple “Access Points” for Arts and Culture Fund dollars. I have included a quick description of where each agency is in their planning process.

The Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils

Minnesota’s state arts funding system includes a state agency (MSAB) that does statewide programming and grant-making, and 11 regional arts councils (RACs) which each serve a set of counties with local grants and services. Collectively, they received $21,650,000 for grants and services for 1. Arts, and Arts Access, 2. Arts Education, 3. Arts and Cultural Heritage.

STATEWIDE: MINNESOTA STATE ARTS BOARD: In addition to some administrative money, 70% of the MSAB/RAC appropriation goes to the MSAB for statewide projects and services. After a lengthy and exhaustive set of regional meetings and public input, the MSAB has nearly completed its plan to get grants out to Minnesota communities. Right now it looks like they will be doing a combination of beefing up current programs for artists and arts organizations, and creating new programs to promote arts education partnerships, to fund touring and festivals, to fund free public access to arts events, and to fund new opportunities for artists. Once finalized (within a month or two), they will be posted on I will send out updates as more specific information becomes available.

REGIONAL ARTS COUNCILS: The RACs are receiving 30% of the appropriation, and each RAC is determining independently the new programs it will create in their region based on local community input. For various reasons they are each on a different timeline, for example, Region 9 in Mankato will start making their grants in November, 2009. Region 2, in Bemidji, will be launching in May, 2010. To find out what opportunities are available in your area, contact your local Regional Arts Council. Contact info. can be found at


All public TV stations in MN have received money to do more arts and cultural programming with their amendment funds. To find out what the stations in your area are planning, and to potentially partner with them, call your local station:

  • Twin Cities Public Television, Minneapolis / St. Paul, 651-222-1717,
  • WDSE-TV  Channel 8, Duluth / Superior & Hibbing, 218-724-8567,
  • Lakeland Public Television, Bemidji / Brainerd, 800-292-0922,
  • Pioneer Public Television, Appleton / Worthington / Fergus Falls, 800-726-3178,
  • KSMQ-TV, Austin / Rochester, 800-658-2539,
  • Prairie Public Television, Moorhead / Crookston, 800-359-6900, 


The state’s twelve regional library systems have received $4.25 million to provide arts and culture activities. All of the systems are looking for partnerships that will connect libraries, historical societies, arts organizations, and literacy.  The library Legacy money must be spent in 4 categories: 1. Arts 2. Culture 3. Literary 4. MN History. If you want to partner with the libraries to provide programming, then you should get on the phone with your regional library system asap. Some of them are very unfamiliar with local artists and arts organizations. More information about their Legacy Fund planning, and contact information for each of the regional library systems can be found at:  Suzanne Miller, State Librarian, Minnesota Department of Education can also provide additional information.  She can be reached at:  651-582-8791 or There is also a blog where the libraries are tracking their activity with Legacy funds at:

STATEWIDE: All twelve regional library systems have set aside 10% of their allocation for a statewide initiative.  While not confirmed, it looks like it will be used for a Greatest Generation program in partnership with the State Historical Society.

THE TWELVE REGIONAL LIBRARY SYSTEMS: The other 90% will be split between the twelve regional library systems. (The allocation for each of the regional library systems is based on the existing “Regional Library Basic System Support” formula which is used to distribute the state’s appropriation for libraries, which includes factors for population and geographical area).  

METRO AREA:  The seven metro counties and the City of St. Paul each have a regional library system. Collectively, the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) covers them all.  They have decided to hire Melinda Ludwiczak from the Hennepin County Library to coordinate the Legacy Fund efforts for the whole metro area.  MELSA will use approximately 40% of their funds to create programs and partnerships on a metro-wide level. The remaining 50% will be allocated by population to each of the eight member systems to enhance partnerships with local community agencies and provide arts, cultural heritage, literary and Minnesota history activities.

GREATER MN:  The remaining regional library systems are each determining their own programming.

  • The Traverse des Sioux Regional Library, headquartered in Mankato, will partner with the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council to get the money distributed. 
  • In Duluth, the Executive Director of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council is on the committee to help the library system  (Arrowhead Library System) determine how best to utilize their funds.
  • The East Central MN Library system has posted a web page where they will post their plans:


The Minnesota Historical Society has created a web page to describe their plans and promote potential grant opportunities for local historical sites and organizations:


As of this writing, I don’t have any advice except to call your local station and ask them what their plans are.

MN Knows!

April 22, 2009

Take a moment to look at the new information portal available that showcases the  statewide information services that fall under the Minitex umbrella.

MnKnows – Dig Deeper @Your Library : the new portal gives Minnesota’s citizens one-stop access to five statewide library services:

MnLink Gateway
The Electronic Library for Minnesota
Minnesota Digital Library “Reflections” project
Research Project Calculator

Take a moment to check it out, to book mark it, add it to your website, and share it with your patrons. Wonderful bookmarks have been distributed, but if you didn’t get any and would like some, let the NLLN office know or contact Minitex directly.

Erika Rux and Gay Galles

January 26, 2008

Erika Rux and Gay Galles

Originally uploaded by NLLN.

Eriak and Gay have offered to be “coaches” for the NLLN participants in the 23 Things on a Stick project. They will be reading the blogs, commenting, encouraging colleagues, and making themselves available via the Meebo room. Ruth Solie and Deb Keena, in the NLLN Office, will be doing the same. If you have special questions, go to or email us at

Today’s the Day! Begin 23 Things on a Stick

January 20, 2008

Today the “23 Things on a Stick – a Library Learning 2.0 Project” is launched.

Here’s the deal:  this is a personal learning experience in which you explore, learn about, and use “23 things” related to Web 2.0. These tools and applications are all free — just waiting for you. If you register by Feb 15, 2008, and complete the 23 Things by April 16, 2008, you will receive an incentive and will be eligible for special prizes.

What to do: go to the “mother” blog for this project, read through the instructions and the FAQ, begin with Thing 1 which is to set up and register your own personal blog. This blog will be the means by which you track your progress, reflect on your experience, and share your thoughts with the community of people engaged in this project. You can share as much as your blog as you like and you are encouraged to read other participants’ blogs and to comment.

This is a personal learning project so you may find you need to do some or all of this on your own time – maybe at home, maybe in off hours at work. It is also possible that some of these items are not accessible from  your work computer due to filters or other constraints. In that case, it may be necessary to do it from home.

Each thing will take approximately an hour or less to do, but you may well find that you want to spend more time exploring the item, trying it out in different situations or for different purposes, or seeing how other people have used these tools. How much time you spend is up to you.

What if you get stuck?  Help is available via the NLLN 23 things blog — hints, reports, comments — or by emailing us at  More information is also available on the NLLN webpage dedicated to 23 Things.

This project is sponsored by the 7 Minnesota multicounty, multitype library systems. NLLN is pleased to make this available to our library community and hope you have a good time learning and using some exciting new tools. It has been a great learning experience setting it up and will continue to be a learning experience as others become part of the Project.

23 Things on a Stick – Intro

January 18, 2008

Thanks to Ann Walker Smalley, Metronet, for this introductory slideshow.

 23 Things on a Stick launches on Sunday, Jan 20!