One of my favorite author programs at Meinders Library is one we didn’t actually sponsor. Instead, the Friends of the Saint Paul Library brought us the Moving Words: Writers Across Minnesota panel as one of our last live programs before the pandemic hit.
They did this through a funding program that is currently in jeopardy. Right now, the Center for the Book is making its way through the Minnesota legislature. It has been included in the House version of the proposed Legacy Bill, but so far is absent from the Senate.
A loss of this program can impact the availability of events such as the Moving Words program, the Minnesota Writers Directory, One Book | One Minnesota, Minnesota Writers on the Map, and more.
If you have attended a library program over the years, chances are at least one of them was funded in part or in whole by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (aka Legacy grants). This is true not just for our library, but for many libraries across the state who operate on such small budgets that they couldn’t successfully program without the support of outside funding streams.
It is equally true for large libraries and other partner organizations who create programs that can be shared with communities in Greater Minnesota.
When we hosted Moving Words, I was greatly appreciative of the opportunity to speak directly with author Shannon Gibney. She was so delightful, so grounded, and so passionate in her pursuit of open dialogue with audience members, including students in several PAS English classes she graciously spoke to. In my opinion, nothing beats talking directly with an author to better understand how and why a story came to be. Often, we can learn about things we’ve never even considered. With open, honest, and respectful dialogue, we can also teach.
In fact, every time we engage with others, particularly through great programming like Moving Words, we add our voices to the legacy of a better tomorrow. We create richer and more meaningful connections. We experience the world from a different perspective. As one whose job is to help connect people to each other, to information, and to experiences, I firmly believe funding for things like Center for the Book positively shapes our community’s culture.
As with any questions, concerns, or commentary individuals have regarding policy, the most effective and direct route to advocate for the things you care about is to contact elected officials personally. Not sure who they are? Check out this link to learn who represents you on all levels of government.
This handy dandy website tells you all sorts of great information such as where to vote, which precinct you are in, and important things that the library needs for your library card application like Township and Commissioner District. A simple click on the “Get Involved!” button of this page will provide you access to your state and federal elected officials, your municipal websites, and more.
Like the authors we bring in to share their stories, your perspective matters.
keep reading and keep learning~ jody