Library, Comm. Ed. chosen for Bremer leadership initiative [UPDATED]Published 10:43am Monday, October 1, 2012 Updated 12:43pm Monday, October 1, 2012
The Fergus Falls Public Library and District 544 Community Education have been selected as participants of the Otto Bremer Foundation’s pilot program, “L3: The Bremer Rural Libraries and Literacy Leadership Institute.”
A local team including Erin Smith, Library Director, Deb Zachmann, Library Board President, and Tom Rufer, Library Board Vice President, from the public Library, and Mary Mattson from Community Education, have received scholarships to participate in the L3 Institute.
L3 was launched in August 2012. Six rural libraries and six literacy organizations from Minnesota were invited to be the pilot program’s first participants.
These 12 organizations will participate in an intensive training and mentoring program designed to expand their capacity for meeting the unique needs of rural communities.
The L3 Institute is coordinated by Library Strategies, a consulting group of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and the Minnesota Literacy Council.
The training will focus on critical aspects of running a rural library or literacy organization, from budgeting and board development to strategic planning and cultural competency.
Because rural organizations usually have very few staff members, it is often difficult for their lead staff to attend training programs. L3 will be a mix of in-person and distance learning opportunities.
To supplement the training, each organization will be paired with a mentor, deeply steeped in rural experiences, who will support them for six months after the training is completed.
L3 was created in response to studies conducted by the Otto Bremer Foundation on ways to strengthen rural communities.
Their research indicated that a focus on libraries and literacy has the potential to create broad, positive impact on smaller towns and cities
“Libraries and literacy programs are gateways to opportunity, especially in rural communities,” said Charlotte S. Johnson, an Otto Bremer Foundation trustee. “Working to deepen and broaden the leadership capacity of these organizations will serve our vision of helping to build and maintain healthy and vibrant communities.”