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Saint Paul Public Library Awarded $468,000 Grant from Otto Bremer Foundation

Date: Dec 19th, 2011

ST. PAUL, December 19, 2011- Today the Otto Bremer Foundation announced that the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library were awarded a $468,000 grant on behalf of the Saint Paul Public Library.

The award was part of a $7 million package of year-end grants approved by the Trustees of the Foundation to address the impact of the persistently difficult economic conditions on the lives of vulnerable people, especially those living in poverty. Grants will also provide opportunities for people living in poverty to access the tools, skills, connections and other resources they need to begin to change their situation over the long term.

"Libraries are a crucial part of our Saint Paul community," said Mayor Chris Coleman. "From free access to computers, books and online resources for individuals and families, to job and small business assistance that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries impact every one of our residents. This grant is a testament to Otto Bremer's commitment to Saint Paul."

The grant will build the Library's capacity to provide resources and assistance to unemployed people looking for work, especially those confronting barriers of culture and language. Specific projects to be supported include providing additional computer classes in multiple languages in the community, expanding a work/study program to enhance job search and digital literacy services, improving the capacity to handle materials expeditiously so staff can spend more time assisting patrons and supporting the Library's collection budget.

"Libraries are becoming increasingly more important and sophisticated resources for people looking to improve their circumstances," said Charlotte Johnson, a trustee of the Foundation. "The Saint Paul Public Library has been at the forefront of a number of innovative programs in these difficult economic times, and we are glad to support those efforts."

These long-term investments in the Library strengthen its ability to serve a new generation of patrons who turn to the Library for reliable information and to learn new skills.

"We're absolutely honored to be named a grant recipient of the Otto Bremer Foundation," said Kit Hadley, Library Director. "This is a significant award for the Saint Paul Public Library and allows us to provide critical services in high need. We are very grateful." 

The Library's grant was a year‐end award that is part of approximately $30 million in Otto Bremer Foundation grants made in 2011.

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About the Otto Bremer Foundation:

Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. This mission is based on the intent of founder Otto Bremer. His vision and longstanding commitment to communities during and after the Great Depression are carried forward today through the Foundation's work in the places that are homes and neighbors to Bremer banks. The Foundation strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities-communities where basic needs are met, mutual regard is prized and opportunities for economic, civic and social participation are within everyone's reach.

The Otto Bremer Foundation owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank, and receives an equivalent share of the bank profits that are paid out as dividends. This means that a large portion of bank profit is invested back in local communities through grants and program‐related investments.

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:

Currently in its 67th year, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is a private, nonprofit organization which assists the Saint Paul Public Library through private fundraising, advocacy, cultural programming and public awareness activities.  The Friends is guided in its work by innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to challenging issues; inclusivity and integrity in its activities; and responsible stewardship of its resources. Through this work, The Friends serves as a national model for its unique, comprehensive support of the Saint Paul Public Library. Due to The Friends' substantial involvement with Minnesota's literary community and ongoing administration of the Minnesota Book Awards, The Friends has been named the Minnesota Center for the Book - the state affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, effective January 1, 2012.

About Saint Paul Public Library:

The Saint Paul Public Library connects people in Saint Paul with the imperative and the joy of learning through a lifetime. Saint Paul residents can enjoy free access to technology, books, movies, music, classes and more. We're located in 12 neighborhood libraries, Central Library and the Bookmobile. Visit us in your neighborhood or online at sppl.org!