About Us

The Minnesota Library Futures Initiative (MNLFI) is designed to be a focused conversation that addresses how libraries can prepare for changes occurring in Minnesota now and in the future. The key question at this point is “How do the current and projected political, economic and social environments affect the delivery of library service in Minnesota?” To engage the library community in the conversation, a Futures Group of 24 participants from all types of libraries across the state was selected by the MNLFI Steering Committee through an open selective application process. The MNLFI group was charged with defining the issues, engaging in research and discussion, and developing a report on their findings; all in an effort to “envision the library in 2025.”

What we found is that no single report could do justice to the important future planning that needs to happen within libraries across Minnesota. The MNLFI group subsequently decided to take our findings on the road, to visit interested libraries and library organizations and engage the Minnesota library community in a dialogue about future-related challenges.  We also crafted content to support local conversations when having our group out to facilitate isn’t an option.

Envisioning the library of 2025 isn’t something that only a small group of people can do by reporting on broad, theoretical trends. Planning for the future of your library is something that should happen within your library walls, within the context of your users, your services, and your institutional goals. This is your opportunity to shape the future. We hope we can help. Get in touch with us.



In the spring of 2010, during this exciting and challenging time of transformation in Minnesota libraries, current leadership in the Minnesota library community recognized the need for a focused conversation on the future of libraries. In response, a steering committee of representatives of all types of libraries was formed to plan and administer the creation of a Minnesota Library Futures Initiative. At its inception, the goal of the initiative was to encourage new thinking on how all libraries can work together to meet the needs of all library users regardless of their point of entry into the world of information.


MNFLI Steering Committee Members:

  • Orrin Ausen, Bethany Lutheran College / Private Colleges
  • Ken Behringer, Dakota County Library / MLA
  • Bill DeJohn, Minitex / Minitex
  • Keith Ewing, St. Cloud State University / MnScu
  • Lisa Finsness, Minnesota State University – Mankato / MEMO
  • Tori Jensen, Spring Lake Park High School / MEMO
  • Kathy Parker, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University / Private Colleges
  • Patricia Post, Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange (CMLE) / Multitypes
  • Mark Ranum, Plum Creek and Pioneerland Library Systems / CRPLSA
  • Ann Walker Smalley, Metronet / Multitypes
  • Ben Trapskin,  Anoka County Library / Public Libraries
  • Jerilyn Veldof, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities / University of MN
  • Peg Werner, Viking Library System / CRPSLA


The Steering Committee selected 24 Library Futurists from a pool of 83 applicants. All members of the library community between the ages of 25 and 35 were eligible to apply. The Steering Committee targeted this age range as a nationally identified cohort unique in its experience of the economic and political changes occurring during their young adulthood. The Steering Committee was interested in developing future leaders in the library community as well as wanting to reach deeper into Minnesota libraries for voices and ideas that may not always be heard in other venues or outside their own settings. The Futurists were selected from all types of libraries and all regions of the state.

The Steering Committee introduced the 24 Minnesota Library Futurists to the library community at the Kick-Off event on October 18, 2010 in St. Paul. More than 100 people from around the state heard from Michael Rogers, The Practical Futurist and Christine Lind Hage, Chair of the American Library Association Committee on 21st Century Libraries. Since the Kick-Off event, Steering Committee members have been closely following the work of the Futurists and serving as a sounding board to discuss the ideas and plans as they developed. The Futurists presented their proposed project to members of the Steering Committee in May of 2012 at the Maple Grove Public Library who gave their final approval to launch the project.