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Bremer Foundation selects Willmar, Minn., library for literacy program

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Public Library is one of six rural libraries and six literacy organizations selected to participate in an Otto Bremer Foundation literacy program called the Bremer Rural Libraries and Literacy Leadership Institute.

According to a news release, local team members Pam Kyllingstad, Mary Huesing, and Ryan McCormick received scholarships to participate in the institute. The institute, also known as L3, was launched in August.

The 12 organizations will be the pilot program's first participants in an intensive training and mentoring program designed to expand their capacity for meeting the unique needs of rural communities.

The 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.

The institute 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.

The institute was created in response to studies conducted by the Otto Bremer Foundation on ways to strengthen rural communities. Research indicated that a focus on libraries and literacy has the potential to have a broad and positive effect on smaller towns and cities.

The Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities.

The foundation, created in 1944 by Otto Bremer, strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities where basic needs are met, mutual regard is prized and opportunities for economic, civic and social participation are within everyone's reach.

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library provides services to libraries and library organizations. Consultants are library leaders and other experts who offer services in the areas of organizational growth and strategic planning, fundraising, foundations, advocacy training and other areas critical to these organizations.

The Minnesota Literacy Council promotes opportunities for all Minnesotans to be successful students, workers, family members and community citizens.