Monthly Archives: October 2011

Reflections on Reflections – A Digital Archive of Archives

Creating a profile of a single archive seems the best way to celebrate American Archives Month.  The problem is that there are too many, each unique, with its own personality and its own stories to relate.   Some are traditional – print materials and physical objects; others are digital, often based on the traditional.  All are created, tended and shared by archivists who care about preservation of the people’s record.

Minnesota Reflections is a sort of archive of archives, a digital resource to which individual archives of every stripe have contributed their documents and their pictures, with the intent to share the historic record with a broader audience.   Contributors include county historical societies, colleges and universities, state agencies, nonprofits, churches and religious archives, and others.

The photos and the data are not only preserved but cataloged for easy browsing by topic, region and collection (source).  The technical standards are high and the cataloging/organizing standards are the same.  Pick a topic or town or source, search the collection, and see what you find.  Anticipating the season to come, I searched “winter carnival” and found (among many listings) a 1920 photo of the Mankato Winter Carnival parade.  Who knew!

Though the photo collection is perhaps better known, the documents preserved in Minnesota Reflections are incredibly diverse.  Again, a dip into the collection is the best way to appreciate its depth.  For the moment, take a look at a recent installment of “Digital Delights from Minnesota Reflections” that illustrates the range of possibilities. It’s a small sample to be sure, but it will get you started in the right direction.

Happy Archives Month to the archivists and staff at Minnesota Reflections, to the archivists and staff of the contributing organizations, and to the hundreds of Minnesotans who know and value the record left by those individuals and institutions who have gone before, who have adapted to new technologies that extend the reach of those records, and who know full well that some day some one is going to want that exact bit of information – readily accessible and in mint condition.


The following article was originally published in Practical Thinking, the newsletter of the Minnesota Independent Scholars’ Forum. Learning institutions that serve the public good – and those who serve the public through museums, historical societies, libraries, archives and their ilk … Continue reading

North Shore Connections

In my circle of family and friends there are many who spend a few days or weeks on the North Shore every year and who reminisce the rest of the year as they plan for next summer.  Just today I found a treasure that can keep the North Shore spirit alive for them and for those of us who just wish we could spend time Up North during any season.

The treasure is WTIP – North Shore Community Radio 90.7.  It is fabulous.  I just listened to Harriet Boostrom tell about growing up on the Gunflint Trail where her father moved and bought land for a resort in 1915. Her interview is part of the station’s “Moments in Time” series of extraordinary interviews with local folk who have a story to tell.

The photos on the website of all things North Shore and environs are exquisite.  And then there are the fishing reports, updates on what’s happening in the arts, notes from birders, and much more.  The web itself is a delight – to listen to the interviews with local residents is the next best thing to sharing coffee and a doughnut in Grand Marais.  I read and then listened to the librarian describing the much-anticipated move back into the expanded Grand Marais public library, one of that city’s true highlights.

For the sometimes North Shore resident, North Shore Community Radio conjures happy memories and an irresistible urge head for Highway 61.  For the rest of us, it’s a sample of what we’re missing first-hand but can thoroughly enjoy and appreciate in digital format.  North Shore Community Radio is available on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter or anyone can sign up to receive the regular e-letter produced by the small staff and generous volunteers to this remarkable Minnesota resource.

Ironically, some of the funding for North Shore Community Radio comes from the Legacy Fund which I just learned the Legislature is eyeing to tap for the Vikings…..

“Miss Representation” Explores Media Bias

“Miss Representation” is the next in the 2011 Women’s Human Rights Film Series sponsored by the Advocates for Human Rights in collaboration with The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and Metropolitan State University.  The film is set for Wednesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. at Metro State Founder’s Hall Auditorium, 700 East Seventh Street, St. Paul.


The film “uncovers a glaring reality in our society…how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in influential positions in America.”  It challenges the media’s limiting and often disparaging portrayals of women.  Included in the story are stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with influential women from Condoleezza Rice to Gloria Steinem.  The promotion material promises that “the film accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.”


All of the films in the series are free and open to the public.  Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice.


Contact The Friends at or 651 222 3242.  More information at


Live Northeast. Educate Northeast – Showcase November 12

Once again the schools of Northeast are collaborating to host the 6th annual Northeast School Showcase. It’s Saturday, November 12, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at Thomas Edison High School Community Gym, 700 22nd Avenue Northeast.

The showcase offers a one-stop look at how you can map out an awesome K-12 journal in a Northeast school – Pillsbury, Waite Park (for PK-5), Northeast (6-8), Sheridan (PK-8), March (K-8), Edison (9-12) and Emerson (PK-5 Spanish Immersion)

Free activities for parents and children.

The Showcase is sponsored by PEN (Public Education Northeast), a collaborative organization supporting Minneapolis Public Schools in Northeast. For more information visit or call Jenn Bennington 612 578 8616.

Booked for an Evening – Good Reads for Good Kids November 7

Now that the experts have confirmed that TV harms kids (!) the fallback for some parents, grandparents and caregivers just may be as old fashioned as books!  Catch up on the latest with a panel of experts, children’s librarians who live and breathe children’s literature.  Check out Booked for the Evening, an evening of children’s literature at the Red Balloon, is now celebrating its tenth year as a venerable tradition for those who want to learn what’s new and special and irresistible to young readers and their reading partners.


Sponsors of this unique collaboration include the Red Balloon, MELSA, the regional public library system, and the Library and Information Science program at St. Catherine University.  The books are from the Red Balloon and the panelists are graduates of the Master’s program at St. Catherine University.


The tenth annual Booked for the Evening is Monday, November 7, 6:30 p.m. at the Red Balloon, 891 Grand Avenue (Grand and Milton) in St. Paul.  Cost is $13 – checks payable to St. Catherine University.  Mail to Alumnae Relations, SCU, Mail F-33, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul 55105.


This is just one of scores of programs related to children’s literature – writers, illustrators, publishers and more – sponsored by the Red Balloon and other area bookstores.  Take some time to peruse the magnificent array of books for young readers – you’ll be amazed at the treasures.  If you haven’t read with a child recently you may want to revisit the delight.  A good read with a good kid can brighten the longest and coldest winter evening!



Friends of NE Library Slate Book Sale December 2-3

Friends of the Northeast Library has announced plans for their next book sale to be held December 2-3 at the Northeast Library, 2200 Central Avenue NE.  Hours TBA.

The Friends will be collecting books for the sale beginning Friday, November 25.  Other collections dates are Saturday, November 26, Tuesday, November 29, Wednesday, November 30 and Thursday, December 1.  Drop off gently used books at the Library meeting room – Please no Reader’s Digest condensed books of textbooks.

In the week preceding the book sale Friends of Northeast Library volunteers will sort the books and organize for the sale December 2-3.

No plans for a blizzard this year – but then again we didn’t plan on a blizzard during the book sale last year either.  And still, thanks to the resilience of shoppers and Friends, we made a handsome profit to enhance the “new” library.

Questions – contact the Friends at