Great things to do and learn while we wait for Spring!

Oh, the lovely fickleness of an April day!  W. H. Gibson


April is National Poetry Month(  As always, the website is replete with poetic treasures – new books, a Poetry Month reading list (including a book published  by Coffee House Press ( a chance to sign up to receive 25 poems curated by U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy Smith.   A related resource is the Library of CongressArchive of Recorded Poetry and Literature, an amazing compilation of recorded readings of former Consultants in Poetry, including Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Frost and other literary superstars.

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang has announced that April 2018 marks the annual Reading Without Walls Challenge.  Author Yang challenges readers, educators, librarians and booksellers to read “outside of their walls” by “reading a book about a character who doesn’t look or live like you, a topic you don’t know much about, and/or a book in a format that you don’t normally reading for fun.”  The website even offers some reading suggestions:

April 19 – Open reception for a new book and exhibit by nature photographer Craig Blacklock exhibit, “St Croix & Namekagon Rivers: The Enduring Gift.”  The exhibit and accompanying book celebrate the 50thanniversary of the St Croix National Scenic Riverway.  Reception at 6:00 p.m. followed by music by Peter Mayer.  Mill City Commons, 6:00-9:00 pm

April 20 –  Valerie Caesar, an artist in residence at the Archives and Special Collections, will talk about her work using historical sources at the University of Minnesota Libraries to inspire and create works of art.  Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 308. Noon-1:00.   More about this talk and about the Artists in Residence program here:

April 21 – 30thAnnual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony. InterContinental Hotel on the St Paul Riverfront.  6:30 p.m. Reception, 8:00 Award Ceremony, 9:30 Epilogue After-Party.  Follow on Facebook nominated titles here:

April 21-29 – National Park Week.  It’s a busy week including a fee-free day on Saturday, Earth Day (April 22) and National Park Rx Day (April 29.)  Details at

April 23 – The East Side Freedom Library hosts a sneak preview of Subprime,schedule to open early May at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.  Playwright Beck Lee and members of the cast will read some of the script, discuss the development of the project and engage the audience in conversation about the play, living in denial, “even our identities.” 7:00 PM at ESFL (

April 28 – Independent Bookstore Day.  Promoters remind readers that “independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers.” Rain Taxi has merited national kudos for taking a local lead, including publication of an excellent guide to the how and where of areal indies – time to visit this fun site

April 30 – Toxic inequities: risk, regulation, and environmental justice in the Great Lakes, 12:20 pm – 1:10 pm,  Wangensteen Historical Library, 555 Diehl Hall. Nancy Langston, environmental historian at Michigan Technological University will discuss her current research on environmental health and environmental policy in the Great Lakes region.

May 2 –Dinner and program, 6:00 pm — Friends of the (U of M) Libraries, Annual Celebration. Joseph Haj: A conversation, Joseph Haj,artistic director of the Guthrie Theater, will share a conversation with Jeff Meanza, his Associate Artistic Director about the value of the western canon, its continuing relevance, and its agency for social change.  McNamara Alumni Center, $58 general public, $48 Friends of the Library.  Email

Next month: Check out the May First Fridays at the U of  M:


Remembering Barbara Bush:

TED Talk– “Thought reading machines and the death of love”

Pew Research has produced a new video and data essay based on the Center’s 2017 survey of U.S. Muslims. The resources include a look at the beliefs of Muslims in America; the data “delves into the ways in which Muslim immigrants see life differently than those who were born in the U.S.”

Data Security: Research on privacy in the digital ageis a recent publication from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School.  The study is published in the Journalist Resource publication, a weekly compilation of significant and timely research. (

Lisa Vecoli,distinguished curator of the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at the U of M, retired from the U of M Libraries, shares her wisdom and experience in a video conversation now online. Producer Mark Engebretson adds an excellent blog post. Lisa was also interviewed for the U of M video archives.

Seen & heard: The Power of Books was a symposium on diversity in children’s literature, sponsored by the Library of Congress in March 2018.  For a video and transcript of the main speaker, click here:

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