Category Archives: Libraries and Librarians

Scholars create digital learning tools on volatile current issues

As the Commander in Chief stresses about the throngs of immigrants, wiser, more temperate scholars have devoted themselves to helping Americans better understand the deep historical roots of today’s immigration debates. Immigration historians, working with the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center (http://cla.umn.edu/ihrc) and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (http://iehs.org/online/) have produced another in series of unique and timely resources, #immigration Syllabus. This indispensable tool for teaching, learning and advocacy is available online: http://editions.lib.umn.edu/immigrationsyllabus/

The syllabus “seeks to provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship.” It follows a chronological overview of U.S. immigration history as well as thematic weeks that cover “salient issues in political discourse today, including xenophobia, deportation policy, and border policing.”

Listing essential topics and readings and linking to historical documents and multimedia source #ImmigrationSyllabus provides real facts that answer a broad range of questions including the history, policies, and “what’s ‘new’ about new immigration to the US.”

#ImmigrationSyllabus is actually one in a series of timely resources created by and through the University of Minnesota. Previous syllabi include these:

  • #TrumpSyllabus, designed to hep readers understand Trump’s political success during the presidential campaign,
  • #Fergusonyllabus, intended to inspire conversations about race, violence and activism, and
  • #StandingRockSyllabus, a tool to raise awareness of the Dakota Access Pipeline and to place the #NoDAPL process in context.

Download for #Immigration Syllabus:

PDF version of #ImmigrationSyllabus

Word version of #ImmigrationSyllabus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black History Month 2017 – Ideas, resources, events

Through first-class education, a generation marches down the long uncertain road of the future with confidence. Wynton Marsalis

“The crisis in Black education” is the theme – and challenge – of Black History Month 2017. Perhaps more than ever resources and learning opportunities abound. And, more than even, the challenge is well nigh overwhelming – for families, or schools, or this democracy. At the national, state and local levels concerned individuals and organizations are struggling to stem the tide of fake news, alternative facts, pull-back on funding for arts and humanities, and potential disruption of the very premise of public education.

Fortunately, the concern is nonpartisan and ubiquitous – and the resources expand by the hour!

Background:

Carter G. Woodson, (1875-1950) noted Black scholar and historian and son of former slaves, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, which was later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). He initiated Black History Week, February 12, 1926. For many years the second week of February (chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln) was celebrated by Black people in the United States. In 1976, as part of the nation’s Bicentennial, it was expanded and became established as Black History Month, and is now celebrated throughout North America.

Here are just a few of the opportunities to learn, to gather, to focus on how best we can individually and as communities fully understand then meet the challenge. We won’t find answers in one short month – but we won’t seek answers until we come to grip with the questions. Not all but some, or even one, may speak to you as a parent, grandparent, student, teacher, voter, employer and citizen aware that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

 

Resources:

http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov – brief background on the history of the month, resources of national agencies – many of which are accessible online.

http://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2017/cb17-ff01.html – relevant statistics from the Census Bureau

http://www.naapidatnight.com – Help planning African American Parents Involvement Day/Night – many local schools will sponsor related events

http://www.educationworld.com/a_special/black_history.shtml – Lesson plans – various

Things to do:

http://www.si.edu/events/heritagemonth – Smithsonian resources

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/national-museum-of-african-american-history-and-culture – Resources of the National Museum of African American History and Culture 

Local calendars – a few of the many:

http://spokesman-recorder.com/2016/02/01/2016-black-history-month-calendar/

http://365twincities.com/black-history-month-events/

http://tcdailyplanet.tumblr.com/post/43174118372/black-history-month-calendar-of-events-through

Other local events – very incomplete list!

http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/event/open-mic-black-history/

http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/event/a-conversation-with-daniel-alexander-jones/

http://oshag.stkate.edu/all-events – Threads Dance Project–The Secrets of Slave Songs

http://www.mnhs.org/event/2193 – music by African American composers

http://www.sowahmensah.com/calendar/February 11, 2017 – Macalester Ensemble Black History Month Concert, Mairs Concert Hal, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, 8:00 pm – Free

http://www.exploreminnesota.com/events/31661/mill-city-string-quartet-presents-african-american-history-month

https://civilrightsminneapolis.wordpress.com/black-history-month/ – check the blogs

Good reads

http://www.hclib.org/about/news/2017/january/black-history-month -Includes a good list of related readings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Book Awards 2017 – Nominees Named

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

MINNESOTA BOOK AWARDS – SAVE THE DATE – APRIL 8, 2017

We have just received this message from Friends of the St Paul Library, current sponsor of the Minnesota Book Awards:

We are pleased to announce the finalists in all nine categories for the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards. Chosen on Saturday, January 28, by 27 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community – the finalists are….

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

Tell Me a Tattoo Story, by Alison McGhee, illus. by Eliza Wheeler (Chronicle Books)

This Is NOT a Cat! By David LaRochelle, illus. by Mike Wohnoutka (Sterling Children’s Books)

Worm Loves Worm, by .J. Austrian, illus. by Mike Curato (Balzer + Bray)

Yellow Time, by Lauren Stringer (Beach Lane Books)

GENERAL NONFICTION

Canoes: A natural history in North America, by Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims (University of Minnesota Press *)

Designing Our Way to a Better World, by Thomas Fisher (University of Minnesota Press *)

Thrill Me: Essays on fiction, by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press *)

The War on Science: Who’s waging it, Why it matters, What we can do about it, by Shawn Otto (Milkweed Editions *)

GENRE FICTION

The Born and the Made, by Robert Spande (Self-published)

The Heavens May Fall, by Aalen Eskens (Seventh Street Books)

Rise of the Spring Tide, by James Stitt (Self-published)

Stealing the Countess, by David Housewright (Minotaur Books)

MEMOIR /CREATIVE NONFICTION

I Like Inside: Memoirs of a babe in toyland, by Michelle Leon (Minnesota Historical Society Press *)

The Song Poet: A memoir of my father, by Kao Kalia Young (Metropolitan Books)

This Is Where I Am: A memoir, by Zike Caigiuri  (University of Minnesota Press*)

The Thunder Before the Storm: The autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt, by Clyde Bellecourt, as told to Jon Lurie (Minnesota Historical Society Press *)

MIDDLE GRADE LITERATURE

Little Cat’s Luck, by Marion Dane Bauer, illus. by Jennifer A. Bell (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

Sachiko: A Nagasaki bomb survivor’s story, by Caren Stelson (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group *)

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, by Brian Farrey (Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)

Sticks & Stones, by Abby Cooper (Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan)

MINNESOTA NONFICTION

The Big March: The story of a lost landscape, by Cheri Register (Minnesota Historical Society Press *)

The Ford Century in Minnesota, by Brian McMahon (University of Minnesota Press *)

Women of Mayo Clinic: The founding generation, by Virginia M. Wright-Peterson (Minnesota Historical Society Press*)

NOVEL & SHORT STORY

The Annie Year, by Stephanie Wilbur Ash (Unnamd press)

Do Not Find, by Kathleen Novak (The Permanent Press)

LaRose, by Louise Erdrich (Harper Collins Publishers)

Wintering, by Peter Geye (Alfred A Knopf)

POETRY

May Day, by Gretchen Marquette (Graywolf Press *)

Tula, by Chris Santiago (Milkweed Editions *)

Unbearable Splendor, by Sun Yung Shin (Coffee House Press *)

Yes Thorn, by Amy Munson (Tupelo Press)

YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE

Assassin’s Heart, by Sarah Ahlers (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Publishers)

LGBTQ+ Athletes Claim the Field: Striving for equality, by Kristin Cronn-Mills (Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner Publishing Group *)

The Memory Book, by Lara Avery (Poppy/Little Brown and Company)

Original Fake, by Kristin Cronn-Mills, art by E. Eero Johnson (GP.Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House)

* Indicates Minnesota publisher

+++++

Award winners will be announced at the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 8, at the InterContinental Hotel Saint Paul Riverfront.   The Preface reception begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the Awards Ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$55 and available by visiting http://www.thefriends.org or calling 651-222-3242. The official hashtag for social media is #mnbookawards. All are encouraged to use it when posting comments, status updates or tweeting about any of the authors or their books.

 

 

 

 

 

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye honored, scheduled for March residency

The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award, one of the most distinguished honors conferred by the American Library Association, is announced each year at the ALA Midwinter meeting, happening this week in Atlanta. The award recognizes “an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature” – a broad category and a high honor.

Just yesterday the Association announced that the 2018 Arbuthnot Lecture will be delivered by poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye. In the announcement of the Arbuthnot honor sponsors describe Nye as “an active voice for Arab-Americans who explores her heritage in her work and speaks out against both terrorism and prejudice.”

The announcement of the Arbuthnot award has special meaning for Minnesota bibliophiles who will have an opportunity this March to renew acquaintances or to get to know the poet during Nye’s week-long residency in St. Paul.

Naomi Shihab Nye’s heritage is Palestinian-American. The nomination for the Arbuthnot award describes her as “a wise and lyrical observer” who “draws on her heritage and writing to attest to our shared humanity.” Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes of poetry, essays, short stories, YA novels and picture books. In Nye’s words “the primary source of poetry has always been local life, random characters met on the streets, our own ancestry sifting down to us through small essential daily tasks.”

Nye will conduct a residency at Wisdom Ways, the lifelong learning ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. (http://wisdomwayscenter.org/about.html)

“The Poetic Conversation of Being Human: A Week with Naomi Shihab Nye” is scheduled for March 26-31. Nye’s robust agenda includes five public programs, a self-guided writing retreat and several informal conversations with local readers and writers. Click here for a full agenda of the week’s varied programs. http://wisdomwayscenter.org/events-with-naomi-shihab-nye.html)

For more about the author click here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/naomi-shihab-nye — if you problems with the link (as I did) go to the Poetry Foundation then the bio for Naomi Nye.

For a video of Nye reading her own work, click here:

 

 

 

 

Relax, learn, then resolve to resist post-truth thinking

The goal of today’s post is simply to relieve the stress of the politically charged season by suggesting interesting and easy stuff that promises to divert the agitated mind or volatile conversation. Without leaving your cushy armchair you can liberate your mind to wander at its own speed. Let you thoughts free flow through the overwhelming digital world that overflows with ideas best communicated in more than 140 characters. Get comfortable, clutch your clicker, catch up on some truthful information and creative ideas that probably slipped through the media melee.

To set the mood, check out “Life Satisfaction in the Internet Age – Changes in the Past Decade.” Ask yourself, are you better off now? (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563215300790)

Minnesotans deserve to read beyond the disgusting headlines and to take pride in the academic aspects of the institution. Some random bright spots of a digital sort:

Explore some of the ever-expanding digital treasures preserved by the Minnesota Historical Society

If you prefer to stress out by focusing on survival in the post-truth era you’ll find an engaging battle about scientific thinking in this ongoing exchange. Follow Intercept’s challenge to Sense about Science and Sense about Science USA. The discourse is understandable to the lay reader who gets to decide wherein lies the truth. https://theintercept.com/2016/11/15/how-self-appointed-guardians-of-sound-science-tip-the-scales-toward-industry/

Should you have the good sense and option to relax and enjoy the season, here are a couple of digital delights you really don’t want to miss:

Though New Year resolutions pre-date the Post-Truth era, the time is now to “go high” with a 2017 resolution to counter fake facts and false assumptions that  distract and distort.  Resolve instead to capitalize on the power of the web to seek and share the truth and to assure that every voter and potential voter possesses the digital age information assessment skills required to preserve this democracy.

Building a collection and a community: The John Glanton F Collection

I believe that any people’s story is every people’s story, and that from stories, we can all learn something to enrich our lives.

Harriette Gillem Robinet

Building the library from the outside in comes full circle as the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections staff reaches out to further develop the John F. Glanton Collection of photographs. The 800 photographs in the collection reflect, and capture for posterity, the lives of African Americans who lived in the Twin Cities during the post WWII years.

In brief, John F. Glanton (1923-2004), a civil engineer by profession, was also an accomplished photographer.   With the fervor, without the solipsism, of today’s selfie enthusiasts, he carried his Graflex black and white camera everywhere – to weddings, parties, sports events, musical performances, church functions and family gatherings – wherever members of African American community of St. Paul and Minneapolis gathered during the late 1940’s.

Though Glanton didn’t talk much about his photographic collection, when he died at age 80, his family discovered and recognized the value the permanent record he had created. Fortunately, they realized that the collection deserved to be shared with posterity. The family donated the entire collection of 800 photographic negatives to the Hennepin County Library Special Collections.

Recognizing the value of the visual record, librarians encountered just one challenge:   Glanton was more interested in capturing, than captioning…

The photographer who had recorded all those hundreds of images had not identified his subjects – no doubt because the viewers would easily recognize their friends and family!

The solution: To build the collection from the outside in by engaging the public in the process – and fun – of identifying the subjects of Glanton’s photos.

Thus, on a warm day last July, generous members of the public gathered at Hosmer Library to enhance the resources of the Hennepin County Library by supplying names – and stories — for the subjects that Glanton had photographed.   The story of that project was widely shared in the local press; check these links for an overview of what’s preserved in the Glanton collection:

Members of the public also participated in follow-up sessions again at Hosmer Library and at St Peter Claver Church in St Paul.

Today, the photographs, now digitized, captioned and partially searchable, are an important feature of the Library’s Digital Collections. (See earlier posts on this blog.) And yet, the Glanton Collection remains a work-in-progress. Because many of Glanton’s subjects are not yet identified librarians continue to turn to the public to lend their eyes and memories to the group effort.

One way to contribute is as easy as a click on the collection to view the photos; if you are able to identify an event or subject, simply make a note in the “comments” section at the bottom of the screen for each photo. http://digitalcollections.hclib.org/cdm/search/collection/p17208coll1 Another possibility is to contact the library directly (specialcoll@hclib.org or 612 543 8200) to share the information or to obtain further information.

Or make it a social event by taking part in a gathering similar to the Hosmer and St. Peter Claver events. Staff of Special Collections are now working with staff at Sumner Library to schedule a Glanton Collection event in North Minneapolis, tentatively set for sometime in March. Staff are also working with the family that donated the photographs to plan an event during Black History Month in February.

 

Facing the Post-Truth Era – Dylan’s warning, today’s tools

Back in the day, decades before the advent of FB, the prophets among us predicted the Post-Truth era. Consider Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan’s thoughts about the threat of lies and news fakery, shared in a 1963 interview with Studs Terkel. What did you think Dylan meant by when he warned that hard rain that was gonna fall? http://www.poynter.org/2016/bob-dylan-on-lies-and-news-fakery-way-back-in-1963/443058/

In the Post-Truth age countless Minnesotans have joined the chorus of fake news critics. Here are just a few samples of what the people and the media have to say:

MOST IMPORTANT: In the spirit of Dylan – and Keillor — librarians at the University of Minnesota have had what it takes to get up and do what needs to be done to counter the scourge of fake news. How do we become better citizens of information is an excellent tool for any independent learner hoping to survive in the Post-Truth Era. http://www.continuum.umn.edu/2016/11/become-better-citizens-information/#.WFb7xGVfKJU.   Check it out!!!