Category Archives: Libraries and Librarians

Celebrate U of M Libraries Day – Monday, July 17!

Sincere kudos to the University of Minnesota Libraries on the occasion of not one, but two, honors.   First, the Libraries were honored with the 2017 National Medal for Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). (https://twin-cities.umn.edu/news-events/u-libraries-named-recipient-nations-highest-museum-and-library-honor)  The Libraries were nominated for the award by the Friends of the Libraries Board.

The Medal will be awarded on Monday, July 17, at the National Archives in Washington, DC.  Journalist, writer and radio commentator Cokie Roberts will present the award.

Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services will officiate while David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, will deliver remarks.  Dr. Matthew and Friends of the Library Board President Margaret Telfer will represent the U of M Libraries at the award ceremony.

The Medal Ceremony will be streamed live at 2:00 pm on Monday, January 17.

To recognize that honor Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed July 17, 2017 as University of Minnesota Libraries Day in Minnesota. For a copy of the Proclamation click here: http://continuum.umn.edu/pdf/uofmLibrariesDay.jpg

 

 

Libraries on the move – Not such a new idea

This post was prompted by recent hype over the Subway Library that now serves some New Yorkers some times (SubwayLibrary.com)  New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library are now collaborating to reach straphangers with the incredible resources of those great institutions.  Bibliophiles who ride the E and F lines will now be on the lookout for the ten brightly colored “subway libraries”—outfitted with seats designed to look like books on a shelf!

Mobile reads include children’s and YA titles, adult fiction, books about NYC, and new releases – readings are geared to short hops, longer rides and inevitable delays.  If you happen to be headed for Gotham City in the near future, you’ll probably want to learn more – if not, here’s a quick intro:  http://gothamist.com/2017/06/08/nypl_subway_library.php#photo-1

For some reason, probably because it’s summer in Minnesota, the subway library hype got me thinking about a legendary movement to expand access to good books and mobile library service.  Though New Yorkers claim credit for most innovative thinking, the fact is that mobile library service enjoys a long and noble heritage.

In 1905 Mary L. Titcom, Librarian of the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown, Maryland, launched the first book wagon.  Pulled by two horses, driven by the library janitor, the wagon shared library services with rural residents throughout the County.

And thus began the evolution of the bookmobile, a story beautifully shared by library lover Larry T. Nix in The Library History Buff, http://www.libraryhistorybuff.org/bookmobile.html

One way to celebrate Independence Day is to think about the ways in which libraries and  librarians through the years have honored the individual’s right to read and the right to know.  These photos will trigger your memory or expand your image and expectations:

Fragments and foments for the 4th

That which distinguishes this day from all others is that then both orators and artillerymen shoot blank cartridges. ~John Burroughs

This wry observation on the forthcoming Fourth of July inspires random thoughts and a dip into the scattered notes that don’t quite sum to a cogent theme – or post.  Thinking that some may be of interest – and that the 4th is about more than parades and fireworks I share the some of those notes in hopes they spark some flickers for folks who are enjoying a long holiday weekend… It seems to me a legitimate alibi to share a few of the virtual “pokes” that have yet to make it to the blog. Their time has come….

Since you may be house-bound over the holiday, you might want to think about actually doing some research on the history of your home. Just last week  Greta Kaul, writing in MinnPost offered some basic tips and starting points – find the article here:  https://www.minnpost.com/data/2017/06/what-public-records-can-tell-you-about-history-your-house   What the journalist failed to mention is that the staff of Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library  has sponsored several excellent workshops on the topic in recent months.  There’s one more Researching the History of Your Minneapolis Home session scheduled for Saturday, August 5, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Roosevelt Library.

Thinking about starting or joining a book group?  The South Dakota Humanities Commission has a new and very useful guide.  http://sdhumanities.org/media/blog/how-do-you-start-a-book-club.

Feel like learning a bit more about our neighbors to the West?  Renowned North Dakota poet Tom McGrath sets the tone in this video produced some years ago by the Center for International Education (Mike Hazard) (http://www.thecie.org/mcgrath/). The Movie at the End of the World: Thomas McGrath is on YouTube Movie at the End, a lovely introduction – or reminder – of the poet and his North Dakota roots. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABDUGe2kGNs

As long as you’ve let your mind wander a bit, check out The Ephemera Society of America, Inc. (ephemerasociety.org) Located in Cazenovia, New York, the national organization pays attention to all of the little stuff the rest of us don’t even notice.  Though the website is a bit quixotic, ephemera do not categorize easily – and that’s the fun of it!  Relax and wander freely through the world of ephemera!  The local authority on the Ephemera Society of America is author and intrepid researcher Molly (Moira) Harris

For some time I’ve been following the work of Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (http://www.brycs.org) a project of the Migration and Refugee Services at the US Conference of Bishops.  The BRYCS website and clearinghouse does a great job of sharing elusive information on practices, studies, events, interview with immigrant youth and more.   Try dipping in to learn more about whatever it is you want to know more about.

Earlier this week this timely piece popped up on the email.  Its value lies in the fact that it suggests an inclusive definition of food chain workers while underscores the ways in which women forge essential links in the food chain.  https://foodtank.com/news/2016/01/women-we-love-27-influential-women-in-food-and-agriculture/

In the spirit of the 4th, take time to check out this short read.  It’ll make you think: https://www.reddit.com/r/shutupandwrite/comments/6k2fyn/article_patriot_hasnt_always_been_positive_words/

We need an American with the wisdom of experience. But we must not let America grow old in spirit – Hubert H Humphrey

Summertime means time to read!

One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by ~~Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle

The recent post report notwithstanding, the F. Scott Fitzgerald international conference does not a summer make. When the dust has settled bibliophiles will continue book binge and reluctant readers won’t be able to resist the abundance of literary lures. What follows are hints of the possibilities.  Whether you’re a reader, a good listener, a browser or just choose to hang out with word lovers, you’ll want to keep your eyes and mind open to the possibilities!  The list here is sadly metro-centric and arbitrary – the idea is to suggest sources and inspire creative searches for bookish gatherings that may pop up in unexpected places.

Public libraries and local Friends of the Library are planning close-to-home programs for all ages.  The MELSA calendar is humungous and detailed, loaded with Bookawocky events for kids,  book discussions, music, house history, art, gardening, something for everyone.  Think reading options, varieties of content and the choice of format that fits the seeker’s fancy and device.

More than ever libraries have no monopoly on reading resources and events – the great good news is that book sales are rising, book groups, literary events of every fashion are everywhere – in coffee shops, places of worship, indie bookstores, parks, book festivals  and more.

Following are some bookish possibilities that suggest you’ll find books and reading – local writers reading their books, book art, book discussions, poets, historians, even Little Free Libraries — in unexpected places!  Troll the neighborhood to learn who’s reading or listening to what… consider your nosiness as a high-brow form of voyeurism.

A few events that might activate your literary inclinations:

June 16, 7-8:00 PM Victoria Houston (http://www.victoriahouston.com) The author will discuss her new book Dead Spider at Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, 604 W 26th Street, , Minneapolis. Doors open at 6:30.

June 17, 2 PM.  History Comes Alive: Emily O. Goodridge Grey.  Emily O. Goodridge Grey was an African American social activist, pioneer and abolitionist in Minnesota during the 19th century.  Hosmer Library. 347 E 36th St, Minneapolis  This is just one in a robust series of History Comes Alive programs, stories of African American men and women shaped not just Minnesota, but the entire nation. The series is developed by Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center.(https://www.facebook.com/MAAMCC/

June 17, 10 AM.  Joel Katz, author of From Footpaths to Freeways, Minneapolis Central Library.  Katzwill discuss the history of highway development in Hennepin County and around the state.  His talk will trace Minnesota’s road and street systems, how they developed in pre-statehood times in the 1840’s to today.  Katz will also talk about classifications, construction, maintenance, traffic control, safety congestion, bridges and the interstate system.  Sponsored by Friends of Minneapolis Central Library.

June 17, 3 PM. David Sedaris and Ariel Levy, Common Good Books.  The authors will read and sign their new books:  Sedaris’ Theft by Finding and Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply. http://www.commongoodbooks.com/event/common-good-books-hosts-david-sedaris-ariel-lev

June 21. All day. Book it to the parks!  To celebrate the 50th anniversary of MPR the Minneapolis Foundation is donating 50 Little Free Libraries to Minneapolis Parks.  Local writers will be reading from their children’s books at city parks throughout the day.  For a full list of parks and readings check here: https://www.minneapolisfoundation.org/bookit/

June 25, Open Mic Night at Coffee House Northeast, 2852 Johnson in Northeast Minneapolis– 5:45-8:30 PM.  This is one of countless  summertime open mic possibilities –  For a full list of Open Mic events check here: http://openmikes.org/calendar/MN

June 16 7 PM.  Heid E. Erdrich Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis. Learn more about Heid Erdrich here:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/heid-e-erdrich 

June 17, 2 PM David Housewright, What the Dead Leave Behind.(https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/rosemary-simpson/what-dead-leave-behind/) Valley Bookseller, Stillwater. 

June 22, 7 PM. East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul. Norah Murphy reads from her book White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A MemoirThe story of the author’s ancestors’ maple grove, home of Dakota, Ojibwe and Ho-Chunk who were dispossessed when the Irish arrived, the story of the author’s search for the connections between the contested land and the communities who call it home.  Part of the ESFL’s monthly “Women from the Center Reading Series.”

Friday, June 22, 7 PM Kevin Kuhn: Do you realize? A Novel.  Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis https://www.evensi.us/kevin-kuhndo-you-realize-a-novel-eat-my-words-bookstore/212898374

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You get the idea — These are June happenings only.  During the summer months Minnesotans will take part in these and a zillion other book/reading/word events.  To know what’s happening in your community,  keep checking these current – and complementary – calendars.  Each posts literary happenings set in bookstores, parks, coffee shops and wherever people who dare to share ideas gather.

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge;

it is thinking that makes what we read ours. John Locke

Learning and Sharing Stories of the Suffrage Movement

The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.  ~ Carl Jung

The story of the Suffragette Movement is the story of resistance, persistence – and ultimate triumph.  The long struggle to ratify the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women’s right to vote is a uniquely American story worthy of retelling in these times.

The June 2019 centenary of passage of the 19th Amendment offers an opportunity for us to study the story of the Suffragettes in depth, to analyze and emulate the vision and tactics of the Movement.  This is a powerful story of American patriots who shared a vision and marshalled their talents, strength and unstinting hope to pursue a common purpose.

The centenary of their success, June 4, 2019, invites the nation to research the records, remember and retell the story.  There is time to honor the unstinting courage of the Suffragettes by doing a deep dive into the history of the Woman Suffraqe Movement — then sharing the stories with contemporaries and future generations.

Though it may seem like overkill, when tackling an historic issue of national scope a good place to start is with our nation’s repositories of recorded history –the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration.  Not the magnificent buildings in Washington, DC but the very accessible digital libraries that open the historic record to armchair searchers wherever they may be.   In recent times LC and the Archives have created digital repositories that breathe life into the story of the Suffragettes Movement.

Librarians and archivists responsible for preserving the record of the nation have taken a lead to harness digital technology to share the intellectual treasures of the nation.  They are committed to crafting useful tools that guide the remote searcher along the digital path to learning about the country’s legacy.  Their mission is to share the personal stories of real people whose recorded legacy is now accessible through digitized letters, scrapbooks, songs, photos, and diaries –  real life stories that share the thoughts and situations of those individuals and institutions that shaped this nation..

A couple of  starting points will guide the seeker’s path to the Suffragettes’ stories:

Library of Congress:

Though the physical Library of Congress is elegant it is beyond overwhelming; and yet a digital dive into the treasures is manageable. LC resources are even organized by grade/age level to suggest their appropriate audience, even  the youngest learner.  Some basic tips:

  • A good strategy is a dip into the primary documents digitized by LC – – it will inspire even the recalcitrant searcher to press on! Among the treasures are the files of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony as well as countless photos, letters, diaries that capture the stories, the images and voices of the suffragettes.   All that little stuff gives life to real people who worked for years to resist the human forces that impeded their struggle to reach a mighty goal. https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/19thamendment.html
  • And here’s a great photographic complement to the primary documents collection. https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/076_vfw.html
  • For a timeline of American women’s road to assuring their voting rights, click here: https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/076_vfw_timeline.html

Each of these launch points will lead the searcher to treasure troves of stories waiting to be told.

National Archives:

The resources of the National Archives and the Library of Congress complement each other.   Staffers at the Archives  join  colleagues at LC in their commitment to expand digital access.  Of the many navigational tools here are some useful starting points:

These digital options for understanding the long struggle for passage of the 19th Amendment provide a logical first step on the research path; they offer a door to a world of stories!   The challenge is to realize and document this pivotal era in our nation’s history.  If we are to honor the labor and vision of the Suffragettes we must take to heart the priority for us to learn and tell the stories of the women and men who pressed on for decades to achieve what we now take for granted.  For us, the mission must be to study the true facts that capture the essence and describe the forces that emboldened the Suffragettes to speak truth to power for decades leading up to passage of the 19th Amendment.    The quest to learn, then tell, the stories deserves time, discussion, reflection.

Some other starting points:

For a really quick overview of the Suffragettes’ struggle, click here:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/congress-passes-the-19th-amendment

For a broader view of American women’s rights, including but not limited to the Suffragette Movement, this Congressional publication provides a good overview.  http://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/WIC/Historical-Essays/No-Lady/Womens-Rights/

For authoritative information regularly updated, these are major – and very helpful –  sources:

These are simply suggestions; resources and perspectives abound.  Exploring, then telling, the story of the Woman’s Movement offers a focus and a challenge to examine strategies that emboldened the Suffragettes to resist and persist.  We are not the first Americans to face a mighty challenge.  We have much to learn from those who set the pace a century ago:

When you walk with purpose you collide with destiny. Bertice Berry

 

 

Business skills for those whose work is their art

Though artists would prefer to create beautiful and evocative expressions of truth many are learning that “doing art” may well  evolve into a successful business.  The challenge is to learn and practice the skills of marketing, pricing, record keeping, tax considerations, social media and the importance of thoughtful planning.  It is said that some creative artists even begin to appreciate the art of creating a successful business!

Towards that end, Springboard for the Arts is joining with Hennepin County Library to address the opportunity to shape business skills programming specifically targeted to the needs of creative artists.  Last Winter sponsors launched a weekly series entitled “Work of Art” a program focused on identifying and honing business skills for artists facing the hope and challenge of making it in a robust business environment.

That venture was such a success that the series has is being fine-tuned in readiness of a second series that will begin tomorrow, June 10, at the Northeast Library, 2200 Central Avenue, in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis arts community.  Sessions are held Saturday afternoons, 1:00 – 3:30 in the Library.  All of the sessions are free and open.  Registration is requested for individual sessions or for the series.

The summer schedule:

June 16: Time Management. Analytical tool-based approaches to tackle hurdles related to efficiency, flexibility and work-life balance.

June 23: Portfolio Kit: Focus on the essential elements of the portfolio; sharpening the artist statement, tailoring the artistic resume, selection and formatting work samples

June 30: January 11. Marketing for Artists. Defining the product, discovering the target audience, making decisions about selling, and identifying a budget and strategy for an artistic business.

July 14 – Social Media Basics for Artists. Focused on Facebook and Twitter examples – core functionality, best practices and exercises to build an online strategy for an artistic business. 

July 21: Pricing: An analytical approach to defining key elements to calculate costs and prices of art for a variety of markets.

July 28: Recordkeeping:  Tracking revenues, making informed projects, gaining a clearer understanding of artistic business finances.

August 4: Legal Considerations.  General information about intellectual property, contract basics and structuring artistic business.

August 11: Funding.  How to think creatively about diversifying funding streams, exploring traditional and new models for generating value, resources and revenue. 

August 18: Business Plan Essentials.  How to prepare a simple business plan in art-friendly language to help organize the various aspects of artistic practice and informed business decisions.

For more information or to register for individual sessions or for the series click here: https://springboardforthearts.org/professional-growth/work-of-art-program/work-of-art-business-skills-for-artists/

Eat My Words — A Moveable Feast

Decades ago I had the  experience of helping to move a library – actually the substantial library of the institution formerly known as the College of St. Catherine.  The move was from the basement of Jeanne d’Arc Chapel to a magnificent new facility across the campus.

The operation was masterminded by Sister Marie Inez (aka Alice Smith) with the precision of the Normandy Invasion.  We trudged up what felt like 100 narrow steps from the basement then trekked across campus toting a meticulously ordered and labeled stack of tomes to a pre-determined destination determined on the shelves of the new library.  The rewards were irresistible – time out of class and a cookie/bar at the end of each delivery.  It was a grand experience – and to this day I doubt that a single volume was lost or mis-shelved upon arrival!

All of this comes to mind in vivid detail as I anticipate the forthcoming move of Eat My Words!, my favorite indie bookstore in Northeast Minneapolis.   Proprietor Scott VanKoughnett and his assistant Jennifer Bailey press on with the unflappable spirit of Sister Marie Inez.  Though I’m not privy to the details, I share their optimism for the Grand Relocation, if not for the move per se.  (I suspect Scott has lined up real movers not college students and that their pay will be more negotiable than cookies….)

It’s an upward move – i.e. EMW will be moving about a block up 13th Avenue Northeast to a gracious setting heretofore the home of Two 12 Pottery.  More than ever, visitors will be able to relax and relish the used book selection in the environment described thus on the EMW website: “Spending an hour at Eat My Words is like going to the home of friends – friends with 20,000 books to show you and share with you.”

The relocation setting is well known to denizens and visitors to the Northeast arts community. For many years Two 12 Pottery has been a favorite haunt of discriminating shoppers with a yen for high quality goods at real people prices. Times change, Bob Sorg, the potter and proprietor of Two 12 Pottery, will be exploring other options while EMW will inherit the lovely site and the residual good vibes that Two12 has long emitted.   Learn more about Two12 here:  (http://www.two12pottery.com/about/4590772963)

EMW is not only a bookstore, it is a gathering place of people with ideas.  For example, EMW is is one of the several entities in Northeast that continues to welcome and support community initiatives to engage in civil discourse during these troubled political times.

(https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/heeding-the-clarion-call-to-civil-conversation/)  Somehow the staff will continue to host their robust calendar of events during and after The Move.  You can check these out here.  http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com/events/?view=calendar&month=June-2017  (Tip: You really want to sign up to be on the distribution list for forthcoming events.)

Personally and selfishly I am delighted that we have been assured that there will continue to be space and a welcome mat for Voices of Northeast, the series of videotaped interviews with Northeast writers and literary artists that we have produced in the EMW “parlor” for the past many months.  (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/hungry-for-a-good-read-try-eat-my-words/)

We thank the proprietors of Two 12 Pottery for the many ways in which the unique merchandise and gracious staff have met the wishes of artists and visitors to the shop.  It’s a beautiful hand-off from Two 12 Pottery to Eat My Words.  The Northeast arts community has been and will be enriched by both enterprises and by the customers who appreciate and frequent shops that have