Category Archives: Libraries and Librarians

April calendar – addendum

April 21 – Coming to the Table,10:30 AM-Noon at the Sumner Library, 611 Van White Memorial Blvd, Mpls.  Descendants of those who were enslaved and descendants of slave owners, and all those interested in engaging safe constructive dialogue come together to envision the US as a just and truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal the racial woods.  Free and open.

April 22 – Earth Dayhttps://www.dogonews.com/2018/4/17/earth-day-2018-is-dedicated-to-reducing-plastic-litter-and-pollution.  More on reducing plastic: https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/plastics-campaign/ https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/162de1ad1c372acb

April 26 – Raise your Voice! This is Habitat for Humanity Dayon the Hill.  https://www.tchabitat.org/events/habitat-on-the-hill-mn-2018

April 27-29.  Saint Paul Art Crawl. http://www.exploreminnesota.com/events/25487/saint-paul-art-crawl-spring-2018

Through April 28 – 2018 Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival.  St Anthony Main Theatre, http://mspfilm.org/festivals/mspiff/

April 27-29 – Spontaneous Combustion.  Wildwood Theatre’s first production about mental health.  The production is focused on exploring the personal experiences of trauma and how they weave through our everyday struggles. Event is at the Off-Leash Art Box. http://www.offleasharea.org Tickets are priced on a sliding scale, $10-$15.  https://www.wildwoodtheatre.com/welcome

May 3 — It’s a tradition — Over time the Pen Pals author lecture series sponsored by Friends of the Hennepin County Library has become a community tradition.  The fourth and final guest in this 2017-2018 is Jesmyn Ward.  Her talk is set for May 3 (7:30 p.m.) and May 4 (11:00 a.m.)  Ward has written two novels and a memoir, all set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  Her novel, Salvage the Bones, won the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction.   Phone 612 543 8112.

May 5, 2:00 p.m.  Erik Rivenes, Dirty Doc Ames and the Scandal that Shook Minneapolis, RKMC meeting room, Minneapolis Central Library.  For crime fans and local history buffs – the story of turn of the century Minneapolis mayor Doc Ames, “his political scandals, corrupt police department and the downfall that helped jump start an era of reform.  Eric Rivenes is a writer and historian who produces the Most Notorious podcast.  His new book is available this month.

 

 

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BULLETIN: Poet Laureate Live – Thursday, April 18

LIVE April 19: Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

Staying Human: Poetry in the Age of Technology

Tracy K. Smith will report on her rural outreach efforts in her first term as U.S. Poet Laureate. Smith will also discuss the focus of her second term, read poems, and participate in a conversation with Ron Charles, editor of Washington Post’s Book World and host of the Library’s “Life of a Poet” series. Watch LIVE Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. ET. – Note this is 6:00 PM CST

Click here to watch on Facebook Live.

Click here to watch on YouTube (captioned).

Click here for more information on the event.

Post-NLW reflections

National Library Week 2018 is history.  If you’re a public librarian who celebrated and survived, take time now to relax —  primp the bun, adjust the bifocals and wag a well-worn “shh” finger at the public library patrons waiting in line for assistance.

When you do get a much-needed break , treat yourself to  a cup of coffee and share a laugh about the unfortunate stereotypical TV depictions with a  real librarian and colleague.   Though there will never be a stereotypical librarian,  this essay comes closer to reality than many depictions….

http://mentalfloss.com/article/539843/secrets-of-public-librarians

National Library Week 2018 – Musings

Librarians are the true superheroes–they can help us find our best selves & carve out the future we want, instead of  what’s thrown at us. – Laurie Halse, author

This week (April 8-14) is celebrated nationwide as National Library Week 2018.  During the week, I have fervently devoted a good deal of time reading and pondering the expanding and necessary role of libraries in this, the “Information Age.”

By week’s end, I have once again concluded that what we should be celebrating is National Librarians Week.  Clearly it is people, not buildings, that shape the library experience today.  And never has the role of library workers been more essential for individual seekers of truth, for their communities, and to the fate of an informed and thinking democracy.

As week’s end, I’m at a loss for words to express the urgency I feel about the challenge facing librarians – and for decision-makers who determine the fate of libraries and librarians in a political environment neither recognizes nor values truth-seeking as a priority.

And so, as I grapple with confusion and concern, I look for hope in the words and thoughts of others.   I have sought for and embraced articulate defenders, those who understand and write about the range of ways in which librarians create community, inform decision-making, and preserve American values – with gusto.

Overwhelmed by concerns about critical and independent thinking in this democracy I turn to more articulate spokespersons to share their vision and hope for libraries and librarians. Try to take time this weekend to peruse, if briefly one of more of these thoughtful essays:

And, if we have the snowfall that’s predicted, you might want to take a quick look at some past blog posts on libraries and the critical thinking skills that inform and fulfill the hope that inspires this democracy.  https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/information-and-media-not-weapons-but-tools/

Democracy depends on an informed population. And where can people get all the information they need? —At the Library.” – Elliot Shelkrot,

National Library Week tradition — Top 10 Challenged Books

ALA’s ‘Most Challenged Books’ List

The American Library Associationreleased its annual Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books, included in the ALA’s State of America’s Libraries Report 2018, which “affirms the invaluable role libraries and library workers play within their communities by leading efforts to transform lives through education and lifelong learning.”

According to the report, libraries continue to face challenges–including the potential for censorship–to a variety of books, programs and materials. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 354 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2017. Some individual challenges resulted in requests to restrict or remove multiple titles or collections. OIF estimates that 82%-97% of challenges remain unreported. Overall in 2017, 416 books were targeted–direct attacks on the freedom to read. The most frequently challenged titles last year were:

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  3. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  5. George by Alex Gino
  6. Sex Is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  9. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole
  10. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Places to go, things to do in March

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when adults are afraid of the light.” Attributed to Plato, (428 BC – 348 BC).

At times it seems that the designation of special months is at best redundant, sometimes trying to cram a millennium of history into a 30-day span.  And yet, it’s good to focus, and so we highlight a couple of monumental issues that claim March as their month to shine.

  • Women’s History is of relatively recent origin. First identified in 1982 as Women’s History Week the recognition gathered momentum and time until 1995 when the topic of women’s history flowered as an entire month.  The Law Library of Congress has actually collected the laws, proclamations and resolutions related to the saga of Women’s History Month.  The National Archives offers an informative – and fun – starting point to understanding the history:  https://womenshistorymonth.gov    Check out the Women’s History Month website sponsored by the National Women’s History Project here:  http://www.nwhp.org/about-2/our-history/   Other sites are sponsored by the National Park Service, the Smithsonian and the National Endowment for the Humanities, all of which offer myriad programs and resources that serve as starting points for local groups that need a spark to light a fire under their Women’s History Month plans.

* * *

The calendar of Women’s History Month activities is prodigious – just a couple of highlights give a flavor:

  • The East Side Freedom Library and the Minnesota Historical Society are working together on a special program set for Saturday, March 24, 1:00 PM at ESFL. Objectivity: ’68 to today: Women’s activism: Dolores Huerta.  The program includes a play written by the MNHS Teen Action Group and the examination of historical objects from the MNHS collection.  Focus is on Dolores Huerta, an unsung figure in the fight for equality.  Also featured is an examination of  the intersections between the women’s movement and race, communities in Minnesota and the national context, labor rights and civil rights.
  • Also at ESFL, “Let’s Talk about Hmong Women: Leadership Thursday, March 15, 6:30 pm.  This is the first in a four-part series of conversations led by members of Hnub Tshiab: Hmong Women Achieving Together.  Future conversations are set for June 1 (Patriarchy), September 13 (Motherhood), and November 8 (spirituality)
  • At the U of M Walter Library, March 30 – “Make or Break: Women in Technology Rich Spaces” 9:30 AM-11:00AM.  Women from across the U of M campus discuss the topic.  Speakers include Charlene Ellingson, Samantha Thi Porter, Robin Schwartzman and Simone Vuong.  Registration required.

Also at the University of Minnesota:

Lots happening at the State Capitol in days to come, including these events:

Aging with Dignity and Respect: It’s a social justice issue.    Tuesday, March 20, 1:00 PM, East Side Neighborhood Services, 1700 Second Street NE, Mpls.  Free and Open.  Sponsored by Vital Aging Network.  Register 651 917 4652.

World Storytelling Day (www.globalastorytellingday.org)  is an annual celebration of the theme “If I can hear our story, it’s harder for me to hate you.”  The theme explored this year by local advocates is “Wise Fools: Wisdom on the folly of war.”  Storytelling Day 2018 will be celebrated locally on Tuesday, March 20 at the Landmark Center in downtown St Paul (www.landmarkcenter.org) Six storytellers will share stories reflecting the theme.  The event is free and open.  Learn more about the event and prime mover Larry Johnson here: (https://www.hometownsource.com/sun_post/community/golden-valley-resident-draws-international-attention-to-the-art-of/article_282a7376-1c9f-11e8-83cc-1f20f00f22c1.html

“Working—The Musical” reflects “the hopes dreams and heartbreak of the American working class expressed in the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Taylor and others.  The show runs March 16-18 at The O’Shaughnessy on the campus of St. Catherine University. https://oshag.stkate.edu/events/category/series/working-the-musical/

Opening March 14 at the American Craft Council  – Ani Kasten, artist, ceramist and sculptor.  Details here: https://craftcouncil.org/event/ani-kasten-ceramists-journey

The National Book Critics Circle has announced finalists for 2017 awards: http://bookcritics.org/blog/archive/national-book-critics-circle-announces-finalists-for-2017-awards

Plans are well underway for the 37th annual Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival (https://filmfreeway.com/mspiff)  Focus this year will be on Chinese cinema with films from China to be presented throughout the Festival.

Upcoming on Talk of the Stacks sponsored by Friends of the Hennepin County Library:  Alex Sager on Tuesday, April 24 and Tracy Smith on May 16. https://www.supporthclib.org/sites/default/files/2018%20Talk%20of%20the%20Stacks%20Press%20Release.pdf

“To Be Honest” is the theme of a series of programs sponsored  by The Loft, March through May. (https://www.loft.org/events__programs/thematic_series/to_be_honest/)

Poet Billy Collins hosts a unique resource designed to create a love of poetry with young people.  Poetry 180 offers a poem a day for high school students – the 180 refers to the fact that the project is for school days only. https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/

Some fun links:

Sunshine Week March 11-17, 2018

See also: Women’s history month reads:  https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1186-elaine-f-weiss-what-to-read-this-women-s-history-month?rto=x_gr_e_nl_general&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=march062018&utm_content=bookend2womenshistory&ref_=pe_3097180_272564230
 

Life after football – Time to read, view, listen, plan for Spring!

By the time you read this post you will have recovered from the Super Bowl and gone back to shoveling, politics and thinking about life, the universe and everything.   Consider these possibilities:

Has all the political foment – or maybe it was going to see The Post – inspired you to go back to the Good Old Days of Watergate?   Now online at the Library of Congress are the Senate Watergate hearings.  The American Archive of Public Broadcasting recently published an online exhibit at LC. Gavel-to-Gavel: The Watergate Scandal and Public Television (https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-17-167/library-and-wgbh-acquire-historic-tv-coverage-of-senate-watergate-hearings/2017-11-03)

While you’re surfing the treasures of the Library of Congress, click on some of LC’s digital trove of resources including, definitely not limited to, these:

Or relax and enjoy this video discussion of Hannah and Sugar, the children’s book written and illustrated by Kate Berube, recently named recipient of the 2017 Ridgway Award.   Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the U of M Library’s Kerlan Collection, shares the book and background on the Ridgway Award, the annual honor presented to an author or illustrator in recognition of an outstanding debut in the world of children’s picture book.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDVlXqxySM

Weather permitting you may want to venture out –  bundle up and explore these possibilities:

  • The new season for Talk of the Stacks which begins on February 27 when Alicia Eler, Stephanie Glaros and Stephanie Curtis will explore “identity as it relates to digital media.” See the season schedule and details here: (https://www.supporthclib.org/talk-stacks).   Friends of Minneapolis will also hold their Annual Meeting on Tuesday, February 20, 5:30 PM at the Central Library.
  • Or check out these forthcoming Club Book author talks;
    • Omar El Akkad – Tuesday, February 13, 7 PM at Saint Anthony Park Library in St Paul
    • Peter Geye – Monday, February 26, 7 PM at Rum River Library in Anoka
    • William Kent Krueger – Thursday, March 1, 6:30 at Chanhassen Public Library

Click here for information on sponsorship and full season schedule.   http://clubbook.org.  Note that Club Book presentations are podcast so you can listen at your leisure.

Sign of the times:   https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/youtube-will-start-labeling-videos-from-state-funded-broadcasters/ar-BBIDpOW?ocid=UE01DHP

If the long winter has depleted your “to be read” pile, check out this listing of the National Book Critics Circle finalists for books published during 2017.   http://bookcritics.org/blog/archive/national-book-critics-circle-announces-finalists-for-2017-awards

Resistance, Resilience, Renewal — a gathering of poetry and song celebrating the enduring legacy and inspiration of Meridel LeSueur.  The special event, set for 6:30 p.m. on February 22, is hosted by the East Side Freedom Side Freedom Library and the St Paul Almanac.  It’s at 630 PM on February 22.  The program begins with presentations and performances of Meridel’s work as well as original work by established and emerging artists.  More at https://www.evensi.us/renewal-gathering-poetrysong-celebrating-meridel-lesueur-east-side-freedom-library/244411880 

Take time to mark your calendar for these special events:
  • World Storytelling Day is set for March 20, 2018. Theme of the local event is “Wise Fools – Wisdom on the Folly of War.  Again this year the local event will be at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul.  Details to follow.
  • The Spring 2018 Westminster Town Hall Forum schedule is out.  All presentations are at Westminster Presbyterian Church on the Mall in downtown Minneapolis.  Dates and speakers are: March 22 – Noon, Journalist and editor Suzy Hansen, “An American Abroad” –  April 10, Noon, Pediatrician and children’s health advocate Nadine Burke Harris “Children Adversity and Health. – May 1, Noon, Steve Schmidt, Founder of the Center for Political Communication at the University of Delaware, “A candid look at today’s headlines.” – May 22, 7:00 PM, Richard Stengel, Former managing editor of Time. “Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life.”  Come early for the music that precedes the Forum; stay for the public reception that follows. All talks are broadcast on Minnesota public radio:  Questions: contact 612 332 3421.   

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.  John Boswell