Category Archives: Hennepin County Library

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Search Tips: Hennepin County Library Digital Collections

The best way to explore the possibilities of the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections is to just plunge in – some very basics to know before you take that first dive:

The Digital Collections may be accessed from anywhere at any time – no library card is needed.

  • There are two ways to find your way into the digital collections: You may go from the Library’s website: org>browse>digital collections or go directly to digitalcollectionshclib.org. 
  • Librarians suggest that you start your search from the broadest angle; search across all collections rather than a specific collection.
  • Collections are keyword searchable or searchable by field
  • Descriptive information attached to each item will link you to related content
  • The items digitized from the existing collection generally cover Minneapolis and Hennepin County historical topics — which is not in the least restrictive since local residents have always been engaged in world events, politics, immigration and every other conceivable area that involves human beings! It’s just the Minnesota slant on what’s happening.
  • Focus tends to be on images, i.e. photos in most cases.   Still there is some text, including letters, manuscripts, diaries, yearbooks, and more.
  • It’s important to remember that the collection is open-ended, i.e. New materials are constantly being digitized and added to the collection. These are living documents. If the yearbook you’re looking forward isn’t online yet, wait a bit and it will be added.
  • Note re yearbook: Because of copyright laws the yearbook collection is digitized through 1977.
  • Full resolution downloads are available for most items in the collections. Depending on the digitized material specific items may be downloaded as jpg files or pdf files.

More tips to follow  – after you get your feet wet and your appetite whetted!!!

For an intro to the HCL Digital Collections go to previous post:  https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/opening-library-archives-from-the-outside-in/

 

 

 

Opening library archives – from the outside in

The concept of preserving history, collating full archives, making them as usable as possible so the public have access to them, I really feel that it allows the public an ability to engage with their own history. Sarah Harrison, journalist

For the past couple of weeks I have been exploring an endless profusion of photos, letters, yearbooks, and more photos – from the comforts of home!   I have actually been trying to learn enough about the new Digital Collections platform at Hennepin County Library so I could post an informed post for this blog.

Thinking I needed a bit more skill in searching the massive collection – and a better sense of the possibilities I might be missing — I made my way to Special Collections, 4th Floor at the Minneapolis Central Library, just to see if they might have a helpful cheat sheet….

Hearing my query, Librarian Bailey Diers demonstrated some of the tricks of the searching trade. Actually, she offered a brilliant tutorial for my colleague and me.

And yet, that’s not the topic of this blog.

What really came through to me is the premise of this new HCL Digital Collections! It’s akin to thinking of the library’s collection from the outside in.

First of all the content of the archives began with the lives of the people of this region – whether it’s high school yearbooks or photos of famous visitors or the local newspaper, it’s OUR story – a story that the library has forever valued, collected and preserved. Though the library has always played this role, it is seldom the main thrust of a major initiative.

Just as important, it is significant that the library is turning to the community to enhance the collection. The story of matching names of individuals in the Glanton collection is unique and telling. More on this aspect of the current project later.

Third, is the implicit fact that the entire focus of the digital project is on users who are not IN the library. We have long been able to search the catalog from home, but with the current project we have a deep dive into the essence of the recorded history of this community. The relationship between the library, specifically the library staff, is reoriented – and it is healthy for the system and for the user.

Digitization is not a new technique and remote access to library collections is not a revolutionary idea. What seems to me unique in this initiative is the focus on the stories of the local community – a way for us to see ourselves and our history at the core of the library’s role as a unique community resource.

Another intriguing aspect of the project is the story of the library’s turning to the community to augment the existing archives. More later on that project and searching tips in forthcoming posts.

 

 

Business Skills for Artists – Weekly sessions at Mpls Central Library

The Minneapolis Central Library is launching this week a powerful series appropriately titled “Work of Art.” It’s a series of sessions on business skills for artists that begins December 7 and runs through February 22. The series appears to be free – note that registration is required. All sessions will meet 6:00-8:30 PM at Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

The series is funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage and is sponsored in collaboration with Springboard for the Arts.

The online calendar indicates that the first session, scheduled for December 7, is already closed; future sessions appear to be open.

All sessions will meet 6:00-8:30 PM at Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

Sessions are as follows:

December 14. Time Management for Artists. Discover analytical and tool-based approaches to managing your time. These tools will help you tackle hurdles related to efficiency, flexibility and structure to help you reach your artistic goals.

January 4. Portfolio Kit for Artists. Your portfolio is the core of your promotional material. Focus on the essential elements: sharpening your artist statement, tailoring your artistic résumés, and selecting and formatting your work samples.

January 11. Marketing for Artists. Define your product, discover your target audience, make decisions about how you sell your work, and identify a budget and strategy for your artistic business.

January 18. Social Media Basics for Artists. Using Facebook and Twitter examples, learn core functionality, best practices and exercises to help you build an online strategy for your artistic business.

January 25. Pricing for Artists. Discover an analytical approach to defining key elements that will help you calculate the costs and prices of your art for a variety of markets.

February 1. Recordkeeping for ArtistsLearn how to track revenue and expenses, make informed projections, and gain a clearer understanding of your artistic business finances.

February 8. Legal Considerations for ArtistsObtain general information about your intellectual property, contract basics and structuring your artistic business.

February 15. Funding for ArtistsDiversify your funding streams as well as understand the essential elements of researching and writing grants that appeal to potential funders of your art.

February 22. Business Plans for Artists

 

Remember Jerry Blue

Jerry Blue didn’t fit the mold. He was African American, he was huge, he thought that libraries were about ideas and learning and opening doors for people of whatever age or color or mindset. His stories will live in the minds of countless children who listened with rapt attention as he shared the wisdom of the stories.

In recent times he was my neighborhood librarian. We talked at length of his plans to work with the community, to carry the message to those on the fringe – to seniors, kids, immigrant people, those who think they don’t deserve to know. He was a passionate believer in the role of the public library as an active player in the community.

Jerry’s friends and especially patrons of St. Anthony, Sumner and St. Anthony are mourning his sudden death last week.

Jerry Blue was a good man who made a difference in this world and in his community. Though he will be missed, his spirit is with us.

 

Let Your Imagination Hit the Road!

As the days lengthen, the gross snow melts and the temps rise – if briefly – vast numbers of Americans get the itch to get on the road again.  Even those of us who can’t afford the time or the gas, it’s a dream that wafts through the mind.

There’s a delightful read about the Romance of the Road, written by Ronald Primeau, and accessible online.  It’s the next best thing to being there.  Primeau writes about Americans’ romance with the open road, “places of exhilarating motion, speed, and solitude.”  The open road represents a new start, sometimes discovery, and at least a take-away experience about which the nomad can go home and sing or write.

Primeau tells us that the road trip may be an “epic quest,” a “pilgrimage”, a romance or a mere ritual.  Anything from the tale tellers of Canterbury to Jack Kerouac or Charles Kuralt.

Once again, librarian volunteer Ruthann Ovenshire is organizing an exhibit on the theme “Hit the Road” set to lure the traveler.  A wealth of books, DVDs and audiobooks drawn from the collection are now on open display at the Minneapolis Central Library.

A few titles will awaken the wanderlust in the most homebound reader, listener or viewer.  Let your mind take to the road by remembering some chestnuts:

  • Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip, by David Duncan and Ken Burns (audiobook and DVD)
  • Charles Kuralt’s On the Road.  (DVD)
  • Jack Kerouac’s classics, On the Road and Dharma Bums
  • William Faulkner’s The Reiver
  • Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • Richard Paul Evans trilogy on walking roads: The Walk, Miles to Go, and The Road to Grace
  • Barbara Kingsolver’s, The Bean Trees
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road       

Just as the road turns, revealing new vistas and unexplored horizons these print, audio and video treasures can expand the mind and what the wonder of wanderlust in the most sedentary reader/viewer/listener.  Consider an armchair road trip before mere tourists take to the roads .  The lure of the landscape and the fast lane cannoat be ignored.