Category Archives: Minnesota

National Catholic Sisters Week 2018

Possibly I was too wrapped up in Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day to remember that March also heralds the special recognition of some of the strongest women of all.  I have just realized that this week, March 8-14, is also National Catholic Sisters Week http://www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org

In the interest of sharing that time-sensitive message without delay I am taking the liberty of quoting the website description of this major initiative:

Created to honor women religious, it is a series of events that instruct, enlighten and bring greater focus to the lives of these incredible women. It’s our chance to recognize all they have done for us. It’s also our hope that as more young women learn about women religious, more will choose to follow their example. 

 National Catholic Sisters Week, a branch of National Catholic Sisters Project headquartered at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisc., is headquartered at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., and is held in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

For a not-quite-recent update on today’s women religious this 2011 article in the National Catholic Reporter offers a brief history of the contributions of women religious to the history and values of this nation. https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/us-women-religious-have-earned-place-american-history

I am also taking the liberty of noting some past Poking Around posts that give a sense of the unique missions and roles of women religious in this region:

These posts are a minimal sampling of the myriad articles and books that reflect the leadership of individual women and communities of women religious in Minnesota.  In the interests of piquing the interest of readers, I presume to note just a smattering of the stories that record the work of strong committed women who have shaped the state’s health, education, political, social movements and intellectual life.

Minnesota Women’s Press has published several articles about women religious; following are links to just a couple:

A quick skim of MNOpedia disclosed these articles about women religious – there are, and will be, more but these offer a taste of the research that has been and needs to be undertaken, recorded and shared:

On my personal bookshelf I found these books that record the work of the women religious in Minnesota.  The shelf is tilted to the contributions of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet because the CSJ’s were my teachers throughout high school and college:

  • They came to teach; The story of Sisters who taught in parochial schools and their contribution to elementary education in Minnesota. Annabelle Raiche, CSJ and Ann Marie Biermaier, OSB. Published by North Star Press, St Cloud in 1994.
  • Eyes Open on a world: The challenge of change. A collaboration by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St Paul Province. Published in 2001 by North Star Press, St. Cloud.
  • On Good Ground, The story of the Sisters of St. Joseph in St. Paul. by Sister Helen Angela Hurley. Published by the University of Minnesota Press, 1951.

By any measure this is a sadly incomplete listing.  My last-minute effort is to share the message that we are now celebrating National Catholic Sisters Week.  Much more important, this post is intended to spark and encourage scholars’ interest in learning and share more stories.  The archives of the religious communities and academic institutions (of which there are many!) are robust, meticulously preserved, and open to serious students of the history of these too-often under-recognized powerful women of faith and vision.

I am interested in and will post other publications – please share ideas, suggestions, stories and publications that fill in the gaps in the role that women of strength and wisdom have played of Minnesota’s and the nation’s history.

National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14 2018

 

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Putting a face on truth-seeking

I personally think honestly disclosing rather than hiding one’s subjective values makes for more honest and trustworthy journalism. But no journalism – from the most stylistically ‘objective’ to the most brazenly opinionated – has any real value unless it is grounded in facts, evidence, and verifiable data, Glenn Greenwald

In recent months I have spent far too much time viewing and listening to the saga unraveling in this, the Trumpian era.  One thing that has been of particular interest to me is the way in which we as viewers/listeners have come to “put a face” on those who dare to share their knowledge and, even more, their opinions.  In many cases, respected print journalists have emerged from behind the by-line to face the camera and/or microphone.

Whether it’s Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow, Phil Rucker or Joy Reid, we now understand the news, in part, through the personality of the presenter.  Though this fact marks a change abhorrent to some who value journalistic objectivity above all, it is a fact of journalistic life.  To be honest, I appreciate putting a face on the skilled – and opinionated – journalists whose information and opinion I can assess  for myself.

My ultimate goal is to learn the truth.   This de-mystification of the process prompts me to ponder how these journalists locate, evaluate, and shape the information they share.  As I view or listen I match the presentation with the process;  I envision the roles of those who manage or at a minimum influence the information chain.  As the investigative journalist reports on her findings, my mind is asking how do you know that?  What resources did you use?  Who determined those resources?  Who organized it?  Who archived that information?  Who asked the questions?  How were the statistics collected?  What’s missing?  How do you know what you know?  I tend to put a face on each of the players on whom the journalist depends.

Mine is a subjective analysis of the information chain itself.  And still it’s time to put a face on what is an invisible, complex, implicit but undeniable – and ultimately very human – process.

Those who would mess with the information chain know the links all too well.  They are at the ready to hinder the flow, shape the issues, determine the players, and otherwise weaponize information.  Similarly, those who would squelch the truth are adept at determining that data are not collected, much less published, that voices are ignored, that stories are overlooked or skewed, that money talks – and is heard.  https://thinkprogress.org/trump-officials-erase-climate-data-2a4e4fe81f96/

Which is why the time has come to “put a face” on the process of information collection, interpretation, organization, preservation, distribution – all those “backroom” sorts of things that ensure that essential information moves through the information chain efficiently and effectively.  This will require more collaboration among the professionals who are the links in the chain; it will also require greater attribution.  Above all, this demands educating information consumers about the characteristics and function of the links in the information chain.

We the people, the decisions-makers in this democracy, depend on solid, verifiable information – truths – so that we are individually and collectively equipped to make good decisions in our own lives and in the life of the democracy.

Important as journalists are, their work depends on a powerful and dependable information chain that is forged by an unsung team of professionals, each responsible for a link, all responsible for the whole.  The work depends on intellectual and financial commitment.

It’s time for the professions to speak out, to demand respect – and financial support.  And it’s time for concerned citizens to understand the critical links in the information chain.  We need to put a face on the critical role and skilled work of those who gather, organize, preserve and otherwise make information accessible to journalists and other information presenters whose research, voices and visages convey that information to the public.

Fact checking after the fact is putting a band aid on misinformation.

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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/advocates-sue-federal-agencies-to-obtain-lgbtq-policy-documents/ar-BBJWOAU

https://unredacted.com/2018/03/07/foia-a-colossus-under-assault/

 

 

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.

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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
 

SUNSHINE WEEK MARCH 11-17, 2018

Sunshine Week March 11-17, 2018

As we emerge from the snowbanks and the Winter of Our Extreme Discontent, it is encouraging to know that Sunshine Week is at hand.   (http://sunshineweek.org)  This year we honor and applaud with unparalleled appreciation the role of a free press as the bulwark of this democracy.

Each year the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCCOGI)  takes a lead in Minnesota’s recognition of Sunshine Week.    One important aspect of MNCOGI’s celebration of Sunshine Week is selection of the recipient of the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award.

MNCOGI has announced that the John R. Finnegan Award 2018 will honor Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres.  Serres is recognized for his investigative series Left to Suffer, an in-depth study and report on the painful stories of elder abuse victims and their families.   Serres’ publication in the Star Tribune reflects the journalist’s exhaustive review of audit reports, state records and other public information resources.  The series has led to readers’ awareness of the crisis and to bold action on the part of advocacy groups and the Governor.

The Coalition has also announced that attorney Paul Hannah will be honored with the Finnegan Freedom of Information Career Achievement Award.

Both awards will be presented at the annual Freedom of Information Day recognition set for Friday, March 16, 1:00 p.m. at Minneapolis Central Library Pohlad Auditorium.

What I’m thinking about more and more these days is simply the importance of transparency, and Jefferson’s saying that he’d rather have a free press without a government than a government without a free press .~ Esther Dyson

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit shares stories of cruelty to Indigenous women

 All My Relations Arts and the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center are sponsoring a powerful exhibition entitled “Bring her home: Stolen daughters of Turtle Island.”  The exhibit, representing the work of 18 visual artists from across the US and many tribal nations, will be in Minneapolis February 2 – April 20.

All the works in the exhibition are original; formats include 2D, 3D, video, performance, or installation.  Visionaries who planned the exhibit link the exhibit and events with issues now on the nation’s agenda:  “In light of the local movement to stop exploitation and the international #MMIW awareness campaign, Bring Her Home shares visual stories of the women who bore the impact.”

The collaborative initiative begins February 2 and continues through April 20.  Planners note that “rather than reduce the issue to a statistic, Curator Angela Two Stars challenges us to honor the life of each indigenous woman as we would a sister, a wife, a mother, a best friend, a cousin, or a daughter.”

The first event is a Reception on Friday, February 2, 6-8 PM at All My Relations Arts, 1414 East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.  This is followed by a host of related programs including an artist workshop, a march for missing and murdered indigenous women and a Talking Circle with the artists.

Find details about dates and times, sites and maps here: (http://www.allmyrelationsarts.com/bring-her-home/)

More about the sponsoring organizations here:

 

Places to go, things to do in the new year!

I find television very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.  Groucho Marx

The Water Bar & Public Studio celebrates the reopening of their great gathering place Friday, January 26, with a Winter Social and Exhibition Party.  Theme of the evening, marking the Water Bar’s first exhibition, is River Relationships: Portraits of a River and Its People.   It’s 6:00-9:00 PM at the Water Bar, 2518 Central Avenue NE.  Details here:  https://www.water-bar.org/events/2018/1/26/winter-social.

The Super Bowl inspires different strokes for different folks.  Take a Knee Nation tackles themes of “sports, social justice, labor and race” at the Take a Knee Nation conference set for February 3-4.  Learn more about the origins of the event here:  https://www.thenation.com/article/colin-kaepernick-was-mocked-and-threatened-for-taking-a-knee-hes-also-winning/  The East Side Freedom Library offers a preliminary kickoff to the conference with a free and open discussion on Wednesday, January 24 – details here:  https://www.thenation.com/article/colin-kaepernick-was-mocked-and-threatened-for-taking-a-knee-hes-also-winning/

Also opening this weekend at the ESFL is Nidoto Nai Yoni, John Matsunaga’s exhibit of photographs from the remains of WWII: Forgetting and Remembering the Wartime Incarceration of Japanese Americans.  The project, supported by the Minnesota Japanese American Citizens League and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Minnesota, portrays the experiences of immigrants confined in camps in Thailand, Kenya, Laos and other sites.  The exhibit opens Friday, January 26, 6:30 PM.  On Saturday, February 17, 1:00 PM there will be a discussion of the roles of artists as observers and resisters. http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/events/representing-and-resisting-historical-injustices-through-art/

MN Writes MN Reads is a digital age program offered by Minnesota libraries.  It’s for writers interested in easy-to-use, free resources for publishing and sharing e-books, and for readers interested in reading e-books by local writers.  Learn more at https://www.mnwritesmnreads.org/ or at your local public library.

Mizna is meeting the challenge of anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-immigrant sentiments by taking the renowned Arab Film Festival on tour.  Mizna will tour independent Arab cinema to six Minnesota college campuses and their neighbors.  Campuses include Macalester, Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Concordia (TC’s), Metro State and St Benedict’/St. John’s.   The tour begins this week and continue through April.  Details here: http://mizna.org/articles/events/183.shtml

You might also want to check out yet another timely event at the ESFL here: http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/events/mooz-lum-black-history-month-film-screening-discussion/

Poken Sword offers a unique and “luminous evening dedicated to the love of language” on the regular fourth Friday evening of the month, i.e.7:00 PM on January 26 at 2001: A Space, 2001 5th Street NE in Minneapolis.   Local emerging and established writers will read on works related to this month’s theme, “torment.”  The evening will begin with bluegrass ensemble Pants on a Chair and their songs of heartache and murder: https://www.pokensword.com

The Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum takes a look at an earlier time when the press was cast as the “enemy of the people.”  Independent scholar Beth Johanneck will speak about a time in the 1930’s when the Minneapolis underworld was ruled by not-so-Minnesota-Nice gangs that failed to appreciate journalists’ efforts to clean up the city.  The MISF meeting, open to all, is at 9:30, speaker at 10:00, at the Washburn Library, 5244 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis.  http://www.mnindependentscholars.org/node/60

 The Minnesota Genealogical Society, and several of its affiliates, have moved from their South St. Paul site to Mendota Heights.  New address: 1385 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, MN.  As more MGS library and other resources come online MGS can offer ready access to the unique resources of a host of organizations — here’s a good starting point:  https://mngs.org/cpage.php?pt=25

In case you missed the headlines, be sure to check out the new documentary, premiered at Sundance, celebrating the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “RBG” will restore your faith in the rule of law and the wisdom of this stellar jurist.  Check it out here: http://ew.com/movies/2018/01/22/sundance-ruth-bader-ginsburg-rbg-documentary-premiere/.  More about the filmmakers here:https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/22/rbg_new_documentary_celebrates_life_of and a fun SNL spoof on RBG’s not retiring here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDXxsRB4s7Y&et=&bu=&cn=&src=&pt=

 Whistling Shade, the literary journal and small press, has issued a fun call for submissions for their Spring/Summer issue.  They’re looking for poetry, stories, essays, whatever the format on the topic “Food and Drink”.  Sounds like a creative way to spend a few snowbound evenings – and to justify some good eats.  http://www.whistlingshade.com/submissions.html

Fun read for a winter’s eve:  Unique libraries share information about their “oldest holdings.https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/oldest-library-books-small-specific-libraries-manuscripts

Should you prefer maps you might want to explore the Civil War Maps series recently digitized and available online from the National Archives. https://unwritten-record.blogs.archives.gov/2017/10/17/rg-109-confederate-maps-series-now-digitized-and-available-online/

Winter in Minneapolis brings out the best in Northeasters – The next Winter Market at the NE Farmers Market is Sunday, February 18, 10 AM-2 PM. Chowgirls Killer Catering will be there with tacos: scrambled eggs, carnitas or mole seitan, white rice and black beans with cilantro and lime spices. DJ theme of the February Market is funk/soul/disco/blues! http://www.facebook.com/NortheastFarmersMarket.

Does The Post (the movie) leave you craving more movies about journalism?  Ever aware of readers’ needs the (real) Washington Post has published a list of the ten best movies about journalism – complete with reviews by noted journalists. Seems like another winter project for an enterprising library or other seeker of truth organization.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/2017/12/14/the-10-best-journalism-movies/?utm_term=.92733ffdd1f0

The Blue Ox Review (I love the name!) is a new blog, curated by Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota – who explains the title of her blog as “a nod to independence.”  Lisa, a veteran reviewer, is somehow  finding time – and “itch – to share her reviewing skills on her own blog:  https://www.continuum.umn.edu/kerlan/

The University of Minnesota-Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library and Friends of the Duluth Public Library are now accepting nominations for the Thirtieth Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.  The awards ceremony is set for May 24 –Deadline for entries is soon – February 1!  Find all of the details about NEMBA here:  https://lib.d.umn.du/about/nemba.

Conversation with Books is a tradition at St. Catherine University.  Professors and avid reader graduates will discuss the selected books on Saturday, February 2, 1:00 pm at Coeur de Catherine center on campus.  Details, including the list of books to be discussed, are online at https://www.stkate.edu/news-and-events/events/conversation-with-books-2018

First Fridays sponsored by the U of M Archives and Special Collections continues in the new year.  First Fridays are free and open to the public; light refreshments served at 11 with presentations beginning at Noon.  All are in the Elmer L. Andersen Library. For a full schedule of winter/spring 2018 offerings click here: https://www.continuum.umn.edu/event/first-fridays-february-2018/

CraftBOWL is another timely winter event sponsored by the American Swedish Institute.  Focus of CraftBOWL is “The Handmade” – a broad look at what “handmade” means in traditional and contemporary, local and global terms.  It features the work by three internationally acclaimed craft artists from Sweden: Jogge Sundqvist (wood), Ingegard Raman (ceramics) and Bertil Vallien (glass). https://www.asimn.org/about-us/press-room/craftbowl-exhibition-launches-american-swedish-institutes-2018-year-handmade

Club Book announces the line-up for the Winter/Spring 2018 season. Writers on this winter/spring roster include Omar El Akkad, Peter Geye, William Kent Krueger, Laura Lippman, Ariel Lawhon, Anita Shreve, Patricia Hampl, Emily Fridlund, and Samantha Irby.  Fortunately for the homebound and many others Club Book extends the reach of the writers by podcasting the discussions soon after the presentations.  The series is funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  Events are free and open to the public.  Details about writers and their books, dates, locations and more about Club Book here: http://clubbook.org

The Friends of the St Paul Public Library is the monthly sponsor of Books & Bars, a long-running series of book discussions moderated by Jeff Kamin every Tuesday of the month.  The February 6 book discussion is on Yaa Gyasi’s novel Homecoming.  It’s at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 5:00 for happy hour social, discussion at 6:15.  No registration required.  Enjoy Jeff Kamin’s description of the Why of Books & Bars here: https://thefriends.org/2017/06/28/jeff-kamin-on-books-bars-reading-and-why-libraries-are-better-than-netflix/

So much to do, so little time.