In 1984, what was then the Minnesota Jewish Historical Society was founded by local community leaders concerned that, with the passage of time, stories and materials were being lost. They began to collect both items and oral histories. By the late 1990s, however, they were running out of space. Then in 2000, former Gov. Elmer L. Andersen invited the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest to place a portion of their collection in the Archives and Special Collections at the University Libraries.
Amelious Whyte, Director for Public Engagement in the U of M College of Liberal Arts, joined the Friends of the Libraries board in 2015 and, starting in June, will become its chair. Whyte is very intentional, believing he is here — in Minnesota or on Earth — for a reason. “I have a vision statement that I created years ago. It’s to be a positive influence on the lives of others. That’s what I strive to do.” And he’s clearly succeeding.
From her “amazing approach” to providing interlibrary loan services during the pandemic, to her work with her colleagues in the Big Ten Academic Alliance, to presenting at international conferences, Melissa Eighmy Brown has made a mark in her field. For these accomplishments, she recently received the Virginia Boucher Distinguished ILL Librarian Award sponsored by OCLC, a global library cooperative.
Lacie McMillin discusses Yaa Gyasi's Transcendent Kingdom, with Lisa von Drasek, on this installment of Read This Book from the University of Minnesota Libraries. Transcendent Kingdom us a novel about faith, science, religion, and love, centered on a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief. It's Gyasi's followup to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing.
For their Entrepreneurship in Action course, four student teams met virtually with their advisory group March 8 to present their proposed companies. This Carlson School of Management course gives undergrads hands-on experience in launching a new company — including interacting with attorneys, bankers, and other professionals, as well as Carlson faculty and experienced entrepreneurs. Another key profession to help them along the way: Librarians.
An impactful Libraries exhibit, "A Woman's Place: Women and Work," is now online. Curators Kate Dietrick, Linnea Anderson, and Caitlin Marineau decided at the start of this labor-intensive project that they wanted it to have a second life as an online exhibit. After it was taken down, they didn’t return all the materials immediately but instead had a student worker scan them all.
On March 15, the Libraries' Mapping Prejudice project and Hennepin County jointly received the 2021 John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award from the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information. Mapping Prejudice also recently received an Outstanding Public History Project Award from the National Council on Public History.
Software Carpentry is a workshop series offered by the Digital Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, which includes sessions on programming languages like Python and R. Doctoral student Ethan Yao says: “Grad students, especially in their first year, should try it. Open your eyes and take these opportunities.”
Catherine Jordan's ability to make things happen has served her and organizations well, as she has been weaving arts, education, and health into her career tapestry. “I have been able to design and build things — whether a program, an event, or an organization,” says Jordan, Chair of the Friends of the University Libraries board.
As a teen in the 1960s, Penny Petersen saw on the news protesters for civil rights being attacked by police dogs or knocked down by fire hoses in the South. These violently racist reactions against Black people requesting their rights seemed very unfair — and quite distant from her Twin Cities life. Many years later, however, she would help reveal a hidden racism close to home.
Dealing with the threat of COVID was one of the biggest challenges in re-opening four of our libraries last year. Those four operations managers — Desrosiers, Julie Dinger, Jackie Gulbranson, and Emily Reimer — talk about what they faced and, with their staffs, how they came through this transitional time.
University of Minnesota Extension professionals, located in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties, make an impact by translating research into real world applications for residents of the state. One of the pillars they can lean on is Outreach and Instruction Librarian Kristin Mastel.
Children’s literature connects with readers, and Lisa Von Drasek has never lost her love for it. The Curator of the Kerlan and Children's Literature collections remembers fondly from her childhood “Little Plum” by Rumer Godden. “I loved that book so much because the children in that book were bad — they behaved badly, they had bad thoughts,” Von Drasek says. “They were not the Bobbsey Twins.”