To get started in his career, Robert “Bob” Jansen first had to be fired. After the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth fired him from teaching in their theater program, he sued the college. Jansen won and he used the settlement money to establish the Main Club for gay people in 1983. The bar became not only a watering hole but also a center for the gay community. Now Jansen is honoring that history by remembering the Jean Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies in his will.
In the ancient Greek play "The Bacchae," a group of women called the Maenads worship Dionysus, the god of wine and theater. Discussing the play in a Rarig classroom, with some students in-person and some on Zoom, they talked about the Maenads’ joy in being in a sisterhood. Librarians Sarah Brown and Deb Ultan worked with theater faculty and pharmacy faculty in creating a class that explores the intersection of pharmacy and theater.
A renovation, a new website, a new strategy for collections — these are just a few of the projects in which Librarians and staff might be involved. Yet when Carla Pfahl, Reference Outreach and Instruction for Minitex, was in library school, project management concepts were never discussed. Afterwards, she found that projects abound in libraries. Now she is offering a professional development series to librarians and library staff throughout Minnesota, as part of Minitex' outreach work.
The Libraries media services team worked with graduate students in David Wilsey's class in the Humprhey School of Public Affairs to learn and use podcasts as a way to conceive of and host a community conversation on a sustainable development topic. "It pushed [students] out of their comfort zones and it required them to try to deeply understand another person’s identity and perspective in order to tell a version of their story.”
Chinese is a tough language for an English speaker to learn, with thousands of ideographic characters to learn, and four tones in spoken Mandarin. But as a college student, Ann Waltner didn’t yet know enough to be daunted by it. She found the language and the nation fascinating, and eventually became a historian of China and professor of history at the U of M. She's also a member of the Friends of the University Libraries.
Email, PowerPoint presentations, Google documents, and spreadsheets — these are just some examples of born-digital materials that make up the digital stream coming to the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections (ASC). “ASC has wanted/needed a position to help us deal with born-digital materials for several years,” says Kris Kiesling, Elmer L. Andersen Director of Archives and Special Collections. Managing these born-digital materials is now the role of Lara Friedman-Shedlov.
Changes in the Library this past year stemmed not only from coping with the pandemic but also with dealing with structural racism. Following the killing of George Floyd, the Libraries soon issued an anti-racism statement. In the months since, the Libraries drafted an approach to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.
University undergraduates interested in conducting research may wonder where to begin. Their first step? Think Like a Researcher, which is a mini-course developed by the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Libraries. “It helped me open my eyes to the Libraries as a resource for finding research that I may not have considered,” says Madeline Meirhaeghe.
What began in the early part of the 20th century as a week dedicated to studying the history of Black people in America by the 1960s was expanding to a month. Starting in the mid-1970s, U.S. Presidents have annually proclaimed February to be Black History Month. Yet people can explore Black history any month, taking online avenues through primary source materials and special collections available through the Libraries.
In January 2021, Erinn Aspinall was named interim Director of the Health Sciences Libraries. In this Q&A, Aspinall discusses the opportunities and challenges in front of her and her work on the Libraries Strategic Planning Team. Prior to becoming interim Director, she served as HSL’s Associate Director for Program Development and Strategy. Aspinall’s career reflects a commitment to the health sciences, with previous positions at the University of Michigan, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of New Mexico.