Monday, May 2, 2016

Archives Spotlight: Children's Book Week

This is Children's Book Week, a time to celebrate books and get kids interested in lifelong reading. And of course, you don't have to be young to enjoy reading children's books!  Take a break from end-of-the-semester stress and browse the Libraries' collection of juvenile literature.

If you would like to explore children's literature further, especially storytelling and folklore, you may be interested in the Ruth Sawyer Collection.  The collection is found in the Archives and Special Collections and is in two parts.

  • Old and new books providing a history of children's literature, including first editions of Ruth Sawyer's books, Caldecott and Newbery award-winning books, and other books of historical value
  • Ruth Sawyer's papers, which contain typescripts of many of her stories, her letters, recordings of her telling favorite stories, and awards she received.

If you would like to see either the books in the collection or the Ruth Sawyer Papers, visit the Archives and Special Collections. Please make an appointment first by contacting or 651-690-6553. We are on the lower level of the St. Paul library and open Mondays through Fridays from 9:30-4:30.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

National Library Week - Future of Libraries

In the story Crow and Weasel by Barry Lopez, the character Badger reminds us of the importance of stories in our lives. He says, "The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves. ”

I often think about these words when asked about the future of libraries. Those of us working in libraries are often asked by people when they meet us and upon learning that we're a librarian what we think about Google. How do we feel about the decline in reading? Are we worried about the internet? What about iPads? Do people even use libraries anymore? Many of us smile knowingly, and depending on how well we know the person, how we are feeling that day, or what we had for breakfast, we might suggest some additional information for the person to consider, such as the latest studies that show reading is up, particularly among young adults. We might cite studies showing the value of libraries to communities, particular in tight economic times. Or we might editorialize about the fact that the internet, rather than "tearing down community," can be places where people come together, form connections, create, and in fact "read."

Libraries are not just places where stories are cared for and preserved, though they are that. They are places that facilitate the creation and sharing of life-giving stories. These stories come in many forms, some are fiction, some are non-fiction; they come in many formats, some are electronic and some are printed, some are visual, and some are not written down at all. Libraries are dynamic places that are both rooted in tradition and forward looking. Though there is work to be done to make sure we are relevant, to ensure that our services, collections, and spaces reflect all of our users, and to articulate this relevance to our communities, I am not actually worried about a future in which libraries don't matter.

In her book, Why Be Happy, When You Could be Normal, Jeanette Winterson talks about her experiences and loneliness as a teen. She talks about how important literature was for her in connecting her with the world and helping her to combat the isolation and despair that she felt. “I had no one to help me, but the T. S. Eliot helped me," she writes, "So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.” We hope that our library is a finding place for all of our community.

- Heather Tompkins, Head of Collection Services

Friday, April 15, 2016

National Library Week - Archives and Special Collections

We've posted before about some of the interesting and fun things in the Archives and Special Collections (see "Found in the Archives" and "New in the Archives").  But for National Library Week we're sharing examples of how our collections have helped people with their research.
  • TRW student have used scrapbooks and oral history transcripts as the basis for their "interview" papers.
  • Honors students have researched changes to the Dew Drop pond, Japanese-American students at St. Kate's during World War II, and the history of space use on campus for their senior projects.
  • Graduate social work students have studied Ade Bethune's connection to the Catholic Worker movement (including her correspondence with Dorothy Day) and the activities of the Catholic Interracial Council of the Twin Cities.

But you don't need a class assignment to come to the Archives!  There are plenty of other uses like these.
  • Clubs have explored the history of food service on campus, or how events, such as the Dew Drop Bop and Feast of St. Catherine, were celebrated in the past.
  • Speech students selected photos from the Archives for their renovated lounge.
  • Wheel journalists have researched stories about St. Kate's history.

If you're interested in visiting the Archives and Special Collections, for whatever reason, let us know.  Contact us at or just drop by.  We're in the lower level of the St. Paul campus library; hours are Mondays through Fridays, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

National Library Week - Our Staff

You might be familiar with some of the reference and instruction librarians in the library, the people who may have helped you with research or taught one of your classes about research.

But there are a lot of other people who also help make our libraries the wonderful places they are.

We have great circulation student workers and staff who manage our student workers, the helpful people at the circulation desks who make sure you're able to access and check out materials.

And then there are the people you might not see as much, those who work behind the scenes like our systems librarian and collection services staff, the people who make sure our systems, electronic resources, books, magazines, newspapers and more are ready for you to use.

And then there's a group of people you might not notice who do a lot of work around campus, the students and staff who work in our media services department. They make sure all the equipment in classes around campus is working and they support your access to additional electronic equipment and media.

Our archivist is also someone you may not see unless you're doing a history project, trying to track down St. Kate's information, or need some access to our special collections. She preserves our history and maintains all the wonderful special collections you may see highlighted from time to time on library displays.

And then there's our fearless leader, the library director, and her administrative assistant, the ones who are usually pouring over things like budgets, but who every now and then take a little break for some fun.

So the next time you enter the library or use one of our online resources, you may not see all these wonderful people, and many of the others not pictured here, but just know there are many people working hard to make sure everything in the library runs smoothly. And we love our St. Kate's community!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

National Library Week - Library Appreciation

Today we handed out cupcakes for National Library Worker Appreciation Day. We also had a whiteboard where students, faculty, and staff could write library appreciation or thank you messages if they wanted, and we were touched that so many of you did. Thank you for making National Library Worker Appreciation Day so memorable!

to see some of the kind messages you left, visit this album on our Flickr site, or view the slideshow:

National Library Worker Appreciation Day 2016

National Library Week - #LibrariesTransform

The theme for this year's National Library Week is Libraries Transform, and the American Library Association has listed many reasons libraries transform, beginning with one many of our students might relate to:

Google is great for identifying materials, but it's not the best when you need to get those things full text, especially scholarly journal articles. If you ever research online and see an article asking you for payment, stop right there. That's when you go to the library's website to see if we have it, and if we don't we can get it for you from another library at no cost to you. Really! Always ask for help if you can't find something and we'd be happy to help you.

But scholarly journal articles are just one of the things libraries provide. You can get books, newspapers, magazines, videos, audio, computer access, and other technologies at your library. Libraries really do transform lives because not everyone can afford their own access to everything they may need.

Do you have a reason why libraries transform? If so, you could win $100 through the American Library Association. During National Library Week (April 10-16), they're having a #LibrariesTransform contest. Create your own reason libraries transform and put it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #LibrariesTransform and you could win. For all the details, check out this American Library Association page.

And if you do make a #LibrariesTransform entry, let us know about it in the comments, and don't forget to add the #mystkates hashtag, too!

Monday, April 11, 2016

National Library Week, April 10-16

It's National Library Week this week, a week where we celebrate all the wonderful things about libraries. We'll be posting a blog post every day this week to tell you about the great things in our libraries.

Also, on Tuesday, April 12, from 11:30am-1:30pm, stop by the St. Paul campus library to grab a cupcake and thank our fabulous student workers for helping keep this library up and running. Cupcakes are limited, so come early.

Yay, libraries!