Skip to main content

Short Stacks – continuum, Summer 2014

By September 1, 2014September 16th, 2023No Comments

News from the University of Minnesota Libraries

Campus history map app is fun, informative 

Campus mapThe Libraries’ new Campus History web application doesn’t exactly make history come alive, but it sure is fun. Ryan Mattke, head of the John R. Borchert Map Library at the University of Minnesota, advises that you see for yourself. 

“To see how fun this is,” he said, “you can just hit play and watch the campus grow.” 

Watch the campus grow – over 150 years. That’s the standard feature that the Campus History web application provides. It’s simple, it works, and it’s fun. 

But there’s much more here. Just take a few minutes and look under the hood. 

For example: 

  • Using the application’s transparency slider, you can compare historical maps to current satellite imagery of the campus 
  • You can compare historical aerial imagery across time, for example, you can compare 1940 to present day. 
  • Thanks to data from the Metropolitan Council, you can observe the rise and fall of the streetcar era in the Twin Cities. 

Learn more / watch a video

Who ya gonna call … when natural disaster strikes in the library? 

Preservation testNot Ghostbusters–you call the Libraries’ Collections Emergency Response Team, a special team of library staff who completed intensive training in threats to collections such as a broken water pipe. 

Led by Mary Miller, the Libraries’ Director of Collection Management and Preservation, the team is charged with “with assessing collections emergency preparedness in the Libraries, overseeing emergency planning, and fostering a culture of preparedness in the Libraries through strategic communication, education, and hands-on training.” 

Read a first-hand account / watch a video

U of M new member of Dance Heritage Coalition 

Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) has formally accepted the University of Minnesota into its membership. Cecily Marcus, curator of the Performing Arts Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and Special Collections, will represent the University on the DHC board of directors. 

DHC is a coalition of American libraries, archives, and museums with significant collections in dance. With the addition of the University of Minnesota, there are 12 DHC members throughout the country. Each member organization selects its representative to serve on the board of directors, developing and initiating a range of projects to advance the field of dance preservation. 

Read more about the Dance Heritage Coalition

Libraries awarded $250,000 grant 

The Libraries has been awarded a $250,000 Institute of Museum and Library Services grant for the “African American Theater History Project.” 

The funds will support the creation of an online search tool that will bring together digitized archival materials from leading libraries and museums across the country, including the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, the Smithsonian, Columbia University, and Tulane University Amistad Research Center. 

The curated search tool will address African American cultural history, with a special focus on theater and the arts. The Libraries will also work with the Digital Public Library of America ( to contribute to DPLA’s collection of materials related to African American history. This two-year project began in January. 

Read more about the IMLS grant

Bell Library celebrates 60 years 

The James Ford Bell Library celebrated its 60th anniversary last fall with a gala and a new exhibit, “Bound Fragments in Time.” 

Nearly 200 guests enjoyed the evening, complete with medieval décor and costumed helpers with music provided by The Eddies. The items selected for the exhibit were curator and staff favorites, special gifts, and one-of-a-kind treasures. 

The Bell Library, founded in 1953, supports education and research at the University of Minnesota, and provides community outreach. 

“[The Bell Library] is a monument,” said Nabil Matar, professor of English. “This is an intellectual monument, a monument for the humanities. It’s a monument that should always be preserved because without that we do not know where we came from. And, then, who are we?” 

Read more / watch a video

The ambassador connects with kids 

Kate DiCamillo (right) and Lisa Von Drasek.

Kate DiCamillo (right) and Lisa Von Drasek.

Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo and our own Lisa Von Drasek hosted an online storytelling event in March to celebrate World Read Aloud Day. The live videoconference included students from eight schools across North America. 

DiCamillo, whose archives are part of the Libraries’ Kerlan Collection, is the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Von Drasek is curator of the University’s Children’s Literature Research Collections. 

Read more about DiCamillo

Winners and still champs! 

Defending champs, Team Yodzis, won their second consecutive Science Quiz Bowl title in April at Walter Library, narrowly defeating Guess and Check in the final. 

Jon Hank, Max Nagarajan, Josh Tveite, and Ankan Ganguly made up Team Yodzis, while Guess and Check team members were Ben Bosch, Ian Pierson, and Sam Duncan. 

Care to test your wits with one of the final questions? They lie in the ultraviolet and correspond to a final state nf of 1 in the Rydberg formula. They are the only part of the hydrogen spectrum with higher energies than the Balmer series. For 10 points—identify this series of spectral lines not discovered by the original owner of Odie. See answer at the bottom. 

Read more about the Science Quiz Bowl 

56 years of memories . . . 

14047620841_27fd76ff61_o. . . were shared by more than 60 alumni of the University’s Library School, which was founded in 1928 and closed in 1984. Oh the stories! Oh the laughter!! And oh, how wonderful to see old friends and classmates! 

The first reunion (of many to come) was held in the Upson Room of Walter Library on a rainy Sunday in April. Mark your calendars: The next will be held during Homecoming Week on October 17, 2014. 

See photos of the alumni reunion

Libraries launches MNCAT Discovery and new website 

In January, University Libraries launched a new default search tool called MNCAT Discovery, which is delivered via a new mobile-friendly website. 

MNCAT Discovery features a single, “blended” search box from the Libraries home page at The tool allows users to search and access the overwhelming majority of articles and other materials made available by the Libraries, as well as books and other Libraries holdings. 

The new website has a flexible, responsive design that is optimized for smart phones and tablets. The website is also faster. “We wanted to make the site really fast,” said Cody Hanson, interim director of web development at the Libraries. “We want to make sure our researchers can get on with their business as quickly as possible — and we do that by making our new site load between two- and four-times faster than our old website.” 

Read more / watch a video

‘Read This Book!’ 

continuumReadThisBookRead This Book! iconThe Libraries has a new video podcast called “Read This Book!” which features book recommendations from librarians representing various Libraries’ collections. Themes have included children’s books, cookbooks, popular literature, and science books. 

View the videos on our YouTube channel

Children’s Theatre Company bestows archives to University of Minnesota 

The Children’s Theatre Company has bestowed its historical archives – including production materials, directors’ notes, costume-design materials, and organizational records – to the University of Minnesota Libraries. 

“We’re thrilled to accept the Children’s Theatre Company archives at the University of Minnesota,” said University Librarian Wendy Pradt Lougee. “This represents a key acquisition for our growing Performing Arts Archives,” Lougee said. The Performing Arts Archives also include materials from the Guthrie Theater, Penumbra Theatre, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the James Sewell Ballet, among many others. 

Read more about the Children’s Theatre archives

Medicine of Downton Abbey period ‘almost terrifying’ 

Viewing the Downton Abbey exhibit at the Wangensteen Historical Library left graduate student Jeff Moulton feeling a bit queasy as he thought about medicine of the early 20th century. 

“There are some things that are almost terrifying,” Moulton, a big Downton Abbey fan, said about some of the exhibit artifacts that include “a lot of pokers and tweezers.” 

“I’m glad I live now,” said Emily Hagens, a Ph.D. student who co-curated the exhibit, “Downtown Abbey: Behind the Scenes of Health and Illness.” The exhibit ran through May 16. 

Learn more / watch a video

Schoenborn, Skupeko win History Day award 

Lynn Skupeko and Mary Schoenborn

Lynn Skupeko and Mary Schoenborn

University Libraries’ Mary Schoenborn and Lynn Skupeko were awarded the 2014 Librarian/Media Specialists of Merit at the State History Day Award Ceremony on May 3. 

The two were honored for making a difference in the lives of kids through History Day, said Tim Hoogland, coordinator of History Day in Minnesota and manager of education outreach services at the Minnesota Historical Society. 

“No library professionals are more deserving of this award,” Hoogland said to Schoenborn and Skupeko at the event. “You have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to help kids. Wilson library is becoming an agent of academic change because of your efforts.” 

Read more about the History Day award

Wilson lobby renovation SMART Commons moving down a level 

Renovation of the Wilson Library lobby started over and is scheduled to be complete during fall semester. 

Renovation highlights include: 

  • More openness and improved light 
  • Open and attractive layout 
  • Study booths 
  • Comfortable seating with outlets for smart phone and laptop charging 
  • Small group meeting spaces 
  • Flexible furniture to accommodate various group sizes 
  • Inviting study and gatherings areas 
  • Easy access to expert help
  • Quick access to new books and the contemporary literature collection 

As part of the renovation, the SMART Commons has moved to the basement level and features several improvements, such as dual monitor workstations with larger tables, extra large monitor and table supporting up to seven people, four 27-inch monitors mounted on rolling carts to support small group work, and more open areas for supporting SMART Peer Learning Consultant Services. 

Winners announced in Student Photo Contest 

Student photo contest winners with Donna Barbour Talley, from left: Danielle Robertson, Barbour-Talley, Jordan DeSwarte, and Matthew Oleszczak.

Student photo contest winners with Donna Barbour Talley, from left: Danielle Robertson, Barbour-Talley, Jordan DeSwarte, and Matthew Oleszczak.

Judges selected 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the 2014 Student Photo Contest, sponsored by the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. A fourth award, the Student Choice Award, was given to the student who had the most Facebook likes for his or her entry. 

First place went to Danielle Robertson, second place to Matthew Oleszczak, and third place to Jordan DeSwarte. The Student Choice Award went to Danielle Robertson. 

Read more / view photos 

Lehr highlights Friends of the Libraries annual meeting 

Wendy Lehr, the celebrated Twin Cities actor, director, and teacher, presented “My Life in the Theater: I Always Said Yes!” at the Friends of the Libraries Annual Celebration in May at the University of Minnesota Rarig Center. 

Lehr was a company member with the Children’s Theatre Company from 1966-1986 and served as associate artistic director and director of education from 1990-1998. Lehr has also worked with many other companies such as the Jungle Theater, the Guthrie Theater, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Park Square Theatre, Illusion Theater, the History Theatre, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Theater Latté Da, and the Playwrights’ Center. 

In 2013, Lehr received the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award. 

Berg receives President’s Award 

President's Award for Outstanding ServiceIn June, Lisa Berg, Library Assistant III, received the 2014 President’s Award for Outstanding Service to the University of Minnesota. The award recognizes “faculty and staff who provided exceptional service to the University and have gone well beyond their regular duties and have demonstrated an unusual commitment to the University community.” 

Berg was recognized for her more than four decades of service to the University, including her primary work with students, student employees, faculty, and staff of the College of Veterinary Medicine. She also has made significant contributions to the University Digital Conservancy project. Berg received the award June 3 from President Eric Kaler at a ceremony at Eastcliff. 

Mark Engebretson

Author Mark Engebretson

More posts by Mark Engebretson

© 2024 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Privacy Statement | Acceptable Use of IT Resources