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National Library Week 2023: Library events, exhibits, and programs

By April 28, 2023September 16th, 2023No Comments

It’s National Library Week (April 23-29, 2023). The theme this year is “There’s More to the Story.” At the University of Minnesota Libraries, we have many resources you might not know about. Our services, spaces, and resources are available to students, staff, and faculty at the University, and many of these are also available to our greater community in Minnesota (and around the world). 

Today’s blog post highlights library events, programs, and services, most of which are available to anyone. 

Events

The Friends of the University Libraries sponsors a vibrant events series, the Friends Forum: A Series for Curious Minds, which brings speakers and performers to campus. Events are open to everyone — on campus and in the community — and most are free of charge. 

If you missed any of this season’s events, never fear; you can watch them all online on our YouTube playlist.

The First Fridays event series, sponsored by the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections department, is held on the first Friday of each month from October through May. Each event features presentations by curators from one or two of our special collections. 

See past presentations on our YouTube First Fridays playlist.

Exhibits

We host exhibitions in Elmer L. Andersen Library, Wangensteen Historical Library for Biology and Medicine, Andersen Horticultural Library, the Architecture & Landscape Architecture Library, and more. Current exhibits include: “Sherlock Holmes in 221 Objects,” “Five Bay Landscapes,” and “The Wangensteen Student Showcase.”

We also offer online exhibits and you can view videos of past exhibits on our YouTube exhibits playlist.

Services for book lovers

For book lovers, you don’t need to just browse the shelves of our popular reading collections, we also provide recommendations via our Book Matchmaking service and through our longstanding podcast “Read This Book!” 

You can watch episodes of Read This Book on our YouTube channel or listen to the audio-only version via Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Through our Minitex division, we also offer Ebooks Minnesota — an online e-book collection for all Minnesotans. 

And our Andersen Horticultural Library at the Arboretum offers StoryTime for youngsters on the last Friday of each month at 10:30 a.m., April through October. You can also view pre-recorded virtual storytimes online

History Day at Wilson Library

We partner with the Minnesota Historical Society to support middle school students working on History Day projects. Each year Wilson Library hosts dozens of school visits and thousands of students — providing them with a chance to experience a college campus and library for the first time. 

The signature History Day event at Wilson Library is Gopherbaloo, a Saturday in January when hundreds of students and their parents have free roam of the stacks and electronic resources. Of course, a cadre of History Day staff and volunteers are on hand to help. 

“It really does make a giant splash in the project and those ripples continue through their academic careers,” said Ron Huvstedt, a Salk Middle School teacher. “We regularly hear from high school seniors who state that the Wilson Library trip helped them realize that they were college bound and the U of M was where they wanted to go.”

Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS)

Each month Wilson Library hosts therapy animals —  dogs, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, and cats — through the PAWS program (Pet Away Worry and Stress). PAWS is one tool employed by the U of M’s Boynton Health to help college students to de-stress. 

“We are very much a part of a mindful, planned approach to helping students manage their mental health, which stress is a huge component of,” says Tanya Bailey, the Animal-Assisted Interactions Coordinator leading the Boynton program. Study after study, says Bailey, “shows that for students, oftentimes leaving home and leaving their pet behind is more difficult than saying goodbye to their parents, their best friends, and their hometown.” 

PAWS student touching nose with dog

PAWS student touching nose with dog.

Workshops

The Libraries offers a plethora of workshops — in person and online. These are designed for students, but many of them can be attended by anyone with an interest in the topic. Workshops include Software Carpentry, forest bathing, Mending Wednesday, and much more. With the end of the semester approaching, however, the number of workshops is dwindling. Look for a full slate of workshops this fall.

Mapping Prejudice

Mapping Prejudice identifies and maps racial covenants, clauses that were inserted into property deeds to keep people who were not White from buying or occupying homes. From its base at the University of Minnesota Libraries, the interdisciplinary team collaborates with community members to expose the history of structural racism and support the work of reparations. 

Its work was born of community need in Minnesota, which has some of the largest racial disparities in the nation. These inequities are most pronounced in the area of housing, which is foundational to health and well-being. The Twin Cities has the highest gap between black and white homeownership rates for any major metropolitan area in the country. While 78 percent of White families own homes in the Twin Cities, only 25 percent of Black families are homeowners.

National Library Week, sponsored by the American Library Association, is an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities.

Mark Engebretson

Author Mark Engebretson

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