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Letter from the Board Chair for the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries

Headshot of smiling man wearing a gray blazer with a pink tie

Amelious N. Whyte, Jr.

Dear Friends and colleagues,

As I am sure that many of you can relate, the last year has been one of transitions for the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. While COVID-19 still haunts us, its control over decision-making has diminished.

For the Friends, that means we started our 2021–2022 Friends Forum with a series of three virtual events during the fall and one in January, including A Feast of Words, featuring the groundbreaking work of Minnesota Transform. Our virtual events were collectively attended by more than 350 people.

In March 2022, as the weather in Minnesota turned toward spring and the snow began to melt, we transitioned back to in-person events, including our Members Appreciation Event, Giving Voice to the Past: Performing the Archive, which highlighted the depth of our Music Library, and the 13th Annual Pankake Poetry Reading, featuring the powerful and thought-provoking words of David Mura.

We also co-sponsored the Libraries’ Archie Givens Jr. NOMMO African American Speaker event that featured a conversation with Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of The Other Black Girl, moderated by our Friends Chair-Elect and Board Member Lissa Jones-Lofgren. Approximately 600 people attended these three in-person events, indicating a willingness to gather in person to feed one’s curious mind. Please check out videos of our previous Friends Forum events.

As chair of the Friends, I am grateful for the continued support of our Friends members. I would welcome those of you who are not Friends members to join our organization. Each event I attend allows me to learn more about the world around me, and reinforces the importance of the University Libraries to the University and the community. We cannot host these events without the support of our Friends. I am also very grateful for the tremendous individuals with whom I have the pleasure of serving on the Friends Board. Take a moment and read some of the Profiles of Friends so you can understand the reason for my gratitude.

I hope to see many of you at upcoming Friends events. Thank you for your continued support for the University of Minnesota Libraries, including making people within your social network aware of its tremendous resources and great events. In closing, I would like to share How to Amplify Black and Brown Voices In Your Community, which was developed following our Amplifying Black Narratives series offered in Fall 2021. It’s a great example of the impact that Friends events can have.

Stay well, safe, and hopeful.

Amelious N. Whyte, Jr., Ph.D.

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