The theme of our annual meeting was community engagement, so we invited the folks from the Saint Paul Almanac Storymobile to engage our community in a fun and interesting way. The Storymobile is a hand-built art space on wheels that is solar-powered and contains iPads and microphones to help people document their own stories.
Attendees were interested in the Storymobile as a model program they could bring back to their own organizations and, over the course of the day, the Storymobile collected video and written stories. We've posted those stories below to complement the archive of the day's presentations.
Peggy Korsmo-Kennon, American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Greta Guck, Leach Public Library, Wahpeton, North Dakota
The Beginning of MDL
The MDL was an outgrowth of a sabbatical project researching digital libraries. While on sabbatical I visited an aunt in Kansas and we drove up to Sabetha, near the Nebraska border and wandered through the former town of Albany where some farmers had taken the old schoolhouse to create a museum. That hidden museum, where I found some records from my grandfather's auto dealership, combined with my research in digital libraries, prompted the idea to create a collaborative that would expose the hidden gems of small cultural heritage organizations that might otherwise be left behind. Keith Ewing
I work on newspaper digitization projects. Newspapers bring people, places, and events from the past to life. Digitizing newspapers and making them searchable and accessible online is a world of difference for research. It's exciting to delve back in time and make connections to the present. Anne Levin
Being a Librarian
I became a librarian due to a love of books and working with people. I remember one of the first books I checked out from the public library was Cordoroy by Don Freeman. My hope is that working as a librarian will inspire others to tell stories, learn to love reading and continue learning for a lifetime. Carla Lydon
Being a Librarian in 2015
It is an exciting time to be a librarian! Things are changing so quickly now—there are both lots of patrons who need print materials and lots of people looking for electronic materials. I think what interests me most at this time is how people are changing how they look and find information. When everyone has a smart phone, so many answers and so much information is at your fingertips. The library no longer needs to be a repository of all of that information. Instead, we can be a place for the community's stories. And we can help our residents discover the stories in their communities.
Libraries do incredible things everyday—we need to get the word out about all the incredible things we offer! It's not just books, it's the people in our community coming together to share their knowledge and resources.
Libraries will look different than the quiet imposing edifices of yesterday—but I think they have a very bright future! Jill Smith
Being an Oral Historian
My parents died very young, so my memories of pumping them for stories about when they were young is very precious to me. I regret not capturing their stories in audio or video before they died, As an oral historian I am dedicated to preserving others stories. Kathleen Klehr
Olivia's Walking Boot
My name is Olivia Moris, visiting the StoryMobile for the first time. I was asked to tell a story and the thing that popped into my head is this walking boot I've been lugging around for the past four and a half weeks.
On May 13, 2015, I attended my grandmother's funeral. At 96 years old, she was a lifetime of stories, forever lost to us, save for those we were smart enough to save through oral history and photography. After the funeral, my father's extended family gathered back at his home to celebrate her life and her story. Cousins, second cousins, aunts, uncles, and myriad other members gathered.
Suddenly I was struck by inspiration. When I was a child, my older cousins were always recruited to get the kids out of the house and we always found ourselves in grandma's back yard, playing kickball with her never ending supply of balls. I knew, the best way to celebrate her life would be to continue this tradition to the next generation. I gathered the younger children and several adults, we managed to scrounge up an acceptable kickball and the game play began.
It was a heated battle, until, mid-game, I was running to first base and tore a ligament in my left foot. Truly, I still managed to score for my team, but I was seriously injured. I was forced to leave the celebration to go to a doctor and I was given a walking boot and a six week timeframe to heal.
At the start of summer, well, at any time, honestly, this boot is a giant pain. It's oversized, uncomfortable and an eyesore. I could find it aggravating or irritating or frustrating, but instead, every time I feel its weight, I feel the strength of my connection to my family, my roots, my own story. It's a reminder of a life well lived, of traditions carried and of honoring the bonds of family. Olivia Moris
Anne Worker Bee
I like the technological challenges and the interactive nature of my work with my student workers. Our work area is interactive in that our workstations face each other and encourage conversation and questions. We also recently added an oversized whiteboard that my student workers manage for contests and information.
Becoming a Librarian
I never set out intending to be a librarian. As a 16 year old, I walked into my local public library, and saw a posting for a part-time position in the county system. The librarian that interviewed me was the same librarian that had provided storytime for me as a child, and recognized me and remembered my mom from all those Wednesday mornings. I fell in love with the job there, but didn't yet know it was what I wanted to do with my life. Going off to college, I started a student worker job in Interlibrary Loan and fell in love with the job there as well. I was hooked. Now, librarianship is my calling, my way to make a difference in the world, however the field develops and in whatever capacity our community needs us. Sarah Hawkins
I Love the Minnesota Digital Library
I love the Minnesota Digital Library and the fact that we were able to add the St Paul Almanac to Minnesota Reflections. I love reading the stories in the Almanac. I remember one about an Asian girl and her relationship with her grandmother that me cry. By putting these stories in Reflections they are available nationwide and will be saved for the long term. My profession (librarianship) makes the world a better place as does the St Paul Almanac. Thank you. Valerie Horton