Blog Bites

Welcome to the first edition of Blog Bites.  Blog Bites are little snippets of other blog posts we would like to share with you.  Our first bite is about an upcoming event at Metropolitan State University.  To read the entire post click the link at the bottom.  For more information on where to find the book, click on either of the linked titles.  We hope you enjoy this bite.

March 10: Silicon Valley design innovator speaks on “Designing Your Life”

After years as a successful tech executive at Apple and Electronic Arts, Dave Evans came to realize that his real mission in life was to help others find theirs.  Now, he teaches Life Design at Stanford University and is the co-author of Designing Your Life.  Evans’ lectures are transformative for both college students and executives, inspiring them to view life not as a problem that needs to be solved, but as a creative adventure.

Evans will speak about ideas he and co-author Bill Burnett cover in their book Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, and Joyful Life. The event is sponsored by the Career Center at Metropolitan State.

Source: March 10: Silicon Valley design innovator speaks on “Designing Your Life”

Celebrate African American History in February and Every Day

The History of Black History Month

Federation of Negro Women

Federation of Negro Women, approx. 1920. From the Minnesota Historical Society.

February is Black History Month in the United States and the perfect time to learn more about the history of African Americans in Minnesota. It grew out of Negro History Week which was first celebrated in 1926,created by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization founded by historian Carter G. Woodson. It evolved into Black History Month in 1976.

Learn More About Minnesota History

A recent story from the Pioneer Press profiled 16 Trailblazing Black Minnesotans You Should Know More About, such as George Bonga, a fur trader and voyageur of African American & Ojibwe descent, Lena O. Smith, Minnesota’s first Black woman attorney, and labor leader Nellie Stone Johnson.

Want to learn more about African Americans in Minnesota? Try these resources:

Celebrating Stories from the African American Diaspora

Join us at the Metropolitan State University Library on Saturday, February 25, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, with an African American Storytelling Picnic featuring master storyteller Nothando Zulu, President of the Black Storyteller’s Alliance. Join us for this cozy, indoor, winter picnic to listen to stories from the African Diaspora. This event is co-sponsored by the Student Parent Center and Saint Paul Public Library.

3rd Tuesday Library Game Nights

“The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions . . . we learn by Chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources.”

—Benjamin Franklin, “The Morals of Chess”

Things tend to be pretty serious here at the library but sometimes we all need a break . Every 3rd Tuesday of the month,  from 4 – 7 PM we host a video game event in the Library Lounge. We offer a variety of gaming consoles, board games, snacks, and this is a chance to socialize with the community.


Playing Just Dance like the dancing fools we are!

Some of the gaming consoles we have on hand are: PlayStation 4, Wii U, Wii, Nintendo NES, and Super Nintendo. If we are lucky, we might have opportunities to break out additional consoles such as Atari 2600, Xbox, PS 2 and whatever else we can dig up.

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Can’t make it on Tuesdays or just need a break? Any time the library is open Metro students can use the PlayStation 4 in the Library Lounge! Just check out the 2 controllers and one of the following games with your library card: FIFA 15, Project Cars, Batman: Arkham Knight, or Little Big Planet 3.


This month we have an extra special game night.  We have been given an amazing opportunity to do a play test for Bears vs Babies.  Bears vs Babies is the new card game by Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) and Elan Lee, the makers of Exploding Kittens.  We are the only play test happening in the State of Minnesota!  The play test will happen from 4-9PM at the Metropolitan State University Library.  The play test is free and open to everyone but space is limited.  Register in advance to guarantee your spot at a table.


If you have any questions, or a console or games you would like to share for one of the game nights contact

Why I March

Last week my library colleague, Chris Gevara, and I, hopped on a bus full of (mostly) women, and headed to Washington DC for the Women’s March on January 21st. Our former colleague and emerita library staffer Sage Holben was on a different bus in our same group. A number of our library colleagues and their families marched at the Minnesota State Capitol for the “sister march” held the same day. By now you’ve heard the stories of the march and seen the pictures, and have likely read that the March may have been the largest demonstration in US history. It was truly inspiring, an experience that I will never forget, and that still gives me chills to think about. It felt good, and positive, and safe, in spite of my apprehension around crowds. And I think it is no accident that I know so many librarians who marched.

I brought with me some hand-knit pink hats crafted by friends, a sign that my two young sons helped me make and a Kindle e-reader full of books to inspire me, such as Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As it happened, I didn’t read all that much on the bus, mostly because the people seated around me turned out to be some of the nicest, most interesting people I have met, and we learned a lot about each other on that trip… on the 22 hour ride to DC, and the 22 hour ride back to Minnesota.


Chris Gevara, library staff, Sage Holben, library staff emerita, Jennifer DeJonghe, librarian

Marches, protests, rallies and other forms of civic engagement are fundamental parts of our democracy, and are an important form of free speech. As a librarian, I relish and strive to protect speech in all forms. Speech in books, in song, in prayer, in tweets, and in handwritten signs held by marchers. Libraries exist as a way to foster the creation, dissemination, and preservation of speech. Did you know that libraries and archives have already begun collecting and preserving the signs held by the women’s marchers? I think it is amazing!

My own walk at the Women’s March was relatively easy, but I march in the footsteps of so many others who have had much harder walks, who have put their bodies on the line for civil rights, for suffrage, and for equality. In Birmingham, where firehoses and dogs were turned on Black bodies as they marched for civil rights. In Stonewall, where the LGBT community rose up against the police to fight for the right to live and love freely and openly. These protests were not always peaceful, and they were not always “legal”, but they were right. Martin Luther King Jr. is best known for his powerful words, but he blocked traffic, too. But these marches and these actions were just, they were important, and they changed our country for the better. I look back at various points in history and I think about what I would have done if I had lived in “those” times. I feel like now is one of “those” moments, and THIS is what I need to be doing. I occupy a space of privilege in our society, and I am trying to find ways to put my body on the line, to put myself next to, or in front of, bodies that are facing harm.


A 17-year-old civil rights demonstrator being attacked by a police dog during protests. (Bill Hudson/AP)

                        “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

                           ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Libraries are not neutral spaces. Librarians, as a profession, have a Library Bill of Rights that we adhere to. We fiercely protect the privacy of our patrons, protect their access to computers and to reading material, and fight censorship of all types. But this goes far beyond the space within the library walls. Inequality, injustice, ableism, racism – all these things can become an issue of lack of access. Libraries can be a site for resistance to that. But if we (libraries) remain silent, we can become part of the system that perpetuates injustices. We become part of the problem. We like to think of libraries as a safe space, as place of sanctuary. But it is not enough just to exist, to just open the doors and hope people come in. We need to fight to create a space that is truly open and welcoming to all.


Cornell University, Olin Library

I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this

reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” James Baldwin

As a librarian I am troubled by the way the news media seems to be failing us. I am hopeful that some of our best reporters will write good pieces, challenging pieces, and that we will listen, that we will be able to separate the important news from that which is distracting or untrue.  But I also hope we will turn to each other and listen to our individual lived experiences and learn from them, too. There are people who you know, in your life, people who have important stories to tell, who have lived through wars and turmoil, who have seen great things and beautiful things and who suffered and who marched! You should listen to them. In real life, and not just on Facebook. Ask them about what they experienced. Ask them to share their stories with a library, or to participate in a project such as with the Veterans History project of the Library of Congress or the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota. And you should tell your stories, because they are important, too. And if you want to learn more about the Women’s March, feel free to reach out to me, because I’d be happy to share more about my experience with you.

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.”

-Ray Bradbury


Author Jennifer DeJonghe with quote by Albus Dumbledore: “It is my belief that the truth is generally preferable to lies.” from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

About the Author

Jennifer DeJonghe is a Librarian and Professor at Metropolitan State University Library.

Winnie the Pooh

Wednesday January 18th is Winnie the Pooh day, also known as A.A. Milne’s birthday.  The man behind the stories of a boy and his favorite bear would have been 135 years old if he were alive today.


A.A. Milne

Photo credit Wikimedia commons

People may or may not know that Milne was inspired to write the stories because of his real-life son Christopher Robin and his toy bear Winnie-the-pooh.  Christopher had originally named his bear Edward, but was so fond of the bear Winnipeg at the London zoo that he renamed his toy Winnie-the-pooh.


A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-pooh.

Photo credit Wikimedia commons

The real-life Winnie-the-pooh, or Winnipeg as she was known, was a Canadian black bear that had been purchased as a cub by a Canadian soldier named Captain Harry Colebourn.  Colebourn then smuggled Winnipeg into Britain while training during WWI.  Upon receiving his marching orders for France, the soldier gave the bear to the London zoo for safe keeping.  Winnipeg was so loved by everyone at the zoo that after returning from war, Colebourn decided to let her stay and live out the remainder of her life there.


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Photo Credits:  Wikimedia commons

For more information on the story of the real Winnie-the-Pooh, check out the book Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick.

About the Author

Mallory Kroschel is a Information Commons Specialist at Metropolitan State University Library.

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr waving to participants of the March on Washington in August of 1963.

copyright credit:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. is considered one of the most inspirational leaders of the United States of America. He was a leader who led people to change. If it was not for his determination to see change and to rally everyone together to march to equality and freedom we would not have the privileges we have today. His voice and intellectual speeches united many across the world to join the fight against injustice.

Martian Luther King Jr. learned and followed Gandhi’s principles of peace which, encouraged him to pursue the Civil Rights Movement. His phenomenal speeches, mainly his “I Have A Dream” speech, changed the hearts of millions across the world. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights movement until his assassination April 4th, 1968.  The legacy he left still lives on.


The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery Alabama

This Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday should be a reminder of the effort and work that Martin Luther King Jr. put in to stand against the injustices that took place in America. Knowing the risks, he still became the leader that influenced change in this country. To read more about Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments check out our book display located on the second floor of the Metropolitan State University Library.


The MLK book display at Metro State Library

About the Author

Bartona Alexander is a student at Metropolitan State University studying biology and a student worker in the library.