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.

Semester Jump Start

Are you ready for the new semester to start?  Have you checked everything off of your list?  Do you have a list???  If you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off fear not, we at the library have created a list of things you will need (or want) to get through this semester.

1) Student ID – Get yours made on the second floor of the library and then carry it with you everywhere.  This is your parking pass, your library card, and your membership card to the student gym on the St. Paul campus.  Keep it handy.

2) Campus Map(s) – Physical copies of St. Paul campus maps can be picked up on the first floor of the library.  For other locations check out the campus locations webpage or inquire at the physical location.

3) Bookstore – If you are planning on purchasing your books from the campus bookstore (located on the first floor of the library) be sure to check their hours.  They also have options to purchase items online.

4) Library – We are open seven days a week and have our hours posted on our homepage.  Come on in and say hi.  We have study rooms for check out available on both the first and second floors.  We also have a large quiet study room on the second floor and a fireplace on each floor.  Come get your study on!

5) Reference Desk – Located on the first floor of the library, the reference desk is open Sunday through Friday and is closed Saturdays.  Hours are posted here.  If you are looking for more research help consider taking INFS 115, your research papers will thank you and you earn two GELS credits for it!

6) Center for Academic Excellence – Do you struggle with writing, math, or science?  The CAE is here to help.  They have tutoring available in all of these areas along with ICS tutoring and a testing center to make up exams.  Keep in mind that they are available by appointment only.

7) Food on Campus – Alimama’s Grill is located in the student center with new hours for this semester.  They are open from 10am-8pm Monday – Thursday and 11am-3pm on Fridays.  Closed weekends.  Short on cash?  Try Food for Thought, the campuses local food shelf.  Whether you need to shop for some groceries or just need a quick snack, Food for Thought can help you out and is open most weekdays from 9am-6pm.

8) Calendar – Whether you prefer a small date book you can keep in your bag, or a google calendar that is accessible on your phone, you should keep a calendar.  Aside from your class schedule, you can put appointments, work schedule, and downtime (which you should always make time for) in there.

Remember that whether you decide to use any of these items or not, you are awesome.  Check out the message from our amazing former student worker Allison Cole as the Outstanding Student Commencement speaker for the latest graduating class.

via A reminder to students: “You are awesome!” — News@Metro

About the Author

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

Resolutions and Remembrance

January is traditionally the month to make resolutions, and to remember the past year.  In Roman mythology there was a god named Janus who represented beginnings and endings.  The month of January was named for him.  He is depicted as having two faces.  One face is to look to the future and the other is to gaze upon the past.  As we start this new year, we are going to remember some of the people we lost in 2016 along with giving some suggestions for resolutions for 2017.


A statue depicting Janus

  • 2016 was a tough year in terms of losses.  In January alone we lost over 20 notable individuals including David Bowie and Alan Rickman.  February saw the passing of literary legend Harper Lee.  I personally remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird in the 9th grade.  Former first lady Nancy Reagan passed away at age 94.  Country fans mourned the loss of Merle Haggard in early April.  Just a few weeks later the State of Minnesota mourned the loss of our beloved Prince.  Landmarks all over the city (including Metro State) were lit in shades of purple.  In May, we lost another Beastie Boy when John Berry lost his fight with dementia.  June took boxing’s greatest legend, Muhammad Ali, and Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, from us.  Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor passed away July 2 at age 87.  In August we lost R2-D2  and Willy Wonka when Kenny Baker  and Gene Wilder both passed away.  The LGBTQ community lost a member upon Alexis Arquette’s death in early September and the golf community lost legend Arnold Palmer in late September.  Actor Michael Massee died in October.  November 7th was a hard day, Janet Reno and Leonard Cohen both died that day.  December went out with a bang taking real life astronaut John Glenn and Star Wars princess Leia, Carrie Fisher along with George Michael and Debbie Reynolds.  For a more thorough list of people we lost in 2016 check out wikipedia.

Now lets take a peek through Janus’ other face and look to the new year.  Everyone makes resolutions for the new year.  According to one of the definitions of a resolution is as follows:

n. the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action,method, procedure, etc.

If you haven’t chosen any resolutions for this year we have a few suggestions.

  1. No more fake news.  Check your sources every time you read and re-post.  If you need help telling the difference check out our Fact or Faked blog from November.
  2. Read more!  Whether you have your own books-to-read list or you are picking from Time magazines top 100 (or some other list) get that nose into a few more books this year.  Reading to your kids (if you have kids) is a great way to get them into books too.
  3. Play more games.  Did you know gaming is good for you?  Check out this TED talk by game designer Jane McGonigal and come out to our 3rd Tuesday gaming nights at Metro State Library for bonus points.
  4. Make more time for yourself.  Taking time for you is an important part of mental, emotional, and physical health.  Whether you prefer hitting the gym or meditation, make a little more “me time” in your schedule.  Check out our blog about de-stressing for suggested relaxing activities.
  5. Learn a new language.  Pick a language you’ve always wanted to understand and commit to learning it.  There are lots of free language learning websites out there.  Check out Duolingo, Openculture, and LearnALanguage for a start.  You can also check out your local community ed. flyer for classes in things like sign language.

Hopefully 2017 will bring you joy, knowledge, and perspective in life.  Good luck with those resolutions and remember that a stumbling is not the same as failing.  Get up and keep going.

About the Author

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

Boxing Day


Martyrdom of St. Stephen by Peter Paul Rubens 1617

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the Feast of Stephen
When the snow lay ’round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath’ring winter fuel

Perhaps you know the tune to the lyrics above.  The song is Good King Wenceslas, first published in 1853, and it tells the tale of a king venturing out into a snowstorm to give alms/Christmas leftovers to the poor during the feast of Saint Stephen. (Saint Stephen was a martyr that was stoned to death because of his religious beliefs.)

Giving to the poor on the second day of Christmas or Saint Stephens day was a tradition that is thought to have started during the middle ages when churches put out poor boxes or alms boxes for donations. Over time it morphed into wealthy folk giving their servants the day after Christmas off to spend with family.  Traditionally they would send them home with a box filled with leftovers of the previous days feast and sometimes gifts or bonuses as well.

Today Boxing day can be compared to black Friday in the United States in terms of shopping and consumerism.  You can still find some traditional boxing day celebrations such as parades or horse and hound meetups, but they are overshadowed by the shopping the day brings.

About the Author

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