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.

Kat Has Left the Building

This week we say goodbye to one of our own.  Katherine Gerwig, known around here as Kat, is moving on to bigger and better things.  She is leaving us for a position at Walter Library in the Physical Sciences and Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota.  Before saying our final goodbyes we thought we’d reminisce a bit.  This post is dedicated to Kat.


Kat and one of her favorite reference books

Kat kicked off her career at Metro State as a student.  She found herself a good fit in the library as a student worker.  She learned the important things right away (if you are looking for a good restaurant in the neighborhood you should definitely ask her) but she also took on research and cataloging projects.  She made her presence known by grabbing a few internships within the library during that time as well.

Eventually she worked her way up to being a Information Commons Specialist.  Aside from helping patrons with computers each day, she worked with multiple committees and the public library to create community outreach events.  She managed to join and eventually chair several committees and teams including events and social media.  She also became one of the student worker wranglers and helped design a training program for those in a position she knew quite well.

A few notes about Kat…

“She motivated, encouraged, and supported me in all my wacky ways.  Team Shenanacorn forever!” Nancy Kerr Circulation Technician

“Kat has done so much for the library that it feels as though she fit 5 years of “Kat” work and accomplishments into each year she was at Metro. Given a task of any size, she’d get it done in half the expected time and do it exceptionally well. Under her leadership, the library events grew in number and size, which led to some pretty epic parties. Not just anyone can manage events with live reptiles and piñatas and wand-making, but Kat has a real talent and energy for it.  As a state university, the paperwork required alone would land most people into the care of Madam Pomfrey, but Kat knew how to navigate the system and to avoid the dreaded 16A form (which not even a mandrake restorative draught can cure you of).

It has been a privilege to watch Kat grow from student worker to library school grad.  To have seen her rapidly gain experience and chops as a public speaker and writer. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow at her next job, and am sure to be impressed with all of her new accomplishments there. ” – Jen DeJonghe Librarian

“Kat personally taught me all about social media from a institutional perspective.  I never would have had the confidence to write a blog post before working with her.  I will definitely miss being able to bounce ideas off of her from across the mega-cube.”                 – Mallory Kroschel Information Commons Specialist

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“Kat has been a fantastic person to work with. I personally appreciate her willingness to go “above and beyond” the expectations of her position. She has taken her library degree and applied it so well to both her job and to the various activities in the library. I wish her all the best for her new adventure at the U of M. Go Gophers! (And don’t forget to tell Julie D. she cannot steal any more of my library colleagues!)” – Chris Schafer Dean of Library and Information Services

“…I swear every time I hear Kat talk, all I hear is MoMo. You shall be missed dearly…” – Sujit Maskey Student Worker

And from the woman herself,

“Metro State Library is where I came into my professional self. Academia truly is a gated community and can be incredibly intimidating. My colleagues in the library guided and supported me through the graduate school application process and later the professional job hunt process. In the past 5 years I have watched the as the faculty and staff of Metro State Library work tirelessly and passionately to support the growth and learning of so many people like myself, who need guidance as they attend a university, change careers, or work their first job in a professional environment. I am extremely grateful to the Library faculty and staff for taking me in and providing the support, freedom, and challenging learning experiences that have been integral to my personal and professional growth.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work here at Metro State. I wish all of my colleagues the best as they continue to make higher education accessible to everyone.”      – Katherine Gerwig Former Information Commons Specialist

Kat will be missed but, she reminds us that libraries are the places that create…


Kat loves libraries because of “all the potential!”

Happy trails Kat!

This post was written and edited by Mallory Kroschel with quotes from other library staff.

International Games Day


November 19th is one of those awesome secret holidays that not enough people talk about, kinda like National Peanut Butter and Jelly day (Sunday April 2nd) or National Lighthouse day (Monday August 7th.)  It’s International Games Day (at your library!)  Libraries all over the world are celebrating by having gaming events that day.


Metro State Library Staff showing off some of our new games

Metro State Library is celebrating a few days early this year on Tuesday, November 15th.  We will have board games, card games, and video games for everyone to play.  The event will run from 4pm to 7pm in the Library 1st floor student lounge.  Come challenge your friends to a round of Tetris or Settlers of Catan, or go old school, and school someone in a game of chess.  There are games for everyone.

To see if your library is participating and for more information go to igd.ala.org


Collaborative Novel

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Whoever said that novel writing couldn’t be a novel experience?  November is National Novel Writing Month and we here at the Metropolitan State University Library and Learning Center would like to invite you to help write a collaborative novel.  Novel writing will begin today, November 1st, and continue on through the rest of the month.  Here are a few things you should know before you write with us.

  1. Individuals may contribute to the novel once per day.
  2. Daily entries may be no shorter than a paragraph, but no longer than a page.
  3. The font style, font size, and font color  for each entry, are up to the contributors discretion.
  4. All contributions must be written in English for the sake of consistency.  There is a dialogue exception. A translation of the discussion should be written in parentheses afterwards.
  5. To be credited for an entry, please include your name at the end of the entry.  (The finished novel will be bound and available for reading at a later date and contributors names will be listed in the index with corresponding page numbers.)
  6. Metropolitan State University Library staff will perform light structural editing to keep the novel  organized throughout the process.
  7. We are not looking to write the next Fifty Shade of Gray so lets keep it clean.
  8. Questions or concerns can be sent to library.socialmedia@metrostate.edu  In addition, if you would like a .pdf of the finished product sent to you please send us your email address.

We are signed up with the official NaNoWriMo website and will have our word count verified with them at the end of the month.  The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days or about 1700 words a day.  You can find the collaborative google doc here.

The story is waiting to start and we need you to help write it.

He was in a hurry so he slipped it on before getting back in the car….

Cyber Security


October is Cyber Security Month.  Cyber security is all about protecting yourself and your data online.  The Cyber Security and Forensics Student Organization (CSFSO) wants to help highlight the importance of that security with a conference happening on Saturday, October 22nd from 10am-5pm in New Main L206.

The conference will have multiple workshops including internet safety for parents and children, social media security, and mobile device security.  There will also be free security checkups and cleanings of computing and networking devices.


Cyber Security Conference Flyer

If cyber security is something you want to learn more about you can check out the following links:

Cyber Security Tips from the U.S. Computer Readiness Emergency Team describe and offer advice about common security issues.

Federal Trades Commission teaches you how to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam.

OnGuard Online is also from the Federal Trades Commission and has more free online security tips and resources to share with your friends, family, coworkers, and community.


Google Tools


Google Drive Logo and Icons

These days almost anyone that has email has a Gmail account.  Chances are they are not using that account to its full potential.  When a person signs up for a Gmail account, they automatically get access to Google tools.  These include lots of different things ranging from calendars to photo storage to various types of documents.


Screenshot of My Drive Homepage

When you sign up for Gmail you get 15 GB of free storage.  You can always purchase more if necessary.  Your 15 GB of storage includes Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive (Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides), and My Drive.  (My Drive is the folder that holds the files and folders you create in Google Drive).

Curious and want to learn more about these and other tools available through Google, check out the St. Paul Public Library’s session about Google Drive on Wednesday October 19th from 6pm-8pm at Dayton’s Bluff Library.


Dayton’s Bluff Google Drive Event


Changing America


We March, We Demand, Library of Congress (left) President Lyndon B. Johnson Signs the Civil Rights Act, July 2, 1964, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (center) Participants at the March on Washington, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (right)

The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington were pivotal events in the advancement of civil rights and were the products of grassroots activism.  Metropolitan State University is proud to host Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963, a Smithsonian exhibit looking at key figures and aspects of life before and after these historical groundbreaking events. It has been just over 150 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and just over 50 years since the March on Washington.

The exhibit will run September 21st through November 4th on the 1st floor of the Metro State Library and Learning Center. Join us for the Opening Reception on September 29th from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm in the Susan A. Cole Lounge followed by keynote presentations from William P. Jones, Professor of History, University of MN, and Petronella J. Ytsma, Photographer and Community Faculty, Metropolitan State University, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm in Library 302.

Metro State is the only location in the state of Minnesota to host this exhibit.

Trained docents will be available to lead exhibit tours and will be on-site for limited time periods during regular exhibit hours. For more information or to schedule a docent-led tour for your group, please contact community.engagement@metrostate.edu

Activities related to Changing America include a Resource Adventure and the award of our first Digital Storytelling Prize, a contest for current Metropolitan State students. The Prize winner will receive a $500 gift card to Amazon.com, plus two honorable mentions will receive $100 gift cards to the university bookstore. Winning entries will be showcased at the exhibit’s closing event on November 4.

The Resource Adventure is an activity for all ages which encourages individuals to engage with the exhibit & the library.  Find a copy of it here or ask a library staffer for one.

More information about the Changing America exhibit, related events, and learning resources can be found at http://libguides.metrostate.edu/changingamerica.

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Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963 is presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaborations with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is part of the NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative, “Created Equal: American’s Civil Rights Struggle,” which brings four outstanding films on the civil rights movement to communities across the United States (see http://createdequal.neh.gov). “Created Equal” encourages communities across the country to revisit and reflect on the long history of civil rights in America.