Striving for Equality: Mexican Women in Minnesota History (2015 Women’s History Lecture Series)

Mexican women helped shape their expatriate communities in Minnesota from the mid-20th century onward. Discover the important ways they fought for respect and equal treatment in the Twin Cities and in outstate Minnesota.

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Kit Hadley Receives 2015 Women in Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2012, the Hamline University public administration programs and Center for Public Administration and Leadership (CPAL) announced the creation of the “Women in Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award.” This annual award is designed to recognize women who have made a lifetime commitment to serving the public good.

Kit HadleyKit Hadley recently retired as director of the Saint Paul Public Library. During her six-year tenure, she strengthened learning initiatives, expanded multi-language and community-based services, and completed renovations at several libraries.

She was the executive director of Heading Home Minnesota, a statewide campaign to end homelessness and director of the Minneapolis Public Library from 2003 to 2007.

At the Minneapolis Public Library, she led initiatives to strengthen literacy efforts, complete the construction of the new Central Library, and secure approval to merge the Minneapolis Public and Hennepin County Libraries.

Prior to joining the library, she was appointed as the commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency from 1994 to 2002.

She has served on the boards of the Saint Paul Public Housing Agency, Minneapolis Foundation, Hearth Connection, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Youthprise, and St. Paul Youth Services. She is currently on the Legal Services Advisory Committee.

Women in Public Service Conference a Success

Hamline University Creative Writing ProgramsHamline School of Business’ 4th annual Women in Public Service (WIPS) Conference was a huge success on Friday, November 13. Hundreds of women attended the sold-out conference developed by the Center for Public Administration and Leadership and titled “Awaken the Force: Unleash Your Full Potential in Public Service.” The full-day of sessions explored how to support and encourage women in public service and featured major names in the industry speaking on timely topics and working to inspire their fellow public servants.

“Keep your expectations high for yourself and for one another,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said via video.

Other speakers included Minnesota’s Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation Sandra Vargas, United States Marshal Sharon Lubinski, and keynote speaker Lori Sturdevant, columnist for the Star Tribune.

“What started four years ago as an experiment has become an amazing, energy-filled day that has grown each year,” Professor Kris Norman-Major, director of Hamline’s Public Administration Programs, said. “The conference brings together people who are committed to serving the public good and want to enhance their skills and build their support networks. A highlight of the day for me is giving out the Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement awards. It is so inspiring to see so many people dedicated to serving the common good.”

Since 2012, Hamline University’s Center for Public Administration and Leadership has annually awarded the Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award to a woman who has made a lifetime commitment to serving the public good. In addition, since 2013, the WIPS planning committee has presented the Public Service Rising Star Award to women with ten or fewer years in public service who are already making a measurable difference in working toward the public good. This year’s Rising Stars were Kari Xiong, English language cultural liaison in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, attorney Kristi Fox and Alyssa Bryan, executive director for the Minnesota Federal Executive Board. Read more about these award winners on the WIPS Rising Star Award winners web page.


Sisterhood is (Again) Powerful (2015 Women’s History Lecture Series)

Fifty years after women won the vote, feminism once again grabbed public attention in the 1970s.  A wide diversity of women began to advocate for equality under the law, in public and private life. Initially ridiculed, “women’s lib” ended up remaking America. 

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Battle for the Ballot (2015 Women’s History Lecture Series)

Minnesota suffragists were a civilized contrast to the discord which marked the American suffrage movement. We will discuss how women like Colvin and Ueland found ways to work together to win the vote and contribute to the national suffrage victory.

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Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad (2015 Women’s History Lecture Series)

Myths about Harriet Tubman persist, but the realities of her life are even more fascinating. Learn what we know now about Tubman’s life and legacy and about her role in the Underground Railroad. 

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SPPL Volunteer of the Year, Tom Foster

Tom Foster is a native of Saint Paul and of the Saint Anthony Park neighborhood. He received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota, his M.A. in Reading from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls, and his Education Specialist certificate from the University of Saint Thomas. He taught in St. Paul Public Schools for 17 years and was a principal for 23 years, ending his career as a principal at Saint Anthony Park Elementary School. He is married to the former Barbara J. Treanor and they have six children, 26 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

Tom Foster and his puppetSay his name, and just about everyone in St. Anthony Park knows who he is and all he has done for his neighbors and their children. He volunteers at the library where he got his first library card (St. Anthony Park) as a book mender and as a puppeteer and storyteller for the Friday morning story times and for the kindergarten classes from St. Anthony Park Elementary. Sharing his love of reading and early literacy with hundreds of children through the years, he is much more than an entertainer. His commitment to early literacy through puppets, stories and songs has enriched the lives of children and adults alike, and shows that he shares the vision and goal of the St. Paul Public Library that every child is ready for kindergarten. Mr. Foster, along with his menagerie of furry puppet friends, has partnered with library staff and another wonderful volunteer, Deena Strohman, for more than 11 years, making children smile, laugh, applaud, and learn essential reading skills.

Many have enjoyed the original puppet shows Mr. Foster has written, perhaps especially his version of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”and his solution to the stranding of a blue whale: “Have King Kong throw him back!”  It has also been a great pleasure to harmonize with him during the opening song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Nothing compares to the energy Mr. Foster brings to storytimes; the lights dim in the auditorium, the spotlight shines on the puppet stage, the children breathlessly anticipate seeing the puppets and hearing the stories Mr. Foster will share with them.

Volunteers' impactTom Foster lives a life of service. The Saint Paul Public Library and the St. Anthony Park community are very fortunate that he gives his time and commitment to ensure that children and families have a lifelong love of reading.

Volunteers are the Best!

The Friends are proud to support the Saint Paul Public Library’s volunteer program and recognition dinner each year. If you are interested in volunteering at the Saint Paul Public Library, please contact Wendy Neurer, Saint Paul Public Library Volunteer Coordinator, at 651-266-7420 or

Click here to learn about volunteer opportunities with The Friends.

Mayor Coleman Appoints Jane Eastwood to Direct Saint Paul Public Library

Eastwood recognized for expertise in education, change management and communications

Jane EastwoodSAINT PAUL – Mayor Chris Coleman today announced the appointment of Jane Eastwood to Director of the Saint Paul Public Library. Eastwood has directed education policy for the City of Saint Paul since 2010, and previously held executive positions with Hennepin County and Minneapolis Public Libraries, the Science Museum of Minnesota and Scholarship America.

“Jane’s expertise in educational policy, lifelong learning and equity is a perfect fit for leading our libraries forward as institutions of 21st Century learning,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “I’m confident she will continue to ensure our libraries are regional, accessible assets for people of all ages and backgrounds.”

As the education policy director for the City of Saint Paul under Mayor Coleman, Eastwood has launched numerous initiatives, including helping to develop and grow Sprockets, the city’s nationally-recognized out-of-school-time network, and Right Track, the city’s marquee youth career development program. She also worked to launch the City of Saint Paul’s racial equity work and has been a leader on multiple local education and nonprofit boards.

“Jane’s longstanding commitment to education and her strong relationships across the city make her a superb choice for director of the Saint Paul Public Library,” said City Councilmember and Library Board Chair Chris Tolbert.

Prior to her time working for the City of Saint Paul, Eastwood worked as director of external relations and partnerships at the Hennepin County and Minneapolis Public Libraries, where she oversaw program development of early literacy, youth development, immigrant services, workforce, adult and senior programs, and advanced innovative programs such as digital media creation for youth. She also served as interim director of the Minneapolis Public Library.

“The innovative and equity-focused educational programs that have come to life under Jane’s leadership directly reflect the values and mission here at the Saint Paul Public Library,” said Peter D. Pearson, president of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. “I look forward to working with her as we continue to grow and strengthen Saint Paul’s libraries.”

The Saint Paul Public Library continues to reimagine how it delivers educational services, having recently developed programs such as the Createch Studio, a national model of teen experiential learning. The Library also currently employs cultural liaisons to deliver programs in eight languages and offers workforce preparation classes, early learning and reading programs and numerous adult, teen and child enrichment programs.

“I cannot think of a better person to carry forward the Administration’s work on evolving and reimagining the mission of the libraries in the 21st Century,” said retiring Library Director Kit Hadley. “It’s safe to say that under Jane, the Saint Paul Public Library will continue to connect the people of Saint Paul with the opportunity – and the joy – of learning through a lifetime.”

Peter Pearson, president of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library was enthusiastic about the announcement. “Jane Eastwood is very committed to the programs and services provided to the many diverse communities in Saint Paul by the library,” he said, adding, “She also has a strong background in private fundraising. We look forward to continuing the great work Kit has begun with Jane.”

Eastwood will assume her role as Saint Paul Public Library Director on October 5, 2015, and will transition her work on Education Policy by early November.

Letters About Literature National Essay Contest

The Center for the Book invites Minnesota’s 4th through 12th grade students to enter the 23rd annual writing contest.

Letters About LiteratureSeptember 14, 2014 –The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the Minnesota Center for the Book, along with local co-sponsors the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English and Common Good Books, calls all Minnesota students in grades 4-12 to share their love of literature.

The 23rd annual contest is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations. Letters About Literature asks student readers to write a letter to an author describing how his or her work touched their life in a personal way. Authors can be of any genre or time period, living or deceased, and can come from any country.

The contest focuses on reader response and reflective writing and has three competition levels: Level 1 for students in grades 4-6; Level 2 for students in grades 7 and 8; and Level 3 for students in grades 9-12. State level judges choose the top letter writers from each of the three competition levels who will advance to the National Level Judging. Prizes will be awarded to the top three winners of each competition level.

A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level to receive a $1,000 cash award. The judges will also select one National Honor per competition level to receive a $200 cash award.

Entries in each state will be assessed on three criteria: content, or the writer’s achievement in addressing the contest theme; exposition, or the writer’s use of language skills; and voice, the writer’s style and originality of expression. Last year’s contest attracted 1,179 participants from Minnesota!

There are two deadlines for the competition:

December 4, 2015 is the deadline for Level 3: grades 9-12

January 11, 2016 is the deadline for Level 1: grades 4-6, & Level 2: grades 7 & 8

Click here for official guidelines and last year’s winning letters.

Love the Bookmobile? Show It on Social Media!


All summer, photos tagged with ‪#‎stpBookmobile‬ result in a $5 library donation from The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

The Friends are sharing their love of the Bookmobile and its new graphic wrap (sponsored by HealthPartners) with a special offer for everyone to make a difference for the Saint Paul Public Library: For each selfie taken with the new Bookmobile and posted to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #stpBookmobile, The Friends is donating $5 to the library, up to a total of $1,000. The campaign runs through Labor Day.

The full vehicle wrap features original artwork by Twin Cities’ illustrator Julie Van Grol. The design, coordinated by local creative agency, 5IVE, showcases the people and places of Saint Paul, reflecting a community that values lifelong learning, healthy living, and engagement with our vibrant city resources.

Sponsorship by HealthPartners supports the Bookmobile’s new look and its services to the community. The sponsorship, facilitated by The Friends, is an essential partnership between two important institutions working to strengthen and improve the future of the communities they serve.

The bookmobile will be on its regular route (visit for locations and hours) throughout the remainder of the campaign, and making a couple special stops, as well:

  • Tuesday, September 1, 9 a.m. to noon at HealthPartners’ Saint Paul Clinic, 205 South Wabasha Street.
  • Friday, September 4, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at CHS Field, when the St. Paul Saints take on the Gary Southshore Railcats, 360 Broadway Street.

The Library will be giving away free souvenir Bookmobile paper hats at the Saints game, while supplies last. The Friends encourages everyone—St. Paulites and visitors alike—to participate in the fundraising promotion.


Saint Paul Public Library and HealthPartners Plan Bookmobile Tuesdays

Saint Paul Public Library and HealthPartners are making it easier for kids to complete their Summer Spark activities and stay healthy, with a month-long series of events at local HealthPartners clinics.

Bookmobile Tuesdays runs from August 11 through September 1, with the Bookmobile visiting a different HealthPartners clinic each Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Families can sign up for library cards, check out materials, play games, hear storytimes, and complete Summer Spark activities to earn prizes.

Bookmobile Tuesdays:

August 11, 9am-noon: HealthPartners Como Clinic (2500 Como Ave., Saint Paul)

August 18, 9am-noon: HealthPartners Midway Clinic (451 N. Dunlap St., Saint Paul)

August 25, 9am-noon: HealthPartners Maplewood Clinic (2165 White Bear Ave. N., Maplewood)

September 1, 9am-noon: HealthPartners Saint Paul Clinic (205 S. Wabasha St., Saint Paul)

Donna Zimmerman

A new sponsorship by HealthPartners, facilitated by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, supports the Bookmobile’s new look and its services to the community. “We’re committed to investing in children,” said Donna Zimmerman, senior vice president of government and community relations at HealthPartners. “As part of our Children’s Health Initiative we are able to focus on the importance of reading, talking and singing to children, which contributes to that child’s success in school and long-term health. By supporting the Saint Paul Public Library’s Bookmobile, we have the opportunity to reach more children in the community, and give them a head-start towards future success.”

In addition to the family activities around Summer Spark, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library hopes to increase awareness of the Bookmobile and the HealthPartners sponsorship with a special offer for everyone in the city to make a difference for their beloved library: For each picture taken of the new Bookmobile and posted to the social media channels Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #stpBookmobile, The Friends will donate $5 to the library, up to a total of $1,000. The campaign runs through Labor Day. The Friends encourages Bookmobile Tuesday visitors to participate in the fundraising promotion.