LibraryAware™ award recognizes community engagement in Saint Paul

Saint Paul is one of three communities in the United States to receive the 2015 LibraryAware Community Award given by Library Journal. The award recognizes model communities that engage with their libraries to improve the lives of their citizens and create lifelong learners.

The LibraryAware Community Award is underwritten by LibraryAware™ – a product of EBSCO Information Services. Representatives from Library Journal and EBSCO presented the award to the City of Saint Paul on May 6, 2015 during a meeting of the Library Board.

LibraryAware Award presented to City of Saint PaulMayor Chris Coleman, Library Board Chair Chris Tolbert, and Library Director Kit Hadley accepted the award and made brief comments to the Council and gallery. “The partnership that we have with The Friends of the Library, and the love the community has for the library, have increased demand for library services,” the Mayor said in accepting the award. He added, “This recognition of the work that we do is really recognition of a community that values libraries, and in spite of the fact that we have had budget challenges year after year, we have been able to prioritize the needs of the community and respond to those demands.”

Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL), with The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, was recognized for its work in raising the profile of the Library and the outreach and programming it does to support community priorities, including education equity, digital literacy and workforce development.

SPPL serves a large community of new Americans, including a growing number of Hmong, Somali, and Karen immigrants, and inclusivity is a major part of its mission. The library is continuously expanding its goal of being “connected, mobile, multilingual, and responsive to community learning opportunities.” Along with some 6,500 programs a year, storytime and computer training are offered in English, Spanish, Chinese, Karen, Somali, Hmong, Amharic and Oromo.

SPPL’s Mobile Workplace, a traveling computer lab, brings digital literacy instruction and early literacy classes in several languages to communities that may not otherwise be able to access a bricks-and-mortar library. It also offers programs at correctional facilities, shelters, and assisted living residences.

SPPL is currently piloting a project to circulate Wi-Fi hot spots with free 4G Internet service. Twenty-two percent of Saint Paul households have no Internet service at home. By borrowing the Internet, residents can enjoy three weeks of access to e-books and other digital library resources and take the time to complete online job applications and other web-based processes. In addition to the new hotspot circulation program, the library has also launched a Borrow the Internet program with the Saint Paul Public Schools. To support students using iPads, the library is lending hotspots to 100 Saint Paul Public Schools students for use this school year.

The outreach is giving back. A recent public awareness campaign, supported by The Friends, enlisted the social media hashtag #BecauseOfTheLibrary, asking residents for stories of how the library has touched their lives. The results, shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, reflected the campaign themes of the library’s transformational impact on Saint Paul residents and the entire community. The goals of the campaign – increased new library card registrations and program attendance, membership in The Friends and capital campaign donations – were met and exceeded.

The city has also demonstrated its commitment: the 2015 Saint Paul budget added $300,000 for library materials and $400,000 to increase hours, helping the library grow along with its ever-expanding community. As Rebecca Ryan, manager of the Sun Ray Library, said in a recent video for SPPL, “We’re not in the book business. We are in the Saint Paul business.” SPPL, the 2015 LibraryAware Community Award second place winner, received $7,500 and a handsome bronze plaque touting the award.

The LibraryAware Community Award is given annually to a community of any size and its library. The award emphasizes the library’s engagement with the community, its ability to make its community aware of what the library can do for it, and how it has delivered on that promise. The Dothan Houston County Library System in Alabama was the first place recipient, and third place went to Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, Kansas. All three of the LibraryAware Community Award winners were featured in an article in the April 2015 Library Journal.

The Friends announce the appointment of Greg Giles as Director of Development

Giles will complete the current capital campaign, and design and launch a planned giving strategy, as he takes over efforts to increase individual giving to support the library

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, April 29, 2015 — One of the oldest and strongest library support organizations in the country, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announce the recent hiring of Greg Giles as Director of Development. Giles comes to The Friends after spending the last five years at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM). As the Senior Development Officer at SMM, he was responsible for leading and sustaining an annual giving program resulting in $1.5 million in capital, program and annual gifts. His first charge as he transitions to The Friends will be to assist in closing out the final (public) phase of the current $7.8 million capital campaign. The campaign, which supports the complete renovation of Sun Ray and Highland Park Libraries and modest but important improvements to George Latimer Central Library, has already raised $6.8 million toward its goal. Total project cost was $14.8 million, with the City of Saint Paul contributing the other $7 million. The Sun Ray and Highland Park Libraries reopened late in 2014 but the capital campaign is not yet completed.

Growing up in the Twin Cities suburb of Maple Grove, Greg Giles dreamed of becoming many things as an adult: architect, actor, star point guard. But a fundraiser? Not on the list. “Yeah, no kid ever said ‘I want to be a fundraiser when I grow up,’” laughs Greg. “You don’t play ‘Philanthropy’ with the neighbor kids, arguing whose turn it is to give money away this time!”

By chance, a temporary assignment at the Minneapolis Children’s Medical Center Foundation turned into a lifelong career, and one that Giles is passionate about. “I get to work every day with people who care about making the world a better place, and are willing to do something about it. What could be better?” Twenty-four years after that fateful placement, he has raised millions of dollars for organizations as diverse as The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, the Guthrie Theater and, most recently, The Science Museum of Minnesota.

A St. Paul resident since 1986, when he came to Hamline University (pursuing that childhood dream of being an actor), Greg says he is thrilled to bring his talents to the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. “It’s such a foundational organization for my favorite city. I can’t imagine a world without libraries, and I’m looking forward to working with other people who feel the same way.”

Greg and his wife Teresa live in Irvine Park with their 13-year-old miniature dachshund. “I love that neighborhood. It’s a beautiful historic district right by the Mississippi River and a quick walk to downtown.” That walk also includes his home library, George Latimer Central. When he’s not connecting donors with their passions, Greg is a playwright, a landscape photographer, and volunteers with The Playwrights’ Center and the First Unitarian Society.

The Friends’ Board recently completed a three-year strategic plan, which outlined specific objectives in its ongoing and future fundraising efforts. Identified as priorities were increasing both the number of members and the number of sustaining (monthly giving) members. The Friends has provided cash, grant and advocacy support to the Saint Paul Public Library totaling more than $1 million per year for each of the last 19 years. The new strategic plan has the ambitious goal of more than doubling the amount of unrestricted annual support by 2017.

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library: Currently celebrating its 70th year, The Friends is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is stronger libraries for stronger communities. The Friends has a nonprofit consulting group, Library Strategies, that provides services to libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally. As an influential voice for libraries, we will ensure the Saint Paul Public Library and our partner libraries are vital centers of engaged, educated and diverse communities. The Friends also leads the Minnesota Book Awards and serves as the Minnesota Center for the Book – the state affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242.

 

27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Presented

Minnesota Book AwardsThe Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 27th annual Minnesota Book Awards, presented by 3M Library Systems. In addition to winners in eight categories, The Friends presented the Kay Sexton and Book Artist Awards to previously announced honorees, respectively Mary François Rockcastle and Harriet Bart, with Philip Gallo and Jill Jevne. The annual Minnesota Book Awards program is a project of The Friends, in consortium with the Saint Paul Public Library and the City of Saint Paul.

More than 800 people attended a gala award ceremony at Saint Paul’s Union Depot on Saturday, April 18, emceed by Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio arts reporter and one of the Cube Critics on All Things Considered. Announced at the gala, the winners of the 2015 Minnesota Book Awards are:

Award for Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books for Africa:
Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen – Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold – published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Discover winter’s safe places for the hardy animals of the north—how they snuggle warmly and survive until spring’s warmth returns. Sidman is the Newbery Honor-winning author of children’s books, including Red Sings from the Treetops, winner of the 2010 Minnesota Book Award for Children’s Literature. Allen produces illustrations and printed work at The Kenspeckle Letterpress in Duluth.

Award for General Nonfiction, sponsored by Minnesota AFL-CIO:
Nancy Koester – Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life – published by William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co.
In this biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Koester traces her faith pilgrimage from evangelical Calvinism through spiritualism to Anglican spirituality in a compelling narrative. In addition to her writing, Koester is an ordained Lutheran minister and spiritual director.

Award for Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:
Julie Klassen – The Secret of Pembrooke Park – published by Bethany House Publishers
Facing financial ruin and suffering a romantic disappointment, Abigail Foster is astounded when she and her father receive a strange and mysterious offer – the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. Klassen is the author of eight novels, including three winners of the Christy Award for Historical Romance.

Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual:
Kaethe Schwehn – Tailings: A Memoir – published by Cascade Books/Wipf and Stock Publishers
In August of 2001, in search of her own personal Eden, Schwehn came to Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center nestled in the Cascade Mountains. What seemed at first like a utopian ideal faded over the months and she was left with 354 inches of snow, a prowling cougar, sixty-five disgruntled villagers, and a pile of copper mine tailings 150 feet high. Schwehn is the co-editor of Claiming Our Callings: Toward a New Understanding of Vocation in the Liberal Arts. She teaches at St. Olaf College.

Award for Minnesota, sponsored by St. Mary’s University of Minnesota:
Lori Sturdevant – Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement– published by Minnesota Historical Society Press*
At thirty-eight years of age, Rosalie Wahl, a married mother of four, began classes at the William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul. Sturdevant describes how, despite personal struggle, Wahl completed law school and in 1977, became Minnesota’s first female Supreme Court Justice. Sturdevant is a columnist for the Star Tribune and has written a number of books on Minnesota history.

Award for Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Education Minnesota:
Marlon James – A Brief History of Seven Killings – published by Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House
Described by The New York Times as “sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex,” James’ novel uses the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley as a springboard to explore Jamaican society and culture. James is the author of John Crow’s Devil and The Book of Night Women, winner of a previous Minnesota Book Award.

Award for Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
Sean Hill – Dangerous Goods – published by Milkweed Editions*
From the Bahamas, London, and Cairo, to Bemidji, Minnesota, and Milledgeville, Georgia, Hill explores the relationship between travel, migration, alienation and home in this poignant and elegant collection. Sean Hill, who was born and raised in Milledgeville, Georgia, is also the author of Blood Ties & Brown Liquor.

Award for Young People’s Literature, sponsored by The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University:
Margi Preus – West of the Moon– published by Amulet Books/Abrams
Astri makes a daring escape from a mean goat farmer, retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, the two set off for America. Preus is the Newbery Honor Award-winning author of five books for young readers.

At the Book Awards gala on April 18, Mary François Rockcastle received the previously announced Kay Sexton Award, for her longstanding contributions to Minnesota’s literary community. Through her unique and unparalleled activities as Director of The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University, Mary François Rockcastle has devoted herself to the education of writers in Minnesota for more than 20 years. She and her colleagues worked together to develop and launch the MFA in Creative Writing program at Hamline in 1994—the first of its kind in Minnesota—and Rockcastle has gone on to expand and continuously improve the university’s creative writing offerings which now include the acclaimed low-residency MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, as well as the BFA in Creative Writing. The Award is sponsored by Common Good Books.

Also presented was the eighth annual Book Artist Award to Harriet Bart and her longtime collaborative partners, Philip Gallo and Jill Jevne, for a new piece entitled Ghost Maps. The award, sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group and presented with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), recognizes book artists for excellence of a new artistic work and demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community. Part of a longstanding collaborative relationship between artist, printer and binder, Ghost Maps was printed by Philip Gallo at The Hermetic Press in Minneapolis and binding was designed and executed by Jill Jevne of Jacobson, Minnesota. Since 2000, Bart, Gallo and Jevne have collaborated to produce ten artist books, two of which have been honored with Minnesota Book Awards in the Fine Press category.

Books written by a Minnesotan and first published in 2014 were eligible for the 27th annual Minnesota Book Awards. 250 books were nominated for awards this year, and 32 books were selected as finalists. The winners were chosen by panels of judges from around the state. Nominations for next year’s Awards will open in August, 2015. For more information on the Book Awards process, and a complete list of finalists and winners since 1988, visit www.thefriends.org/mnba.

The Book Awards gala will be broadcast in the weeks to come on Saint Paul Neighborhood Network and TPT-MN Channel. Watch the website for updates on air dates.

The 27th annual Minnesota Book Awards is a project of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, with the Saint Paul Public Library and the City of Saint Paul. Major funding for the Book Awards was provided by 3M Library Systems; the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts; the Huss Foundation; the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation; the McKnight Foundation; Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR;  Books for Africa; Alerus Financial; Common Good Books; The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University; Education Minnesota; Lerner Publishing Group; Macalester College; Minnesota AFL-CIO; Northwestern Mutual; Overdrive; St. Mary’s University of Minnesota; and Wellington Management, Inc.

Statewide outreach partners include: the Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators (CRPLSA); the Loft Literary Center; Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA); Media sponsors include: Minnesota Public Radio, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), the Star Tribune, and TPT-Minnesota Channel.

*indicates a Minnesota-based publisher

Day 1: “The Witch’s Boy” by Kelly Barnhill

32-Books-IconEach day counting down to the announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists.  Today we feature 2015 Young People’s Literature  finalist Kelly Barnhill.

A Story of Magic, Prophecies, and Warring Kingdoms

 

The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill
Published by:  Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Category sponsored by The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University

Ned and his identical twin brother, Tam, go on a raft ride that turns tragic when Tam dies in an accident. The villagers who witnessed the accident believe that it should have been Ned that died. Nearby, Áine, the daughter of the Bandit King, is contemplating what her mother told her just before she died: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” In a story full of magic, prophecies, and warring kingdoms, Ned and Áine struggle through grief and loss, learning to trust each other in order to save their communities.

About the Author:

Kelly Barnhill is the author of The Mostly True Story of Jack and Iron Hearted Violet, which won a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She has received grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and the Loft and is a teaching artist with COMPAS.

The reviews are in:

“The classic fantasy elements are all there, richly reimagined, with a vivid setting, a page-turning adventure of a plot, and compelling, timeless themes.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A classic origin-quest tale…brimming with a well-drawn, colorful supporting cast, a strong sense of place, and an enchanted forest with a personality to rival some of the best depictions of magical woods.” – School Library Journal

“[The Witch’s Boy] should open young readers’ eyes to something that is all around them in the very world we live in: the magic of words.” – The New York Times Book Review

Links:

Hear Kelly Barnhill talk about The Witch’s Boy with MPR’s Euan Kerr

Essay by Kelly Barnhill on writing The Witch’s Boy

Read the Prequel to The Witch’s Boy


Join us at the Awards Gala!

Get Tickets NowAward winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 18 at the historic St. Paul Union Depot. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org/gala.

Have you read The Witch’s Boy? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

Day 2: “This Way to the Sugar” by Hieu Minh Nguyen

32-Books-IconEach day counting down to the announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists.  Today we feature 2015 Poetry finalist Hieu Minh Nguyen.

Raw Emotion in Powerful Verse


This Way to the Sugar
by Hieu Minh Nguyen
Published by:  Write Bloody Publishing
Category sponsored by Wellington Management

With themes of assimilation, conformity, homophobia, and sexuality, the poems in this debut collection are a fearless and brutal dissection of trauma, and desire. There are ghosts in This Way to the Sugar, memories which haunt long after they are buried – half-recollections of childhood seen through an adult lens where seemingly harmless moments take on a sinister significance after innocence is gone. These poems remind us to “Take this body and see a body, where so many see a grave.”

About the Author:

Hieu Minh Nguyen is a poet, author, and performer. He is a Kundiman fellow and recipient of a VERVE grant from Intermedia Arts as well as the Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant from the Loft Literary Center. He has been published in The Journal, PANK, Anti-, Muzzle, decomP, Indiana Review, and other journals.

The reviews are in:

This Way to the Sugar explodes with a longing to hold the past and future…These are gut-wrenching, thought-provoking, death-defying poems filled with brilliant bursts of gusto that will clear out your ‘house…infested with subtitles.’  Read this wondrous debut to forever remember the heart’s tears are the soul’s true diamonds.” – Ed Bok Lee, author of Whorled and Real Karaoke People.

“You owe it to yourself to read this book. That may sound exaggerated, but it is my hallowed truth: Hieu Minh Nguyen’s poetry reminds me why I began writing and why I love this genre.  “His work is crisp and brave and incredibly alive.  Each poem will thump inside you like a new heart.” – Sierra DeMulder, author of New Shoes on a Dead Horse

“’I won’t tell you how I survived the wreckage,’ Hieu Minh Nguyen writes in his stunning debut collection, This Way to the Sugar. The book is a visceral survey of the ruins, scanning the violence enacted through race and heritage, sexuality and homophobia.” – Michael Mlekoday, author of The Dead Eat Everything

Videos:



Join us at the Awards Gala!

Get Tickets NowAward winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 18 at the historic St. Paul Union Depot. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org/gala.

Have you read This Way to the Sugar? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

 

State Winners Announced in Annual Student Writing Contest

PrintThe Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the home of the Minnesota Center for the Book, is pleased to announce the state-level winners of the 2015 annual national Letters About Literature Essay Contest, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English and Common Good Books.

52,000 adolescent and young adult readers nationwide in grades 4 through 12 participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program, which encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author who has somehow changed their view of the world or themselves. The number of entries from Minnesota’s students was 1,179, and 148 student letters made it through to the state round level of judging in the three levels of competition. For more information about the contest, national winners, and free teaching resources to guide students through the reader response and writing process, visit www.read.gov/letters/.

Click here to read the lettersThe winners of the Letters About Literature essay competition were selected on three levels: Level I – for grades four through six, Level II – for grades seven and eight, and Level III – for grades nine through twelve.

 

The winners are:

Level I

  • First place: Sara Nadian (Grade 6: Rush Creek Elementary, Maple Grove) Letter to Suzanne LaFleur, author of Love, Aubrey
  • Second Place (tie):
    •  Dillon Kischell (Grade 6: Kellogg Middle School, Rochester) Letter to Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story; and
    •  Jack Mapel Lentz (Grade 5: Visitation School, Mendota Heights) Letter to John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars
  • Third Place: Peyton Lenz (Grade 5: St. Michael-Albertville Middle School East, St. Michael) Letter to Lauren Tarshis, author of the I Survived series

Level II

  • First Place: Soren Eversoll (Grade 8: Capitol Hill Magnet School, St. Paul) Letter to Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories
  • Second Place (tie):
    •  Elie Oxford (Grade 8: The Blake School, Hopkins) Letter to A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh; and
    •  Samantha Stocking (Grade 8: The Blake School – Middle School, Hopkins) Letter to Joy Hensley, author of Rites of Passage
  • Third Place: Garrett Synstelien (Grade 7: Minnetonka Middle School West, Minnetonka) Letter to Dr. Seuss, author of Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Level III

  • First Place: Taylor Ogren (Grade 12: Mahtomedi High School, Mahtomedi) Letter to Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Namesake
  • Second Place: Sarah Hinrichs (Grade 12: St. Michael-Albertville High School, St. Michael) Letter to Emily Dickinson, author of Hope is a thing with feathers
  • Third Place: Anita Thammavongsa (Grade 12: St. Michael-Albertville High School, St. Michael) Letter to Hope Solo, author of Solo: A Memoir of Hope

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:
Currently celebrating its 70th year, The Friends is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is stronger libraries for stronger communities. The Friends has a nonprofit consulting group, Library Strategies, that provides services to libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally.  As an influential voice for libraries, we will ensure the Saint Paul Public Library and our partner libraries are vital centers of engaged, educated and diverse communities. The Friends also leads the Minnesota Book Awards and serves as the Minnesota Center for the Book – the state affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

Day 3: “Stillwater” by Nicole Helget

32-Books-IconEach day counting down to the announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2015 Novel & Short Story finalist Nicole Helget.

 

A Nation and City at a Crossroads


Stillwater by Nicole Helget
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Category sponsored by Education Minnesota

Set in the harsh frontier of Minnesota during the Civil War, Stillwater centers around the lives of fraternal twins Clement and Angel, who are separated at birth and grow up in the same small community but worlds apart. An important stop on the Underground Railroad, Stillwater represents a crossroads between slavery and liberty, rugged individualism and the bounds of civilization. Helget takes the reader deep into the hardscrabble lives of pioneers, loggers, nuns, fur trappers, runaway slaves and freedmen – all seeking a brighter and more prosperous freedom.

About the Author:

Helget is the author of a previous novel, The Turtle Catcher, which was a winner of the Tamarack Prize, and a memoir, The Summer of Ordinary Ways, a People Critics’ Choice pick. She lives, teaches, and writes in Mankato.

The reviews are in:

Stillwater is a pure Minnesota story, a rich and intricate novel full of compassion for these pioneers and the place they live.” – Mary Ann Grossmann, Pioneer Press

“This one’s going to be a big deal. Helget’s new book, Stillwater, is so entertaining, inventive, outrageous and well-told that I’m imagining a thousand book clubs gathering over her words, filmmakers vying to make the movie, and a leap from mere critical acclaim to something more like celebrity for the Mankato writer.” — Minnpost

“Rousing fun.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Links:

Kerri Miller interviews Nicole Helget on MPR’s The Daily Circuit

NPR interview with Nicole Helget

“The Ballad of Beaver Jean” - a song written by The Porchlights based on a character in Stillwater… the recording features background harmonies by Helget, herself!

 


Join us at the Awards Gala!

Get Tickets NowAward winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 18 at the historic St. Paul Union Depot. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org/gala.

Have you read Stillwater? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

Day 4: “Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes” by Larry Millett, photography by Matt Schmitt

32-Books-IconEach day counting down to the announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards we highlight one of the finalists. Today we feature 2015 Minnesota finalist Larry Millett and Matt Schmitt.

 

A Tour of Minnesota’s Grand Homes

 

Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes by Larry Millett, photography by Matt Schmitt
Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Category sponsored by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes takes readers on an impressive tour of twenty-two of the state’s most beautiful residences. More than two hundred gorgeous color photographs accompany Millett’s captivating stories of each home’s construction, original owners, and restorations. Also included is historical information about each region, making this book not only an excellent guide to some of the most impressive homes in the state, but also a trove of information on Minnesota history. In the entry for the Lawrence S. Donaldson House in Minneapolis, Millett shares the story of the home’s namesake, a Scottish immigrant who founded Donaldson’s department store and became “a classic American success story.” Also featured is the story of Swan J. Turnblad, the son of Swedish immigrants who donated his Park Avenue mansion in Minneapolis to the American Swedish Institute.

About the Author:

Larry Millett is an architectural historian and award-winning writer whose books include Lost Twin Cities, AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, and Twin Cities Then and Now. He is also the author of seven mystery novels, most recently Strongwood: A Crime Dossier, which is also a finalist for the 2015 Minnesota Book Awards in the Genre Fiction category.

Matt Schmitt’s photography career has spanned thirty years. He has done advertising, commercial and architectural photography. Visit his website.

The reviews are in:

“Larry Millett’s previous book, Once There Were Castles, mourned the loss of historic Twin Cities mansions that were destroyed. His new book chronicles saving architecturally significant beauties for future generations – while telling a good tale about each one.” – Lynn Underwood, Star Tribune

“It isn’t overly dramatic to say that Minnesota’s Own is breathtaking.” – Mary Ann Grossman, Pioneer Press

“This rich and sumptuous book is a real feast for the eyes. The combination of Larry Millett’s witty and informative text and Matt Schmitt’s beautiful photographs has resulted in one of the finest books yet produced on Minnesota’s exquisite residential architecture.” – Alan K. Lathrop, emeritus professor and curator, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota

Links:

MPR interview & slide show
Take a look inside the Donaldson House with Larry Millett and Matt Schmitt

 


Join us at the Awards Gala!

Get Tickets NowAward winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 18 at the historic St. Paul Union Depot. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org/gala.

Have you read Minnesota’s Own? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

- See more at: http://thefriends.org/about/news/#sthash.0rzlkaK1.dpuf

 

Day 5: “Tailings: A Memoir” by Kaethe Schwehn

32-Books-IconEach day as we down to the April 18 announcement of the Minnesota Book Award winners we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2015 Memoir and Creative Nonfiction writer Kaethe Schwehn.

 

Navigating the Space between Who We Are and Who We Would Like to Become

Tailings: A Memoir by Kaethe Schwehn
Published by: Cascade Books/Wipf and Stock Publishers
Category sponsored by Northwestern Mutual

In 2001, twenty-two-year-old Kaethe Schwehn went to Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center located in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. She was “between two parts in her life” and her future was filled with uncertainty. In Tailings, Schwehn revisits her time in “the village,” a place which seemed perfect initially, but later turned into something far less desirable. This memoir explores the time in a young adult’s life when the future is unknown and we have to reconcile who we are and who we want to become.

About the Author:

Kaethe Schwehn holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the co-editor of Claiming Our Callings: Toward a New Understanding of Vocation in the Liberal Arts (2014). Schwehn has been the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board grant and a Loft Mentor Series award. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in numerous journals. She teaches at St. Olaf College and lives in Northfield, Minnesota, with her husband and two children. Visit her website.

The reviews are in:

“Kaethe Schwehn’s poignant memoir explores longing, both spiritual and physical, community and faith, in prose that is calm, lovely, and filled with clear-eyed honesty and grace. Tailings is simply an exquisite book.” – Dinty W. Moore, author of The Mindful Writer

“Already by the second chapter, this is a book hard to lay aside.  Schwehn’s prose is liquid and intelligent.  It catches your interest immediately and swings you from paragraph to paragraph and chapter to chapter.  Her observations never stand still but sweep you forward into her story/memoir.  She is a genuine artist.” – Walter Wangerin, Jr., author of Ragman and Other Cries of Faith

Links:

Northfield News article


Join us at the Awards Gala!

Get Tickets NowAward winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 18 at the historic St. Paul Union Depot. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org/gala.

Have you read Tailings? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

Day 6: “Strongwood: A Crime Dossier” by Larry Millett

32-Books-IconEach day counting down to the announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2015 Genre Fiction finalist Larry Millett.

 

A Uniquely Crafted Courtroom Novel

Strongwood: A Crime Dossier by Larry Millett
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Category sponsored by Macalester College

Set in 1903 Minneapolis, this uniquely crafted novel follows the murder trial of Adelaide “Addie” Strongwood—a beautiful working-class woman on trial for killing her wealthy former lover, Michael Masterson. The story unfolds in documentary style through transcripts of testimony, newspaper articles, journal entries by Addie’s flamboyant lawyer, and even a series of Minneapolis Tribune articles written by Strongwood herself. With Sherlock Holmes and St. Paul detective Shadwell Raferty working on the case, Strongwood will keep readers entertained from the beginning of the trial until the surprising verdict is reached.

From the book:

“Few criminal trials in recent memory have produced as great a sensation in the Northwest as that of Adelaide Strongwood, who stood accused of murdering Michael Masterson, scion of one of the wealthiest manufacturers in Minneapolis. Miss Strongwood’s trial, held before Judge Charles Elliott in the Hennepin County District Court in January and February 1904, became a spectacle avidly followed by almost every resident of the city. The many shocking details that emerged during the three-week-long trial, culminating in the dramatic testimony of Miss Strongwood herself, are still the source of discussion, as is the verdict ultimately rendered by the jury of twelve men good and true. It is the belief of the publishers of this book that the question of whether justice was indeed done in this case is best left to the reader, who will now have before him all of the relevant information needed to reach a well-considered judgment.”

About the Author:

Larry Millett is the author of six previous mystery novels—all but one set in Minnesota—that feature Sherlock Holmes and St. Paul detective Shadwell Rafferty, most recently The Magic Bullet. He is also an architectural historian and author of several nonfiction works including Lost Twin Cities, Once There Were Castles and Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes (also a Minnesota Book Awards finalist this year). He was a reporter for the Pioneer Press from 1972 to 2002 and has also written for the magazines Architecture, Inland Architect, Architecture Minnesota and Minnesota History. Visit Larry Millett’s website.

The reviews are in:

“Larry Millett’s absorbing seventh Minnesota Mystery (after The Magic Bullet), a documentary-style account of a sensational 1903 murder case, pits twenty-two-year-old Adelaide “Addie” Strongwood, a beautiful but tough working girl, against the powerful family of her ex-lover, Michael Masterson…Sherlock Holmes’s ingenious detective work is crucial to a shocking and disturbing resolution to the case.” – Publisher’s Weekly

 “[A] well-rendered look at the haves and have-nots of Minneapolis, circa 1904.” – Star Tribune

Links:

Pioneer Press article by Mary Ann Grossmann


Join us at the Awards Gala!

Get Tickets NowAward winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 18 at the historic St. Paul Union Depot. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org/gala.

Have you read Strongwood? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!