Friendly Connections Podcast

For more than twenty years, The Friends has been presenting award-winning programming in the Saint Paul Public Library and the wider community. Author readings, films, lecture series, discussions, and musical performances are among The Friends’ offerings to enhance the services of the Library. To reach a larger audience, we occasionally offer our programs as a podcast.


2016 Season

Untold Stories: Worker Rights & Wrongs

Trotskyists on Trial with Donna Haverty-Stacke

Seventy-five years ago, 29 unionists were prosecuted as dangerous revolutionaries by FDR’s Department of Justice under the newly passed anti-radical Smith Act. Most were members and officers of the militant Minneapolis Teamsters Union that lead the historic 1934 truckers strikes. Learn about their stories.

Elmer Smith and the Wobblies with Tom Copeland

At the end of the Armistice Day Parade of 1919 in Centralia, Washington, Legionnaires, veterans, and others hostile to the Industrial Workers of the World, marched on the IWW union hall intending, again, to run the radicals out of town. Lawyer Tom Copeland tells us the story and its significance in labor history.

The Iron Range: Past, Present, and Future with Megan Marsnik and Jeffrey Manuel

The Iron Range has always held a special place in Minnesota’s labor history and lore. Now the future of the Range seems uncertain. The authors of two recent books give us a great opportunity to grapple with the connections between past, present, and future. 

Fireside Reading Series

Faith Sullivan

Faith Sullivan returns to kick off the 22nd annual Fireside series with a reading from her new novel, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse, which celebrates the strength and resourcefulness of independent women, the importance of community, and the transformative power of reading.

Rick Shefchik

Author and veteran journalist Rick Shefchik joins the series to discuss his new book, Everybody’s Heard about the Bird and the monumental era of ’60s rock & roll in Minnesota.

Beth Dooley

Coming from her native New Jersey, Beth Dooley had a lot of preconceptions about the Midwestern food scene. As she explored farmer’s markets and the burgeoning co-op scene in the Twin Cities, these assumptions faded and she eventually discovered a local food movement strong enough to survive the toughest winter.

Erika Lee

Historian Erika Lee discusses her new book, The Making of Asian America, which tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day. 

Anton Treuer

Ojibwe historian and linguist Anton Treuer presents his latest work, Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe, a fascinating history which offers not only a chronicle of the Red Lake Nation but also a compelling perspective on a difficult piece of U.S. history.

Catherine Madison

Catherine Madison closes the Fireside Series with a reading from The War Came Home with Him, which tells the stories of two survivors of one man’s war: a father who withstood a prison camp’s unspeakable inhumanity and a daughter who withstood the residual cruelty that came home with him. 


 2015 Season

Visions of Courage: Women’s History Lecture Series

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

Minnesota Women’s Battle for the Ballot

Sisterhood is (Again) Powerful

Striving for Equality

 Fireside Reading Series

Marlon James

Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Minnesota Book Award for Novel & Short Story, the Man Booker Prize, and the American Book Award. A New York Times Book Review Notable Book, it was named a best book of the year by: The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Time, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, The Seattle Times, The Houston Chronicle, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, BuzzFeed Books, Salon, The Kansas City Star and many other outlets. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

William Swanson

Wang Ping and James Lenfestey

James Lenfestey’s Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain was a finalist for the 2015 Minnesota Book Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction. Wang Ping won the 2008 Minnesota Book Award for Novel & Short Story for The Last Communist Virgin.

Lorna Landvik

Allen Eskens

Allen Eskens’ The Life We Bury was a finalist for the 2015 Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction.

Linda LeGarde Grover

Additional Programs

Home by Starlight: Writers in Conversation (O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry, 2015)

Minnesota’s Métis and French Canadians (Untold Stories, 2015)

Inaugural Richard P. McDermott Fitzgerald Lecture (Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, 2015)