Watch Zhen Tu’s story

 

Dear Friends Supporter,
A very big THANK YOU to everyone who attended and made the 14th annual Opus & Olives fundraising gala a huge success. Together, we supported the incredible work of the Saint Paul Public Library and raised a LOT of money to continue our efforts in the year to come.

There is no better way to understand the impact of the Library than through the personal stories of those who rely on the library for learning and inspiration. Please take a minute to enjoy Zhen Tu’s story and, again, many thanks to everyone who contributed to another successful Opus & Olives!

Beth Burns,
President of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

Opus & Olives: Fine Print & Fine FoodEach year, The Friends hosts its annual fundraising gala that benefits one of the most important and beloved institutions in our community – the Library. Proceeds from the evening support initiatives like early literacy, workforce development, and other lifelong learning opportunities for individuals of every age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. To headline the event, we bring in five best-selling authors to share thoughts on their latest work, their process, and their inspiration. The Friends is thrilled to announce that authors Paula Poundstone, who will serve as the evening’s emcee, Ben Blum, Jamie Ford, Tom Perrotta, and Gabrielle Union will join this year’s line-up. Learn more about the authors here. You can support your community and mingle with these incredible writers – get your tickets now!

Get Tickets Now

 

SPL Exhibit PhotoA gallery talk and book presentation will accompany the exhibit at George Latimer Central Library, presented in conjunction with the 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference in Saint Paul. Read our interview with Fitzgerald in Saint Paul president, Stu Wilson.

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, May 25, 2017 – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, together with Fitzgerald in Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Public Library, are pleased to present the new exhibit Sight Unseen: Rare Photographs of F. Scott Fitzgerald with His Family and Friends. Free and open to the public, the exhibit will be on display in the Bremer Room on the 1st floor of the George Latimer Central Library, 90 West Fourth Street, Saint Paul.

Stu Wilson, president of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, and scholar Dave Page will present a gallery talk about the exhibit and the new book F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota, authored by Page with photographs by Jeff Krueger.

Sight Unseen exhibit hours:
June 24 through July 17
Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m
.
Mondays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Gallery talk and book presentation:
Sunday, July 16, 2:00 p.m.

F. Scott Fitzgerald is considered one of America’s greatest writers, and is known worldwide for his masterwork, The Great Gatsby. The new book F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota, published by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, is a collaboration providing historical insights, stunning photographs and images, and the opportunity to re-examine and appreciate the many Minnesota connections found in Fitzgerald’s life and works.

Fitzgerald was born in Saint Paul in 1896, and the new exhibit provides glimpses into his life with his family and friends, including a number of early photos from his days in Minnesota. The exhibit was curated by Shawn Sudia-Skehan, who collected the photos while researching a forthcoming book.  While some of the photographs presented in Sight Unseen may be readily recognizable, many are relatively rare and previously unpublished. Many were selected specifically for their relevance to Fitzgerald’s years in Saint Paul.

A resident of Atlanta, curator Sudia-Skehan is a board member of the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.  Now retired after a distinguished career in non-profit public relations, she re-discovered Fitzgerald after re-reading The Great Gatsby for the first time as an adult.

The photographs in the exhibit include reproductions from:

  • The Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina;
  • Sara and Gerald Murphy Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library;
  • The Reginald Marsh Collection, Smithsonian Archives of American Art;
  • The Baltimore News American Collection at the University of Maryland; and
  • The Minnesota Historical Society.

Sight Unseen is presented by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, the Saint Paul Public Library, and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library in conjunction with the 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference in Saint Paul. For more information on the conference, visit www.fitzgerald2017.org.

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library exists to help libraries, and the communities they serve, thrive. An independent, nonprofit organization established in 1945, The Friends invests in the Library through fundraising, advocacy, and programming; as a result, the Saint Paul Public Library is a nationally-recognized leader in serving its community. The Friends also serves libraries across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies and promotes literacy, reading, and libraries statewide as the Minnesota Center of the Book. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.

 

 

 

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, April 25, 2017The 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 2017 Letters About Literature Essay Contest, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English and Common Good Books.

More than 40,000 adolescent and young adult readers nationwide in grades four through twelve 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 1,122, and 130 student letters made it through to the state round 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/.

The 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

Level II

Level III

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:

The Friends, with a staff of 18 and an operating budget of $3 million, produces 70 events per year and provides over $1.5 million in support annually to the library, resulting in the Saint Paul Public Library being recognized as a national leader in serving its community. In recognition of its statewide programs and services, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has been recognized by the Library of Congress as the state’s designated Center for the Book. With a mission of stronger libraries for stronger communities, The Friends supports not only the Saint Paul system, but also libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.

April 10, 2017, SAINT PAUL, MN – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards. In addition to winners in nine categories, The Friends presented the Book Artist and the Kay Sexton Awards to previously announced honorees—respectively, Steven McCarthy and Lou Bellamy. The Minnesota Book Awards are presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota.

Close to 900 people attended the award ceremony at InterContinental Hotel on Saturday, April 8, emceed by Tom Weber, host of “MPR News with Tom Weber” and author of 100 Things to Do in the Twin Cities Before You Die. Announced at the ceremony, the winners of the 2017 Minnesota Book Awards are:

Award for Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books for Africa:
J.J. Austrian – Worm Loves Worm – illustrated by Mike Curato, published by Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins Publishers

When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next. They get married! This irresistible picture book is a celebration of love in all its splendid forms. J.J. Austrian is a graduate of Hamline University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults program. This is his first picture book.

Award for General Nonfiction, sponsored by the College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute and Saint John’s University:
Shawn Otto – The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It published by Milkweed Editions*

Otto’s provocative book investigates the reasons for why and how evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise, and offers a vision, an argument, and compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it’s too late. Otto is an award-winning science advocate, educator, and speaker, and a previous Minnesota Book Award winner.

Award for Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:
Allen Eskens – The Heavens May Fall – published by Seventh Street Books/Prometheus Books

Eskens revisits characters from The Life We Bury in a mystery full of twists and turns, vividly told from two opposing perspectives. Eskens is also the author of The Life We Bury, a Minnesota Book Award finalist, and The Guise of Another. He was a practicing criminal defense attorney for 25 years.

Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels:
Kao Kalia Yang – The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father – published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company

Yang retells the life of her father, Bee Yang, the song poet – a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by America’s Secret War. Yang is also the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, which was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award and the Asian American Literary Award, and received the 2009 Minnesota Book Award.

Award for Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:
Brian Farrey – The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse – published by Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

In this thrilling modern fairytale, Farrey has created an exciting new world where friendship is more powerful than fate and the most important thing is to question everything. Brian Farrey is the author of The Vengekeep Prophecies series and the Stonewall Honor Book and Minnesota Book Award-winner With or Without You.

Award for Minnesota Nonfiction, sponsored by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota:
Cheri Register – The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape – published by Minnesota Historical Society Press*

After stumbling upon her great-grandfather’s scathing critique of the draining of southern Minnesota wetlands, Register uncovers the stories of life on the Big Marsh and of the “connivers” who plotted its end: the Minneapolis land developer, his local fixer, an Illinois banker, and the lovelorn local lawyer who did their footwork. Register is also the author of Packinghouse Daughter, which won a Minnesota Book Award and an American Book Award.

Award for Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul:
Peter Geye – Wintering – published by Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House

When elderly, demented Harry Eide escapes his sickbed and vanishes into the forbidding, northernmost wilderness that surrounds the town of Gunflint, Minnesota, he instantly changes the Eide family, and many other lives, forever. Geye has created an epic tale – a love story spanning 60 years, generations’ worth of feuds, and secrets withheld and revealed. Geye is also the author of the novels Safe from the Sea and Lighthouse Road.

Award for Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
Sun Yung Shin – Unbearable Splendor – published by Coffee House Press*

Who is guest, and who is host? Adoption, Antigone, zombies, clones, and minotaurs – all are building blocks, forming and reforming our ideas in Shin’s groundbreaking new collection. Shin is also the author of poetry collections Rough, and Savage and Skirt Full of Black, which won an Asian American Literary Award and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. She is the editor of the anthology A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota.

Award for Young Adult Literature, sponsored by Brainfuse:
Lara Avery – The Memory Book
– published by Poppy/Little, Brown and Company

Told in letters to herself, the Future Sam, this heartfelt, funny, and bittersweet novel chronicles both the path of a high school valedictorian’s degenerative disease and the major events and little details of her life over the summer that was supposed to be pre-college. Avery is the author of A Million Miles Away and Anything But Ordinary. She lives in Minneapolis, where she is a contributor at Revolver, and at work on her next novel.

Also at the Book Awards ceremony, the tenth annual Book Artist Award was presented to Steven McCarthy, for his “Wee Go Library” project – a mobile collection of 22 altered books found in Little Free Libraries throughout the Twin Cities. 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. McCarthy is a professor of graphic design at the University of Minnesota.

Lou Bellamy received the previously announced Kay Sexton Award. For more than four decades, Lou Bellamy has been a champion of African American literature, bringing to light works by African American playwrights, enabling artists to find their voice, and inspiring understanding of the vital role these stories play in our community and history. The Award is sponsored by St. Catherine University.

Books written by a Minnesotan and first published in 2016 were eligible for the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards. A total of 242 books were submitted this year, and 36 books were selected as finalists. The winners were chosen by panels of judges from around the state. Submissions for next year’s awards will open in August, 2017. For more information on the Book Awards process, and a list of finalists and winners since 1988, visit www.thefriends.org/mnba.

The Book Awards ceremony 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 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long outreach program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Major funding for the Book Awards was provided by Education Minnesota, the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts, the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. Statewide outreach partners include The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and Minnesota State Arts Board. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune.

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher

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This letter was sent to board members and staff of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library on March 16, 2017 in reaction to President Trump’s proposed budget.

Dear Friends Board Member:

President Trump released a partial outline of his 2018 budget today, and this budget includes spending cuts that will directly and severely affect libraries and the people we serve.

In addition to proposing the elimination of two highly-visible federal agencies that support and align with the work of libraries (the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities), the budget would eliminate the critically important Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS has provided nearly $1 million to the Saint Paul Public Library and we have a $250,000 pending application right now. In addition, proposed severe cuts to the Department of Education directly target programs and partnerships that involve library and literacy programs.

The result of these cuts would be devastating to libraries, including our Saint Paul Public Library. Over the coming weeks, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library will work with the American Library Association and other library champions nationwide to mobilize and coordinate opposition to these proposed cuts. (Note: as a tax exempt 501 (c)(3) organization, The Friends is legally able to advocate on behalf of policy issues and proposed legislation. What we cannot do is endorse or support a particular party or candidate.)

Public funding for libraries is not historically a partisan issue and voices of support from all ends of the political spectrum have sustained libraries for more than a century. Please reach out to your own federal legislators in opposition to these proposed cuts.

Saint Paul’s legislators are supportive of cultural funding, so your outreach is to affirm these legislators as they fight for continued cultural and library funding. Make three phone calls and share the message below. If you do not reach a staff member, leave a voicemail message. If you can’t get through, try again later.

Senator Al Franken: 202-224-5641
Senator Amy Klobuchar: 202-224-3244
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (District 4 – Saint Paul): 202-225-6631

I know a few of you live outside of Saint Paul. Keith Ellison’s phone number at his Minneapolis office is 612-522-1212. Freshman Congressman Jason Lewis prefers contact in his Washington office at 202-225-2271. Since Rep. Lewis has not yet had the opportunity to vote for or against library funding, it is particularly important that he hear from his constituents in support of library funding.

Your message:

“I support public libraries and oppose President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, NEA, NEH, and the Department of Education. Libraries leverage the tiny amount of federal funds they receive to create an enormous range of services for virtually all Americans.

“Libraries are trusted centers that provide access to technology, job counseling, safe spaces for children, homework support, entrepreneurship, English language literacy, AND also books. Please fight for library funding in the federal budget.”

Thank you for all you do to support the Saint Paul Public Library and libraries nationwide. Call or email me directly with any questions or ideas you’d like to share. If you are able to speak with a Congressional staff member when you make your calls, please report back to me with any insights that are shared.

Beth Burns
President, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

Lou Bellamy-imageSAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, February 26, 2017The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce Lou Bellamy, founder of Penumbra Theatre, teacher, mentor, and tireless promoter of African American literature, as the winner of the 2017 Kay Sexton Award. The award is presented annually to an individual or organization in recognition of long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading, and literary activity in Minnesota and is part of the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards, presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota.

For more than four decades, Lou Bellamy has been a champion of African American literature, bringing to light works by African American playwrights, enabling artists to find their voice, and inspiring understanding of the vital role these stories play in our community and history. Bellamy founded Penumbra Theatre in 1976, which for 40 years has provided a platform for the promotion of African American dramatic literature, honoring and telling the stories of the African American experience. In the words of Neal Cuthbert, former Vice President of Programs at the McKnight Foundation, Penumbra has, through its acclaimed stage productions, educational programming, and new play development efforts, “had an impact on the creative lives of generations of African American and other writers and has frankly altered the course of artistic expression and development in this community and across the country.” In addition to promoting works on stage at Penumbra, Bellamy has inspired and touched the lives of thousands of youth, cultivating the production of new dramatic literature, poetry, and spoken word. Bellamy’s work has consistently provided a community for new writers, ensuring they have valuable resources and support.

For 38 years, Bellamy was an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, fostering appreciation for and understanding of African American dramatic literature and its context within historical civil rights initiatives. His commitment to connecting students and the larger public with the many voices in African American literature inspired the founding of the Lou Bellamy Rare Book Collection in 2011, a premier collection in the Givens Collection of African American Literature donated anonymously in Bellamy’s honor. This is a growing collection of more than 850 rare volumes, some of which pre-date the Emancipation Proclamation. This collection, combined with the Penumbra Theatre Archives, entrusted to the Givens Collection in 2006, are evidence of Bellamy’s impact in the world of literature, history, and archives. “The archive of Penumbra Theatre presents an enduring record of hundreds of voices, perspectives, and experiences that are critical to our collective understanding of what American life and literature is – what it sounds like, and who gets to tell it,” states Cecily Marcus, Curator of the Givens Collection of African American Literature.

Bellamy is an OBIE Award-winning director and accomplished actor, and under his leadership, Penumbra has grown to be the largest theater of its kind in America and has produced 39 world premieres, including August Wilson’s first professional production. Penumbra also has the distinction of having produced more of Wilson’s plays than any other theater in the world.

Lou Bellamy will be honored on Saturday, April 8, at the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony at InterContinental Hotel Saint Paul Riverfront. Awards will be presented in nine book categories, as well as the annual Book Artist Award. Tickets are on sale now and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org/ceremony or calling 651-222-3242.

Originally created in 1988, the Minnesota Book Awards is now a year-long program that fosters our statewide literary arts community. The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter with two rounds of judging. Winners are announced at the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony. Woven throughout the season are various engagement activities and events that promote the authors and connect the world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state. In recognition of this and its other statewide programs and services, the Library of Congress has recognized The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the state’s designated Center for the Book.

For additional information on the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards, the Awards Ceremony, or the Minnesota Center for the Book, please visit www.thefriends.org or call 651-222-3242. The Minnesota Book Awards is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Generous support for the Book Awards has been provided by the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts; The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation; and The McKnight Foundation. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune. Outreach partners and supporting organizations include Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Augsburg College, The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board, and Twin Cities Public Television.

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SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, January 28, 2017The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce finalists in all nine categories for the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards, presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota. Chosen on Saturday, January 28, by 27 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community – the finalists for each category are:

Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books For Africa:
Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler (Chronicle Books)

This Is Not a Cat! by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (Sterling Children’s Books/Sterling Publishing)

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Publishers)

Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer (Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster)

General Nonfiction:

Canoes: A Natural History in North America by Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims (University of Minnesota Press)*

Designing Our Way to a Better World by Thomas Fisher (University of Minnesota Press)*

Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press)*

The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It by Shawn Otto (Milkweed Editions)*

Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College: 

The Born and the Made by Robert Spande (self-published)

The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens (Seventh Street Books/Prometheus Books)

Rise of the Spring Tide by James Stitt (self-published)

Stealing the Countess by David Housewright (Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press)

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels:

I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland by Michelle Leon (Minnesota Historical Society Press) *

The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia Yang (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company)

This Is Where I Am: A Memoir by Zeke Caligiuri (University of Minnesota Press)*

The Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt by Clyde Bellecourt, as told to Jon Lurie (Minnesota Historical Society Press)*

Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:

Little Cat’s Luck by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group)*

-The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey (Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)

-Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper (Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan)

Minnesota Nonfiction, sponsored by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota:

The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape by Cheri Register (Minnesota Historical Society Press)*

The Ford Century in Minnesota by Brian McMahon (University of Minnesota Press)*

Richard F. Lack: Catalogue Raisonné 1943-1998 by Gary B. Christensen, biography by Stephen A. Gjertson (Afton Historical Society Press)*

Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation by Virginia M. Wright-Peterson (Minnesota Historical Society Press)*

Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul:

The Annie Year by Stephanie Wilbur Ash (Unnamed Press)

Do Not Find Me by Kathleen Novak (The Permanent Press)

LaRose by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins Publishers)

Wintering by Peter Geye (Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House)

Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
May Day by Gretchen Marquette (Graywolf Press)*

Tula by Chris Santiago (Milkweed Editions)*

Unbearable Splendor by Sun Yung Shin (Coffee House Press)*

Yes Thorn by Amy Munson (Tupelo Press) 

Young Adult Literature, sponsored by Brainfuse:

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Publishers)

LGBTQ+ Athletes Claim the Field: Striving for Equality by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner Publishing Group)*

The Memory Book by Lara Avery (Poppy/Little, Brown and Company)

Original Fake by Kirstin Cronn-Mills, art by E. Eero Johnson (G. P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House)

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher.

Award winners will be announced at the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 8, at InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront. The Preface Reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Awards Ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are from $40 – $55 and are available by visiting www.thefriends.org or calling 651-222-3242. The official hashtag for social media is #mnbookawards. All are encouraged to use it when posting comments, status updates, or sharing information about any of the authors or their books.

Originally created in 1988, the Minnesota Book Awards is now a year-long program that fosters the literary arts community in our state with the ultimate goal of creating stronger communities. The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter and into spring with two rounds of judging. Also woven throughout the season are various engagement activities and events that promote the authors and connect the entire world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state. Hosting the Book Awards program led to The Friends’ designation as the Minnesota Center for the Book, which is the state affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

For additional information on the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards, the Awards Ceremony, or the Minnesota Center for the Book, please visit www.thefriends.org or call 651-222-3242. The Minnesota Book Awards is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Generous support for the Book Awards has been provided by the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts; The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation; and The McKnight Foundation. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio; the Star Tribune; and Twin Cities Public Television. Outreach partners and supporting organizations include: Augsburg College; The Loft Literary Center; Minnesota Center for Book Arts; and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:
The Friends, with a staff of 18 and an operating budget of $3 million, produces 70 events per year and provides over $1.5 million in support annually to the library, resulting in the Saint Paul Public Library being recognized as a national leader in serving its community. With a mission of stronger libraries for stronger communities, The Friends supports not only the Saint Paul system, but also libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.

Tell us about your cBeth Burnsareer path prior to coming to The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

I majored in creative writing and theater (or, as my friends say, writing and talking) at St. Olaf College. While in school, I was thrilled to learn that ‘cultural administration’ was a job and I’ve stayed in that field pretty much my entire career. My past employers include the Minnesota Zoo, Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre, MacPhail Center for Music, University of St. Thomas and the National Endowment for the Arts.

What interested you about The Friends?

I love the arts, and my first love is literature. I am always reading a book, and I believe so strongly in the power of literature to cultivate empathy, inspire creativity, and promote learning. Libraries help level the playing field by opening the door to language and literacy for everyone. The Friends is such an important organization because it serves as the voice and advocate for all the great work being undertaken by the Saint Paul Public Library.

What are you most excited for in this new chapter?

I am a lifelong learner, and I am excited to dive into the evolving role of libraries amidst a world of digitization and technology, increasing cultural diversity, economic disparity, aging infrastructures, and many more factors. I am also looking forward to meeting all of the individuals who have been such generous and loyal supporters of The Friends.  I love hearing peoples’ stories about the role that libraries have had in their own lives, and what compels them personally to support this important mission and work.

How do you see your role at The Friends?

I see my role in a couple ways: first, as an advocate and ambassador for the needs of Saint Paul’s libraries. Second, it’s very clear that The Friends is a healthy organization with a talented staff, committed board, and loyal group of supporters. In that respect, my role will be to steward and support all of these individuals in their own work to ensure that libraries have the resources necessary to thrive in Saint Paul.

How do you see the role of the library in the next 20 years?

I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer that question so early in my tenure, as I have yet to meet many of the creative and enormously talented leaders in this field. That said, I do believe that libraries can, should and will be at the heart of their communities in 20 years.  We will continue to need places to gather, to learn, and to be inspired – as individuals and as communities. Libraries are already so responsive to the needs of their constituents that I’m confident they will continue to evolve in a way that supports the changing needs and aspirations for our communities.

Name a book that changed your life.

Only one? “Little Women” was a powerful book in my childhood. I was inspired by Jo’s independence (and that she wanted to be a writer), but I also adored Beth, my namesake, who was so kind and loved music. I received a hardbound copy with illustrations for Christmas in third grade, and I read and reread that book throughout my childhood. I’m sure it influenced my attitudes about loyalty, charity, and every girl’s uniqueness and potential.

If you could be any literary character who would you be?

I’m not sure I would want to be any literary character, but I sure would like to meet a few of them! I love reading biographies for the same reason. I would love to work in Sylvia Beach’s Paris bookstore (Shakespeare & Co.), attend a meeting with Winston Churchill, or follow Katherine Graham around Washington D.C. for a few days.

Quick Facts about Beth:

Hometown: Austin, MN
Resides in: Mac-Groveland neighborhood, Saint Paul
Favorite season: Autumn
Favorite holiday: The whole month of December
Favorite performing artist: Too many to choose and it changes all the time! Musicians: Prince, Beck, Chrissie Hynde; Theater: Mark Rylance, Kevin Kling
Favorite food: My mom’s cardamom bread
Favorite book: Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Currently reading: Cherry by Mary Karr
Favorite place in St. Paul: My backyard

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S.McCarthyGraphic design professor Steven McCarthy receives the 2017 Minnesota Book Artist Award for his Wee Go Library project – a mobile collection of 22 altered books found in Little Free Libraries throughout the Twin Cities.

December 9, 2016, SAINT PAUL, MN – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce Steven McCarthy as the winner of the 2017 Minnesota Book Artist Award for his Wee Go Library project. Sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group, this annual award is presented by the Minnesota Book Awards and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), and recognizes a Minnesota book artist or book artist collaborative group for excellence of a new artistic work. Winners also show demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts through three pieces of supporting previous work, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community.

McCarthy’s award-winning piece is a mobile display unit for 22 altered books selected from Little Free Libraries throughout the Twin Cities. Using various techniques – collage, rebinding, cutting, folding, tearing, gluing – the artist altered the books to create a collection in which used items are reborn as a part of the larger library narrative. Each book is sourced to its donor library with a small pamphlet that has a pin-pointed map and photos of the library structure and sponsoring house. The entire collection is beautifully housed in a custom-built oak and pine display case with felt-lined drawers to hold each of McCarthy’s whimsical creations.

Members of the award committee praised the project as “a play on books, narratives, and libraries,” saying that it “transforms existing text for an experience that is at once random and intentional.”

Another committee member said that McCarthy “creates a personal connection through carefully curated collections of texts; …the cabinetry, layout, and variation of the treatment all fit together to provide the viewer/reader with a unique journey that reveals the true potential of each book itself.”

McCarthy is a professor of graphic design at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. His long-standing interest in theories of design authorship – as both scholar and practitioner – has led to lectures, exhibits, publications and grant-funded research on six continents. His book on the topic, The Designer As… Author, Producer, Activist, Entrepreneur, Curator and Collaborator: New Models for Communicating was published in 2013 by BIS, Amsterdam. McCarthy has been in more than 125 juried and invitational exhibitions and his artist’s books are in prestigious collections. He serves on the board of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Visit his website: http://faculty.design.umn.edu/mccarthy.

A retrospective exhibition celebrating McCarthy’s work will be on display January 20 – March 26 in the Cowles Literary Commons on the second floor of the Open Book building (1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis). A reception and artist presentation will take place Friday, February 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. McCarthy will also receive special recognition and an award at the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards Celebration on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Saint Paul.

About the Minnesota Book Awards:
The Minnesota Book Awards is a project of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, with the Saint Paul Public Library and City of Saint Paul. The program was created in 1988 by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and other organizations as a part of the Festival of the Book. Awards are presented each year to books in nine categories by Minnesota writers or illustrators, as well as the Kay Sexton Award, Book Artist Award, and the biennial Hognander Minnesota History Award. Through its work with the Book Awards, The Friends was designated the Minnesota Center for the Book, a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. To find out more about the Minnesota Book Awards and the Center for the Book, please visit www.thefriends.org/mnbookawards.

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