Recently in Site Visits Category

Site Visit to the Bakken Museum

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On March 12 all of us (Carla, Sara, and both Marks) paid a visit to the Bakken Museum. Located in Minneapolis in a mansion near Lake Calhoun, the Bakken's collection was acquired by Earl Bakken the co-founder of Medtronic and inventor of the portable pacemaker. It is the only institution in the world dedicated to the study of the role of electricity and magnetism in the life sciences and medicine, and we went there to learn more about its resources and the services it offers.

The Bakken's librarian Elizabeth Ihrig gave us a warm welcome. First she took us on a tour of the Museum's exhibits including 'The Spark of Life', 'The Mystery of Magnetism', and 'Electricity in the 18th Century'. Our favorite was 'Frankenstein: Mary Shelley's Dream'. Then we explored the underground vault where hundreds of antique electronic gadgets and thousands of books are kept in climate-controlled conditions. The Library is located in a quiet corner of the building. With its wood paneling, high ceiling, and view of the garden its reading room would be a wonderful place for study. Elizabeth told us that scholars come to the Bakken from around the world do their research and local students visit to work on History Day projects. All in all, the Bakken is a fascinating place to visit. You can learn more about it at www.thebakken.org.

Looking into the Exhibit Hall
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Frankenstein's Laboratory
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Antique Electrical Instruments in the Vault
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A Medieval Manuscript in the Collection
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A Corner of the Library Reading Room
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We took many other pictures, a few of which can be found on our BATS Flickr page.

Minnesota Discovery Center Closing

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For those of you who have not seen this announcement yet I'm posting it here. Minitex staff visited the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm, MN fall 2007. They had such a rich and unique collection in their library and archives. You can view the pictures by visiting our Flickr site. We hope that this is only a temporary closing. You can stay up-to-date by visiting the Mn Discovery Center website.

CHISHOLM - The Ironworld Development Corporation Board of Directors today announced that Minnesota Discovery Center (formerly Ironworld), a 660-acre museum, entertainment venue, research library and park in Chisholm, MN, will temporarily be closed to the public, effective Friday, November 20, 2009, at 5 p.m.

"We would like to thank our employees for their patience and understanding as we determine what the future holds for this institution," said Minnesota Discovery Center CEO, Mike Andrews.

Iron Range Resources created the nonprofit organization and negotiated a Management Agreement in 2007 for its operations. They supported the nonprofit through an endowment of $10 million and a transitional subsidy that is to be phased out over a five-year period. With the world recession, the endowment declined to $5.9 million this spring, resulting in substantially lowered funding levels.
The new name, Minnesota Discovery Center, provided a broader platform in the effort to re-invigorate the facility and give it national importance. This strategy worked. Revitalized programming within budget yielded a 15% increase in attendance figures despite cold weather, five months of highway construction, and an economy where tourism spending in northeastern Minnesota saw double digit declines.

"The financing model developed two years ago, combined with the world economic situation, just doesn't work", states CEO Mike Andrews. "Our overhead costs, not fundable by grants or sponsorships, are considerably higher than our declining subsidy and endowment interest. Although we experienced an increase in visitor attendance, it is not enough to make that up difference in a limited market."

The temporary layoffs affect 47 dedicated employees who have been passionate about the success of the facility.

"The board is currently reviewing all options for continuing operations," said Rich Puhek, IDC Board Chair. "We owe it to our dedicated staff and to the public that has been so supportive of the Minnesota Discovery Center to continue to make every effort to succeed."

The IDC Board remains optimistic about the future of the facility.

Minnesota Discovery Center opened in 1977 as the Iron Range Interpretive Center with 34 exhibits and a nominal admission charge. In 1979, the Hall of Geology was added, followed by the 1980 opening of the Research Center library and archives. In 1986, after an 18-month shutdown, the facility re-opened as with a railroad, amphitheater, new admissions building and "Festival Park."

Posted: Nov 18th, 2009 9:00 AM


Photos from NDLA

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Several Minitex staff traveled to NDLA's Annual Conference in Dickinson, ND this year. Though it's been over a month since the conference, I would like to share some of the photos our staff took. We also wrote an article about the conferences we presented at and attended in the Oct/Nov Minitex/OCLC Mailiing. More photos from SDLA and MLA to follow soon!

roadside attraction
Roadside attraction off 94 between Bismarck and Dickinson, North Dakota

Front of Dickinson Public Library
Front of Dickinson Public Library

Inside Dickinson Public Library
Inside Dickinson Public Library

fireplace at Dickinson Public Library
Minitex staff Anne Hatinen in front of fireplace at Dickinson Public Library

table display at Dickinson PL reception
Table display at Dickinson Public Library dessert reception

On March 17 Sara Ring and Mark Wilhelmi visited the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud, MN. The Library is the headquarters for a group of 32 libraries across five counties in central Minnesota; all the cataloging, ILL, acquisitions, and collection development for the network is done there. It also serves as the public library for St. Cloud.

Sara and Mark met with Mic Golden and Chris Getz (both from Technical Services) to discuss upcoming changes in Minitex’s relationship with OCLC. They also talked about OCLC services—particularly, Bibliographic Notification and WorldCat Cataloging Partners. They had a lively, friendly discussion, and then Mic and Chris took them on a tour of their brand new building which is quite spacious and full of light. The large, colorful children’s area was particularly impressive. There’s also a café, some lovely artwork in the entrance-way, and even a time-capsule.

Here's the front of the library in the shape of an open book.

GRR Main Entrance

In the entrance . . .

GRR Lobby

First Floor Information

GRR Information

Children's Room

GRR Children's Room.JPG

Children's Play Area

GRR Children's Play Area

Children's Stained Glass Window

Children's Window


Site Visit to St. Johns University

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Every Spring and Fall (when the weather is good - usually) we choose an area of the 3 state Minitex region to visit and meet face to face with the staff from the various library types that we support. This Spring we chose the St. Cloud area but were limited to one day. We were able to visit St. Johns University and Great River Regional Library on March 17th. Below is a short summary of our visit to St. Johns University - soon you'll see a summary from our Great River Regional Library trip.

During the first part of our meeting, Mark Wilhelmi and I met with Tess Kasling (our OCLC contact) and most of the staff from the library. We gave a brief update on some changes coming down the road with OCLC, Minitex, and libraries in the region (there will be more news about this soon). Alcuin Library staff gave us a lot of feedback about WorldCat Local, which they just launched back in Dec. 2008.

After that we split into two groups - catalogers and staff involved with digital collections using CONTENTdm (an OCLC product that we support). I spoke with staff from the Hill Manuscript and Museum Library (which is physically connected to Alcuin Library) about their upcoming projects. HMML is probably best known for their St. John's Bible project and their extensive physical and digital collections of Medieval manuscripts. We learned a great deal about the library and HMML and hope to have another chance to visit soon!

Upon entering Alcuin Library at St. Johns University, the first thing to catch my eye was this beautiful Hibiscus tree.

Hibiscus Tree

On the main floor is the circulation desk.

Circulation desk at Alcuin Library

A view of the main floor at the library.

Main floor of Alcuin Library

Staff only stairs we took to get downstairs to the meeting room.

Staff stairs at Alcuin Library

Goodbye Alcuin Library!

Alcuin Library

Site Visit to Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

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On Wednesday, December 10, on my way back to the Twin Cities from the Iron Range after doing training at Arrowhead Library System, I paid an informal site visit to the Ruth A. Myers Library at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

I met with Nancy Broughton, the Library Director and Diane Rauschenfels the Library Technician and quickly learned that a lot has been happening at the college. Enrollment has doubled in the last four years and construction was recently completed on the second expansion of the college’s main building since it opened in the early 1990s.

We began with a tour of the library. Recently expanded to twice its formal size, it is spacious and full of light. There are public computers, study rooms, a staff workroom, comfortable furniture, and a fireplace, and plenty of room on the shelves for additions to the collection. With the expansion also came space for archives and a large classroom for library instruction. In addition to its general holdings the library includes Minnesota and Anishinaabe/Ojibwe collections and long runs of several Native American serials which Nancy hopes to digitize someday. In recent years the library has received significant donations of Native American materials.

We also took a tour of the college’s main building. Located in a grove of towering red pines this building is in the shape of a thunderbird with sections in each of the four sacred colors of the Anishinaabe/Ojibwe people—white, yellow, red, and black. Many large windows connect the interior to the outside world. There is also a residence hall for 100 students. In addition to liberal arts, the college offers programs in nursing, law enforcement, and American Indian Studies and its halls and classrooms were busy. The college also recently began an athletics program.

Nancy and Diane gave me a warm welcome and were quite forthcoming in our conversation. Although the library has a full OCLC membership, they currently do not use either Connexion Client or WorldCat Research Sharing. Their cataloging is done by Kim Johnson at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College; their ILL is done through MnPALS. We talked mainly about the expansion of the library.

Site Visit to East Central Regional Library

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On December 4 Virginia Dudley and I drove up to Cambridge, MN for a site visit at the East Central Regional Library. We got a nice welcome from the staff and the meeting went well. Most of our discussion focused on cataloging services and there’s a lot going on. They are currently using CatExpress to copy catalog records for non-print titles and getting records for other formats from vendors. What original cataloging they do is done in their ILS. But they are mulling over the possibility of becoming full members and using Connexion. We discussed the membership and subscription fees with them. Before they reach any decision on membership they will resolve other items on their agenda. They are currently in the midst of taking inventory at all of their libraries, and they are also considering changing their ILS.

In general, they seem satisfied with the services provided by MINITEX. This is the only site visit we’ve conducted so far during which we were served home-made pie.

Pictures of the Library:

A view of the Children's Area

image of children's area with Xmas tree

Another of the Children's Area

image of children's area with red chairs

Here's the Adult Area

image of adults' area

Site Visit to Pine Technical College

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On Monday, Dec. 8, Virginia Dudley and I drove north to Pine City to visit Pine Technical College Learning Resource and Technology Center.

Ron McGriff is the half time librarian and Laurie Jorgenson works for both the library and for the technology half of the center. Before our meeting, Ron took us on a tour of the college. Our first stop was the classroom used for their Gunsmithing program (one of the few gunsmithing programs in the country).

Image of gunsmithing classroom

We passed by another classroom filled with giant machines - this was their classroom used for their CNC Operations (machine tool certificate part of this program) Program

Image of classroom for machinists

We learned about a few other interesting programs we were unaware of like the Johnson Simulation Center. The Center's current projects include scenario and procedural training applications, military immersive simulations, and game development. Pine Technical College also has a few Community Programs for child care and an employment and training center.

From our meeting we learned that recently they have expanded their Reference collection, moved some program collections to the library such as child development and nursing, done quite a lot of weeding, and enhanced their website - including a “new items” page. Ron McGriff is working on a 5 year plan for the library, and the college is busy planning for an accreditation evaluation.

Below we have shared a few more pictures from our visit.

Pine Technical College Learning Resource and Technology Center
Image of Pine Technical College Learning Resource and Technology Center

Main Entrance to Pine Technical College
main entrance to Pine Technical College

Site Visit to Century College, White Bear Lake,

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Last Thursday, November 13, Virginia and I drove up to Century College and met with Jane Young (Director), Randi Madisen (Electronic Resources Librarian), Bonnie Oldre (Reference Librarian), and Cathy Adams (Reference/ILL Tech). Our discussion covered several topics including MULS, OCLC ILL, WorldCat Registry and WorldCat Collection Analysis. The staff was particularly interested in OCLC statistics, so we showed them the available reports,

Century College has a brand new library, and Jane gave us a tour. It was quite impressive with dark wood furniture, a fireplace, artwork, and plenty of natural light. It also has several group study rooms, a spacious, well-equipped computer classroom, and a large work area for the staff.

After our meeting Virginia, Jane, and I went to lunch nearby at Betty’s Pies. The food was good and the pies were incredible. I highly recommend it.

Here's some pictures of the new library.

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The colorful Circ Desk

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and the equally colorful Ref Desk.

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Here's the Reading Room

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and the Library's Frog (lower right).

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Site Visit to Mikkelson Library, Augustana College

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The following is a report on the sixth and final library we visited during our tour of Eastern South Dakota Libraries.
Mikkelson Library is located at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. It holds over 200,000 volumes including the Rare Books and the Norwegian Collections. The Library is also a selective depository for the U.S. Government Printing Office housing more than 160,000 government documents.

We met with Deb Hagemeier (Assistant Director & Technical Services), Kay Christensen (Cataloging and Government Documents), Lisa Burnick (Reference & Instruction), and Judith Howard (Media & Distance Education). They are deeply involved with the Library’s extensive renovation. The staff is moving to temporary quarters while the collection is shifting to compact shelving. At the same time they are merging the library of the Sioux Falls Seminary into Mikkelson’s collection.

Because of the construction going on we were only able to tour parts of the library, but we could tell from the plans that after renovation the new library will be spacious and quite up-to-date.

While we were on campus at Augustana we took time to see the sights.

Here's the library.

Mikkelson Front Door.JPG

Here's Ole Augustana's mascot.

Ole the Augustana Mascot.JPG


They also have a 'woolly' mammoth

Augustana Mammoth.JPG

And a statue of Moses.

Augustana statue of Moses.JPG

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