Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Q & A with a Library Student Worker: Reeve Currie

Name: Reeve Currie
Year in College: Junior
Major/Minor: English major with Journalism emphasis, Photography minor
Hometown: Roseville, MN

Why did you choose Concordia St. Paul?
I wanted to live at home and go to a smaller school, not a big public university.  I knew a couple people who went here and they really liked it, so I chose it too!

Did you go to a small school before?  What made you want a smaller school?
I was homeschooled, so yes it was small--there were three of us!  I did PSEO my junior and senior years, one year at Northwestern and one year at Century College.  My boyfriend went to the U of M and loved it but when I went there I felt so lost.  I wanted to be more part of things and have that community.  I also knew I would be commuting and thought I would never know anyone if I went to a big public school.

Why did you start working in the library?
I love love love love books!  I volunteered at a library while I was in high school and I loved it then so here I am!

What do you plan to do after school?
I really wanted to do photojournalism in high school.  I took a three year gap between high school and university.  I have to pay for myself and I wasn’t sure about it; I just really wanted to be sure before I started school.  I love kids and actually started as an education major and changed it back last summer.
Short term, I would love to spend one or two years traveling in Africa and doing some freelancing, but I hope to get on staff with a photo journal.  I’m hoping to get an internship with Women’s Press.  Until then I’ll probably take side gigs like taking senior photos, things like that.

Did anyone inspire you to get into photojournalism?
My dad is kind of a jack of all trades and has been through a lot of major problems and about eight different schools.  He’s written and published books, he’s a gourmet chef, an architect, and other stuff too.  He really helped me to learn about writing and photos.  There was a huge focus on writing in our family, much more than math or science.

Any other hobbies?
I love yoga and I would love to become a certified yoga teacher someday!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Treasures from the Archive: Snow Weekend

January can get pretty nasty in Minnesota. The excitement of the Christmas season has worn off, the snow has settled in for good, and the cold winds start to blow right through you. Rather than complain about it, why not have a party and celebrate our Minnesota heartiness!

In January 1959, Concordia’s Pep Club sponsored the first Snow Days Weekend. The festivities included a coronation ceremony, ice skating party, a wrestling meet and basketball game, and a party at the Student Union. 

Concordia's first Snow King and Snow Queen Art Plath and Donna Jean Demm.

The first Snow Days was so much fun that the event would be held annually for decades. Moving forward, that weekend would expand until Snow Weekend became Snow Week. Each day of this week had some sort of activity for the Concordia community. Events mainly revolved around winter sports and entertainment such as snow sculpting, variety shows (…I hear Jason Rahn, CSP Alum and now Associate VP for Student Life, put on a pretty sweet Magic Show), dances or, in one case, outdoor hot tubs were temporarily installed on the Knoll for those brave enough to partake. Snow is fun; and besides, nothing beats the winter cold like a little fun (…or migrating south for the winter!)

1965 Snow Weekend Court sporting Scandinavian sweaters.

Michael Hernick recently graduated from Concordia University, Saint Paul with a major in History. He spent his summer buried in the Archive digging up interesting nuggets of Concordia's history. We will be highlighting his work with Throwback Thursday post, Treasures from the Archive, throughout the year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Folkers Nativity Collection

"Jesus is Here" hand carved nativity set from China

One of our Christmas traditions at Concordia University, Saint Paul Library Technology Center is pulling out the Folkers Nativity Collection and filling our display cases with some of our favorites.

Terra cotta nativity set from Peru. 

Robert A. Folkers was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1922, where he lived most of his life until his death in February 2005. He was a WWI and Korean War Air Force veteran and a graduate of Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. He had a 31 year career with Caterpillar, Inc., working as a field Engineer in research and development. He was an active member of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church for 68 years, volunteering in many areas of ministry.

Hand carved nativity set from Indonesia

Travel was a big part of Bob’s life; his work with Caterpillar took him throughout the world. After his retirement, he continued to travel extensively, both for pleasure and numerous volunteer and educational purposes. He participated in seven mission trips with the Luther Layman’s League and Lutheran Bible Translators. The trips took him to such diverse locations as Liberia, Ghana, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and Russia.

Hummel nativity set from Germany; the set that started the collection!

Nativity collection began when Bob purchased his first set, a Hummel, at a PX in Germany in the 1950s for $50.00 (today a complete set is worth much more than that!) From then on, whenever he found an interesting set, he brought it home. After retirement, his travels increased and he went out of his way to unearth unusual sets. The collection grew to over 110.

Bob’s sister, Dorothy Ebs, knew that her brother wanted the set to be kept together and enjoyed by the public. She knows he would be pleased that they now call Concordia University home.

Lefton China hand painted "Yamada Originals," 1999. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Q & A with a Library Director: Charlotte Knoche

Interview conducted by Jackie Martini, CSP Library Social Media Student Worker

It’s time for another library feature.  This week, I was fortunate to be able to sit down with Charlotte Knoche, CSP’s very own Library Director!

What does the job of Library Director entail?
My main job is to make sure staff enjoy what they’re doing.  Someone who works in cataloguing needs to have a lot of attention to detail!  Even things like how many spaces are after a period matter.  Other positions might need creativity, and the people who teach classes should like to stand up in front of people.  I also make sure everyone gets what they need to keep their jobs done.
It’s also keeping track of how everyone is doing, budgeting, evaluating programs, board meetings, staff meetings, trying to make sure the faculty have what they need, helping decide what we keep in circulation and what we withdraw.

Wow.  That’s a lot of things to juggle!
I work on special projects, too!  Right now we’re discussing digital archives for the library--we need to determine faculty interest, student usage, convince the administration, and get a plan together for that to go through.

That’s incredible.  What’s your favorite part of all this?
I love the people here.  We have amazing staff and our student workers are incredible.  We couldn't operate without the student workers, that’s for sure!
The Library After Dark events have been a lot of fun, too.  They've been more popular than I first expected, so that’s good!

If you could tell all the students one thing about the library, what would that be?
We’re here to help and there is no question that is a stupid question.  Don’t procrastinate!  It’s hard for us to help you if you come in the day it’s due.  I can’t tell you how sad it is if there are a lot of resources in the system but none of them will get here in time for the student to use them because the due date is the day after they ask.

Did you plan to end up here, as Library Director?
No way!  My first degree was in German--I wanted my PhD and to teach at a university, but I could see the number of the German students was declining.  I enjoyed teaching but I got involved with the library and started thinking it might be fun.
My husband and I moved to Milwaukee Lutheran for about five years, and I worked at Steven’s Portage Public Library--doing puppet shows, working with the kids, things like that.  Our pastor at the time then said they needed someone to replace a cataloger and reference librarian at CSP (I had never been here) so I filled out the application and sent it in!  I never expected to get it--I called them three times before accepting to double check I was the one they wanted!
I did a lot of student teaching and adult instruction on the side.  When the director left, I ended up doing some of that work--I was interim director for a year or two and decided it wasn’t too bad!  

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a library director?
Experience is great!  To be a student worker in the library is a job that can really lead you somewhere in the world.  One of our former student workers came to me for a recommendation and I gave him a good one; he got a job as a librarian at the U of M library!
Be open and always receptive to new opportunities!  In my case it worked out kind of in spite of me, not because of me.  Just mellow out, be open to opportunities and it will all work out.

Any closing advice or remarks?
I really believe in interacting with international exchange students and traveling abroad if you can . . . it’s really healthy to see a lot of new perspectives.  It helps so much!  I think the more perspectives you start to understand, the better it is for everybody.

Thank you so much, Charlotte!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas: Staff Picks!

by Jackie Martini, Library Social Media Student Worker

As the semester draws to a close, holiday preparations heat up as everyone on campus prepares for the Christmas season (or at the very least, the Christmas break!).  While the CSP Library staff is busily preparing the library for finals week and beyond, I snagged a few for a break and a quick chat, asking them about one of our favorite shared topics: books!  My question to them was, Do you have a favorite winter or Christmas read, author, or genre that you pick up this time of year for a good read?

During winter I always read a book about Arctic exploration so that my daily 5 block walk seems more bearable. On the coldest, bleakest days my feet may be really cold by the time I get to work, but at least they haven't become gangrenous and fallen off! Some books I've enjoyed are Ninety Degrees North by Fergus Fleming and The Arctic Grail by Pierre Berton, both available via CLICnet requests.


You know the old saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover?" Rubbish! Illustrations make or break a picture book for me and pulling out the Christmas picture books is one of my favorite preparations of the season (besides the cookies, of course!) Jan Brett is one of my all time favorite author/illustrators--especially when it comes to Christmas-themed books. The Wild Christmas Reindeer is a must read.

I just love to read the accounts of the first Christmas in the books of Luke and Matthew.

My two "classic" go-to Christmas stories are A Visit from St Nicholas (Twas the Night Before Christmas) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Even though the kids in my family are all teenagers (or older) now, I have been known to coerce one or two of them into sitting down with me and reading them!  Another one I've always liked (but don't necessarily read every year) is O Henry's The Gift of the Magi.

I love to read Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris, specifically the "SantaLand Diaries" story. Hilarious!

I love looking at old Christmas issue magazines--Victoria, Better Homes & Garden, Country Living, and others. I pull these out every year and some of my favorites are 14 years old!

The one constant is reading the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2). Besides that I can be found reading whatever strikes my fancy--right now I'm still working my way through Harry Potter, and currently I'm reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

I love Christmas stories that makes us pause and reflect on our lives. My favorite is actually a movie, not a book - every year I watch It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve with my family. There's nothing like a trip to Bedford Falls to remind you to count your blessings.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Luther Hall

The first new residence hall to be built on campus was the East Dormitory, or as we know it today, Luther Hall. In 1922, Concordia's enrollment had reached an all time high of 238. The current dormitory accommodations could house 150. It was painfully apparent that more housing was needed.

Concordia's administration hired an architect to design a block plan (which was eventually abandoned) for a campus that would serve a student body of 300 (at that time, there were thoughts that enrollment would be capped at this number.) The southern end of the campus would consist of three dormitories forming a quadrangle, the East Dormitory would the first to be built.

The cornerstone for the building was laid on August 9, 1924 and the building was completed by November 1925.

One of the most interesting and unique features of the building are the stone sculptures above the front entrance and around the columns flanking the front entrance.

Those that live in Luther Hall may (or may not) have noticed these gargoyle-like faces staring down at them if they enter the building from Syndicate Street.

Directly above the entrance to the building is Martin Luther. The central placement of Luther's face on the building and Luther's significance to Concordia as a Lutheran school, were factors in renaming the dormitory to Luther Hall in 1947.

Luther is flanked by two great leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Dr. Francis (Franz) Pieper and Dr. C.F.W. Walther.

Left to right: Dr. Francis Pieper, Dr. Martin Luther, Dr. C.F.W. Walther

Dr. Francis Pieper flanks Luther to the left. At the time of the building's construction, Dr. Pieper was president of Concordia Theological Seminary and, in addition to being immortalized on the East Dormitory, was selected to be the main speaker at the building's dedication. One of his great contributions to Lutheran theology was Christliche Dogmatik (Christian Dogmatics), doctrinal theology of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Dr. C.F.W. Walther flanks Luther to the right. Dr. Walther was the founder, first president, and one of the most influential theologians of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

In addition to the sculptures of these three influential men, there are also sculptures around the columns flanking the entrance to Luther Hall. The faces here are meant to be representations of young students and their teachers. The faces of the teachers were modeled after Philip Melanchthon, a theologian of the Protestant Reformation and colleague of Martin Luther, known for being the chief compiler of the Lutheran Confessions.

Though they may not be noticeable at first glance (but I bet you won't be able to ignore them from now on!) much thought went into the sculptures decorating the entrance to Luther Hall. The men immortalized here are founding fathers of Lutheranism and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod as well as teachers--making them appropriate guardians of the young men that first lived under the formidable roof of the East Dormitory. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: A Bit of Choir History

As we enter into the month of December, I would like to talk about the roots of the choir program at Concordia. So, like all great stories from history, let us start at the beginning...

The choral roots lie in the Lutheran tradition of the “singing church,” and as such, the Missouri Synod always sought to have music as part of the curriculum at its colleges. When Concordia first opened, 2 hours per week of singing were required for all students, in addition to studying musical theory and instrumental practice.
1926-27 Glee Club

This requirement lasted through the winter of 1926. The following spring, the Concordia Glee Club was established as a voluntary student club. As this club became more successful and popular, it also became more selective. The club was restricted to thirty-two members and the group decided to move away from including secular music and performed only sacred music. The club began traveling for the first time in 1934, and completed extensive concert tours every year following. In 1936, the name of the club was officially changed to the Concordia Choral Club. In 1939-40, it was decided that membership in the Choral Club would be restricted to college students and a new Glee Club was formed for high school students.
1948-49 Concordia Choral Club

Up until 1953, the Choral Club was an all-male chorus. When the college became coeducational in 1950, a mixed group of thirty men and women formed the Chapel Choir (as the Choral Club was closed to women.) In the fall of 1953, women became eligible to join the Choral Club. The 1953-54 Choral Club had an initial membership of thirty-two women and twenty-eight men.
1950-51 Chapel Choir

Both the Chapel Choir and Choral Club continued to be anchors of the Concordia music program. The Choral Club adopted a new name in 1965, the Concordia College Chorale, and today we know them as the Christus Chorus. Shortly after it was established, the Chapel Choir started going by the name Schola Cantorum; today, our chapel choir is known as the Jubilate Choir.

If you have the opportunity, make sure to attend the annual Christmas concert this weekend, December 4-6, and, also, keep your ears open for carolers in the halls as an end-of-the-semester treat!

- Michael


Michael Hernick recently graduated from Concordia University, Saint Paul with a major in History. He spent his summer buried in the Archive digging up interesting nuggets of Concordia's history. We will be highlighting his work with Throwback Thursday post, Treasures from the Archive, throughout the year!