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!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Graebner Memorial Chapel

Original chapel in Old Main, 1894-1918
Our campus has always had a chapel, but it has not always been the beauty of a building that it is today. In the earliest days of the school, the chapel was a large room on the first floor of Old Main. The pews were school desks, but it had a lovely pipe organ.

By 1914, enrollment had increased to the point of overcrowding in classrooms and dormitories. A new building, the Administration Building (or Meyer Hall as it is known now), was planned to house a new chapel-auditorium, a faculty room, a reception room, offices, seven new classrooms, a library, museum, and science laboratories.

The north end of the Administration Building was designated for the chapel-auditorium, or Aula. It was two stories high with a bank of beautiful stained glass windows facing Syndicate. The Aula was designed in the Renaissance style and featured elaborate ornamentation with Greek motifs. It had a stage, a gallery, and seated an audience of 350. The Aula served as the school’s chapel from 1918 until 1954.

Chapel-auditorium, Aula, in the Administration Building, 1918-1954
In 1953, construction began on the Lutheran Memorial Center—a new athletic facility. This created the opportunity for other remodeling projects on campus. The Aula was converted into 5 new classrooms and additional office space. The “old gymnasium” was transformed into the Graebner Memorial Chapel.

Graebner Memorial Chapel dedication service, November 13, 1955
As anyone who has been in our chapel can see, the renovations to the gymnasium made it almost unrecognizable as a former basketball court! Interior brick walls were added to enclose the vestry and sacristy; they were oriented to direct visual focus towards the altar. Stained glass windows and pews were installed. 

A new entrance and narthex were added to create a more “churchly” appearance. A steel bell tower topped with a cross was built near the entrance to house the old college bell and give it new life as the new chapel bell.
Exterior of the Graebner Memorial Chapel, 1955-2007
The addition of the Cross of Christ Fellowship Center and the slight renovations to the interior of the chapel make it the striking building that it is today.

As one of the oldest buildings on campus, Graebner Memorial Chapel has an interesting history. So, the next time you find yourself seated in the chapel, don’t be surprised if you think you hear the squeak of sneakers, the thump of a basketball being dribbled, the swoosh of the net, and cheers of fans… 

Friday, November 13, 2015

November is Native American Heritage Month

by Jackie Martini, Library Social Media Student Worker

November is Native American Heritage Month! First declared by George H.W. Bush in 1990, the month serves to draw special awareness to Native American history, culture, and social issues. 

Did you know? There are 11 reservations in Minnesota, 7 Ojibwe and 4 Dakota. Minneapolis is also the birthplace (and current headquarters) of the American Indian Movement.

The CSP library now has a Native American Heritage Month display on the main level of the library, featuring Native stories and many local authors. We've collected some snapshots here, but stop by the library to view the entire display and check out one of these interesting reads!

Louise Erdrich is an Ojibwe writer.  She writes poetry and children’s books, and most of her books have Native American themes to them.  Erdrich is one of the most significant authors of the second wave of the Native American Renaissance.  She is also a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.  She owns a bookstore, Birchbark Books, in Minneapolis.

Jane Katz has edited together several stories of special importance: those of Native American women. The women authors come from several different tribes and their stories vary widely; some are healers, some are mothers and grandmothers.  Daughters, dancers, modern women, and women remembering their roots all come together in Messengers of the Wind to tell their stories to the world.

Mary Crow Dog was born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  A Sicangu Lakota writer and activist, she was a member of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s and was involved in Wounded Knee. Mary’s memoir, Lakota Woman, won an American Book Award in 1991, and was later adapted into a film.  Mary Crow Dog passed away on February 14th, 2013.

David Treuer is the author of The Hiawatha, Little, Prudence, and Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual.  He was raised on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota.  Treuer is the son of an Austrian Jew and survivor of the Holocaust; his mother was a tribal court judge.  He went to Princeton after high school, graduating with degrees in anthropology and creative writing.

Learn more about Minnesota's Native communities here

Monday, November 2, 2015

Q & A with a Student Worker: Patrick McCune

Psychology Major, Business Minor
Hometown: Maple Lake, MN

What year are you in school? Where did you transfer in from, and how did you choose Concordia?
I’m a junior this year. From Augsburg's Biology program. I chose CSP on a chance, actually.  I had a lot of help, and did a lot of online research.  Priscilla talked to me about the Psych program, too.

How do you like working in the library?
It’s a lot of fun; I’m new to campus so it’s nice to meet a lot of people and help them out.

How does library work compare to other on- or off-campus jobs you’ve had?
I don’t have any other on-campus jobs now.  I still work as a PCA at Augsburg, though--I help an individual, a client, with day-to-day tasks.  It’s a step down from Certified Nursing Assistant.  I help my client live as normal a life as possible.

That sounds like a very cool job.  Do you do any other extracurriculars?
I play saxophone in the concert band and the jazz band.  I’ll be joining the Business and Psychology Clubs too, and will hopefully get involved with intramurals soon!

You’ll be busy! What is your favorite time of day to work in the library?
Morning is kind of nice; it forces me to be here, attentive, and awake.  It makes me less likely to just go to bed and sleep for longer after overnights!

That’s my favorite thing about morning shifts! Last question--are you taking any “just for fun” classes?
I’ve always been big into communications; I’ve done a lot of com. studies, and I’ve read a lot of those books.  Those people make things happen.  We learn a lot from those who are successful and have a higher chance of getting there ourselves if we do choose to learn.

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Luther Statue

On October 30, 1921, our statue of Martin Luther was installed on campus. This week marks the 94th anniversary of the installation. We recently had a number of silent films from our archive digitized through Minnesota Reflections. This film is from the dedication ceremony of the Luther Statue.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween: Staff Picks!

by Jackie Martini, Library Social Media Student Worker

Halloween approaches and everything is getting spooky (and darker!)!  The CSP library staff is busily working away--not just in the aftermath of the Harry Potter trivia night, but on future displays and events as well--but I got some of them to slow down for a few minutes and talk to me about a topic near and dear to everyone’s heart: books.  I got all kinds of answers to my question, Do you have a favorite fall/Halloween/scary read, author, or genre that you pick up this time of year for a good read?

"Halloween makes me want to read anything by Neil Gaiman: Coraline, The Wolves in the Walls, and the Sandman graphic novel series are particularly great for the Halloween season." -Megan

"There’s nothing “themed” right now--I’m reading Harry Potter, of course, and I love to write fall-themed pieces.  I would say it’s a very creative time for me!" -Amber

"I don't necessarily do a favorite Halloween read, but I can tell you about the book that terrified me when I first read it: Salem's Lot by Stephen King. It was the first King book I read when I was a teen, and not really knowing anything about it, I brought it with me to a babysitting job --and this was back in the pre-cable days when broadcast channels all went off the air around 1 am, so no TV to watch.
So... two little kids asleep, strange house, middle of the night, creepy vampire book... it totally freaked me out! I had to stop reading and hide the book under the sofa cushion!" -Jeanine

"I increase the amount of theology I read this time of year, particularly about the Reformation.  For more, see my new display downstairs on where All Saint's Eve came from!" -Nathan

"This is a challenging question for me since I really dislike all of the creepy stuff and have no typical Halloween/Fall reading habits. Usually it's whatever happens to strike my interest. This year, it just so happens, I'm in the midst of rereading the entire Harry Potter series. Currently I'm in the middle of book 2." -Jennifer

"I don’t have anything themed that I read specifically at this time.  I try to read one book a week.  I’m falling down on that a little, but I really like Stephen King things!" -Patrick

"I don’t do any themed reading, but I do watch Hocus Pocus every year!"  -Priscilla

Do you have a favorite fall read? Share it with us in the comments!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Q & A with a Librarian: Pang Kou Yang

Hometown:  St. Paul

Position:  Evening & Weekend Reference Librarian

How did you end up working at CSP?
I'm an alum!  I was a student worker while I went to school here so it made a lot of sense to come back and take the reference position.

When did you decide to be a librarian, and what did you go to school for?
I started working at the circulation desk and got interested in my senior year, so kind of late.  I love working in the library and finding information!  I decided to take that extra step and get the degree--Master of Library and Information Science.

What's it like being part of a mixed student/adult staff?
It is different from my usual experience working in a public library setting. I like it. It brings back my college years working in the library.

What's your dream job?
I do love working here, but I would love to be a public librarian full-time.  Right now I'm working here at Concordia part-time, and also over at the Dale Public Library part-time.

What's your favorite part of your job?
I love helping people with the research for a paper!  Just helping someone is a good feeling, and I like meeting and talking to the students as well.

What is your favorite book?
I have many favorite books!  One of my favorite is a children's book, The Rainbow Fish.  I read it to some kids for a class assignment and had a lot of fun!

Interview conducted by Jackie Martini, the CSP Library's social media student worker.