Monday, September 28, 2015

A Student Perspective: Banned Books Week

by Jackie Martini
Banned Books Week comes and goes every year.  Libraries, bookstores, and schools tend to display banners, posters, bookmarks, t-shirts, and sometimes even actual displays full of books that are or were banned at one point.  For a whole week, “banned” books are more proliferous than any other kind.  What gives?  What is it all about?

Banned Books Week is more than just an excuse for book lovers to wear the colors red and black; it is a celebration of the freedom to read and the freedom from censorship of any kind, the week dedicated to a particular focus on the written word. 

Throughout history, people seeking to oppress others have burned books that do not fit into their world view.  One of the most famous examples is Adolf Hitler, whose oppressive laws on what books were or were not allowed were a mere foreshadowing of the horrors to come.  As Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), himself a controversial author, poet, journalist, and critic, said, “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings” – and this idea has been shown time and time again as oppressors attacked and destroyed the libraries of Alexandria, numerous university libraries, the original collection of the United States Library of Congress, the early braille books in Paris, and hundreds of other examples. 

The freedom to read has never meant only the freedom to access paper printed with ink.  It stands for the freedom of communication, the freedom of ideas, and the freedom of personhood.
Seeing that the United States had its own problem with censorship, one Judith Krug – a prominent First Amendment and library activist – founded the first Banned Books Week in 1982 after a sudden surge in book challenges and bannings in schools, bookstores, and libraries.  Readers, publishers, librarians, booksellers, and schools began to gather behind the movement, and today almost every American school-age child has seen the effects, though many are too young to understand exactly how significant the last week in September truly is.

According to the American Library Association, over 11,000 books have been challenged since the first Banned Books Week.  In 2014 alone, over 300 challenges were made to the Office of Intellectual Freedom.  Banned Books Week is about bringing these besmirched darlings into the light – books which include things like “foul” language and unorthodox or unpopular ideas – by calling attention to these works. 

CSP joins the ranks of thousands of other establishments each year, and it’s something our librarians get very excited about.  This year, there are display cases set up throughout the library, and the library’s social media presence for the week is dedicated to spreading the word.  To see what books our library has – full of words and ideas challenged by someone, somewhere – stop in and simply check out a display, find us on on Facebook and Twitter, or ask a librarian about Banned Books Week and the books that it celebrates.  Our librarians are very excited to share this week, the love of reading, and the freedom of information with anyone and everyone seeking the knowledge.

The top ten most frequently challenged books of 2014 are as follows:
1.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
2.  Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
3.  And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
4.  The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
5.  It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
6.  Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
7.  The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
8.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
9.  A Stolen Life,  by Jaycee Dugard
10.  Drama, by Raina Telgemeier

The list and reasons for their challenges as well as additional information can be found at

Jackie Martini is a senior at Concordia and a student worker in the CSP Library. She will be writing "A Student Perspective" blogs posts throughout the 2015-16 school year. Stay tuned for more of her work! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Concert Organ for the Buetow Music Center Auditorium

For those of you who have been into the Buetow Music Center Auditorium you have seen the breath-taking ceiling-high organ that dominates the wall behind the stage (for those who have yet to see it, you are in for a treat). Considering the organ is an integral part of the auditorium, it may surprise you that it was not part of the auditorium for the first few years of Buetow’s existence.

Buetow Music Center Auditorium before the installation of the concert organ.

During the dedication ceremony of the Buetow Memorial Music Center, Mr. Paul A. Schilling, a life-long friend of the building’s namesake Herbert P. Buetow, was inspired to fund the concert organ project.

Mrs. and Mr. Paul A. Schilling talk to Dr. Paul O. Manz about the pipe design for the new concert organ. 
The renowned Schlicker Organ Company was selected to build Concordia’s concert organ. The organ was designed specifically for the auditorium. Paul O. Manz, who was a member of Concordia’s music faculty at the time and is as beloved name in church music, worked closely with Herman L. Schlicker, founder and president of the company, to develop the tonal designs of the organ. Our organ was one of the last to be made by Schlicker. This organ is a master-crafted piece of work (I am not kidding about that breath-taking bit) and cost over $94,000 (how many semesters of tuition is that? I’ll let you do the math). The organ was delivered in pieces (pipes, keys, trackers, wind chests) and put together by John Obermeyer, local representative for Schlicker, and chief voicer, Louis Rothenbueger, who tuned and voiced the instrument to accurately fit the auditorium.

Completed Schlicker concert organ installed in the Buetow Music Center Auditorium.

A dedicatory recital was performed by Dr. Paul Manz on October 6, 1974.

Paul A. Schilling at the organ dedication on October 6, 1974.

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, September 17, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Arndt Science Hall

Edward L. Arndt, 1911 portrait
Professor Arndt, 1911
Edward L. Arndt was Concordia Saint Paul’s first science professor. He was installed in March 1897, and taught at CSP for 13 years. Professor Arndt was a man of strong convictions and an inability to compromise—especially when it came to academic excellence. Judging from some of the student life pictures we posted previously, he and the students may have been on different wavelengths! Arndt was at odds with the rest of the faculty regarding academic standards and was asked to leave CSP in 1910. He went on to establish The China Mission Society and spent the rest of his life as a missionary to China. In the archive, we have a set of Arndt’s autobiographical materials. If you are interested in finding out more about Professor Arndt, contact us to see the materials!

President William Poehler and Walter Sohn lead the groundbreaking ceremony for Arndt Science Hall, August 18, 1964

The Arndt Science Hall celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. In September 1965, Arndt Science Hall was dedicated to Professor Arndt as the first professor of science at Concordia College. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in August 1964, during the Minnesota South District Synod Convention. All attendees were asked to bring a shovel or a spade, line up along the marked outline of the building, and dig an outline of broken ground around the perimeter of the proposed building.

Construction of Arndt Science Building, 1964-65

The building was designed for staged renovation. The first floor of classrooms and labs and the second floor housing Concordia’s museum, curated by Professor Oswald Overn, were completed for the 1965-66 academic year. The building was designed to support a third floor if further expansion was required. In 1988-89, the building was renovated to complete the second floor. The Arndt Science Hall has continued to adapt as CSP’s programs grow. The building has been modernized to include new labs, audio-visual facilities, and a cadaver lab!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: E.M. Pearson Theatre

Week 4: E.M. Pearson Theatre

Aerial shot of campus circa 1959

Concordia’s campus has its fair share of wonders, right? The Knoll at any time of the year, the Beutow Auditorium, but one that serves as a beacon for the school has to be E. M. Pearson Theatre. It opened September 10, 1994, (21! Who is taking it out for drinks?) and whether you are on campus or off, the building is a sight to behold.

In 1989-90, President Johnson and consultants raised 15 million dollars for future projects. This money was put toward E. M. Pearson Theatre and the Gangelhoff Center. Previously, drama productions were performed in the Beutow Music Auditorium, while a beautiful space, it was not designed specifically for drama. The Pearson Theatre was designed for flexibility; rows of seats can be added or subtracted, balconies and side wings can be used for seating or performance space, and hydraulic staging was designed so it could be lowered for additional seating or used as an orchestra pit. The theatre was designed with students in mind, so the entire space was designed to be used as a classroom—including the stage itself. In addition to the theatre, the building also houses a theatre lab and a dance studio/drama classroom.

This theater was, and still is, a beautiful addition to Concordia. My first impression of it was when I was 12 and I came to see a play; to me, Pearson was awe-inspiring.

- Michael

Groundbreaking for E.M. Pearson Theatre, 1993

Pearson Theatre site
Pearson Theatre under construction

Pearson Theatre completed

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, September 3, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Concordia Academy

Week 3: Concordia Academy

New bus of Concordia Junior College and High School, St. Paul, Minn.

For those of you who paid attention and still remember our first post, you may recall that Concordia did not start out as a university, but as a high school and junior college. Like all things in life, change must come, and such was the case in the transition from high school to four year college. Up until Concordia became a coeducational school in 1950, the all-male high school dominated Concordia’s educational focus. However, Concordia was striving to become a four-year college and for accreditation purposes, a separation of high school and college needed to take place.

In 1967, a four-year merger between Concordia High School and the St. Paul Lutheran High School Association (LHSA) began. The LHSA owned a high school in Roseville, just six miles north of Concordia, making it an ideal candidate for consolidation. As Concordia High School was formerly a residential campus, during the four year transition, students that were previously enrolled in the high school lived in Luther Hall were bussed to Concordia Academy. After the four year transition, Concordia Academy was officially owned and operated by the LHSA and the 74 year era of the all-male high school here at Concordia ended.

Concordia High School graduated 2,146 students over its 74 years, many of whom continued studying to enter professional service in the church.

- Michael

Below are some images from our postcard collection. Campus life was a little different before those girls showed up and started "distracting" all the boys...

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!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Q&A with a Library Student Worker: Melvil D. Sloth

Melvil D. Sloth is a first year student and new student worker at CSP Library. He is a unique face around campus and is paving the way in higher ed for sloth students everywhere!

Snack break
To get to know Melvil candidly, we asked him a series of "speed round" questions before delving into the "deep" stuff. We asked him to answer the following questions with the first thing that popped into his head:

Biggest pet peeve: Anything that requires me to move quickly (deadlines, fire drills, alarm clocks, needing to be on time…)

Favorite comfort food: Pineapple and arugula pizza! Try it!

Favorite movie: Any superhero movie! I marvel at their physical strength. Did you know that a sloth only has 25% body muscle? The average adult male is 42%, but superheroes are closer to 54%!

What song is stuck in your head right now? “It’s a small world after all, it’s a small, small world!” There - now it’s stuck in YOUR head too!

Tell me one weird fact about yourself: I don’t sleep as much as people think I do--only about 10 hours per day. That’s what most college students sleep anyway (or wish they could), or so I hear.

Now, we'll get into those "deep" questions:

Tell us a little bit about your hometown.
I’m originally from Santarem, Brazil, but moved to the Como Park area of St. Paul as a young sloth. I love the big trees in Como Park and being so close to Chloe at the Como Zoo. I like to keep up with my sloth friends via Facebook: Sometimes I browse the pictures and videos for hours… maybe that’s just because I’m a bit of a slowpoke…

What drew you to Concordia?
I love the diversity that Concordia, St. Paul has! Even though I am a bit of a non-traditional student, I feel at home with Concordia’s student body. I like that CSP is an urban campus! Even though I practically live in the library, it’s pretty cool that I could just hop on the Green Line and explore both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Luckily the train comes every 10-15 minutes, so if it takes me a while to get to the station I won’t have to wait too long for the next train! The average walking pace of a human is about 3 miles per hour. My average pace is 6-8 feet per minute or about 1/10th of a mile per hour--so if you see me walking around the neighborhood, please stop and give me a ride!

What are you majoring in?  Yikes! That’s a scary question! When do I have to decide that? I am interested in so many different things. Maybe art (since I like to take pictures), or biology (something in the animal sciences), or communications (I’ve recently discovered that I love being on social media!), or… I guess I’m undeclared right now...

What do you like about working in the CSP library?
Unlike many sloths, I would describe myself as a people person. I always have a smile on my face and love to meet new people. The library is full of students studying and meeting up with their friends. I love being in the midst of such a hub of learning and socializing on campus. As an extra perk, I get a sneak peak at all the new books and first dibs on required readings that my professors put on reserve at the library. Besides hanging around at the Circulation Desk to help students check out books, my favorite task is supervising shelving duties since I get a free ride around the library on a book cart!

What are you currently reading?
I’m making my way through Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Spain, Germany, and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia—and Even Iraq—Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport, by Simon Kuper. You might know that soccer is a really, really big deal in Brazil. And even though I'm not very good at playing (with my short legs, I can't run fast enough to keep up to the ball), I absolutely L-O-V-E soccer! This book is an entertaining and analytical discussion of the game I love, even if I find it hard to understand the statistics they talk about in it. An easy way to describe the book is that Soccernomics is to soccer what Moneyball is to baseball. Sadly though, I already have so much homework that I don’t have much time to read for fun right now...

We are enjoying Melvil's spunk and the energy he brings to the Library (surprising for a sloth...)! He has taken over the Library's Twitter feed @CSPlibrary, so make sure to watch for his tweets! We are also starting a "Melvil Fan Club." Visit the Library for fan club flair (coming soon!) and free hugs from Melvil!