Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Catching Up: National Library Week

I think this is the last post in my "catching up" series. After that I'll be up-to-date. Maybe some of us just have way too much fun in our work. Or maybe I'm feeling especially fortunate. For whatever reason, it was a special treat for me to accept an invitation from the South-central Minnesota Inter-Library Exchange (SMILE) to be their guest speaker on April 15 for National Library Week. The chosen topic for the evening? What else, but Sherlock Holmes.

The theme for the evening was "Sleuthing @ Your Library with Sherlock Holmes" and the event was held in Meyer Hall at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato. I arrived early to set up and had the chance to meet Orrin Ausen, the library director at Bethany who was setting up items for the silent auction. Meyer Hall is one of the newest buildings on a little gem of a campus. It was hard to stay indoors on such a beautiful day, but I held myself in check and explored more of the campus. After setting up I chatted with some of the guests. Maybe the biggest delight for me that evening was to reconnect with Dayle Zelenka, executive director of the Traverse des Sioux Library System and the director of SMILE, and his wife Gena. Dayle and I overlapped our careers for a few years together on the library staff at North Park in Chicago. I'd seen an earlier reference that Dayle was being considered for the position in Minnesota and it was a cause for celebration when I heard that he'd landed the position. I have to admit that Gena through me a little bit of a curve when she walked into the room and said "is that TJ?" I hadn't heard that nickname for a bit, and I have to admit to some confusion when "is that TJ?" came my way. (I'm actually very fond of the nickname, one generally used by my close friends from back in college or high school; at work in Chicago I was often called "Keeper.")

But enough about nicknames. Back to the evening, which went from a delightful dinner to the silent auction and then to my presentation. I had a chance to talk about the foundation of the "Norwegian Explorers" and the Holmes Collections at the University. Along the way I introduced the audience to the wider Sherlockian world, the Baker Street Irregulars, some of the actors who've portrayed Holmes, etc. By all accounts the evening was a success, and I'm glad I could do my little bit to help promote libraries and National Library Week. My thanks to Dayle and Orrin for arranging the evening, and my special thanks to Leslie Peterson, assistant to the Dean of the Library at Minnesota State University. Leslie was my initial contact and extremely helpful in all the details related to the evening and my appearance. I hope our paths cross again!

No comments: