Visiting CMLE Libraries! College of St. Benedict

Clemens Library

This week I visited the College of St. Benedict’s Clemens Library. Thanks to Director Kathleen Parker for inviting me over and touring me around the library so I could see all their wonderful things, and meet some of the library staff!

It’s Sarah! And a book!

Everyone take a moment to wave at Sarah Gewirtz, as she shows us the latest book group reading for the library: “What if I Say the Wrong Thing? 26 Habits for Culturally Effective People” by Vernā Myers. I had not seen this book before this visit; but I think it will be added to the CMLE Librarian Professionals reading group in an upcoming month, as everyone works to reach out to community members. Sarah has also facilitated some Information Literacy work across CMLE academic and high school libraries; and we definitely want to repeat that program! We all have more things in common than might be immediately apparent; and Info Literacy is a core need for all libraries in serving their communities.

(I voted for Supernatural!)

And this library is not forgetting to reach out to their community! This display of books for Banned Book Week brought some interesting titles to the attention of their patrons. And letting people write in their favorite “Go-To Show” was clearly popular, as the board is covered in TV show titles and hashtags of people voting for their favorites.


Their Media Services Creativity Lab  was very exciting! In this lab, students are encouraged to be creative, and are supplied with the tools and assistance to make their creativity happen. This includes using the 3D printer, learning video editing, working on podcasting, and other skills that are necessary to be an information literate person today. The library also has a very well-equipped Computer Lab, and a very nice Training Center, along with a conference room.

QR code tour!

This was another great example of how the library staff at Clemens is reaching out to help their patrons. I love QR codes, and this one was part of a self-guided tour the library has set up to show patrons where all their resources are located. You can pick up a map of the library at the Circ Desk, with labels to show you where each of the QR code stops are located. Then just click, and get all the information about this area! Simple, effective, and a useful way to encourage patrons (and visitors!) to tour the facility.

Don’t be S.A.D.!

I loved seeing this example of how a partnership with other areas of the campus can provide great service in the library! In my tour Kathy pointed out all the natural light the library receives, and how much of the seating is located where patrons can see out a window. At CMLE Headquarters, we don’t have windows; and we are also working on providing full spectrum light for ourselves and for our plants! (Have you been to CMLE HQ to visit us, or the plants, yet?? Come by for a visit, or send us an email and we will send you a photo of the plants!)

Breaking Free IV

It is always nice to see art displayed in a library, as part of our mission to provide information in all sorts of formats! This statue was donated from the Gene and Sheelah Windfeldt family. It “symbolizes the college’s mission and the passion of every young woman that begins her journey here.” This is a good way to use visual arts to connect with not only the mission of the library and the college, but also with the interests of the library community. (And, it is just beautiful!)

Their partner library at St. John’s is undergoing renovation work right now; click here for some further information and a video of their progress! Look through the kind of information provided here: floor plans, FAQs, and a timeline letting everyone know when they will be open and ready to serve patrons. If you have done a renovation, or lived through construction in your library, you know how challenging it can be to not only make the library look great; but also to be sure patrons are kept up to date on your project. This is a wonderful example of a strategy to be sure it happens well!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to talk with me, and to tell me about all the things you are providing. I learned so much more than I can fit into this blog post. If you want to go tour the library yourself, contact the library staff so you can get all the good details! If there is enough interest, we could set up a CMLE member group tour so we could all see the library and their offerings.

I am “on tour” for the next few months, visiting all the members of CMLE! As I am new to this area, I want to get to know you, your services, your communities, and all the interesting things in YOUR library!! I have never been to a library that did not offer unique and exciting materials or programs or services; and yours will be great too! I am really looking forward to connecting with you; so when we send out the information on visiting in your area, let me know a good day and time so we can chat and I can be properly awed by all the work you are doing! 🙂