The Coffee House Press Writers and Readers Library Residency Program

CHP In the Stacks: An Interview with Bailey Diers, Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections Librarian (Part 2)
What have you enjoyed most about having a writer/reader in residence?Hans has been exploring bits and pieces of all of our collections. It’s been fun to pull materials from collections that are not often used, like the Fine Press and Book Arts Collection, which has over 2,000 artists’ books and books about books! Hans, a book lover, reacts to each item he sees as if each one is a work of art. Many of our patrons read the content, taking little notice of the book as object.

Has having a writer/reader in residence made you look at your collection differently? If so, how?Most of our patrons come into the department with a pretty specific research topic in mind (or with no interest in research, but just to take in the space). When Hans first came in he was open to and interested in exploring everything. It really made me realize how vast and incredible our collections truly are, but it also made me consider the levels of access we provide to our materials. We’re a non-browsing, non-circulating collection, which can make it difficult for an artist, or anyone, to browse our materials. However, more and more of our material is becoming available online and we are improving ways that patrons can virtually browse our collections, including the new online catalog (currently in beta) which will be fully released this fall. Improving access to our collections will expand the range of uses for the collections.Hans Weyandt is currently a writer-in-residence at the Central branch of the Hennepin County Library. Join us Thursday, September 18th at 6:15 pm for a tour of the collection and a conversation with Hans and Bailey. Visit our Facebook event page for more info.  

CHP In the Stacks: An Interview with Bailey Diers, Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections Librarian (Part 2)

What have you enjoyed most about having a writer/reader in residence?

Hans has been exploring bits and pieces of all of our collections. It’s been fun to pull materials from collections that are not often used, like the Fine Press and Book Arts Collection, which has over 2,000 artists’ books and books about books! Hans, a book lover, reacts to each item he sees as if each one is a work of art. Many of our patrons read the content, taking little notice of the book as object.

Has having a writer/reader in residence made you look at your collection differently? If so, how?

Most of our patrons come into the department with a pretty specific research topic in mind (or with no interest in research, but just to take in the space). When Hans first came in he was open to and interested in exploring everything. It really made me realize how vast and incredible our collections truly are, but it also made me consider the levels of access we provide to our materials. We’re a non-browsing, non-circulating collection, which can make it difficult for an artist, or anyone, to browse our materials. However, more and more of our material is becoming available online and we are improving ways that patrons can virtually browse our collections, including the new online catalog (currently in beta) which will be fully released this fall. Improving access to our collections will expand the range of uses for the collections.


Hans Weyandt is currently a writer-in-residence at the Central branch of the Hennepin County Library. Join us Thursday, September 18th at 6:15 pm for a tour of the collection and a conversation with Hans and Bailey. Visit our Facebook event page for more info.  

CHP In the Stacks: An Interview with Bailey Diers, Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections Librarian (Part 1)

How many years have you worked in this collection?3 years, full-time for the past 15 months.What is the focus of your collection?
Special Collections houses six collections, the largest and most heavily used being the Minneapolis History Collection, one of the area’s best local history resources. The collection contains historic and current materials related to the city including more than 300 archival and manuscript collections, thousands of files of newspaper clippings, maps, photographs, postcards, yearbooks, periodicals, and more.Our other collections are primarily rare book collections, though several also include manuscripts and other primary documents: Kittleson World War II Collection, Huttner Abolition and Anti-Slavery Collection, Nineteenth Century American Studies Collection, Hoag Mark Twain Collection, and the Fine Press and Book Arts Collection.

Who is the primary patron of your collection? How do they use your collection?We’re a public library so our patron base is broad. Regular repeat patrons include historical researchers, historical preservationists, and city planners, who primarily research buildings, businesses, people, and neighborhoods. High school and college students often use our collection for local history courses and projects. And many of our walk-ins are members of the general public seeking information on their home, family, business, or any number of random topics.What are some of the more unique items in your collection?Our archival collections contain some of the most unique material in our collections—hundreds of menus from Minneapolis restaurants from the 1800s to today, the late 19th century diaries of a young boy named Ezra Fitch Pabody, thousands of early 20th century political cartoons by Charles Bartholomew, original music manuscripts by local conductors and composers, hundreds of thousands of photographs of the city of Minneapolis—the list goes on.If you could lock the doors and spend a whole day just browsing for yourself, what would you look for? What books interest you the most?
I would like to spend time digging through the more personal items in our archival collections—the handwritten diaries and correspondence documenting the often trivial happenings of daily life in an earlier Minneapolis and the scrapbooks bursting at the seams with news clippings, theater programs, photographs, and personal mementos. These days, so much personal information is online, available for the world to see. When the scrapbooks and diaries in our collection were created many decades ago, their creators likely never imagined the content could one day be made public, so who knows what secrets they hold!Hans Weyandt is currently a writer-in-residence at the Central branch of the Hennepin County Library. Join us Thursday, September 18th at 6:15 pm for a tour of the collection and a conversation with Hans and Bailey. Visit our Facebook event page for more info.  

CHP In the Stacks: An Interview with Bailey Diers, Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections Librarian (Part 1)

How many years have you worked in this collection?

3 years, full-time for the past 15 months.

What is the focus of your collection?

Special Collections houses six collections, the largest and most heavily used being the Minneapolis History Collection, one of the area’s best local history resources. The collection contains historic and current materials related to the city including more than 300 archival and manuscript collections, thousands of files of newspaper clippings, maps, photographs, postcards, yearbooks, periodicals, and more.

Our other collections are primarily rare book collections, though several also include manuscripts and other primary documents: Kittleson World War II Collection, Huttner Abolition and Anti-Slavery Collection, Nineteenth Century American Studies Collection, Hoag Mark Twain Collection, and the Fine Press and Book Arts Collection.

Who is the primary patron of your collection? How do they use your collection?

We’re a public library so our patron base is broad. Regular repeat patrons include historical researchers, historical preservationists, and city planners, who primarily research buildings, businesses, people, and neighborhoods. High school and college students often use our collection for local history courses and projects. And many of our walk-ins are members of the general public seeking information on their home, family, business, or any number of random topics.

What are some of the more unique items in your collection?

Our archival collections contain some of the most unique material in our collections—hundreds of menus from Minneapolis restaurants from the 1800s to today, the late 19th century diaries of a young boy named Ezra Fitch Pabody, thousands of early 20th century political cartoons by Charles Bartholomew, original music manuscripts by local conductors and composers, hundreds of thousands of photographs of the city of Minneapolis—the list goes on.

If you could lock the doors and spend a whole day just browsing for yourself, what would you look for? What books interest you the most?

I would like to spend time digging through the more personal items in our archival collections—the handwritten diaries and correspondence documenting the often trivial happenings of daily life in an earlier Minneapolis and the scrapbooks bursting at the seams with news clippings, theater programs, photographs, and personal mementos. These days, so much personal information is online, available for the world to see. When the scrapbooks and diaries in our collection were created many decades ago, their creators likely never imagined the content could one day be made public, so who knows what secrets they hold!


Hans Weyandt is currently a writer-in-residence at the Central branch of the Hennepin County Library. Join us Thursday, September 18th at 6:15 pm for a tour of the collection and a conversation with Hans and Bailey. Visit our Facebook event page for more info.  

In The Stacks with Hans Weyandt: Printed Matter

One happy surprise of my time spent in Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections is how it has bled into other parts of my life.

By extension, I am riding the light-rail more frequently than normal. I get on at the 46th St. station and exit at Nicollet Mall. Less than a five minute walk and I’m inside the library.

I always start my time in residence by going over some of the books I looked at on my previous visit. The staff is very willing to let people keep a cart with the books they are using for their work or pleasure. So I look at some more of the birding books and some of the treasures I’ve chosen for their hand-stitched bindings or vellum covers or simply because their title, date or subject matter was of interest. I also have an ongoing log of things to look under my username on the electronic catalog. It’s a good way to mix the old and new ways this library functions.

A lot of titles that come up in my searches—most often under ‘hand-press, ‘letterpress’, ‘history of books’ lead me to the general non-fiction section of the 4th floor. Near the back corner I wander the stacks and grab a few things at random to check out or take back with me into Special Collections. I’ve spent a lot of time, lately, with a wonderful book from Phaidon on the history of typography. It’s an art book, but it details the specific changes in typeface and letters over time.
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I’ve also enjoyed looking at Hatch Show Print which is a collection of the legendary print shop’s iconic signs and posters. Hatch Show Print would be recognizable to many of us, if not by name, then by the amazing letterpress work they’ve created since 1879 in Nashville. It is now owned by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s more than music posters. Art prints of animals and Airstream trailers and flyers for sporting events. Vanderbilt vs. Michigan; Admisson: $2 & $1.50.

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One of my favorites is a window poster from 1967 for a show on April 22nd at the Minneapolis Auditorium. It reads: Smoky Smith Presents The Fabulous Johnny Cash Show. June Carter, The Tenn. Three, Mother Maybelle and Carter Family, The Statler Bros., Carl Perkins.

Tickets ranged from $1-$3.

Like many of Hatch’s prints, it is a reminder of the art that surrounds us all on a daily basis and art that over time brings back great memories and feelings of nostalgia. I wonder how many people attended that concert. I couldn’t find a set-list for the show but did find out that Johnny played at the Rochester Mayo Civic Center two nights before.

Hans Weyandt is currently a writer-in-residence at the Central branch of the Hennepin County Library. Hans has worked at four independent bookstores in St. Paul and Minneapolis over the past 15 years. He is the former co-owner of Micawber’s Books and the editor of “Read This! Handpicked Favorites from America’s Indie Bookstores” published by Coffee House Press. He currently works at Sea Salt Eatery, Moon Palace Books and Big Bell Ice Cream.


Join us Thursday, September 18th at 6:15 pm for a tour of the collection and a conversation with Hans.. Visit our Facebook event page for more info.  

 

Don’t forget to visit the friendly librarians on The Floating Library this weekend! Click the link for hours and location.

Don’t forget to visit the friendly librarians on The Floating Library this weekend! Click the link for hours and location.