News & Events

Finalist Feature: This Was 2020: Minnesotans Write About Pandemics and Social Justice in a Historic Year

Category: Communities Create

Description: This Was 2020: Minnesotans Write About Pandemics and Social Justice in a Historic Year is a collection of writing by Minnesotans about living through the upheavals of a historic year. The short prose and poetry pieces address the COVID-19 pandemic and the justice for George Floyd movement along with the general political climate in the United States. The writers offer heartfelt reflections on the difficulties and the joys of navigating life during lockdowns and protests. Each contribution offers a glimpse into the range of experiences and reactions that Minnesotans had in a long year of radical changes to society.

Organization: Ramsey County Library is a system of seven public libraries in suburban Ramsey County, MN.

Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the libraries in making information, books, music, and programs available to the public.

We asked Ramsey County Library, “What does the library mean to your organization or the creation of your work?”

Ramsey County Library is excited to collect Minnesotans’ writing for its first book project, documenting a historic year and engaging our communities through writing.”

Winners will be announced at the 2021 Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference.

Finalist Feature: Stuck at Home: Entries from the Annual North Branch Area Library Poetry Contest

Category: Communities Create

Description: Stuck at Home is a collection of poems written by students of all ages for the North Branch Area Library’s annual poetry contest.

Organization: East Central Regional Library is a consolidated regional public library system providing library service in East Central Minnesota: Aitkin, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine Counties.

We asked East Central Regional Library “What does the library mean to the creation of your work?”

This work is the product of the North Branch Area Library’s annual poetry contest, so the library is at the heart and soul of this work. The library is a space where people of all backgrounds and experiences can come together, access resources, and learn with and from each other, which has always been reflected in the yearly contest. The theme of this year’s event, “Stuck at Home”, gave youth of all ages the opportunity to share their experiences living through the Covid-19 pandemic. The library usually hosts a event where poets read their contest entries. It’s one of the biggest events of the year, with friends, family, and teachers packing into the Community Room to hear the reading. Since this kind of gathering was not possible in pandemic circumstances, the library gathered the contest entries and made them available through this eBook.

Winners will be announced at the 2021 Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference.

Finalist Feature: A Children’s History of Grand Marais, Minnesota: Ice Cream & Fish

Category: Communities Create

Description: Ice Cream & Fish: A Children’s Illustrated Guide to Grand Marais, Minnesota was created in the pandemic summer of 2020. Outdoor Book Camp kids produced Parts I & II of Ice Cream & Fish, guided by Minnesota Children’s Press adult mentors in a 10-day Outdoor Book Camp.

Outdoor Book Camp took place on the porches, lawns, playgrounds, rocks, shallows, and shoreline of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota — an outside classroom — to ensure coronavirus-safe spaces with lots of fresh air, ample room for children to separate from each other — and play! — while being in proximity to collaborate on a book.

Part III illustrations were produced by 15 children in grades K-4 in a collaboration with the Cook County YMCA Kids’ Camp for a poster-parade of kindness.

Happy and connected — that’s a major goal of Outdoor Book Camp.

Outdoor Book Camp is a successful creative inquiry-based learning prototype involving four children in grades 5-7, and 15 children in grades K-4.

Organization: Minnesota Children’s Press is a new educational non-profit authoring and publishing collaborative. It’s a mobile, mentored publishing lab for Minnesota child authors, illustrators, designers, and editors in kindergarten-grade 10, or thereabouts.

Local Library: Arrowhead Library System

We asked Minnesota Children’s Press, “What does the library mean to your organization or the creation of your work?”

“Our Grand Marais Library is everything good and necessary to create and nourish an intellectually and civically engaged community: an intellectual, social and cultural lifeline connecting us to each other and a wider world in our small, isolated rural town. It is the safe hub… where as young authors, illustrators and publishers, we conduct market research on children’s books concepts, execution, style and design while we brainstorm ideas for next books. Through our library, we come to understand books as vessels of ideas and most of all, gain insights into why we read stories and the many many kinds we tell.”

Winners will be announced at the 2021 Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference.