Beyond Books

exterior of library focusing on gold front doors
April 11, 2019

Libraries = Strong Communities

ALA National Library Week is April 7 - 13 and this year’s theme is “Libraries = Strong Communities.” Libraries fill a niche in our communities, and are one of the only places in a community that are equal ground for all regardless of race, age, gender, political affiliation, religion, etc.  Their services are almost always free, and they often provide many services for those in need.

As a society we have a general understanding that libraries are full of books, but libraries also serve a much greater purpose - a place for and of community: for culture and civic engagement, for technology and access.  The Kathryn A. Martin library is no exception to this rule. The Martin library not only serves the University of Minnesota Duluth campus, it also serves Duluth’s community. Here are some of the many services the Kathryn A. Martin Library provides:

graphic novels

Library's Graphic Novel Collection.

1 . Books/Materials

The Martin Library is home to over 300, 000 books...not including those available digitally (those number just under around 900,000). However, Martin Library also offers access to a hefty list of databases. Those looking for materials that are not available directly in the collection can use both the Get It and Interlibrary Loan services which request items from University of Minnesota and non-UM libraries. 

2. Research and Learning

Author Neil Gaiman once said: “Google can give you 100,000 answers, but a librarian can give you the right one.” Martin Library has a designated team of Research Librarians, and each librarian is a liaison to an academic department or major.  Research Librarians can guide students in the entire research process: from defining a topic to managing citations. You will also likely find one these knowledgeable staff during Research Help hours.

In addition to providing help for students and faculty, this dedicated team of research librarians work in the classroom with faculty and provide course support in a myriad of ways.

3. Archives & Special Collections

The Martin library is home to the Archives and Special Collections, led by Archivist Aimee Brown. The archives is a unique and valuable resource that has been used by faculty and students for an array of projects.  The archives also serves an important role of record-keeping - you can find UMD history as well as some local history. The Archives can help supplement research and course content, and the archives team enjoys seeing how available materials can be of use for faculty and students. 

4. Events

Events are a great way to welcome new people into the library. They also aim to provide opportunity for creativity, critical thinking, discussion, reflection, and building community.  The Kathryn A. Martin Library holds events throughout the year. The Stress Less event focuses on stress-reduction for students before and during finals: activity tables, yoga, knitting, and coffee each morning during the week are some of the activities students can participate in. The Library is also home to the Listening Project, with its goal of fostering communication and understanding between members of the campus community.

The Library also holds new display case themes each month which are created by library staff and campus organizations or departments.

5. Spaces

The Kathryn A. Martin Library is truly a place for all. The first and second floors are devoted to “talk zones” those spaces which it is perfectly acceptable to meet with a group and hash out a project, or play a board game. The annex, third and fourth floors are all designated “quiet zones” - spaces meant to provide minimal distraction for those who want to read or work on homework. Additionally, the library has 21 group study rooms, two of which are sensory rooms.

At the heart of this academic library is research and learning, but it is really so much more. It is a place where our campus and community can come together to learn, to engage, to reflect, and to grow.