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Community engagement and the Kerlan — Fall 2024

The Kerlan staff and volunteers had an exciting Fall semester. We continued to participate in community events like the Minnesota Children’s Book Festival at the Anderson Center in Redwing, the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Festival and Book Week with Jason Chin, author/illustrator of “The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey.”

Students sit around a table and color with markers.

Students are introduced to archival materials from the Kerlan at the Bell Museum on Nov. 4, 2023.

Minnesota Children’s Book Festival

At noon on Saturday, September 17, Team Kerlan, led by Mary Schultz, set up at the Minnesota Children’s Book Festival. The facsimiles of archival materials and books of authors and illustrators including John Coy, Lauren Stringer, Donna Jo Napoli, Wanda Gag, LeUyen Pham, and Brian Pinkney were on display. Writing Box materials were available for writers of all ages and there wasn’t an empty seat at the tables as children and parents wrote Heart Maps, poems, postcards and menus. (Free download of the Writing Boxes book at A similar program was presented at the Bell Museum on November 4 (picture above).

Awardees and U of M Libraries staff pictured at the 2023 Kerlan Awards

2023 Kerlan Awards. From left to right: Volunteer Coordinator Mary Schultz; University Librarian and Dean of Libraries Lisa German; Awardee Lauren Stringer; Awardee Laurie Hertzel; Archives and Special Collections Director Kris Kiesling. (Photo/Luke Logan)

The 2023 Kerlan Awards

On Tuesday, October 11, the Kerlan Friends presented the Kerlan Award to author/illustrator Lauren Stringer and journalist Laurie Hertzel.

The Twin Cities Book Festival

We are in our 10th year partnering with Rain Taxi at the Twin Cities Book Festival. It was an exciting day surrounded by authors, illustrators, and book lovers of all ages.


Mary Schultz and Kate Stolpman promoted the work of children’s book creators with exhibits at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. The Children’s Theatre exhibits tied Kerlan materials with “Alice in Wonderland” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” They also created displays at Andersen Library and Peik Hall for the College of Education and Human Development, featuring Laurie Hertzel, Lauren Stringer, and Jason Chin.

Author Jason Chin sits at a table in front of archival materials while U of M Library's Mary Schultz stands next to him

2023 Chase Lecturer Jason Chin and Volunteer Coordinator Mary Schultz review the dummies from “Balloons Over Broadway” by Melissa Sweet.

Jason Chin visits the Kerlan

Jason Chin explored the Melissa Sweet papers when he visited the Kerlan. When he wondered what glue she used in her collage images and how she put together her dummies, we sent her the query. Melissa generously texted back the answers to his questions.

Media and Promotion

Lisa Von Drasek promoted reading, literacy, and the Kerlan with guest appearances on Minnesota Live, MPR News with Angela Davis, WCCO, and regional news interviews.

Two students sit at a table viewing typed manuscript materials

Second year students from CEHD.


The Kerlan staff taught in a variety of classes from the U of M, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Hamline University.

Join us for upcoming events this spring, including Friends Forum — The Joy of Children’s Literature: A Conversation Without a Net on April 14, 2024, and the 2024 Noami C. Chase Lecture sponsored by CEHD and The Kerlan on April 16, 2024!

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