A co-worker and I attended the EQSSymposium on Tuesday May 23, 2017. It was held on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. We enjoyed a full day of attending various ‘classes’ that were all presented by librarians from either the University of Minnesota or various academic and public libraries. A couple of highlights were the rare books we got to see at the Natural Resources Library on the university campus and learning a Japanese book binding technique. Each class we attended had practical applications for future program ideas, which was wonderful!

The first hour of our symposium was a class called History Detective in which we learned various techniques to help with genealogy searches. We learned of a few websites that have some free information on a limited basis, but overall most sites require some sort of payment or membership. The most popular technique seems to be to sign up for a free month-long trial and cram as much searching into that month before they would have to start paying!

Our second event was a walking tour to the Goldstein Museum of Design located in the College of Design which is again, on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The director of the museum and another professor had us do a scavenger hunt of sorts with items they had pulled from their museum collections. It was very entertaining and I learned that not everything is what it seems! I decided this would be an interesting program idea with a local historical society to do with adults or children. They just had objects out on tables and we were each given a piece of paper with descriptions on it. We had to match up the descriptions with the objects. I don’t think anybody got everything correct, but it was fun to find out at the end what everything truly was.

After lunch we had another walking tour to the Natural Resources Library. We were able to see books that were super old (1600s!) and incredibly beautiful. The illustrations, coloring, bindings were just incredible. The time and effort it took to produce one book made each book a true work of art.

Our last event of the day was a class in learning a Japanese book binding technique that was taught by a woman who does book conservation and repair for the University of Minnesota. We did a ‘stab’ method that required poking holes in many layers of paper with very sketchy awls! The books turned out beautifully and I would love to do something with this newly acquired skill again in the future.