CBHL 2017: Expanding Access visits the Twin Cities

The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries met for its annual conference in Chaska, Minnesota this year.  The conference, which took place June 5th through June 9th, was attended by three Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature team members: Susan Fraser, Susan Lynch, and Mariah Lewis.

Tuesday the team hosted a pre-conference workshop titled “Contributing to a National Digital Infrastructure, with Help Every Step of the Way.”  The workshop was attended by both members of CBHL and those outside CBHL who were interested in the Expanding Access project.  The training covered a variety of topics including collection development, the Digital Public Library of America, metadata, imaging standards, BHL related tools and defining articles within BHL. The three-hour session was well attended and some attendees are expected to contribute to BHL in the upcoming months while others have already added content through Expanding Access.  Check out the Lloyd Library and Museum’s contributions here!

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Tuesday evening, after a day of committee meetings, the opening reception kicked off the annual CBHL meeting.  A wonderful evening of hors d’oeuvres allowed members to reconnect and meet the ten first time attendees.

The next day was spent at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a quick drive past Prince’s Paisley Park.  Kathy Allen, this year’s host and the Librarian at the Andersen Horticultural Library, welcomed CBHL members and introduced the Arboretum Director, Peter C. Moe, who gave a thorough, informative and interesting introduction to the Arboretum.  This was followed by a presentation about the Arboretum’s education programs by the Director of the Education Department, Tim Kenny.

The next presentation of the day followed David Bedford’s experiences with apple breeding at the University of Minnesota.  A Senior Research Fellow at the Horticultural Research Center, Bedford took the audience through a history of apple migration and how exactly we get those delicious apple varieties we see in the grocery store.  Notably, the University of Minnesota has developed such apple varieties as Honeycrisp, Regent, and SweeTango.

Wednesday afternoon was spent touring the garden and the Andersen Horticultural Library. Following this was a tram ride around 3-Mile Drive and a stop in at the newly constructed Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center, which has been open less than a year.  The Center was created to be both an educational and outreach project in association with the University of Minnesota’s world-renowned bee research.

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Thursday the attendees ventured to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.  The morning kicked off in the Wangensteen Library of Biology & Medicine, where tours of the stacks and a rare book showing were given.  Later, members were able to tour the Weisman Art Museum and spend time in the Dear Darwin exhibit.  The crew then walked across the Mississippi on their way to the Elmer L. Andersen Library.

The early afternoon was spent between two activities.  The first was a presentation on the University of Minnesota’s Children’s Literature Research Collection which included a viewing of original artwork by Anne Ophelia Dowden, Betsy Bowen, and Phyllis Root.  The second activity was a tour through the Minnesota Library Access Center- the cavernous storage facility that can hold up to 1.4 million volumes.  With shelves standing 17 feet tall, items are shelved by size and retrieved by forklift.  Later that afternoon there was a panel discussion of Collection Stewardship.

After the group’s time at the University of Minnesota, they traveled to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, taking advantage of the range of art and artifacts in the wonderfully-curated exhibits.  Also nearby was “Eat Street.”  Covering seventeen blocks, Eat Street incorporates a number of different culinary styles, flavors and atmospheres.

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On Friday, the annual meeting returned to the Andersen Arboretum.  After a morning of business meetings, a joint CBHL/Friends of the Andersen Horticultural Library Luncheon was held.  CBHL members were able to enjoy the company of the Friends of the Library, who had graciously helped secure the luncheon speaker, and furniture designer legacy Mira Nakashima.  Reflecting on the life and career of her father, master furniture designer George Nakashima, and the current pieces the company is now working to create, Mira Nakashima’s presentation allowed the audience to travel with her into her memories.  After lunch Mira Nakashima led small group tours of the Andersen Library’s Nakashima furniture collection.

That afternoon, there was an Arboretum Behind-the-Scene bus tour where participants were able to see more than just the main area.  This included seeing the apple orchards referenced in an earlier presentation and the home of the osprey family that stars in the University of Minnesota Osprey Cam.

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The conference concluded after the Annual Literature Award Ceremony and Banquet.  Each year, after the presentation of the awards and during the banquet, the members enjoy a final speaker and the book raffle.

This year’s banquet speaker was Dr. David Zlesak.  An Associate Professor of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin, the presentation focused on the plant introduction pipeline.  This follows the life of new varieties from planning and breeding to marketing and selling.

Eight member presentations were given throughout the week.  A chance to share institutional projects with other members, the topics included plant information, children’s literature diversity, film crews in archives, Wikipedia edit-a-thons, bookplates, book reviews, lost gardens, and a new collection management system at the Morton Arboretum.

To read more about the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Annual Conference, check out the September issue of the CBHL Newsletter.

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Mariah Lewis is a Metadata Specialist at The New York Botanical Garden as part of the BHL Expanding Access project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.