With some recent archival projects on our plate an article from MPR News caught the attention of Lindsey Dyer our Director of Library Services. “File this under nostalgia: New book pays tribute to the library card catalog“ shares information about a new book from the Library of Congress entitled, “The Card Catalog: Books, Cards and Literary Treasures.” It celebrates catalogs “as the analog ancestor of the search engine.” Library of Congress author, Peter Deveraux, states that “There’s tens of millions of cards here. It’s a city block long.” This was a very timely article considering some of the historic catalog items we recently found here at the James J. Hill Center. Lindsey recently took some time to dig up and share a few iconic treats from the vault.
Lindsey: Card catalogs are indeed “cabinets of curiosities” as are the ways we have kept track of information over time. Librarians worked tirelessly to create calm in the chaos of information, cutting and pasting any relevant facts and tid-bits. Take these snapshots in time from the 1980s – gems of nostalgia for Gen Xers and older millennials. What research paper would be complete without the help of the card catalog?
At the Hill, business librarians had a special task of identifying and capturing industry trends – like how Nike is taking over the sneaker industry, or the rise in fax machine sales. While the methods have certainly changed (we aren’t cutting out and taping facts to cards, though I have to admit that sounds cathartic), we still aim to find the best industry information there is, combing databases (paid and free), and translating that information.
We have been, and always will be, an entrepreneur’s best resource!
Visit the James J. Hill Center and it’s reference library Monday through Thursday 10AM to 5PM and check out all of the current resources. Also, ask one of our business librarians for some assistance with a database and see what gems of knowledge you can find to build you business success.
We can’t officially wrap up National Library Week without reflecting on the week’s theme of transformation, and what that means to reference libraries like ours at the Hill Center.
When the value of a cultural institution is in question, it’s really the relevance of the institution that’s at stake. For reference libraries many times their relevance is translated into the number of visitors, number of clicks, and number of positive survey results – but even with this data, the impression of relevance can often times be missed. In order to truly understand relevancy, we need to understand our impact on a case-by-case basis and this is often times qualitative. We need to ask questions like – have we transformed to meet the real needs of our community? Are we providing an inclusive space to think differently, share ideas and take risks? These questions are hard to measure but at the Hill Center we have begun to see the results.
James J. Hill has played a pivotal role in introducing me to the start-up culture. From presenting at 1 Million Cups and attending its many thought-leader panels, I have richly benefited from the proactive resources and seemingly infinite networking opportunities” Entrepreneur
“The fact that I have this resource available to me, both the facility and research staff, is an absolute relief.”
According to IBISWorld, the Library industry forecasts a slow and steady growth in the next five years – whereas the online database and print book industries are forecasting a decline. This tells us that the nature of the traditional reference library is already transforming into new arenas. At the Hill, this means that beyond offering key business information, we don’t just rely on what we have – we rely on who we know – and what we can do.
At the Hill Center, we meet our community at every point in their entrepreneurial journey. Whether you’re thinking about starting a business or find yourself needing data to branch out into a new market – we have the “secret sauce” that will get you to the next level. What’s the recipe? We like to think our people make all the difference.
Being relevant isn’t just about having relevant information – it’s about having a welcoming space for ideas to fly. The Hill Center creates a space for meaningful engagement in our business community – and it shows. Come to a 1 Million Cups presentation on a Wednesday morning, and you will see the space transformed into a conduit for idea and talent sharing, and just sometimes that right connection to take your idea to the next level.
What I appreciate most about the Hill Center, is the continued commitment from staff to uphold the entrepreneurial spirit of our “founding father,” James J. Hill. The original entrepreneur, Hill didn’t take hard work for granted, and neither do we. We’re here to make that hard work a little easier for you, forging a path that will make a difference – and hard work is always relevant.
“Work, hard work, intelligent work, and then more work.” – James J. Hill
Composed by Lindsey Dyer, Director of Library Services, James J. Hill Center.
It you have more questions about the Reference Library at the James J. Hill Center please contact 651-265-5500 or [email protected].
Last Friday we wrapped up Twin Cities Start Up Week in Minnesota. It was truly inspirational to see all the interest and support for the empowerment of our economic ecosystem. We decided it was important to give a nod to our entrepreneurial legacy, James J. Hill.
Entrepreneurs have been around since the start of time. Think about it, at some point someone got sick of eating raw meat and thought, “I wonder what would happen if I rubbed two sticks together,” and poof – there was fire. It probably wasn’t as simple as that but it is important to realize that these visionaries change our culture and economy. People who have a dream, a passion and the motivation to stick it out can change history. That is exactly what Mr. Hill did in the 19th century with his realization of the Great Northern Railway.
This railway was the only privately funded and successfully constructed transcontinental railroad in the history of the United States. Running from Saint Paul, Minnesota to Seattle, Washington it was the dream and passion of James J. Hill that made it happen. His savvy business sense, smart partnerships, and innovative ways of engaging the public gave him the title of Empire Builder. He used one of the first public relation campaigns to create interest and support in the railroad. Using contests to incentives he engaged the public on how the future of the railroad would not only shape their economic prosperity but changed the method of how people traveled. His vision put St. Paul, Minnesota on the map.
The Great Northern Railway is only one of the many amazing contributions that Mr. Hill gave to his community and our country. The James J. Hill Center is another perfect example of his forward thinking ability. His idea to build a location that was a meeting place of resource and learning is still celebrated today.
On November 11, 2016 we will once again be tipping our hats and toasting our legacy at our annual Great Northern Evening. Join us to celebrate the legacy of Mr. James J. Hill and to support the economic empowerment of our local entrepreneurs. Be a part of the Legacy and JOIN US on November 11th from 7pm to 10pm!
A Great Northern Evening – Tickets on Sale Now