News from Mardigian Library: Young Authors’ Festival and library retirements

Young writers honored by their peers at the 2016 Young Authors’ Festival

Around 120 young writers (grades 3-5) learned tips on what it takes to be an author from Newbery Medal-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis. Curtis was the special guest speaker at the 4th Annual Young Authors’ Festival held on Saturday, November 12, in Mardigian Library. The festival also honored the winners of the 2016 Young Authors’ Writing Contest. UM-Dearborn pre-service teachers judged about 260 contest entries, a record number. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell stopped by to congratulate award winners and encourage students to read and write. Winning students received Barnes & Noble gift cards and were invited to read their entries aloud.

Curtis, who came with his wife and three young children, spoke from the heart about his life and how he became a writer. He told the eager audience to be observant and listen, and encouraged them to use what they see and hear in their everyday lives in their stories. He gave an example about how writing can be a collaborative process through the challenges he faced when writing a book from a girl’s perspective. He got a lot of advice from the girls and women in his life to help him shape his character’s personality and voice.

Curtis also took time to autograph books and take pictures with the children attending the event. Born in Flint, Mich., and a graduate of UM-Flint, Curtis is the author of the highly acclaimed books Bud Not Buddy, Elijah of Buxton and The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963.

Children also participated in 11 fun, educational writing workshops conducted by UM-Dearborn pre-service teachers while their parents were getting tips on how to inspire their children to continue writing and reading. Workshop topics included: collaborative group writing, how to create a picture book, creating a story to accompany a piece of music, a bookmaking workshop and more.

This event was sponsored by the College of Education, Health, and Human Services, the Mardigian Library, the Salloum family in honor of Abdallah and Leila Salloum, the Metro Detroit Book and Author Society, the Hub for Teaching & Learning Resources, the Office of Metropolitan Impact, and the University of Michigan-Dearborn Barnes & Noble College Bookstore.

Winners of the 2016 Young Author’s Writing Contest are:

Grand prize winner: Family by Jet Miller (George Defer Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Park)

3rd grade winners:
1st prize: Tag!…you trip! by Hadley Walker (Hilton Elementary School, Brighton)
2nd prize: Families by Owen Strieff (Lindbergh Elementary, Dearborn)
3rd prize – (tie) The Water Machine by Lena Sophia Goethe (Cranbrook Schools: Brookside, Bloomfield Hills) and Family Memories by Hussein Mansour (William Ford Elementary, Dearborn)

4th grade winners:
1st prize: Fishing Trip by Joshua Lemanski (George Defer Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Park)
2nd prize: Maya by Maria Fontes (George Defer Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Park)
3rd prize: My Life, My Everything by Nameh Sharif (Henry Ford Elementary School, Dearborn)

5th grade winners:
1st prize: Thanksgiving by Hanley DeSmyter (George Defer Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Park)
2nd prize: Bubbles by Cassidy Woolums (George Defer Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Park)
3rd prize: Big Dreams by Ali Beidoun (Joshua Howard Elementary School, Dearborn)

Patty Rutkowski and Cheryl Nevels retire from the Mardigian Library

At the end of December, we will say goodbye to two longtime library employees, Patty Rutkowski and Cheryl Nevels. With Patty’s 35 years of service and Cheryl’s 33 years, together they represent almost 70 years of supporting the mission and goals of the library and the university.

When Patty began working in the library’s monographs department in 1981, the library’s collection was mainly books and journals with a few audio-visual items, such as LP records and cassette tapes. Five years later, she was promoted to head of the serials department, which included supervising student assistants. At that time the library subscribed to around 1,600 print journals and newspapers. Part of her job was to manually check in new journal issues. We still had a card catalog and, while patrons could identify what journal titles we owned, they could not tell which specific issues had arrived. Patty tracked all of that, plus she tracked payment, renewals and binding information on 4×6 index cards. When we were finally automated, Patty played a big role in entering data and building serial order and check-in records. While we still have books and journals today, the vast majority of library resources are electronic: e-books, e-journals, streaming videos and databases. Patty transferred her skills and knowledge of managing print titles to managing online resources so the campus community has access to the latest information.

Cheryl began managing the reserves process in the Circulation Services department in 1983, handling the many resources faculty members put on reserve each semester for their students. Her desk would be piled high with stacks of books, solution manuals, old tests, and other items to process. It was no easy task to manage the many lists of requested materials, frequently submitted at the last minute, so that students had access as soon as possible. Over the years, Cheryl continued to manage reserves while taking on additional responsibilities, such as interlibrary loan, student supervision, patron assistance, etc. Cheryl is especially known for her outstanding customer service and her ability to remain calm, pleasant, empathetic and helpful at all times. Like other library processes, most of Cheryl’s work that was performed manually in 1983 has now been automated. And, with the increasing amount of electronic resources available to students and faculty 24/7, the need for reserve materials has lessened, although is has not disappeared!

Both Patty and Cheryl have truly participated in a revolution in the library. Both worked on many important projects, including implementing two library automation systems. They have always been willing to cooperate and collaborate, and have been wonderful team players. When they retire in December 2016, both will be greatly missed.

We wish them a long and healthy retirement!

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