Eoin McKiernan Library
EML Director Update, September 2021
The McKiernan Library used online and in-person events to engage with the broader Irish music community over the summer. Inspired by Tes Slominski’s new book Trad Nation, library director Brian Miller worked with CJAC Director Natalie O’Shea to present an online author talk and panel discussion with LGBTQ musicians and dancers as part of CJAC’s Social Justice Series. Miller also taught an online lecture class on the the life and music of fiddler Tony Doherty that was offered in partnership by the Center for Irish Music and the Celtic Junction Arts Center. We brought in-person used book and CD sales to the CIM’s Minnesota Irish Music Weekend and Irish Fair of Minnesota and put up a community history display in a new location in the Celtic Junction.
In August, we were honored to host Ireland’s ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, and his wife Greta at the Celtic Junction Arts Center and to give them a private tour of the McKiernan Library!
This month, we took the big step of resuming regular open hours once a week on Tuesdays evenings.
Trad Nation Webinar
In June 2021, Celtic Junction Arts Center and its Eoin McKiernan Library, in partnership with the Center for Irish Music, hosted author Tes Slominski for a discussion of her groundbreaking new book Trad Nation: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Irish Traditional Music followed by a first-of-its-kind panel discussion with LGBTQ musicians and dancers from across the US Irish trad community. Panelists included Brett Lipshutz, flute (Milwaukee, WI); Alicia Guinn, dance (Seattle, WA); Augie Fairchild, flute (Charlottesville, VA); Armand Aromin, fiddle and song (Providence, RI); and Benedict Gagliardi, concertina and song (Providence, RI).
Tony Doherty Class
Over the summer term at Center for Irish Music, McKiernan Library director and CIM instructor Brian Miller taught an online lecture-style class exploring the Library’s archive of materials documenting fiddler Tony Doherty. The class drew on extensive memoirs kept by Tony’s wife Margaret (digital versions available at the McKiernan Library) to travel back in time to rural Scott County, Minnesota and a tight knit community of Irish Americans where music and dance were a part of life in the early 20th century. Tony Doherty and his musical daughters Marge, Mary, Joan and Monica moved from Scott County to St. Paul in the 1940s. The memoirs, and an audio recording of their music, provide a fascinating glimpse of Irish music as played in the Twin Cities 70 years ago.
Book Sales at Summer Events
The McKiernan Library was delighted to be able to sell some of our duplicate books and CDs at the outdoor events held as part of the Center for Irish Music‘s Minnesota Irish Music Weekend festival in June and again at the Irish Fair of Minnesota in August. We sold quite a few items at both events and earned funds that we can now use to purchase books and supplies for the McKiernan Library. Thanks to CIM and Irish Fair for allowing us space to sell our wares and thanks to all who supported the Library by making a purchase!
Community History Exhibition Up
One of our goals this fall is to try to make the McKiernan Library more visible throughout the Celtic Junction Arts Center building. McKiernan Library volunteer Kate Daly helped hang a portion of our popular 2018 audio/visual exhibition, Irish Music and Musicians in the Twin Cities Community, in CJAC’s “multipurpose room.” This location is perfect since the room is primarily used by the Center for Irish Music music school. Now dozens of musicians, young and old, will have a chance to see the exhibition each week during lessons and ensembles.
With some generous donations and cataloging help from loyal McKiernan Library volunteer Maggie Sullivan we added 70 books to our main library collection over the summer!
In August, we were honored to host Ireland’s ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, and his wife Greta at the Celtic Junction Arts Center and to give them a private tour of the McKiernan Library. Ambassador Mulhall and Greta are both very interested in Irish American history and spent quite a while in the reading room chatting with library director Brian Miller about Douglas Hyde’s 1906 visit to St. Paul and the story of the “Connemaras” of Graceville/St. Paul.