A team from Capstone’s Product Development staff was invited to tour the facilities, archives and underground vaults belonging to the Children’s Literature Research Collections (CLRC) at the University of Minnesota. Their host and irrepressible tour guide was Lisa Von Drasek, who is the Curator of the CLRC and a nationally recognized, and contagiously passionate advocate for children’s literature.
One of the core collections of these extensive holdings is the Kerlan Collection, and that’s what especially intrigued the team from Capstone. Not only did they walk through the subterranean, temperature-controlled storehouse – two football fields in length, and only accessed through an airlock – but back in Lisa’s office they pored over original artwork and manuscripts (and “stuff” as Lisa uses the technical term) of a variety of creators – from the ground-breaking 3-dimensional art of Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet, and pages of Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats, to Herman the Helper by Krauss, Aruego and Dewey, and the stunning paintings from Charles Mikolaycak’s The Bremen-Town Musicians, the last work he created before his death in 1993. There are other treasures just waiting to be seen, but unfortunately, the editors and designers from Capstone only had an afternoon. But this writer is going to make a special visit to see Eleanor Cameron’s holdings (Yes, the Mushroom Planet!) and the gothic extravaganzas by Winona’s own John Bellairs.
Lisa wants to make sure that people know the CLRC is an open access library. Everyone is welcome. Come and visit some old friends, make some new ones, and feel the same delight you did when you cracked open your favorite book years ago as a child.
- Michael Dahl, Capstone Creative Concept Director