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Paul Ericsson: Shifting gears at the Bemidji Library

As we shift gears from the summer season into the school year, it is a good time to remind everyone — students as well as non-students — that we have a wide range of services with something for everyone at the Bemidji Public Library. Our website — — is a springboard to many online services for students from pre-K through college to use for homework and research.

And our website also provides access to eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines for people of all ages and interests.

The new eMagazine service from Zinio will allow a library cardholder to download an unlimited number of issues from a large list of magazine titles.

There is no due date and the eMagazines never have to be returned. Once a person downloads an issue to their personal device, it’s theirs to keep.

These eMagazines are available for desktop, eReader, tablet, or phone, provided by the Kitchigami Regional Library System.

Our fall programming season opens on the night of Sept. 28, a Saturday, with a musical performance by Rhonda Laurie & Jazz Trio. Their “Happy Days Are Here Again” program was part of the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation exhibit held at the History Center of Minnesota last summer-fall. The Kitchigami Regional Library System is now hosting this jazz program throughout the region during the week of Sept. 24.

Laurie, a Twin Cities-based vocalist, spent childhood summers in the Catskills where her grandfather performed vaudeville shows.

She was given another taste of musical theater when she performed in and directed high school productions.

Now in Minnesota, she has found her way into the Twin Cities jazz scene where she has become an increasingly popular and steady presence, both as a vocalist and as an instructor.

Pre-kindergarten children and their adult companion are in for a real treat on Sept. 23.   

Our favorite magicians, Robert and Lynn Halbrook, who have entertained our school-age children and families for years, will be with us for a special “back to pre-school” event. Fairy tales such as “Cinderella” and “Jack and the Beanstalk” as well as popular children’s books such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” create the setting for this interactive laugh-filled magic show. Designed for children ages 3 to 6 years old and filled with audience participation, fairy tale themed magic, and hilarious comedy, the Halbrook’s “Once Upon A Time” Magic Show will have the kids roaring with laughter.

We have scheduled two shows at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sept. 23 to have plenty of room for good-sized audiences.

The children’s summer reading program “Dig Into Reading” wrapped up on Aug. 3. The level of participation this year was outstanding, with children reporting 342,999 minutes read during the eight-week program. This is great, steady progress on summertime reading when we consider that in 2012, children reported 326,215 minutes, and in 2007, they reported 208,310 minutes read. Congratulations to our young readers in Bemidji!

“The Gift of Eagles” a Geocaching Quest co-sponsored by the Bemidji Public Library and Lake Bemidji State Park continues to run through the late summer and fall out at the park.

If you are not familiar with how to use a GPS device, there are introductory sessions available at the park and this Geocaching Quest is a great way to practice your skills.

 For those that do know how to use a GPS, the event is a fun way to explore the Lake Bemidji State Park. Free passes to the State Park are available at the library and GPS devices are available for loan at the park.

In addition to all of these free special events, our schedule of regular events includes:

• Weekly storytime events for 3-5 year olds on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. with the weekly lapsit programs for 2-year-olds at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays.

• Our monthly book discussion will look at “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout on Sept. 9 at noon and Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

• The next session our monthly B.A.R.C. reading and literacy program for school-age children is 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 21. Please call 751-3963 to make a reservation. Parent permission form required.

• Senior Surf computer training classes continue Tuesdays Sept. 3 and Sept. 17 from 8 to 10 a.m., as well as Thursday, Sept. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. Advance registration by calling 751-3963 required.

We hope to see you often in the library, checking out books for reading, movies for entertainment and attending many of these free-of-charge wonderful events.

PAUL ERICSSON is branch manager of the Bemidji Public Library.