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Paul Ericsson: Looking forward to a great year at the Library

As I turn the pages on my calendar and get ready for 2014, I want to express my thanks to all the people who make the Bemidji Public Library such a great institution. This includes my thanks to you as residents and users of the library, and continues with my deep, deep gratitude to our wonderful library staff and the staff at KRL headquarters, with whom it is a blessing to work alongside every day. Thanks continue to the Library Board, the Friends of the Library, the city of Bemidji and Beltrami County staff, the elected officials on the Bemidji City Council, the Beltrami County Commissioners and to state legislators.

There are numerous non-profit organizations we partner with, as well as our work with at the School District, local businesses, Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Alliance. And I am so grateful for the financial generosity of individual donors and generous time given by volunteers, the Garden Club, the Master Gardeners, various community service workers and STS. Thank you to everyone for a great year in 2013.

Living history

In partnership with the Beltrami County History Center, we have scheduled an event series featuring the biographies of people who had an influence on our area’s history. The series will run for four weeks at 6 p.m. Thursday evenings starting Jan. 16 in the library’s front meeting room. These events are appropriate for all ages. Throughout January and February, you will also see photographs related to this series exhibited on the art wall at the library.

The schedule:

• Jan. 16 “Giacomo Beltrami: His Story and His Statue (Where is it?)” presented by John Eggers.

• Jan. 23 “The Life and Times of George Bonga: A Looming Figure in the Northwoods” presented by Barry Babcock.

• Jan. 30: “Shaynowishkung: Ojibwe Culture, History, and Perspectives”:presented by Elaine Fleming.

• Feb. 6 “Charles W. Scrutchin: Bemidji’s Black Lawyer, 1898-1930” presented by Cecelia Wattles McKeig.

FRED returns

Returning to the library will be our popular Father’s Reading Every Day (F.R.E.D.) storytime series. Fathers, grandfathers, big brothers and other adult men are invited to attend this wonderful program with a 3- to 6-year-old child in their life. Kids will have fun as we start off our time in a craft activity, and then I will read some books from our weekly pre-K storytime session. During our snack time, I will briefly chat with the men about the important role that they serve in reading to their children, and how it is equally important that they model by reading for their own enjoyment and education. The date for our first session is tentatively set for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 25 — advance registration is encouraged with drop-ins allowed as space permits.

Local authors

We are very happy to announce the start of a new program series which will provide authors from Bemidji and the surrounding area a forum to talk about their writing. Published authors can call me at the library or visit our website,, to learn about how they can submit their work for consideration in the series. he schedule will have two events per month, typically on a Thursday evening or a Saturday. The first event is 4 p.m. Jan. 25 when local author and historian Cecelia Wattles McKeig will talk about her new book “Bemidji” that was published in 2013 and part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. Cecelia’s presentation will include a fabulous slide show.

Board members needed

There still are two openings and an opportunity for you to serve on the Bemidji Library Board, with the application deadline extended to Jan. 16. Library Board members should be regular in their attendance at board meetings, which are held at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month. Meetings typically last 90 minutes. Board members are also expected to regularly use the library and be familiar with our services, participate in some of the Legacy and special events and help to promote the library’s services to the public.

Upcoming events

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

• Weekly storytime events for 3- to 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.

• The next session for our monthly B.A.R.C. reading and literacy program for school age children is on 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 18. Please call 751-3963 to make a reservation. Parent permission form required.

• Senior Surf computer training classes will take a break in January and return to the regular schedule in February. Advance registration is required.

• Our monthly book discussion series will discuss at noon Monday and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, “The Happiness Project: Or, why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun” written by Gretchen Rubin.

Our reading in January for discussion in February will be “The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson.

We hope to see you often in the Library, checking out books for reading, movies for entertainment and attending many of these free, wonderful events. And do not forget that we offer a range of downloadable materials from our web site

PAUL ERICSSON is the Branch Manager of the Bemidji Public Library Bemidji.