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Paul Ericsson: Keep up on winter reading as spring nears

BEMIDJI — It is not too late to sign up for our Winter Reading Program for adults. This self-paced program continues through the end of March.

You do not need to change any of your reading or audiobook listening habits (except to maybe read more), but simply let us know how much you are reading.

You are still able to sign up for the program by coming into the Library for a reading log form, or easily enter your reading information on our program website

If you reach the program milestone of having read 15 books between Jan. 1 and March 31, you will receive a beautiful coffee mug and be eligible for the drawing for other prizes at our finale event, 4 p.m., April 5, where we will hand out prizes and also hear a presentation by Minnesota author Chad Lewis on his book “Haunted Houses of Minnesota” — a fun event for all ages.

The Gardening 101: lecture series continues this month, presented in collaboration with the Friends of the Bemidji Public Library and the Beltrami County Master Gardeners.

These noon programs are a great way to shake off our winter cabin fever and to get a shot of hope that spring will return. And they are very informative.

Beverages will be provided so feel welcome to bring a brown bag lunch.

The program dates and topics are:   

•March 13: Melons in Minnesota ­ presented by Onen Markeson

•March 27: Butterfly Gardening Can Be Simple ­ presented by Brenca Finkenbinder

•April 10: Hydrangeas ­ presented by Jean Mathweg

Local songwriter, singer and guitarist Shannon Murray will perform at the Library at 4 p.m. March 29 in the Main Reading Room.

Her show “People’s Music: Songs of the Industrial Workers of the World” will feature some of her original music, as well as music of the era.  Shannon will share her research on IWW, the Wobblies, about Joe Hill, the Everett Massacre and some general history of the time, and how music was used by the IWW as an organizing tool within the labor movement.

She will perform mostly cover songs from that era, along with a song she wrote inspired by Mother Jones and her work in the labor movement.

Murray will relate this national movement to her personal history with Eugene Debs and his visit to Bemidji, local IWW organizing and the riots here in Bemidji.

Continuing on March 8 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.

Call 751-3963 for details. Please note that we will be rescheduling the April 5 F.R.E.D. so that dads and families of pre-K children can attend the Tiny Tots Expo, which will be held that day.

Looking ahead to April, which promises to be a busy month for the Library’s schedule (and warmer, too?), on April 5 is the annual Tiny Tots Expo sponsored by the Early Childhood Initiative (ECI). The Library is a member of ECI and it is through this organization that we are also able to provide services such as F.R.E.D.

But back to Tiny Tots — this event can help parents, grandparents and other family members learn more about the various services available to families in Bemidji.

The event has a lot of fun activities for pre-K children to enjoy and the Library will be one of many groups with a booth and an activity. So mark your calendar for 10 a.m. to noon April 5 and come down to the Boys & Girls Club to meet and greet all of the organizations and businesses that serve the families of young children.  

In addition to all of these 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 2 to 4 p.m. March 15. Please call 751-3963 to make a reservation. Parent permission form required.

•Senior Surf computer training classes offered three times a month. Advance registration is required.

Our monthly book discussion series will meet at noon Monday and again at 7 p.m. Tuesday.  We are reading and discussing “The Plague of Doves” by Louise Erdrich. And in March we are reading “The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller to discuss in early April.

•MNsure enrollment sessions with certified enrollment navigators are at the Library every day, in partnership with Health Access Minnesota. Special enrollment and information events will be held March 22 and March 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 751-3963 to make an appointment for a session with an enrollment navigator, or to learn more about the daily schedule.

•Singer and songwriter Lauren Pelon will perform her show “Music from the Backyard & Front Porch” at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse at 7 p.m. April 25, sponsored by the Bemidji Library and MN Legacy Amendment fund

•The Bemidji Library’s 5th annual Book Festival the week of June 16–21, with 18 or more workshops and presentations, the Local Author Showcase, and other great events.

•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. And do not forget we offer a range of downloadable materials from our website,

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