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Paul Ericsson: April to bring flood of events to the Bemidji Library

We all hope that this long and snow-filled winter does not result in flooding for our friends and family who live along the Red River. But I can report that the month of April has brought a wonderful flood of events to our schedule at the Bemidji Public Library.  

April is National Poetry Month, and with that it is time for another of the Library’s very popular Poetry Slam events. The next Slam is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday,  April 12, at the Cabin Coffee House at 214 Third St. NW in downtown Bemidji. This competition is open to all Bemidji area poets and the new twist for this Slam is that we are intentionally making it “family friendly.”  While our other slams have been geared for adult audiences and “edgy” content has been allowed, this Slam will be “family friendly.”

We are encouraging children and teens as well as adults to sign up and share their original poetry.

And if you are not a poet, people of all ages are welcome to simply come by the Cabin Coffee House and enjoy hearing our local poets share their poems. Contestants should prepare three readings, in case they make it all the way to the third round.

The poems must be the original work of the presenter, may be in any style of poetry, and each reading limited to three minutes or less.

Five judges will score each poet on a 1-10 scale, weighted 50 percent on content, and 50 percent on the performance of the work. Thanks to some private donors, there will be prize money for the top 3 finalists in the last round: $100, $75, and $50. Poets are strongly encouraged to pre-register at the Library by calling 751-3963 ext. 4.  

Poets may also sign up starting at 1:30 p.m., only if there are spaces still available on the roster.   

You will also want to Celebrate National Poetry Month by enjoying an evening of Poetry & Music with Northern Community Radio’s Beat Café from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 11. This event will feature a live radio broadcast from the Rail River Folk School, and heard on KBXE 90.5 or online at KBXE and the Bemidji Public Library are working together throughout April to highlight Poetry Month.

Singer and songwriter Lauren Pelon will perform her show “Music from the Backyard & Front Porch” at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse. Some may say, “Gee, I don’t know who Lauren Pelon is — I think I will skip this one.” Take my advice and reconsider — Lauren is a wonderfully gifted musician and composer who has studied the history of music and instrumentation both in America and overseas.

Pelon plays an astonishing array of instruments.

Among the instruments she will be using at this show are the Native American flute, concertina, pennywhistle, ocarina, eagle bone flute, guitar, recorder and psalmodikon, all prominent in the history of Midwest culture. This concert of American music shows the importance of learning our local stories and music.

It features music of America’s indigenous peoples, as well as the songs and instruments of America’s many immigrants.

For more information about Lauren, please visit her website   Dates for her tour in other locations in the Kitchigami Region can be found at our web site  These performances are presented by Kitchigami Regional Library System and made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund and an Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Library Legacy grant from KRLS.

The Gardening 101: lecture series wraps up this month with the final presentation at noon Thursday, April 10. The event will be “Hydrangeas” presented by Jean Mathweg. We want to extend our gratitude to the Friends of the Library and the Beltrami County Master Gardeners for providing this six-event series this spring.

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. Thursdays.  

• The next session for our monthly B.A.R.C. reading and literacy program for school-aged children from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, April 19. Please call 751-3963 to make a reservation.  Parent permission form required.

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

• Our monthly book discussion series will meet at noon Monday, April 7,  and again at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 8.  We are reading and discussing “The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller. And then in April we are reading to discuss in early May “Vacationland” by Minnesota author Sarah Stonich.  Sarah will also be one of the authors at our Book Festival in June.  

• The Bemidji Library’s fifth annual Book Festival is the week of June 16-21, with 20 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 that we offer a range of downloadable materials from our website,  

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