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Paul Ericsson: Never mind ‘Fargo,’ the library does exist in Bemidji

Have you seen the new television show “Fargo?” The day after Episode 2 aired, we started to get all these funny messages posted to our Facebook page and our general email mailbox. Questions like: “Hey, Bemidji Public Library, I’m pretty sure that Fargo television show just said that you didn’t exist in 2006! Is that true?” and “Is it true the library system in Bemidji is closed or has reduced hours due to budget restraints as stated in TV’s ‘Fargo’ series?  [from] West Palm Beach, FL”

Well, it seems there are Paul Bunyan-sized misconceptions in the “Fargo” show about your Bemidji Library. These gems are right up there with misconceptions like:  “We don’t need a public library now that we have Google and eBooks.”

The real truth is public libraries are even more relevant  in the age of Google and eBooks than we had been 20 years ago.  Thanks to your support — the Bemidji Library is alive and well in 2014. LOL indeed.

But speaking of fiction — do we have some great fiction writers, along with poets, non-fiction  writers, workshop teachers, children’s book authors and a bit of something for everyone on the schedule of the 2014 Bemidji Library Book Festival. Minnesota author Sarah Stonich, author of bestselling novel “Vacationland” is one of several fiction writers leading the schedule. A quick summary of the schedule will show that there is a children’s book author giving a presentation to children and multi-generational audiences every morning at 10:30, Monday through Saturday. Every afternoon at 2 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday there is a workshop on writing or publishing. The workshops do have limited seating for a small group and intimate setting, which requires advance registration. Every evening Monday through Thursday there is an author of adult books giving a presentation.

The Festival’s Friday late afternoon and evening schedule features our very own area writers hosted at the American Legion. We begin at 5:00 with our “Area Author Showcase” with a dozen or more area authors available to meet and greet readers and sell books. At 7 p.m., we will segue into our “Evening of Poetry” with Minnesota poet (and very funny fellow) Matt Mauch. Matt will lead us into the ever-popular Poetry Slam. Watch for announcements of the “Showcase Call For Authors” and the “Call For Poets” for the slam, as well as the full schedule of events. These will be published soon on our website,   

The Pioneer will be carrying an insert with four pages of information about the Festival on June 11.

This four-page handout will also be available at the Library later this month, well in advance of the Festival week.  

We hope to see you at many of the free Bemidji Library Book Festival events!

The children’s summer reading program will begin June 9, with registration open to pre-K children up through grade 12. The basic premise is simple — children should read a lot (or young ones be read to) during the summer and keep track of how much time is spent reading. When children report their time reading, they are eligible for incentive prizes. As we did last year — we hope that families will take advantage of the optional online tools to track reading, signing up for the special “Tuesday @ 2:00” workshops, submitting online book reviews, and other engaging online features. For families that choose to not use the online tools, all of the reporting can still be done on paper charts and sign-ups by calling or visiting the Library. We LOVE to have you come in to talk with us about your reading.

The Summer Reading Program kick-off week will have a special event June 12 at 7 p.m. for families and children with one of our favorite musicians Jack Pearson.

New to our vast offering of free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and other online tools — the Kitchigami Regional Library is pleased to announce that it now offers the Pronunciator online language-learning system, with 80 of the world’s most popular languages, and ESL courses for speakers of 50 non-English languages. Pronunciator is focused on quickly building conversational skills through a suite of interactive online drills, scored quizzes, and downloadable audio lessons and phrasebooks.

Pronunciator offers a variety of learning levels for each language, covering vocabulary, verbs, simple sentences, and conversation. One level, specifically for tourists and business travelers, teaches 1,500 essential phrases covering everyday situations.

Each course also has up to 350 hours of audio lessons, which patrons can download to a portable device, or burn to CD. Full-featured free apps for iPads, iPhone/iPod Touch, and Android let patrons learn on-the-go. This tool is appropriate for children as well as adults, designed to meet the language-learning needs of the entire community.

In addition to all of these free special events and services, 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 May 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. 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 next meet June 2 at noon and also June 3 at 7 p.m. The discussion program will run for approximately an hour. At these two sessions in June, the book for discussion will be “Capitol Hell” by Jayne J. Jones and Alicia M. Long.  Jayne will also be a featured author at our Book Festival on Thursday June 19 at 7 p.m.  

•Take a look at the monthly book display featuring “How does your garden grow?”

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.