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Paul Ericsson: Festivals and fun for the summer

It is about to be summer in the North Country — we have biking, boating, fishing, the Dragonboat Race, the County Fair, the Water Carnival, Art in the Park among a long list of favorite annual events. And the Bemidji Public Library is happy to provide three large events for the community to enjoy this summer.

Summer Reading Program

The children’s Summer Reading Program will begin June 9, with registration open to pre-K children through grade 12. Registration can be done at any time between June 9 and the end of the eight-week series. The sooner the child signs up, the sooner they are eligible for incentive prizes. Our goal is to help children sustain reading through the summer and prevent any dropoff in their reading skills when they return to school in September. When children report their time reading (or that someone reads to them) 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 at 7 p.m.  June 12 for families and children with one of our favorite musicians, Jack Pearson. Watch for announcements of all the other special events for children and for families this summer.

Book festival

The Bemidji Library Book Festival is scheduled the week of June 16-21 and will feature 21 individual events. The schedule boasts a bit of something for everyone, with great fiction writers, along with poets, non-fiction writers, workshop teachers and children’s book authors on tap. 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 a.m., Monday through Saturday. Writing and publishing workshops are offered each weekday afternoon at 2 p.m. and also at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. 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 own area writers hosted at the American Legion. We begin at 5 p.m. with the “Area Author Showcase,” a full lineup of 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, who will lead us into the ever-popular Poetry Slam. We are still looking for poets to sign-up to present at the slam.

The full schedule of Book Festival events is on our website. There also are four-page festival brochures promotional materials at the library. If you can help us spread the word, please feel welcome to ask library staff for a stack of bookmarks or brochures. The Pioneer will also carry the brochure as an insert June 11.

Book sale

And no summer in Bemidji would be complete unless we poured over thousands of gently used books at the library’s annual Book Sale. The sale will again be out at the National Guard Armory from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 20-21. On Aug. 19, from 4 pm to 7 pm, the members of the Friends of the Library are able to attend an early-bird sale.

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 10 a.m. to noon June 9. 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 at noon Monday and at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The discussion program will run for approximately an hour. The book up for discussion is “Capitol Hell” by Jayne J. Jones and Alicia M. Long. Jayne will also be a featured author at our Book Festival on June 19. Also in June, we will read “The Answer To Your Question” by Paulette Bates Alden, another of the Book Festival authors.

Take a look at the monthly book display featuring “P.A.W.S. to Read a Mystery,” stealing a bit of the children’s summer reading theme and featuring adult mysteries.

The Art Wall during June will feature the book cover art from authors we will have at the Book Festival.

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 at

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