Author Faith Colburn to Talk at Library on December 4th

Faith Colburn, a North Platte author of two memoirs, will be the speaker at the next Brown Bag Series program at 12:00 PM on Friday, December 4th at the North Platte Public Library.  Faith plans to discuss writing a memoir with the audience, and will cover two areas; first, how to do the interviews, and second, sources of supportive material.  She promises to bring “a bunch of stuff along for a kind of show and tell” and use her books as examples of how methods can differ depending on the subject.   The program is free to the public.  Please call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to make a reservation to help the library plan seating.  Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.  Coffee and water will be provided.

As the first-born daughter of a big band canary and a Nebraska farmer, Faith A. Colburn spent a lot of a time with her grandmother while her parents adjusted their lifestyles. With Grandma, she walked the prairies, learning about plants like Spanish bayonet and buffalo beans, as well as animals like mud puppies and jackrabbits. As a public information officer for the state Game and Parks Commission, she canoed the Dismal, rode the Sandhills on horseback following champion trial dogs, cross country skied the Missouri bluffs, seined carp, fixed nets, picked trout eggs, and camped out along Bone Creek. She has photographed wildlife, from Sandhill cranes to elk and, tramping the prairies, she gained intimate knowledge of the landscape that often appears as a character or catalyst in her work. She says that her grandparents’ neighborhood and their families have served her well as a pattern for the way families and communities work when they work well. When she writes about them, she attempts to imagine a future, however distant, that’s free of hate. “We can’t create what we can’t imagine,” she says, “so I try to imagine an evolved world where we’ve learned to get along.”

Author of two Nebraska memoirs, Colburn has lived her entire life on the Great Plains. She earned a Master of Arts from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, winning the Outstanding Thesis Award in the College of Fine Arts and Humanities for her first memoir in 2012 and the Outstanding Work of Fiction Award in 2009. She earned a Master of Arts in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Ms. Colburn wrote a centennial history of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and numerous articles for NEBRASKAland, Nebraska newspapers. She earned a number of awards from the Nebraska Press Women for content she produced for a social ministry organization’s quarterly news magazine about people with developmental disabilities.

Paranormal Romance Author at Library November 6th

The next Friends of the Library Brown Bag Program will be at 12:00 PM  on Friday, November 6th at the North Platte Public Library.  Chelsea O’Neal of Ogallala, author of Paranormal Romances and Urban Fantasy, will be the speaker.  Chelsea provided the library with the following biography, with hints about the genre of her books:

Chelsea O’Neal lives in her fantasy world where people can fly, vampires could be real, money is never an issue and the romantic meeting of your true love is a normal happening. When not relaxing in Chelsea-ville, she enjoys talking with animals who talk back and taking long walks with her prince charming.

Actually, Chelsea lives in the United States in Nebraska, where she was born and raised, with her black lab DaiseAuthor Photo - Chelsea O'Nealy, who hasn’t spoken actual words to her but she is pretty sure Daisey understands her. She is yet to meet her prince charming, though she is quite sure he is out there. Chelsea enjoys working as a youth librarian. She is an avid reader and writing has always been her passion. Chelsea has written three novels and a novella, she is working on her next book now.  Chelsea will have copies of her books to sell and autograph.  Her books’ subject matter are for adults, not youth.

This program is free to the public but seating is limited to 70.  Please call the library at 308-535-8036, Ext. 3310 to make a reservation.  Attendees can bring their own lunches; water, tea, and coffee will be provided.

Computer Class Series for Beginners

Our next set of computer classes begin on Thursday, November 5th and continues the next two weeks on November 12 and 19th.  For $10, you will receive a total of 6 hours of instruction and hands-on practice.WordItOut-word-cloud-1199998

Beginning level skills taught in a series of three classes (Computer Fundamentals, Working in Windows, and Beginning Internet).  The class fee of $10 per person now includes all three classes.  Classes are on Thursday mornings and each 2-hour class will begin at 9:30 AM in the first floor meeting room.  While classes are taught using Windows 7 laptop computers, most skills learned will also apply to Windows 8 and Windows 10 computers.  Pre-registration is required.  Call or come to the library for more information.  Class descriptions are below:

Computer Fundamentals: This introductory class will get you familiar with computers, using the mouse and keyboard, basic terminology, shutting down your computer correctly and more.  .

Working in Windows: Learning to use the Windows operating system, understanding its basic features, opening programs, and creating a simple document with WordPad and saving it on the computer are the focus of this class.

Beginning Internet: Exploring the World Wide Web, basic searching, and learning the features of Internet browsers are addressed in this class.

Brown Bag Program at McKinley Center on October 27th

This month’s noon program is hosted by the Arts Council in conjunction with the Sheldon Statewide Art Exhibition at the McKinleBarr,Derryly Center.  This year’s exhibition is titled “The Romance of the Moon: Science Fiction Invades Art” so a program relating to the sky seems appropriate.

Derryl Barr, an astronomy enthusiast and teacher, has been invited to speak at 12:00 PM on Tuesday, October 27th at the McKinley Center in North Platte.  Like noon programs at the library, attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.   Reservations are not necessary but to assist seating, you may call the library.

The presentation “Moon Shadow” will examine the Moon’s role in and influences upon the coming and continuity of life upon Earth.   Additionally the presentation will explore human perceptions of the Moon as it has and continues to influence not only our understanding of nature but also of our own role in the greater scheme of things.  And finally, we’ll look at the physical shadow of the Moon whose tip, when sun, satellite and planet align, just barely brushes Earth’s surface to inscribe a pen stroke of darkness across our teeming globe.  Those fortunate enough to be within the path of the shadow’s running quill tip experience nature’s grandest show:  a total solar eclipse.

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse writes its fine-tip autograph across the entire Continental United States.   The city of North Platte lies within that signatory path of planet and satellite.     A total solar eclipse is nature’s own version of the Olympic Games played in the stadium of the heavens.  And for 21 August 2017 the best seats in that stadium are right here in Western Nebraska.

Derryl will return to North Platte to do a series of 3 programs at the library, the first in February of 2016, leading up to the total solar eclipse in 2017.

The Eclipse is Coming!       


Author to Speak About U.S. Highway 83 in North Platte

sandhills83Award-winning author Stew Magnuson will give a multi-media presentation, The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: in Nebraska Kansas and Oklahoma The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83 on Friday, Sept. 25, at Noon at the North Platte Public Library.  This program is free to the public; call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to reserve a seat. Attendees may bring a sack lunch; water, tea and coffee will be provided.

Descending 1,885 miles straight down the center of the United States from Westhope, North Dakota, to Brownsville, Texas, is U.S. 83, one of the oldest and longest of the federal highways that hasn’t been replaced by an Interstate.

Magnuson takes readers on a trip through the Nebraska Sand Hills, the Smoky River Valley in Kansas and the singular Oklahoma Panhandle. Along the route are the stories of the famous, the infamous, and the forgotten. Buffalo Bill Codymagnusoncolor hunted these lands, but what about Buffalo Jones, who set out to save the American bison from extinction? This is where the ruthless, but now largely forgotten bank robbers, the Fleagles committed their most heinous crime; where the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia met George Armstrong Custer and Pussy Cat Nell dispatched the corrupt Sheriff “Bushy” Bush with a shotgun blast. What ties President Eisenhower, the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and author Truman Capote together? Highway 83, of course.
Magnuson’s multi-media presentation draws from a small sampling of the 5,000 historic and modern-day photographs he has collected during his travels on U.S. 83. “This isn’t your typical book talk,” he says.

Along his journey, he marvels the beauty of the prairielands, and finds that the old axiom that everyone has a story to tell, is true.

“This is a book of true stories connected by a ribbon of concrete that cuts right down the middle of the nation,” says Magnuson.

Magnuson administers the Fans of U.S. Route 83 page on Facebook, which now has more than 1,900 members. He also writes the Highway 83 Chronicles blog. He also set up the U.S. Route 83 Travel page, which gives tips to those who are interested in taking a trip on the road.

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Stew Magnuson is the author of The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: And Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns—Nebraska Center of the Book’s 2009 nonfiction book of the year, ForeWord Magazine’s bronze medal winner for regional nonfiction and finalist for the 2008 Great Plains Book of the Year. In 2014, he released The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: The Dakotas to coincide with the two states’ 125 anniversary. He also penned Wounded Knee 1973: Still Bleeding, an account of the controversial 2012 Dakota Conference at Augustana College, in Sioux Falls, S.D., where members of the American Indian Movement squared off against retired FBI agents.

Experience Unique Music September 11th at the Library

Music from West Africa and Beyond By Sean Gaskell  will be our next brown bag program on 12:00 PM, Friday September 11th.

Sean Gaskell features traditional songs on the Kora, a 21 string harp that he learned how to play throughout the course of multiple visits to its homeland in Gambia, West Africa. The music is traditionally played by oral and musical historians known as Griots (Gree-ohs). The Kora is a very melodic and seemingly peaceful instrument, which is contrary to its musical repertoire. Many songs tell ancient stories of war and hardship, while others praise people of high political status and those who helped expand the Mande empire.
While the Kora is only 300 years old, some commonly played songs can be traced back 800 years to the founding of the Mande empire. Gaskell has studied extensively under the instruction of Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh, both of Brikama, Gambia. He was first inspired to play by Kane Mathis, a Kora player formerly based in Seattle who has lead “The Kora Band” and “The Sahel Band”. Gaskell relocated from Seattle to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2014. He has been featured at a number of music festivals in the US, Gambia, and Senegal.


All Brown Bag Luncheon programs are free and open to the public.  Attendees are welcome to bring their lunches. Coffee, tea and water will be provided.  Seating is limited so please call the library  at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to reserve a seat.

Escape the Ordinary to the Continent of Antarctica

penguinAt 12:00 PM on Thursday, August 27th, come to the library to hear about Becky McAllister’s Antarctic adventure. Titled, “No Polar Bears,” this program is free to the public;  call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to reserve a seat.

Becky, a retired elementary teacher, loves to travel,  and often her sister will join in her adventures.   By 2011, Becky’s travels had taken her to all 50 states of the USA, and to 6 of the 7 continents.  So, when they spotted an Antarctic trip offered through the Lincoln zoo, their next quest was decided; they visited the 5th largest continent in November 2011 and Becky’s continent list was complete.  

Becky will share pictures as she tells the story of their journey.  A one word descriptor of this continent would be “pristine.”  Through a treaty, all of Antarctica is an international preserve set aside for scientific research, keeping this vast land unspoiled. As the program title indicates, no polar bears inhabit the land but penguins are plentiful.

Attendees may bring their own brown bag lunch; iced tea and water will be provided.




Escape the Ordinary with Forensic Science

Ron Rawalt, a retired FBI agent will be the next Escape the Ordinary Noon Program speaker at the North Platte Public Library.  Rawalt will present “The Varied Career of an FBI agent” at 12:00 PM on Thursday, August 13th.  His talk will highlight interesting experiences of his casework.


Rawalt’s career with the FBI began in 1982.  He has testified as an expert witness in Forensic Mineralogy over 230 times in 48 states and 3 foreign countries.  His work in the 1985 investigation of the homicide of DEA agent, Enrique Camarena, in Mexico was included in a book by John McPhee and in other Forensic science publications since his soil analysis was instrumental in solving the case.  Ron also lent his glass fragment expertise during the investigation following John Hinkley’s shooting of President Reagan.


This program is free to the public; attendance is limited to 70 people, so please call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to reserve seats.


Escape the Ordinary by “Living the Extremes in Alaska”

scan0019Escape the Ordinary at the North Platte Library at the next noon program on Friday, August 7th at 12:00 PM. Shelly Deardoff, a library staff member will be presenting “Living the Extremes in Alaska.” This is a free program but seat reservations need to be made by calling the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310. Attendees can bring their own lunch; tea and water will be provided. Shelly has many stories to share of living in Alaska with her family for 8 years. Below, Shelly shares a bit of their story:

“Alaska, the last “Frontier”, the land of adventure and wonder, truly a place I had never imagined living. But we loaded up 4 kids, two dogs, and years of accumulated junk and headed North. I thought the grandma’s were going to kill us! Taking their babies so far away just to be eaten by bears.

Eight years we lived there and not so much as a bear nibble. When you travel in a noisy pack of kids, bears don’t want any part of that but moose…well, they munched our tulips, kept kids from bus stops and chased dogs around the house. We learned to respect nature as beautiful but deadly to those who weren’t prepared. Friends became family and family became tourists. Summers we lived large and long, days that never seemed to end.
Midnight fishing, not a problem, midnight sleeping….good luck with that. The first summer the kids didn’t know if they had slept for a night or had a nap, it was always light.

Alaska was also the land of extreme people. Stereotypes were out; boxes would not fit around anyone; it was fine to be who you were. Not that everyone would agree with you, in fact they could be pretty vocal in their opposition. These were your friends! Big business, environmentalists, the arts community, loggers, oil companies and don’t forget the folks hiding out from the law, in the trees, we had them all. And we all had each other. Winter cabin fever, the cops could tell you how real that is, brought out the wild in the fringe folks.

It was an amazing place to live. The enormous snowflakes drifting onto the spruce trees, wrapping the world in silence. Snowsuits as part of your child’s “back-to-school” necessities, along with sleds for the sled hill at recess. Teachers who walk your child home because a bear was sighted on the other side of the school grounds. But the short days, dawn coming up at 10:30am and dusk at 3:30pm, school buses having to have lights by the door so the kids can see the steps and ice everywhere…well, that was part of the “price” of living there. Part of my heart will always be there, in the beauty, the friends and the freedom, but the cost can be too much pay.”

“Escape the Ordinary” with a Good Laugh at the Library

laughing smileyCarolyn Clark Promises to Make Us Laugh!

Carolyn Clark, local retired librarian, but still actress, and play director, is the next speaker in the North Platte Public Library’s Escape the Ordinary Adult Summer Program Series.  Carolyn will present  “Make Me Laugh: A Humorous Guide to Being Weird in Retirement”  on Friday, July 31st at 12:00 PM.  Many may be familiar with Carolyn’s portrayals of Annie Cook in the North Platte Library Foundation’s cemetery tours, or as a Jewish mother and other characters at the North Platte Community Playhouse.   She has retained her flair for the dramatic and declares herself “still crazy after all of these years.” “Annie” may make an appearance, so be prepared.   The public is invited to come to this free program but seat reservations are needed as room capacity is limited to 70. Call the library at 535-8036, Extension 3310 to make reservations.   Attendees may bring their own brown bag lunch to enjoy during the presentation.  Water and iced tea will be provided.