Noon Program Series begins February 2nd

The 2018 noon program series at the North Platte Public Library begins at 12:00 PM on Friday, February 2nd.  All programs are free to the public.  Jim Griffin will present “Cracking the Giant:  American Diplomatic and Economic Interaction with China, 1844-2018.”

Jim always does an excellent job with his programs with thorough research, resulting in  very enjoyable and informative one-hour programs.  Jim willingly stepped in after our Humanities Nebraska speaker on this subject had to cancel due to a university conflict.

Americans have always been interested in the economic potential of relations with China.  The enormous size of its potential buying power delights every economist.  In the pursuit of this elusive market, the United States has ventured to increase diplomatic relations with many Chinese governments.  Both diplomatic and economic efforts have had limited success and now the dynamic is changing as China becomes a global power.  This presentation will provide a historical background to American relations with China and current efforts to crack the giant of the east.

Global commerce with China is important to the Nebraska economy.  In fact there is a website, dedicated to  Nebraska’s relationship with China.  With that in mind, the Friends of the Library selected this topic for the series.   The library appreciates seat reservations for the program to help in room set-up.  Please call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to reserve a seat.  Attendees are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch.  Water and coffee will be available.

‘Nebraska’s Landmark Buildings’ Noon Program postponed until May 3.

Due to a death in the speaker’s family, this program had to be postponed.  We have rescheduled it on Thursday, May 3.


The rich and diverse history and heritage of the state of Nebraska through its buildings is the subject of an upcoming presentation at the North Platte Public Library.

Historian and author Jeff Barnes presents “Nebraska’s Landmark Buildings” on Thursday, January 11, 12:00 p.m., at the library, 120 West 4th St., North Platte. The talk is sponsored by Humanities Nebraska. The talk is free to the public but the library requests seat reservations to help in room set-up.  Please call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3301.

The 45-minute talk presents the diversity of the state’s buildings, from an 1830s-era cabin along to its internationally noted state capitol through a state-of-the-art cancer center of today.

“The architecture of Nebraska tells the history of the state,” said Barnes. “You can see the boom-and-bust periods, the arrival of various ethnic groups, and the impact of world wars.” Some of America’s greatest architects – from Frank Lloyd Wright to I. M. Pei – also left their mark on the state and are presented.

The talk is derived from Barnes’ new book, 150@150: Nebraska’s Landmark Buildings at the State’s Sesquicentennial, a celebration of the built world of Nebraska in its 150th anniversary of statehood. This colorful, richly photographed collection includes the earliest buildings constructed by newcomers to the territory, its most recognizable landmarks, and the newest and most dynamic structures designed by the architectural firms of today. The book is presented by the Architectural Foundation of Nebraska and the American Institute of Architects-Nebraska Chapter.

Of interest to those in North Platte, Buffalo Bill Cody’s Scouts Rest Ranch and the Lincoln County Courthouse are included in the book.

Barnes is also the author of Forts of the Northern Plains, The Great Plains Guide to Custer, The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill, Extra Innings: The Story of Modisett Ball Park and the centennial history of a Kansas City medical school. He is currently at work on his next book, a travel guide to sites related to the American outlaw Jesse James.

A former newspaper reporter and editor, Barnes writes freelance and lives in Omaha. He is a fifth-generation Nebraskan, a trustee of the Nebraska State Historical Society, former chairman of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission, and past marketing director of the Durham Museum.

For more information:

Mark Your calendar for December noon programs

Our December 1st noon program on Laura Ingalls Wilder will be repeated on Thursday, December 14th at 12:00 PM since the first day’s seat reservation’s limit has been met already.    We have also added a Christmas themed program on December 7th.

This year, our library’s noon programs has primarily focused on Nebraska history as part of this year’s Celebrate Nebraska 150 series, official events in the state’s Sesquicentennial celebration.

2017 also marks 150 years since the birth of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Wilder was an American writer known for the Little House on the Prairie series of children’s books released from 1932 to 1943 which were based on her childhood in a settler and pioneer family. Director Cecelia Lawrence prepared a program on Wilder titled “Laura Ingalls Wilder, Prairie Girl and Author: A biographical Look at the Pioneering Woman and Author.”  Cecelia will be sharing her love of author Laura Ingalls Wilder through a presentation that takes the viewer through her books and her life.

Laura Ingalls was born on February 7, 1867, seven miles north of the village of Pepin in the Big Woods region of Wisconsin to Charles Phillip and Caroline Lake Ingalls.   This presentation compares Laura’s real life to the wonderful stories she wrote.

Friends of the North Platte Public Library members get first notice of our programs through a paper/email newsletter as part of their membership benefits.  Also previous program attendees often sign up for future programs when they are announced during our noon series.  As a result, programs may be full before events are advertised in the media during the week prior to the program date.  When this happens for programs by local presenters, we try to schedule a second program.

Please call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3301 (circulation desk) to reserve a seat for the Thursday, December 14th program.  Also, if you have signed up for the December 1 program and can’t attend, let us know so we can open up a seat for others.

We have also added a program titled “Christmas Customs Around the World” by Vicki McCarty at 12:00 PM on Thursday, December 7th.

Every December people all over the world join hearts in celebration.  The holidays are a great time to explore traditions from the past and customs from other countries.  Vicki McCarty loves to collect holiday memorabilia.  Her talk may bring back memories for attendees.  Vicki will include Victorian celebrations and Charles Dickens, customs from Holland, Switzerland, China, Japan, Mexico, German and France, pioneer Christmases, and also Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.





“Edutainer” to be at Library October 12th

Celebrate Nebraska 150 Program to Feature Edutainer, Darrel Draper

The North Platte Public Library continues its Celebrate Nebraska 150 Program Series at 12:00 PM, Thursday, October 12th with “Nebraska: Crossroads of the Western Fur Trade” by Darrel W. Draper.    The library asks people to call 535-8036, Ext 3310  to reserve a free seat for this program, primarily funded by Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment in addition to local funding.  Water and coffee will be provided and attendees may bring a sack lunch.

This humorous, one-hour presentation, composed from literature, is an entertaining and amusing summary of the history of the fur trade, including trading companies, personalities and the achievements of fur traders and mountain men who lived in or passed through Nebraska. This tabloid-style review of the oddities and ironies of the industry has been carefully researched but is humorously presented in a sensationalized style. It recounts some of the bizarre happenings that resulted in the most important discoveries of land and routes enabling the U.S. to claim and populate the West. Darrel W. Draper, a fifth generation Nebraskan, retired Navy officer and University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate, uses his talents as storyteller and actor to educate and entertain. He is considered an expert on the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition and has personally retraced thousands of miles of their trail by canoe and on foot.

Those who attended Darrel’s program in June will know not to miss this one!


Speaker on Jesse James at Library September 7th

The North Platte Public Library continues its Celebrate Nebraska 150 Program Series at 12:00 PM, Thursday, September 7th.  Author Jeff Barnes  will present: “A Man in a Better Place, Jesse James in Nebraska.”  Barnes thoroughly researches his topics and given excellent programs in his past visits to the library.

The notorious Jesse James typically isn’t thought of in connection with Nebraska… but he was here. Nebraska was where the outlaw could find family and friends. It was where he could plan robberies, make a recovery or an escape, and even sit for his most famous photograph. He wanted to buy a farm here and some even say he started a family here! Author Jeff Barnes shares what’s known of the truth, the fiction, and the legend of Jesse James in Nebraska.

This free program is made possible by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural endowment and local funding as part of the HN Speakers Bureau.    The library asks for people to call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to reserve a space to plan seating.  Attendees are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch.  Iced tea and water will be provided.


Telescope Viewing of the Eclipse in The Library Parking Lot

The library has asked Les Green to bring his large telescope, fitted with filters to safely view the eclipse, to the library parking lot on Monday, August 21st, beginning at 11:30 AM.  Les is head of the city’s IT department.  We have received 1000 pairs of certified safe solar eclipse glasses to distribute and hope to receive more by that day.  They are in the mail on their way!  The library will give out a limited number of glasses, beginning Monday the 14th.  You must come into the library to request glasses.

So, take a long lunch hour, and see the eclipse here! We will be viewing the eclipse in the new parking lot directly in front of the North Platte Public Library.  Eclipse sunglasses will be handed out, PLUS you will be able to look through a telescope with a special solar filter to see the totality.

The partial phase will begin at 11:30 and at 12:54PM, totality will start. The totality only lasts 1 minute and 40 seconds!

Go to the NASA eclipse website for tons of information on this year’s amazing event.



Library to host musical program on Thursday July 6th

Sean playing his Kora

Music from West Africa and Beyond by Sean Gaskell is the library’s next free noon program on Thursday, July 6th at 12:00 PM.  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 the instrument’s homeland in Gambia, West Africa.

According to Wikipedia:

A kora is a mandinka harp built from a large calabash cut in half and covered with cow skin to make a resonator with a long hardwood neck. The skin is supported by two handles that run under it. It supports a notched double free-standing bridge. It doesn’t fit into any one category of musical instruments, but rather several, and must be classified as a “double-bridge-harp-lute”. The strings run in two divided ranks, making it a double harp. They do not end in a soundboard but are held in notches on a bridge, making it a bridge harp. They originate from a string arm or neck and cross a bridge directly supported by a resonating chamber, making it a lute too.

The sound of a kora resembles that of a harp, though when played in the traditional style, it bears a closer resemblance to flamenco and delta blues guitar techniques. The player uses only the thumb and index finger of both hands to pluck the strings in polyrhythmic patterns (using the remaining fingers to secure the instrument by holding the hand posts on either side of the strings). Ostinato riffs (“Kumbengo”) and improvised solo runs (“Birimintingo”) are played at the same time by skilled players.

Library to Host Historical Re-enactor June 29th

The North Platte Public Library’s Celebrate Nebraska 150 noon series continues Thursday, June 29th at 12:00 PM. Historical Re-enactor Darrel Draper will portray Daniel Freeman, America’s first Homesteader, in a unique “edu-taining” (educational + entertaining) costumed presentation. The 45-minute program is free and open to the public.  Please call the library for seat reservations to help us plan seating.

Daniel Freeman (1826-1908) lived most of his life on the Western Frontier of America.  As a doctor, Civil War Officer, coroner, and County Sheriff, Freeman had many unique experiences while living in America’s first homestead under the 1863 Homestead Act.  Draper will describe life as a pioneer and the changes that Nebraska and America were going through in the 19th Century in this costumed presentation that gives audience members insight into his life, family, and frontier legacy.

Darrel Draper has been described by audience members as “an awesome and absolutely wonderful performer” who is able to transport listeners back in time to the era of his characters.  His humorous delivery, sound research, knowledge of history, and the use of interactive audience participation have delighted audiences aged 8 to 80.  He is one of the most requested speakers in the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau Program, the largest of its type in the nation.

Funding for the 2017 Brown Bag programs is provided by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Friends of the Library, the North Platte Public Library, and the Faith Fisher Memorial Fund.

Step back in history on June 15th at the library

The North Platte Public Library’s Celebrate Nebraska 150 noon series continues at 12:00 PM on June 15th with “Nebraska’s Winding Road to Statehood: In the Footsteps of a Female Settler.” Funding for this free program was provided primarily by Humanities Nebraska.

Barbara Kagi Mayhew Bradway, a female settler, recounts the issues of Nebraska’s territorial days. In a first-person portrayal, Sara Brandes Crook recounts Bradway’s impressions as an early permanent white settler. She also explores the Underground Railroad. Bradway was the older sister of John Kagi, who was a close confidant to John Brown.  Seat reservations are requested by the library; please call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310.

Sara Crook’s love of Nebraska history and Nebraska politics goes back to her childhood. As a farm girl growing up in a country church and attending a one-room country school in the 1950s and 60s, she developed a deep appreciation for Nebraska, and its people, that continues to this day.

Crook is a professor of Political Science and History at Peru State College. She has taught Nebraska History at the college since 1984. Dr. Crook served 6 years on the Nebraska State Historical Society’s Board of Directors; was on the Council for Humanities Nebraska for 7 years;  and she currently is serving a 2nd term on the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission. She serves as Chair on the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission, on the Executive Committee for the Nebraska 150 Foundation, as well as the Sesquicentennial Committee at Peru State College which will also celebrate its status as Nebraska’s 1st college this year.  She and other Sesquicentennial Commission members plan to take part in the NebraskaLand Days parade on June 17th.

Celebrate Nebraska 150 Program on June 1st

Karen Drevo as Maria Rodaway, Prairie Pioneer on 12:00 PM, Thursday, June 1

Maria (portrayed by her great-great granddaughter in period attire) looks back at her life as a prairie pioneer in Otoe County, NE, where she homesteaded in 1867. Maria crossed the Atlantic Ocean with seven children to reunite her family after a 7½ year separation. She endured grasshoppers, hail, drought, tornadoes, blizzards, and the loss of her husband and 6 of her 13 children as she worked to become a citizen and a land owner in a new country. Resilient and resourceful, she lived a life of usefulness to her family and large circle of friends with her loving deeds and kind acts, delivering babies and nursing the sick.

Seven generations of Karen Wyatt Drevo’s family have lived in Otoe County, Neb. Karen grew up on a farm north of Unadilla and received her early education in one-room Otoe County schools. She has degrees in English and history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently lives in Norfolk, where she is a librarian at Norfolk Public Library. Her life-long interest in her family history was sparked by the family stories told by her grandmothers.

Funding for the 2017 Brown Bag programs is provided by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Friends of the Library, the North Platte Public Library, and the Faith Fisher Memorial Fund.  The library is hosting 2 more Humanities Nebraska programs in June; Nebraska’s Winding Road to Statehood: In the Footsteps of a Female Settler by Sara Brandes Crook at 12:00 PM, Thursday, June 15th; and Daniel Freeman, America’s First Homestead portrayed by Darrel W. Draper on Thursday, June 29th at 12:00 PM.

Programs are free to the public but reservations are needed to set up the room correctly.  Call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to reserve a seat.