March 2nd Noon Program: North Platte: Our Humble Beginnings

The library has  filled its March calendar with historic programs, beginning on Thursday, March 2nd at 12:00 PM.  “North Platte History – Our Humble Beginnings” will be presented by Cecelia Lawrence, Library Director and Sara Aden, Library IT Manager.

This program looks at the history of North Platte.  Cecelia and Sara start off with a review of explorers who came through the area and the geographic characteristics of Lincoln County.  Then they will discuss the Native American tribes in the area; North Platte’s place on the Oregon and Mormon Trails; explore the need for a military base and the installation of Fort McPherson; and will end with the railroad coming to the area as well as the first three pioneers and businessmen. The presentation will showcase some of the earliest photographs of North Platte buildings and structures.

Program attendance is limited to 70, so please call and make seat reservations by calling the library at 535-8036, extension 3310.

During the entire month of March, the North Platte Public Library will have a photographic exhibit of homesteaders and early photographs of the town, prairie-scapes, and railroad. The exhibit will also include copies of historic photographs and descriptions of William Cody (Buffalo Bill), the developing North Platte Downtown and businesses, Fort McPherson, Schools and Churches, and more.  The Library will have a three-dimensional exhibit with a plow, saddle and other early prairie artifacts on loan from the Lincoln County Historical Museum to help give modern day children and adults a sense of life on the prairie in 1867.

2nd Eclipse Program at Library on February 23rd

Attendees to receive solar eclipse glasses

Derryl Barr, eclipse chaser and former North Platte teacher returns to the North Platte Public Library at 12:00 PM on Thursday, February 23rd for another program. Eclipses Present is the second in a three-part series on solar eclipses leading up to the total solar eclipse on the 21st of August that will be observable from the North Platte area.   In the first part of the series, Eclipses Past, we explored the myth, mystery and fear that accompanied and still accompanies the singular experience of witnessing the disappearance of the Sun at mid-day. In Eclipses Present our focus shifts to the science and politics of the eclipse phenomenon, or how humankind not only came to understand what was happening in the heavens, but how it quickly devised means to put to use this cosmic occurrence to influence earthly events in its own favor, for both good and bad.

Through a Thrivent Action Team project, library staff member, Terri Johnson, gained funding for multiple solar eclipse glasses for safe viewing of the sun.  Each attendee will receive a pair of glasses.  The library requests  seat reservations for this free program by calling 308-535-8036, Ext. 3310. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.  Water and coffee will be provided.

2 Celebrate Nebraska 150 Programs on February 2nd

Working together, the North Platte Public Library and the Lincoln County Historical Museum are bringing Nancy Gillis to present two programs on Thursday, February 2nd.     The Legacy of Neihardt and Black Elk will be presented at 12:00 PM in the library’s meeting room.  This program is free but seat reservations are requested; please call 535-8036, Ext. 3310.

This presentation explores the remarkable legacy of a unique personal and spiritual friendship begun in 1931 between the Lakota holy man Black Elk and poet John G. Neihardt. It includes brief biographies of each man, their meetings, and their friendship’s impact on adding to the knowledge of Lakota culture, Native American philosophies, and the possibilities of cross-cultural recognition and respect.

Nancy S. Gillis is the former Executive Director of the John Neihardt State Historic Site and the Neihardt Foundation’s Institute for Vision and Learning. Nancy joined the Foundation as Assistant Director in May 1997 and retired in 2014, joining its Board of Directors, and speaks to schools and civic groups on Neihardt’s work and a variety of related topics. Since 1992 she has served as faculty at Wayne State College, Northeast Community College, Nebraska Indian Community College, and Little Priest Tribal College teaching Native American History and Cultures, U.S. History, World History, Anthropology and Sociology.

Of Cherokee and Choctaw heritage, Gillis moved to Nebraska in 1987 to work with the Winnebago people for the Reformed Church in America and has served as their delegate to its Native American Council and the Commission for Race and Ethnicity.

 The second program will be held at 7:00 PM that evening at the Lincoln County Historical Museum.  A Brief History of the Five Tribes of Nebraska: Omaha, Ponca, Pawnee, Santee, and Winnebago will  look at the origins, history, and current state of these five tribes that are recognized as Native Nations in Nebraska.

These programs are brought to North Platte through the support of Humanities Nebraska, the Cultural Endowment of Nebraska, the library and museum and the Faith Fisher Memorial Fund.


Jan 26 Noon Program on President Andrew Johnson

The North Platte Public Library’s Celebrate Nebraska 150 Brown Bag Series continues at 12:00 PM on Thursday, January 26th with “President Andrew Johnson”  by Andrew Lee, a frequent actor in the Cemetery Tours and a North Platte City Council member.  This program is free to the public.  Our program attendance has been reaching room capacity so please call the library at 535-8036, Ext 3310 to make seat reservations.  Attendees may bring a brown bag lunch. Coffee and water will be provided.

President Andrew Johnson was in office when Nebraska gained statehood. Beginning as vice-president under Abraham Lincoln, he came into office after Lincoln’s assassination. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. The new president favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves, and he came into conflict with the Republican- dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The first American president to be impeached, he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote.

Local history and politics buff, Andrew Lee will use PowerPoint slides to tell the story of our 17th president and his impact  on our country.

Celebrate Nebraska 150 Musical Program on Jan. 19th

Nebraska Through Song and Story

The North Platte Public Library’s second Celebrate Nebraska 150 brown bag program is a historical music program at 12:00 PM on Thursday, January 19th.  This free program,  Nebraska Through Song and Story by Dan Holtz, is part of the Humanities Nebraska Speakers bureau.  Room space is limited to 70, so please call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to make seat reservations.

 Nebraska has not only a rich tradition in literature but also a rich, less-publicized tradition in music. Dan Holtz interweaves songs, accompanied on guitar and harmonica, with excerpts from works by Willa Cather,

John Neihardt, Mari Sandoz, and Bess Streeter Aldrich. In a narrative from about 1850 to 1904, he tells the stories of the people who came to and through early Nebraska, the pioneers who crossed the overland trails, the settlers and the Native Americans. Dan plays original songs he composed as well as historic folk songs from the late 1800’s.

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.

Dan Holtz is a recently retired professor of English from Peru State College in southeast Nebraska, where he taught from 1987 to 2016.  He is a past president of the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees and a member of the Nebraska 150 Nebraska Foundation, which is helping to plan the Sesquicentennial celebration/commemoration for 2017.  He is also a recipient of the Nebraska State College System Teaching Excellence Award and the Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award for the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history.

Dr. Holtz has presented his musical, historical, story-telling programs hundreds of times all across the state, including performances at the State Capitol, the Bob Devaney Sports Center, Chimney Rock, Scottsbluff National Monument, and Ft. Robinson.   He also performed on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for Nebraska State Day in 1999, and, along with the band Flatwater Highway, has produced a CD of his music titled All Original, All Nebraska.  He will have copies of this CD at his program.

In 2004, he was a bonus-round winner on the Wheel of Fortune television game show.  He lives in Nebraska City with his wife, Alice.

“Pink and Blue: telling the Boys from the Girls in America” Author Talk on Nov 3

pinkThe North Platte Public Library is hosting a free Brown Bag program at 12:00 PM, Thursday, November 3rdPink and Blue: telling the Boys from the Girls in America will be presented by author and professor, Jo Paoletti, who is visiting the North Platte area from Maryland.

“When did we start dressing girls in pink and boys in blue?” To uncover the answer, Jo Paoletti looks at advertising, catalogs, dolls, baby books, mommy blogs and discussion forums, and other popular media to examine the surprising shifts in attitudes toward color as a mark of gender in American children’s clothing. She chronicles the decline of the white dress for both boys and girls, the introduction of rompers in the early 20th century, the gendering of pink and blue, the resurgence of unisex fashions, and the origins of today’s highly gender-specific baby and toddler clothing.

Jo Paoletti is Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, where she teaches courses about fashion and consumer culture. Her 2012 book, Pink and Blue: telling the Boys from the Girls in America, explored gender differences in baby and toddler clothing from the late 19th century to the present. In Sex and Unisex: Fashion, Feminism and the Sexual Revolution (2015), she examined the fashions of the 1960s and 70s as a response to changing social and cultural forces. She is currently working on Age Appropriate, which will be about older women and their clothing. This is a special homecoming for Jo. A native of Fremont, she and her brother were regular patrons of the North Platte Public Library as children. In early October, 1957, the family drove away from their white stucco bungalow on Willow Street and headed east to a new life in New Jersey. Since then, she has dreamed of coming back to North Platte, but was only able to stop for a couple of days over twenty years ago. This time she will be here for three weeks, hoping to reconnect with old friends and maybe make new ones!jo56

All Brown Bag Programs are free to the public.  Please call the library for seat reservations (535-8036, Ext 3310). Bring your own lunch; coffee and water will be

Inspirational Author to speak at Library September 30th

AIM High – Affirm, Inspire, and Motivate Legacy Building

front-cover-130424-2Miriam Jones Bradley, an author and inspirational speaker, is coming to North Platte and will speak at the North Platte Public Library on Friday, September 30th at 12:00 PM.  Miriam wants to Affirm, Inspire, and Motivate people of all ages to identify and pass on their legacies. She fulfills this mission through nursing, writing, and speaking.  Her program is titled Legacy-Yours Is Valuable.  Bradley,  will share how the legacy her elders gave her led to a writing career and will describe the Importance of recording our personal stories and passing on our legacy to future generations.

Miriam Jones Bradley has lived “from sea to shining sea,” but spent most of her life in the Great Plains before moving to the South, which required some–several–okay, a lot of cultural adjustments. She and her husband, Dr. Bruce Bradley, live in North Carolina and Miriam works as a nurse when she is not writing books that inspire children of all ages to explore their own history. In addition to the Double Cousins Mystery Series and the Nearly Twins Mysteries, she writes nonfiction for adults.  One of her Double Cousins books takes place in Lincoln County. Through her children’s books, Miriam uses traditional stories that are also exciting and captivating to illustfinal-cover-nprate the importance of family connections while establishing good character truths.

Her book, All I Have Needed-A Legacy for Life is a collection of stories celebrating the legacy she received from the adults in her life.

Attendees are asked to call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310, to reserve a seat for this free program.  Tea, coffee, and water will be provided.

August 25th Noon Program on Unique Cemetery Stones

Picture1Boni has had a love of cemeteries her entire life, beginning at a very young age decorating graves at Memorial Day with her grandparents. Gravestones hundreds of years old intrigued her on a couple of trips to England and Scotland through a 4-H exchange program after she graduated from high school. Her son, Aaron Edwards, helped restore a couple of pioneer cemeteries in Frontier County for a boy scout community service project and his Eagle Scout Project. Combined with her love of photography Boni thought she could photograph every cemetery in the state of Nebraska! That was becoming an overwhelming task. At a “cemetery tour” a couple of years ago at the North Platte Cemetery, one of the “tree gravestones” caught her eye and she decided to concentrate on those. With a little research Boni has found out that some of those stones are Woodmen of the World markers and some are simply tree stones.

Boni shares many of her photos with friends and family on facebook as well as on a page called Tombstone Tourism of Nebraska where people share many cemetery and gravestone pictures with each other. Most people who explore cemeteries all across the state now know to take pictures of the treestones they find to share with her! Her love of cemeteries as taken her across the state to many pioneer cemeteries. Finding them in disrepair breaks her heart and she finds ways to get them back into shape! Facebook pleas and calls to family and friends has resulted in restoration of gravestones and fences in two pioneer cemeteries in Frontier County this summer.

For the brown bag program at the library Library, Boni will be sharing photos of treestones she had found in Lincoln County and other nearby cemeteries as well as some unusual ones she has found across the state. She will talk a little about Woodman of the World and share some information on symbolism she has found on these beautiful and unique stones.

Paperback Book Sale @ Your Library

The Friends of the Library received thousands of paperback books from a book store in another community.  This public two-day sale will be August 12-13th, and will be conducted differently from previous book sales.  On Friday from 9 to 6 PM, and Saturday morning, 9-12, all books will cost 50 cents each. Then the book sale will close for one hour, reopening at 1 PM on Saturday, when books will be 10 cents each until the sale closes at 5 PM.  Come in and find some bargains; all profits will benefit future library improvements and special sale

North Platte Graduate to talk about WWII Japanese Internment Camp

helen ChristHelen Harano Christ will be the next speaker at the North Platte Public Library’s Brown Bag Program series.  Her program, “Legacy”, will be at 12:00 PM on Friday, July 22nd.

Helen, a North Platte graduate, will speak on her book about her family’s forced relocation to an internment camp in Utah during WWI. She wrote this book hoping to give readers a feeling for what it was like to live as a Japanese in America during the years previous to Pearl Harbor and during the evacuation. Helen will be in town for her high school class reunion and was asked by her classmates to share her story.

In researching this topic, I found a video interview of Helen that was done as an oral history in 2008.  Click on the links below to access the two parts of this interview.

Part 1  and Part 2

The program is open to all. Attendees are encouraged to call the library for seat reservations, if they haven’t done so through the reunion group. This helps the library plan seating. Please call 535-8036, Ext. 3310.

Attendees are welcome to bring a sack lunch.  The library will provided iced tea and water.