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.








Poetry from the Plains at noon on April 13

North Platte Public Library’s Celebrate Nebraska 150 Series Continues With “Poetry from the Plains”

The North Platte Public Library’s Celebrate Nebraska 150 series continues at 12:00 PM, Thursday, April 13th with “Poetry from the Plains” by Twyla M. Hansen, Nebraska State Poet.    This program has double significance since April is National Poetry Month.  Twyla is also presenting a poetry workshop for our Teen Cafe program that afternoon.  Any youth ages 13-18 are encouraged to attend.

Twyla was born and raised in northeast Nebraska. She was raised on the farm her grandparents had purchased as immigrants from Denmark in the late 1880s. Hansen earned her BS in horticulture and MA in agroecology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, including How to Live in the Heartland (1992), Sanctuary Near Salt Creek (2001), and Potato Soup (2003), which won the Nebraska Book Award for poetry. Hansen’s writing has appeared widely in periodicals and anthologies. She is a creative writing presenter through the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau.  In 2013, Hansen was appointed Nebraska State Poet. She lives and works in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Hansen will read selections from her poetry and discuss how the landscape of the Great Plains has inspired, influenced, and shaped her writing. Her poetry follows in the footsteps of earlier Plains writers, using a sense of place to make connections between the natural and human worlds, the land and all its inhabitants–the ordinary, extraordinary food for poetry and stories about the human experience on the Plains and beyond.   This free program is brought to the library through support by Humanities Nebraska, Nebraska Cultural Endowment and local funding.  Please call for reservations at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to help the library plan seating.

Music and History Together in March 24th Program

Nebraska Territory Stories by David Seay is the next Celebrate Nebraska 150 program at the library.  Join us at 12:00 PM, Friday, March 24 for an entertaining hour of Nebraska history from the perspective of the musical instruments played by early people living in the Nebraska Territory.

In this upbeat presentation David performs folk music that existed at the time Nebraska became a state on March 1, 1867. Between tunes he discusses how these songs provide glimpses into history by telling stories of everyday life of the pioneers during the 13 years before Nebraska statehood.  Instruments featured are banjo, harmonica, whistles, and mountain dulcimer.

Library staff that have heard him at a regional library event found his program very interesting and educational.  There was never a dull moment!


“Lincoln County Tribune 1867-1887″ on March 17th

The Celebrate Nebraska 150 program series  at the North Platte Public Library continues at 12:00 PM on Friday, March 17th with another local interest program.  Library staff, Cecelia Lawrence and Sara Aden,  will present.

This presentation grew out of the research done for the History of North Platte Exhibit that is currently on display at the North Platte Public Library.  As researchers were combing through the earliest newspapers from 1885-1889, they were amazed by how much advertising and news have changed over the years.  This program will look at the different Lincoln County Nebraska  newspapers around in the 1800s and the printing presses being used.  The PowerPoint program will showcase some of the unique advertising, editorials, and news articles of the times.

This series has been very popular, so available seats may fill up fast.  Those wishing to attend should call the library at 535-8036, Option #2, to make free seat reservations.  Attendees are welcome to bring a sack lunch; coffee and ice water will be provided.

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.

Library eResources

We often hear from people that they don’t have time to come to the library.  Our answer to them is that they can still use awesome library resources with their computer or mobile devices.  These resources include:  Online courses on business and personal skill needs; downloadable popular, classic and even oldies music; full magazines to read such as Guideposts, Discovery, Sports Illustrated;  and eBooks and audiobooks to borrow.  And, that’s not even going into access to Auto Repair information, Consumer Reports, and legal forms.


We always offer help on these resources in our 2nd floor computer if you have questions on using any of these resources.

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.