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Park Rapids Area Library receives Legacy funding

"From the time I knew how to read, I knew I wanted to write," author Lorna Landvik told her audience Friday. She is the first in a series of literary speakers and events to arrive via Legacy Amendment funds.

A library has traditionally been a repository for books.

But now, thanks to voter approval of the Legacy Amendment, new chapters are unfolding at the Park Rapids Area Library and others across the state.

Imaginations will be stirred, talents tapped, a "crime wave" is on the agenda.

And everything's free.

The Kitchigami Regional Library is the recipient of $268,000 in Legacy Amendment funds, with branches invited to submit proposals for funding.

Park Rapids has received $18,200 for its "Telling Our Story" initiative, which is in addition to the region-wide programs that will appear at the library in the next eight months.

"It's a wonderful opportunity," said Marian Ridge, Kitchigami's director and chief librarian. "We are receiving an enthusiastic response from communities. It's very exciting."

"I'm a big library fan," author Lorna Landvik told her audience in the premier event Friday afternoon. "But I do think you should buy a book now and then."

The author of "Patty Jane's House of Curl" and "Angry Housewives Eating BonBons" launched a season of outreach, "to address a variety of interests in arts and culture," Park Rapids Area Library's branch manager Becky Walpole said.

Tuesday, singer/song-writer Neal Hagberg paid a call. And at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, the "real Laura" will come alive. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series, will be brought to life with music and artifacts, Alison Edgerton taking her audience to another era. All are welcome, but the event is geared to kids in third and fourth grades. The event will be held at the library.

Library staff was given a short timeframe for proposals, Walpole said. But with the aid of Friends (of the Library) a host of activities unique to Park Rapids is on the docket for kids and adults.

Specific dates and times have not been finalized. All events are free, but tickets/registration are requested.

-In January, Charles House will share his experience in Nigeria, the North Country Museum of Arts' Nigerian collection to be showcased. The event will include Nigerian music and food.

-A six-week basic drawing class for adults, led by White Birch artist Janine Merrick, will be on the easel, come spring.

-Steve Maanum will lead a digital photography class, sending students out in the field and back to the computer, where they will learn to publish online.

-Poetry - for adults and kids - will be LouAnn Shepard Muhm's topic.

The children's class will include creating a book replete with art. Artist/teacher Tiffany Besonen will share artistic wisdom.

-And Lucy Jeanne, who shares family letters written during the Great Depression on the Web site,, will arrive to present ideas on preserving family heritage.

While individual cities are hosting programs unique to their communities, the bulk of the funds will be directed to region-wide programs, Ridge explained. The programs will debut in Park Rapids this spring.

-Kitchigami Reads -Kitchigami Writes will ignite a Minnesota crime wave when a trio of murder mystery authors, William Kent Krueger, Ellen Hart and Carl Brookins, discuss the evolution of plots with their audience. The appearance is expected in the spring.

-Say It - Sing It will feature singers and storytellers, including Elisa Korenne in March. She will introduce "Minnesota's ordinary unsung music."

-History Alive will re-enact Minnesota's cultural heritage, featuring children's author Maud Hart Lovelace and other characters.

-And Making Music will focus on music as a form of communication. Ridge said a tour by the Bemidji Symphony is a possibility as well as performances by unusual, one-of a kind musicians.

Events at area cities include a Festival of Books in Bemidji, come August. Wadena will be the site of an Arts Fest in August. As part of the Chautauqua series, Brainerd will host authors' readings and lecture. Plans are to produce a history walk on iPods, as well.

The first round of grants runs through June, Walpole said, but events through the Kitchigami Regional Library System are funded through fiscal year 2011.

For more information, contact the library at 732-4966.