Pictures from the recent Carnegie Centennial Concert- and a BIG thank you!

Thanks for the Memories

Submitted by Lynne Young, Library and Recreation
Services Director, City of Northfield

        A thick file labeled 2010 Centennial Celebration hangs in a drawer in the library office. Looking at the publicity materials from all the Centennial Celebration events planned and enjoyed by so many fills me with a sense of amazement and gratitude – and it also makes me feel as though I am compiling the credits for a major motion picture.  Multiple special author programs (including Siri Hustvedt and T.J. Stiles), twelve centennial concerts (it would have been 13 if we hadn’t had to cancel the last one), a birthday party, an exhibit at the Northfield Historical Society, a video production and premier, a “Party Like It’s 1910” event, a visit from Garrison Keillor, a spelling bee and the publication of a history of the library!  Wow! 

So many people to thank, so little space and time!  Where to start and where to end when we made so many wonderful connections during the year?  The obvious groups of people to begin with are the 2010 Northfield Public Library Board and the Friends of the Northfield Public Library.  As Chair of the Library Board, Margit Johnson stepped up.  She set a schedule, wrote grant applications to fund the projects, recruited people to work on planning various events, organized and introduced the Carnegie Concerts, helped with publicity, engaged Mayor Rossing to speak at the April birthday party, and did everything humanly possible to make every event an enjoyable celebration of the importance of the Library in this community.  Thank you, Margit!

As chair of the library board’s PR and Partnership Committee, Barb Altstaetter was instrumental in working with Hayes Scriven at the Historical Society on the Centennial exhibit and the DVD. (During Crazy Daze 2009, Barb also organized the taping of stories about the library.  You can still view these by going to the library’s web site and clicking on the Centennial Blog.  The format for the blog and posting of the videos was accomplished by Sean Hayford O’Leary and kept up to date by staff member Kathy Ness.) And for the joint birthday party with the Arts Guild in April Barb worked with people like Ann Mosey at the Guild and Mary Williams at the High School.  In turn, Ann worked with the staff at the Guthrie Theatre to engage Marcela Lorca to be the inspiring keynote speaker for the event, and Mary Williams lined up the High School band to play in the birthday parade.  Michele Reese volunteered to help out and recruited the Northfield Youth Choir to sing.  The Northfield Police Department helped the participants safely negotiate the parade route, Econofoods contributed balloons and other supplies, and Quality Bakery provided birthday cake at a reduced cost.  Barb was also the person who contacted Garrison Keillor and worked out all the details of his appearance here in October.  Thanks to Barb and to all the others mentioned above!

All the other library board members (in alphabetical order) – Jerry Bilek, Bob Bruce, Char Carlson, Bill Gruszewski, Adam Gurno, Jan Shoger, Betsy Spethmann were engaged and active, doing whatever else needed to be done.  Outside of the celebration, they continued to actively work on library budget issues, a possible library expansion, a downtown survey about the influence of library use and downtown businesses, and a fundraising feasibility study.  I cannot thank this tireless and committed group of people enough!

And then we come to the Friends of the Library.  Bill North has chaired this excellent group for the last several years.  He follows a group of exceptionally able and dedicated people (you can find a list of them in Everlasting Influences: A Centennial History of the Northfield Carnegie Public Library 1910-2010.)  Bill has been a tireless leader and organizer of the Friends and has contributed brawn as well as brains to the activities this year.  Whenever we needed help moving chairs for a concert, Bill was there.  Along with other volunteers, he was there to get the grounds in shape for the birthday party, and he and his family have been regular donors of popular materials (especially DVDs) to the library.  In addition Bill has worked with a number of Board committees and with Tim Braulick of the Friends Board has worked on a bylaws revision that, if passed, will allow the Friends to become “The Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library.”

Mary Schier of the Friends Board has been the creative force behind the Friends’ newsletter.  Mary also researched and designed the beautiful 2010 Centennial Calendar which offered a great overview of the library’s history.  And we cannot forget that Mary has also been the organizer extraordinaire of the Friends’ spelling bees.

Betsy Busa, currently serving on the Friends’ Board, holds the distinction of serving 12 years on the Library Board and then joining the Friends.  Her support of the Library is unparalleled.  Kathy Sommers continues to keep the books and membership records for the 250-member group.  Diana Haselton Genova, Katherine Collman, Debbie Navarro, Charlie Black, Bruce Duffy also served on the Friends’ Board, lending their assistance whenever it was needed throughout the year.  The Friends of the Library also purchased Jennifer Wolcott’s intriguing sculpture, Dancing Bookheads, which was dedicated at the birthday party.

And, at last, we come to one of the reasons for the thank-you event held at the library on January 29:  the publication of a brief history of the Library by Bruce Colwell.  With the Bruce’s help, I wrote a grant application to the Minnesota Historical Society to publish an expanded pamphlet-sized history of the library.  (Bruce and Marston Headley wrote a brief historical pamphlet in 1998 for the centennial of public service.)  We received a $7,000 from MHS to research, write and publish such a history.  As Bruce wrote, he gathered editorial comments from Margit Johnson, Betsy Spethmann and me. Ten months later, we have a much more substantial history than originally intended thanks to substantial additional financial support from the Friends of the Library.  Particular thanks to Bruce Colwell, the Minnesota Historical Society and the Friends of the Northfield Public Library.

        The musicians who made the Carnegie Centennial Concert series so great deserve our special thanks:  Gao Hong with the Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble; Lars Skjervheim Spelemannslag of St. Olaf College (Andrea Een, Megan Peterson, Emily Joynton, Chenoa Albertson, Olivia Krueger, Nate Berry, Eden Ehm and Rachel Jensen); Dave Hagedorn and Kevin Clements Jazz Duo; Occasional Jazz (Mark Pernecky, Steve Kelly, Gary Iseminger , Dave Saunders, Daniel Groll, and Dan Curme); St. Olaf College String Quartets; The Brass Quintet of the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra; Meredith Fierke and Steve McKinstry; Multe (Jon Thore Bjork, Drew Dixon, (Andrea Een, Bruce Jensen and Dagaz Wornson); The Vintage Band Festival and the WindWorks Quintet and Kentucky Baroque Trumpets; Roger Lasley; and the David Carter String Ensemble (Andrea Een, Lindsie Katz, Jenny Asparro, Elen Hartford, Laura Menard); student brass septet from St. Olaf College directed by Paul Niemisto (Matthew Nelson, Erin Meyer, Amy Meyer, Robert Eisinger, Kim Moren and John Vranich) and Fang Tango, the Carleton Tango Ensemble.

        It’s also important to thank those organizations that financially made our celebration possible – the City of Northfield and Rice County for the financial support of the library and its services and staff, the Friends of the Northfield Public Library, the Northfield Area Foundation, and SELCO/SELS and the Minnesota Historical Society and the taxpayers of Minnesota for grants from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

Others we want to thank include:  Judy Code for her inspired and inspirational work on the library’s gardens and grounds; the Northfield News, KYMN Radio, the Northfield Entertainment Guide and for their coverage of the Centennial; St. Olaf College for providing space for the premier All Grows Better, a video about the history of the library, and, even more importantly for the time, skills and dedication of student interns Sarah Marrs, Kenzie Huffman, Kai Hansen and Joe Erickson; the “Party Like It’s 1910” presenters Scott Richardson, David Gangsei, Sam Demas, and Susan Hvistendahl; the Northfield Teen Advisory Board for their help with the birthday party and other events; the Northfield Union of Youth and Tim Freeland for providing programming for the birthday party; the children of St. Dominic’s school for a beautiful assortment of birthday cards; Bonnie Jean Flom for her song in praise of the Friends of the Library; and the City’s facility team led by Bernard Shakal for their help in making sure that the building was ready for the birthday party and the “Lucies” who make sure that the library is clean and comfortable.

        Although I have left the library staff until last, they are no less important! I particularly want to thank Leesa Wisdorf and Kathy Ness. They know what they did and it was a lot!  I also want to thank the rest of the library staff for setting up, promoting and attending events, sharing ideas and doing whatever they could to make the Centennial celebration a success.  Thanks also to Jim Stenglein, Eric Johnson, Chris Ennis and other spouses of staff and board members who chipped in to help set up programs. And I would like to add a special thank you to Andrew Carnegie – both the original Carnegie whose $10,000 gift started this whole thing – and to my husband Jim Young whose resemblance to Mr. Carnegie prompted me to ask him to step into the role and who did so with grace and good humor! And, finally, thanks to the Northfield community that enthusiastically supported and enjoyed the entire celebration year.

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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