Noted authors to appear at library this springThe library is once again actively participating in the One Book, One Community reading project along with the Duluth Public Library and other libraries in the Arrowhead Library System.
By: Mark King, Pine Journal
In a recent syndicated article, children’s author Peter Mandel lamented the current lack of emphasis on books in his local library in Providence, Rhode Island. “Take a peek around your local library,” he advised. “You’ll see oceans of DVDs, CDs, copy machines and computer terminals, with customers cued up to take their turn … Somewhere in the background (or more than likely cowering down in the basement) are the stacks [of books] we used to know.”
Mandel is right, in part, about the trend he perceives in public libraries. Libraries have changed dramatically with the growth of technology and changes in the public’s interests. And libraries will continue to evolve right alongside society.
Happily, though, library patrons are still reading books, and not only on their Kindles and Nooks. At Cloquet Public Library, books continue to be in high demand even as the library keeps pace with technology. This spring, the library is celebrating four notable authors with readings, talks and receptions.
The library is once again actively participating in the One Book, One Community reading project along with the Duluth Public Library and other libraries in the Arrowhead Library System. The selection this year is Susan Vreeland’s historically based novel “Clara and Mr. Tiffany.” Vreeland’s beautifully written story examines the life of one of the “Tiffany Girls”—female artists and designers—who were employed at Tiffany & Company in New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Clara Driscoll’s contribution to the design of the famed Tiffany lamps was only recently discovered when a cache of her letters was made public a few years ago. Driscoll’s letters were the basis for an exhibition at the New York Historical Society in 2007. At a time when women rarely worked outside the home, the Tiffany Studio employed many notable women designers.
Vreeland, who lives in California, has written several novels dealing with the role of the artist in society. One of her earlier books was the basis for a television movie. About “Clara and Mr. Tiffany,” the Washington Post opined: “Vreeland’s ability to make this complex historical novel as luminous as a Tiffany lamp is nothing less than remarkable.”
Among the many programs taking place in Cloquet and other area libraries in conjunction with One Book, One Community, Vreeland will appear at the Cloquet Public Library on Thursday, April 18, at noon. She will talk about the process of writing “Clara and Mr. Tiffany” and discuss how she developed her characters based on historical materials. The public is invited to bring a bag lunch and enjoy refreshments and dessert provided by the library.
Later that evening, Arrowhead region poet Ryan Vine will discuss his work in a library sponsored event at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Vine, a cutting edge poet who also holds a post in the English department at the College of St. Scholastica, will talk about his work at 6 p.m. in the college’s auditorium. The program will be followed by a reception. Vine’s work has appeared in “The American Poetry Review,” “Ploughshares,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune and twice on National Public Radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac.”
In 2011, Vine was one of five poets chosen from across the country to collaborate with composers from New York City, which culminated with a reading at Carnegie Hall.
In early May, the library hosts “Norway and the Nazis: The Resistance 1940-1945,” a symposium co-sponsored with the Sons of Norway. Duluth author Margi Preus, the recipient of a highly coveted Newbery honor in 2012, will present a slide show about her recently published young reader’s novel “Shadow on the Mountain.” The novel is based on investigations Preus conducted in Norway during an extended stay. Her story’s protagonist, an adolescent boy who works in the underground Resistance during the Nazi occupation, is based on the true-life story of a Norwegian man Preus interviewed extensively. It’s a harrowing story of determination and personal heroism in the face of oppression and terror. Preus’s presentation is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2.
On May 17 at noon, nationally renowned writer Sarah Stonich will discuss her newest release, “Vacationland,” published by the University of Minnesota Press. Stonich, a Minnesota Book Award nominee in 2012, has been writer-in-residence at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland and with other writers programs in the United States and abroad. “Vacationland” is composed of a series of stories linking a range of characters over a span of decades at resort near the Canadian border. Booklist calls her latest work “a brilliantly engaging novel.”
Vreeland’s, Vine’s, and Stonich’s appearances are funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
For these and other events at Cloquet Public Library, visit our website at www.cloquet.lib.mn.us.