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Behind the scenes: Minnesota's Greatest Generation series

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Julie Adams, director of the New York Mills Public Library, has succeeded in providing autumn entertainment to NY Mills and surrounding counties.

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"Minnesota's Greatest Generation" has graced the James Mann Auditorium and NY Mills Regional Cultural Center with entertaining and educational shows from September through October, culminating with a road trip to the Minnesota History Center to finish the series.

The events were made possible by the organization and direction of Adams. She utilized a partnership between Minnesota Regional Public Libraries, the Minnesota Historical Society and the Viking Library System.

Funding was provided by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which voters approved on Nov. 4, 2008.

Adams has been serving the community of NY Mills since 1993, when she was quickly noticed by the library board, officially securing her position as full-time director.

Legacy Funding opens new doors for NY Mills

The NY Mills Public Library has started to utilize Legacy Funding to benefit the community this year.

"We've never had funding to do anything outside of summer reading programs," Adams said. "The Legacy sponsorship is allowing us to bring these to the community."

Gail Nordstrom, public library consultant for the Viking Library System said other libraries brought the programs to their towns sporadically.

"Julie has done brilliantly by offering these programs as a series," she said.

In the beginning, Adams approached the programming opportunities from a very organized perspective, Nordstrom said.

"There was excitement generated within the community because she had presented it as a fall series," she said.

Julie was able to provide something that was unique and complemented the other programs that New York Mills offered and is known for, Nordstrom said.

"She's really thought about the community as a whole. She took a dive and tried something that was totally new for her," she said.

The draw for these events, Nordstrom said, was that these were real Minnesotans who were either fighting in the war or working on the home front for the country.

"This isn't just great programming," Nordstrom said. "It is great programming brought to the town by Julie herself."

Programming

"Minnesota's Greatest Generation" began on Sept. 25, when Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard brought "The Golden Age of Radio" program to life.

It provided residents with not just a history lesson on Minnesota and radio but an entertaining evening for all to enjoy. After a standing ovation, Johnson personally thanked Adams for her hard work.

Tami Moehring, a Minnesota Historical Society history player, took on the role of Virginia Mae Hope, a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II.

Patrick Dewane brought forth the story of his grandfather, Matt Konop, in the one-man play entitled "The Accidental Hero." He chronicled a journey about the reality of war, the mystery of heroes, and a side of his grandfather, history, and even himself that he never knew.

Grand finale

As the series came to a close, Adams helped bring 55 people to the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul to experience the exhibit in its fullest. The final installation of the series offered free transportation and admission, along with a guided tour of "Minnesota's Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom."

The final part of the series will be available for interested parties on a semi-permanent basis for the next five years.

Location

The NY Mills Public Library is located at 30 N. Main St. The library is on Facebook and at its website, www.newyorkmillspubliclibrary.blogspot.com.

The library can also be reached at 218-385-2436.

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