This year the Zumbrota Public Library and the Van Hon Public Library (Pine Island) are partnering their annual community reading programs under the common theme of Immigration: Yesterday and Today. Zumbrota Reads and One Town, One Title will run from February 2- March 13, featuring some thought-provoking book selections and a dynamic line-up of events.
The Zumbrota Reads title selection is My Ántonia by Willa Cather, a classic novel of the late nineteenth century European immigrant experience. The Pine Island title selection is The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, a contemporary novel that interweaves stories of men and women who come to the United States from various Central and Latin American countries. Free copies of the books will be available at their respective libraries starting February 2. Copies of The Book of Unknown Americans will also be available at Arel’s Flowers and Gifts, Better Brew Coffeehouse, and Pine Island Bank.
Van Horn Public Library will be hosting an Open House Kickoff event at Better Brew Coffeehouse in Pine Island from 4-7pm on Monday, February 2. Copies of The Book of Unknown Americans will be available for pick up, and librarians will be there to give more information about this year’s program and schedule of events. They will also be hosting a Genealogy Workshop at the Pine Island History Center at 2pm on Sunday, February 8. LeeAnn Cragen from the Family History Center in Rochester will do a presentation on the basics of genealogy research.
Zumbrota Public Library will host a Family History Collage Workshop at the library at 1:30pm on Saturday, February 21. Artist Susan Weinberg from the Minnesota Historical Society will address the materials and design of a family history collage, taking participants from individual photos and documents to the creation of a finished piece.
A Panel Discussion on the topic of immigration will be held at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Pine Island at 7pm on Thursday, February 26. Panelists include Khiengchai Fulton, an immigrant from Laos currently living in Oronoco; representatives from Tri-Valley Opportunity Council in Rochester who run a migrant and seasonal Head Start program; Prentiss Sayeweh, an immigrant from Liberia; and Ahmed Osman, an immigrant from Somalia who is the Employment Program Manager at Intercultural Mutual Aid Association in Rochester.
The Book Discussion for The Book of Unknown Americans will take place at Better Brew Coffeehouse in Pine Island at 6pm on Wednesday, March 4. There will be a showing of the film Sweet Land at the State Theatre in Zumbrota at 7:30pm on Friday, March 6. Sweet Land is the story of a feisty mail-order bride who arrives in Minnesota in 1920 to marry a young farmer, but her German heritage and lack of official immigration papers makes her an object of suspicion in the small town, and they are forbidden to marry. Zumbrota Public Library will be wrapping up the series of events with a Book Discussion for My Ántonia at the library at 6:30pm on Monday, March 9.
All events are free of charge. For more information, call us at 507-732-5211 or stop in to pick up an informational brochure. This project was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, as well as Pine Area People for the Arts.