Aurora Library celebrates its centennial year

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:53 pm
AURORA — Kathy Kiiskinen has been an avid reader all her life, so it’s a natural fit for her to be president of the Friends of the Library in Aurora, where the library is in its centennial year.
And to celebrate 100 years, librarian Paula Chapman and the Friends of the Library hosted a visit by award-winning Minnesota author William Kent Krueger — who writes books based on a fictional town named Aurora.
Close to 100 people attended the event and potluck dinner at the Aurora Community/Senior Center. “Every seat was filled,” said Kiiskinen, adding that her daughter Kim Kiiskinen is a librarian in River Falls, Wis. In a phone interview she said, “We’re all readers. My kids had library cards before they started school.”
Krueger wrote the Cork O’Connor mystery series, including one to
see AURORA, A12
be released in August called “Windigo Island.” In the series “Cork O’Connor battles vicious villains, both mythical and modern, to rescue a young girl in the latest nail-biting mystery,” a reviewer wrote. This year Krueger won a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award and a Minnesota Book Award for his book “Tamarack County.” He also won an Edgar Award for mystery writing for “Ordinary Grace.”
Kiiskinen laughed when she told of Krueger’s reaction to the large turnout of guests — and the spread of food at the potluck. “This is the Iron Range,” Kiiskinen had told Krueger. Chapman said the event was attended by guests not only from Aurora and the surrounding area, but also from International Falls to Alexandria to Rochester, as well as out-of-state visitors from Florida, Michigan and Kansas. Kiiskinen said the Aurora drugstore “sold a lot of postcards.”
The Aurora Public Library opened on Jan. 10, 1914, said Chapman. Centennial committee members are retired librarian Joyce Banttari, Pat Barnes, Sarah Barnes, Paula Chapman, Carol Haasl, Pat Heikkila, Karen Leiviska and Thea Riebel. Chapman credited Mesabi East graduate Grace Berg with creating the Aurora Library’s centennial logo and Arrowhead Library System graphic artist Brian Minor with designing a centennial bookmark. Officers of the Friends of the Library in addition to Kiiskinen are Barb Hammer, vice president; Peg Bateman, secretary; and Pat Heikkila, treasurer.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the library’s founding in January Chapman had dislayed lists of bestsellers for each decade since the library opened. Chapman said in a phone interview that the 1914 bestsellers included “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H. Porter, “T. Tembaron” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, “Eyes of the World” by Harold Bell Wright, “The Salamander” by Owen Johnson — and “Inside of the Cup” by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
A Fourth of July ice cream social was hosted by the Friends of the Library and sponsored by Zup’s with close to 200 sundaes served.
Upcoming events include a presentation of Z Puppets at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 5 and a concert at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Essentia Health Northern Pines called “Timeless Beauty of Harp and Flute” by members of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra.