Of course, everyone knows that National Library Week is pretty high up on my list of happy weeks.  I decided to be a librarian in the 7th grade and hardly ever wavered — just a little blip of thought when I discovered that degreed librarians are required to go to college for at least 5 years.  But, dedication persevered and here I am, more than 30 years later, still a librarian who enjoys National Library Week.
This is the week to celebrate our libraries and their role in our communities.  Coming on the heels of the 2012 MN Bureau of Business and Economic Research report which concluded that the return on investment for every dollar spent on libraries brought $4.62 back into our communities, I say it’s a pretty good role. After all, not many people can say they quadrupled their money. 
This year, Virginia Public Library is once again planning some great events: 
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
April 10th – Noon in the Library Auditorium: Not onlyis this National Library Workers Day, but it is also the day for our community discussion of this year’s One Book, One Communitybook selection.  So, on the way to the auditorium, give your favorite library worker a hug and continue on to discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.  Everyone is encouraged to read this riveting book and discuss its many themes. Like all of the library’s Brown Bag Programs, this one is designed to fit into the work week, so feel free to bring a lunch and enjoy the discussion during your lunch hour.  To make our week even more festive, the Friends of the Library will provide coffee ‘an!
Poetry of Place
On April 11th – Noon in the Library Auditorium:  What a great opportunity! Poets Sheila Packa and Michelle Matthees will lead a poetry reading and workshop. The reading will feature the poets’ work as related to place. Sheila Packa grew up south of Biwabik and has a deep understanding of how place helps define identity and can be celebrated in poetry. Michelle Matthees shares how place informs her poetry, especially as it relates to travel—including her recent trips to Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Local poets are encouraged to share their poetry as well.
The workshop will immediately follow the reading and will explore and celebrate the role of place in our lives. Using guided writing exercises, participants will explore themes like memory, tradition, pride and even alienation. This workshop is designed for everyone, from beginning to more experienced writers.
Sheila Packa is the author of Echo & Lightning and Cloud Birds, editor of Migrations: Poetry & Prose for Life’s Transitions, and served as Duluth’s Poet Laureate from 2010-12. Michelle Matthees is a current Minnesota State Arts Board Fellow and the author of Served, Outside, and Junket.
This informative and interactive program is geared toward all audiences. Admission to the event is free thanks to sponsorship by the Arrowhead Library System and funding by money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Blue Guitar Highway
On April 12th– Noon in the Library Auditorium:  Local folk singer-songwriter Paul Metsa, who creates not only folk music, but also music in most styles to be found in America, will present a fantastic program for our Brown Bag Series. Bring a lunch and listen to Paul discuss his new memoir, Blue Guitar Highway which will be available for purchase and signing. (BTW, we’re hoping he will also bring his guitar!) Once again, coffee an’ will be generously provided by the Friends of the Library.
For more information on these events or others, please call 748-7525 or visit the event calendar at www.virginia.lib.mn.us.  And remember, during this week especially, that your library is at the heart of your community.
–Dawn Heisel, Public Services Librarian