Library Foundation member Nancy Sic symbolically places cement on the library cornerstone during the Masonic cornerstone ceremony while Mary Buller waits her turn.
Library dedicated with ceremony and humor
by Mary Le Arneal
It’s official now.
The new North Bend Public Library is just the plain North Bend Library. With the dedication held Old Settlers’ Saturday, the years of planning, fund raising, work and toil by so many people has culminated into the building now standing at 13th and Main in North Bend as the official library.
With almost 300 people in attendance, the dedication ceremony was held on the grounds just west of the library building. A white tent provided shade on the warm day that was tempered slightly by a cooling breeze. Major donors attending included Jim and Sandra Kruger, Dorothy and Randy Mines, Don and Diane Soukup, Moyne and Darlene Soukup, Tom and Deanna Wolf as well as those who donated lesser, but equally important, amounts.
North Bend Library Foundation president Jana Post welcomed the crowd. She reflected on the bake sale five Old Settlers weekends ago that started the fund drive. From her involvement with the library foundation Post said she learned the meaning of giving to your community, not just financially, but giving time and talents to make the town better for all those who live here.
“I learned it’s OK to dream big,” Post said. “Dreaming doesn’t mean that you can just sit back and hope things work out. You have to be active in making those dreams happen.”
With pomp and celebration, the library was officially dedicated by the Freemasons of Nebraska as they laid the corner stone after making sure it was symbolically square, level and plumb. The Masons’ Orator commended North Bend for being a progressive and prospering town, with foresight, hard work and dedication shown in the new library.
Officers of the Grand Lodge conducted the ceremony with participating Masons coming from Omaha, Lincoln, Fremont, South Sioux City, Wasau, Burwell, Papillion and Broken Bow. Also participating were AmVets Post 20, VFW Post 8223, American Legion Post 340 and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Honor Guard.
Behind the cornerstone will be a time capsule containing photos, newspaper articles and a list of those who worked so hard to get the library built.
Following the Masonic ceremony, Abby Post spoke for the children of the North Bend area in appreciation of the new library as a place to go to when they get bored. The North Bend Elementary fifth grader told of the elementary kids writing their names on the wall now covered with donor tiles as they helped place books on the shelves in the kids’ room.
“Our community sure has something to be proud of,” Abby said. “So again thank you to everybody who had a part in this project.”
The keynote speaker was Jim Higley of Chicago. Higley was born while his parents lived in North Bend, before the family moved to Fremont when he was 3 years old. Still, their ties to North Bend remained strong. He relayed how his birthday is August 15 and when the Old Settlers celebration was in August, his father had him convinced the parade was in his honor until he was 8 years old.
Higley’s father, Bob, was on the committee to raise $30,000 to build the first pool in North Bend. Higley also told stories of the fire escape tube at the old high school and the memories he had of that.
Higley had his mother’s typewriter and told of letters she always had going on it, calling her a terrific storyteller able to see real values in the ordinariness of her days. He referred back to the time capsule that was to be sealed by the library cornerstone, and talked about living a life to fill mental time capsules.
“My parents gave me things to put in my time capsule and I’ve opened it up as I needed them,” Higley said. “I came from a place that gave me an abundance of ideas (to write about).”
Higley’s book, Bobblehead Dad: 25 Life Lessons I Forgot I Knew, shares nuggets of wisdom and inspiration from his journey through life, many connecting this past with the present.
The library was open for tours throughout the weekend. Books by authors with ties to the North Bend area, including Higley, were featured and sold at the library.
With the theme “Come and see what you have built!” many area residents and those visiting from out of town took advantage of the tours of the new facility located at 13th and Main Street in North Bend.
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