Celebrated cook to discuss ‘Homemade’ at Milaca Library

An author and celebrated cook from the land of 10,000 lakes has a new book out, chock-full of recipes, anecdotes and humor that bring to life the Finnish culture of northern Minnesota as well as the wider culinary world.

Beatrice Ojakangas will discuss her book, “Homemade,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 at the Milaca Community Library. Folks of all ages are invited to this free program presented by the East Central Regional Library and funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

The Milaca Community Library is located at 235 1st St. E. in Milaca. For more information about other ECRL events, check out the Events Calendar at www.ecrlib.org.

Mora librarian Wendy Prokosch calls it a career

Wendy Prokosch may never forget the middle school-age boy who was often naughty but had a certain sweetness to him. He liked going to the library, and she let him stay, even with his behavior.

Some years later, “He came back and told me that this was his place to come because he wasn’t welcome at home a lot of the time,” Wendy recalled. “And he appreciated the fact that I let him stay here, even though he was being naughty. This was a safe place for him, and I’ve had several kids and some adults tell me that.”

Wendy recently reminisced about her library career following her announcement to retire after nearly 40 years of service as the Branch Librarian for the Mora Public Library, a branch of the East Central Regional Library. The community is invited to wish Wendy well on her next endeavors during an open house from 1:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, at the library.

Wendy has been a beloved fixture in the Mora community since she started working at the library in April of 1978, a time of excitement for her and husband Tom, who is originally from Mora. They had just moved to Mora following Wendy’s time at graduate school at the University of Minnesota to live on a new farm with a newborn baby in tow.

Her first impression of Mora? “Very welcoming. Everybody was extremely nice, friendly,” she said.

As for starting her library career, “it was what I always wanted to do,” Wendy said. “It comes from a love of reading from my parents, my mom. We lived in a real small town (Fulda, MN), but my mom used to let us ride our bikes to the library. I think I read every book in that library. It was a big part of my childhood.”

The public is invited to wish Wendy Prokosch a happy retirement from 1:30-5:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 16 at the Mora Public Library.
The public is invited to wish Wendy Prokosch a happy retirement during an open house from 1:30-5:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 16 at the Mora Public Library.

As one can imagine, Wendy has seen many changes in how the library operates over the years … from circulation to public use of computers. When she started, she was still stamping books and filing cards, a process that took a lot of work and time outside of doing book returns and other regular librarian tasks. The days of relying on the card catalog and then microfiche were ultimately numbered with computers taking over by the mid 1990s.

In retirement, Wendy is going to miss watching the kids grow up as she has with those who are now bringing their own kids to the library. She’ll have more time to work on house projects and read her favorite historical fiction authors, such as Sharon Kay Penman and Philippa Gregory. But what she’s most looking forward to is watching her two grandsons and granddaughter play hockey right here in Mora.

“For the first time ever Mora is going to have a girls hockey team of their own,” Wendy said. “My granddaughter is going to be a part of the first team.”

While ECRL conducts its search for a new librarian, Adam Kehn has been named the interim branch librarian in Mora.