Realism or sci-fi? Get a little bit of both with the Stillwater Public Library’s next “NEA Big Read” programs


Story provided by Stillwater Public Library

Choose your own survival adventure with the Stillwater Public Library’s upcoming “NEA Big Read” events! For those interested in realistic and practical survival skill knowledge, the library is partnering with the Friends of Lake McMurtry for “Backpacking Survival Skills” on Thursday, Oct. 7, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The program takes place at Lake McMurtry’s east pavilion. For an amusing science-fiction escape, on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 7:30-9 p.m., SPL is hosting an outdoor film in the library’s courtyard. Both events have limited space available and require registration.

Connor King, Lake McMurtry’s outdoor recreation and education director will present “Backpacking Survival Skills” alongside local survival expert Jason Judd. They will teach participants how to survive an unexpected emergency. Skills covered include starting a fire, finding water, creating a shelter and basic navigation. Seating is very limited so all guests should be prepared to bring their own chair or blanket.

Brenna Gilchrist, an adult reference librarian at SPL, thinks the event is a perfect tie-in to the library’s “NEA Big Read” selection, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel.

“In the book, the traveling orchestra members have to use survival skills to navigate their daily lives years after the pandemic makes civilization, as we know it, come to a halt,” Gilchrist said.

The library will cover parking fees. Registrants will receive driving directions and more details about parking before attending the event. As a bonus treat, a door prize drawing will be held for a free ticket to Lake McMurtry’s overnight camping clinic!

Community members interested in learning more in-depth survival skills and getting hands-on experience, can also sign-up for Lake McMurtry’s paid overnight backpacking clinic. It starts on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 10 a.m. and wraps up Sunday, Oct. 24, around 1 p.m. The cost for the class is $50 for those who bring their own backpacking gear and $90 for those who need to rent equipment. Sign-up with Lake McMurtry at www.lakemcmurtry.org or call (405) 707-8085.

Then on Saturday, Oct. 9, the library invites community members to an outdoor movie night featuring an animated film directed by Wes Anderson about a boy, his lost dog and an outbreak of dog flu. The movie is rated PG-13. 

Teen Librarian, Jessica Howe, is thrilled with the movie selection and thinks it will appeal to various age groups. 

“The film uses stop-motion animation, which is a cool way to tell the story,” Howe said. “Plus, there are dogs involved, which is always a bonus. It should be appropriate for most teens, but I recommend that parents check websites like www.commonsensemedia.org to see if it’s a good fit for their family.”

More information about the film, including the title, can be found online at library.stillwater.org/nea_big_read_stillwater.php. Attendees should bring chairs or blankets for seating, and free popcorn and drinks will be provided by the Friends of the Stillwater Public Library. 

Staff encourages participants to be COVID-19 safe by wearing masks, not attending library programs if they have any symptoms and keeping social distance. 

The library has free copies of “Station Eleven” to give to individuals who sign-up to attend a librarian-led book discussion. Discussions occur throughout Oct. and early Nov. at various outdoor locations throughout the community and online. Kids can also participate in the library’s first-ever “Little Read” featuring “Blackout” by author and illustrator John Rocco. Children can get free copies while supplies last. 

Sign-up for “Backpacking Survival Skills,” the outdoor movie night and all other “Big and Little Read” events, including book discussions, online at library.stillwater.org/nea_big_read_stillwater.php or by calling the Help Desk at (405) 372-3633 x8106.

In case of rain, the library will attempt to reschedule both events for a later date. The library will post updates on its website and social media channels. Anyone who registered for the events will also receive emails about cancellations and rescheduled dates and times.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Additional funding for “NEA Big and Little Read: Stillwater” is provided by the Friends of the Stillwater Public Library, the Stillwater Public Library Trust and the OSU Library.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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