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Aloha Columbus! Columbus Days is quickly approaching and as usual, will be a weekend full of activities for all ages. Starting Thursday, Aug. 15, the Friends of the Library Book Sale at the Columbus Public Library, Lawnchairs on the Square, and the Platte Valley Playhouse Melodrama in Frankfort Square kick off the festivities. Friday at 5 p.m., there will be a BBQ competition, bed races, and inflatables downtown, and the United Way Lazy River Duck Run and FlowRider Competition at the Pawnee Plunge. Frankfort Square will host more entertainment with the pet show, street dance, and movie night.

The fun continues Saturday and Sunday so be sure to check out the Aloha Columbus Days Schedule on thecolumbuspage.com. Come see us at the Columbus Public Library booth on Saturday at Frankfort Square. We will have fun games, giveaways, and information about the great things your library has to offer.

Our booth will have information about the development of a new library building project to benefit Columbus for years to come. Help us design the best library building for Columbus by selecting your choices of add-on components. Do you want a community room that holds 150 people, 300 people, or something in between? How about increased space in the Children’s Room for an interactive exhibit, or would you prefer dedicated space for a Children’s Museum? How much dedicated space would you like to see for the Arts Council and art displays in a new library building? Vote for your favorite option for each of these three components at our Columbus Days booth. If you miss it, we will have an online voting option as well.

This year during Columbus Days, the Columbus Public Library will be hosting a special traveling exhibition that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Four double-sided panels will be on display in the east side of the library’s first floor that celebrate important events in the university’s history, feature famous or impactful alumni, and describe the impact the statewide University of Nebraska has had on the people of Nebraska for 150 years.

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The exhibit contains fascinating stories about Nebraska’s history and the positive impact students and faculty of the University of Nebraska continue to have on the state and world. Advancements in high definition X-ray, drone journalism, affordable rehabilitation equipment, agricultural innovation, and water conservation have been made through the research done at the University of Nebraska. Professors and alumni have developed solutions to nationwide problems. For example, a vaccine for preventing and treating scarlet fever was developed by alumni Gladys Henry and her husband George F. Dick. Professor William Loeffel waited 35 years for a meat laboratory to be built, but established the university’s meat research in a blacksmith shop in the meantime. In 2002, meat scientists at UNL and the University of Florida identified the flat iron steak, adding $1.5 billion of value to the beef industry.

In the past 150 years, over a quarter of a million degrees have been awarded, quite an accomplishment for a university that enrolled only 20 students its first year. Stop by the Columbus Public Library to read the full stories and learn more about what makes the University of Nebraska so special. The exhibit will be on display at the library Thursday, Aug. 15 through Sunday, Aug. 18.

Karen Connell is the director of the Columbus Public Library.

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