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Published: Wednesday, 10/6/2004

Elmore: Harris-Elmore keeps getting prizes for creative displays

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Using a hodgepodge of borrowed D-Day memorabilia, librarian Jane Hutchinson has managed to help the Harris-Elmore Public Library win another national contest.

The library won a $1,000 grant for Mrs. Hutchinson's display of uniforms, dog tags, mess kits, flags, Bibles, diaries, rifles, and other D-Day memorabilia borrowed from 28 area World War II veterans for the Library D-Day Tribute contest sponsored by cable's The History Channel.

"We had things in the windows and all around the library," Mrs. Hutchinson said.

More than 2,000 libraries entered the national contest, and three of the grand-prize winners hail from Ohio, including the Way Public Library in Perrysburg and the Meigs County District Public Library in Pomeroy.

The Way Public Library hosted a program in April to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day with several speakers, including World War II veterans who had combat experience, and women who spoke about what life was like on the homefront, said Mary Meyer, library office manager and Web master.

Local history librarian Richard Baranowski and Post 28 Historian Leo Darmofal organized the Perrysburg event, which drew about 140 people, and had the display cases filled with battle medals and D-Day memorabilia.

Ms. Meyer said the library will donate half the grant to the American Legion Post 28, the event co-sponsor, and the other half will be used to purchase books and library materials relating to D-Day and World War II.

Mrs. Hutchinson, a Maumee resident, said Harris-Elmore library officials plan to use their grant to buy a television and stand, which won't be the only item the library owns because of a contest.

In November, the library won a state-of-the-art DVD player as the runner up in another contest sponsored by The History Channel commemorating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Mrs. Hutchinson said she decorated the library with Kennedy memorabilia from two antique shops, pulled books and magazines from the era of his assassination, and illuminated his sillhouette on the side of the building.

Before they placed in the Kennedy contest, the library was coming off a win in early 2003 with the "Drive to Read" contest - sponsored by the American Library Association and Hershey's milk - that promotes teenage reading.

To enter this national contest, Mrs. Hutchinson said the library submitted pictures of her race car display created from memorabilia loaned by Elmore resident Alvin Roepke, a race car driver, and promoted the drive locally with a Route 51 Challenge between local junior high language arts classes.

For their efforts, the library was able to host a semi truck filled with Hershey's chocolate milk and milkshakes and carnival games for the about 600 people.

The winning does not stop there. In 2001, the library was the runner up in the cable channel A&E "Roaring 20s" and Jazz Age contest, where employees won a clock that hangs in the office behind the circulation desk. Mrs. Hutchinson featured 1920s dresses, food introduced at the time, and literature for her display, and the library invited the Woodmore Jazz Band to play for patrons on a Saturday afternoon.

The library won a $1,000 national grant in 2000 to purchase juvenile biographies when 18 Woodmore Elementary School second-graders gave an oral book report on a famous public figure of the past for cable channel MSNBC's "Leaders and Legends with Matt Lauer" on a Saturday for the public.

Elmore resident Kim Jimison, the library administrative assistant, said while other librarians may throw contest entries away, Harris-Elmore employees look forward to receiving information for each contest, and can't pinpoint their favorites.

"They've all been favorites, really," Mrs. Jimison said. Although library employees haven't gotten around to planning a party to celebrate their contest winnings, Mrs. Hutchinson said they should because "I think we're due for a big one."



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