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Public Information and Communication

April 17, 2000

Mary Jo Ryan


On April 6, Governor Mike Johanns signed a proclamation declaring April 9-15 as National Library Week in Nebraska. National Library Week is celebrated this year with recognition of the "Letters About Literature" State Award Winners. Four young writers were honored for their letters to authors, living or dead, describing how the authors' books or stories changed their way of viewing the world. Emily Benes of Raymond Central Elementary School in Valparaiso, who wrote to Mildred Taylor, won $100, first place in Level I for Grades 4 to 7. Matt Pieper of St. Patrick Sr. High, North Platte, wrote to John Grisham and won $100, first place in Level II for Grades 8 to 12. The two second-place winners were Tyler Baker of Arlington Jr. High in Level I for his letter to Jerry Spinelli and, in Level II, Tom Stehno of St. Patrick Jr. High, North Platte, for his letter to Lois Lowry. All received a bound book with their names embossed on the cover. Following the meeting with the Governor, they were invited to lunch with a guest. They also toured the Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Lincoln City Libraries' Bennett Martin Public Library.

The Nebraska Center for the Book, as an affiliate of the National Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and the Weekly Reader Corporation sponsored the statewide contest last fall. Entries came from 287 students. The finalists represented ten communities across the state: Alliance, Arlington, Dodge, Geneva, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha, Seward, Thurston, and Valparaiso. The judges were Mel Krutz and Evelyn Haller (Level II) and Fran Reinehr and Mary Ann Satterfield (Level I). The winners' cash prizes of $100 came from the Weekly Reader Corporation while the alternates received $50 contributed by Nebraska's Houchen Bindery.


For additional information about Nebraska authors, see As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information. The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission home page. Point your World Wide Web browser to, search on news releases.

For more information, contact Tessa Terry.