The Nebraska Center for the Book will present the Mildred Bennett
Award to Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. The award,
to be presented at the April 25 Nebraska Book Festival, honors
Wagner for his many years of service to Nebraska’s readers and
writers. This award honors an individual who has made a significant
contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska. The
2015 award is a framed photograph by Steve Ryan entitled, “Woodcliff
The award is named for Mildred Bennett, the charismatic founder and
long-time president of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and
Educational Foundation. Bennett could have literally stepped out of
a Willa Cather novel. Like some of Cather’s heroines, she was a
strong, fiercely independent, intelligent woman, who loved the land
and planted her roots deeply in the soil of Webster County,
Nebraska. During her lifetime, Mildred Bennett was recognized as a
foremost authority on Willa Cather by literary organizations and
universities across the country.
The award is presented annually at the Nebraska Book Festival. This
year the festival will be held on Saturday, April 25 at the
University of Nebraska Omaha’s Weitz Community Engagement Center.
Public admission to the Festival is free. It will feature writers
workshops in the morning and author readings/talks in the afternoon.
In the evening, the student/teacher writing teams of the NeBooks
Project will present an iBooks Showcase. The Bookworm and University
of Nebraska Press will offer books by Nebraska authors for sale
throughout the event. The Nebraska Book Festival is presented by the
Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska
Library Commission, with support from Friends of the University of
Nebraska Press and the NeBooks Project. Visit
for a complete schedule of free readings and workshops and other
The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library
Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers,
booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and
scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to
celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the
written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the
Nebraska Library Commission.
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 Website,