Streets in Anoka County are now being treated by Plow Bunyan, the newest plow of the Anoka County Highway Department. The name provides a literary opportunity for the highway department to partner with Anoka County Library.
“Plow Bunyan really demonstrates, pun intended, the direction the library is driving, not driving solo. Getting everybody on board and doing something,” said Library Community Engagement Librarian Patrick Jones.
Although Anoka County Library has a long list of partnerships with the county, this is its first partnership with the highway department.
Since 2004, every year there is a contest held at the Anoka County Fair to name one of the county's snowplows. During the fair, the plow is on display and people can enter their name suggestions into a drop box at the transportation booth.
After the fair, all of the names are compiled into one mass list and the highway department employees narrow the list down to a top five. The employees then vote again and the name with the highest number of votes wins. On average, each year turns up well over 200 names. Some of the previous winning names include Blizzard Beater, Darthblader, Plowing Princess, Mr. Fluffenshnowzer, Slush Slayer, Salty Dog and Blizzard Wizard.
“Plow Bunyan’s been busy lately, and this is a great way to have a little fun with winter and the snow it brings, while bringing more people into our libraries to learn about the season,” said Anoka County Commissioner and Library Board Liaison Mike Gamache.
“We thought it was a great tie-in. We hadn't partnered with the highway department before, and they were eager to help us, so it worked out well,” said Collection Development Librarian Dana Weigman.
A gamut of special activities centered around the Paul Bunyan and snow themes will be held throughout January and February. The celebration will kick off with “Plow Bunyan Day” on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Northtown Library in Blaine, 711 County Hwy 10 Frontage Road. After a special storytime at 10:15 a.m., the rest of the day will be filled with winter-related arts and activities.
Each of the Anoka County Library locations will host at least one special storytime revolving around the theme during January or February. The Centennial Library will host its special storytime 10-11 a.m. Jan. 19.
Each of the library locations will also have writing stations set up; kids can not only write down questions for the snowplow drivers, but also write thank you cards thanking them for their work. The questions will be answered on social media and the cards will be given to the highway department employees.
“This is a good opportunity for the kids to thank the plow drivers for their work, because it is such important work for us,” Weigman said.
There will also be a snow person contest. Children can make snow people out of any medium (not just snow) and submit a photo of their entry on the library's website
(http://www.anokacounty.us/1758/Library/). The winners (one from each category 0-11, 12-17 and adult) will be announced on Feb. 24 and be featured on the library's website.
Each library also has a list of stories available relating to the theme.
Anoka County Highway Department Administrative Services Assistant Jill Kent added, “We thought it was something fun for the residents of Anoka County. It is a new, fun activity for the middle of the winter, to stimulate the activity at the library.”
Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.