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The history of Columbus Day

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Did you know that Columbus Day is the most inconsistently celebrated holiday in the United States? Your location has a lot to do with whether you had the day off from work or not — unless you work for the federal government, which makes your location irrelevant, as it is a federal holiday.

There are 23 states that give their workers Columbus Day as a paid holiday, while the states of Hawaii, South Dakota, Alaska, Oregon and Vermont don't recognize Columbus Day at all. Hawaii, South Dakota and Vermont celebrate with a different holiday or observance: For instance, South Dakota observes Native American Day.

If you would like to learn more about early exploration, your library can help!

"1493 from Columbus's Voyage to Globalization," by Charles G. Mann.

"1493 for Young People" by Charles C. Mann tells the gripping story of globalization through travel, trade, colonization, and migration from its beginnings in the fifteenth century to the present. How did the lowly potato plant feed the poor across Europe and then cause the deaths of millions? How did the rubber plant enable industrialization? What is the connection between malaria, slavery, and the outcome of the American Revolution? How did the fabled silver mountain of sixteenth-century Bolivia fund economic development in the flood-prone plains of rural China and the wars of the Spanish Empire? Here is the story of how sometimes the greatest leaps also posed the greatest threats to human advancement.

Mann's language is as plainspoken and clear as it is provocative, his research and erudition vast, his conclusions ones that will stimulate the critical thinking of young people. 1493 for Young People provides tools for wrestling with the most pressing issues of today, and will empower young people as they struggle with a changing world.

"Empire's Crossroads: a History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day, by Carrie Gibson.

Ever since Christopher Columbus stepped off the Santa Maria and announced that he had arrived in the Orient, the Caribbean has been a stage for projected fantasies and competition between world powers. In Empire's Crossroads, historian Carrie Gibson offers a vivid, panoramic view of this complex region and its rich, important history.

That fateful landing in 1492 soon launched a savage competition for West Indian territory that would last centuries. Gibson compellingly traces the ups and downs of European imperial expansion — including the first cash crops, failed settlements, and pirating on the open seas — but she also brilliantly describes daily life on the islands. Creole societies complicated traditional ideas about class and race, and by the end of the eighteenth century, plantation slaves in Saint-Domingue had launched the Haitian Revolution, the world's only successful slave revolt.

As European control of the Caribbean loosened over the next 150 years, America was on the rise, ushering in a new era of foreign influence and the birth of the tourism industry that still thrives today. Incredibly multifaceted and approachably written, "Empire's Crossroads" encompasses the narratives of more than 20 islands and reinterprets five centuries of history have been underappreciated for far too long.

Library happenings

Preschool Storytime: Preschoolers and their caregivers are invited to join us for Storytime on Thursday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 10:30 a.m. A different theme is explored each week. Daycares and other large groups are asked to call ahead.

Teen Event: A "Harry Potter Party" is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. in the library's main meeting room. Teens are invited to a magical evening full of everything Harry Potter. Participants are encouraged to dress up!

Baby Bounce is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 13 at 10:30 a.m. in the library's main meeting room. Songs, flannel board, and action poems for infants through preschoolers and their caregivers. Program runs about a half hour followed by playtime and chatting with other caregivers.

Library hours

The Detroit Lakes Public Library's regular hours are as follows: Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays and all national holidays.

For more information on local library services and programs, please call 218-847-2168 or visit your Library at 1000 Washington Ave.

Detroit Lakes Library is a branch of Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL), a consolidated public library system comprised of 13 branch libraries and nine LINK sites serving the residents of seven counties in northwest Minnesota. More information is available at