Northfield Public Library hosts second History Hullabaloo - Northfield MN: Local

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Northfield Public Library hosts second History Hullabaloo

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 1:48 pm | Updated: 12:19 am, Sat Jan 11, 2014.

The Northfield Public Library is hosting its second annual History Hullabaloo on Saturday to help sixth grade students work on their History Day Projects.

Every January, Northfield Middle School students participate in the state-wide history project, National History Day. For sixth grade students, this includes writing research papers about the history of a topic and creating posters to display. Topics can be broad, from the history of the Civil Rights movement to the history of the hot dog. Once students create their projects, they enter history fairs (much like science fairs) on the regional, state and national level.

At the same time, the Northfield Public Library staff started noticing middle school students who came to the library for research materials but didn’t know the best way to start working on their projects. Building off a SELCO workshop, Librarian Joan Ennis suggested setting up a special day where librarians and volunteers could work with students one-on-one to help direct them to resources for the projects, and last year, History Hullabaloo was born.

“It’s the first introduction the students have to doing research,” Ennis said. “[The event] is important because the library enables students to continue their education by providing resources for them. We want the students to know that we’re there to help them throughout their entire education.”

Last year, 95 students came to History Hullabaloo, and 25 volunteers participated. Students could work with volunteers individually for about 10-15 minutes. These volunteers included area college students and community members, and they received special training before the event to better know how to access research materials.

Susannah Ottaway, a history professor at Carleton College, was one of the volunteers last year, along with three other Carleton faculty members and about five college students.

“It was really fun because [the 6th graders] are so engaged and curious, but they really need help,” Ottaway said.

Ottaway said that many of her student volunteers had worked on History Day projects when they were in middle school, while others who are new to the area enjoy learning more about Northfield and Minnesota history.

The event also included drawings for prizes donated and purchased from downtown businesses, such as $5 gift certificates, which the library will offer again this time. Last year, the event lasted two hours on a Saturday, but Ennis said so many kids attended that the library decided to extend the hours from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. this year.

Grace Webb covers the cities of Northfield and Lonsdale, and writes about public safety. You can reach her at 645-1117.

© 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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