Program pays tribute to those who shaped the West

March 17, 2019 GMT

SCOTTSBLUFF — As Scotts Bluff National Monument celebrates its 100th birthday throughout the year, the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library is joining in on the commemorations with a special program.

Humanities Nebraska speakers Deb Carpenter-Nolting and Lyn Messersmith will present “Legends & Leaders of the West” featuring poetry, songs and stories of iconic leaders of the American West.

“Most of these leaders/legends passed through the area and would have known the monument as a landmark, but I think the main connection is the acknowledgement of time passing and how perceptions change with that passage,” Carpenter-Nolting said. “It’s important to examine how these leaders/legends responded to the mores of their time and rebelled against society’s ideas and realize what it cost them to make their mark.”

“Legends & Leaders” pays tribute to the men and women who helped shape the American West. Step into the saddle with Tad Lucas or the bicycle skirt of Helga Estby to learn how these women broke gender roles of their day. Follow the outlaw trail with Doc Middleton and the bitter resistance of Sitting Bull as the West went from wild to settled. Turn the page with Mari Sandoz as she recorded the realities of the era rather than perpetuating the romantic notion of the region’s history.


Kayla Gasker, national park ranger, learned about the program while searching through the Humanities Nebraska catalog.

“The notoriety of these amazing people caught my eye,” Gasker said.

Gasker approached Jana Kehn, Lied Scottsbluff Public Library adult librarian, about a place to hold the event. Scotts Bluff National Monument is undergoing renovation of their visitors center and Gasker needed a facility that could accommodate the anticipated crowd.

“Their program fits well with our theme of ‘A Universe of Stories,’” Kehn said.

Kehn said the program uses many forms of interactive entertainment in a variety of ways.

“It’s not your typical, boring lecture,” Gasker said.

Gasker and Kehn will work on other joint projects this year. Both are looking forward to working together again.

“It’s great to partner with the library because I’m hoping to reach a new audience who may never have been to the monument, but after learning a bit more may come to see what the park is about,” Gasker said.

The program is part of the library’s Adult Reading Program: A Universe of Stories and Scotts Bluff National Monument’s Centennial celebration. It is free and open to the public. In addition to the program, there will be door prizes and light refreshments. “Legends & Leaders of the West” will be held on Saturday, March 30, at 2 p.m. at the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library, 1809 Third Ave.