All Library branches will be closed and the Mobile Library will not make its scheduled stops on Monday, February 18, for Presidents Day.

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Learn About Henry Schoolcraft's Ozarks Trek July 10 ; Help Preserve Lincoln High School's Legacy July 14

Henry SchoolcraftVeer off the major roads that wind through the craggy and forested Ozarks, and you’ll glimpse the untamed landscape that explorer Henry Schoolcraft discovered on foot and horseback in the winter of 1818-1819.  

The New Yorker investigated and compiled details of lead deposits in southwest Missouri in hopes of landing a federal job overseeing the state’s profitable mining districts. Many of us associate Schoolcraft’s name with his published account of the 900-mile journey through Missouri and Arkansas, available at the library. But more critical economically speaking, Schoolcraft’s lead discoveries promoted further development of lead mining in Missouri, which became the leading lead producer in the nation.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, in the Library Center auditorium, Dr. Bob Kipfer will portray Schoolcraft, in costume, as he describes his exploration of southern Missouri. It’s part of the History Explorers series presented in partnership with the Sons of the American Revolution.

Also that night in costume, Dan McMurray will portray Nathan Boone giving a brief history of his settlement here, and J. Howard Fisk will discuss Springfield in the post-Schoolcraft/Boone years of the 1820s-30s.

Later in this Schoolcraft anniversary year, the Library Center on Sept. 18 will also host Brooks Blevins, professor of Ozarks Studies at Missouri State University, discussing the “Old Ozarks” as Schoolcraft and other early travelers found it. Blevins' new book, "A History of the Ozarks, Volume 1: The Old Ozarks," will be available for purchase and signing. 
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In keeping with the history theme, Lincoln High School recently was named a site likely to be memorialized along a proposed African-American Heritage Trail on the city’s north side. The all-black school operated from the mid-1880s until desegregation in 1954, and also hosted dances, plays and pageants.

From 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 14, in the Midtown Carnegie Branch, we’re inviting people who have a connection, memory, stories or photos of Lincoln High to share them with library staff so we can record and photograph them as part of a community effort,  Preserving Lincoln High School’s Legacy.

Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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