Valley City – The Barnes County Historical Society Lecture Series Season 23 Presents:  Dennis and Lorna Olson “Branch Library Project at BCHS, a Labor of Love”.  7 p.m. Thursday, Sept 21, 2023, at the Barnes County Museum. (315 Central Ave N. Valley City, ND)

In September 2021, Lorna and Dennis Olson, retired librarians living in Bismarck, embarked upon a “first of its kind” project for North Dakota.  The combining of a museum archive and public library collection.  What started in 2014 with a friendly conversation between curator and librarian developed into a project that started in 2018 and was underway when the Olsons happened to visit the Barnes County Museum in August of 2021.  Upon seeing the project (and mess!) and what it could be, generously volunteered to help make it a reality.  The Olsons began with the books and worked their way through files and eventually boxes, meticulously cataloging thousands of pieces and including data points that can be searched using the VC/BC Public Library catalog located on the library’s website. Thousands of books, manuscripts, articles, and tidbits of information, and HOURS and miles later, this historical collection will prove to be a boon for both professional and amateur genealogy researchers.   

Dennis Olson was born at Marion, ND in 1940, graduated from Litchville High School in 1958, from Valley City State Teachers College in 1965, and from the University of North Dakota in 1968 with a master’s degree in library science. Work experience: Milnor Public Schools1 Jr. High English and librarian, Dickinson State College circulation librarian, 5 years (until enrollment dropped from 1600 to 900 students after the end of the Vietnam War), Bismarck Public Schools 29 years (Opened Century High School), retired in 2002.  Volunteered with the Bismarck School Libraries for 5 years in elementary and junior high updating computer records. Later cataloged special reading collections for two elementary schools.

Lorna Vigesaa was born at McHenry, ND in 1941, attended elementary school at Courtenay, ND, graduated from Northfield (MN) High School in 1959, and took classes at Valley City State Teachers College and Dickinson State Teachers College with classes in library science. Worked 19 years as assistant librarian at Bismarck High School. Retired in 2002. Volunteered along with Dennis for the Bismarck School libraries