Meinders Community Library welcomes We Are Water MN from July 15 through September 13, 2021.
Adjacent to and a part of Pipestone Area Schools, Meinders Community Library is one of two libraries in the state that is a combined public and school library. A true community hub, the library provides programming to educate, engage, and empower residents. We Are Water MN is an extension of this work, focused on water and its importance to the community.
Pipestone is in the Lower Big Sioux River watershed, where, like other local watersheds, the majority of monitored stream reaches and lakes are not meeting water quality standards for fishing and swimming.
Librarian Jody Wacker shares that because there are no natural lakes in the Lower Big Sioux or the nearby Rock River watershed, “water is less visible and many of us simply don’t understand what it takes to get usable water to our homes, nor the impact our actions have on the viability of our water.” The exhibit and events will highlight the challenges we face in this region, and the many people working to protect water quality and availability.
This 1,000-square foot, hands-on exhibit is created by the Minnesota Humanities Center, MPCA, Minnesota Historical Society, and Departments of Health, Agriculture and Natural Resources. In Pipestone, it is locally hosted by the city, Meinders Community Library, the Arts and Mentoring Project, Pipestone Soils and Water Conservation District, and Pipestone Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau.
Lindsey Trujillo compares water use in Mexico and the U.S.
Lindsey Trujillo is a recent graduate of Pipestone Area High School and was interviewed for the project. Lindsey’s father grew up in a small town in Mexico, so she grew up hearing about Mexico, visiting her father’s family in Mexico, and hosting visitors from Mexico.
“A lot of family members, when they come here, they shower with a bucket,” she says. “They don’t really use the shower for a couple of months because they aren’t used to it. They still put the water in a bucket and they shower with a bucket. It’s just crazy to see that cultural difference and that cultural shock.”
Lindsey is, however, no stranger to bucket showers herself. “When we go to Mexico, you can go in the water and it’s nice and fresh. It doesn’t have any minerals or anything like our water does. It’s just from a river, and you just use it to shower. It’s great. You can feel the difference.”
She also shares that her dad didn’t have electricity until he was 18, a concept that seems odd to someone who grew up in the “Apple era.” Hearing the stories that her father would tell gave Lindsey a deeper appreciation for the things she has in her life. She also says that even though it’s great in Mexico, “You get back home and your like, ‘Oh I need that fresh shower!’”
You can read Lindsey’s story—and many other local stories—in the exhibit. Audio stories are also available on the project’s story map.
The exhibit will open with a special event on July 15 at 5:30 p.m. During the exhibit’s display dates, there are many special events planned, including:
- Plunged: An Escape Room Adventure — a water-themed escape room used to educate community members on conservation practices and the impact of pollution, available through Labor Day at the library (reservations required).
- Moana Jr., an outdoor family musical performed by Pipestone area youth, July 23 - 25 at Hiawatha Pageant Park Amphitheater.
- An agriculture and water bus tour on August 14.
- The Annual Kids Fishing Derby, August 19 at Hiawatha Pageant Park Pond.
- Several speakers, including Pamela Nowak, author of Never Let Go: Survival of the Lake Shetek Women, August 30 at Meinders Community Library.
Find event details and more information on the Meinders Community Library website.
Visiting the exhibit
The exhibit is on display at Meinders Community Library (1401 7th Street SW, Pipestone, MN 56164). It is open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.