Owatonna Reads

Owatonna Public Library (OPL) and the Owatonna Public Library Foundation are pleased to present Owatonna Reads, a community reading program centered around Michael Perry's book Population: 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time. The program celebrates the joy of reading and seeks to give a common dialogue to the community through the reading of the same book. 

Population: 485 is a memoir by a real-life prodigal son who, after a twelve-year absence, returns to his hometown of New Auburn, Wisconsin (population, 485) and joins the volunteer fire and rescue department. In a place where men post claims of manhood on their truck bumpers, where the local vigilante is a farmer's wife armed with a pistol and a Bible, and where the most senior firefighter is a cross-eyed butcher with one kidney and two ex-wives (both of whom work at the only gas station in town), writer Michael Perry sets out to meet his neighbors at the invitation of the fire siren.

Owatonna Reads

OPL's Owatonna Reads program features free events throughout the month of September:

  • Library Director Mark Blando will host a forum with first responders at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 17, in the 3rd floor meeting room at the Owatonna Fire Station. Attendees will have a chance to hear from first responders about the training and experiences they have had on the job.
  • OPL will host two book discussions in the 3rd floor Gainey Room. The first will be 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 18, followed by another on Monday, September 24, at 1:00 p.m.
  • The Owatonna Reads finale will be a program with author Michael Perry on Thursday, September 27, at 7:00 p.m. in the OPL Gainey Room.

Beginning Monday, August 20: While supplies last community members can pick up a free copy of Population:485 at OPL's 2nd floor Check-Out desk. Staff can also assist you with requesting and borrowing the book, audiobook, or eBook version through the library.

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist, and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin. Perry's bestselling memoirs include Population: 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an amateur pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated "Tent Show Radio," performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds. He can be found online at www.sneezingcow.com.

Population 485