And the winners in love are…

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Hers was one of many great stories from grateful alums who found love there. She won a framed and signed poem by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.

Joan Truhlsen Johns, UNL Class of 1949, won the first “How I Fell in Love in Love Library” contest.

She wrote a poem that’s shaped like an “N.” It describes how she met her husband 63 years ago in Love Library when she was just 17.

Hers was one of many great stories from grateful alums. She won a framed and signed poem by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.

Second place went to Mary Pattavina, Class of 2009 who wrote an essay and submitted photos of her and her love. …

And their secret wedding in Love Library:

I didn’t meet the love of my life in Love library. Our story is, dare I say, more exciting than just meeting.

On March 26, 2010, I married my love in Love Library.

Nick and I dated for 7 years. It’s possible we stumped many of our friends and family being content at “just boyfriend & girlfriend” for so long. We knew our love. We were comfortable following our own path. …

But then 2010 rolled around. I don’t know what changed, but we both felt it was the right time to get hitched.

We decided a secret wedding was in order. But who would marry us and where would we elope?

Those questions didn’t go unanswered for long. Every time (and I mean every. time.) we saw our friend (and Love Library Librarian!) Richie Graham, he never failed to offer to marry the two of us. It became a running (half) joke. Boy, was that man persistent! Richie loves love, I guess. So, it seemed only natural that he officiate our wedding. And Love Library was a naturally perfect place to celebrate love with a capital L!

I was excited that Friday walking into the library. I was getting hitched to my best friend. No one knew there was a wedding about to go down. Students were busy studying and sleeping on the second floor couches and desks. No one cared about our new chapter. But it was a pretty fantastic day for the two of us.

We were married in an office in the library. I think we can all agree, fluorescent lights are friend to no one. Boring beige colored walls are pretty…well they’re pretty not pretty. But at the moment it was just the new us that mattered.

Of course, it didn’t remain a secret for long. And there are even pictures to prove it.

For her entry, Mary won two tickets to the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.

All of the entries can be viewed on the UNL Libraries Facebook event page.

If you didn’t get your story in on time, don’t worry. There will be another contest next year, says Joan Barnes, outreach librarian.

It was fun, she says, and a good way to reach out to alums.

“I run into alums all the time who tell me things like, ‘I used to study with this man at the library and now he’s my husband,”’ she says. “And so this contest is just about trying to engage people and connect them with some wonderful memories, and then maybe eventually UNL Libraries will be part of their philanthropic thoughts.”

Even though so many people have great memories of the libraries at UNL, she says, there actually is no built-in donor base, so raising private money for the libraries is challenging.

“If you graduate with an English degree, for example, you’re an alum of the English Department, even if you use the library a lot,” she says. “Yet the library is a key thing in supporting all of the majors, all of the students and the faculty.”

The UNL Library Fund is a Campaign Priority for UNL. A gift to this fund provides important resources for the whole UNL Libraries system. Please consider giving online or contact the foundation’s Josh Egley at 800-432-3216.

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