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Friday, July 18, 2008

Catching up with Marvin Anderson

“Rondo Days” is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend. The Pioneer Press did a nice article about the history of the event and even caught up with Marvin Anderson, one of the originators of the St. Paul celebration.

Marvin served as the Minnesota state law librarian for 22 years. When he left the position nearly six years ago, his retirement party was jam packed with well-wishers -- appellate court judges, legal practitioners and current and former state law library staff members.

In addition to starting up the now-famous “Rondo Days” celebration, Anderson was active in many other community events and professional boards as well, including initiating the court’s “Everybody Wins” volunteer reading program for elementary students.

I interviewed Marvin back in February 2002, when he was one of Minnesota Lawyer’s Attorneys of the Year for 2001. He told me then that his work with the state law library had left him feeling energized. “I am going to do something else; I don’t know what, but I am going to do something else,” he told me.

Curious as to what that “something else” turned out to be, I called Marvin to find out. It turns out that his main activity over the past several years has been starting up and serving as executive director of a statewide “Everybody Wins” reading program.

The program, in which participants go into schools and read to first, second and third-graders, has been a huge success, attracting more than 1,000 volunteers to date. Anderson hopes to grow that number to 1,200.

“Building a program and watching it grow -- and seeing the impact volunteers are having on school children is very fulfilling,” he said. “Life has been good.”

Marvin noted that he’s not sure how much longer he’ll be involved with the reading program though, because he’s ready for a new adventure. He’s not sure what it’ll be but yet, but he’s already looking forward to it!

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