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Bringing Dr. Temple Grandin to Manitowoc-A Dream Made Real!

The following article was written by Karen Hansen, the Public Services Manager at the Manitowoc Public Library.

In my work in libraries, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a few dreams and big ideas become realities. Even more thrilling is when that big idea is shared by the community I serve, tapping an unknown need and interest.

A few years ago, I dreamt of bringing Dr. Temple Grandin to Manitowoc, as I believed our community might benefit, as I had, from hearing her share her knowledge about agriculture and autism. Then, when our library had an opportunity to host an exhibit featuring portraits of farmers from around the country, it felt like the perfect feature event to complement the exhibit. A few phone calls later and that dream is now a reality!

Manitowoc will soon have the privilege of hosting scientist, bestselling author, and autism self-advocate, Dr. Temple Grandin! Thanks to the generous support of the Friends of Manitowoc Public Library and Visit Manitowoc, Dr. Grandin will be appearing at the Capitol Civic Center on Friday, June 21, for a free-of-charge, interview-style event spanning the topics of autism, agriculture, and education.

Due to overwhelming interest in the event, tickets sold out in less than half-a-day! For those still pursuing tickets, we encourage you to check the Capitol Civic Center website ( in case unused tickets become available. Or possibly consider standby ticket availability on the evening of the event.

Even if you don’t know who Dr. Temple Grandin is, chances are that you’ve been the recipient of her transformative practices in the livestock handling industry. She is responsible for designing one-third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the country, as well as introducing standards to assess animal treatment. Dr. Grandin’s work in the humane treatment of livestock has impacted the industry for decades, improving the systems that put meat on our dinner plates.

Significantly, she credits her autism for giving her heightened visual abilities to invent these systems and facilities, as well as understanding the mind of a prey animal—“a cow’s point of view.” Dr. Grandin is a huge proponent of raising awareness of the gifts and potential of others with different minds. In her most recent book, Visual Thinking, I especially appreciated her thoughts on valuing people who work well with their hands, have mechanical gifts, and knowledge that can’t always be measured with a test. It reminded me of our own amazing community full of builders, manufacturers, farmers, and more.

Whether you’re attending the event on June 21 or not, I hope you’ll join us for a screening of the 2010 HBO award-winning biopic of Dr. Grandin’s life on Thursday, June 6, at 6 PM in the Library’s Balkansky Community Room. The film captures her struggles and triumphs as a woman on the autism spectrum making an impact on the cattle industry. It’s an inspiring story for everyone to enjoy and appreciate! We hope to see you there and remember—admission is free!

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