‘North Country’ inspired by women miners

When Josey Aimes (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) returns to her hometown in northern Minnesota after a divorce, she needs a good job. A single mother with two children to support, she turns to the predominant source of employment in the region — the iron mines.

The mines provide a livelihood that has sustained a community for generations. The work is hard but the pay is good, and friendships that form on the job extend into everyday life, bonding families and neighborhoods with a common thread.

Encouraged by her old friend Glory (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand), one of the few female miners in town, Josey joins the ranks of those laboring to blast ore from rock in the gaping quarries. She is prepared for the backbreaking and often dangerous work, but coping with the sexual harassment she and the other female miners encounter proves far more challenging.

North Country is a fictionalized story based on true events — the struggles of the women miners at Eveleth Mines, who some 30 years ago lodged a class action suit against their employer and made history. The movie is inspired by the book “Class Action: The Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law,” by Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler.

New Orleans public libraries closed indefinitely

The American Library Association reported on Oct. 7 that the nearly 200 New Orleans Public Library staff have been let go as part of Mayor Ray Nagin’s Oct. 5 directive laying off 3,000 city employees in the wake of “financial constraints in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

City Archivist Wayne Everard said, “Approximately 197 NOPL staff members have been laid off” and the “remaining 19 have been retained as essential to the operation of city government.”

“Thus far,” he said, “we have been working on NOPL business, but if the city decides that we are needed for other tasks, we are subject to reassignment. There are no plans to restore library services in New Orleans anytime in the near future.”