ARCHIVE OF 2012 ARTICLES
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ARCHIVE OF 2008 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2007 ARTICLES
Dec 27, 2010 - What a
Book Sale Means for the New Ulm Library
by Larry Hlavsa
Dec 20, 2010 -
Explore Novel Destinations With the Winter Reading Program
by Kris Wiley
Dec 13, 2010 - Holiday
Memories by Betty J Roiger
Dec 06, 2010 - December
Decorations, Displays, and More
by Diane Zellmann
Nov 29, 2010 - Memories Are
Made of This
by JoAnne Griebel
Nov 22, 2010 - Service Clubs
Help Meet Library’s Needs
by Kris Wiley & Betty Roiger
Nov 15, 2010 - A Call from the
by Larry B. Hlavsa
Nov 08, 2010 - Plentiful Plots
by Betty J
01, 2010 - Listening to Books by Diane Zellmann
Oct 25, 2010 - Give an
Old Book a Chance by Larry B. Hlavsa
Oct 18, 2010 - Valor,
Courage and Soul by JoAnne Griebel
Oct 11, 2010 - Thank You
for Being a Friend
04, 2010 - Dance the Nights Away, Courtesy of Your Library
by Kris Wiley
Sep 27, 2010 - Storytime and More by
Sep 20, 2010 - Energy Management by
Sep 13, 2010 - Fishing Legend Babe Winkelman to
Speak in New Ulm by Larry Hlavsa
Sep 06, 2010 - Go to
the Movies...at the Library by Kris Wiley
Aug 30, 2010 - Battle of
the Books by Betty Roiger
Aug 23, 2010 - Off the
Beaten Path by Linda Lindquist
Aug 16, 2010 - Teen
Summer Reading Program a Great Success by Kris
2010 - Summer Splashes by Diane Zellmann
Aug 02, 2010 - Cool
Documentaries! by Larry B. Hlavsa
Jul 26, 2010 - Beach
Reads by Betty J. Roiger
Jul 19, 2010 - What Should
I Read Next? by
Jul 12, 2010 - Celebrate, Advocate, Recreate!
by JoAnne Griebel
Jul 05, 2010 - Young Adult Books Aren’t Just for
Teens by Kris Wiley
Jun 28, 2010 - nuCAT +
Library = More Programs for YOU! by Larry
2010 - What did you say? - Betty J Roiger
Jun 14, 2010 - Minnesota
Mysteries by Betty J Roiger
Jun 07, 2010 - Great
Characters Make for Great Books by Kris Wiley
May 31, 2010 - Make a Splash
at the Library This Summer! by Diane Zellmann
May 24, 2010 - Weeding
Improves Every Garden (and Library)! by Larry
2010 - Teens: Make Waves at Your Library This Summer
by Kris Wiley
May 10, 2010 - May is Older Americans Month
by Linda Lindquist
May 03, 2010 - Calling All Musicians!
by JoAnne Griebel
Apr 26, 2010 - Library Budget Challenges
by Larry Hlavsa
Apr 19, 2010 - A Gift That Keeps Giving
by Betty J Roiger
Apr 12, 2010 - Celebrate National Library Week
by Kris Wiley
Apr 05, 2010 - Ha! Ha! by Betty J Roiger
Mar 29, 2010 - New
Non-Fiction Books by Linda Lindquist
Mar 22, 2010 - Have a
Listen to Audiobooks by Kris Wiley
Mar 15, 2010 - Books of
Influence by JoAnne Griebel
Mar 08, 2010 - Parenting
Mar 01, 2010 - Plug In to Energy Conservation
by Mary Schroeder, Youth Energy Summit Team Member & Kris
22, 2010 - Are You Tired of Winter? by Larry
15, 2010 - Join the (Book) Club by Kris Wiley
2010 - Minnesota’s Voices by JoAnne Griebel
Feb 01, 2010 - Short and
Sweet by Betty J Roiger
Jan 25, 2010 - The
Winners Are . . . by Diane Zellmann
Jan 18, 2010 -
Antiques, Antiques, Antiques by Linda Lindquist
Jan 11, 2010 -
Conversations From the Cubicles by Betty Roiger
& Kris Wiley
Jan 04, 2010 - Have You
Tried our “Green” Computers? by Larry Hlavsa
December 27, 2010
What a Book Sale Means for the New Ulm Library
Larry Hlavsa, Director
The Friends of the New Ulm
Library December book sale has now come and gone. You might
ask yourself--what benefits have resulted from it?
Actually, there are many.
If you were a book donor,
you benefited by removing some clutter from your life,
getting a tax deduction and perhaps getting that good
feeling of contributing to a worthy cause.
were a book buyer, you benefited by acquiring good quality
used books at bargain basement prices. Our sale prices were
just 25 and 50 cents for paperbacks and hardbacks
respectively. If you came the final day, you could buy a
whole bag of books for two dollars! Even if you didn’t make
it to the sale, you might still benefit. There were many
boxes of books that went unsold. You can still drop by the
Library and find many of the unsold titles on our “free”
book table. While these items weren’t the cream of the book
sale crop, there are many interesting titles among them that
you might find interesting.
The Library itself
benefited in many ways.
Over three hundred of the
books donated for the sale have actually been added to our
collections. These will be available for years to come on
our shelves. At a valuation of $10 a piece, that’s a direct
benefit to the Library of $3,000. Thanks go to the many
donors who provided such high quality titles!
Friends’ generated $2,000 in profits from the sale, all of
which will go towards Library materials and programs.
Another $500 was received in the form of memberships and
gifts. Incidentally, welcome to those who became Friends
during the sale!
Many current members of the Friends
of the New Ulm Library also benefited. Our book sale was a
great chance for Library Friends to work together towards a
common goal. Friendships were made or reinforced, and we
even had some pizza together! Our thanks go to those many
volunteers who made the sale a success.
Now we will
eagerly await one year until the next Friends book sale--or
maybe not a whole year. We’re currently discussing the
possibility of an earlier, smaller, focused “cookbooks only
book sale.” Let us know if you think that’s a good idea!
Thanks, New Ulm, for helping us achieve ever increasing
success in our third annual Friends’ Book Sale!
December 20, 2010
Explore Novel Destinations With the Winter Reading
Kris Wiley, Assistant Director
I’m guessing many New Ulmers are spending this cold, snowy
winter indoors reading and listening to books. Kids have the
Summer Reading Program. Why not share your reading
experiences by participating in the library’s Winter Reading
Program for adults?
Here’s how this free program will
work: Adults ages 18 and older can register at the
circulation desk between January 3 and 28 and receive a
coupon for three free books at the next Friends of the
Library book sale (thanks, Friends!). The registration card,
which we will keep at the desk, will be your reading log.
Any books you read or listen to from January 3 through
February 28 will count. When you finish a book, stop back at
the library, ask for your registration card and write in the
following information: title; author; and location of the
book’s primary setting. Everyone who logs four titles will
be eligible to win small prizes.
The location of the
book’s setting helps tie the program with its theme, Novel
Destinations. Although there are no restrictions on the
books that can be read or listened to, I encourage everyone
to try some international authors and titles. We’ll provide
bookmarks with suggestions to get your creative juices
flowing, or you might get ideas from fellow readers. Take a
look at our world map on the bulletin board near the
circulation desk. I’ll be posting the titles you read there,
and you might see something you like.
we’ll have word puzzles that you can take home, and our
display case will be decorated with titles from novel
destinations. The library also will offer programs with
international flavor. Join us on the third Thursdays of the
month for our Foreign and Independent Film Series. On
January 20, we’ll screen “Nurse.Fighter.Boy,” a Canadian
drama that was an Official Selection of the Toronto
International Film Festival. And local historian Denny Warta
will be back for More Interesting History Tidbits on
February 3. Denny shares his research, from ancient history
to the present, in a truly unique way.
With all of
these activities to get you through the winter, it will be
spring before you know it. With your library card as your
passport, book yourself a tour while you check something
out. See you at the library!
December 13, 2010
Betty J Roiger,
Close your eyes. Er, no, open your eyes;
otherwise you won’t know what I am going to write. Everyone
knows that Christmas has its basis in the birth of the
Christ child. Along with the meaning of Christmas it is also
a season of smells, sounds, sights, tastes, and creative
ideas that pretty much assail us at every turn. If you close
your eyes and savor the smells, melodies, and mementos of
the season, they bring memories back in a heartbeat.
The smell of cinnamon and other spices stir my memory of the
cookies we made at Christmastime. I won’t ever forget my
Mom’s and my first (and last) attempt at making popcorn
balls. With my hands cupped around sticky popcorn hoping it
would quickly set into a somewhat round shape, the doorbell
rang. I ran to answer it, looked at the doorknob in
consternation, used my elbows to turn it, and faced the
not-at-all-happy postman. How I accepted the package…I don’t
recall. I just remember his face as he looked down at my
hands that were literally glued together. It still remains,
all in all, a funny Christmas memory.
The songs of
Christmas immediately take me home. “Silent Night, Holy
Night,” “Joy to the World,” and “O, Holy Night” come on and
I am right back at the nighttime services, which were so
mysterious as church normally was held in the daytime.
Nighttime church was a magical and lovely, soft and calming
event. Hearing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” has
changed for me. As a kid I wanted loads of snow to come and
loved the song. I still like the song, but now it can also
mean slippery roads, dangerous conditions, and the possible
reality of not getting home for the holidays. “I’ll Be Home
for Christmas” always makes me cry thinking of my Mom. She
was a young woman during World War II and when this song
came on the radio, it hit the hearts of all the women
waiting at home for their soldiers with the uncertainty of
togetherness on that Christmas or future Christmases.
Hanging ornaments on the tree can bring to mind
purchased and homemade baubles. Growing up we had the
traditional glass ornaments and for some reason we had three
bulbs that were made of a beautiful plastic. At that time
they were quite unusual. And each year, (behind my Mom and
Dad’s back) my sisters and I would take one and dash it to
the floor to see it bounce. These shenanigans caused us no
end of laughter…up until the year one broke. It turned out
they weren’t indestructible.
So, Betty, that’s a nice
trip down memory lane. What does this have to do with the
library or us? In the midst of a busy Christmas season,
reviving a memory is as close as a book or CD on our
shelves. The 230s section contains religion and has books on
Christ’s birth. Christmas recipe books are in the 641s where
you can find old favorites and new ideas. We have two
sections, Holiday and Christmas, where music CDs can be
found. And if you want to make holiday gifts or ornaments,
745.59 is the place to look. There are also plenty of
holiday fiction books to provide moments of relaxation
during a busy time. Come in, check something out, and have a
safe and happy holiday season.
December 6, 2010
December Decorations, Displays, and More
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
Children’s Room is filled with decorations. We have
nutcrackers and gingerbread men, snowmen and snowflakes,
pinecones and popcorn garlands, ribbons and Rudolph, and
evergreen trees of all shapes and sizes.
table features two candy cane puzzles. It also has a few new
puzzles. The Friends of the Library recently donated
seventeen new puzzles. Eight are boxed and ready for check
out; nine wooden puzzles are for use at our table. Because
puzzles require kids to pay attention to shapes, playing
with puzzles helps develop early literacy skills leading to
letter recognition. Yes, putting puzzles together is
educational as well as fun! We so appreciate the generosity
of the Friends.
Our display cart is full of Christmas
picture books, including many old favorites like “How the
Grinch Stole Christmas” as well as several new arrivals.
“It’s Christmas, David!” by David Shannon and “Olivia Claus”
adapted by Kama Einhorn are new books about two of
children’s favorite characters. My favorite new picture book
this year is “The Elves’ First Christmas; The Untold Story
of How the Elves First Met Santa.” The illustrations are
gorgeous from cover to cover, and the story is delightful.
Our Junior display features both fiction and nonfiction
Christmas books. Here you can find stories from the past
like Richard Peck’s “A Season of Gifts” about the eccentric
Grandma Dowdel who, in 1958, turns out to be a special
neighbor with gifts to share. “Little House Christmas
Treasury” is a collection of short stories that take place
in the pioneer days. For a more present-day story, try Dan
Gutman’s “The Christmas Genie.” A meteorite with a genie
inside crashes into a fifth grade classroom, and the genie
will grant the students one Christmas wish, but all must
agree on it. That’s a real challenge for fifth graders.
The nonfiction books in this display provide information
on holiday crafts, traditions, and celebrations around the
world. Also included here are songs, poetry, and recipes for
Christmas cookies and other treats. There’s even a book
entitled “101 Questions about Santa Claus (As Answered by
Santa Himself!).” Reading this book will definitely make you
an expert about all things related to Santa.
Christmas video display has DVDs as well as videocassettes.
Preschoolers might enjoy seeing some of their favorite
characters in “Elmo’s Christmas Countdown,” “Thomas and
Friends: Ultimate Christmas,” or “Frosty the Snowman.”
School-age kids might prefer “Benji’s Very Own Christmas
Story,” “Holiday on Ice: Under the Desert Sky,” or
“Blizzard,” a charming story of how a young girl and one of
Santa’s reindeer learn to share the gift of friendship.
While she is neither a decoration nor a display, Mrs.
Claus is our special guest this week. Yes, Mrs. Claus is
visiting Storytime on Monday, December 6, at 7:00 P.M.,
Tuesday, December 7, at 10:00 A.M. and 11:00 A.M., and
Thursday, December 9, at 10:00 A.M. She is reading stories,
singing songs, handing out treats, and posing for pictures.
We invite children, their parents, and other caregivers to
attend. Mrs. Claus loves to see the children at the Library!
December days seem to fly by. I hope children and their
parents will take time to visit the Library and check out
something to enjoy.
November 29, 2010
Memories Are Made of This
Griebel, Library Aide
Author Peg Bracken once said
“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of
a truly merry Christmas.” The Christmas season is just
around the corner. For many it can be a stressful time. This
December take time for your family and yourself. Your
library has lots of books to help you this season. If you
are of German ancestry, try “Christmas in Today’s Germany.”
This book from the World Book series is beautifully
illustrated detailing German traditions; from pyramid trees
popular in the mid-1600’s to today where there’s a Christmas
tree in every home. Did you know that in German tradition
the time between December 25 and January 6 is Die zwolf
Rauhnachte (Twelve Nights); each of the twelve days
represents a month. “The Flight of the Reindeer” by Robert
Sullivan is illustrated with delightful drawings by Glenn
Wolf. This is “the true story of Santa Claus and his
Christmas mission.” Speaking of Santa Claus, Robert C.
Hoffman’s “Postcards From Santa Claus” is a history of the
Jolly Elf told through historic postcards. Hoffman’s book
has a Victorian Santa, cards from the 1920’s, even Santa
promoting a 1956 Ford Fairlane!
Christmas is a time
of giving and sharing. A handmade gift of clothing,
decorations, toys, or food is always special for the
receiver and the giver. “Simply Christmas: Renew the Spirit”
by Carol Field Dahlstrom offers ideas for giftmaking. “Rag
Dolls and How to Make Them” has patterns and step-by-step
instructions for rag dolls, keepsake and upside-down dolls.
Patterns for doll clothes are included too. “The Great Book
of Wooden Toys” has more than fifty projects illustrated
with pictures, drawings and materials list for road graders,
biplanes, train cars, even a Model T tank truck. Charities
are in need of gifts as well. “Creative Kindness “ is a book
of sewing and knitting projects to donate to charitable
organizations. There are books on making your own giftwrap,
holiday cookies, and traditions from around the world.
Jennifer Basye and Peter Sander have compiled ideas for a
joyous and eco-friendly Christmas in their book “Green
Christmas.” They have lots of ideas, but one I want to share
with you today is quiet time. The authors suggest reading
together as a family. Perhaps Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”
or borrowing a DVD from the library. Frank Capra’s “It’s a
Wonderful Life” is a classic seen by many every year.
“Silent Night” is another DVD in the collection; it is the
story of a family on Christmas Eve 1944 in Germany’s
Ardennes Forest. Family time is such a part of Christmas;
making memories, playing board games, telling stories,
putting together puzzles, doing something together.
Jean Fritz, author of many childrens books said “When I
discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every
day.” Visit your library today and all year round. Merry
Christmas and Happy New Year!
November 22, 2010
Service Clubs Help Meet Library’s Needs
Kris Wiley, Assistant Director
Betty Roiger, Acquisitions
It has been a great time to work in the cubicles at New
Ulm Public Library. Over the course of just a few hours a
couple of weeks ago, Betty and I received word of generous
donations from the Optimist Club of New Ulm and the Lions
Club of New Ulm.
From Kris’ cubicle, a shout-out to
the Optimists: For the second consecutive year, the Optimist
Club is sponsoring our subscription to Movie Licensing USA,
which allows us to show films from many of the major
studios. Our free family movie days are great fun, and we
have started a Crafts & a Classic program in which attendees
bring their craft to work on and we show a classic film. At
all of our movies, the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library
provide popcorn and drinks. We have several movie events
scheduled; call the library at 507-359-8331 for the dates
and movie titles. Because of contract restrictions, I can’t
tell you the titles in this article, but think big.
The Optimist Club of New Ulm is a nonprofit organization
that raises and donates money to youth and youth
organizations throughout the community. It is one of more
than 2900 clubs around that world dedicated to “Bringing Out
the Best in Kids.” The library is thrilled that that the
Optimists’ vision meets ours in providing a family friendly
entertainment option in the New Ulm community.
from Betty’s cubicle, a shout-out to the Lions: I’ve been
asking the Lions Club of New Ulm for money for large print
materials for many years. And the Lions have graciously
responded for many years. I just met several Lions members
as Larry and I received their most recent donation of $2000
to build our large print collection. I even met a lady Lion
named Tess. Tess informed me that, yes, women can join! And
in the middle of the talk and interesting information being
exchanged, some part of me registered how little I really
knew about this association.
The Lions Club is a
service organization. A businessman named Melvin Jones
founded it in 1917. He had the idea that people who were
successful could put their talents to work improving their
communities. His personal code was, “You can’t get very far
until you start doing something for somebody else.”
And that is why the Lions raise money for worthy causes, and
all the funds they raise are used for charitable purposes.
It might be common knowledge that Lions Clubs promote sight
conservation, hearing and speech conservation, and diabetes
awareness, just to name a few causes. Along with low-vision
equipment, they provide the library much needed, much
circulated and much enjoyed large print books. And that is
where our intentions meet. Their motto is “We Serve.” And
that is what the library does, as well. We try to get
materials to meet patrons’ wants and needs so that they can
learn, be creative, study, travel and just relax.
Thank you, Lions Club and Optimist Club, for your
generosity. Thank you for doing something for someone else.
The library and all of its clientele benefit.
November 15, 2010
A CALL FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
B. Hlavsa, Library Director
Do you always make notes
on the back of your family photographs about who or what is
in the picture? No? Well, I don’t either. And sometimes it
makes it awfully hard forty years down the road for the
grandkids to figure out what those family pictures were
Some time ago, I had a call from Jerry Simmons
who works in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Jerry
has eighteen photos taken in New Ulm during 1974-1975 which
are a part of the DOCUMERICA Project. The DOCUMERICA Project
was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
“to photographically document subjects of environmental
concern” in the 1970s. This particular batch of photos was
taken by a group of photojournalism students from the
University of Missouri-Columbia, under the direction of
one-time New Ulm resident Flip Schulke.
what, the photographs were not fully documented! Jerry needs
a little help from New Ulmers in identifying the people in
these photos and any detail about their topics that can be
The New Ulm Public Library has posted these
photographs in our display cabinet where they will be kept
for the next two months. If you recognize anybody in the
photos there are sheets on which you can write down any
information you have. Jerry’s email address and phone number
are also available. Any information gathered will be shared
with Jerry before the end of the year.
these New Ulm photos and many others can be viewed at
http://www.flickr.com/commons. Just enter “new ulm” in the
search field including the quotation marks.
time you get new batch of family pictures, you’ll mark the
backs of each as to who and what they are, right? Trust me,
your descendents will thank you!
November 8, 2010
Betty J Roiger,
What makes anyone pick up a book? The
cover might be interesting, the jacket information is
enticing, or it is a book by a favorite author. Recently I
have picked up some lighter fiction, fantasy, and a mystery.
I just read a young adult novel called “You Wish” by
Mandy Hubbard that sounded amusing when I read the back
cover. The main character, Kayla, is having a particularly
horrible 16th birthday party and wishes that her birthday
wishes actually would come true since they never have
before. And so it begins.
It isn’t until the next
morning when Kayla catches a glimpse of a blue-tailed, pink
pony in her yard that she has any inkling that something is
up. Getting out of bed, only to fall flat because her floor
is covered in gumballs, in an effort to escape, she opens
the door to a gumball avalanche. That’s when she realizes
she has underestimated what is happening and thinks,
“Hurricane Gumball is clearly a category five.” The next day
a girl with messy strawberry red hair turns up in her closet
wearing a blue dress and white apron, says her name is Ann,
and is convinced she lives there.
realizes that ALL of her wishes from ALL of her birthdays
are coming true. And as crazy and awful as it is having a
pony following her, and gumballs spilling out of her
pockets, is the knowledge that she remembers her wish from
her 15th birthday. She wished that Ben would kiss her. Ben,
the boy she crushes on, who is now her best friend’s
boyfriend. Kayla spends the rest of the book struggling to
ditch a pony, trying to figure out what wish will interrupt
her life next, wanting to stay friends with her best friend,
and just doing her best to find her way with both hilarious
and heartfelt results.
“Reapers are the Angels” by
Alden Bell was an unexpected read. I expected zombies. I got
a post-apocalyptic road trip taken by a young girl named
Temple who can still find everyday miracles in the midst of
horror and meanness. The beauty of the writing plus the
depth of Temple’s character gave me an experience I’ll never
forget. Yes, there is violence. Yes, it is harsh in places.
But even as the world around her rots, the wonder and beauty
of Temple endures.
If you are a Louise Penny fan,
her latest book, called “Bury Your Dead,” is out. If you
have yet to read Louise Penny, please start with her first
book, “Still Life.” And if you haven’t read her, what are
you waiting for?
I have not finished “Bury Your
Dead” yet. Something major has happened at the beginning
that is continually alluded to, and it makes me fear for my
beloved characters. Penny’s books take place in a Canadian
village called Three Pines, and if you haven’t heard me say
it before, I want to retire there. Three Pines has a lovely
bistro, usually with a fire going, a cozy bed and breakfast,
and a new and used bookstore, and wonderful, eccentric
people, including awe-inspiring artists and a foul-mouthed
poet, populate it. And there are the murders that bring
Chief Inspector Gamache to town. He is a kind and gentle man
who uses his wisdom to solve mysteries.
the library. Pick up a book and find something appealing.
November 1, 2010
Listening to Books
With some special holidays coming up this month and next,
many families plan to travel to visit relatives or take a
vacation. To make that trip in the family car more
enjoyable, why not try listening to an audiobook (AKA
talking book or book on tape)? Numerous families have
already discovered how fun it can be to listen together.
If you have never listened to an audiobook, it’s time to try
one. Our library currently offers books on CD or cassette.
We have a nice collection of titles, and more titles are
available through interlibrary loan.
For you parents who are thinking it would be better if
kids just read the book themselves, perhaps you are not
aware of some benefits of listening to books. Audiobooks can
be a powerful literacy tool. They can expose listeners to
new vocabulary words. Listeners hear a new word in the
context of a story, correctly pronounced, and the word
becomes part of their oral vocabulary. A bigger vocabulary
leads to improved reading skills.
Audiobooks can provide a model of fluent reading,
including appropriate phrasing, intonation, and
articulation. Listeners are able to learn from a skilled
Still more benefits include improved listening skills,
lengthened attention span, and improved comprehension
The biggest benefit of all is enhanced enjoyment of
literature. Kids who enjoy books are more inclined to become
Parents can help foster that enjoyment by providing
the opportunity to listen to books and encouraging kids to
participate in this family activity. Families can enjoy
listening together and then discussing the story. That will
certainly make the long ride more fun for everyone.
Children’s collection of audiobooks includes titles for a
range of ages. Younger listeners might enjoy the classic
“Winnie the Pooh,” or the laugh-out-loud humor of “Hank the
Cowdog’s Case of the Missing Bird Dog” and “Freddy the
The recently released movie “Ramona and Beezus” has
renewed interest in Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. We have
“Ramona Quimby, Age 8,” “Ramona’s World,” and “Beezus and
Ramona.” We also have Cleary’s “Henry Huggins” for those who
prefer a boy as the main character.
A good dog story is always a hit. Try listening to
“Because of Winn-Dixie” or “Where the Red Fern Grows.” For a
humorous story, try “Flat Stanley” or “Frindle.”
Due to tight budgets, we often purchase only the first
book of a series in the audio format. Kids who listen to
that first title often decide to continue reading the rest
of the series. “Redwall,” “Land of Elyon,” “39 Clues,” and
“A Series of Unfortunate Events” are examples of series for
which we own the first book in audio format. Right now I am
listening to “Midnight for Charlie Bone,” the first title in
the Children of the Red King series, and it’s terrific. In
the past I had never found the time to read this series.
However, when the new audiobook arrived a couple of weeks
ago, I decided to try it. Now I want to read all eight
“A Season of Gifts” is written by Richard Peck and tells
the story of a warmhearted Grandma Dowdel and her family as
they meet an unusual family who move in next door just
before Christmas in 1958. In three hours and fifty minutes,
you and your family could listen to a very touching story
If the idea of listening to a book interests you and
your family, please stop in and browse our audiobook
shelves. You just might find the perfect story for your
family and have a great trip too. All the additional
benefits are just icing on the cake.
October 25, 2010
Give an Old Book a Chance
Larry B. Hlavsa,
Unlike many of my fellow library readers,
I don’t spend much of my time with “new” books. It seems I’m
always finding something “old” that captures and holds my
Smedley Darlington Butler
Recently, I happened to be surfing YouTube
and happened across a name I was totally unfamiliar
with--Smedley Darlington Butler. Unusual names always
attract my attention, and I began eagerly looking up Mr.
Butler, my eagerness increasing when I found out he was a
decorated marine (two Congressional Medals of Honor) who’d
written a small book entitled “War Is a Racket” (1935). In
this small, biographical, controversial and today, largely
unknown book, General Butler described his service as a
soldier over thirty years, and in several conflicts, as
having been little more than a pawn of big-business
interests. Not exactly a sentiment you’d expect from a
decorated Marine Corps general! Interesting.
Being an enthusiastic reader of biography,
I then began looking for a biography of General Butler. Sure
enough, I found one called “Maverick Marine” (1998) by Hans
Schmidt. One reviewer described the book as—“a colorful
story about a swashbuckling establishment-shaker.” The
reviewer pointed out that Butler joined the Marines in 1898,
saw action all over the world, but is remembered not so much
for his military exploits, but more for the apostasy of his
later years. A statement Butler made in 1935 sums up his
drastic turnabout: "I spent 33 years in the Corps
and...spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man
for Big Business." Butler also described himself as a
racketeer for capitalism who "helped in the raping of half a
dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall
You’d think two new old books would have
been enough for me, but the dust jacket of “Maverick Marine”
led me down another road. It described General Butler’s role
in a 1933 plot to seize the U.S. government. A plot to seize
the government?!? This documented incident is described in
“The Plot to Seize the White House” (1973) by Jules Archer.
Despite my B.A. degree in history, I cannot remember ever
having heard of this 1933 plot. It involved a cabal of
wealthy industrialists who wanted to overthrow the U.S.
government in a fascist coup. Allegedly, their plan was to
turn discontented WWI veterans into American “brown shirts,”
led by a highly decorated and beloved general (yup, that
would be General Smedley Darlington Butler), depose F.D.R.,
and stop the New Deal. Trouble was, they chose the wrong man
to lead their coup d'état. Smedley blew the whistle on the
plot, after which, despite congressional hearings,
information on the incident was systematically suppressed by
newspapers and the government alike. So it turns out that
Smedley Butler is an unsung hero of American democracy! Wow!
Now, when you read old books like I do, it
means that one library won’t have all of the old books you
want. That’s why I love the MNLink Gateway, an online way to
check the holdings of libraries throughout Minnesota. There
are copies of each of these titles in one Minnesota library
or another. When I need them, I’ll be able to borrow copies
from those libraries through the New Ulm Library
interlibrary loan program.
My winter reading will include all of the
above, and probably some new old books. How about you? Old
books can be pretty interesting, can’t they?
October 18, 2010
Valor, Courage and Soul
Michel de Montaigne, a writer of the
French Renaissance, wrote, “Valor is stability, not of legs
and arms, but of the courage and the soul; it does not lie
in the goodness of our horse or our arms: but in our own.”
In just three weeks we celebrate Veterans’s Day.
Veteran’s Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, has
quite a history.
Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day November
11, 1919, to commemorate the ending of the Great War with
the signing of the Treaty of Versailles at the eleventh hour
on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918.
In 1938, Congress declared November 11 a legal
Federal holiday to honor all who served in the War.
In 1954, then President Eisenhower signed into law
legislation changing Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day in honor
of the war veterans who served in the first World War and
wars since. For
several years, Veteran’s Day was celebrated on the fourth
Monday of October.
The national observance was changed back to November
11 in 1978.
Your public library has many books on
the wars involving the United States.
Wilhelm Kaufmann’s “The Germans in the American Civil
War” tells the story of the more than 500,000 German-born
and first-generation Americans of German heritage.
The book details German accomplishments in the Civil
War and includes a brief biographical directory.
“Phantom Warrior” by Forrest Bryant Johnson is a must
shares the story of Private John McKinney’s stand against
the Japanese on the Philippine island of Luzon.
Few know of this battle, but this is a story of
courage and determination.
William Guarnere and Edward Heffron
served as paratroopers in World War II.
These men from the original Band of Brothers share
their accounts in “Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends.”
“Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of
U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan” by Doug
Stanton is another gripping true story.
Another book on display is “The Wall: A Day At the
Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.” “The Wounded Warrior Handbook”
by Don Philpott and Janelle Hill is a resource guide for
returning veterans and their families. Shoshana Johnson
tells her story of being ambushed and captured en route to
Baghdad. She was
the first black female prisoner of war in our country’s
history and was held captive for 22 days.
Her story, “I’m Still Standing,” is a brutally honest
account told with dignity and courage.
Several DVDs are also available,
including “Silent Wings,” the story of American glider
pilots of World War II, and “Muse of Fire: Operation
Homecoming Writing the Wartime Experience.”
For these and more stories of valor, check out the
books available through your public library.
October 11, 2010
Thank You for Being a Friend
Maybe you’ve heard the sports
catch phrase “Are you ready for some football?” when it gets
to be fall. Well, perhaps the Friends of the Library (FOL)
need a fall catch phrase, too – are you ready for a book
sale? No, that’s copying. We need to think harder.
But it is getting to be time for our December book sale.
We’ll need a catch phrase fast. In preparation for the sale
we ask that you donate any books, DVDs or CDs that you no
longer want or need to the library. The library adds any
copies that it might be missing to the collection, and
everything else goes into the FOL book sale. This year we
hope to have the best book sale ever! We already have had
some wonderful donations from very generous folks in the
area. So our catch phrase might be “Thank you for being a
friend.” (No, that was “The Golden Girls” theme song.)
Who are the Friends of the Library
anyhow? Well, they are people who support the library with
their membership money, and some also work on the book sale.
In July the Friends of the Library gave our fiction
budget an infusion of money. This money enabled me to
purchase 56 new fiction titles. It also freed up my regular
budget to purchase additional titles, such as any books that
were missing from a series. I was able to replace damaged
items that are still in demand and buy talking books. It
really helped stretch my fiction dollars.
open a book or DVD and see the “Donated by the Friends of
the Library” plate inside, you can immediately know two
things. This material was purchased by money given by the
FOL. And you also know that this material would not be a
part of our library if it weren’t for the Friends’
Lately some people have been renewing
their memberships. Some members are also checking a box that
says donation, thus giving over and above what their
membership is. Thank you. All of this money goes to the
Friends of the Library. And ALL of the Friends’ money comes
back to the library in some form. Whether it goes to support
our programming or purchasing books and DVDS or for some
other project, every single bit of it comes back to the
public library. Here’s a tip of our hats to our anonymous
donors who give the Friends monetary gifts. Seriously, we
appreciate your altruism and “we like you, we really like
you.” (Nope, that’s too much like Sally Field’s catch
phrase.) But we really do like you.
Giving to the
Friends is giving to the library. No one is paid to be a
Friend; nobody is paid to be on the board or to help with
the book sale. These people are all volunteers. When there
is a Friends of the Library event and there are goodies,
well, someone volunteered to bring food. And the best part
about being a Friend, besides having the library and the
public benefit, is that you can choose how involved you want
to be. “And that’s a good thing” ... er, no, that’s Martha
Stewart’s trademark line.
So in lieu of a catch
phrase, drop off your unwanted books and videos at the
library. Come to our book sale in December. Thank you for
everything you have donated this year in materials,
memberships, time and money. The Friends plus the library:
Together we can “just do it.” (nope, that’s Nike ...)
October 4, 2010
Dance the Nights Away, Courtesy of Your Library
Kris Wiley, Assistant Director
When you think of
dancing, your local library likely isn’t the first place
that comes to mind. That’s about to change because New Ulm
Public Library is sponsoring free (yes, free!) ballroom
dance lessons the next four Monday evenings.
Newcomers as well as seasoned dancers of all ages are
invited to join us from 7-8 p.m. at Turner Hall, 102 S.
State St. in New Ulm, on Oct. 11, Oct. 18, Oct. 25 and Nov.
1. On these evenings, local dance instructor Geats Lemyre
will teach a number of dances, including swing, tango, cha
cha, rumba, waltz and foxtrot. No registration is required.
These lessons are a lead-in to the New Ulm Dance
Celebration, scheduled for Nov. 6 at Turner Hall. An
optional dinner ($45 per couple) will begin at 6 p.m. Dance
lessons with Geats will be from 7-7:30 p.m. Then Christine
Rosholt and her band will play three sets from 7:30-10 p.m.
The dance lessons and entertainment are free. Registration
for the Dance Celebration is requested; call the library at
You may be wondering how the library
got involved in this great program. It all started with a
simple request from a patron. She had attended a dance
program, she knew grant funds were available, and she
wondered if the library could put something together. At
about the same time, we received information about the
Minnesota’s Greatest Generation in the Libraries program, a
partnership between Minnesota Regional Public Libraries and
the Minnesota Historical Society. Funding for the program
was made possible through the Arts and Cultural Heritage
Fund, also known as the Legacy Fund. With the help of the
Greatest Generation state coordinator, Geats, and the folks
at Turner Hall, the library is thrilled to bring this
intergenerational program to New Ulm.
Once word got
out about our project, we were contacted by TVbyGirls, a
nonprofit organization from the Twin Cities that uses the
tools of media to work with youth to help build leadership
and communication skills. With the help of the Minnesota
Historical Society, TVbyGirls plans to create a documentary
that will explore the significance of dance for the Greatest
Generation and profile New Ulm community seniors’
reflections on their lives in the 1930s and 1940s. New Ulm
area teens will work with the seniors at the dance lessons
and Dance Celebration, and the final product will be a film
that the community can share. Seniors and teens who are
interested in this aspect of the project should contact me
Just look at what can come from a
simple request. We hope to see you at Turner Hall over the
next several weeks dancing the nights away!
September 27, 2010
Storytime and More
Much is happening in the
Children’s Room at the Library these days. Storytime began
its fall session last week. We have a poster display coming
soon. We have application forms for parents who want their
children to receive free books. And Marc Brown, the popular
author of the Arthur books, is making two appearances in the
TdS area this week.
Toddlers and preschoolers have
begun showing up for Storytime, bringing their smiling faces
and happy voices. They can expect to have lots of fun
because of course we read books at Storytime, but we also
sing songs, perform fingerplays and action rhymes, and even
befriend a few puppets. Each child will meet other children
and have opportunities to interact with them.
toddlers and preschoolers will also be learning something
while they’re having fun at Storytime. Each program features
one pre-reading skill, such as letter sounds, letter shapes,
and rhyming words. Children learn to enjoy books and see
others enjoy them too. These pre-reading skills help develop
early literacy and help increase the chances that children
will find it easier to learn to read later on.
we have four Storytimes, and each program lasts about 30
minutes. These sessions are free and do not require
registration. Here is the schedule:
Mondays 7:00 P.M.
Tuesdays 10:00 A.M. Preschool Storytime
Tuesdays 11:00 A.M. Preschool Storytime
A.M. Toddler Storytime
All children are welcome. We
encourage parents, grandparents, daycare providers, and
other childcare individuals to bring children to Storytime.
The poster display begins next week on October 7. Kids in
grades K –12 in all New Ulm schools have been invited to
design and create a poster that depicts their interpretation
of human rights. The New Ulm Human Rights Commission
sponsors this contest. Mark your calendar so that you
remember to stop in at the Library to see this sure-to-be
spectacular display in the hallway leading to the Children’s
You may have heard about the new program called
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library that will provide a free
book every month to every child in Brown County from birth
until their fifth birthday. If you would like more
information and/or a registration form to sign up your
child, please ask at the Children’s desk. The United Way of
the Brown County Area is sponsoring this “don’t miss”
If you have ever read the popular
children’s books about Arthur and D.W. or watched the Emmy
Award-winning “Arthur” television show, you will be thrilled
to hear that the author of these books, Marc Brown, will be
appearing in our TdS area on Saturday, October 2. He will
speak in St. James at the Armstrong Middle School at 10:00
A.M. and in Mankato at the South Central College Conference
Center at 2:00 P.M. Both programs are free and open to the
public and are funded in part by the Minnesota’s Arts and
Cultural Heritage fund. Please call our library (359-8336)
for more details.
Now that you know a little bit
about these exciting programs, all you need to do is take
advantage of what works for you and your family. Enjoy!
September 20, 2010
Schools are back in session and the
trees are dressed in autumn colors. Living in Minnesota we
know the signs, winter is not far off.
Minnesota winter approaching, now is the time to think
energy and discover ways to make the best use of available
energy. October has been designated as “Energy Management is
a Family Affair Month”. Your public library and public
utilities have resources to help you.
A book that is
proving popular with our patrons is “Save Energy Cut Your
Bills” by Nick White. Another recent title is “Shift Your
Habit” by Elizabeth Rogers, an environmental consultant. Her
book covers more than just energy conservation, but she has
lots of great ideas. Switching to an ultra low flow
showerhead can save on your water bill; replacing filters on
the furnace and air conditioner units can save heating and
Jeffrey Langholz’s “You Can Prevent
Global Warming and Save Money 51 Easy Ways”
has a chapter
on “Fun With Furnaces” and “Winch the Water Heater.” This is
not only an informative book, but entertaining as well.
Daniel Chiras offers 65 projects that are
reduce your utility bill, protect your health and help the
environment. Projects found in “Green Home Improvement”
include flooring, caulking, insulate while you paint,
rainwater barrels and home energy audits.
library has appliance meters and whole home meters to help
you calculate kilowatt usage in your home. The meters are
available for checkout at the circulation desk. The federal
government website www.energystar.gov has an energy star
advisor to help you assess your home, get
recommendations for you to implement thus increasing energy
efficiency and home comfort.
The city’s Public
Utilities has several programs available as well. These
include a programmable thermostat rebate, furnace rebate and
furnace cleaning discount (from service provider). For
information on programs and providers, see the city website
at www.ci.new-ulm.mn.us and click on Public Utilities.
Applications for the programs are found here as well.
You have many resources available locally to help you
and your family make “Energy Management a Family Affair.”
September 13, 2010
Fishing Legend Babe Winkelman to Speak in New Ulm
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Fishing is a favorite activity of many people in Southern
Minnesota. But even if you’re a fisherman, there aren’t many
nationally recognized names you can hear and instantly make
the association with Minnesota and fishing. Al Lindner is
one. Babe Winkelman is another. And next Tuesday, September
21, at 7:00 p.m., in the Martin Luther College Auditorium,
Babe Winkelman will be bringing his expertise to New Ulm.
Made possible through the efforts of New Ulm Public
Library and the New Ulm Area Sportfishermen, and as the
result of a Legacy Grant, Babe Winkelman will be joining us
for an evening of fishing talk. Babe will provide a
multimedia presentation, then will be available for
questions. The evening will conclude with a drawing for door
prizes and an opportunity for autographs. Be sure and bring
the youngsters, as they will have a separate drawing for
A Minnesota native, Donald "Babe" Winkelman
grew up on a small farm near the tiny town of Duelm,
Minnesota, where he fished, hunted and observed wildlife. As
he grew up, Babe lived an outdoor life, polishing his
hunting and fishing skills. During the 1960s, he developed a
"pattern" approach to fishing that he continues to teach
Babe’s full-time fishing career began
in 1975, but you may remember him also for his commercials
for “Deep Woods OFF.” Babe started producing for television
in 1978; then in 1985, he got his first national television
exposure on the show “Good Fishing.” On it, Babe educated
anglers, but entertained them and their families as well.
Babe’s informal style and the integration of his family in
the show served to make it a popular Saturday tradition for
many families. Each show ended with his memorable
tagline--"until then, hey...good fishing!" Babe’s companion
hunting show "Outdoor Secrets" began later, and also proved
popular. Now, some twenty-five years later, Babe still
appears on both shows via broadcast and cable stations.
In 1988, Babe was inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing
Hall of Fame. In 1992, he was inducted into the Sports
Legends Hall of Fame, and, in 2001, he was inducted into the
Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame. That certainly seems enough
to qualify him as a “legend”! While honors like these are
satisfying, Babe’s unofficial title as "America's Most
Versatile Fisherman" also speaks loudly to his talents as an
The capacity of the MLC Auditorium is large
and should provide more than enough space for everyone who
wants to hear “Babe” Winkelman expound on Minnesota fishing.
We hope to see a large crowd next Tuesday at this rare
opportunity to see a true Minnesota legend! "Until then,
September 6, 2010
Go to the Movies...at the Library
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
You probably know that New Ulm Public Library checks out
movies on DVD and VHS, but you might not know that we show
movies in our meeting room – for free!
generosity of the Optimist Club of New Ulm, we purchased a
subscription to Movie Licensing USA that allows us to show
family friendly, blockbuster movies. We’ve screened “Up,”
“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” and “Alice in
Wonderland,” among others. Our Friends of the New Ulm Public
Library provide the popcorn and drinks, and then out come
the beanbag chairs so kids of all ages can enjoy the show.
Our monthly family movies have been publicized in the
New Ulm Journal and KNUJ, among other places, but you may
have noticed that the title of the film is not mentioned.
This isn’t by accident. The contract with Movie Licensing
USA stipulates we may advertise through the public media “as
long as the movie title and studio name are not used.” To
find out what movie we’re showing, call us at 359-8331 or
stop by the library. We can advertise the title in the
library, so we hang posters and hand out bookmarks, and
we’re happy to tell you the film title over the phone.
Regular moviegoers have noticed that we recently made
improvements to our “theater.” The Friends of the Library
purchased a projector; maintenance technician Jay Hughes
painted a large screen; and our friends at New Ulm Community
Access Television worked their magic to improve the audio
system. New theatergoers will be amazed at the quality of
the picture and sound. A big thanks to all of our partners!
These enhancements come just as we prepare to expand our
movie screenings. The library received an Arts and Cultural
Heritage Funds grant for a one-year subscription to Film
Movement, which distributes award-winning foreign and
independent films. Beginning October 21 at 6 p.m., and
continuing every third Thursday through September 2011, New
Ulm Public Library will show the latest release from Film
Movement. The first film is “Jaffa,” an Israeli drama in
Hebrew with English subtitles. Find out more about this
movie and watch the trailer at www.filmmovement.com.
We have another exciting movie opportunity coming later this
year. Through a “We the People” Bookshelf grant supported by
the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American
Library Association, the library received public performance
rights to “The Civil War” by Ken Burns. With this
acquisition, Library Director and Civil War buff Larry
Hlavsa has developed a program titled “Ken Burns’ The Civil
War & More.” Over nine Tuesdays beginning December 7 at 6
p.m., viewers will screen an episode from the series, and
Larry will follow up with a short presentation on a related
topic. Teens and adults alike can enjoy this offering.
With all of these great opportunities for people of all
ages, it makes sense to go to the movies … at the library.
Just follow the aroma of popcorn to the library theater!
August 30, 2010
Battle of the Books
by Betty Roiger, Acquisitions Librarian
Saturday, August 7th, my husband and I were lucky enough to
participate in the 2nd “Battle of the Books” (BotB) put on
by Traverse des Sioux Library System. Let me give you a
little background on what it is. BotB is an opportunity for
teenagers around the system to read the same four books and
then competitively answer questions pertaining to these
books in an effort to win a prize. This year the winners
were each awarded portable DVD players. But no one goes away
empty handed; each teen gets a ten dollar Barnes and Noble
gift certificate just for playing.
We are a nine
county system. Teams from any of these counties may enter. A
team is made up of four students, ages thirteen to eighteen.
Some counties are represented by several teams and some not
so many. If there are an uneven number of kids who are
interested, teams can be formed when everyone gets to the
event. Players might not know everyone on their team; they
just have to know these books. And any combination will have
a chance of winning. New Ulm had one team this year. They
did well and seemed to have a good time.
the year, librarians in our system choose titles they think
would make good choices for the kids to read and answer
questions about. Then they narrow their selection down to
four titles. In the spring, word goes out to anyone who
wants to participate. If teens want to get involved, they
sign up at their local library and receive the four books,
totally free of charge, to begin reading in preparation of
the summer competition.
At the event, each team is
seated at a table with one white board to share between
them. It is here that they write their answers. They have 30
seconds to very quietly confer and discuss their response.
Points for correct answers are tallied on a big screen, and
the competition is on. There is no chance of stage fright as
kids are in a panel of four and no one is singled out. This
is a team sport. Questions about characters, plot lines, and
settings are all asked and answered. Points are accumulated
as the competition goes on. Judges discuss and decide
parameters for correct answers. Kids have a chance to
contest or defend their answers, although there is a time
There is a preliminary round after which
the highest scorers move on. The secondary round has more
difficult questions and the highest scorers keep going. At
last it is the final round, which consists of the top
Now it is time for the most difficult
questions. This round seemed to fly by, and before we knew
it the reigning champions from last year won again. They
wanted to defend their title from the previous year and did
it. But then all the kids did a good job—it was amazing how
close the scores were.
If you have any teen readers
in your family BotB is a good opportunity for them to get
four free books, have fun being with other readers, learn to
compete with the reassurance of a group around them, and win
a gift card to a book store. (And what could be better than
that for any reader?)
August 23, 2010
Off the Beaten Path
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference
When ordering new books for the library, titles can be
misleading. Sometimes the book is not what you expected at
all. The book that I want to discuss today tells us exactly
what it is about. The title is “Off the Beaten Path: A
Travel Guide to More Than 1,000 Scenic and Interesting
Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting” put out by Reader’s
Digest. It catches your interest from the cover all the way
to the back index.
All 50 states are covered in the
third edition of this travel guide. In each section there is
a map of the state with all the points of interest numbered
and highlighted. In Connecticut you can visit a castle, a
lighthouse, a clock and watch museum, and Harriet Beecher
Stowe Center to name just a few sites.
interested in checking out Hawaii? One would think that all
the islands would be similar but that is not the case—all
five main islands have a character all their own. Each of
the islands has lesser known beaches, scenic waterfalls,
hiking trails, and cultural attractions.
interested in visiting Indiana? In August you can take in
the Little Italy Festival. September has the Indian Wizard
of Oz and Johnny Appleseed festivals. The Parke County
Covered Bridge Festival and Southern Indiana FiberArts
Festival both take place in October. In December, Lafayette,
Indiana, has the Dickens of a Christmas festival. And if you
are interested in museums, check out the Museum of Miniature
Houses and other Collections in Carmel and the Auburn Cord
Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn, Indiana.
about Iowa? Our neighbor to the south has more than just
cornfields and tall prairie grass. How about visiting the
ice cream capital of World in LeMars? Or maybe you are into
exploring caves. Maquoketa Caves State Park has a network of
13 limestone caves for your enjoyment. Winterset, Iowa, has
several covered bridges, is the birthplace of John Wayne and
the setting for the movie ‘Bridges of Madison County’
starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Winterset is a fun
and interesting city to visit.
And we couldn’t go
without mentioning Minnesota. Starting at the top and going
to the bottom of the state, many state parks, museums, and
historic sites are highlighted. The R. D. Hubbard House,
built by Rensselaer D. Hubbard (founder of Hubbard Milling
Company) in Mankato and Glensheen Mansion, built by Chester
Congdon in Duluth, are just two of the more famous houses in
Minnesota. New Ulm is cited in the book. Some of the sites
mentioned include Hermann Monument, the Glockenspiel, the
home of John Lind (Minnesota’s first Swedish-born American
governor), the Wanda Gag House, and of course, Schell’s
All points of interest mentioned in the book
have a website enabling you to visit before making travel
plans. The last page of each state has a listing of seasonal
events around which to make plans. What a wonderful book to
help plan a vacation or just do some armchair traveling.
August 16, 2010
Teen Summer Reading Program a Great Success
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
New Ulm area
young adults made waves during the 2010 Teen Summer Reading
Program at New Ulm Public Library.
More than 50 young
adults registered for the Summer Reading Program, and 27
teens submitted 198 reviews. Wow! Congratulations to all the
teens who participated in this summer’s program.
Based on the reviews that were turned in, teens in the New
Ulm area are reading a wide variety of material – from “The
Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold to Nancy Drew to vampire
books. Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
was popular, as well. But the most read author? J.K.
Rowling, whose Harry Potter series continues to fascinate
teens. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the third
novel in the series, was the most reviewed book of the
summer with four submitted. I am transcribing many of the
reviews, and they are being added to our Web site’s Teen
Book Reviews page. Take a look at www.newulmlibrary.org,
click on Teens then Teen Book Reviews.
submitted at least one review were eligible to win a variety
of prizes. Thanks to the following businesses and
individuals who donated prizes: Family Video, Haar Friseure,
Penazz Hair & Day Spa, Target, Sven and Jean Eelma, Melessa
Henderson and Betty and Doug Roiger.
summer, teens participated in a number of special events.
Teen Game Day brought together teens to play Wii, card games
and board games. Thanks to Blaine Tuttle from Family Video
for bringing the Wii and games (and for participating!), and
thanks to Happy Joe’s for donating pizza. Craft time
featured origami, and we shared paper-folding techniques.
Thanks go to library staffers Betty Roiger and Tracey
Mehlhouse for their origami expertise as well as the
participating teens for sharing their origami favorites. We
also hosted a special teen movie event with refreshments.
All of our movie programs are sponsored by the Optimist Club
and the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library.
special thank you to the entire staff of the New Ulm Public
Library as well as the New Ulm Journal, KNUJ and all of the
local businesses who publicized our events. It was a true
We’re already thinking about next
summer’s program, so if you have ideas for how to make the
2011 Teen Summer Reading Program even better, contact me at
507-359-8334 or email@example.com.
August 9, 2010
Another Summer Reading Program
has ended. Once again we had so much fun! Kids definitely
made a big splash at our library. Now that all of this
splashing action has come to end, we have time to evaluate
and say thanks.
Congratulations to the 936 kids who registered for our
program. (That’s a record-setting number for our library!)
These kids read lots of books and won some very cool prizes.
They also fished in our pond, answered trivia questions,
completed the weekly crafts, counted seashells, and named
our giant fish. Some attended a magic show or sang and
danced with Bob the Beachcomber. Some attended our camps and
learned about weather, water, and bookmaking. Others drew
sea serpents. These sea serpents are still on display in the
hallway near the Children’s Room. Come in and take a look!
Congratulations to the parents of these 936 kids.
Parents provide the encouragement, cooperation, and often
the transportation that enable kids to participate. If
research is correct, these kids will return to school this
fall with their reading skills intact or even at a higher
level. That’s a nice reward for kids and their parents.
We thank the local businesses of Casey’s, McDonald’s,
HyVee, and Subway for contributing prizes, treats, and
awards. The Minnesota Vikings, Lynx, and Timberwolves
provided an assortment of prizes too, and we thank them.
We also thank the New Ulm Community Center for hosting five
of our special events. A special thank you goes to the
Friends of the Library for serving frozen juice bars at our
kick-off and for their monetary donation. Still more thanks
go to the New Ulm Jaycees and the New Ulm Shriners for their
monetary donations. Several individuals donated their time,
items, or money. We sincerely thank all of these
individuals. Without these donations, the Summer Reading
Program would not have happened.
Sometimes the people behind the scenes receive little,
if any, recognition, and so I say a huge thank you to the
staff of the NUPL for their extra efforts. Their donations
of time and effort helped out in so many ways.
Publicity for our events is vital to the success of our
programs. The Journal, KNUJ, NuCat, and the city sign on
Broadway did an excellent job of keeping everyone informed
about what was going on at the library. We appreciate their
assistance and thank their staff members who made the extra
efforts on our behalf.
Again, we congratulate all of our
program participants, and we thank everyone who contributed
in any way to help make our program a big splash. We are
already looking forward to summer 2011!
August 2, 2010
Larry B. Hlavsa, Library
My film interests lean strongly to the
documentary genre. Just as with my reading, I find so many
true stories out there that I find watching documentaries
more enjoyable than feature films. Among the many great
documentaries available, I thought I’d share a few of my
favorites. While these are not all brand new, they’re all
genuinely memorable. Some are bizarre, a few frightening,
others thought-provoking and even disturbing. One is
cinematically among the best films ever made. While the New
Ulm Library doesn’t own every one of these documentaries
[NOTE: Sep 7, 2010--We have now purchased copies of
all of these!],
they are all available in one or more libraries in our
region. Ask a librarian to help you request one.
H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer” (2004). I had
never heard of H. H. Holmes when I recently stumbled across
this documentary of his life. Mr. Holmes, a contemporary of
Jack the Ripper, was far more adept at murder than Jack the
Ripper could ever have imagined. Mr. Holmes, a licensed
physician, designed, built, then utilized a castle of
horrors in Chicago during the early 1890s. Mr. Holmes, who
supervised the design and construction of his block-long,
three story castle, was the only man who knew all of its
rooms, dead ends, shafts and chambers. While the number of
his victims will never be known, the documentary suggests he
may have murdered over 200 men, women and children during
his short career. His “castle” doubled as a newly opened
hotel during the1893 World's Fair Columbian Exposition in
Chicago. Mr. Holmes likely used his position as a hotel
proprietor to take the lives of scores of fair visitors
during this period. A fascinating, but disturbing look at
“Wild China” (2008). This extraordinary
five-part BBC production is cinematically one of the most
beautiful documentaries I’ve ever seen. Deftly interweaving
scenes of the people, wildlife and natural beauty of China,
you’ll likely overwork the pause-button on your DVD player,
trying to get a closer look at some of the images. I watched
the six hours of “Wild China” in one sitting; then watched
it a second time a few days later. But as gorgeous a
documentary as it is, don’t bother with “Wild China” if
you’re interested in the politics, economic issues, human
rights issues or foreign policy of this gargantuan nation.
“Wild China” is not about that. Do sit back and enjoy it as
a wonderfully graceful portrait of one of the world’s most
ancient cultures, and a nation blessed with some of the most
fascinating flora and fauna in the world.
JFK: a Revisionist History” (1999). I was 13 years old when
John F. Kennedy was killed and, as a result, I’ve always
had--like so many of my contemporaries--an abiding
fascination with all things related to the assassination.
Over the years, I’ve eagerly read all of the conspiracy
books, viewed the documentaries and even read the
documentation. Yes, I actually read most of the 26 volumes
of Warren Commission testimony. So I was very surprised to
find a relatively new documentary with information, images
and background that I’d never seen before. I was amazed at
the detailed information revealed in this DVD. The “Murder
of JFK” places the assassination within the context of the
sociopolitical atmosphere of the times. That may sound dull
and pedantic, but there’s much to learn here about Castro,
the CIA, the Dallas police and Lee Harvey Oswald that you
may never have heard before. Be forewarned, however, this
film does not answer so many questions, as it raises new
“Capitalism: a Love Story” (2009). This Michael
Moore film is pretty much an attack on capitalism, so if you
equate capitalism with democracy, then this is certainly not
the film for you. If, however, you found the events of the
near economic meltdown in 2008 disturbing, you just might
want to give Michael’s film a chance. He won’t make you feel
warm and fuzzy toward the barons of Wall Street; in fact,
his revelations about “dead peasant” insurance may startle
you, causing your mouth to flop open at the audacity of
corporate America. There are fascinating historical tidbits
here such as Franklin Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights”
and his admonition—“People who are hungry and out of a job
are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” In the end,
as one reviewer suggested, Michael’s film really is “a
tragedy disguised as a comedy.”
“Wild Parrots of
Telegraph Hill” (2005). A gorgeous, emotional film about a
misplaced flock of undomesticated parrots and their unique
relationship with a homeless man in the Telegraph Hill
section of San Francisco. Through intimate close-ups of each
member of the flock, we become part of the man’s avian
family, connecting with each bird on an emotional level. My
favorite review of this film put it succinctly—“This is an
excellent movie -- by all means, flock to it!”
July 26, 2010
Betty J. Roiger,
Usually a beach read is a book you can
read fast and easily. It is something light and fluffy to
pass the time, a book that can be interrupted, one you can
drop into your bag at the end of the day along with your
towels and lotion. For instance, normally one wouldn’t drag
a tome like “War and Peace” to the beach.
reads don’t have to be set on a beach, although Diane
Chamberlain’s “Summer’s Child” does take place on one. I
picked up “Summer’s Child” because the premise of
11-year-old Daria, who discovers a newborn infant on the
beach one morning, just attracted me like a fish to bait.
Fast-forward 20 years, Daria and the foundling,
Shelly, are sisters, and Shelly wants to find out who left
her there and why. I liked this book, I liked most of the
characters, even if I felt that the
was a little dense to the crush as everyone recognizes it
but him. Still, an attractive hero who is a little slow
isn’t enough to derail this novel. There are enough things
going on that keep the mystery of “Summer’s Child”
interesting. And if you like a twist for the ending (which I
do) I think you’ll find at least five in the last 40 pages.
So it kept me involved all the way to the end.
entertaining as “Summer’s Child” was, “On Folly Beach” is a
whole ’nother thing. Wow! This book takes place in the South
and alternates between the war
years and today. The back
cover talks about an old African custom of hanging bottles
on trees to ward off evil. Well, I wasn’t far into this book
and I felt like the writing had a music of its own—maybe
like bottles swaying lightly in the wind, tapping each other
In the ’40s you meet Cat. Beautiful,
self-centered Cat, widowed when Jim died Cat, who wants
everything and everyone. Maggie, Cat’s cousin, is not as
striking but responsible, smart, and determined to keep her
promise to always take care of Cat, no matter how hard that
proves. She, too, mourns the loss of Jim, who died in the
war. And then there’s Lulu, Maggie’s sister, who reads Nancy
Drew and sees much more than she lets on. She has lost many
people in her young life so she trusts few, and her love for
Jim has her creating bottle trees.
In the present-day
chapters, Emmy has lost her husband to a different war, the
war in Afghanistan. Loving books and having no direction,
her mother pushes Emmy toward Folly Beach: a place she once
loved. So Emmy finds herself buying a bookstore in Folly,
and in going through the store’s old books she becomes
intrigued with the scribbling on some of the pages. Passages
reveal a man’s writing and a woman’s and a seemingly
clandestine relationship playing out between the two. As
Emmy reads these messages, the related story unfolds in the
I haven’t finished “On Folly Beach” yet. I can
tell you that “Summer’s Child” is a great beach read. But
“On Folly Beach” is simply a great read. This isn’t a book
you just throw back into your beach bag. And I could rush
through it to write this article, but as good as it is, and
as much as I want to know what will happen next, I also
don’t want to leave Folly. I want my visit to last as long
as possible. I’m in a time where women cannot get nylons due
to the war effort and so they draw seams up the backs of
their legs with eyeliner to simulate stockings. And the
losses of sons, brothers, and fathers are as hard to endure
as the grief the women who are left behind have to bear.
Read “On Folly Beach.” You’ll never regret it. Like a
siren, this book will lure you in, and you’ll go willingly.
I have to finish this article now because Maggie and Lulu,
Emmy and Heath are all waiting. And I want to know what is
going to happen next. Lucky me, I didn’t find a beach read
this time, I found a really wonderful read that happens to
take place on a beach.
July 19, 2010
What Should I Read Next?
Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
Summer is a busy time
in our Children’s Room. Over 900 kids have signed up to
“Make a Splash – Read.” They are fishing in our pond,
answering trivia questions, naming giant fish, searching for
hidden fish, guessing the number of seashells, and trying to
solve the Raining Riddles. They are also reading. Many of
these kids, as well as their parents, have stopped at my
desk to ask for suggestions of what book to read next. Here
are a few of the titles that I have mentioned to them.
For beginning readers (ages 5 to 7), I often recommend
the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. We own eleven
titles in this series. With titles like “Can I Play, Too?”
and “I Love My New Toy,” kids can be successful reading
books containing humor and charm. I also suggest the Fancy
Nancy early reader books by Jane O’Connor because Fancy
Nancy is a favorite character of so many young girls. For
Scooby-Doo fans, Gail Herman has written some Scooby-Doo
readers that are entertaining, and the Frog and Toad books
by Arnold Lobel are wonderful classics for beginning
Some older kids (ages 8 to 13) want to know
about the newest books. I point them in the direction of our
“New Books” display. Right now our new nonfiction display
has books for sports fans, like “Ultimate Guide to Baseball;
Facts, Stats, Stars, and Stuff” by James Buckley, Jr.; books
for kids concerned about the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico,
like “Destroying the Oceans” by Sarah Levete; books for
girls who want information about themselves, like
“Head-to-Toe Guide to You” by the creators of Girls’ Life
Magazine; books for the curious kids, like “Does It Really
Take Seven Years to Digest Swallowed Gum? And Other
Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask” by Sandy Donovan;
plus an assortment of other informational books.
the new fiction shelves, kids can find Cathleen Bell’s
“Little Blog on the Prairie,” a story about a girl who
attends a frontier family history camp but keeps in touch
with friends on her cell phone. “The Adventures of Jack
Lime” by James Leck is a new book about a kid who acts as a
private investigator, solving problems for his fellow
students. In “The Best Horse Ever” by Alice LaCroix, Abby
finally gets her own horse but has trouble with her best
friend. Additional new titles are here as well.
Perhaps the most frequent request I get from kids and their
parents is about books in a series. Since there are so many
books for kids written in series these days, I keep a list
at my desk of favorites and also refer to a website that
lists both the series title and the individual book titles.
Just this week, three new titles in their series have
arrived. “Crispin: The End of Time” by Avi is the third in a
trilogy. “Fire in the Sky” is the fifth and last in the
Seekers series by popular author Erin Hunter, who also wrote
the Warriors series. “Fire in the Sky” completes the story
about bears Lusa, Toklo, and Kallik. Tracy Barrett”s “Case
That Time Forgot” is number three in the Sherlock Files
series. This mystery series has interesting characters and
good cases to solve.
Another new title, “The Wimpy
Kid Movie Diary” by Jeff Kinney, is a companion book to the
extremely popular Wimpy Kid series books. Kinney takes
readers behind the scenes of the making of the movie based
on his books. Be prepared to wait in line for this book.
Summer is a great time to read some good books. The
Children’s Room at the library is a great place for kids to
find those books.
July 12, 2010
Celebrate, Advocate, Recreate!
July is Park and Recreation Month. Since
July 1985, the National Recreation and Park Association have
celebrated our parks. This year we are asked to “Celebrate,
Advocate, Recreate!” by reminding our leaders of the
important role parks play in our lives. Parks are a place to
enjoy nature, picnic, exercise, enjoy playgrounds and meet
Here in New Ulm we are privileged to have
a wonderful park system with ball fields, playground
equipment, hiking trails, skating rinks, and picnic
Not only do we have access to city parks,
but the county maintains several parks as well. You can find
out more about Brown County parks by visiting
http://www.co.brown.mn.us/parks/parks.htm. Your library
recently acquired “The Great American Staycation” by Matt
Wixon. He suggests ways to make a vacation at home fun for
all. Check this out for ways to enjoy local parks.
Several state parks are nearby including Flandrau and Fort
Ridgely. Our state parks have an interesting story. Roy
Meyer’s “Everyone’s Country Estate” explores the growth
of Minnesota’s state parks beginning in 1885 when “Minnehaha
State Park” was authorized. Did you know the first park
sticker act was passed in 1953? Meyer tells a great story.
“National Parks America’s Best Idea” by Ken Burns is
available at the library in print and also on DVD. The
photographs are breathtaking! For the armchair traveler your
library has other DVDs on parks including “Denali: Alaska’s
Great Wilderness.” If you enjoy road trips try “National
Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States.” It
includes parks, monuments, and historic sites together with
battlefields, trails, and recreation areas. National
Geographic explores the history, geology, flora and fauna of
these sites. “Frommer’s National Parks of the American West”
gives travel tips for national parks including, fees,
climate, where to stay, tours and exploring the park by car.
Other new books include “Moon Minnesota Camping:
Complete Guide to Tent & RV Camping.” The guide divides the
state into five regions. Maps show the location of
campgrounds. Each campground entry includes details on
campsites, facilities, fees, reservations, contact
information as well as a description of the area. See what
the area has to offer.
Now is the time to get
outside and enjoy the area parks, enjoy a picnic, visit
historic sites, hike the trails, or just sit, relax and
listen to the birds sing.
Young Adult Books Aren’t Just for Teens
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
checked out our young adult section lately? There’s
something for nearly everyone. Suspense? Check. Romance?
Check. Action? Adventure? Check and check. Teen books have
all the appeal factors adults look for in a good book, but
the difference is there is a younger protagonist who usually
is dealing with coming-of-age issues. How can we not relate?
We’ve all been there.
The crossover appeal hit the
big time with the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer. The
love triangle of Bella, Edward and Jacob has resonated with
readers, and the blockbuster movies have added to the
fervor. Readers who have finished that series often look for
other vampire books in the teen section – those with a
little less bite, so to speak, than adult vampire novels.
You might want to move on to the Blue Bloods series by
Melissa de la Cruz, about high-brow vampires who
reincarnate; the Morganville vampire series by Rachel Caine,
about 16-year-old Claire, who goes to college in a town
filled with vampires and vampire hunters; or the House of
Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast, about a girl named
Zoey who is Marked for special gifts by the vampyre goddess
If vampires aren’t your thing, or if you’re
caught up with the myriad vampire series, you might want to
try the following standalone novels. Themes of loss, love
and hope make them great choices for teens and adults.
“If I Stay” by Gayle Forman – Mia is taking a drive with
her brother and parents when everything changes in an
instant. An accident kills Mia’s family, and she is left in
a coma reflecting on her life and deciding whether to stay
“Wintergirls” by Laurie Halse Anderson –
Anderson’s latest book is a disturbingly real look at eating
disorders through the eyes of Lia, who has anorexia. Lia
struggles to make sense of the death of her former best
friend, Cassie, from complications of bulimia, as well as
find the strength to heal herself.
“Along for the
Ride” by Sarah Dessen – Dessen is wildly popular for those
wanting a solid teen romance with family issues thrown in.
This one introduces Auden, who is book smart but doesn’t
have many friends. Auden spends the summer with her father
and stepmother in a beach town. There she bonds with girls
at her stepmother’s clothing store and with fellow insomniac
Eli, a quiet loner working through the guilt caused by his
“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak – A
popular pick for adult book discussion groups, this is one
of those books that will stay with you. Narrated by “Death,”
it’s the story of Liesel, who comes of age in Nazi Germany.
We have all these and more in our young adult section.
Stop by the library and check it out!
June 28, 2010
nuCAT + Library = More Programs for YOU!
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
I’ve had enough
comments to know that many people in New Ulm know about the
close relationship between the New Ulm Community Access
Television office and the New Ulm Public Library. But since
I’m sure just as many don’t, here’s some background. nuCAT
coordinator Dan Anderson and his crew moved into the
Library’s basement in September, 2008, after some two months
of construction. The construction converted some old Library
storage space into a small office and community access
television space, with video editing stations, audio mixers
and much esoteric equipment. The Library’s meeting room,
right next door to the new office, was also fitted with new
lighting and audio connections for video productions.
What this all means is that increasingly video
productions of Library events have been produced in the last
several months for later broadcast on the local community
access channels. These include; author talks, musical
performances, question & answer sessions with local
officials, subject talks by local experts, genealogy
workshops and student presentations. Given the fact that the
Library now has three staffers who have received full nuCAT
training, we hope you’ll be seeing more and more of these
events on the local access channel.
But maybe you
didn’t know that nuCAT is always looking to train more
videographers? A series of three workshops can be taken
without charge that will get you started in video
production. It’s a great opportunity to provide your
community a service while giving yourself a new set of
skills. Personally, I’m most interested in the editing
aspect of video production, but maybe you’re more interested
in camera work? Whatever your video interests, nuCAT can
provide you a base from which to enhance your capabilities.
And once you’ve gotten the training, volunteering to film,
edit or produce a library event is also something you should
consider. Library staff is pretty much fully occupied in
managing library operations, so getting some volunteers to
help out in filming, editing and producing our events would
be a big plus for us. Are you interested?
check out the kinds of productions that nuCAT graduates have
produced? The local community access channels are 3 (on NU
Telecom) and 14 (Comcast). A schedule of the week’s
programming can be found on a link on the City’s Web page
at: http://www.ci.new-ulm.mn.us/. Want more information on
the workshops available through nuCAT? Contact Daniel
Anderson, nuCAT coordinator, at: 359-8290.
remember that the Library is always interested in what your
ideas are for programming. If you’ve ideas for events, or
subjects you’re interested in, contact the Library’s
Assistant Director, Kris Wiley at: 359-8334.
June 21, 2010
What did you say?
Betty J Roiger,
Maybe you’ve heard a variation of this
joke. “A panda walks into the library. He eats a sandwich,
then draws his bow and shoots two arrows. As the panda
starts walking out, the librarian calls after him, “Why did
you do that?” The panda shows her a badly punctuated
dictionary. “I’m a panda,” he says. “That’s what it says we
do.” The librarian reads the page that says, “Panda: Large
black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats,
shoots and leaves.”
Punctuation. What is it for?
Well, it attaches things that need to be connected and
breaks apart things that need to be separated, but misuse it
and it can create hilarious results. It can change the
meaning of a sentence by connecting the wrong things or
breaking apart things that need to be put together. Commas
are the most used and most abused punctuation and when put
in the wrong place or if they are left out, well, you might
just wind up with a “panda” story.
Think about the
sentence “Slow children walking.” Written without a comma,
these children are just lollygagging along, taking their own
sweet time. But at a school intersection, the sign: “Slow,
children walking” would be a great help warning vehicles to
slow down and watch for any kids crossing.
sentence without a comma: “Go get him doctors.” Putting a
comma after him (“Go get him, doctors”) sounds like there is
someone making a mad escape from a hospital with the doctors
frantically trying to give chase. But say someone has fallen
and a passerby yells this sentence as a cry for help, it
needs to look and sound like this: “Go, get him doctors” so
passersby will run and find a doctor.
is an unidentified object on the floor, and a husband asks
his wife, “What is this thing called, honey?” Removing the
comma leaves the sentence as “What is this thing called
honey?” and implies that the substance that bees create is a
complete mystery to the person speaking.
I think you
have caught the gist of comma usage and how important it
really is. In the children’s room we have several books by
Lynne Truss in the 428.2 section. One deals with commas, one
with apostrophes, and the other one with basic punctuation.
They are very funny to read and the pictures are comical,
making learning both enjoyable and easy.
if someone says to you, “Where do you think we’re taking
you? To the dungeon?” you might have a jolly laugh together.
But if she says, “Where do you think? We’re taking you to
the dungeon,” well, if I were you I’d start making tracks in
the opposite direction.
Betty J Roiger,
It seems like there are certain times of
the year that the publishing business really puts out new
books by their best authors. Right now at the beginning of
summer we are having a bonanza to choose from. Maybe their
plan is to give everyone good beach reads, or something to
do after working all day in the garden. In any case, summer
is a boon for readers.
Every June we can expect the
new Janet Evanovich book which will entertain readers with
the new adventures of Stephanie, Morelli, Ranger, Lula and
Grandma Mazur. Our copy isn’t here yet, but I’m expecting it
soon. Call in to place a hold since it isn’t in the catalog
yet. But while you’re waiting…perhaps I can interest you in
some other novels.
Two of my favorite Minnesota
authors have come through again. Brian Freeman just recently
came out with “The Burying Place.” It didn’t disappoint. If
you’ve read Freeman, you already know his characters:
Detectives Stride, Serena, Maggie. As usual, this one takes
place up in northern Minnesota. What is unusual is that
Stride is suffering flashbacks from his fall off of a
bridge, which in turn is affecting his personal relationship
with Serena and also with his partner on the force, Maggie.
But there is no time to sort out his problem. The child of a
wealthy doctor and his wife has gone missing, and in a
parallel mystery, women have been disappearing in the area.
The story plays out, revealing the innermost workings of the
characters to uncover what has happened to the child, who is
stalking women and making them vanish, and where the burying
Also from our own Minnesota is the mother
/ daughter writing team of P.J. Tracy. The first book was
called “Monkeewrench” and introduced readers to an eclectic,
wounded band of computer geniuses (Grace, Harley, Annie,
Roadrunner accompanied by Charlie the dog) who are involved
in solving murders. Enter the cops, Magozzi and Gino, and
you have a motley team of crime solvers. As usual, in “Shoot
to Thrill” the crime involves the Internet and its ability
to move information to millions of users in minutes. Someone
is murdering people and posting the events on the Internet
for the perverse viewing of others. The Monkeewrench crew
can go where law-abiding computer users cannot, and the FBI
enlists its help to try to track these postings so it can
shut them off and also track the murderers down. Some
interesting new characters are introduced in this book. And
as for the romance between Magozzi and Grace, well, I don’t
really know what is going on there and therefore cannot wait
for the next book. One other good thing about P.J. Tracy
books is that the characters do have a sense of humor that
helps to lighten the heavier, more brutal aspects.
If you are looking for some escapism reading, there are some
good books at the library. And keep your eyes open for
upcoming books by Nelson DeMille, Nora Roberts, James
Patterson (the man does not sleep, he publishes so much) and
many more that will be coming out soon. Come in and check us
June 7, 2010
Great Characters Make for Great Books
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
finished “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” the final
book in the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson. First
published in Sweden, the crime series has become an
international sensation, not least because of its female
protagonist. Lisbeth Salander is as unique a character as
you’ll find in fiction – tough, smart, complicated and
One of the benefits of committing to a good
series is that the characters evolve as the reader evolves.
In the best series, the reader develops a relationship with
the characters. Lisbeth became part of my life, and it was a
bittersweet feeling to turn the final page and realize
that’s the last I’ll read of her (Larsson died in 2004).
Lisbeth is one-of-a-kind, but there are other
exceptional fictional characters out there. I’m sure you
have your favorites, so stop by the library and talk series
with us. Or keep reading to learn more about some of my
other favorite people.
Detective Inspector John Rebus
in the series by Ian Rankin. Over the course of 17 novels,
we follow the ebbs and flows of Rebus’s life. It’s mostly
messy, sometimes even cringe-worthy, but Rankin doesn’t pull
any punches. We see the Scottish detective in all his flawed
humanity, through alcoholism, failed relationships and
gruesome murder cases, and is it ever worth the ride.
Frank Bascombe in the trilogy by Richard Ford. “My name
is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter.” So starts “The
Sportswriter,” in which Frank copes with the aftermath of
the death of his oldest son followed by divorce as well as
the dreaminess that has overtaken him as he approaches
middle age. Introspective and beautifully written, “The
Sportswriter” is followed by “Independence Day,” which won a
Pulitzer Prize, and “The Lay of the Land,” where we continue
with Frank on his life journey.
Katniss Everdeen in
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. “The Hunger
Games” is a young adult book that should be required reading
for teens and adults. Sixteen-year-old Katniss lives in a
dystopic North American country called Panem. She volunteers
to take her sister’s place in the Games, a fight to the
death among 24 young people from across the country.
Katniss’s resourcefulness, as well as the help from her
neighbor Peeta, ensures she will be among the last standing.
“Catching Fire” is the second book; “Mockingjay,” the final
book, will be released in August.
May 31, 2010
Make a Splash at the Library This Summer!
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
The Summer Reading Program is about to begin. The Children’s
Room is full of frogs, fish, salamanders, and more
water-loving creatures. There will be lots of splishin’ and
splashin’ and readin’ going on this summer.
We invite all kids from ages 1 to 13 to sign up for this
free program. Brochures explaining the program are available
at the Library, and the information is also included on our
website at www.newulmlibrary.org. Registration begins on
Monday, June 7, when the Friends of the Library will be
handing out frozen fruit bars to all kids who register
before 3:00 P.M. that day. Even parents will receive a treat
this year! Kids who can’t register that day still have
plenty of time to sign up because registration will run
through early July.
The goal of this program is for kids to read for 30 minutes
a day for 25 days between June 7 and August 5. The
pre-readers (AKA read-to-me’s) just need to listen to books
read to them for about 20 minutes a day for 25 days.
Kids should come to the Library and sign up; they will
receive a bookmark that they use to keep track of the days
when they read. Kids earn a prize after reading for five
different days (or listening for the read-to-me’s), and all
who complete the program will be eligible to win 1 of 10
In addition, we have other activities that encourage kids to
be creative and have fun. On Wednesdays and Thursdays at
10:00 A.M., storytimes will entertain kids from ages 3 to 8;
people of all ages who enjoy stories are welcome. There are
four Splish Splash Camps for kids of ages 8 to 13. It’s
raining riddles on our bulletin board, so kids can try to
guess the answers. Everyone will want to enter our Wet &
Wild Kids Photo Show. We also have crossword puzzles, word
finds, and coloring sheets available every day and a special
craft activity set up each week.
We have contests too. Kids can earn points by catching fish
in our pond or by answering questions in our Wet and Wild
Trivia contest. Our Seashell jar is full, and kids can guess
how many seashells are in it. Ten fish will be hiding in the
Children’s Room each week, and kids can try to find them.
Everyone who loves to draw can enter our Super Sea Serpent
Five special events will entertain all interested kids and
their parents. We begin with a Puppy Show and Peter
Bloedel’s Magic/Vaudeville Show in June. July brings the
Underwater Adventures Aquarium from the Mall of America and
Bob the Beachcomber. August features Wendy’s Wiggle, Jiggle
& Jam Program.
For the second year, we are offering some additional rewards
for kids. Through the Dive into Saving for College
Sweepstakes program, all Minnesota kids who participate will
have a chance to win a $1,000 cash-for-college prize and
help their library win $500. New this year are 1,000 instant
win prizes that kids can win just by participating in their
As always, the most important reward of our summer reading
program is that it helps kids maintain or even improve their
reading skills that lay the foundation for school success.
If parents and libraries work together to provide incentives
for reading, kids can be winners. So come to the Library
this summer for some good books and splish splashin’ fun.
May 24, 2010
Weeding Improves Every Garden (and Library)!
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Have you ever thought about how important weeding is to a
garden? If you don’t weed a garden, eventually the weeds
will choke out the plantings, suffocate them or, at the very
least, make them hard to find. Weeding a garden isn’t fun
though, and it’s easy to avoid. I’ve done so many, many
times. I’d rather be playing golf, fishing, writing,
attending a ball game or doing just about anything else than
weeding. Of course, when I get home and look at my garden,
there are those pesky weeds. They absolutely never take care
of themselves. There’s an old saying—“The only sure things
in life are death and taxes.” I would change that maxim
slightly—“The only sure things in life are death, taxes and
I bet you’re saying to yourself—“What does gardening have to
do with the New Ulm Library?” It’s probably something the
public never thinks about, but weeding our library’s
collection has a lot to do with how good the collection is.
Most people might guess that the more materials we have on
our shelves, the better our collection is. Well, if we were
an archives that might be true. I have my own personal
archival collection on Abraham Lincoln. My collection has a
narrow focus, much more so than the public library. I am
collecting items on Lincoln’s life with an eye toward
keeping them. While I may weed my Lincoln collection
occasionally because of an item’s condition, or because it
is a duplicate, it is not something I generally do a lot. I
add items slowly to my Lincoln collection, and I remove them
even more slowly.
Our public library collection is quite different. We collect
in many subject areas, in many different formats and in many
different genres. Our goal is to collect things our public
wants to read now, to collect items that entertain or
educate, to collect items to serve the varied needs of our
public and to be constantly turning over our collection,
making it serve the needs of our public. “Turning over” our
collection means weeding it. It means reclaiming shelf space
for new items, for new subjects, or for new books about old
Our library’s collection statistics show that we finished
2009 with 93,177 items to serve our New Ulm community of
13,568 people. While a laudable number, I believe our seven
items per capita also reflects the need to weed our
collection more vigorously. For example, I was shelving some
returned books this morning and noticed a copy of Theodore
Sorensen’s Kennedy (c)1965 on the shelf. While a fine book—I
read it myself many years ago—after 45 years on our shelves,
it’s probably long overdue for withdrawal because of its
condition and long diminished popularity.
As with our personal gardens though, it’s always easy to
find something else besides weeding that needs to be done.
Weeding is not a top priority in most libraries, not because
of a sense that it’s unimportant, but because weeding books
can be a long, slow and laborious process.
You may notice some emptier shelves in the weeks and months
to come. That’s because we’re recommitting to weeding here
at the New Ulm Library. But we’re going about it
professionally, weeding for appropriate reasons, reasons
that make the process a long, slow and laborious one. The
good news is that, by weeding, we reclaim space for new
materials or new services that better reflect the needs of
our community. Our Library “garden” is going to be more
beautiful as our weeding gets completed.
May 17, 2010
Teens: Make Waves at Your Library This Summer
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
Teens, make waves at the New Ulm Public Library by
participating in the Summer Reading Program!
The teen program, whose theme is Make Waves at Your Library,
runs from June 7 through Aug. 5. Young adults ages 13-18,
and 12-year-olds who will turn 13 this summer, are eligible.
On June 7, teens who register before 3 p.m. will receive a
voucher for a treat provided by Friends of the New Ulm
Public Library. Registration continues through July 9.
Teens who sign up should complete a review form for each
book read during the summer; review forms will be available
in the young adult section of the library. Drop the review
form in the box located at the first-floor reference desk.
At the end of the summer, winners will be selected randomly
to receive great prizes.
There also will be four games to play during the summer. The
games, including a word find and trivia, will be located in
the young adult area. Complete the game, fill out your
contact information, and drop off the paper at the reference
desk. The person with the highest score will win; in the
case of a tie, the winner will be selected randomly. Prizes
include DVDs, a card game and a board game.
Mark your calendars for great programs in conjunction with
the Summer Reading Program. On June 19 from 2-4 p.m., Family
Video is partnering with us for Teen Game Day at the
Library. Family Video will bring its Wii and games, and we
also will have board and card games. On June 22 at 3 p.m.,
Peter Bloedel’s Perpetual Vaudeville Show is an all-ages
program that will take place at the New Ulm Community
Center. On July 7 from 2-4 p.m., it’s Teen Craft Time. On
July 21 at 4 p.m., we’ll have a movie presentation just for
The Summer Reading Program, with its special events and
prizes, really is an incentive to read. And for those of you
who enjoy sharing your love of reading, we’ll have All About
Books book talks June 21 and Aug. 2 at 3 p.m.
There’s something for every teen this summer at the library.
Read; write reviews to be eligible for prizes; attend
special events – and have fun!
May 10, 2010
May is Older Americans Month
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference
I received an email the other day giving me information on
May being Older Americans Month. This tradition was begun
back in 1963 to honor the contributions of older Americans
and to give them support as they enter the next stage in
their lives. The theme this year is Age Strong! Live Long!
Older Americans are living longer and are more active than
ever before. They have lived through wars, hard times, as
well as times of prosperity. They have seen new technologies
in medicine, communications, and industry. Minorities,
women, and disabled Americans have all won equal rights
during their lifetimes. And the baby boomer generation—the
largest in our nation’s history—is expected to number 71.5
million by 2030.
Keeping the growing population of older Americans healthy
and active is going to increase the demand for senior
services. Older Americans are supporting each other by
becoming better educated and more financially secure than
their predecessors. They are also contributing more to their
communities through civic and volunteering opportunities.
Older Americans are volunteering more at group meal sites
and delivering food to homebound seniors; they provide
transportation for older adults who cannot drive; they help
seniors with home repairs, shopping and errands; and they
also provide counseling, information, and referral services.
By giving of their energy and commitment, it reminds all
Americans—not just senior citizens and their caregivers—to
do their part to enhance the quality of life for older
And don’t forget your local library. Just recently, we
purchased a series of read-aloud, large-print books for
memory-challenged adults. These books are written by Lydia
Burdick and are entitled “The Sunshine on My Face,” “Wishing
on a Star,” and “Happy New Year to You!.” The books are very
colorful, have few words, and there are questions in the
back to help you share these books with your loved ones. If
your loved one(s) can no longer read for themselves, the
pictures are worth sharing with them.
So remember, May is Older Americans month and enjoy some
extra special time with your Older Americans.
May 3, 2010
Calling All Musicians!
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
Mark your calendars! Thursday May 20 at 6 pm, Nashville
insider Gabriel Farago will be at the New Ulm Public
Library. The author of “Secrets to Success in Country Music”
will present a workshop to assist aspiring musicians.
Gabriel's interactive seminar is applicable to all genres.
Bring a vocal demo (on CD, DVD, or cassette) for an on-site
The music industry has seen a lot of changes, especially in
technology. Harvard Business School’s Anita Elberse has
studied sales of two hundred plus recording artists. She
found iTunes at $.99 are causing quite a change in sales.
Consumers are buying more music than ever, but are selecting
individual songs rather than entire albums. According to an
article in the Harvard Business Review March 2010, a 1%
increase in download music resulted in a decrease of 6% in
album sales. This article and many more about the music
business are available through ELM, Electronic Library for
Minnesota. Titles found in ELM include Billboard, Music
Week, American Music Teacher, Electronic Musician, Folk
Music Journal, Guitar Player, and Music Trades to name a
Your public library has some new books of interest to
musicians. “Secrets to Success in Country Music” by Gabriel
Farago. The author discusses everything from the basics to
investors and image to managers and Nashville. Budding
musicians will find useful advice in this book. “Music Law
How to Run Your Band’s Business,” published by NOLO is an
essential guide to partnership and performance agreements.
Publishing your music and legal issues regarding recording
are also covered. “Complete Guitar Course” edited by Sorcha
Armstrong is a step-by-step guide including an instructional
DVD. The “Music Business Made Simple” by J.S. Rudenske is a
guide to becoming a recording artist. Chapters cover being
an artist first, a formula for performing, entertainment
attorneys and managers, and finally getting a record deal.
There are several websites every songwriter and musician
should be aware of. The American Society of Composers,
Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) represent more than 380,000
members and is a leading performing rights organization. For
more information go to
www.ascap.com . Copyright Registration of Music Circular
50 is available from the U.S. Copyright Office. It can be
www.copyright.gov/circs/circ50.pdf . Broadcast Music
Incorporated (BMI) collects license fees and distributes
them as royalties to members whose works have been
performed. They represent over 400,000 songwriters,
composers and music publishers. This organization can be
found at www.bmi.com .
These materials and more are available through your public
library. Remember to mark your calendars for the
presentation by Gabriel Farago on May 20 at the New Ulm
April 26, 2010
Library Budget Challenges
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
As many individual Americans & their families cope with
tough economic times, so too is the New Ulm Public Library
being impacted by factors beyond our control. With the state
cuts in Local Government Aid, there are consequent cuts
being made throughout Minnesota in public libraries run by
our cities and counties. In 2009, the New Ulm Public Library
cut its budget 3.6%. In 2010, our budget is being cut an
additional 5%. That’s a very consequential reduction of
$65,396 in two years.
You might remember the “trickle-down” theory of economics?
Briefly, that meant making things better for business and/or
those on top of the economic heap, would result in the good
times trickling down to the masses, that is, the rest of us.
That was the theory anyway. Well, “trickle-down” seems to
work in reverse as well. Since these days times are
economically bad for many states, the bad times are now
trickling down into the services our cities and towns
provide to their communities. In Minnesota and other states
(along with other city and county agencies) public libraries
are being hard hit by budget cuts and reductions.
At New Ulm Public Library, our current plan to survive the
5% overall cut in our budget, or $37,396, includes the
following measures: four mandatory staff furlough days with
the library being closed on those days, all materials
expenditures are being cut 11%, magazine subscriptions cut
14%, computer supplies & equipment cut 20%, interior
renovation cut 32% and office equipment and furniture
replacements cut 45%. We have even reduced our maintenance
staff budgeting by 40%. While these are all serious cuts
affecting our services, other libraries in the state and in
our region are suffering even worse cuts of 40-50% in
materials, mandatory staff furloughs of up to two weeks and
even permanent building closures.
Ironically, studies have shown that people use their
libraries more when economic times are hard, but that
doesn’t mean that libraries across Minnesota and, for that
matter, across the country, are immune from cuts. We’re not.
Here in New Ulm we are doing our best to minimize the impact
of our library budget cuts on the New Ulm community. For
example, our four days of closure are being selected to
minimize the impact on users (choosing less busy days), our
programming is being enhanced through the use of grants and
we are foregoing the replacement of furniture and equipment
I’m happy to report that the one program not being cut is
the 2010 Summer Reading Program. Indeed, it may be the best
program ever thanks to an appropriation from our Donations &
Memorials Fund by the Library Board, a generous contribution
from the Friends of the New Ulm Library as well as donations
from the Jaycees and the Shriner’s Club. And an especially
huge thank you goes to an anonymous family which provided
$1,000 toward the program’s $3,300 total budget!
I know we’ll make it through this tough year and that we all
look forward to better times coming. We hope you’ll bear
with us as we try to do more with less during these tough
days of 2010.
April 19, 2010
A Gift That Keeps Giving
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
In March I was given $500 from the Friends of the Library to
purchase some adult fiction. Let me tell you how this money
helps build our collection and gives to the community in
This money enabled me to purchase 29 regular print fiction
titles and seven large print titles for the library. But
adult fiction wasn’t the only area impacted by the Friends
gift. I also was able to apply my budget toward purchases in
other areas and bought 17 fiction and nonfiction talking
books on CD and 12 new DVD titles.
Let me tell you about some of the things I purchased with
this gift. “Never Look Away” by Linwood Barclay is a novel
about a man who unintentionally enters a nightmare. A
would-be family outing turns into just that when David
Harwood takes his son and wife to a local amusement park.
When his son, Ethan, goes missing, he starts looking for
Ethan while his wife runs to find security and then she,
too, disappears. I have to tell you I just finished this. If
you enjoy a story that pulls you in and keeps you wanting to
read just a few pages more, this one is great. There are
twists and turns, suspicions, lies, well-rounded characters,
and a good story to support them. Prepare to stay up late
reading this one.
Another novel called “Matterhorn” by Karl Marlantes is a
story 30 years in the making. It is about the war on the
front lines of 1969 Vietnam. But the reviews say that the
author doesn’t just introduce you to Vietnam, but rather
drops you into the jungle, disoriented with only a green
lieutenant as your guide. It is said to be intense,
authentic, moving and relentlessly dramatic.
“Barbary Pirates” by William Dietrich takes our hero, Ethan
Gage (think Indiana Jones), around the world in search of a
priceless artifact, the Mirror of Archimedes. If the mirror
actually exists, it would enable its possessor to conquer
the world. In his search, Gage is just trying to stay a step
ahead of nasty pirates who want the mirror for themselves.
The author includes real characters and historical events,
blending fact and fiction into the action-adventure.
Since I diversified my materials budget to buy audiovisual
materials, I was able to get these titles on talking book
CDs: “American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies and More Dirty Lies
that the Government Tells Us” by Jesse Ventura, “Spark: The
28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight,” and “UR” by
Stephen King (which is available only in Kindle and talking
book,) plus many others. Also new to the library are DVDs
like “The Blind Side,” “Up in the Air,” “Food, Inc.,” and
“Precious,” which are already in demand.
Thanks to the membership fees and fund raising of the
Friends of the Library our collection is growing in several
areas and enabling us to meet the expectations of our
patrons. So come in and check something out.
April 12, 2010
Celebrate National Library Week
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
This week we celebrate National Library Week, a time to
recognize and honor the contribution libraries and library
workers make to our communities every day.
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is an
observance sponsored by the American Library Association
(ALA) and libraries across the country each April. This
year’s theme is Communities Thrive @ Your Library.
In today’s tough economy, libraries offer free resources to
help people find jobs and learn new skills. People of all
ages and backgrounds find entertainment, develop skills and
come to find their place in the community. People gather for
book discussions, for storytime with their children or to
volunteer or look for volunteer work. New Ulm Public Library
helps the community thrive.
What makes the library unique is access to trained
professionals to help people find and interpret the
information they need to make a difference in their lives.
Our libraries also help keep us connected, providing a space
for people of all ages, classes and races to come together,
while keeping us connected to events and people around the
On Tuesday, April 12 we recognized our staff on National
Library Workers’ Day. New Ulm Public Library is privileged
to have a dedicated and hard-working team, and one day isn’t
sufficient to thank them for their service. Our children’s
staff develops programs and a vast collection of resources,
and year in and year out it produces a fantastic Summer
Reading Program. Our reference staff constantly blows me
away with its vast knowledge of topics obvious and obscure.
Our tech staff works diligently behind the scenes to ensure
the materials you use are processed efficiently and
effectively. And our circulation staff is on the front
lines, greeting you, ensuring you get your questions
answered and making sure you have a great experience.
New Ulm Public Library has a wealth of knowledge among our
staff and materials on our shelves from which to choose. And
don’t forget our programs. Children’s storytimes continue
through April, and special programs are held several times a
month. See a full schedule on our Web site at
www.newulmlibrary.org, or call the library at 359-8334 for a
list of events.
How can New Ulm Public Library help you thrive? National
Library Week is the perfect time to find out.
(Some material courtesy of www.ala.org.)
April 5, 2010
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
March was International Mirth Month. I hope you laughed a
few times last month because it is good for you. I was just
reading in a magazine about how relaxing and revitalizing
laughter is for our bodies and minds. Norman Cousins, the
author of “Head First: The Biology of Hope,” found that when
he watched a couple of hours of a Marx Brothers movie and
laughed out loud, he had several pain free hours from
inflammatory arthritis. Cousins wrote a book about it and
began a movement to study how our minds affect our bodies.
(So a penguin, a giraffe, and a polar bear walk into a bar
and the bartender says: “What is this? Some kind of a
Anyway, this magazine article mentioned a test they did.
They had people hold pencils between their teeth, which
actually forces a smile with a person’s facial muscles,
while another group of people put the pencil between their
lips, pursing them in a frown. The ones who were forced to
smile with their teeth showing reacted happier to various
situations than the people whose lips were puckered in a
frown. (A duck walks into a hardware store and says, “You
got any raisins?” The man explains that it is a hardware
store and they don’t sell food. The duck leaves. The next
day, the duck walks in again and says, “You got any
raisins?” and the man, frustrated, says, “No, we don’t, we
sell nails and hammers.” The duck leaves. The next day, the
duck appears and when he asks for raisins, the man loses it
and says: “No, we don’t have raisins and if you come in here
and ask again, I will nail your feet to the floor!” The duck
leaves. Next day, the duck walks in and asks the man, “Do
you have any nails?” The man is greatly relieved and says,
“Ironically, we are all out of nails, but expect them any
day now.” And the duck says, “Great, you got any raisins?”)
(By the way, ducks really talk like this.)
There are now countries that are having designated laughter
events where people all laugh, because not only is it good
for you, it also seems to be contagious. Have you ever been
somewhere, where maybe it was not exactly appropriate to
laugh, and someone started to laugh, and you caught it? Once
a friend and I were at a lecture about the migration of
Native Americans. The lecturer used a statement like: “So
they packed up their homes, and the Winnebagos followed
along behind.” Ironically, my friend and I both had the same
instant image in our heads of very large, cumbersome, mobile
homes following along behind the Indians, and we got the
giggles. We tried to stifle them. As we were just getting a
grip, the speaker mentioned the Winnebagos sneaking up
behind someone and then we were off again. I have to say, we
were stared at, and possibly shunned, but I couldn’t stop
laughing and I really tried. And today, years later, I STILL
think it was funny. Laughter is contagious.
(A three-legged dog limps into a saloon and says, “I’m
lookin’ for the man who shot my Paw.”) Wait for it, it’ll
come. (Two men walked into a bar, the third one ducked.)
Enjoy some laughs, and if you want to learn more about the
mind-body connection check out authors Andrew Weil, Wayne
Dyer or Joan Borysenko, just to name a few.
March 29, 2010
New Non-Fiction Books
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference
This month we are highlighting a few of the new non-fiction
books that have been purchased recently for the New Ulm
Public Library. It was hard to pick out just a few—there are
so many good ones.
How about a late winter vacation or starting to plan your
summer getaway? New touring books include Alaskan cruises,
Cancun, Cozumel, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Washington D.C.,
and Walt Disney World. If you don’t want to leave Minnesota,
we have a new book for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and a
book entitled “61 Gems on Highway 61” written by Kathryn and
William Mayo guiding you around Minnesota’s North Shore.
Some books are not meant to be read, they are to be looked
at for a short time, put aside for a while, and then come
back another time to continue looking at it. Many times
these books are referred to as coffee table books. They tend
to be large volumes and have many wonderful pictures in
them. One such volume is entitled “Michelangelo—The Complete
Sculpture, Painting, Architecture” by William E. Wallace.
Included in the book are photographs of his works, his
sculpture, and his architecture.
Another coffee table book is entitled “The Football Book”
from Sports Illustrated. This is an expanded edition and
every football fan will enjoy browsing and reading this
book. Present day players and older players are highlighted
and the articles are short and easy to read.
The last coffee table book is entitled “The National Parks:
America’s Best Idea” by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns. All the
parks from the establishment of Yellowstone in 1872 to
Congaree in 2003 are highlighted in this book. Ken Burns
does a wonderful job with the photography in this book.
Nevada Barr worked seasonal jobs in several national parks
in the middle of her career in the theater. She has written
a series of novels about a female park ranger working in a
different national park when a mysterious murder takes place
and needs solving. We have many of her books at the New Ulm
Public Library in the fiction area.
And talking about authors, Debbie Macomber fans take note.
We have her cookbook entitled “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove
Cookbook” now on the shelf. She has included recipes for
breakfast, lunch tea, appetizers, dinner, dessert, Easter,
Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many of the
recipes have pictures accompanying them which make you want
to rush out to the kitchen and whip them up.
These are just a few of the many new non-fiction books at
the New Ulm Public Library. Stop in and pick out a few that
are of interest to you.
March 22, 2010
Have a Listen to Audiobooks
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
I’m planning to visit friends in Iowa this weekend. Ten
hours round trip in the car – alone. Doesn’t sound like much
fun, does it? Actually, I’m looking forward to it because
I’ll be listening to a book.
Audiobooks provide an entirely different experience from
reading. Instead of having to create an image from scratch,
there is a voice to go by. Plus, you can listen to the book
when you drive, walk or clean. That doesn’t work with a
physical book. But not every great book translates into a
great audiobook. It all hinges on the narrator. Can he or
she or they make you feel as though you’re part of the
story? The best ones accomplish this, just as a great writer
Audiobooks come in all kinds of formats, including MP3, iPod,
compact disc and cassette. A handful of libraries in our
regional system even have Playaway, which is a preloaded
audio player about the size of an iPod that runs on
batteries. Plug in your headphones, and you’re ready to
listen. New Ulm Public Library has audiobooks in cassette
and CD formats, and we cover every age range. Ask a staff
member for assistance or browse through our collection.
If you’re looking for recommendations, try www.audiopub.org,
which sponsors the Audie Awards to honor the best in audio
publishing. Or give the following audiobooks a listen.
“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. I read the book first and
loved it. Then my book group picked it to discuss, and I
thought I would try the audio version. Wow. The cast of
narrators navigates the Southern dialect masterfully. It
felt as though I was living in Mississippi in 1962.
“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. A book
narrated by a dog was not on my priority list. Then a friend
told me how great it was. Another trip to Iowa brought the
opportunity to listen to this one, and was it ever worth it.
A single narrator (Christopher Evan Welch, who narrated the
movie “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) makes Enzo and Denny, his
human owner, come alive. A word of caution: If you’re
driving while listening to the end of the story, you might
want to pull over to the side of the road. Tears are pretty
“Dairy Queen” by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. This
coming-of-age novel introduces us to D.J. Schwenk, who lives
on a dairy farm and tries out for the high school football
team. Narrator Natalie Moore gets the tone of this painfully
funny book just right.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The Jim
Dale-narrated version is must-listen. Dale, who won a Grammy
Award for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” keeps the
action moving, and his British accent is fantastic. His
ability to shift among a multitude of characters is amazing.
The big question is, what will I take with me this weekend?
My pick: “Half Broke Horses” narrated by the author,
Jeannette Walls, who will speak at Martin Luther College on
June 10 at 7 p.m. as part of the Traverse des Sioux Library
System’s Storytellers series.
March 15, 2010
Books of Influence
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
Words are powerful. Collections of words in a book are more
compelling. Jay Parini has compiled a list of thirteen books
that he believes changed America. In “Promised Land” he
discussed books that shaped America’s concept of self.
Parini begins with William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth
Plantation” written between 1620 and 1647.
“The Federalist Papers” is a collection of essays in favor
of the proposed Constitution of the United States. Alexander
Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay wrote the majority of
these essays, which first appeared in New York newspapers.
These essays were instrumental in the formation of our
“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau is another book that has
greatly influenced America. Parini says, “Henry David
Thoreau defines American independence. He moved from the
Concord village to the nearby woods at Walden Pond on July
4, 1845, declaring his own liberation from a world of
material obsession, war, and slavery, as well as ordinary
pettiness and spiritual lassitude.” I remember reading
Walden in school, but think now might be a good time to read
it again with the insight of years.
Other titles listed in “Promised Land” include “Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn,” “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “How to Win
Friends and Influence People,” and “The Feminine Mystique.”
Our favorite writers have been influenced by their favorite
books. In “For the Love of Books” by Ronald Schwartz, 115
authors reflect on the books they love most. Former Poet
Laureate Rita Dove remembers a children’s book, “Harold and
the Purple Crayon.” She says this book was special for her “
because it showed me the possibilities of traveling on the
line of one’s imagination.”
Norman Mailer’s list of influential books includes “Anna
Karenina” by Tolstoy and “Look Homeward, Angel” by Thomas
Wolfe. William Manchester, a celebrated historian, lists
“Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain; “A Passage to India” by
E.M. Forster and “Time and Again” by Jack Finney as some of
his favorite books.
Visit the library for these and other books of interest.
March 8, 2010
by Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
We have a new collection in the Children’s Room. It’s called
the Parenting Shelf and includes adult books that might
interest parents of preschoolers. You can find this
collection on one end of the shelves housing the nonfiction
picture books. It’s right next to our Caldecott Corner shelf
that features award-winning books.
Since busy parents of preschoolers might not have time to
get up to the Reference floor, we moved several books from
that collection over to the Children’s Room and have added a
few new titles as well. Already a few parents have expressed
appreciation for having easier access to these materials,
and possibly others will too.
The books in this collection provide a range of advice for
parents. From baby food to potty training to bedtime issues,
parents often feel that they could use a little help in
figuring out what to do. Books here also can teach parents
skills such as baby sign language and or how to play with a
child while stimulating imagination and expanding
I will shine the spotlight on just a few titles to provide
some idea of what parents could find on this shelf. “Calming
Your Fussy Baby” by pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton gives
step-by-step advice on topics from newborn crying to
toddlers’ tantrums. In fewer than 90 pages, parents can
learn a lot.
Michael Cohen, M.D., has written “The New Basics; A-to-Z
Baby and Child Care.” The A-to-Z format allows parents to
quickly find advice on a wide variety of topics. Dr. Cohen
says that his book will help parents know “when to worry,
when not to worry, what to do, and what not to do.” His
intent is to help parents relax.
“Just Two More Bites! Helping Picky Eaters Say Yes to Food”
by Linda Piette offers help to parents frustrated with their
child’s eating habits. The chapter entitled “Mealtime Do’s
and Don’ts” helps solve those day-to-day struggles.
Some of the books available here are those that local ECFE
instructors feature in their classes and that they recommend
to their students. “Love and Logic” and “1, 2, 3 Magic” are
two popular titles ready for checkout.
This Parenting Shelf collection is rather small right now,
but we hope to enlarge it as we find additional titles that
offer assistance to parents of young children. If you are
looking for this shelf and can’t find it, please ask at the
Children’s desk. The reward could be happier parents as well
as a happier child.
March 1, 2010
Plug In to Energy Conservation
by Mary Schroeder, Youth Energy Summit Team Member
and Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
Soon you will be able to use your local library in a unique
way to help the environment and save money through energy
conservation. In partnership with the grades 10-12 Youth
Energy Summit team from New Ulm High School, appliance and
home energy meters will be available for checkout.
To launch this initiative, the YES! team will be host to a
program titled YES! We Need to Conserve on March 9 at 7 p.m.
at New Ulm Public Library. The YES! team will speak briefly
about climate change and the importance of conserving
energy. New Ulm Public Utilities Commission Engineer Pat
Wrase will discuss where energy in New Ulm and the
surrounding area comes from.
The YES! team then will teach attendants how to use the
energy meters, which were funded through a grant from the
New Ulm PUC. Two types of meters will be available at the
library. The individual appliance meter identifies which
appliances are costing the most money and, as a result,
using the most energy; the owner then can decide to dispose
of those appliances or reduce how much they are used. The
home meter shows how much energy an entire home uses. Try
turning on the heat, air conditioning, washer, dryer or
shower when the meter is in use and compare the energy being
used to when those items are turned off.
Four home and 24 appliance meters will be available for
two-week checkout immediately following the program and
thereafter by asking at the circulation desk. You also can
place a hold on a meter using the library’s online catalog
or making a request to the reference staff at 359-8335. Each
meter will be packaged in a plastic case. Written directions
will be included, and a phone number and E-mail address will
be listed to assist with troubleshooting. Library staff will
be unable to answer questions about the use of the meters.
The YES! team is a group of students dedicated to promoting
energy conservation and renewable energy sources in its
school and community. The 10th-12th-grade YES! group is
planning to have a booth on Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
at the New Ulm Home & Self-Improvement Show on March 26-28
at the New Ulm Civic Center and teach elementary school
students about saving energy. The 8th-9th-grade team, which
works closely with New Ulm’s Putting Green, is working on
composting biodegradable waste from school lunches one day a
The library is delighted to combine our energy with these
students’ in order to help you save yours.
February 22, 2010
Are You Tired of Winter?
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
With March fast approaching, we’re getting towards the end
of winter, and that’s the hardest part for me. While I know
that it will be soon be over, I’ve been cold for so long,
I’m becoming impatient. I want to see something green,
something yellow, maybe even something red. I’m tired of the
grays, whites and blacks of winter. I want to be warm. I
want to hit something! I want to go golfing!
My son has been hitting golf balls in our living room for
months. I’m lucky he doesn’t lift weights. The floor might
now be in the basement. As it is, there’s a growing
indentation in the rug. It’s a hard situation for me. I want
to encourage his practicing, but I don’t want to have to
replace the rug.
I’ve told him about some great books to read that will keep
him busy until the season starts. Here they are:
Fore! Play: the Last American Male Takes Up Golf by
William Geist. The journalist and humorist laughs his way
through the sport in a way that will be enjoyable to any
golfer. Geist’s humorous approach to the game seeks to find
out what’s behind the country’s growing obsession with
hitting golf balls. What, me, obsessed?!
Amen Corner by Rick Shefchik. This is a fiction
title, but how can you not love this description—“The body
of the Masters rules committee chairman is found floating in
the pond in front of the 12th green on the morning that Sam
Skarda, a 37-year-old police detective from Minneapolis,
arrives at Augusta National Golf Club to play in his first
Masters.” Author Shefchik is a resident of Stillwater,
Minnesota who must have gotten mighty tired of winter in
2005 when this was written, but he did us a favor. This may
help you through the winter of 2010.
Merry Wives of Maggody by Joan Hess. A mystery
fiction title that combines my two favorite sports, golf and
bass fishing. “On the opening day of the first Maggody
Charity Golf Tournament, poor braggart Tommy Ridner, excited
to have won the hole-in-one prize, a $40,000 bass boat,
turns up dead in the prize boat, his head bashed in by a
golf club.” Surely a tragic ending for poor Tommy, but I
think the important question is, who winds up with the bass
Fearless Golf: Conquering the Mental Game by Dr. Gio
Valiante. Most of the library’s golf books are about
technique. I ordered this one recently since it’s all about
what's inside your head. For me, that’s the hard part about
golf, what’s inside my head! You know what I mean. Those
thoughts as you stand over a four-foot putt like—“You don’t
really think you’re going to make this, do you? Really?”
Like I said, I told my son about these books, but sadly, he
wasn’t impressed. I can still hear the thump, thump, thump
in the living room as he practices with his 60 degree wedge.
I guess I’ll just have to replace my carpeting with
February 15, 2010
Join the (Book) Club
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
I've been a voracious reader for a long time, but it wasn't
until two years ago that I joined a book group. I had all
kinds of reasons for not joining: The Oprah book club craze
didn't spark my interest; reading was a solitary activity,
my alone time; I was an English major and already had been
forced to talk about books. But my roommate at the time was
persistent. She said it would be a great way for a few book
lovers to connect, and she was right. We talk about books,
we talk about our lives, and we share a love for the written
word. I've made a connection with some of those women, one
so strong that even though I live nearly 300 miles away from
them, I still make it back for a discussion once in a while.
Book discussion groups are alive and well in the New Ulm
community, too. You check out the book club bags we have on
our library shelves. You place holds to create your own book
club bags. Some New Ulm Public Library staffers are members
of your groups.
It has been awhile since the library has been directly
involved in an adult book discussion group, and we’re
changing that now. Our first adult book discussion meeting
is scheduled for April 5 at 7 p.m. in the fiction area of
the library. We'll talk about “Sweeping Up Glass,” a debut
novel by Carolyn Wall set in Depression-era Kentucky. If
you're a reader of this column, you'll remember that
Acquisitions Librarian Betty Roiger and I praised the book.
But you don't have to love the book to join in the
discussion. In fact, some of the best conversations come
from exchanging differing viewpoints. Everyone is welcome.
I'll have 10 copies of the book, including one large print,
set aside. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 359-8334
to request a copy. I'll take down your name and number, and
the book will be yours until the night of the discussion.
There also are copies available through the Traverse des
Sioux Library System catalog, and you can place a hold so a
copy is routed directly to you.
While I have the attention of book clubbers, Betty Roiger is
seeking suggestions for new book club bags. Have you read
something you just know will generate a great discussion? Is
there a book that has flown under the radar and deserves a
closer look? We’re also interested in hearing about the book
clubs around the area. Do you have a name? What are you
reading? Stop by the library or call 359-8331 to fill us in.
As an aside, NUPL has an ongoing teen book discussion group.
One month we read “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury; another
month we talked about the books we read over the holidays.
For our meeting March 3 at 3:30 p.m., we're reading any book
by Irish author Darren Shan, who has penned the Cirque du
Freak and Demonata series for young adults.
See you at the library!
February 8, 2010
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
We think of New York City as a publishing center. Did you
know Minnesota has many small press/independent publishers?
This March we celebrate the fourteenth annual Small Press
Small publishing houses have several advantages for a new
author including personal attention and promotion of each
title published. Independent publishers offer a broad range
of literary voices from poetry and history to regional
fiction. Small presses introduce us to new and diverse
writers. The 2009 Small Press Month poster quotes author
Sherman Alexia: “The small presses represent what is most
brave, crazy and beautiful about our country and our
Successful Minnesota small presses include Loonfeather Press
of Bemidji whose authors have won the Minnesota Book Award.
Milkweed Editions of Minneapolis, Holy Cow! Press of Duluth,
Graywolf Press of St. Paul and Meadowbrook Press of
Deephaven are just some of Minnesota’s publishers.
This month the Reference display features books from
Minnesota’s small presses. Coffee House Press in Minneapolis
published “Minnesota State Fair” by Kathryn Strand Koutsky
and Linda Koutsky. This richly illustrated history of the
State Fair is a unique collection of photos and trivia. The
first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859; admission was
25 cents. The Coffee House Press slogan is simply “Good
books are brewing at coffeehousepress.org.” Catherine
Watson’s “Roads Less Traveled” is published by Syren Book
Company of Minneapolis. Minnesota Heritage Publishing of
Mankato was started by Julie Schraeder to aid authors in
self-publishing. “Feisty Lydia: Memoirs of a German War
Bride” by Edna Thayer is one of their recent publications.
Milkweed Editions is one of the largest independent
publishers in the country. Their mission is to make “a
humane impact on society, in the belief that good writing
can transform the human heart and spirit.” Milkweed Editions
publishes literature for middle school students, adult
fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Titles include “Willow Room,
Green Door” in which author Deborah Keenan expresses her
curiosity about the world in poems. Bill Holm’s “The Window
of Bremnes” is the story of his home in Iceland. “Stories
from Where We Live: The Great lakes” edited by Sara St.
Antoine is a delightful read expressing a love of nature.
Minnesota has many interesting authors. Stop by your library
and read the unique voices of Minnesota.
February 1, 2010
Short and Sweet
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
I love books and writing and authors. Who knew, right?
Writing fascinates me. At one time or another as a lover of
books I think: hey, maybe I could write a book. And then I
think: that really would be very difficult.
Some authors write detailed descriptions of clothes and
settings. Some do major historical research. J.R.R. Tolkien,
for example, devoted long passages to the incredible and
difficult journey the Hobbits had to make in “The Lord of
the Rings” that went on for pages and pages. Though I loved
that series, I have to admit, even I was tired after reading
about one of those expeditions. One of my favorite authors
is George R.R. Martin who writes 900+ page tomes. He devotes
alternating chapters to different characters to change up
What I am trying to say is that words and the way someone
weaves them together can be diverse and magical. I don’t
just read long books and series; I try to read many genres.
So I am also a fan of “The World’s Shortest Stories.” Talk
about difficult writing. These writers synthesize complete
stories into 55 words or less. Here are two examples.
“Bedtime Story” by Jeffrey Whitmore
“Careful, honey, it’s loaded,” he said, re-entering the
Her back rested against the headboard. “This for your wife?”
“No. Too chancy. I’m hiring a professional.”
“How about me?”
He smirked. “Cute. But who’d be dumb enough to hire a lady
She wet her lips, sighting along the barrel. “Your wife.”
“Out of the Fog” by Curt Homan
Lyn clutched her purse as footsteps approached along the fog
shrouded lane. Emily, a fellow prostitute, emerged.
“Any business?” asked Lyn.
Emily shrugged. “Some. And you?”
“Not yet, tonight.”
“’Tis slow because of The Ripper,” Emily sighed. “Seems
everyone’s afraid of Jack.”
“Actually, the full name’s Jacquelyn,’” Lyn said, pulling
the knife from her purse.
I love short stories in that they can encompass an entire
narrative. They make you think; they take you somewhere even
though they aren’t full-length books. And I applaud the fact
that someone wrote, pared down, and cut, thought about it,
and cut again to make these stories into what I like to
think is sudden fiction. These stories are perfect to read
when you don’t have a lot of time to spare.
Here at the library we have a lot of diverse things to read
and enjoy. Come in, browse, and check something out.
January 25, 2010
The Winners Are . . .
by Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
The excitement of winning is all around us these days. From
the Super Bowl to the Academy Awards, there seems to be
something of interest for everyone. For those who love
books, there are winners too. The Caldecott and Newbery
Awards are two very prestigious awards that were announced
The American Library Association (ALA) awards the Caldecott
Medal each year (since 1938) to the illustrator of the most
distinguished American picture book for children published
in the previous year.
The 2010 Caldecott Medal goes to Jerry Pinkney, for
illustrating and writing “The Lion and the Mouse.” When this
book arrived at the library last fall, the gorgeous front
cover filled with a lion’s face caught everyone’s attention.
After reading it, a few of us had an inkling that it might
become the Caldecott winner.
The story is a retelling of Aesop’s classic fable about a
little mouse who helps a majestic lion. Pinkney’s
illustrations completely tell the story; only a few words
are included. An owl screeches, a mouse squeaks, a lion
roars; both children and adults will love making those
sounds. This book is a gem. If you are a fan of beautiful
illustrations, you will enjoy this book. You can find it in
our Caldecott Corner in the Children’s Room.
In addition to the winning book, ALA names honor books as
well. This year “All the World,” illustrated by Marla
Frazee, and “Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors,”
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, are the Caldecott honor
The ALA awards the Newbery Medal each year (since 1922) to
the book that is the most outstanding contribution to
children’s literature published in the previous year.
The 2010 Newbery Medal winner is “When You Reach Me” by
Rebecca Stead. It’s a complex mystery about 12-year-old
Miranda and her mother who live in Manhattan in 1979.
Miranda’s best friend stops talking to her, she receives
notes from an anonymous writer, and a strange homeless man
is hanging around. Stead’s book has an intriguing plot and
interesting characters that should appeal to kids in grades
5 to 9. This book is in our Junior Fiction collection, and
the audiobook is available here as well.
ALA names honor books for the Newbery too. This year’s honor
books are “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice” by
Phillip Hoose, “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by
Jacqueline Kelly, “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by
Grace Lin, and “The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg”
by Rodman Philbrick.
If good books interest you, come to our library and check
out a couple of these award-winning titles. See if you agree
with the judges.
January 18, 2010
Antiques, Antiques, Antiques
by Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference
As you look around the rooms in your home, do you often
wonder if any of your furnishings are really old and worth
anything? How about that dining room table with the claw
feet or the secretary with the beveled glass door? Or maybe
that beer stein of your grandfather’s sitting on the shelf?
How about that cut-glass bowl sitting in your china hutch?
Or maybe you have some old toys or figurines that belonged
to your parents or grandparents.
Most of us probably have some items in our homes that are
considered antiques. Are you interested in seeing if they
are of any value? There are different ways of checking on
the value of older items. The computer is one way of doing
some research on the value of older articles. In doing some
searching on the internet, one site that came up is
www.basic-antiques.com. The author is telling interested
persons the signs to look for before purchasing antiques. He
has been in the business of buying antiques for over 25
years. Always check the item over carefully before
purchasing and if possible, take it out into bright
sunlight. Do not be in too much of a hurry when checking
over an item; it is so easy to be fooled.
How about checking out some of the antique collecting books
or magazines available in the New Ulm Public Library? We
have “Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2010 Price Guide”,
“Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2010”, and
“Schroeder’s Antiques Price Guide for 2010.” Warman’s price
guide has information on crocks, glassware, artwork,
firearms, phonographs, Tiffany collectibles, toys, etc. The
above mentioned books are all reference books that stay in
the library, but we have older editions of these books on
the regular shelves that can be checked out. We also have
two magazines in the library about antiques, Antiques and
Collecting and Antiques Roadshow Insider.
And I saved the best for last. We are going to have our own
Antiques Roadshow event (just like the television show) in
the library on January 28. Carol Bode of Cherry Lane
Antiques and Appraisals of New Ulm will be at the New Ulm
Public Library at 7:00 p.m. Come and listen to what she has
to say. If you so wish, you may bring one (1) item along
that she will appraise. (No gems will be appraised.) Friends
of the New Ulm Public Library are sponsoring this event.
Should be a fun and interesting evening for all!
January 11, 2010
Conversations From the Cubicles
by Betty Roiger, Acquisitions, and Kris Wiley, Assistant
Betty: Hey, Kris, let’s have a book talk!
Kris: OK, what’ll we discuss?
B: Well, we’ve both read “The Lace Reader” by Brunonia
K: Yes, you liked it better than I did.
B: Yep, I adored it – it surprised me, and I always
appreciate it when an author can surprise me.
K: I’m not as enthusiastic, but I think it would make a good
book discussion book – there are many topics to hit on.
B: So, OK, let’s discuss. There are the prophecies some can
read from the lace, the grandmother’s mysterious
K: I think you should stop there.
B: Too many secrets would be too easily revealed?
K: Yes, everything is woven together so well. Why don’t we
try something else?
B: We both read “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” by
Alan Bradley. You recommended it to me.
K: I got a kick out of the 11-year-old narrator; calling her
“precocious” is an understatement. But as I recall, you
weren’t enamored of Flavia.
B: No. I had a hard time getting into it what with Flavia’s
relationships with her sisters. That is, until I remembered
how my sisters used to tie me up …
K: Your sisters tied you up!?!
B: Oh yeah, I urged them to. Either they tied me very
loosely or I was a knot phenom. I thought I’d be the next
Houdini. (And they got a few moments’ peace.) But back to
Flavia, she was splendidly devious getting even with her
K: Yes, her knowledge of poisons was prodigious, but then
her sisters returned the favor in a clever way. Siblings are
B: And all the while she was solving the mystery of the body
in the garden.
K: I can’t wait for the next book in the series, “The Weed
That Strings the Hangman’s Bag,” which comes out in March.
This time Flavia is on the case of the murdered puppeteer.
B: I’ll be in line for that one as well. So now you’re
reading “Sweeping Up Glass.”
K: And it is breaking my heart.
B: I read it before you so it’s not as fresh. I know Carolyn
Wall’s narrator’s voice in Olivia was so wonderful I barely
could put it down during lunch hours to make it back to
K: Olivia has an amazing spirit, which is a testament to
Wall’s gift as a writer. This is her first novel.
B: I thought I had an original thought comparing Olivia to
Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but that’s actually many
readers’ reaction. It says so on the book, duh.
K: Veering back to Olivia, it’s just such a hard life, and
then there is her mother’s treatment of her and losing her
B: But she continues to rise. I’m not making light, but my
favorite cartoon is Wile E. Coyote. He falls, there’s a puff
of smoke and he’s a pancake. AND then he GETS back up. So
does Olivia – she loves her grandson, Will, even as she had
not been loved. And he is a straight and true character if
ever there was one. Sometimes he is the voice of reason. And
that is because of her. She stands up. (And she stands up
for the wolves, and you know me …) I loved that book. Finish
it so we can talk some more.
K: OK. So, you read the Luxe series and loved it. Now I’m
reading the Luxe series, and I love it.
B: Will and Elizabeth, Henry and Diana, the evil, conniving
Penelope. It was a wonderful immersion into that age of
early 1900s New York.
K: It was my introduction to Anna Godbersen as an author.
I’ve raced through the first three, but you say you were
disappointed in the last.
B: OMG. But I can’t tell you.
K: If Henry and Diana don’t get together in the last book, I
am pitching it across the room.
B: My lips are sealed. I just thought the characters of
Elizabeth, Diana and Penelope were so well defined, and then
Godbersen kind of hurried to tie up all the loose ends. And
that’s all I’ll say in case a book comes flying my way.
So I suppose you haven’t read any good zombie fiction?
K: No! That is your bailiwick. I draw the line at vampires.
January 4, 2010
Have You Tried
our “Green” Computers?
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Is your computer “green?” Well, at the New Ulm Public
Library, our public computers and catalog stations now are.
Let me tell you about them.
In late November we installed a product called Userful
Desktop. All of our public Internet workstations (11
stations) and all of our catalog workstations (6 stations)
are now on this platform. By moving to this solution we were
able to replace all of our locally managed, Microsoft-based,
Internet workstations with remotely managed, vendor updated,
There were a lot of reasons for this migration. Our old PCs
were an average six years old. They needed to be replaced as
they were beginning to break down with regularity. They also
took too much technical expertise to keep locked down and
running smoothly and we had no such expertise on site. Then
there were the never ending patches, fixes and updates to
apply. Malware, adware, spyware and viruses had also become
increasingly problematic. Several different software
packages had to be used and constantly upgraded to deal with
those finicky problems. Frankly, the New Ulm Library simply
could no longer keep up with the management of these
So what did we do? We looked “outside the Microsoft box.” We
found an efficient operating system that was free (Linux),
an Office Suite that was Microsoft Office file compatible
and was also free (OpenOffice), and a vendor (Userful Corp.)
that had designed a solution just for libraries like us. The
Userful solution incorporated filtering, scheduling,
authentication and print management. This was the just the
integrated solution we needed! Another advantage was the
vastly reduced amount of adware, spyware, malware and
viruses in the Linux world. And finally, since fewer CPUs
were required, the costs of new hardware was significantly
I know what you’re thinking though. You’re wondering—“Why is
this solution more “green?”
Well, we reduced our usage of CPUs from 17 to 6. That’s
eleven fewer CPUs requiring electricity! And since
electrical generation equals CO2 production, our reduction
in electrical usage means 20,546 lbs of CO2 diverted or one
car off the road for a whole year. Then there’s the
reduction in electronic waste once our equipment becomes no
longer usable. Instead of 17 CPUs, there will be only 6 to
dispose of. That’s pretty green!
We’re pleased that our new solution provides so many
benefits from an environmental as well as from a
cost/support perspective. If you haven’t been in to try one
of these stations, please do so. And if you have any
questions, let me know.