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New Ulm Public Library




17 N. Broadway, New Ulm, MN 56073
PH: 507-359-8331

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(in reverse chronological order)


ARCHIVE OF 2008 ARTICLES           


Dec 26, 2011 - Hot Coffee by Larry Hlavsa

Dec 19, 2011 - Library Programs Galore by Kris Wiley

Dec 12, 2011 - All-Star Production by Betty Roiger

Dec 05, 2011 - Holiday Cheer at the Library by Katy Kudela

Nov 28, 2011 - NUPL Staff Picks of the Year by Kris Wiley

Nov 21, 2011 - Book Fair Benefits Library by Larry Hlavsa
Nov 14, 2011 - Dauntless Reading by Betty J. Roiger
Nov 07, 2011 - November Brings Lots of Activity by Katy Kudela
Oct 31, 2011 - Teen Award Winners a Great Place for Readers to Start by Kris Wiley
Oct 24, 2011 - Books Galore at After Hours Program by Betty J Roiger
Oct 17, 2011 - Friends Book Sale Fast Approaching
by Kris Wiley

Oct 10, 2011 - Ja! Ja! by JoAnne Griebel

Oct 03, 2011 - Be Part of a Live Studio Audience by Kris Wiley

Sep 26, 2011 - Jasper Jones by Betty J. Roiger
Sep 19, 2011 - Let's Talk Zombies! by Betty J. Roiger

Sep 12, 2011 - Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by Larry Hlavsa

Sep 05, 2011 - September 11, 2001, Revisited by Linda Lindquist

Aug 29, 2011 - Shadows and Light by Betty J Roiger
Aug 22, 2011 - Aging, It’s Never Too Late! by JoAnne Griebel

Aug 15, 2011 - Summer Reading Program a Huge Success by Kris Wiley

Aug 08, 2011 - History Buffs Invited to Join Discussion by Kris Wiley
Aug 01, 2011 - So Many Magazines by Larry B. Hlavsa
Jul 25, 2011 - AllieCat’s Author by Betty J Roiger

Jul 18, 2011 - What's Cooking? by Linda Lindquist

Jul 11, 2011 - Use of Downloadable Library Materials Grows by Larry Hlavsa

Jul 04, 2011 - Mankato Author to Visit With Teens and Adults by Kris Wiley

Jun 27, 2011 - Books to Keep You Up at Night by Betty Roiger

Jun 20, 2011 - Meow! Meow! Meow! by JoAnne Griebel
Jun 13, 2011 - Downloadable Library Materials--What's It to 'Ya? by Larry Hlavsa

Jun 06, 2011 - What's Happening in June by Linda Lindquist
May 30, 2011 - Travel the World at the Library This Summer by Kris Wiley
May 23, 2011 - Teens Invited to Participate in Summer Reading Program by Kris Wiley
May 16, 2011 - Buzz from the Backroom by Betty Roiger & Kris Wiley
May 09, 2011 - Summer Reading Program--CONTINUED by Larry Hlavsa
May 02, 2011 - 25-Cent Words by Betty Roiger
Apr 25, 2011 - Check Out William Kent Krueger in Person by Kris Wiley
Apr 18, 2011 - United States of Amnesia? by Larry Hlavsa
Apr 11, 2011 - Listen My Children and You Will Hear... by JoAnne Griebel
Apr 04, 2011 - Library Going Into Overdrive with Electronic Materials by Kris Wiley
Mar 28, 2011- Eeek, mice, mouses…whatever, EEEK! by Betty J Roiger
Mar 21, 2011 - Awesome Arts for Families by Diane Zellmann
Mar 14, 2011 - It’s Been Awhile! by JoAnne Griebel
Mar 07, 2011 - Celebrate Irish Writers by Kris Wiley
Feb 27, 2011 - Lincoln Takes the Stage by Larry Hlavsa, Director
Feb 20, 2011 - Moon over Manifest / Hunger Games by Betty J Roiger
Feb 13, 2011 - Awards, Awards by Diane Zellmann
Feb 06, 2011 - Exercise Your Mind at Library Programs by Kris Wiley
Jan 31, 2011 - Hidden in Plain Sight by JoAnne Griebel
Jan 24, 2011 -
No article
Jan 17, 2011 - You Know What? by Betty J. Roiger
Jan 10, 2011 - A New Year by Diane Zellmann
Jan 03, 2011 - Three Cheers for Kate Morton by Betty J. Roiger, Sue Ullery and Kris Wiley



December 26, 2011

Hot Coffee
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Christmas may be over, but your New Ulm Library keeps on giving—all year long! Here’s some of the recently arrived DVDs in our collection that will begin appearing on our shelves in January, 2012. Watch for them!

Hot Coffee (2011) – 89 minutes.
Remember the woman in 1994 who sued McDonald’s over a spilled cup of hot coffee earning her $2.6 million in damages? Were you disgusted at the award? Your disgust may do a 180 degree turn after viewing this first film by former public-interest lawyer Susan Saladoff. Hot Coffee is an engaging documentary about tort reform; that is, so-called “frivolous lawsuits,” unveiling how corporate multi-million-dollar propaganda campaigns have been utilized to confuse and brainwash Americans. One reviewer said of the film—“It made me upset, confused, disappointed, and angry!” Incidentally, many people don’t know that the woman who sued McDonald’s in 1994 was 79, that she required numerous skin grafts after the scalding, and that she nearly died from infections caused by the “spilled coffee” incident.

NFL History of the Minnesota Vikings (2010) – 240 minutes.
Are you fed up with the Minnesota Vikings 2011 season? Here’s a DVD title that will bring back all of your memories of the glory days! Remember Norm Van Brocklin, Fran Tarkenton, Bill Brown, Alan Page, Jim Marshal, Chuck Foreman, Bud Grant, Joe Kapp and so many other heroes. As one reviewer described this set—“nothing here is boring!” Interviews, game highlights and the history of the glory years. Maybe they will one day return?! In the meantime, try NFL History of the Minnesota Vikings.

War Game/Culloden (2006) – 120 minutes.
A horrifying re-creation, done in documentary style, of what the effects of nuclear war would be on Great Britain. First released in 1964, and banned in England for many years, get a clear idea of what “mutual assured destruction” was and is. Originally commissioned by the BBC, and winner of an Oscar for Best Documentary. Also in the package, the documentary Culloden, which details the 18th century uprising by the Scots against the British in a “you are there” manner, showing the grime, sweat, ferocity and brutality of combat.

Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune (2011) – 97 minutes.
Never heard of Phil Ochs? Me either. But he was Bob Dylan before Bob Dylan even arrived, and he was gone before Bob Dylan even peaked. One reviewer says—“This is a must-see for anyone who wants to really get a feel for the protest movement [and music] of the 60's.” Phil Ochs was a troubador who wrote and sang about the troubled times he lived in. If you were there in the 60s, or not yet born, and just want a flavor of the protest music of the 1960s, this biographical/musical look at Phil Ochs will serve you well.

Mantle – the Definitive Story of Mickey Mantle (2006) – 60 minutes.
If you’re a male baby-boomer, you probably spent your youth dreaming of being the next Mickey Mantle. I know I did. Mickey was “the” baseball hero to so many boys, but now that we’re adults, here’s a chance to see all sides of Mickey, his successes and failures as a player and as a human being. As one reviewer of this documentary notes—“Mantle's finest hours came near the end, when he admitted that he'd been a terrible role model.”

Other new documentaries that will begin appearing on our shelves in January, 2012 are: Navy Seals: Buds Class 234, Becoming Santa, The Corporation, Ancient Aliens (Seasons 1&2), Century of the Self and Metamorphosis: the Beauty and Design of Butterflies.


December 19, 2011

Library Programs Galore
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director


Library Programs Galore
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Have you attended a library program lately? If so, you may have shared your thoughts about the classic novel “The Painted Veil” at the adult book discussion group. Or you may have enjoyed Dr. Peter Monsoor’s presentation on the Iraq War. Or the All About Owls program from the University of Minnesota Raptor Center and sponsored by the River Ranger Program. Or storyteller Nancy Busse’s family program. Or a blockbuster movie in our theater-like setting.

If not, you may want to mark your calendars for these upcoming events. The library’s Foreign & Independent Film Series concludes December 29 at 6 p.m. with a screening of “Illegal,” a psychological thriller from Belgium, Luxembourg, and France; the film is in French and Russian with English subtitles. There will be a screening of “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time” about the famed conservationist January 5 at 7 p.m. River Ranger Program Coordinator Ron Bolduan will share his camo critter multimedia presentation January 12 at 6:30 p.m. Think of it as a “Where’s Waldo?” for outdoor enthusiasts.

Historian John LaBatte of New Ulm is the next speaker in our ongoing U.S.-Dakota War Series. He will present “Causes of the Dakota War” on January 19 at 7 p.m. The library has several Dakota War Series programs scheduled through the 150th commemoration of the war in August 2012, including historians Curtis Dahlin (April), Corinne Monjeau-Marz (May), and Don Heinrich Tolzmann (August).

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to participate in a book discussion group. We have three options. The adult book group meets the first Mondays of the month at 7 p.m. (the second Mondays when there is a holiday). The group discusses everything from fiction to memoirs to children’s literature. The January 9 meeting will focus on “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick. The history book group meets the third Tuesdays of the month at 12 p.m. and discusses nonfiction history books. The January 17 title is “Confederates in the Attic” by Tony Horwitz. Finally, the teen book group meets monthly on a Friday at 3:45 p.m. (dates vary). The January 20 title is “Matched” by Ally Condie. Copies of all book group selections can be obtained through the library’s reference department.

Our children’s department is a busy place, too. Children’s Librarian Katy Kudela offers preschool storytimes Mondays and Thursdays at 10 a.m., and she hosts a special family program the last Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Stop by December 27 and watch a holiday classic. Musician Dick Kimmel will entertain the audience January 31, and author Gordon Fredrickson will visit March 27.

The point is, New Ulm Public Library offers a wide variety of programs for people of all ages. And all library-sponsored events are free and open to the public. For a list of programs, visit the library’s Web site at, call the library at 507-359-8331 or stop by and talk with a staff member. See you at the library!


December 12, 2011

All-Star Production
by Betty Roiger, Acquistions

In the 80s Chris Van Allsburg came out with a curious picture book called “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.” It was a collection of fourteen black and white pictures with titles, captions, and very little explanation. If you are reading this and thinking you aren’t familiar with Chris Van Allsburg--he is also the author of a little book called “The Polar Express.” “The Polar Express” was a magical book that touched the child in most readers--I loved it immediately. Readers might know that “The Polar Express” was made into a movie, as were “Jumanji” and “Zathura.” I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of adult books that are made into movies, but not many picture books can make that leap. Between Van Allsburg’s art plus his mysterious, fantastical writing, he has that special something that can be translated into film.

I have always found Van Allsburg to be an amazing and wonderful artist. His books are both verbally and visually intriguing. I remember very well the first time I opened “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.” In its introduction, supposedly a man dropped the pictures off at a publisher’s office intending to bring the stories that went with them the next day. He never returned. And so the pictures were published as is. Each picture is alive with mysteries and questions. One picture shows a little girl holding caterpillars in her hand with the caption: “She knew it was time to send them back. The caterpillars softly wiggled in her hand, spelling out “good-bye.” Another picture features a house rising off the ground like a rocket with the caption: “It was a perfect liftoff.” Yet another has a woman holding a knife over a pumpkin that has begun glowing. “She lowered the knife and it grew even brighter.” Each feels like a freeze frame just teetering toward the future and the next moment.

Now, twenty-five years later, fourteen remarkable and familiar authors have contributed stories for each of the Harris Burdick prints in an effort to explain the stories behind the pictures. One reason I love anthologies is that I get to read short stories by authors I know, in this case, writers like Stephen King, Lois Lowry, and Gregory Maguire. The second reason I love anthologies is that I get to read short stories by authors I don’t know, and then I can decide if I want to read more by them. One of my favorite stories found here is by an author I am unfamiliar with: M.T. Anderson. The story was weird and intriguing with a lovely twist.

None other than Lemony Snicket wrote the introduction to these “Chronicles.” Jon Scieszka wrote “Under the Rug” which had me laughing at his audacity and snarky ending. Gregory Maguire helps an orphaned little boy with a little bit of magic in “Missing in Venice.” Chris Van Allsburg, himself, tells us more about those caterpillars. One of my favorite authors, Louis Sachar introduces a boy to a ghost in “Captain Tory.” It’s a story that warmed my heart. Linda Sue Park, unfamiliar to me but a pleasant surprise, shows how families and lives can heal in “The Harp.” These stories are funny and sweet, charming, and magical. And some are just odd.

It was fun to reintroduce myself to these pictures and now to have stories to go with them, well, that was a wonderful bonus. I followed Doug around the house reading him several stories while showing him the pictures. (Yes, it was a forced recital, but he enjoyed them too.) I finished this book in a day and immediately decided on a special kid who really would enjoy this book as a Christmas present.

Anyone who has ever been entertained over the years by “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” will be delighted to reenter this world and be re-introduced to Van Allsburg’s art. Kids of all ages will enjoy this one.

December 5, 2011


Holiday Cheer at the Library

by Katy Kudela, Children's Librarian

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The holiday season is here and with it brings a flourish of activity. This month we kicked off storytime with a “Warm Up with Books” theme. We also featured this storytime at the Friends of the Library book fair at Barnes & Noble in Mankato. It was fun to see familiar faces at the event, and we thank all those who participated in the book fair.

With so many great stories to share, the children’s storytimes will continue through the month of December. Next week, a special guest will be coming! Mrs. Claus will visit the library on Monday, Dec. 12 th and Thursday, Dec. 15 th at 10 a.m. All are welcome to enjoy stories, songs, treats, and photos. With Santa so busy, Mrs. Claus loves to visit and see the children at the library. The more the merrier!

With a light layer of snow on the ground and a chilly breeze in the air, it’s sure a good time to nestle inside with books. There are new books and holiday favorites on display. With so many holiday books to choose from, we created a new display in the children’s area titled “Holiday Books for All Ages.” These titles make great read alouds. If you’re looking to stay warm indoors, don’t forget to check out a holiday movie too.

If you’re a fan of holiday movies, be sure to stop by the library at the end of the month. The library is hosting a family movie night on Tuesday, December 27th at 6:30 p.m. Come spend an evening at the library and start a new tradition with your family. Pop, popcorn, and take-home activities for the children will be included. All are invited to attend this free event. Registration is not required.

As you can see, the library staff members are as busy as Santa’s elves making the library a jolly place to stop in. You can warm up this December with storytimes, movies, and more! Be sure to check out the library’s calendar for more program offerings. There is sure to be something for everyone.


November 28, 2011


NUPL Staff Picks of the Year
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

I’m a sucker for end-of-year best books lists, and everyone seems to be compiling them these days. The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Amazon … I’ve been enthralled by 2011 best books lists for weeks now. You can find these and many more by going online, or you can keep reading and learn your local librarians’ favorite books of the year.

By far the book most talked about by staff this year was “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. Betty and Sue couldn’t get enough of it, and I think it ended too soon for both of them. They even dressed up like characters in the book when they discussed it on the library’s After Hours TV show. Sue said about it: “Fantastical story of a mythical circus, open only at night, which appears with no advance notice. Fabulous!” Betty was equally effusive: “Magical. Enchanting. Wonderful.”

Other top adult fiction titles from staff included “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh; “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles; and “Bad Things Happen” by Harry Dolan.

Several of us read young adult literature, and Betty, Sue, and I all liked “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. If you liked “The Hunger Games,” check out “Divergent.” It has that same post-apocalyptic setting with a strong female protagonist; it’s the first in a series, and we’re not-so-patiently waiting for the sequel. Other top YA picks included “Beautiful Days” by Anna Godbersen, the second book in the Bright Young Things series about young women finding their way in New York City during the Jazz Age, and “Jasper Jones” by Craig Silvey. Betty said “Jasper” is reminiscent of Mark Twain and Harper Lee.

In top nonfiction this year, Sue and I picked “Destiny of the Republic” by Candice Millard. “Destiny” is narrative nonfiction at its best and tells the story of James Garfield’s rise to President, his shooting and subsequent drawn-out death at the hands of physicians who didn’t use antiseptic technique. I also was intrigued by “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson, which tells the story of the new American ambassador and his daughter in Berlin in 1933 just as Hitler came to power.

When it comes to audiobooks, Carla and I can’t get enough. My favorite audiobook of the year was “Where She Went” by Gayle Forman, a young adult novel and the sequel to “If I Stay.” Audiobooks hinge on the narrator(s), and I still can’t get Adam’s voice out of my head months after I finished the book. Carla loved “Smokin’ Seventeen” by Janet Evanovich. She said the best way to enjoy Evanovich’s books is by listening to them because the reader is “fabulous!”

All of these books and audiobooks are available through your New Ulm Public Library. Stop by and place a hold, and, while you’re at it, let us know your top picks of 2011. See you at the library!


November 21, 2011


by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

This coming Saturday there will be an opportunity for people to make holiday purchases at the Barnes & Noble Book Store in Mankato and help the New Ulm Public Library at the same time.

A Barnes and Noble Bookfair, hosted by the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library, will run all day Saturday, November 26 at the River Hills Mall store in Mankato. Children’s Librarian, Katy Kudela, will conduct two “Warm Up With Books” storytimes at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the store’s children’s department. Later, there will be music by the Sunday Punch Quartet, made up of members of the Sweet Adelines, which will begin at 4:30 p.m. Library director, Larry Hlavsa and assistant library director, Kris Wiley, will also be available should you have any questions.

Here’s the really good news part of this fair. A portion of all purchases made in the store that day will directly benefit the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library. Simply present a voucher at checkout and 10% of the value of your purchase will be donated by Barnes & Noble to the Friends of the New Ulm Library. Vouchers are available now at the library, or by clicking at a link on the library’s Web site:, or you may obtain a voucher from a library staff person on hand at Barnes and Noble on Saturday.

Already busy Saturday? Or can't make it to the store that day? Maybe you prefer to make your purchases online? You can also support this book fair online by visiting between Nov. 26 and Dec. 1 and entering Bookfair ID 10621803 at checkout. Once again, 10% of the value of your purchase will be donated by Barnes & Noble to the Friends of the New Ulm Library.

The mission of the Friends of the New Ulm Library is to support the New Ulm Public Library. All proceeds accruing to the Friends as a result of this event will go towards library materials and programs. So if you’re out holiday shopping on Saturday, November 26, stop in at the Mankato Barnes & Noble and see us.


November 14, 2011


Dauntless Reading
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

Everybody reads and likes different types of books. Perhaps people might find my choices strange. However, I was just reading what an author was saying about his vampire novel and I quote: “There are probably some people who wonder why I decided the world needed another vampire novel,… But to me, changing the War on Terror to the War on Horror didn’t seem like that much of a leap.” That pretty much sums up my reading tastes. It’s scary in the real world, folks.

I find watching the news on TV upsetting on a good day and terrifying for the most part. People near and dear to me struggle to find work. Cancer has claimed loved ones. Friends and relatives serve in the military. Then there’s Wall Street, more war, more worry… So given the choice of facing a vampire or a zombie, bring it. Give me a face to face with a politician-man, I’m running scared.

While there may be an upswing of novels involving vampires or weres, and zombies might be the big bad monster of the day, dystopian novels are coming on fast as well. Invite me into a dystopian world and I’m happy to visit. Definitions of dystopian novels vary, but usually they are described as a nightmare world or an unpleasant future. Classic dystopian novels would be “1984,” “Brave New World,” or “The Handmaid’s Tale.” One of the most popular (and well written) dystopian trilogies right now is “The Hunger Games.” It deserves its acclaim. It reflects a world unbalanced due to poverty, squalor, oppression, war, and political machinations.

I recently visited two other dystopian worlds. One was called “Eve” by Anna Carey. Opening this book I entered a world where plague has killed 90% of the people. Orphan boys are put to work, basically as slave labor. Girls are kept separate, educated, and made to fear anything or anyone beyond “the wall.” These girls are led to believe they will be heading into the workplace to be doctors, artists, and architects to help build a new world. One of Eve’s classmates plans to escape, but before leaving, tries to break through Eve’s indoctrinated learning to tell her that girls will in fact be the means to populate the new world and not build it. Eve then decides to make a run for it too. The book is fast moving and it encompasses both Eve’s physical journey through an unknown world as well as an inner journey to understanding and surviving. The book reaches an ending of sorts, but leaves itself open for a sequel.

The second book I just finished is “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. Once I started this book, I literally didn’t put it down. The society in “Divergent” is separated into five factions: each committed to the development of a particular virtue—Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace loving), and Erudite (intelligence). At the age of 16, kids are tested to determine which faction they’d best fit in for the rest of their lives. And then they must choose. The main character is Beatrice. Her test is not only inconclusive but dangerous. She is divergent. Torn between staying with her family and the familiar and being who she really is, Beatrice makes her choice. And so it begins. This dystopian world involves secrecy, misinformation, and the suppressing of justice and personal freedoms, and maybe even a political warning or two. It is a thrill ride and I enjoyed every minute. It, too, is just the beginning of a trilogy.

We are well past 1984, but there are other brave, new worlds to explore. Dystopian novels allow us to visit original, different, and maybe disturbing worlds and then let us decipher the warnings they reflect about our own lives in these modern and uncertain times.


November 7, 2011


November Brings Lots of Activity
by Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

We’re in the heart of autumn here in the children’s room. With November’s fast arrival, the children’s staff is busy gearing up for Thanksgiving. Be sure to check out the selection of “Turkey Tales.” There are fun picture books as well as several favorite holiday movies to enjoy. Older readers can “Leaf Through a Good Book” and check out a variety of topics at the junior books display. Don’t forget to browse the new books. There is sure to be a good book, or two, or three to check out!

Along with a feast of good reads, the library staff is also busy getting ready for a new selection of children’s programs. Beginning November 14th, the library will kick-off its regular storytime schedule. Storytimes will be held on Mondays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. Each session will last about 30 minutes and will include stories, music, and fun. These sessions are free and do not require registration.

But that’s not all! In addition to storytimes, the library staff is adding family programs to its calendar. These programs will be held the last Tuesday of each month. Each family program will offer an array of activities for children and their families to enjoy. These sessions are free and do not require registration. Be sure to stop by the library on Tuesday, Nov. 29th at 6:30 p.m. Storyteller Nancy Busse will be here to share her “Storytime with Nesting Dolls.” If you would like a preview of her wonderful collection of nesting dolls, check out the display case by the circulation desk. Prepare to be amazed! Additional family programs will be posted on the library’s Web site. Please stay tuned for more information.

As you can see, things are busy here in the children’s room. While Thanksgiving is not until the end of the month, I can’t help but say my thanks a little early. I am so happy to join the library staff! I am also thankful for the warm welcome I’ve received from the community. I look forward to meeting more people, and I’m excited for the great adventures to be shared here at the library. Thanks and happy reading!


October 31, 2011


Teen Award Winners a Great Place for Readers to Start
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Are you a reader who is interested in young adult literature, but you don’t know where to start? There are three great lists that can help you out.

If you want to know what teens like, check into the Teens’ Top Ten. This list is coordinated by the Young Adult Library Services Association, which is part of the American Library Association. Sixteen teen book groups from around the country nominated 25 books, and then readers ages 12 to 18 voted online for their favorite books.

This year’s top pick was “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare. “Clockwork Angel” combines the supernatural with steampunk and tons of action while telling the story of Tessa Gray, a 16-year-old girl living in Victorian London who has powers of which she isn’t aware. This is the first book in the Infernal Devices series; book two, “Clockwork Prince,” is due out in December.

Other titles on the list include “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins; “Matched” by Ally Condie; and “I Am Number Four” by Pittacus Lore. Find the list of nominees and winners at or stop by the library and take a look at our November teen display, which will feature these books.

Another great resource is the National Book Awards finalists in Young People’s Literature. The National Book Awards have been around since 1950 and focus on American literature. Independent panels of five writers choose the winners in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. Readers will find some of this year’s finalists in the library’s Junior section and a couple in the Young Adult Department. Carla from our library staff has raved about one of the finalists – “Okay for Now” by Gary D. Schmidt – as “humorous, touching and uplifting … a great read for adults and older kids.”

The finalists in every category can be found at

Finally, the Michael L. Printz Award honors literary excellence in young adult literature, and it, too, is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association. The 2011 winner was “Ship Breaker” by Paolo Bacigalupi, a post-apocalyptic novel with memorable characters. To see the list of honor books, go to and search for “printz award.”

If you’re still stumped for a young adult book to read, stop by the library and ask us for a recommendation. There’s a YA book for every taste, and we’d be thrilled to introduce you to teen literature. See you at the library!

October 24, 2011


Books Galore at After Hours Program
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

Last Monday night I was invited to join the discussion panel for “After Hours.” The chat was on new books, written in the past two months. Kris was our moderator as well as part of the group along with Sue, Gabby, Stacy, & me. By and large I am not a person who talks publicly, but I decided to give it a shot. I was told we were being filmed, but imagine my horror when I walked into a three-camera arena. OK. We all know the old saying about “the camera adding 10 pounds,” right? So who needs thirty extra pounds when they are going to be on TV? ARGH. And so it began.

Chief Inspector Gamache of Quebec stars in “A Trick of the Light,” the seventh of Louise Penny’s series. For me, Louise can do no wrong; she writes an interesting mystery, with characters that have depth, feelings, flaws, and principles. Start with the first book so that you can watch the character development and growth. Kris enjoyed John Hart’s newest, “Iron House,” which is a tale of secrets, lies, and an abandoned former orphanage that beckons the reader into a web of violence and emotion. A literary mystery, “Game of Secrets” by Dawn Tripp, involves a scrabble game and an old murder, which has information slowly revealed like tiles being placed on a scrabble board.

“The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh seemed to have captivated both Kris and Sue as they told the story of Victoria, a recently emancipated foster child who communicates to others through her knowledge of the Victorian language of flowers and what they mean. The beauty and soul of flowers becomes Victoria’s private language, touching those around her and at the same time helping her overcome her past.

“Wonderstruck” is the latest by Brian Selznick, who wrote the Caldecott-award winner “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” Stacy was impressed and enthusiastic about his newest masterpiece, which also blends pictures that tell a story with text. She introduced “Zoozical” a picture book for kids that builds to a crescendo of fun much like a score of music.

These days, young adult novels and the paranormal walk hand and hand. Gabby talked about several series books, “The Fallen 3,” “Thirst No. 4,” and “Vanish.” She was enthusiastic about “The Fallen: End of Days,” which was about the epic battle between good and evil angels. Gabby felt that “Thirst No. 4” wasn’t as good as the rest of the series, but the series was worth reading.

Our readers found “The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb” intriguing and said “The Night Strangers” was a departure for Chris Bohjalian as the creep factor was high. At 144 pages, “Buddha in the Attic” is proof that it isn’t necessary to write a long book to create something both literary and beautiful.

There were several more titles discussed and recommended. But the big finale was all about Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus,” which proves there is no formula needed to write a captivating and magical novel. This book blends a competition, a love story, a circus, and true magic to create something I have not read in a long time. For me, it defied description. If you are a reader who adores using your imagination, this book is for you. Imagine a clock that tells time with a juggler juggling one ball at 1 o’clock, and with each passing hour adding a new ball, a carousel made of living creatures, a ship made of paper with sails created out of thousands of book pages rocking on a sea of ink… in short: a circus made of dreams. A review of “The Night Circus” stated “finally a book that lives up to its hype” and used the words “magical, enchanting, spellbinding.” It was all that and more.

We had titles aplenty to entice and expound upon. Come and join us for the next book chat, or ignoring how the cameras made us look, catch “After Hours” when it runs on nuCAT. You might find a book that you want to pick up, or listen to, or be mesmerized by this fall.


October 17, 2011

Friends Book Sale Fast Approaching
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

It’s great to have Friends. And by Friends, I mean Friends of the New Ulm Public Library. The Friends support the library in so many ways, and now it’s time for their major annual fundraiser, the book sale.

The book sale has been moved up one month and will begin with a Friends-only preview sale Nov. 2 from 6-8 p.m. The sale continues Nov. 3 from 3-8:30 p.m.; Nov. 4 from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; and Nov. 5 from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Everything is 25 cents to 50 cents, and there will be a $2 bag sale Saturday. I’ve seen many of the donations, and I can say there is a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction in every genre plus many movies in VHS format.

For those of you who want the biggest and best selection, here’s a great option: Become a Friend of the Library, and you can shop at the preview sale. Purchase your membership at the door, and you’re good to go. Members who haven’t paid their 2011 dues can pay at the door, as well. Memberships are $5 for individual youth, $10 for individual adult, $20 for family, $50 and over for corporate, and $100 for individual lifetime. Wednesday night is a great time for a sneak peek and the opportunity to get first dibs on all the good deals.

All proceeds from the sale go to the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library, who turn around and give back to the library. This year, the Friends have given $1000 for the children’s Summer Reading Program and $1000 for books and materials; and they purchased a popcorn machine for movie programs and a Nook e-reader for staff training – and that’s just for starters. Besides providing funding, the Friends attend library programs, volunteer at events, and act as the fiscal agent for grants. The library is grateful for the Friends’ continuing efforts to raise awareness of the library’s programs, collection, and services.

And for those of you wanting to tidy up your bookshelves, we are accepting donations through Oct. 31. Drop off your clean, used books at the main desk during regular business hours; we can provide a receipt at your request. Please, no Reader’s Digest Condensed books, magazines, encyclopedias, Harlequin romances, or textbooks. Library staff looks at all donations and adds some titles to the collection; the rest are given to the Friends for the sale.

See you at the library!


October 10, 2011


Ja! Ja!
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide


September 15-October 15 is German –American Month. In New Ulm we celebrate with a parade on October 6 known as German-American Day. There is much to celebrate!

Did you know the first German-American Day was proclaimed by President Reagan in 1983 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the October 6, 1683 arrival of 13 German families? The families from Krefield landed in Philadelphia. They founded Germantown, Pennsylvania. President Reagan’s declaration read, “The United States has embraced a vast array of German traditions, institutions and influences.”

Your library has many books on German-Americans. “German Immigration to America in the Nineteenth Century” by Maralyn Wellauer guides family history researchers. Don Heinrich Tolzmann has several books including “The German-American Experience”. He discusses the Jamestown Germans and the” legendary first German”. According to legend, Tyrker was a German explorer who reached North American in or near the year 1000! Germans migrated to America for several reasons. The winter of 1708-1709 was intensely cold in the Rhine Valley. Many died from hunger and cold. Vineyards were destroyed, and livestock along with wild animals were lost to the extreme cold.

“A Heritage Fulfilled: German Americans” discusses the German contributions to the early years of America. Another book of interest is Wilhelm Kaufmann’s “The Germans in the American Civil War.” Over 300,000 first generation Americans of German descent and 216,000 German born Americans served in the Civil War. Kaufmann’s book includes some biographies of soldiers.

There are many prominent German-Americans in our history. John Jacob Astor, financier; Albert Bierstadt, artist; George Armstrong Custer, Civil War and frontier general; Henry L. Gehrig, baseball player, and Henry J. Heinz, food packer to name just a few. Visit the library to find out more about German-Americans!

October 3, 2011

Be Part of a Live Studio Audience
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

New Ulm Public Library has been taping a cable TV show for nearly two years in cooperation with New Ulm Community Access Television. We’ve interviewed authors and the Library Board president, and we’ve talked with members of the Friends of the Library, among others. So far our audience has consisted of the staff and volunteers taping the event. That’s about to change. We invite the public to join us for a taping of our newest After Hours program Monday, October 17 at 6 p.m.

Now I’m guessing you’re wondering what we’ll talk about. I’ve called the program World of Books, Fall 2011. What that means is we’ll talk about what’s new and hot in books this fall. There will be a little something for every type of reader, from children’s books to literary fiction to popular nonfiction. Several library staffers are eager to share their favorite books of this season, and our teen book group leader will talk about popular young adult books. Also, we’ll welcome special guest Stacy Lienemann, assistant director at Watonwan County Library. Not only has she been presenting this program at her library for a couple of years (yes, I “borrowed” her idea), she is a voracious reader.

So now you’re wondering how you’ll fit in. We’ll set up chairs for the audience, and we’ll have a microphone available so you can chime in if you’ve read one of the books we’re talking about. We’ll also open up the discussion to you if there is a new book you’ve read that we haven’t covered. Think of this as a local talk show where the only topic is books. I can’t think of a better way for book lovers to spend an hour.

To provide a preview, here are a couple of new books I’ve enjoyed and will mention at our After Hours program.

“Iron House” by John Hart is part thriller, part dark family drama. If you’re new to John Hart, it doesn’t matter where you start. He has written four standalone novels, and they all are highly regarded. He has won two Edgar Awards for excellence in mystery writing, but his books aren’t your standard mystery. He weaves past and present beautifully, and his protagonists aren’t always particularly likeable. However, they are compelling.

“The Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka is a beautiful, emotional book about Japanese picture brides cultivating a life in America in the first half of the 20th Century. At 144 pages this book is proof that much can be conveyed with few words. Otsuka’s first book, “When the Emperor Was Divine,” has been a popular book club selection; “Buddha” is sure to be, as well.

Hungry for more? Join in the discussion October 17 in the library meeting room.


September 19, 2011

Let’s Talk Zombies
by Betty J Roiger, Acquistions

There are two schools of thought about the speed of zombies, which raises a lot of discussion, that is, if you discuss zombies. And, frankly, I think it might behoove you to. Just in case, ya know. What with the coming Zombie Apocalypse and all. In the older movies like “Night of the Living Dead,” slow, shambling zombies made their feeble yet fixed way toward living brains. (Seeing this at 15, I couldn’t view it again for 20 years… the line still haunting me: “They’re coming for you, Barbara” and they did, slowly, inexorably, steadily.) Then, in 2000, the awesome movie called “28 Days” came out, involving a spreading virus, and though the infected people were dead, they were also fast. Extremely fast. Really, really fast. Therefore: scarier. (Nobody had time to say: “They’re coming, anybody” because they were already there.) This set the zombie world on its rotted ear, so to speak. So with this turn of events, hoards of dead were not the only problem to face, now it was numbers plus increased speed. So what are the living to do? Good question.

Well, I don’t have the answers, folks. But I do have a fix. Come to “Zombie Survival @ Your Library” on Monday, October 3 at 3:45 p.m. in the Library Meeting Room for a discussion of zombie books, films, and videos with Bud Hanzel and John Olson, authors of “The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.”

I hope to be attending this event. I have questions. I don’t care whether the Zombie Apocalypse involves the traditional shamblers or the freaking running ones. If something decomposing is after me, speed isn’t my issue. I’m not 15 anymore. I’m slow! I want to know what the heck to do. What’s best: holing up, fleeing, or fighting? And what’s the best weapon? Say your best friend gets bit. Cuz, man, that’s tough; I mean it is over at that point for them. The question isn’t if, it’s when. Zombies are coming, folks…if you stay, you’re lunch…and then a zombie. What’s your definition of best friend? Leave them a weapon? Wave goodbye and sprint? What? Ethics fly out the window when you’re on the run, too.

Meantime, for those of you who want to bone up on the current zombie fiction, I have some recommendations for you. If you just want the action-packed, trying-to-survive, movie-type zombie experience, try Rhiannon Frater’s zombie trilogy beginning with “The First Days: As The World Dies” or “Pallid Light” by William Jones. Some excellent newer titles have terrific complexity that, yes, feature zombies, but are so much more than that. I believe that in these novels the zombies are more of a setting in which to place the action, and, therefore, these are very thoughtful stories. One of my favorites was “Reapers are the Angels” by Alden Bell, which had insight, beauty, and wonder in it. “Generation Dead” by Daniel Waters and “Rot and Ruin” by Jonathan Maberry take up issues such as brutality, bullying, stereotyping, being different, and what it really means to be human overlaying a world with the unknown and the walking dead. Mira Grant’s “Feed: NewsFlesh” takes on zombies, the media, politics, and the Internet, revealing how far people will go in their respective fields to succeed. Zombies are driven only by need; the real monsters have calculating brains and no hearts.

A new series from AMC called “The Walking Dead” is on DVD at the library. This series has a good storyline, interesting characters, good quality writing, and awesome makeup. And not all the bad guys are dead.

So I guess my advice? Read some books, watch some films, and get your own survival plan into place. Then come and listen to John and Bud and ask them your questions. Remember, zombies were once people, too, but they aren’t anymore. So if the person sitting next to you is looking a little pale and muttering “Brains,” move to a different chair. Really, really far away.

September 26, 2011

Jasper Jones
Betty J. Roiger, Acquistions

My husband and I were at lunch, and I threw out my first conversational gambit, “I’m reading an Australian novel.” And Doug looked at me and asked, “Do you have to read it upside down?” [Heavy sigh.] So now you know…conversations between us are never ordinary, or normal. So I wait, and he asks, “Sooo, what’s it about?” And then I start talking.

The book is a young adult novel. (People, I am telling you there are terrific books to be picked up in the young adult section. Beyond the runaway bestsellers such as “Twilight” or the cautionary tales such as “The Hunger Games,” there are solidly written, wonderful stories such as “Jasper Jones” by Craig Silvey.) The minute I started reading I related to the time period and soon found out that it was set in 1965. This author admires Mark Twain and Harper Lee, and if one had to hold a mirror up to authors to aspire to as models, well, a writer can’t do much better than that. I could immediately feel the affinity to “Huck Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” even if the main character, Charlie, hadn’t been reading these books.

This is how it begins.

It’s too hot; Charlie is up late reading when there is a knock on his window. It’s Jasper Jones. He’s a raggedy, barefoot boy. You know, the outcast boy whose dad drinks too much, who doesn’t have a mom. He’s the boy folks in town blame things on. When there is a fire or a theft or anything that goes wrong, Jasper Jones’ name is at the top of the list as the culprit. It’s that boy. He wants Charlie to come out with him and won’t answer any of Charlie’s questions.

They walk into the night. Charlie is intrigued and silently thrilled for he is younger than Jasper and, additionally, Jasper is notorious. Furthermore, for some reason, Jasper needs him! They walk past the scary house, that house all the kids dare each other to go up to but most are too faint-hearted. And so they get to Jasper’s secret glade and there, well, that’s where Jasper shows Charlie a secret that is too big to be carried by one person alone.

Without revealing the secret, the boys make decisions. They act on them. Meanwhile the town reacts in its own way. Tensions build. And, like most secrets, everything involved in it will be found out.

This book takes place in a time of unemployment, of uncertainty, and racial unrest. There is a knee-jerk dislike of the Vietnamese people settling in town because the war in Viet Nam is the building backdrop and local boys are being drafted. Everything is unsettled.

So I told Doug to visit this small, poor, dusty Australian shire. This place filled with loners, social climbers, ne’er-do-wells, racists, and the downtrodden, and those wonderful, shining individuals who come to stand out with their own, quiet bravery. He did read it (not upside down) and thought it was as good as I did. You can visit it, too. Come to the library and check it out.

FRIENDS SEEK DONATIONS – The Friends of the New Ulm Public Library are preparing for their annual book sale and are accepting donations of books, CDs, and DVDs. Drop off your donations at the main desk of the library; receipts are available. Please, no textbooks, encyclopedias, magazines, Reader's Digest Condensed books, or Harlequin romance novels. The book sale is one month earlier this year, Thursday, November 3-Saturday, November 5 with a members-only preview sale Wednesday, November 2 from 6-8 p.m. All proceeds benefit New Ulm Public Library.


September 12, 2011


Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

There’s so much bad news out there I hesitated to bring this topic to you. But it’s so important to know about the food you eat, where it comes from and what’s in it, that I had to share these films with you. And, yes, the news is not good! These DVD documentaries cover food from a variety of angles and some will affect you emotionally, physically and even spiritually. While New Ulm Library doesn’t own every one of these, we can get those we don’t for you from nearby libraries. These are worth the inconvenience of a short wait!

Food, Inc. (2009)
Our nation's food industry--who controls and who profits from it? Are corporations putting their profits ahead of your health? Reveals some shocking facts about what we eat, how it's produced and who we have become as a nation as a result of our diets.

King Corn: You Are What You Eat (2008)
A couple of college buddies return home to Greene, Iowa, to research how corn conquered America. The friends grow one acre of corn and in doing so unlock hidden truths about America's food system.

Fat: What No One is Telling You (2007)
Why is fighting fat so difficult? What’s the latest scientific knowledge about hunger, eating and human metabolism? What external pressures including oversized restaurant portions and endless food advertisements are affecting our national fight against obesity? Real Americans tell real stories about their struggle to get fit in an environment perversely oriented to food and its consumption.

Foodmatters (2009)
Hippocrates said--“Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food.” This controversial documentary discusses nutritionally-depleted foods and chemical additives and questions whether illnesses are being cured by our societal reliance on pharmaceutical drugs. Not only does the documentary say we’re hurting our bodies through improper nutrition, but it argues eating the right kinds of foods could cure us of chronic and even fatal diseases such as cancer. It further argues that many alternative therapies can be more effective and less costly than conventional medical therapies.

Ingredients: the Local Food Movement Takes Root (2011)
The American food industry is in a state of crisis. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, our food costs are skyrocketing and our agricultural environment is in decline. Discusses the local food movement as an alternative to a world fast-becoming a flavorless and dangerous place to eat.

Fresh Food: What is Farm to Table? (2011)
Why is eating locally grown foods, grown without chemical pesticides or hormones, a wise alternative to other food sources?. Sustainable farming is explored through the eyes of three chefs who leave big-city careers to find sources of fresh, healthy ingredients for their gourmet menus.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (2010)
A forty-year old Aussie decides enough is enough. Weighing over 300 pounds, he decides juice fasting can heal his body of a skin condition as well resolving his obesity. Traveling across America for sixty days, he loses eighty pounds and wins converts to organic juice fasting. Entertaining and inspiring!

Bon appetit!

September 5, 2011


September 11, 2001, Revisited
by Linda Lindquist, Adult Services Librarian

September 11, 2011, marks the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? Most of us can remember it as though it was yesterday. I was on my way to work and heard it on the radio. When I got to work, others were watching it on television. It was hard to believe what we were seeing. No matter how many times you saw it, it just didn’t seem possible that this was taking place in the United States. To think that terrorists could be in three different places—the Twin Towers in New York City, flying over a field in Pennsylvania, and also the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.—and no one seemed to know where they came from.

Congress has declared September 11 as Patriot Day in the United States. All state and local governments are to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff from sunrise till sundown, and a moment of silence is to be observed in honor of those who lost their lives in the attacks. There are many websites commemorating the 9/11 10th Anniversary. One site I looked at listed lessons and experiences that could be shared by all. Lessons learned include: The United States is still one nation under God; there is evil in world; freedom is worth defending; tragedy reveals who we are and what we stand for; we are stronger when we are united; we share values and principles; in times of crisis anyone can be a leader; when government fails to protect its people, it undermines the trust in government at all levels; homeland security is the responsibility of everyone; and family is the building block of a strong society.

Many books have been written, and continue to be written, about the events of 9/11. One of the newest books we have at the New Ulm Public Library is written by Genelle Guzman-McMillan entitled “Angel in the Rubble: the Miraculous Rescue of 9/11’s Last Survivor”. Miracles still happen. She was alone and buried in rubble for twenty-seven hours before being rescued. But her faith carried her through.

“What We Saw: The Events of September 11, 2001—In Words, Pictures, and Video (with DVD) is a new book on order for the New Ulm Public Library. All of the items in the book and DVD are taken from the CBS News Archives. Some of the persons reporting on this tragedy include Dan Rather, Bryant Gumbel, Carol Marin, and Anna Quindlen.

Another new book “Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero” written by Michael Hingson speaks of trust and courage. You will see how blindness and a bond between dog and man saved lives and brought hope during one of America’s darkest days.

There are many more books on this subject at the library. Some are on display in the Reference area. Stop in to see what we have. And as always, if you do not see what you are interested in, we can always check other libraries to see if we can find it for you.


August 29, 2011

Shadows and Light
by Betty J Roiger, Acquistions

In the shadow of the anniversary of the World Trade Center disaster some new books about 9/11 are being released. One entitled “Angel in the Rubble: The Miraculous Rescue of 9/11’s Last Survivor”, just caught my eye. It is by and about Genelle Guzman-McMillan.

Of course, ten years ago, I was very aware of the horror that was happening out East. Along with most Americans I followed the news-some good, mostly bad. Like so many others, Genelle was fleeing when the building started collapsing and then unthinkable amounts of concrete and steel fell on top of her.

Genelle was trapped for 27 hours under rubble. At first she tried to move and scream. Surrounded by silence, she came to believe she was lying in her own tomb. She began thinking about her life and how far she had drifted from God. In those hours she reflected on her life and decided to believe God was listening to her. In the ensuing hours she continued to pray and bang and yell…and pray again.

In and out of consciousness, she finally poked her hand out of a hole and yelled, “Please help me!” Miraculously, the warm hand of another human being grabbed hold of hers and reassured her, “I’ve got you, Genelle…you’re going to be okay.” What Genelle didn’t know was that there were search and rescue teams and rescue dogs desperately combing through the debris looking for any survivors. Just about the time Paul grabbed her hand, a rescue dog named Trakr had sensed Genelle. While Paul held her hand and reassured her, Genelle kept up a stream of questions wondering: how close was rescue, could they see her, were they coming? During this time, Paul stayed with her, calming her with answers, until suddenly she was surrounded by noise and voices. A fireman grabbed her hand and the massive dig out began-slowly, carefully so that she wasn’t further hurt.

It is while she was in the hospital that she finally began to wonder who Paul was and why no one could answer her questions about him. When it occurred to her that Paul had known her name although she never told it to him, she began to piece things together.

An anonymous quote from the book reflects Genelle’s journey. “When the world says ‘Give up,’ hope whispers ‘Try it one more time.’” This is a story about desperation and hope and miracles.

Genelle’s story is only one of many stories about that day in September. Another new title coming soon to our shelves is called “Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero” by Michael Hingson. The summary on it reads “follow Michael and his guide dog, Roselle, as their lives are changed forever by two explosions and 1,463 stairs.…in this harrowing story of trust and courage, discover how blindness and a bond between dog and man saved lives and brought hope during one of America's darkest days.” That one sounds like a good read as well.

If you are interested in these or other books about 9/11 come in and check something out.


August 22, 2011


Aging, It’s Never Too Late!
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide

September is Healthy Aging Month. It’s time to celebrate positive aging! That’s the message from Healthy Aging’s Carolyn Worthington who encourages us to age gracefully, actively and positively. How to we do this? By focusing not only on physical fitness, but social, financial, and mental fitness as well. The Healthy Aging website offers the following tips. Eat fresh foods, go exploring (use your mind) try something new, and volunteer in your community. Exercise everyday, start thinking about Medicare, plan ahead for your financial needs. Your library has resources to help you. Books of interest include Dr. Marc E. Agronin’s “How We Age.”
Dr. Argronin relates the human side of the aging process through stories. He shares thoughts on how our bodies and brains change as we grow older. Another book “A Long Bright Future” challenges us to envision, design, diversify, and invest in an action plan for our future. Dr. Linda Carstensen addresses the question “How can we make the most out of added years of life?” Now that’s a lot to think about, now is the time to start envisioning life after retirement.

There are DVDs on yoga and pilates for seniors such as “Pilates for 50+” and “Yoga for Inflexible People.” This is one for me, it takes a while in the morning before I can get moving. There are books on nutrition, reflexology, yoga, and much more. Interested in social networking? There are books on twitter and using computers. Want to learn a new language? We have materials for that too.

Alzheimer’s is of concern to many older adults; to learn more read “The Myth of Alzheimer’s” by Dr. Peter J. Whitehouse and “Alzheimer’s in America: The Shriver Report on Women and Alzheimer’s.” The library also has several read-aloud books for memory challenged adults including “The Sunshine On My Face” by Lydia Burdick. These books are meant to be read together, to just look at and talk about the pictures. Local author Virginia McCone recalls her mom’s story dealing with alzheimer’s in “Butterscotch Sundaes.”

Feeling the years adding up? Need a lift? I don’t mean just a lift chair, but some humor. A brand new addition to the library collection is “You’re Old, I’m Old…Get Used to It!”
by Virginia Ironside. She relishes the joy of forgetting plots. You can read a favorite book or watch a movie and enjoy it as though you were reading/watching it for the first time! Those senior moments are a plus.

Don’t forget to visit the library often. Your library offers mental fitness (books, newspapers); social fitness (see friends, books discussions, programming); physical fitness (stairs) and financial fitness (internet service, computers, books, magazines, and newspapers).


August 15, 2011


Summer Reading Program a Huge Success
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Local youngsters and teens traveled the world at New Ulm Public Library’s 2011 Summer Reading Program. Now it’s time to recap the children’s program, One World, Many Stories, and the teen program, You Are Here.

Congratulations to the 781 children who registered for the program. They read books, entered the trivia contest, counted buttons, and recommended great books. Some attended our special events, while others drew their idea of a Fantastic Voyage. The artwork remains on display in the hallway near the Children’s Room; stop by and take a look.

About 50 teens registered for their program, and 29 teens logged 265 books. Some young adults tie-dyed shirts, folded origami, played BINGO and attended the Teen AnimeFest. Seven local teens participated in the Battle of the Books trivia competition Aug. 6 in St. Peter. Great job!

A big thank you to the parents and caregivers who helped ensure the program’s success. You encouraged, supported and often drove our participants to the library, all so your children could have fun, learn and maintain their reading skills.

The Summer Reading Program would not have been possible without the help and generosity of many organizations and individuals. Major funding came from the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library, the United Way of Brown County, an anonymous family, and Traverse des Sioux Library System. A special note about our Friends: The Friends are local residents who are committed to the library’s success. They help the library throughout the year but make an extra special effort to kick off the Summer Reading Program every year. This year, they provided milk and cookies on the opening day of the program.

Local businesses, including McDonald’s, Subway and Casey’s, contributed prizes, treats and awards. The Twins donated bookmarks. The Optimist Club provided the movie license so we could show films throughout the summer. Sven and Jean Eelma and JoAnne Griebel donated prizes.

The staff at New Ulm Park and Rec partnered with us for two events in the Kids’ Concert Series, and we were welcomed at German Park, the Community Center and the Civic Center for special programs. Local media outlets and businesses publicized our events.

Our library staff was invaluable to the program’s success. Staff members worked on displays, printed copies, folded fliers, changed their schedules, and in many other ways made sure the kids enjoyed their experiences at the library. A special mention goes to Children’s Aide Carla Fjeld, who took the reins of the children’s program this year; her creative ideas and enthusiasm were extraordinary.

To all of you: Thank you! Your efforts and contributions are appreciated.

Again, congratulations to our participants. We look forward to another great program in 2012!

August 8, 2011

History Buffs Invited to Join Discussion
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Do you read or listen to nonfiction history books? Do you wish you could discuss those books with others? If you answered yes to both questions, you’re in luck because New Ulm Public Library is starting a History Book Group.

Our first meeting is scheduled for Sept. 20 at 12 p.m. in the library’s meeting room. We will meet monthly on the third Tuesday over the noon hour. This program is open to the public, and participants are welcome to bring their lunch; water and coffee will be provided. No registration is necessary; just show up ready to share your thoughts on the pick of the month.

Speaking of picks, our first title is “North Country: The Making of Minnesota” by Mary Lethert Wingerd. This 2011 Minnesota Book Award winner in the Minnesota category is a comprehensive history of the land that became the state of Minnesota. Included are more than 170 illustrations. According to MinnPost, the book is “gracefully written, exhaustively researched and filled with amazing details and images.” It is a rather large book at 472 pages, but I couldn’t put it down. “North Country” gave me a new perspective on my adopted state.

In October, we’ll discuss another Minnesota Book Award winner, “Pale Horse at Plum Run: The First Minnesota at Gettysburg” by Brian Leehan.

To get a copy of these and future History Book Group selections, contact the library Reference Desk at 507-359-8335.

The library has two other book groups that are going strong. The Adult Book Discussion Group meets the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m. in the adult fiction area. Over the past year, the group has discussed everything from bestselling fiction to memoirs to general nonfiction. Join us for a discussion of “The Elegance of the Hedgehog,” a novel by Muriel Barbery, on Sept. 12.

The Teen Book Group meets monthly on a Friday (dates and times vary). On Aug. 12 at 2 p.m., the group will watch the film adaptation of “The Painted Veil” by W. Somerset Maugham. On Sept. 23 at 3:45 p.m., the group will participate in a Skype session with Amy Plum, author of “Die for Me,” a supernatural romance.

Copies of selections for the adult and teen groups are available by contacting me at 507-359-8334. To keep up with these library events, as well as all other library programming, visit our Web site at or check us out on Facebook. See you at the library!


August 1, 2011

So Many Magazines
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Our collection of magazines at the New Ulm Library is a mixture of general interest and special interest titles. Some of general interest include—Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Money, National Geographic, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Newsweek, New Yorker, People, Self, Time and Vanity Fair.

Special interest magazines we carry include—Astronomy, American History, Antiques Roadshow Insider, Bon Apetit, Discover, Golf, Invention & Technology, Mental Floss, Mother Earth News, Northern Gardener, Skateboarder, Threads, Watercolor and Working Mother.

Here’s five titles that you may not even know we have that might strike your fancy:

Birds & Blooms. If you love birds and flowers in your backyard, this magazine might be just for you. Profusely illustrated issues discuss everything to do with attracting birds to your backyard and making that yard more beautiful with flowers. The latest issue discusses readers all-time favorite plants, tips for attracting birds, North America’s favorite birds and composting “the lazy way.” Published bi-monthly.

Family Tree Magazine. These days many of us are interested in genealogy and this title will help you through the process of learning more about your ancestors. Filled with lots of links to resources and how to use them. The latest issue discusses ways to enhance your family history with video, offers a detailed review of the Web site, discusses the lighter side of family history and lists the 101 best Web sites for discovering your family history. Published monthly.

In-Fisherman. If you’re from Minnesota and you love fishing, you probably know this title. Billing itself as “The World’s Foremost Authority on Freshwater Fishing,” it offers articles on catching specific species including Walleyes, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Muskies and even Panfish. Each issue is well illustrated and filled with photos, maps, lures, and tips. Published 7x a year.

Saturday Evening Post. Did you know this one still existed? Founded in 1728 as the Pennsylvania Gazette by Benjamin Franklin, it became the Saturday Evening Post in 1821. Other than a brief cessation in the late 1960s, the Post has been pretty much continuously published for nearly three hundred years. The current issue has articles on what makes ordinary folks risk their lives for others, enjoying bicycle travel, the artistic Wyeth family and how to sleep better to get smarter. Published bimonthly.

WebMD. First known on the Web, WebMD is now also a magazine. It’s focus is on health and nutrition. The current issue has articles on the benefits of apricots, feeding kids their veggies, living with sickle cell anemia and why swimming is so good for your health. Published bi-monthly.

This is just a sampling from our magazine collection at the New Ulm Public Library. Stop in. You’ll likely find a general or special magazine of interest!

July 25, 2011


AllieCat’s Author
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

It was a Friday night in New Ulm. I found myself at the library, sitting next to a Minnesota Book Award-winning author (Jill Kalz) listening to a Mankato author (Rebecca Fjelland Davis) talk about her latest novel. It doesn’t get much better than that ... well, kinda it did, cuz Becky is such an engaging speaker, too.

“Chasing AllieCat” is a new young adult novel by Davis that takes place around Mankato that involves a wild ride, attempted murder, three fast friends, and too many secrets. (Now, I am so not a biker, although I enjoyed it as a kid. My husband loves biking for miles and/or hours, while I will ride a bike for errands and/or exercise (if I have to) and if I know how long and how far is involved before I commit.) And yet, reading this book had me flying down hills (with Sadie), standing on my pedals pumping uphill (with Joe), and riding over “corduroy roots” (with Allie). (Phrases such as “corduroy roots” grabbed my imagination and took me bumping over uneven ground, rising up off my seat just a little to prevent my teeth from rattling.)

Reading what an author writes lets the reader escape, go to new places, or revisit known places and see them with new eyes. Hearing an author speak pulls back the curtain, explains some of the whys, and lets the reader see the light bulb go on during the writing process. So listening to an author talk about her work and how her characters were brought to life can be a really amazing experience for a reader.

The evening progressed with laughter, brief readings, and the inside scoop. Becky shared the first paragraph that came to her (on a bike ride), although it isn’t the beginning of her book. Her books don’t come to her in an organized, A, B, C manner, and her ideas come from many places. This paragraph was about a girl biker (Allie) who has a terrific talent for riding, and yet Becky knew that if she told the story from Allie’s viewpoint, it would sound egotistical. So she immediately realized that she needed another character (Sadie) that would be telling the story. From there she found Sadie’s uncle (Scout), who was loosely based on an eccentric and amusing friend. (I dare you to read the scene about the cannon and not laugh out loud.) When Becky was on a walk in LeHillier, she found an area that seemed to serve as a dumping ground, and this generated another idea. She saw discarded shelves, couches, hubcaps, bottles, freezers, and the thought “you could hide a body in this mess” popped into her head. And so then she had a mystery, as well.

Junior and young adult fiction, by its nature, has kids front and center with parents relegated to the background. While the three teen main characters are trying to navigate their world, both as bikers and as people, the parents in this book have real personalities. I felt for overburdened Aunt Susan, and I liked the fact that Uncle Scout, for all of his goofing, is consistently a stand-up guy.

I was really astounded by the reality that authors don’t just have to write books (which I think is an amazing accomplishment in itself), they also have to sell them, first to a publisher, edit and rewrite, and then sell them again to an audience. An author shouldn’t just be called a writer but writer/advertiser/seller/oh, let-me-just-wash-the-dishes-too-while-I’m-at-it. Geez!

This book is a mystery, a romance, a drama, and an adventure. It does tackle more mature themes. But, truly, biker or not, anyone that has ever ridden a bike can be exhilarated by this ride. It was a fun Friday night: enjoyable and enlightening. I got home and asked my husband what he had done while I was gone, and he said: “I rode my bike.” I said: “Then you would have enjoyed this author.” Doug: “More than riding my bike?” Me: “Probably not – but for me – it was better.”


July 18, 2011

What’s Cooking?

by Linda Lindquist, Adult Services

When I started thinking about my article for this month, I knew that I wanted to do something with food. First I thought about doing just grilling but when I started looking at the new books, I found that we had several interesting books and they weren’t about grilling. So, here goes.

Let’s start with “From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce” put out by a group in Madison, Wisconsin, who support community agriculture. If you have a vegetable and don’t know how to fix it, this book will probably have a recipe for you. Along with the recipe(s), there are cooking tips and storage tips for all the vegetables as well. Check out your local farmers’ markets to see what interesting veggies they have for sale.

All of us want to eat healthy and one way that many persons are doing this is by eating foods that are raw. “Rawlicious: Delicious Raw Recipes for Radiant Health” by Peter and Beryn Daniel is just such a book. There are many raw recipes along with a well-written guide to preparing the foods and wonderful photographs to see what the end product looks like. There are recipes for soups, dressings, juices, cakes, main dishes, and more. There are simple to more complex recipes for any event. This looks like a very good book to help you get started eating ‘raw’.

Do you have children or special persons in your family that like to cook but are unable to read? We have a couple of books entitled “The Picture Cookbook: No-Cook Recipes for the special Chef” by Joyce Dassonville and Ehren McDow and “Visual Recipes: A Cookbook for Non-Readers” by Tabitha Orth to help your non-readers to cook. The recipes in these books include the ingredients that are needed and the tools needed to complete the task. There is a sequence of pictures so the cook can see the end result. Recipes include breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, soups, and salads. Adult supervision is necessary especially when handling sharp objects.

And we better not forget the grill. Everyone seems to enjoy grilling, and it doesn’t have to be just in the summertime. Grilling is no longer just for summer. I just chose one grilling book off the shelves at the library entitled “Everybody Grills!” put out by the Char-Broil Company. There are recipes for appetizers, snacks, beef, pork, poultry, fish, veggies, salads, and desserts. Just leafing through the book I found several recipes that I want to try on the grill.

If none of the above books appeal to you, there are many more at the library. Check out the 641s and see what’s cooking.

July 11, 2011


Use of Downloadable Library Materials Grows
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Statistics for the New Ulm Public Library on usage of our new downloadable e-books and audio-books collection are starting to come in. We are nearing two months since this collection became available and as of today our region has over 600 users who’ve checked out 1700 titles. New Ulm alone has 80 users who’ve checked out over 240 titles. There are over 1100 items in the collection. All in all, we’re pretty happy with usage so far. And with more and more people purchasing devices (iPads, Nooks, Sony e-Readers) capable of using this collection, we’re optimistic that usage will grow significantly in the next several months.

Speaking of devices, if you purchased a Kindle (one of the few devices that doesn’t work with our collection), there’s good news. Amazon (owner of Kindle) and OverDrive (our e-book vendor) have announced that by the end of the year, Kindle will also work with OverDrive collections. That means, your Kindle will soon work with our collection. Very good news.

The library would like to thank the anonymous New Ulm Public Library user who this week donated $500 towards the purchase of e-books for our collection. We’re stunned by this person’s generosity! Thank you so much! All donations are very much appreciated, whether they are enough for one book, or the 20-25 titles that our anonymous donor’s contribution will purchase.

Have you yet to purchase an e-reader? Do you feel like you’re being left behind? A recent Pew Research study indicated that 20% of the U.S. population has already purchased an e-reader, or tablet capable of reading e-books. While that’s pretty amazing, I’m sure there are many among the remaining 80% who wonder: What are e-books? What can I do with an e-Reader? What’s the fuss about e-Books?

On Tuesday, July 19 at 6:00 p.m., and again on Thursday, July 21 at 12:00 p.m., I will be conducting a program in the meeting room of the New Ulm Public Library on e-Readers for anyone interested in the subject. The program will be oriented towards beginners, but those with some experience (and questions) are welcome to attend.

Incidentally, the most popular fiction titles in the collection so far include: The Fifth Horseman by James Patterson, The Backup Plan by Sherryl Woods, 1-900-Lover by Rhonda Nelson, 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel, and Amber by Night by Sharon Sala. The most circulated nonfiction titles include Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, and Third World America by Arianna Huffington.

The Traverse des Sioux Regional Library System e-book and downloadable audio-book collection can be found at—

July 4, 2011


Mankato Author to Visit With Teens and Adults
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

I just finished the wild (bike) ride that is “Chasing AllieCat,” and I’m even more excited that author Rebecca Fjelland Davis will visit New Ulm Public Library on July 15.

I can’t wait to ask Davis about how her experience as a bike racer influences her writing; why she chose to set “Chasing AllieCat” in the LeHillier area of Mankato; and, most of all, how she so deftly can write about difficult situations.

But I’m going to have to wait my turn. First up, teens will have a unique opportunity to talk exclusively with Davis beginning at 3 p.m. on the 15th. All teens and 12-year-olds who will turn 13 this summer are invited to participate in this month’s Teen Book Group meeting, which will focus on “Chasing AllieCat.” Teens don’t have to be regular participants in the group to attend, and there is no need to RSVP – just show up with your enthusiasm, ideas and questions.

At 5:15 p.m. the general public, including teens, is invited to a reading and discussion with Davis. Both the teen and general public events will take place in the adult fiction section of the library. The library will remain open after normal operating hours for the second part of Davis’ visit; however, no circulation or reference services will be available.

At both programs, Davis will sell and sign copies of “Chasing AllieCat.” If readers want a copy ahead of her visit, contact me at 507-359-8334.

“Chasing AllieCat” opens with the discovery of an injured priest by three teens who are biking through the woods near the Blue Earth River. Sadie, the narrator, and Joe wait with the priest while AllieCat bikes away to call the authorities. Allie doesn’t return. The reader is taken back about a month and learns how the three young adults become friends. Then comes the longest day ever when the mystery of how Allie knows Father Malcolm and why she disappeared is revealed.

Readers who like action won’t be disappointed. The bike race scenes, in particular, are fantastic. When Sadie hits a rock and flies over the handlebars, I seconded her “Oof.” When she tells herself “Breathe, breathe,” I had to take a breath, too. Sadie’s race on Mount Kato is so realistic I want to see an actual race there.

“Chasing AllieCat” also includes a good dose of teen romance and an unflinching look into one teen’s terrible truth. It’s not all seriousness, though. Davis injects some levity with Sadie’s uncles, Civil War re-enactors who get their hands on a cannon.

There’s something for just about everyone in “Chasing AllieCat.” And the library’s events with author Rebecca Fjelland Davis are a great way to cap a fulfilling reading experience.


June 27, 2011

Books to Keep You Up at Night
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

So it’s summer. But these aren’t exactly beach reads. These are more the type of books that will keep a reader burning the midnight oil to read just one more page.

In Michael Koryta’s “The Ridge” a lighthouse stands in the middle of Kentucky. Even reading just that sentence, a reader’s brow might furrow. Why? Why a land-locked lighthouse? And who would build a lighthouse miles away from the sea? But there are the accidents, you see, the ones that happen in the dark. Most folks think they are accidents. Because accidents do happen. When the owner of a large cat preserve buys land nearby, things really start to get interesting. The big cats get extremely restless as dusk approaches, anxious in the dark. And then, Wyatt, the drunken sod who built the lighthouse, calls the Sheriff and asks the tough question: “Which would you try harder to solve, a homicide or a suicide?” before he hangs up. If you are a Dean Koontz fan, try “The Ridge.” It’s part mystery, part supernatural, with plenty of creepy questions to keep you reading.

“Before I Go to Sleep” by S. J. Watson is the story of a woman who has amnesia. Every day Christine wakes up; she doesn’t know who she is, where she is, or who the man beside her is. Her memory is gone. Every day her doting husband talks her through their lives, showing her pictures (well, the few they have since the fire). One day her doctor encourages her to start to keep a journal. Does that sound humdrum? Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh! This is anything but humdrum. As Christine reads and re-reads her journal, it slowly becomes clear who she can trust and who she cannot. And each night as she sleeps, she forgets what she has read and knows. But the reader knows, the reader remembers, and the reader increasingly becomes more frightened for her. As the tension mounts, every character’s actions become more sinister and suspect. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to get through this new novel. Unsettling, suspenseful, with intriguing insights into how the human mind works all come together in this tightly wound thriller.

With the popularity of “The Hunger Games” and “Matched,” dystopian novels are becoming the rage. “Ashes, Ashes” by Jo Treggiari is a young adult novel about post-apocalyptic New York, better known as New Venice since Harlem and Hudson Bay are now seas. Epidemics have wiped out 99 percent of the population, and Lucy is surviving on her own until a tsunami forces her to find other scavengers. Besides day-to-day dangers like roving packs of dogs and worries that the plague will recur, the group must always be vigilant for the Sweepers, people in haz-mat suits who raid shelters and kidnap people. What the purpose of these raids is no one knows. And even though she isn’t aware of it, there is something about Lucy that somebody wants.

If you want to jump into another place, another life, another time, open one of these books. They are guaranteed to take you away and just might keep you up reading longer than you intended.


June 20, 2011

Meow! Meow! Meow!
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide

June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) suggests ways to show your support for local animal shelters. Shelters are always in need of volunteers. Donating cat foods, toys, kitty litter and monetary donations help shelters to provide the care necessary for homeless animals. Always check with the shelter to see what is needed. Sponsor a fundraising event such as a pizza party, or a car wash to raise money. The American Humane Association reminds us of the ways cats enrich our lives. Cats are entertaining and affectionate. Watching them chase a ball, or other toys can help reduce your blood pressure. Cats are the independent type; give them food, water, a clean litter box, a soft bed to snuggle in and they are set!

If you have a cat or are interested in adopting a kitten or cat, the library has some books of interest. Cats have their own personalities. Barbara Holland’s “Secrets of the Cat” provides some insight as to why cats are the way they are. “The Secret Life of Your Cat” by Vicky Halls will “unlock the mysteries of your pet’s behavior.” I’d wager she never met my cat! Wondering what kind of cat to get? “Cat Facts” by Marcus Schneck and Jill Caravan describes cat breeds including an all-color guide. Chapters include caring for your cat, and how cats communicate by sound, body language, and facial expressions.

For those of us who have a cat (cats), you want to keep them happy and healthy. “Whole Health for Happy Cats” by Sandy Arora and “Cat Treat Recipes” by Michael Pollan offer tips on purchasing cat food as well as recipes for making your own healthy cat food and treats.

If you are not able to have a cat for whatever reasons, you will still enjoy the story of Dewey. Dewey is the true story of an abandoned cat found in the Spencer (Iowa) Public Library book drop. Dewey won the hearts of Spencer and so much more. Cats have earned the reputation of being not only inquisitive, but determined as well. These qualities make for good detectives as shown by the popular mysteries with cats as the key characters. Popular mystery authors featuring cats include Carole Nelson Douglas’ Midnight Louie mysteries; Susan Conant’s Cat Lover’s mysteries; Blaize Clement and her Dixie Hemingway mysteries. My favorite is Lilian Jackson Braun and her Cat Who series “starring KoKo and Yum Yum, two Siamese who share a home with newspaper man, Jim Qwilleran.

As Edgar Allan Poe once said “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” There’s lots to discover at your public library, let us introduce you to some of our favorite cats.

NOTE: The Brown County (MN) Humane Society is at 1301 South Valley Street, New Ulm, MN 56073. PH: 507-359-2312. Their Web site:


June 13, 2011


Downloadable Library Materials—What’s It to ‘Ya?
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

There’s a new collection of books at the Library, but you won’t find them on any book shelf. In fact, strictly speaking, you won’t even find them at the library. Sound strange? Maybe so, but it’s true. And this collection is available to you through your home computer and Internet connection anytime you want them. Intrigued?

The New Ulm Library and the other libraries in the nine counties of the Traverse des Sioux region recently contracted with OverDrive, a vendor of downloadable e-books and audiobooks, to provide access to such materials for our customers during the next three years. About $20,000 yearly of consortial money will go into adding materials to this collection. Currently, there are about 1,000 items in the collection which can be found by pointing your Web browser at: Our collection is a carefully crafted mixture of nonfiction, current fiction, audiobooks and children’s materials.

What do you need to start using this service? Well, to start with, you’ll need a home computer and an e-reader (for example, a “Nook”). There are over a hundred other devices that will also work with this new service; a list of these can be found at our Web site. You’ll also need to install some free software on your home computer, and authorize your device (check the Web site for instructions), but after that, the downloading can begin. Finally, you’ll need your library bar code number and the password associated with it, so if you don’t have a card, come in and get one. Generally your last name will be your password, but you can change it if you want to.

How does this service work? Well, here’s a practical example of how I used the service last weekend. I enjoy searching the used book collections available at Half-Price Books in the Twin Cities so I decided to drive up there on Saturday. But before setting out, I used my home computer to download the e-book “The Last Greatest Magician in the World” by Jim Steinmeyer. However, since I can’t read and drive at the same time, I also downloaded an audiobook called “Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan” by Jeff Greenfield. I then connected my Nook e-reader with the cable provided to my computer and downloaded the two books to the Nook. Voila! I could now read one book, or listen to the other anyplace I wanted to.

I hopped in my Ford Focus and using a simple cable, courtesy of my daughter (it’s the same cable she uses for her iPod), I connected the Nook to my car speakers getting some real volume. I then proceeded happily on my trip listening to the Jeff Greenfield compendium of alternative histories. In one of the book’s scenarios, Hubert Humphrey prevents World War III. Wow! That’s alternative history. I won’t tell you how that comes about though. You’ll have to read/listen to the Jeff Greenfield book yourself.

Once in Minneapolis I planned to have lunch with an old friend. But I was an hour early. What to do? Well, again the Nook beckoned me, but this time it was the biographical e-book I had downloaded about the magician Howard Thurston, a contemporary of Houdini, that I chose to read. I found a park, a nice tree with shade, and the hour went by quickly. In fact, it was hard pulling myself away from my reading of the backlit Nook, even with a friend waiting.

After lunch, and visiting several Half-Price Bookstores, I proceeded home, again listening to the audiobook on my Nook. Once back in New Ulm, I checked the battery for the Nook and found it only 50% discharged (you get about 8 hours with a charge). I plugged it in to charge for my next trip, and proceeded to the New Ulm Country Club for a round of golf. After all, there’s more to life than reading and listening to books!

P.S. The library has flyers on our new OverDrive e-books and audiobooks service. Stop in if you need one!


June 6, 2011

What’s Happening in June
by Linda Lindquist, Adult Services

June is here and many people have planned weddings for this time of year. But June isn’t just for weddings. Here are a few other celebrations that may be of interest to you taking place in the month of June.

Get your thinking caps on; the Minnesota Inventors Congress is coming to Redwood Falls at the Redwood Area Community Center on June 10-11, 2011. Inventors young and old come from all parts of the world to exhibit their inventions. To find out more about this event, go to

How about an ice cream day (or days for that matter)? LeMars, Iowa, has a celebration in June (June 15-18, 2011) that includes a parade, car show, children’s activities, drive-in movie, basketball tournament, 5k run, fishing derby, band concert, and much more. LeMars has the distinction of being called the “Ice Cream Capital of the World”. For more information about this event, go to We also have a book at the New Ulm Public Library entitled “Off the Beaten Path” published by Reader’s Digest which mentions this and many more festivals that take place all over the United States.

Or if you are not into ice cream, how about traveling to Ohio to check out the duct tape festival. This year the festival will be held on June 17-19 in Avon, Ohio, known as the Duct Tape Capital of the World. This fun-filled weekend includes sculptures, fashion items, games, and a parade revolving around duct tape. We have the following books at the library on duct tape: “Got Tape?” by Ellie Shiedermayer, “The Jumbo Duct Tape Book” by Jim Berg, and “Ductigami: the Art of the Tape” by Joe Wilson. Duct tape isn’t just for holding things together anymore.

Listen up all you baby boomers—a special day to commemorate your contributions is also celebrated in June. Maybe you are successful in business, a well-known doctor, the most wonderful teacher a child ever had, the best parent in the world, etc. It doesn’t matter what your profession, June 21 is the day to celebrate those accomplishments.

On June 24, 2011, celebrate by taking a dog to work (maybe you should check with your employer before doing this). Dogs are great companions and everyone is encouraged to check your local animal shelter to see about adopting a companion for your home.

And to round out the moth, how about joining in on the Great American Backyard Campout. This is an annual event falling on the fourth Saturday in June. This year that date is June 25th. The National Wildlife Federation encourages people of all ages to get outside and camp. You don’t have to go far; even your own backyard can become a campsite. June is a great month to get outdoors and enjoy the wonderful weather and all the events that take place during the month.

May 30, 2011


Travel the World at the Library This Summer!
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

The Summer Reading Program is about to begin. With the theme “One World, Many Stories,” this year’s program will have an international flavor.

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 also is included on our Web site at Registration begins Monday, June 6, when the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library will hand out treats to all kids who register after 9:30 a.m. while supplies last. 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 6 and August 4. The pre-readers (AKA read-to-me’s) 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 receive a book and be eligible to win 1 of 10 grand prizes.

In addition, we have other activities that encourage kids to be creative and have fun. On Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m., storytimes will entertain kids from ages 2 to 6; kids of all ages who enjoy stories are welcome. Various means of transportation will be hidden in the Children’s Room for kids to find. The bulletin board will include world landmarks to identify. Mobiles will hang from the ceiling; identify the book represented and the location where the book takes place. Small prizes will be awarded for all activities. We also will have crossword puzzles, word finds and coloring sheets available every day.

We have contests, too. Travel Trivia questions will be posted every week with winners selected from all correct answers submitted throughout the summer. Our one jar, many buttons jar is full, and kids can guess how many buttons are in it. Everyone who loves to draw can enter our Fantastic Voyage Art Contest.

Special events will entertain all interested kids and their parents. In June, we’ll be entertained by Magician Star Michaelina, and we will experience Narren Dance Lessons, folk singers Betty and Ocho, and World of Science-Many Countries. July brings Pint Size Polkas. August features Peter Bloedel’s Perpetual Vaudeville Show.

If you’re looking for good books to read, check out our list of recommendations by other kids. Each week, picks will be posted in the Children’s Room. Add your book choice to the list and receive a small prize.

New Ulm Public Library is fortunate to receive major funding for the 2011 Summer Reading Program from the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library; an anonymous family donation; a Venture Grant from the Brown County United Way; and the Traverse des Sioux Library System through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Thanks, donors!

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 fun.


May 23, 2011


Teens Invited to Participate in Summer Reading Program
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

The Summer Reading Program for Teens is bigger and better than ever in 2011.

The teen program, whose theme is You Are Here, runs from June 6 through Aug. 4. Young adults ages 13-18, and 12-year-olds who will turn 13 on or before August 31, are eligible. On June 6, teens who register beginning at 9:30 a.m. will receive a voucher for a treat provided by Friends of the New Ulm Public Library while supplies last.

Once teens have registered, they should log each book read during the summer on a piece of scratch paper provided at the library. Drop each piece of paper 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. The grand prize is a flip video camera courtesy of the Friends of the Library.

In addition, teens can play Library BINGO. Pick up a BINGO card in the young adult area, complete a task, and ask a library staff member to sign off on that square. Turn in the card when you have a BINGO. Winners will be selected randomly from all completed entries.

There also will be four games to play during the summer. The games, including a crossword puzzle and famous Canadians quiz, 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. Each winner will receive a book of his or her choosing.

For the first time, teens will be eligible to enter the library’s Art Contest. This year’s theme is “Fantastic Voyage.” Artists can use pencils, crayons, markers, chalk and/or paint and embellish their work with three-dimensional objects to create a unique piece. All submitted artwork will be displayed in the library’s entryway.

Mark your calendars for fun programs in conjunction with the Summer Reading Program. On June 13 at 2 p.m., the library is partnering with New Ulm Park & Rec for a tie-dye workshop on the grounds of the New Ulm Community Center. On June 15 at 2 p.m., Teen AnimeFest will include a hands-on kendo demonstration from Lee’s Champion Tae Kwon Do Academy of Mankato; there also will be an anime film and Naruto Wii. On July 15 at 3 p.m., Rebecca Fjelland Davis, author of “Chasing AllieCat,” will join the teen book discussion and sign copies of her book. Also, there will be Teen Game Time, Teen Craft Day, and three teen-only movies shown throughout the summer.

The Summer Reading Program, with its special events and prizes, really is an incentive to read. To that end, check our shelves for the latest summer reads, and don’t forget our displays of favorite books chosen by local teens.

There’s something for every teen this summer at the library. Read; log your books; play Library BINGO; enter the art contest; attend special events – and have fun!


May 16, 2011


Buzz from the Backroom
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions & Kris Wiley, Assistant Director

A couple of weeks ago, we had an author event here in New Ulm.

William Kent Krueger is a Minnesota author of mystery novels. Other authors we welcomed at the library have said he is one of the best. From the way his books won’t stay on the library shelves, many readers seem to agree.

I worked the night he spoke and still kick myself for not taking vacation to hear him. I did have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Krueger when I walked over to Sven and Ole’s Books for Mr. Krueger’s book signing in the afternoon. Store owner Sven Eelma himself greeted me when I walked in, and he graciously showed me around his store, as I had not yet seen his new location. Krueger’s books were in a separate rack to purchase, and I chose one to have autographed. It was an added bonus for the library that Sven was giving a percentage of Krueger’s books sold to our Friends of the Library.

I waited for my turn to meet Mr. Krueger and found him to be so down to earth and friendly. Many librarians spend their free time reading and then recommending good books to patrons. So an analogy for a librarian meeting an author is sort of like a groupie meeting a rock star. I tend to get tongue-tied. So I stuttered something inarticulate about my husband loving Krueger’s work (which is true), and Krueger wrote something inside my purchase and said, “Don’t read this until you give it to your husband.” So later that night, when I gave the book to Doug, I was amazed at Krueger’s lovely and gracious words. “To Doug, a man who married well. Lucky guy!” Rock star, right?

Again, I kick myself for not hearing him speak more than I did. While I was at the bookstore, he was funny, engaging, friendly and willing to talk about his characters and his writing. But he also listened to the people who came to see him and seemed genuinely interested in New Ulm and the people here.

Betty’s right – she should have taken the evening off. Mr. Krueger’s presentation was everything I hoped for: interesting, reflective and witty. He talked about how he started writing and his struggles to become an established writer (he published his first book in his late 40s). He even gave the audience a sneak peek into an upcoming release, “Ordinary Grace,” a standalone novel that is set in a fictionalized New Ulm. Krueger said it’s his best work to date. I think his Cork O’Connor books are great, so I’m looking forward to this new venture. After the formal presentation, Krueger signed books and visited with every person who stopped by his table.

Mr. Krueger epitomized what every visiting author brings to an event: passion for the written word. Betty and I focused on one program, but I’m here to tell you that each author event is a special experience. Just as each writer is unique, so is each program. One might focus on reading the published work; another may share experiences with publishing; yet another may talk about the research involved in writing. All of the authors are passionate about what they do and about sharing it with readers.

We are incredibly fortunate to have access to so many excellent writers – and that they’re willing to share their gift. The library will continue to be host to author readings and presentations, and we invite you to join us. Become an author groupie.


May 9, 2011


Summer Reading Program--CONTINUED
Larry Hlavsa, Director

Each spring of the past few years, library staff has worried that the Library’s Summer Reading Program would not survive another year. Four years ago our programming budget at New Ulm Library was $6,000; it’s now $1,000. The good news is that everyone seems to agree that putting on a quality Summer Reading Program is of immense benefit to the children of New Ulm. Last year, 936 kids participated in the Summer Reading Program with 49% finishing the goals of the program. It was a new record total for participation in the program!

The budget for each yearly Summer Reading Program is about $3,000. This amount covers summer reading performers, books & other prizes, camps, art materials, printing & other costs. We’re happy to report that each year individuals or groups have stepped up to help us make sure the Summer Reading Program for that year was as successful as the previous one. The program has grown each year despite our budget difficulties. This is due partly to the continued funding from outside sources, but also to the dedicated work of Children’s Librarian, Diane Zellmann, her assistant, Carla Fjeld, and other library staff.

This year, the 2011 program faces the added difficulty of having said farewell to our children’s librarian due to retirement last March. In another cost-saving measure, we have decided the children’s librarian will not be replaced until at least September, and then, the position may be reduced to half-time. We’re still working out how to save money, while not adversely affecting children’s services.

Our lack of a full-time children’s librarian this summer is going to have some impact on the program for 2011, but not as much as you might think. We won’t be having camps this year, but the performers will be back, as will book prizes, games and other prizes. And, oh yes, the reading program will still be the anchor of our efforts.

This summer we’d like to credit those who have provided funding for the 2011 program including; a Venture Grant from the Brown County United Way ($1800), an anonymous New Ulm donor family ($1,000), the Friends of the New Ulm Library ($1,000), $750 from our City programming budget with some additional funding from the Travers des Sioux Library System through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The generosity of these organizations and individuals have insured the 2011 program will go on and have given us a leg up on the 2012 program as well.

The 2011 Summer Reading Program will start on June 6th with “cookies from other countries” available on opening day. We hope to see lots of kids and parents on opening day!


May 2, 2011

25-cent words
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

We all know books are made up of words, and some authors put them together better than others. It’s the use of words that can make a book a pleasure to read.

I picked up a book recently as the plot grabbed my attention. In the first pages I read this: “He looks up and then averts his lovely, tenebrous* eyes.” I stopped. I had never heard or read the word “tenebrous.” I thought: “Great. This writer will challenge me.” I kept reading and shortly ran across another word I didn’t know, wrote it down, kept reading, and was jerked out of the story once again because of an unusual word. This time I thought to myself, “You know, there are so many books I want to read in my limited lifetime. I don’t need this awkward use of words pulling me out of a story.”

Wondering if I gave up too early, I looked up reviews on Amazon and read another reader’s appraisal, which reinforced my feelings. Someone wrote: “…the author seemed to be working overtime throwing ‘25 cent words’ into the story. I have a pretty good vocabulary and not only were there words used that I don't hear/read very often, there were words I could not remember having read before (tenebrous, nubilous, kilim… just in the first 20 pages or so...” Once I read this, I felt vindicated and felt no guilt in closing this book.

Then I opened “The Diviner’s Tale” by Bradford Morrow. It is about a woman who is a dowser, a water witch, someone who divines where water or mineral deposits can be found on someone’s land. Cassandra is dowsing in the woods when she looks up to find a girl hanging from a tree. Cassandra brings the police to the site only to find that there is nothing and no one there. With her strange forevisioning reputation, it is commonplace for others to whisper about her behind her back and question her mental state. She is like the Cassandra of mythology, who was doomed to have the gift of prophecy and have no one believe her. Yet the sheriff steadfastly trusts her, and so they go back into the forest, and this time they find something.

While the story spurred me forward, the author’s mastery of language made me want to read slower to have this book last longer. While the first book I mentioned (but won’t name) was awkwardly written, this book was almost like reading poetry. I had not read Bradford Morrow before. This man is a wordsmith. This novel flows in a really lovely way. Even if the story has been lousy (and it so wasn’t), I don’t think I could have stopped reading it.

He creates an image with very few words: “The sky was loaded with stars. Blizzarded by them.” I loved how the use of a name made into a new word encompasses the loss in the family: “If it hadn’t been for Christopher’s death, I probably would not have been raised by my father like I was. In Rosalie’s grieving absence, my dad and I reinvented our kinship. He was far too wise to bury his own sorrow by attempting to transform me into some factitious son, tomboy though I admittedly and perhaps inevitably was. High-spirited and gregarious, a magnet to a constant stream of friends, my brother had been nothing like his introverted sister… [Dad] did his level best not to Christopherize me.” And here his frugality of words is enough to describe a character: “Partridge probably looked like an old man from the day he was born. One of those people who has an antique demeanor from crib to crypt.”

Ironically, while I was reading I came upon one of the words that annoyed me in the first book I mentioned, and I started to laugh because in “The Diviner’s Tale” it was woven in, in such a way that was entirely smooth and understandable. “The Diviner’s Tale” is about a woman who discovers water, and it is also a tale about people finding their way through their lives no matter what is thrown at them. I found this book to be worth savoring on several levels and not at all tenebrous.

*[Tenebrous means shadowy, or gloomy.]


April 25, 2011


Check Out William Kent Krueger in Person
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Director

Within a week of taking my position at the library, I was approached about scheduling a program with William Kent Krueger, author of the award-winning Cork O’Connor mystery series. Nearly two years after that request, I’m pleased to announce that Krueger will visit New Ulm on May 5.

Krueger will sign books from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at Sven and Ole’s Books, 2 N. Minnesota St. At 7:30 p.m., there will be an hour-long presentation followed by a book signing at Wittenberg Collegiate Center Auditorium on the Martin Luther College campus, 1995 Luther Court. Books will be available for purchase. Both events are free and open to the public; seating is first come, first served.

This project is made possible by a grant provided by the Traverse des Sioux Library System and was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.

Since this event was announced within the library, Krueger’s books have been flying off the shelves, and the feedback has been outstanding. Readers say they enjoy the Cork O’Connor series because of its detailed descriptions of the Iron Range, the Boundary Waters, and Lake Superior and because O’Connor is a believable character. Part Ojibwe, part Irish, O’Connor’s heritage plays a large role in how he perceives himself. Family is important to him, and many of the storylines involve his wife and three children.

If possible, read the series in order. There is a natural evolution of characters, and readers will find themselves turning the pages faster and faster to find out how each book ends. Krueger is a multiple winner of the Minnesota Book Award, and his most recent O’Connor book, “Vermilion Drift,” was a finalist in the Genre Fiction category. Look for the 11th book in the series, “Northwest Angle,” in September.

As for the presentation, I have it on good authority that Krueger will provide a sneak peek of his 2012 book, “Ordinary Grace,” which is set in a fictionalized New Ulm. This is not in the Cork O’Connor series but, according to Krueger’s Web site, it “may be the best thing I’ve ever written. … Set in the summer of 1961 in a small town in southern Minnesota, it is, on the surface, the story of a Methodist minister whose beloved child is murdered. But the real story is how that tragedy affects his faith, his family, and, ultimately, the entire fabric of the town in which he lives.”

Whether you’re a longtime Krueger fan or just finding out about him, his New Ulm visit will be a treat.


April 18, 2011


United States of Amnesia?
by Larry Hlavsa, Director

I love Gore Vidal’s work. His historical novel entitled “Lincoln” is one of my favorites. But Mr. Vidal also writes a lot about politics, and one of the more provocative comments to come out of his mouth recently (and there have been many provocations during his long career) was in a recent documentary called ”Why We Fight.” The documentary deals with the effects of the military-industrial complex on American life. Vidal’s comment was fleeting and consisted of his saying: “We live in the United States of Amnesia.” His postulate was that Americans have a unique propensity for forgetting their history. Vidal further ventured that we don’t remember our history from last week, much less that of thirty or forty years ago.

Of course, reading history in no way guarantees learning from it, but the lack of reading history almost certainly guarantees forgetfulness, if not amnesia. I was a history major in college and I’ve continued to read history throughout my life. I like to think I continually learn from it. Here are a few histories in our collection for you to consider in your efforts to avoid historical amnesia:

“American-Made: the Enduring Legacy of the WPA” by Nick Taylor (2008). In 1935, a devastated America with 13 million unemployed rebuilt itself under the Works Progress Administration. Did WPA really mean “We Piddle Around,” or did it play a vital part in bringing us out of the Depression?

“Maverick Marine: General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History” by Hans Schmidt (1987). Never heard of Smedley Butler? You’re not alone. Yet he is a man who may have saved American Democracy from a fascist coup in 1933. Well done biography of this two-time Medal of Honor winner who later in life would become a devoted anti-imperialist.

“America Aflame : How the Civil War Created a Nation” by David Goldfield (2011). Presents new thoughts on how the carnage of the Civil War might have been avoided, while achieving the same result; that is, the end of slavery. Goldfield also explores how, for the first time in our fledgling nation's history, evangelical religion became entwined with politics, contributing not to compromise, but to war.

“The Radicalism of the American Revolution” by Gordon S. Wood (1991). No, this title isn’t new, but perhaps the ideas in it are. Ever consider the radical roots of American democracy? One reviewer says of the revolution—“It was a revolution of the mind, in which the concept of equality, democracy, and private interest grasped by hundreds of thousands of Americans transformed a country nearly overnight.” Did the founders expect their successors would become conservatives or remain radicals?

Remember what Pulitzer-prize winning historian David McCullough once said—“A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia.” We have lots of history at the New Ulm Public Library. Come find some!


April 11, 2011

Listen my children and you will hear…
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide

“Listen my children and you will hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” I’ve always loved that line from Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.” For me poetry is art in motion. When I read or hear “Paul Revere’s Ride,” I can see the horse, the steeple outlined in the dark sky, and even hear the sounds of horse’s hooves. I am no expert on poetry, but poetry speaks to us in a way prose cannot. Using fewer words, a poet paints a story for us. April is National Poetry Month and we are celebrating at the library.

As part of a month long celebrarion the library will have book spine poetry on display. Simple poems are constructed using books titles found on the spine of books. An example is “Lost to Time” “2-at-a-Time Socks” “ 24-Hour Knitting Projects”. There display of poetry books is in the non-fiction area. Books on display include “Where One Voice Ends Another Begins, 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry” edited by Robert Hedin. A brief biography of the poet accompanies the poems. Bill Holm’s “Playing the Black Piano”and “Songs for the Earth” by Leonard Gibbs are two more books to check out. Gibbs says his inspiration is found in the natural beauty of the world, especially the hill country he calls home. Joan Johnson Baeza describes “Eagles at Noon” as who I am. The poet was born in New Ulm on April 28, 1931. In 1949 she moved with her parents to Arizona. Since then she has had an intersting life reflected in her poetry. Other poets highlighted this month include Emily Dickinson, Mayo Angelou, Walt Whitman, and Henry Wadswoth Longfellow. There are also books about poetry including “How to Interpret Poetry,” Frances Mayes’ “The Discovery of Poetry,” and Ted Kooser’s “The Poetry Home Repair Manual.”

We are encouraging everyone to read, write or listen to a poem. Thursday April 14 is Poem in Your Pocket Day! Stop by the library for a poem for your pocket. Pocket poems will be available at the circulation desk. Share a poem with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Hear, see and feel the poets words come alive.

“Moments, like monarch butterflies migrate, But never disappear.”

This line from Will Marwitz’ poem take me back to Fort Ridgely State Park and seeing monarchs gather before they move on. That memory in turn reminds me of other moments that are sometimes misplaced, but never really disappear. Come for a poetry reading on Saturday April 16 at 1:00 pm. when Will Marwitz of St. Cloud will read from and sign copies of his poetry collection “Turning the Cup.” Mr. Warnitz is an adjunct at St. John’s/St Benedict’s. Copies of his book will be available for purchase.

So visit your public library and “listen my children and you will hear…”


April 4, 2011


Library Going Into OverDrive With Electronic Materials
Kris Wiley, Assistant Director

Downloadable E-books and audiobooks are coming to New Ulm Public Library! We realize there will be lots of questions about this service, so keep reading for more information.

1. What are E-books?
E-books are electronic books. The contents of an electronic book can be downloaded and read on a computer or a small, portable device. Some of the most popular devices are the NOOK from Barnes and Noble, iPad from Apple, and Sony Reader.

2. How can I take advantage of downloadable E-books and audiobooks?
You must have a computer or a compatible device. For a list of such devices, go to IMPORTANT NOTE: The Kindle device from Amazon is not compatible with this service.

3. Who is the provider of E-book and audiobook content?
The service the Traverse des Sioux Library System has contracted with is OverDrive, which works with thousands of libraries around the world and provides more than 500,000 downloadable titles from more than 1000 publishers. Find out more about OverDrive at TdS received a $30,000 grant from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation, which will provide one year of OverDrive’s service to all libraries in the regional library system.

4. How do I download E-books and audiobooks?
The library will provide handouts with step-by-step instructions for using OverDrive. In a nutshell, OverDrive will create a Web site that you will access much like online shopping. You will “check out” titles, download them to your computer, and transfer the title to your portable device. After a certain number of days, the items you have checked out will expire and will not work on your computer or portable device. You will have to “renew” the title to regain access to it. To see an example of an OverDrive-designed Web site, go to North Mankato Taylor Library’s Digital Media Catalog at

5. Do I need a personal computer to use this service?
For most portable devices, the answer is yes, you need a computer, which works as an intermediary between OverDrive and your portable device. This includes the NOOK. There are a select few devices on which OverDrive titles can be downloaded directly, such as the iPad.

6. What types of books and audiobooks will be available?
Expect a variety of adult fiction and nonfiction, young adult, and even children’s materials. Your suggestions are welcome. E-mail us, call the library, or stop in to let us know what you would read on your portable device.

7. When will this service be available?
The target date for launch is mid- to late May.

8. Will the library still buy physical books?
YES! The library remains committed to providing materials in their physical format; however, we recognize the growing popularity of electronic materials and are excited to provide this new service.

9. How long will the OverDrive service be available at the library?
That’s really up to you, the users. If you take advantage of our digital library and “check out” lots of items, our decision to continue the service will be relatively easy.

If your question hasn’t been answered here, talk to a staff member. The library is excited to offer free E-books and audiobooks and hopes – if you have a computer or compatible device – that you take advantage of this service!


March 28, 2011

Eeek, mice, mouses…whatever, EEEK!
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

There is no way to break this news other than revealing it. The library has a mouse. Well, actually more than one so that would be mice. At least, I don’t believe the plural is mouses. Whatever. Anyway, the point is we have them. Maybe it would be in the public’s best interest to know what we plan to do with them.

We plan to loan them out. This is our plan because these are exceedingly special mice. These are magnifying mice, mouses, whatever.

And ironically, it was Lions that introduced these mice to the library. You would think they would be mortal enemies. But no. The Lions especially like these mouses, mice, whatever… because the Lions are a group that supports sight programs since they want everyone to see a better tomorrow.

The Lions Club of New Ulm donated our first magnifying mouse approximately a year ago. It is a small portable magnifier called the MonoMouse. It plugs into a television and then when scrolled over words it shows the enlarged text on the TV screen. Many with sight difficulties would be able to easily read books and newspapers and magazines in this way.

Just a few months ago, the Lions surprised us with another electronic reading aid called the Mattingly Mouse. This mouse is also compatible with any TV/monitor using video input. It, too, is a magnifier, but, additionally, it shows full color! It is light, convenient, ergonomic, and easy to use.

These mouses, er, mice, whatever, are residing at the circulation desk and may be checked out for three weeks. There has been a lot of interest in our first one, and we have hopes that the newer version will be just as popular. If anyone in the public is interested in placing a hold on either of these mice, mouses, whatever, doing a subject search with the words “low vision” in Brown County will bring up these records and enable holds to be placed. Or you can just make a request with one of our librarians. It’s as simple as that.

So if you hear the library has mice, mouses, whatever, well, don’t be timid, come in and check one out. They make continuing reading easy. For these gifts we would like to thank the New Ulm Lions Club for its continued generosity.

As a postscript I would also like to thank the anonymous donors who have recently given the library the newest Jodi Picoult book, many lovely current large print titles, and great brand-new paranormal romances. These gifts take some pressure off the fiction budget and help get popular titles out to fill requests. The faster we get books out into the patron’s hands, the better we serve the public’s needs. So I’ll end with heartfelt thank yous to the Lions Club and everyone else who generously donates to the New Ulm Public Library.


March 21, 2011


Awesome Arts for Families
by Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian

Do you know an awesome child between the ages of three and twelve? I bet you do. Our library is the location for an exciting opportunity for children called Awesome Arts Creativity Activities (AACA).

We invite children and their parents or caregivers to participate in this special event on Saturday, March 26, 2011, from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon. It will take place in the basement meeting room of the New Ulm Public Library.

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is bringing this traveling program to New Ulm as the first of several future programs planned. The AACA instructors hope to engage children from ages three to twelve in the fun of artistic expression. They will help families learn the vocabulary of art and help children develop critical thinking skills. The museum will provide all materials for this event, free of charge. Also, the instructors will encourage families to replicate additional art activities at home, using traditional and nontraditional materials.

No registration is required. This is a drop-in program. Materials are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council and the Traverse des Sioux Library System are making this special event possible through grants funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.

In other library news, the final storytime of our current session is scheduled for Thursday, March 31, 2011. Storytime will begin again in June when the Summer Reading Program starts.

This is the last “Off the Shelf” article that I will be writing. My career as the Children’s Librarian is coming to an end since I plan to retire, effective at the end of this month. I will miss the children, their parents and caregivers, and all the other wonderful people that I have met here in the library. I will, however, have more time to read books. Now that is a pleasant thought!

March 14, 2011

It’s Been Awhile!
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide

This past weekend I saw something in the backyard I hadn’t seen for awhile, the backyard! The snow has been so deep it was nearly reaching the top of the chain link fence. It amazing what the sun can do in just a few days. Well, it got me thinking about the vegetable and flower gardens, and the raspberry patch. After the snow this winter, I won’t mind cutting the grass this summer, or digging in the garden.

We don’t have a large garden, so I try to make use of all the space available. There are many books on gardening, not only vegetable and flower gardening, but making your garden area a tranquil retreat or family gathering place.

Better Homes and Gardens “Step-By-Step Yard and Garden basics” had ideas for a great front yard, lawn care, trees and shrubs and mulching. “Garden Mosaics” by Becky Paton has some unique mosaic projects including a recycled concrete planter, dragonfly, and butterfly garden art. The author has detailed instructions and photos to help make your projects a success. Keith Davitt’s book “Small Spaces Beautiful Gardens” has lots of small garden wisdom, for example, “Learn to love container gardening when in-ground planting is unsuitable.” Another bit of shared is to “Design meandering pathways to engender an element of surprise and discovery.”

For those with children, grandchildren, or a child filled neighborhood, “Great Gardens for Kids” will provide you with lots of bright, colorful kid-friendly projects for the garden.

This is a great book for encouraging kids to enjoy gardening. Not only do kids and adults enjoy the gardens, area deer do too. “Deerproofing Your Yard and Garden” by Rhonda Massingham Hart offers suggestions on plants deer really hate, homemade deterrents that work, as well as fencing options.

Don’t forget next summer when the vegetables and fruits are overflowing. There are books on preserving the harvest. A newer book “The Complete Guide to Food Preservation” by Angela Williams Duea has step-by step directions on freezing, drying, and canning the garden produce. The book is easy to understand and is well illustrated.
So, before the snow melts, and before you buy the seeds and plants, stop by the library for lots of gardening ideas.

March 7, 2011


Celebrate Irish Writers
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

March is Irish-American Heritage Month, the perfect time to celebrate Irish writers. The Emerald Isle has produced some of the greatest names in literature, from James Joyce to William Butler Yeats to Jonathan Swift.

Contemporary Irish authors are carrying on this proud literary tradition. Whether it’s the writings of award winners Anne Enwright and John Banville or the legendary William Trevor, the beautiful landscape and the unique personality of the Irish people come alive on the page. Following are several personal favorites.

Roddy Doyle has penned screenplays, children’s books and short stories. He won the Man Booker Prize, awarded for the best full-length novel written in English by a citizen of what was the (British) Commonwealth or Ireland, for “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha,” about the life of a 10-year-old Dublin boy. “The Woman Who Walked Into Doors,” told from the perspective of Paula Spencer, a battered wife who continues to love her husband even as she realizes she and her children can’t continue to suffer his abuse, is haunting. Pick up Paula’s story 10 years later in “Paula Spencer.”

Tana French is the author of three books in the Dublin Murder Squad series. It is not necessary to read them in order; in fact, the most recent release, “Faithful Place,” just may be the best. Frank Mackey left his family and life behind when he was 19 and apparently jilted by his girlfriend. More than 20 years later, Frank, now a police detective, finds out Rosie was killed, and he must face not only the truth of her disappearance but the dysfunctional family he turned his back on. French’s books weave the past and present well, and the unraveling of family secrets makes them page-turners. The first two books in the series are “In the Woods” and “The Likeness.”

Banville writes the Quirke series under the pen name Benjamin Black. Black’s mysteries transport the reader to 1950s Dublin, where pathologist Garret Quirke uncovers corruption and conspiracies in “Christine Falls,” “The Silver Swan” and “Elegy for April.” These aren’t fast-paced thrillers; rather, the plot unfolds elegantly as does Quirke’s character. He’s a hard-drinking, hard-living man, but this reader finds his evolution believable. There’s just enough time to read the first three before the next in the series, “A Death in Summer,” is released in July.

Books by these and other Irish authors are on display near the circulation desk, so pick one up – and may the luck o’ the Irish be with you!

February 27, 2011


Lincoln Takes the Stage
Larry Hlavsa, Director

If you thought you’d missed your chance to hear President Abraham Lincoln speak, you’re wrong! On March 3rd at 7:00 p.m. in the New Ulm Public Library meeting room, “Lincoln Takes the Stage” and will be speaking about his recollections from birth through his first inauguration on March 4, 1861. That’s almost exactly one hundred-fifty years ago!

Okay, the truth is it’s not really Abe, but a talented impersonator named Dale Blanshan who comes to us from Rochester, Minnesota. Dale has spoken before library, school and history society audiences throughout Minnesota. We’re lucky to be getting him the day before Abraham Lincoln’s 150th inauguration anniversary. We hope you’ll come to the library for this very special event.

“Lincoln Takes the Stage” is made possible by a grant provided by the Traverse des Sioux Library System and was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.

Incidentally, there have been over 13,000 books published about Abraham Lincoln, and I doubt that total includes children’s materials. Of course, the New Ulm Library has a number of items on Abraham Lincoln, both adult and children’s materials. Here’s a partial listing of some recent titles:

--Lincoln's Way : How Six Great Presidents Created American Power by Richard Striner (2010)
--Abraham Lincoln by George S. McGovern(2009)
--1864 : Lincoln at the Gates of History by Charles Flood (2009)
--Lincoln's Melancholy : How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua W. Shenk (2005)
--Team of Rivals : the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2005)
--Lincoln and the Sioux uprising of 1862 by Hank H. Cox (2005)
--What Lincoln Believed : the Values and Convictions of America's Greatest President by Michael Lind (2005)
--"We Are Lincoln Men" : Abraham Lincoln and His Friends by David Herbert Donald (2003)

February 20, 2011


Moon over Manifest / Hunger Games
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

I’ve said it before: If you are not reading junior and young adult books, you are missing out on some of the most inventive, interesting, and thought-provoking books that are on the market today. These authors are not writers who cannot make it in the adult world. They choose to write for their audience, and they are pushing young people to think for themselves.

Just open “Moon Over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool. Meet Abilene Tucker, a young girl in the Depression years who jumps trains with her dad as he looks for work; that is, until he sends her to stay in Manifest, Kansas. Abilene has a distinctive voice – a sort of female Huck Finn. She is a streetwise, independent individual, and as she makes her way around Manifest making friends, she also meets the local Medium, finds a cigar box filled with trinkets and old, yellowed letters (my cubicle-mate knows I have a curiosity easily piqued by old letters), and unearths old stories and secrets as she tries to “find” her father in the town.
Vanderpool develops alternating time periods: 1918 and 1938, in the same town, giving you pieces of each so that the story is slowly filled in. As interesting as Abilene is, the action that takes place during the First World War is equally fascinating, and the pages almost turn themselves as the reader waits for the information from the parallel time periods to mesh. There is history here: orphan trains, snake oil con men, immigrants settling in America, the Depression, the clan, the war, and more.

I will let Vanderpool speak for herself, as her words are what captivated me in the first place. Here are a couple of examples: “Hearing Gideon tell about it was like sucking on butterscotch. Smooth and sweet.” And “Jinx watched the ground rush by in the late-afternoon light. He’d jumped from enough boxcars to know that the jumping was easy. It was the landing that could present a problem.” The voices in this book made it a great read.

And as long as I am talking about being hijacked by an author, if you haven’t read Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” trilogy yet, what are you waiting for? This type of book has been done before, but no one has done it quite like Collins; she has put a new spin on dystopian worlds and made it her own. Katniss and Peeta are characters that speak to your heart. In Katniss’ world, 12 districts work and starve while the Capital wines and dines. Once a year, two tributes are “elected” to represent their district in the hunger games, which is a televised fight to the death. The finalist gets to feed his or her family for life. When Katniss’ more fragile, younger sister is chosen, Katniss steps up to take her place.

This is a statement about war, who goes, who steps up, who is willing to give her life, and who is willing to give up others’ lives. Collins got her idea while channel surfing, when she saw reality TV shows and news about the Iraq war at the same time. One quote at the end of the series just hit me. “Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children’s lives to settle its differences.” Yes, there is violence. And that is the point. Collins does a good job of keeping the violence in perspective while providing a strong anti-war message. “The Hunger Games” trilogy is a statement not only about war but also about the mind-numbing, complacent effects of television and what people are willing to overlook to have audiovisual entertainment.

Our authors are touchstones for today’s issues, and young people’s authors are no exception. These writers are rising to respond to all of the challenges of the current day. If you want good stories with meaning, check these out.


February 13, 2011


Awards, Awards
by Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian

This is an exciting time of year in the world of books. It’s Awards time! Lots of books are winning awards in several different categories. I want to mention just a few.
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 2011 Caldecott Medal goes to Erin Stead for illustrating a book written by her husband Philip Stead and entitled “A Sick Day for Amos McGee.” This story is both charming and simple. Amos McGee is a zookeeper who takes time each day to show kindness to the animals. He plays chess with the elephant, reads books to the owl, etc. The animals, in turn, repay his kindness by leaving the zoo and going to visit Amos on the day he has a cold and stays home. The illustrations are as gentle as the story and add a touch of humor as well. The colors are muted with occasional touches of bright red. The words and pictures work together beautifully. Children from ages three to seven and the adults who read to them will enjoy this book.

The ALA awards the Newbery Medal each year (since 1922) to the book that is the most outstanding contribution to chidren’s literature published in the previous year.
The 2011 Newbery Medal winner is “Moon over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool. Manifest is a small town in Kansas where twelve-year-old Abilene goes to spend the summer while her dad works on the railroad. She stays with her dad’s old friend, Pastor Shady Howard. Abilene discovers a box under the floorboards in Pastor Howard’s house filled with old letters and keepsakes. Abilene quickly makes friends and uncovers a mystery of the past involving her dad, who grew up in Manifest during World War I. Fascinating characters and historical details make this an outstanding read for middle-grade readers. Humor along with a bite of sadness will keep kids interested until the very end.

The ALA awards the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award each year (since 2006) for the most distinguished beginning reader book published in the previous year. The 2011 winner is “Bink and Gollie,” written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. This clever book is a combination of picture book, reader, and graphic novel. We have it shelved in the junior fiction collection because the vocabulary is somewhat challenging for beginning readers. However, the delightful illustrations, colorful characters Bink and Gollie, and laugh-out-loud story will charm young readers.

Another award-winning book that the Wanda Gag Historical Association donated to our library last year is “Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo,” written and illustrated by E.S. Redmond. This book won the Wanda Gag Book Award for being the best read aloud book published in 2010. Felicity Floo visited the zoo on the day she had a cold and wiped her red, runny nose without using a tissue. As she walked around the zoo, everything she touched ended up with germs, and the animals become ill too. This story of how germs are spread manages to teach a gentle lesson in an entertaining manner to young children.

Stop in at the Library to see these and other award-winning books. Also, look for our Caldecott and Newbery posters in the Children’s Room that feature the honor books that were this year’s runners-up for these awards. You won’t want to miss out on the excitement of reading highly regarded books.


February 6, 2011


Exercise Your Mind at Library Programs
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Director

Every year so many people resolve to get physically fit. The New Ulm Rec Center is abuzz with exercisers. Now how about exercising your mind? The library has a number of great upcoming programs to shape up your brain.

The library continues to partner with the River Ranger Program, and Dr. Ann C. Vogel will tell stories about Gertie Goose, Hans the Heinzelmännchen and the Minnesota River Valley on Feb. 15. The River Ranger Program is an effort to get kids involved in outdoor activities and environmental efforts, and programs have ranged from live turtle showings to photo presentations of the river valley to PowerPoint talks about imperiled animals. These programs are fun for the entire family. The final River Ranger event of the winter is scheduled for March 24.

Although most library programs are scheduled in the evenings, NUPL in partnership with the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame offers the popular Noon Tunes music program about once a month over the lunch hour. Over the past year, local musicians have shared their talents on guitar, keyboard, fiddle and more playing everything from country to standards to Celtic folk music. Coming up Feb. 24 at 12 p.m., Minnesota Music Hall of Fame musician Dick Kimmel and son Ian will entertain with bluegrass music. The library always is looking for Noon Tunes musicians, so anyone interested in entertaining for a 45-minute program should call the library at 507-359-8334.

Next up is a unique opportunity for teens. In partnership with New Ulm Park and Rec and funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, the library is offering a pottery workshop at New Ulm Community Center. Over four consecutive Mondays from Feb. 28 through March 21 from 4-6 p.m., young adults will receive guided instruction in using a pottery wheel and handcrafting projects. Participants are required to sign up and can pick up a registration form at the library. There are just a couple of spots remaining, so drop off your completed registration form at the library today!

In early March, the library has Legacy-funded programs scheduled with a storyteller who will talk about artist Norman Rockwell at the Senior Center during the day then present a costumed Abraham Lincoln Takes the Stage event in the evening. And the U.S.-Dakota War Series continues with artist and historic interpreter David Geister. That leads into the spring and author talks, dance celebrations and more.

Just a few of the many library programs have been highlighted here. I didn’t even get to the movie screenings, book discussion group, Teen Advisory Group or chess tournament – not to mention storytimes and special events for children. An updated list of programs is available online at, or stop by or call the library for more information. There is something for everyone at the library, and best of all, all programs are free. See you at the library!

January 31, 2011


Hidden in Plain Sight
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide

Have you ever looked at a shelf and missed what was there? I have been helping with weeding and shifting books in the non-fiction area. Oh the books I found! My reading list continues to grow as I shift and shelve books.

Currently I am shifting books in the biography area. ‘Vet in the Vestry” and “Poultry in the Pulpit” both by Alexander Cameron caught my eye. The author was born in Scotland and was a practicing veterinarian when he felt a call to the ministry. The stories are full of humor and insight. As a kid, I enjoyed watching the Daniel Boone television show.
Robert Morgan’s “Boone: A Biography” is another book on my “Books to Read List.” It is described as a “stirring chronicle of a great frontiersman”, a rich biography.

You may have received a new digital camera for Christmas. Need inspiration? Check out “Margaret Bourke-White” by Susan Goldman Rubin. Bourke-White was a renowned
photographer in the first half of the 20th century. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” describes her black and white photographs. Bourke-White opened many doors for women; she was the first woman photographer for Life and Fortune magazines, and the first accredited war photographer. British royalty is back in the news. The Duke of Windsor made news in July of 1940. Michael Bloch’s “Operation Willi” details the 1940 Nazi plot to kidnap Edward, the Duke of Windsor.

Alan Burgess’s biography “The Small Woman” relates the story of an extraordinary woman, Gladys Aylward. In 1930 she traveled across Siberia to a mountain town in northwestern China where she worked an an independent missionary dealing with prison riots, leading homeless children to safety, even becoming a spy! “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is a powerful story; but not much is known about the author. Charles J. Shields’ “Mockingbird” tells the story of Harper Lee as she struggled to write her only book. Shields includes Lee’s time as a research assistant for Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.” When Lee was asked how she wrote, she replied “I sit down before a typewriter with my feet fixed firmly on the floor.” Read the biography; then re-read the novel.

“Halfway Home” by Mary Logue has Minnesota connections. Logue’s grandmother, Mae, was born in 1894 in Chokio in western Minnesota. Mae grew up and married. Following the death of her husband, she was left to support five children. Logue was aware of these facts, but really wanted to get to know her grandmother. Searching old records, newspapers, census, family recipes and other family documents, she was able to tell her grandmother’s story. There’s lots to discover at the library. Hope to see you soon!

January 24, 2011 - NO ARTICLE


January 17, 2011


You Know What?
by Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions

You know what I miss? I miss those lines in the parking lots that clue people where to park. In the winter now, cars might take up one and a half spaces or worse, they park so close it seems like they assume you are toothpick shaped. So you carefully open your door not to ding theirs and then give up and go in the passenger’s side…and crawl over the stick shift (ouch)…[sigh]. You know what I don’t miss? Loud music blasting out of car windows since no one wants to drive with their windows open in this weather. Brrr. You know what is terrific? Neighbors who come over and help you shovel out in sub-zero weather when there is tons of snow. (This is especially true when your husband has just broken two shovels trying to get through the heavy drifts.) You know what the best is? The best is a pair of really warm, fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, and a really good book to curl up with under a toasty afghan.

It’s winter and we’re all in this together, folks. We all slog through drifts, shiver in the wind chill, and don’t smile with joy when more, big, fat flakes start to fall. So, what do we need? We need Novel Destinations. Yep, it’s time for the adult reading program, and it’s time to settle in with some good books. As long as you are reading anyway, next time you are at the circulation desk, sign your name on a recipe card and keep track of the books you are reading. Yes, there are some prizes involved. What I am finding fun is the map Kris put up on the bulletin board that shows the width and breadth of our reading interests. So far people have read books that take place in Seattle, Boston, London, Scotland, New York and Idaho. Kris writes down the titles and flags the places people have gone this winter (from the comfort of their own homes, of course).

If you happen to browse our display case, we have many countries and places represented by some interesting items, lent to us by staff and friends. But lest you think novel destinations means you must read a travel book, this is not the case. If you peer into the display, you might spot “Bigfoot,” and that is a clue that all types of books are welcome destinations. Along with the map of the “real” world, there is also a fantasy universe circling above that will be the home to any paranormal, fantastic, science fiction, or other reading that might be interesting. I just read about a futuristic society that will be getting a flag there. Most books have a setting, and that’s all that is necessary along with the title and author for writing down your list of books read in 2011.

I have just read about the angst of getting A’s in a competitive girls private school in Boston and am currently roving the dark streets of Glasgow, Scotland, trying to solve a mystery. I’m thinking about Texas as my next novel destination, or maybe New Orleans.

Pass on your reading discoveries to everyone who is on or off the map. I still miss those lines for parking, but I can settle if I have a few comforts. Warm socks: check. Hot chocolate: check. Novel destination: check. Reading is a great way to pass the time in the blustery, freezing winter. Come in and share the new worlds you’ve discovered and put a flag on our map.


January 10, 2011


A New Year
by Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian

It’s 2011, the beginning of a new year. This seems like a good time to mention some new items and opportunities available for kids.

The Betsy-Tacy Society, with a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, through Traverse des Sioux Library System, has recently created three educational kits meant to educate youngsters on the writings of Mankato-native Maud Hart Lovelace and the history of the Mankato area, which the author immortalized in her 10-book Betsy-Tacy series. “Betsy-Tacy,” “Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill,” and “Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown” are the titles of the books used for these kits.

The kits cover topics of history, immigration, and culture, and they contain creative play activities based on themes extracted from the three books. Each kit offers a book and several activities designed to enhance comprehension of the stories, themes and setting. Kids could perform a short theatre script, play the Game of Authors, make some delicious Baklava Rolls, or partake in other fun activities like those Betsy and Tacy were enjoying in the books.

These Betsy-Tacy kits are available at the Blue Earth County Library, can be checked out through interlibrary loan, and will circulate throughout southern Minnesota through the Traverse des Sioux Regional Library System. All three kits might be of particular interest to book club members (especially mother-daughter book clubs), teachers, home school parents, or individuals wishing to learn more about the author and/or the books.
Anyone seeking additional information on Maud Hart Lovelace and the Betsy-Tacy series can search online at

“Read the Movie” is a new display of Junior books in the Children’s Room. Here you can find books that became movies. While reading the book is not exactly like reading the movie, it may be even better. So many people say the book is always better than the movie. You can choose from books with movies out currently like “Beezus and Ramona,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and “Guardians of Ga’Hoole.” Or you can choose a book that you watched on DVD such as “Because of Winn Dixie,” “Holes,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” or any of the Harry Potter books. See our display for even more choices.

A new item in our collection is a donated copy of “Super Baby Food” by Ruth Yaron. The cover states that this book has “Absolutely everything you should know about feeding your baby and toddler, from starting solid foods to age three.” It includes over 350 recipes and many tips on cooking and childcare that could help save time and money. This book is located on our Parenting Shelf along with other books that are of interest to new parents as well as more experienced ones.

While Storytime is not new, we are starting a new session this week. These sessions are free and do not require registration. Our schedule remains the same:

Mondays 7:00 P.M. Family Storytime
Tuesdays 10:00 A.M. Preschool Storytime
Tuesdays 11:00 A.M. Preschool Storytime
Thursdays 10:00 A.M. Toddler Storytime

All children are welcome. We encourage parents, grandparents, daycare providers, and other childcare individuals to bring children to Storytime. We will read new books as well as old favorites.

Start your year off with a trip to the New Ulm Public Library. The Children’s Room offers things both old and new for kids and their parents to enjoy.

January 3, 2011


Three Cheers for Kate Morton

by Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions, Sue Ullery, Library Aide and Kris Wiley, Assistant Director

We are voracious readers. And we often find ourselves talking books at the library – comparing authors or series or selling one another on a favorite title. We don’t always like the same books, but on this there is a consensus: We love Kate Morton! The Australian author has captured our hearts. Because she has published three books, and there are three of us, we’re each taking a turn at reviewing – Betty first, then Sue, then Kris.

“The Distant Hours” came across my book radar when I read the blurbs about it. They mentioned a mailbag with letters delivered 50 years late, a crumbling castle, elderly, eccentric twin sisters, and “The True History of the Mud Man.” How could I not jump to read this? I had never read Kate Morton, but believe me, I will again.

This book is a stunner. Like a skilled tapestry weaver, Morton entwines story lines and characters. Layer upon layer is revealed, and she plays fair with her information. Then when the story comes together, it is shocking how cleverly she has led the reader. I was nearing the end and yelling “No! No!” at my book because I could see, finally, how it would have all happened, and there was nothing to be done at that point. When I talked about this book with Sue, she said, “It was masterful.” And it is. Morton understands readers, and she knows no matter how hard we humans try, we do assume. And then she has you. “Entertainment Weekly” plugged “The Distant Hours,” saying, “Come for the romance. Stay for the creepy elderly twins.” And although I wouldn’t entirely agree with that statement, if that gets you to dive into this story, do it. It’s one of the best books I read last year.

Although there are no creepy, elderly twins in “The Forgotten Garden,” there is love, betrayal, mystery and intrigue … plus a healthy dose of fairy tales. When a small girl is found alone debarking from a ship from England on a port in Australia, she is taken in by a kind dockmaster and his loving wife and raised as their own. On her 21st birthday, however, her adoptive father feels compelled to tell her the truth about her past, which sends our heroine into a tailspin and causes her to begin a journey to seek her real identity. The story unfolds in several time periods simultaneously, as is Morton’s style, along with interesting locales such as pre-World War II London; Brisbane, Australia; and a grand but aging estate in Cornwall, England.

Oh, and there’s a cool hidden cottage surrounded by a bricked-up, overgrown garden attached to a neglected maze. What more does one need to be drawn into this gothic love/mystery tale?

“The House at Riverton” was Morton’s first book. Grace, who was a maid at Riverton Manor in the 1920s, narrates the story of the Hartford children and their friend, Robbie Hunter, who killed himself on the grounds. Grace has hidden a terrible secret about the shooting for many years, and now, at age 98, she finally unburdens herself. “The House at Riverton” has been compared to “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier. Although I wouldn’t go that far, “Riverton” certainly evokes a similar haunting, mysterious style. It should appeal to readers who like stories that aren’t chronological, that have a strong female narrator, and that have surprise endings. As with her other books, just when the pieces seem to be in place, Morton saves her biggest surprise for the end.

We’ve enjoyed the twists and surprise endings in these titles and think other readers will, too. Morton obviously has read a lot, loves books and pays homage to classic authors and their works. Someday maybe someone will do the same with her work – she’s that good.

Last updated: Monday, December 31, 2012


Last updated: December 31, 2012