ARCHIVE OF 2012 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2010 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2009 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2008 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2007 ARTICLES
Dec 26, 2011 - Hot Coffee by
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
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!
Oct 03, 2011 - Be Part of a Live Studio
Audience by Kris Wiley
Sep 26, 2011 - Jasper Jones
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
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
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?
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
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
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 -
Jan 17, 2011 - You Know What?
by Betty J. Roiger
Jan 10, 2011 - A New Year
Jan 03, 2011 - Three Cheers for Kate Morton
by Betty J. Roiger, Sue Ullery and Kris Wiley
December 26, 2011
by Larry Hlavsa, Library
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
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.
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
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
December 19, 2011
Library Programs Galore
by Kris Wiley,
Assistant Library Director
Library Programs Galore
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library
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).
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.
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 www.newulmlibrary.org, call the
library at 507-359-8331 or stop by and talk with a staff
member. See you at the library!
December 12, 2011
by Betty Roiger,
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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
BOOK FAIR BENEFITS LIBRARY
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:
you may obtain a voucher from a library staff person on hand
at Barnes and Noble on Saturday.
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
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
by Betty J Roiger,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
October 31, 2011
Teen Award Winners a Great Place for Readers to
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.
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 www.ala.org/yalsa 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 www.nationalbook.org
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
www.ala.org and search for “printz award.”
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
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
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
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
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.
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.
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
October 10, 2011
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
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
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
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.
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,
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?
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
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
Betty J. Roiger,
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
September 5, 2011
September 11, 2001, Revisited
Lindquist, Adult Services Librarian
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.
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
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,
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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 www.healthyaging.net 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
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
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
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
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
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
all of you: Thank you! Your efforts and contributions are
Again, congratulations to our
participants. We look forward to another great program in
August 8, 2011
History Buffs Invited to Join Discussion
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
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.
we’ll discuss another Minnesota Book Award winner, “Pale
Horse at Plum Run: The First Minnesota at Gettysburg” by
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
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.
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 www.newulmlibrary.org or check us out on
Facebook. See you at the library!
August 1, 2011
So Many Magazines
by Larry Hlavsa, Library
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.
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
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.
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 FamilySearch.org,
discusses the lighter side of family history and lists the
101 best Web sites for discovering your family history.
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.
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.
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.
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
by Betty J Roiger,
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
by Linda Lindquist,
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
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.
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
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
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—http://tds.lib.overdrive.com/.
July 4, 2011
Mankato Author to Visit With Teens and Adults
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
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.
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
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
“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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
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: http://www.brownchumanes.org/
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
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: http://tds.lib.overdrive.com/
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
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
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
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
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
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 www.lemarsiowa.com. 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
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.
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
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 www.newulmlibrary.org. 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
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library
The Summer Reading Program for Teens is
bigger and better than ever in 2011.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
May 9, 2011
Summer Reading Program--CONTINUED
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!
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
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
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
May 2, 2011
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
April 18, 2011
United States of Amnesia?
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
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
“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
“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
“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
April 11, 2011
Listen my children and you will hear…
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
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.
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.
your public library and “listen my children and you will
April 4, 2011
Library Going Into OverDrive With Electronic
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?
must have a computer or a compatible device. For a list of
such devices, go to http://overdrive.com/resources/drc/.
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
www.overdrive.com. 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
4. How do I download E-books and
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
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?
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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
March 14, 2011
It’s Been Awhile!
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.”
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
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
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
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:
Way : How Six Great Presidents Created American Power by
Richard Striner (2010)
--Abraham Lincoln by George S.
--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
--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
--"We Are Lincoln Men" : Abraham Lincoln and His
Friends by David Herbert Donald (2003)
February 20, 2011
Moon over Manifest / Hunger Games
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.
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
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
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
by Diane Zellmann,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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 www.newulmlibrary.org, 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,
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
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
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.
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
“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
January 24, 2011 - NO ARTICLE
January 17, 2011
You Know What?
by Betty J. Roiger,
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.
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).
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
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.
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
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
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
Mondays 7:00 P.M. Family Storytime
10:00 A.M. Preschool Storytime
Tuesdays 11:00 A.M.
Thursdays 10:00 A.M. Toddler
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.
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
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
“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.
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
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,
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
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.