"OFF THE SHELF"
by LIBRARY STAFF
chronological order from January 2013 - present)
August 11, 2014 -
U.S.-Dakota War Commemoration Events Scheduled by
August 4, 2014 - Wowza for
Wowbrary! by Kris Wiley
July 28, 2014 - Orphan
Walking by Betty J Roiger
July 21, 2014 - Let's Cheer
On the Summer Readers! by Katy Hiltner
July 14, 2014 - Anniversary
of World War I Approaches by Linda Lindquist
July 7, 2014 - Teens Take
Center Stage at Library by Kris Wiley
June 30, 2014 - Ten in Ten
by Betty J Roiger and Kris Wiley
June 23, 2014 - Bird Box
by Betty J Roiger
June 16, 2014 - Summertime
by Linda Lindquist
June 9, 2014 - $1500!!
by Betty J Roiger and Kris Wiley
June 2, 2014 - Paws to Read
This Summer! by Katy Hiltner
May 19, 2014 - What's the
Buzz by Betty J Roiger
May 12, 2014 - Ancestry
Library Edition Now Available by Kris Wiley
May 5, 2014 - Springtime and
Gardening by Linda Lindquist
Apr 28, 2014 - Upcoming
Author Visits at the Library by Kris Wiley
Apr 21, 2014 - A World of
Books by Betty J. Roiger
Apr 14, 2014 - Tippi
Hedren's Coming to New Ulm! by Betty Roiger &
Apr 07, 2014 - Add More of
the Little Moments by Katy Hiltner
Mar 31, 2014 - On the
Rocks by Betty Roiger
Mar 24, 2014 - CAST(LE)
and the Library: A Great Partnership by Kris
Mar 17, 2014 - 2013 At the
Library by Larry Hlavsa
Mar 10, 2014 - Bloom Is
Off the Rose by Betty J. Roiger
Mar 03, 2014 - No article
Feb 24, 2014 - April
15-Income Tax Time-Coming Soon by Linda
Feb 17, 2014 - Read
“The Giver,” and See the MLC Production by Kris
Feb 10, 2014 - New DVDs
at the Library by Larry Hlavsa
Feb 03, 2014 - North of
Boston by Betty J Roiger
Jan 27, 2014 -
Enjoying Time Indoors by Katy Hiltner
Jan 20, 2014 -
New Year’s Resolution by Linda
Jan 13, 2014 -
We Love Author Visits by Betty Roiger &
Jan 06, 2014 -
ITSSOCOLDIGOTTAREAD.COM by Larry Hlavsa
Dec 30, 2013 - Reading Program for Adults
Begins January 6 by Kris Wiley
Dec 23, 2013 - There Is No History, Only
Biography by Larry Hlavsa
Dec 16, 2013 - What's for Chrismtas?
by Betty Roiger
Dec 09, 2013 - Yes, Betty, There Is a Santa
by Betty Roiger
Dec 02, 2013 - Holiday Baking
by Linda Lindquist
Nov 25, 2013 - Conversations From the
Cubicles – We’re Wrapping Up 2013 With a Bow
by Kris Wiley & Betty Roiger
Nov 24, 2013 - The Murder of JFK: the Survey
Says by Larry Hlavsa
Nov 18, 2013 - Mark Your Calendars by
Nov 11, 2013 - The Murder of JFK: the
Biggest Cold Case Ever by Larry Hlavsa
Nov 04, 2013 - Where Were You on November
22, 1963 by Linda Lindquist
Oct 28, 2013 - Friends Book Sale November
7-9 by Kris Wiley
21, 2013 - Thanks to the Optimist Club and Library
Friends by Kris Wiley
Oct 14, 2013 - Scanning Your Family History
by Larry Hlavsa
Oct 07, 2013 - Fall Into Reading
by Betty Roiger
Sep 30, 2013 - Learn More About Longtime
Civic Leader Fred Johnson by Kris Wiley
Sep 23, 2013 - October Musings
by Linda Lindquist
Sep 16, 2013 - Meet Minnesota Author Peter
Geye by Kris Wiley
Sep 09, 2013 - E-Books: An Update
by Larry Hlavsa
Sep 02, 2013 - Armchair Traveler
by Betty J Roiger
Aug 26, 2013 - Sharing Stories at the
Library by Katy Kudela
Aug 19, 2013 - Need A Break Before School
Starts? by Linda Lindquist
Aug 12, 2013 - Dakota War Commemoration
Events Scheduled by Kris Wiley
Aug 05, 2013- Binge Much? by
Jul 29, 2013 - Kids iPads are Coming!
by Larry Hlavsa
Jul 22, 2013 - Oh, What a Summer!
by Katy Kudela
Jul 15, 2013 - Trying to Lose Weight?
by Linda Lindquist
Jul 08, 2013 - Epistolary Novels: the Next
Best Thing to Writing Letters by Kris
Jul 01, 2013 - Great Civil War Reads
by Larry Hlavsa
Jun 24, 2013 - Dont' Wait for the Next Big
Read by Betty Roiger
Jun 17, 2013 - Digging Up Books!
by Katy Kudela
Jun 10, 2013 - Amazing Pets by
Jun 03, 2013 - Listen Up! to These Library
Programs by Kris Wiley
May 27, 2013 - Dig Into Reading and Discover
Groundbreaking Reads by Katy Kudela
May 20, 2013 - End of the Internet
by Betty Roiger
May 13, 2013 - Do We Have the Right
Magazines? by Larry Hlavsa
May 06, 2013 - Are
You Ready For Some Gardening?
by Linda Lindquist
Apr 29, 2013 - Surplus to Some, Treasure to
Others by Larry Hlavsa
Apr 22, 2013 - Library Staff and Volunteers
are Great by Kris Wiley
Apr 15, 2013 - Tales from the Library
Cubicles by Betty Roiger & Kris Wiley
Apr 08, 2013 - Pick a Poem for April
by Katy Kudela
Apr 01, 2013 - April is Financial Literacy
Month by Linda Lindquist
Mar 25, 2013 - Wool by Betty
Mar 18, 2013 - Interior Re-design at the
Library by Larry Hlavsa
Mar 11, 2013 - Friends Team Up with Sven &
Ole's for Book Fair by Kris Wiley
Mar 04, 2013 - What to Read Next?
by Katy Kudela & Betty Roiger
Feb 25, 2013 - Oscar's Best Pictures at the
Library! by Larry Hlavsa
Feb 18, 2013 - Hooray for Local Writers
by Kris Wiley
Feb 11, 2013 - Black History Month Observed
by Linda Lindquist
Feb 04, 2013 - Take Your Child to the
Library Day! by Katy Kudela
Jan 28, 2013 - Doorways to Books
by Betty Roiger
Jan 21, 2013 - Winter Blahs by
Jan 14, 2013 - Rebus and Other Cold-Weather
Reads by Kris Wiley
Jan 06, 2013 - What New Ulm Adults Read
by Larry Hlavsa
August 11, 2014
U.S.-Dakota War Commemoration Events
Public Library is pleased to partner with the Brown County
Historical Society (BCHS) for events commemorating the 152nd
anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. A number of programs are
scheduled for the week of August 18-24. A complete list is available
popular Lunch & a Bite of History speaker series runs August 18-22
at 12 p.m. each day at the BCHS Museum Annex (2 N. Broadway);
attendees are welcome to bring their lunch. Presentations are free
and open to the public and will last about one hour. This year’s
18 – Sandee Geshick, Women in Dakota Life
19 – Daniel Munson, The Kochendorfer Family
Wednesday, August 20 –
Darryl Sannes, The Battle of Acton
Thursday, August 21 – Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann,
Friday, August 22 – Jan Klein and Joyce
Kloncz, What Happened to the Settlers in Renville County? The
Aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War
On August 19 at 7 p.m. at the library (17 N.
Broadway), Michael Eckers will discuss his book “The Boys of
Wasioja.” CASTLE Lifelong Learning, the New Ulm Battery, and the
BCHS are partners for this free program.
The lunch series and Eckers’ program are made
possible by grants provided by the Traverse des Sioux Library
Cooperative and are funded in part with money from Minnesota's Arts
and Cultural Heritage Fund.
On August 23 at 1 p.m., children preschool age
and up are invited to the BCHS Annex for Bringing Books to Life:
Surviving the War of 1862 presented by Lori Pickell-Stangel,
Executive Director of the McLeod County Historical Society. This
free program will focus on the experiences of Dakota War survivor
Nancy McClure Faribault.
Also on August 23, Katie Gropper walking tours of
downtown New Ulm are scheduled at 11 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. leaving from
the BCHS. Cost is $3 for adults; children and students are free.
Reservations are required; call 507-233-2620.
On August 24 at 2 p.m., there will be a free
guided walking tour of the Pioneer Section of the New Ulm City
Cemetery. The tour will begin at the cemetery’s maintenance
there may be a few seats left in one of the luxury van tours of
historic Brown County. Reservations are $20 and can be made by
calling the BCHS at 507-233-2620. The August 22 tour is from
1:30-4:30 p.m. and will cover Milford, Sigel, and Stark townships.
There will be two tours on August 23: 9:30-11:30 a.m. will cover
Milford, and 12-2 p.m. will cover the Leavenworth Rescue area.
welcome to these commemorative events. Come join in learning the
history of the greater Brown County area.
August 4, 2014
Wowza for Wowbrary!
Kris Wiley, Library Director
be great to know what the library just has purchased and to get that
information in a consistent, timely way? Wouldn’t it be greater if
the library’s upcoming programs were included? And wouldn’t it be
the greatest if library staff recommendations were incorporated?
what?! Wowbrary, the library’s newest service, is your answer.
Register for free e-mails or RSS feeds to receive weekly updates on
New Ulm Public Library’s newest acquisitions, events, and staff
picks. Go to the library’s Web site at www.newulmlibrary.org to get
started. From the library’s home page, scroll to the images of the
books moving across the page and click on “More.” That will take you
to the newsletter. Then click “Sign Up.” Every Wednesday,
subscribers will receive an e-mail featuring the latest news from
part of Wowbrary is the direct link from the e-mail to the library’s
catalog. For example, the most recent newsletter included the jacket
photo and synopsis of the new book “The Queen of the Tearling.”
Seeing that reminded me that Betty really liked the book, and I
decided I wanted to place a hold on it. With Wowbrary, I clicked the
“Borrow” button beside the book cover, and I was directed straight
to the library’s catalog. There was no need to open another window,
go to the library catalog Web site, remember the title, type in the
title … Wowbrary did all the work for me.
the main page shows the top 20 choices by Amazon popularity. But if
you’re interested in only large print or young adult or a specific
subject such as cooking or biography, look no further than the menu
on the left for a format and subject list of everything that was
added over the past week.
As a library
programmer I always am looking for new ways to promote events, and
Wowbrary is a great tool. I’m able to post a photo and a short press
release, and the information populates nicely among the book
As a reader I
always am looking for recommendations, and Wowbrary provides a
feature for staff to highlight favorite books, movies, and music.
Just as with the new acquisitions, there is a “Borrow” button beside
the photo that will take users directly to the library catalog. Many
of us here at the library love talking about books, and here is
another opportunity to share our recent favorites.
has purchased a one-year subscription to Wowbrary, and we’ll analyze
usage statistics to determine whether to continue to offer the
service. I encourage you to register, check it out, and let us know
what you think. See you at the library!
July 28, 2014
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
What happened to Sarah?
Rick is where? In
case you don’t know what happened to Sarah and where Rick is
exactly, that means it is almost time for binge TV!
Today I want to give you a preview of what’s coming out on
DVD and coming to the New Ulm Public Library.
And I also want to remind folks about some titles you might
The fading of July can only
mean that season two of “Orphan Black” is out.
If you liked season one, season two is just as action packed,
aaa-nd, more clones!
This is seriously an awesome show.
I grew up with Patty Duke in “The Patty Duke Show” when she
played cousins Patty and Kathy.
Hum along: “… But they're
cousins, identical cousins all the way.
pair of matching bookends, different
as night and day …”
did that from memory — cut me a break — I was 10.)
Back in the ’60s, it was unbelievable to have one person
playing twins. Nowadays,
though, you need to see Tatiana Maslany in action on “Orphan Black”
to really appreciate someone playing multiple characters.
Last count I did, she had created nine separate, intriguing
identities. And she has
done it so successfully that you are sucked into believing that
soccer mom Alison, scientist-nerd Cosima, and street-smart Sarah are
Remember at the end of last season?
Sarah’s daughter, Kira, was
abducted, and conspiracies were piling up all over the place.
This season it starts with a chase and pretty much keeps up
that pace. I can’t say
much without giving spoilers — and who really wants that?
During one episode I jumped up screaming “Nooooooo!” because
Sarah was in such a fix, and Doug kept saying: “You’re scaring the
cats!” Just know “Orphan
Black” was pretty remarkable this season.
If you like a little bit of fantastic sci-fi, this is a
really great series.
of “The Walking Dead” will be out in August.
In case you missed season four, it was the best yet.
If you are a lover of the graphic novels (and who isn’t?) and
you watch the show, you know that each format has gone off on a
different path. This
literally creates a new tension with the show.
The characters you come to know don’t always make it through
the zombie apocalypse in the books, but they might still be alive on
TV and vice versa.
The Governor is back.
Can he be a changed man?
No, ho ho. All I’m
sayin’ is do not go
golfing with that dude.
No sportsmanship there.
This season, they changed it up, and our hearty survivors have to
split up and fend for themselves.
It’s a good ploy because we get to know a little bit more
about how everyone evolves under pressure.
Pay attention to those paintings that Carl and Michonne find
in that abandoned house.
Bunnies, the one-eyed dog, and the lady with the braid all play
parts in the following episodes.
Why? The new
writers keep dropping Easter eggs for viewers to find.
Honestly, this makes watching the show a whole lot more
interesting. The finale
of season four is so amazing you’ll want to watch it twice to pick
up all the details you missed in the action the first time around.
So, Betty (I tell myself), maybe not everyone
adores clones or zombies.
OK. (Sigh.) For
folks who enjoy the western series “Longmire,” the second season is
here. We also have the
movies “Heaven is for Real” available, as well as “The Son of God.”
Both politically charged seasons of “House of Cards” are on
and off the shelves, so placing holds might be the way to go with
that series. If you
haven’t seen “Defiance” from the SyFy channel, be sure to check it
out. This series takes
place on Earth in the year 2046. Several alien species are trying to
live together with humans creating all the fear, distrust, and
intrigue that go along with that.
“Dear Mr. Watterson” is a DVD love letter of sorts.
It’s an exploration of why Bill Watterson’s “Calvin and
Hobbes” comic strip was so popular and why so many readers loved it
and are still fans today. “Orange
is the New Black” and “True Detective” are getting a lot of love;
both shows have gotten several Emmy nominations.
So that’s what will be
gracing our library shelves in July and August.
Come in and check something out.
Rick and Sarah will be waiting for you.
July 21, 2014
Let’s Cheer On the Summer Readers!
Katy Hiltner, Children’s Librarian
What an amazing summer it has been at the New Ulm
Public Library. I’d like to extend a big thank you to all the
children and teens who signed up for this year’s “Paws to Read”
Summer Reading Program. There are so many dedicated young readers in
our community. It’s our hope to see hundreds of these readers
complete this year’s program. If you know a reader, please cheer
them on to the finish line.
With just over a week remaining on the July
calendar, there is still plenty of time for children to bring their
“Paws to Read” game sheets back to the library. Each reader who
completes 25 days of reading will earn a prize book and will have a
chance to win one of 10 grand prizes. For those readers who have
completed their 25 days, there is a challenge path they can try out,
Teens are also encouraged to stop by the library
to fill out book slips. By reading just one book, a registered teen
automatically earns a free book at the end of the reading program.
The more books a teen reads, the better his or her chances of
earning a grand prize.
To celebrate this year’s reading program, the
library staff is hosting a “Paw-ty at the Library” on Thursday, July
31. The day’s event will begin with a storytime in the Children’s
Room at 10 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., Smokey Bear will be making a guest
appearance at the library. Families are encouraged to stop by the
library to meet Smokey Bear and pick up a copy of a Smokey Bear
book, while supplies last. The party will continue from 11 a.m.-2
p.m. with treats, crafts, and door prizes. All “Paws to Read” Summer
Reading Program participants are encouraged to stop by the library
to celebrate their great reading efforts.
Now, if the library books could talk, I think
these books would also be cheering. After all, the library staff saw
many, many books being checked out this summer. I suspect there is
nothing a library book enjoys more than being checked out and going
on vacation. I first learned of “book vacations” after reading Laura
Purdie Salas’ children’s book, “Bookspeak! Poems about Books.” If I
apply this wonderful visual to our library, I would say our library
books are a very happy collection!
July 14, 2014
Anniversary of World War I Approaches
Adult Services/Reference Librarian
In 1888, German
Chancellor Otto von Bismarck stated: “One day the great European War
will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.”
How right he was.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz
Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife,
Duchess Sophie, were visiting Sarajevo, the capital of the
Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Their motorcade stalled and a member of
The Black Hand group rushed up to their car and shot both of them.
They died soon after.
The assassination created a confusing
situation for the Great Powers of Europe (Germany, Russia, France,
Great Britain, and Austria-Hungary).
This event was the spark that started
what became known as the Great War or World War.
Archduke Ferdinand and
his wife became the first casualties of the war.
An estimated 18 million people lost
their lives in the war.
The United States declared war on
Germany and its allies on April 6, 1917.
According to the United States World
War One Centennial Commission, a total of 116,516 Americans died in
the war with another 205,690 wounded.
World War I destroyed four empires: the
German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, and
the Ottoman Empire.
It also set the stage for current
conditions in the Middle East.
United States reluctantly entered Europe's "Great War" and tipped
the balance to an Allied victory.
In the words of President Woodrow
Wilson, the United States entered the war to "make the world safe
The United States emerged from the war
a significant, but reluctant, world power.
This article offers a
very condensed version of the war.
If you would like to learn more, stop
by the library.
have recently received some new books on World War I.
One of these books is entitled “The
Real War 1914-1918” by Captain B. H. Liddell Hart.
He is considered the authority on World
War I, and has done a great deal of research to create a book that
is both brief but precise.
This is a one-volume book that is
understandable for most readers.
He has taken military history and has
made it enjoyable to read.
Hart’s book was first published in 1930
and reprinted in 1964, but it still is relevant for today’s readers.
A second book that I
wanted to share is “The Great War: A Photographic Narrative” by Mark
Holborn and Hilary Roberts published late last year.
The photographs are from the Imperial
War Museums in London and many of them have never been seen before.
There are 380 black-and-white
photographs depicting World War I.
The book starts with prewar battleship
fleets and goes through the final moments of the war with the
sinking of the German fleet.
Most of us do not know or remember
anything about World War I except what we have learned in our
history classes or read about in books.
These photographs bring the war to us.
Chapters are arranged by year.
Each chapter has an introduction giving
military and political context of the photographs.
This would be a wonderful gift for any
history buff and makes a great coffee table book.
These are only two of the
new non-fiction titles we have at the library.
There are many more books on the
shelves at the New Ulm Public Library on World War I and history in
Feel free to come in, browse, and check
out any titles that appeal to you.
July 7, 2014
Teens Take Center Stage at Library
Kris Wiley, Library Director
This is a
great time for teens at New Ulm Public Library. Young adults ages
13-18 are in the middle of the Summer Reading Program, Paws to Read,
and there are upcoming programs scheduled just for you.
have the opportunity to participate in the reading program. Register
at the Service Center, and then log every book you read on scratch
paper. If you log one book, you will get a free book. Winners of
other prizes will be drawn from all submissions, so the more books
you read, the better chance you have of winning. The reading program
continues through July 31.
special event for young adults is a comic arts workshop July 15 from
2-4 p.m. Ursula Murray Husted, a professor at the University of
Wisconsin-Stout, will guide participants in putting ideas and
drawings into a comic book format. From 4-5 p.m., library staff will
host a reception for the young artists to share their work with the
community. This free program is open to those ages 12-18.
Registration is limited; sign up at the Service Center.
On July 21 at
7 p.m., teens (and the general public) are invited to hear local
favorites The Little Prairie Pickers at German Park. This musical
event is sponsored in partnership with New Ulm Park & Rec and KNUJ.
On July 24 at
6 p.m., teens and adults are invited to join us for a visit with
special guest Geoff Herbach, who will speak about his latest young
adult book, “Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders.” Copies of the book are
available at the Service Center upon request while supplies last.
Herbach, author of the award-winning Stupid Fast series, teaches
creative writing at Minnesota State, Mankato. No registration is
events are made possible by the Friends
of the New Ulm Public Library and grants provided by the Traverse
des Sioux Library Cooperative and are funded in part with money from
Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Young adults wanting still more to do can pick up a BINGO card at
the front desk. Complete five library-related squares in a row, and
win a prize. Teens also are encouraged to participate in read., a
trivia contest based on “Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders” and “The Maze
Runner” by James Dashner. Throughout this month, trivia questions
will be posted near the Service Center. A winner will be drawn from
all of the correct submissions.
And, of course, there is an amazing and ever-growing collection of
young adult books at the library from which to choose. See you at
June 30, 2014
Ten in Ten
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
Kris Wiley, Library Director
Kris: I have an idea what we can write
Betty: Great! What?
K: Let’s recommend 10 good summer reads in 10
seconds. Well, more like 10 paragraphs. OK: Go!
B: Wait! What?! I’m not
ready... um, OK: “I Love You More” by Jennifer Murphy. Three wives
meet when they find out they are married to the same man and decide
to get even. In this case, marriage can be murder. The voices of the
narrators, (Picasso, the deceased child and the world-weary
detective involved) are great. Go!
K: Hey, I just read a different book that
featured one man and three wives, “A Circle of Wives” by Alice
LaPlante. Similarly, the husband is murdered, and the reader spends
the book alternately convinced that each wife did him in.
B: Well, if you like fantasies, “Queen of
the Tearling” by Erika Johansen has a corrupted, evil queen,
reluctant exiled young princess, fierce knights, magic, assassins,
books, handsome highwaymen, intrigue ... what more do you need in an
epic fantasy? Perhaps have Emma Watson (Hermione in the Harry
Potter series) star in the movie? Consider it done.
K: That’s a tough one to top, but I’m going with
“One Plus One” by English author Jojo Moyes, author of the smash
bestseller and my favorite book of 2013, “Me Before You.” Her
new book features down-on-her-luck single mom Jess, who is raising
her brilliant daughter and bullied stepson. Jess has to get her
daughter to a maths competition in Scotland, so she and her children
catch a ride with Ed, a wealthy tech geek with problems of his own.
Call this an unconventional romance.
B: From England back to the States. I love “To
Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, so stumbling upon “The
Mockingbird Next Door” by Marja Mills was a nice bonus. Imagine
getting a phone call from Harper Lee!?! Marja wrote it was
akin to getting a call from the Wizard of Oz, altogether amazing and
unreal. She got the opportunity to interview and then live next to
Harper and her sister Alice. This is a unique inside view of how
Harper wrote one of the most beloved books of our time and why she
never wrote another.
K: I absolutely adore “To Kill a Mockingbird,”
both the book and the movie (Gregory Peck!). Ahem. I’m going across
the pond again, this time to Norway and “The Son” by Jo Nesbo. Sonny
has been in prison for 12 years and is considered a father confessor
of sorts for his fellow prisoners. When he discovers that his father
was murdered, he arranges an ingenious escape and hunts down some
seriously bad people. There’s nothing light about this read, but the
nonstop action, well-developed characters, and moral ambiguity kept
me turning the pages. Back to you.
B: You keep hopping around the world. I’m jumping
in time. In “Archetype” by M.D. Waters, Emma wakes up with no
memory. Her handsome, powerful, rich husband, DeClan, seductively
reassures her by trying to help her recreate her memories. How lucky
can she be? He’s perfect. But other memories come in snatches
of dreams and images in her head. She remembers the steamy love of
her life, and she’s beginning to think it isn’t DeClan at all. What
has actually happened to her, and who can she trust? This
futuristic romantic mystery starts in “Archetype” and concludes in
“Prototype” which is out this month.
K: You know I like mysteries, so I’ll stick with
that theme and say “Missing You” by Harlan Coben. As a child of the
’80s, I loved the title nod to John Waite’s sentimental pop hit.
This plot-driven novel centers on an NYPD detective who is trying to
solve the disappearances of people who are connected by a dating Web
B: On another serious note, “We Are Called to
Rise” by Laura McBride explores divorce, soldiers returning from
war, dysfunctional families, and rocky relationships that lead to
unexpected tragedy. It might sound like a downer, but it isn’t at
all. This is a heartbreaking yet hopeful read about human beings
attempting to be their best selves to create kindness.
K: That has been getting a lot of buzz, and it’s
on my to-read list. I’m finishing with another buzz book, “Euphoria”
by Lily King, a historical novel set in New Guinea (yep, I’m
crossing the ocean again) and loosely based on the life of
anthropologist Margaret Mead. This is a small book that packs a big
punch, with a love triangle, loneliness, and fascinating glimpses
into the lives of other cultures.
B: Whew! So what did we end up with?
Several mysteries, a few fantasies, some contemporary and realistic,
and I read nonfiction!
K: What did you like best?
B: Oh, don’t make me
choose. When I’m in it, that particular book is the one I like.
Which right now is “The Quick” by Lauren Owen.
June 23, 2014
Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions
Every summer lists of books come out that are
labeled “Beach Reads.” I
have never been quite sure what constitutes a beach read.
What I would define as a good book would be one that was so
engrossing I wouldn’t know if I was on a beach or a mountaintop
unless I looked up from the page.
Just the other day, I found such a book.
“Bird Box” by Josh Malerman caught me by
surprise. The review I
read called it “Horror at its best.”
I hadn’t read anything scary for a while, so I opened “Bird
Box.” The thing is, once
I was in it, I really needed to keep going; it’s that kind of book.
It isn’t graphic or gory, but it gets under your skin and is
really creepy. The cover
blurb says: “Don’t open your eyes,” and that’s pretty much how I
felt through the whole thing, like I was walking blindly along with
Malorie, the narrator.
Something is out in the world.
There have been videos and news clips of people going mad,
descending into deadly violence to others and themselves afterward.
The “catch” is nobody knows what “it” looks like because if
you get a glimpse of “the thing,” then you go mad, kill, and die,
too. So no one knows
what it is, what it looks like, or where it came from.
Things devolve quickly in this book.
Television, Internet and communications are failing as
“whatever it is” overruns the population.
As events accelerate, people use newspapers alongside their
faces rather like horse blinders when they are outside.
Then they put blankets over all their windows to prevent
seeing the outdoors.
Malorie and her sister, Shannon, have safeguarded
their home, blanketing windows.
When Malorie hears a noise and Shannon doesn’t answer her,
she goes upstairs to find her.
She sees a sliver of light coming in from an unprotected
corner of the window, and Malorie knows before she finds Shannon
that the worst has happened.
Malorie is pregnant and knows she cannot live alone.
Having read of a safe-house, Malorie paints her car windows
black and drives slowly to the address, closing her eyes often.
She glances outside to mark the walkway and blindly moves up
to the door. Here she
meets a small group of survivors that has developed a lifestyle
using other senses. If
the survivors go out, they close their eyes and feel their way
around. When they go out
to the well, picture frames have been made into a path.
To walk off of the wood frames means they have gone too far,
and tying ropes to themselves enables others to reel them back.
On foraging excursions outside, the group
struggles not to see anything, and that building feeling of
claustrophobia works really well for this story.
Once outdoors, having the touch of something on a shoulder
becomes horrifying; is that something?
No, it has to be a leaf.
Please let it be a leaf.
Wanting to raise their blindfolds and knowing it is certain
death. It HAS to be a
leaf. As a reader,
following the narrator, the urge to see, to look, to find out is
overwhelming. The fear
ratchets up, and an oppressive claustrophobia grows as the plot
thickens. Books don’t always
deliver what they promise; this one did.
It was delightfully scary.
I just could not
NOT keep reading to find out how Malorie progressed through this
book, holding my breath and creeping along with her.
And I knew the story really had gotten to me when I woke up
one morning and couldn’t see (as the blanket was over my eyes).
And my first thought was: Of course I have a blindfold on so
I won’t accidentally see one of those things and go mad.
June 16, 2014
Hot days, baseball,
swimming, vacations—all of these things remind us of summer.
Summer means different things to
Maybe you have been planning a vacation
all winter and are ready to set out on that excursion.
Maybe you are just ready to sit back in
your lawn chair and read a good book.
Either way, these books may be of
interest to you.
Are you planning a
vacation to Germany in the near future?
“Rick Steves’ Germany 2014” might be
just the book for you.
He has good suggestions on what hotels
and restaurants to visit, helpful plans on where to go and what to
see, and also helpful hints on how to get around Germany by train,
bus, car, or even boat.
His guidebook takes you to fairy-tale
castles, forests, quaint villages and on to modern Munich and
He also includes a handy map for ready
If you are not interested
in traveling to a foreign country, how about seeing some of the
sights in the United States? Some of our new travel books include
“Florida & the South’s Best Trips: 28 Amazing Road Trips” written by
Adam Skolnick, Amy Balfour, Adam Karlin, and Mariella Krause.
covered in this book are Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas,
Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and
This book has been broken down into
Classic Trips which take you all over these states.
A map is included showing where you
will be going, must see places along the way, and of course
restaurants and eating places along the route.
If you do not want to go south, we have
new travel books for Alaska and Alaska Cruises put out by Fodor’s
What to see, where to stay, and places
to eat are covered in these books as well.
If travel is not
something that you want to do this summer, how about checking out
some of the new sports books that have been acquired recently by the
New Ulm Public Library.
Baseball always comes to my mind when I
think of summer.
One of the new books is entitled “The
Closer: My Story” by Mariano Rivera, who some consider the greatest
relief pitcher of all time.
He was born in Panama and thought he
was going to be a mechanic.
He had never flown in an airplane,
never heard of Babe Ruth, spoke no English, and he did not know
anything about the town of Tampa, Florida,
he would begin his career in baseball.
Now all baseball fans know his name.
If you are a Ted Williams fan, “The
Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams” by Ben Bradlee, Jr., is just
the ticket for you.
In his own words, he wanted to be “the
greatest hitter who ever lived.”
His .406 batting average proved that.
He drove himself to perfection and he
accomplished much in his lifetime.
Sports fans will enjoy reading this
On a different note, William C.
Kashatus has written “Jackie & Campy: The Untold Story of Their
Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball’s Color Line” which
may be of interest to sports fans as well.
Even though they were teammates on the
1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers, and the first black players to
break professional baseball’s color barrier, they had differing
beliefs about the fight for civil rights.
According to Larry Lester, historian
for the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame, this is “A fantastic and
thought-provoking analysis of how two men championed the fight for
racial harmony in segregated American via different rules of
A must-read for any serious student of
baseball and American history.”
So, as you are planning
your activities for the summer, keep these books in mind.
All of the above mentioned books are
available for checkout at the New Ulm Public Library.
If you need help finding any of them,
stop at the Service Center desk and someone will help you.
Have a safe and fun-filled summer!
June 9, 2014
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
Betty: You know how there never seems to be
enough money to go around?
Kris: Tell me about it.
B: If there were full coffers, we could have
endless books and DVDs and e-books …
K: Dream on. But …
K: OverDrive, our electronic books vendor, is
sponsoring a contest this month. If our regional library cooperative
increases e-book and e-audiobook checkouts by 25 percent over our
previous high monthly total, we could win $1500 in OverDrive cash.
B: That’s sounds like a no-brainer. How many
checkouts are we talking about?
K: Our previous high total was 6175 checkouts for
one month. That means we have to check out 7719 items in June to be
eligible for the prize. But that’s throughout the entire nine-county
region. When you break that down by the 30-plus libraries in the
Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative, the OverDrive Challenge is
B: We should spread the word and have all of our
library patrons read more e-books and listen to more e-audiobooks
this month. We always could use the cash to purchase more titles.
Cuz, geez, a single electronic copy of “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
cost us $85 dollars. (And we had to purchase five copies to keep up
I can purchase a Kindle copy on Amazon for $8.54.
B: I know, right?
Libraries are on a different pricing structure than single
customers. That is why, if we could win $1500, well, that sure would
help us in the purchasing department.
K: I know when I’m purchasing, some of the costs
are astronomical. They do come down in cost, but that’s well after
they are hot bestsellers. And people want things right away.
B: And that’s when they cost the most. “China
Dolls” by Lisa See is $81.00 right now. The price will decrease, but
it is making the “must read” lists right now.
K: And then there are other hot titles such as
“Elizabeth is Missing,” which is going for $22.99, but we have it
for only 26 circulations, and then if we want it again, we have to
purchase it. I’m hopeful that electronic books vendors and
publishers will sort out their differences and prices will level
out; unfortunately, we’re just not there yet.
B: To get patrons psyched for the Challenge, I
just purchased a number of new adult fiction e-books and
e-audiobooks, including “The Hurricane Sisters” by Dorothea Benton
Frank, “Natchez Burning” by Greg Iles, “Chestnut Street” by Maeve
Binchy,” and – one of my new favorites – “Bird Box” by Josh
Malerman. If you like to be freaked out while reading, this is the
book for you.
K: I think I’ll stick with some of the new
nonfiction titles I recently purchased, such as “Code Name: Johnnie
Walker” and Robin Roberts’s memoir, “Everybody’s Got Something.”
Whatever your reading preference, we invite you to take the
OverDrive Challenge at http://tds.lib.overdrive.com!
June 2, 2014
Paws to Read this Summer!
by Katy Hiltner,
Summer is almost here, and the library
is gearing up for its annual summer reading program! This year’s
program will inspire children and teens to take time to “Paws to
To interest young readers of all ages,
two reading programs will be offered again this summer. The
children’s reading program is open to children ages 1 to 12, and the
teens’ reading program is open to young adults ages 13 to 18.
Registration for both programs begins on Monday, June 9 at 9:30 a.m.
To help celebrate the day, the library has scheduled several guest
appearances. The day will kick-off with a “Meet and Greet with
Muttnik.” The Mankato MoonDogs’ mascot will be in the Children’s
Room from 10-11 a.m. Don’t forget your cameras! Families stopping by
in the afternoon will have a chance to visit with the Library’s Book
Fairies, who will show children how to make their own fairy wands.
The fairies will be visiting the Children’s Room from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
For those who can’t make it to the summer reading program’s kick-off
day, there is still plenty of time to sign up! Registration for the
summer reading program will run through July 7.
Children’s Summer Reading Program
The goal of the children’s program is
for participants to read for 30 minutes a day for 25 days between
June 9 and July 31. For those children who are pre-readers, they are
asked to listen to books read to them for 20 minutes a day for 25
days. To help track their reading time, children who register will
receive a “Paws to Read” game sheet. For each day that a child
reads, he/she may color in one numbered square on his/her game
sheet. After completing five days of reading (or listening),
children will bring their game sheet back to the library for a
surprise. This year’s activities include a variety of games and
surprises, and all children who complete the program’s 25 days of
reading will receive a free book and be eligible to win one of 10
grand prizes. For an extra reading challenge, children may continue
on their game sheet’s challenge path to earn a bonus prize and be
named a “Paws-itively Purr-fect” Summer Reader.
While reading is at the heart of the
summer program, the library staff has planned many activities to
encourage children to be creative and have fun at the library. This
year’s participants will be invited to make an art project--watch
for details at the library! There will also be weekly crafts, plenty
of activity sheets, a family BINGO sheet, and summer storytimes on
Mondays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. This summer’s storytime schedule
will kick-off with a “Paws to Read” storytime on Thursday, June 12.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a summer
reading program without library contests. This year’s contests
include Paw Count, a contest where participants get to guess the
number of children who will sign up for the summer reading program.
We are hoping for an extraordinary number of registrants! The
library will also host a Bone Appétit counting contest and a Where’s
Rocket? contest, which will feature the sights of New Ulm.
Another feature of the summer reading program is a calendar of
special events. June’s library calendar features a variety of
programs. The Minnesota Children’s Museum will be sharing a special
Dino Dig Museum-to-Go Class at the library for children ages 5 and
up (registration required), and master entertainer and magician
Peter Bloedel will be making a special appearance at Turner Hall.
Other featured June programs include an Irish dance class and a
folded book art camp. Of course, June is just the beginning of
summer fun. There are free movies and more programs to come.
For a complete listing of the library’s calendar of events, please
check out the library’s Web site at www.newulmlibrary.org. There is
family fun for everyone!
Teen Summer Reading Program
Teens are invited to register for the
Summer Reading Program at the Service Center. Throughout the summer,
they will log every book they read on a slip of paper and drop the
paper in a designated box. Every teen who submits at least one slip
will receive a book. Additional prizes will be drawn randomly from
The library has several special events
planned for teens, including a teen movie event
on June 20; a Comics
Workshop led by Professor Ursula Murray Husted on July 15
(registration required); a Monday Night Concert in German Park with
the Little Prairie Pickers on July 21; and an event with Minnesota
author Geoff Herbach on July 24. Teens looking for some extra fun
this summer can pick up a Teen Summer BINGO game sheet and
participate in the library’s teen book trivia contest.
And don’t forget about Battle of the
Books, the trivia-style competition open to teens throughout the
Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative. This year’s event is
scheduled for August 2 in St. Peter. Interested teens may register
in the Children’s Room.
The New Ulm Public Library is fortunate
to receive major funding for the 2014 Summer Reading Programs from
the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library; 3M of New Ulm; and the
Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative through the Arts and Cultural
Heritage Fund. The library also receives generous prize donations
from local businesses, organizations, and patrons. A complete list
of donors can be found on the library’s Web site. Thank you, donors,
for your generous
As always, the most important reward of
our summer reading programs is that these programs help children and
teens maintain or even improve their reading skills that lay the
foundation for school success. If parents and libraries work
together to encourage summer reading, kids can be winners. So come
to the library this summer for some good books and plenty of fun!
May 19, 2014
What’s the Buzz?
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
Someone asked me why I don’t write about Harlan
Coben in my articles where I suggest books or authors to read.
I enjoy Coben, but I like to find new or different books and
authors to recommend. I
try to find authors who aren’t on the New York Times bestsellers
That’s why I read “The Bees” by Laline Paull.
It was Laline Paull’s beekeeper friend, who was
dying of cancer, who first opened the door of the hive for her.
After her friend died, Paull began to read about bees, and
her fascination grew until she became obsessed with the hive’s
ancient social order.
So what’s this book about,
Uhm, it’s about bees.
about the science of bees in a fully imagined fantasy bee world with
its rituals, hierarchies, and a whole lot of drama.
I started reading “The Bees” with
trepidation, thinking: I’ll give this one a shot, but I’m pretty
sure I won’t like it and I’ll quickly move on to something else.
But then I started reading.
One minute I was outside the hive and
the next I was inside.
And I wasn’t going anywhere else fast.
I have no idea how to glamorize or spiff up
remarks to make you want to read this totally wonderful book.
The book begins with a man showing a realtor his property and
pausing at a weathered bee hive.
And the next thing you know, you are listening to a female
character’s voice as she emerges from her honeycomb cell, defiant
and different from all the rest.
As she tries to get her bearings, you realize you are in the
hive and following Flora 717 as she begins her life.
Flora 717’s kin are the
flora, and she is born a worker.
Through a rather amazing turn of events she moves from the
drudge of sanitation and is let into the nursery to help with the
bees being born. But
that’s just the beginning.
Each new turn Flora 717 takes gives you another window into
the hive and its workings.
Paull weaves in the intricacies of the bees’
dance that leads other seekers to the best flowers, shows the strict
laws regarding the queen being the only bee allowed to lay eggs
(enter the fertility police), gives insight into the total rejection
of any sign of weakness or deformity (enter the conformity police),
and emphasizes the hive rule: “Accept, Obey, and Serve.” I love it
when I’m reading something like this and there is a niggling in my
brain of long ago learning.
There were moments I would think: I remember this from
science class in school.
When the posturing, posing drones (males) are introduced, like
dandies from Shakespeare, flaunting their swords for females to
admire, all la-di-da, that niggling reminded me: Bad things happen
This was a fun read.
I became so enamored with Flora 717 that I couldn’t wait to
return to the book to pick up where I left off.
And when I was finished, I was sad to leave the hive for the
last time. I would
say if you are a “Redwall” fan or loved “Watership Down,” this might
be a book you would enjoy.
And yet, I think many people would like “The Bees,” which
merges the fantasy of the story with science, touching on global
warming, pesticides, and the cruelty of nature.
Whatever led me to “The Bees,” I’m so glad I read it, I still
think of things that happened to Flora 717.
It was so vivid and alive.
I’ll say this: Run-ins with spiders when they are your size
can be terrifying. Flora
717 was a very, very bright bee, let me tell you.
Read this and go someplace different.
You just might like it. I
May 12, 2014
Ancestry Library Edition Now Available
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
time to time I have been asked whether the library offers the
Ancestry database. I always have explained that, regretfully, we do
not, primarily because of its cost and the possibility we wouldn’t
be able to sustain its funding. I say regretfully because I know how
valuable the genealogy resource is to the many, many people who
trace their family roots. I always have thought that providing the
database would be especially popular in our community, which is so
committed to preserving its history.
to our fantastic Friends of the New Ulm Public Library, I’m thrilled
to announce that the library now offers Ancestry Library Edition for
in-library use. Patrons may use our public computers, or you may
bring your personal laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Access is
available by clicking on the Ancestry Library Edition icon on the
library’s Web site home page or by clicking on the icon on the
public computer desktop. There is no password; access is immediate.
The license is restricted to in-library use only.
public computers are available for a one-hour session; if no one is
waiting, library staff will extend the session. Printing is in black
and white and costs $0.25 per page. We do not offer wireless
printing; however, Ancestry allows users to e-mail information and
save documents to a flash drive. Be sure to bring your own flash
can expect a wealth of information, from birth, marriage, and death
records to census and voter lists to immigration and military
documents. There are city directories, church histories, land
records, tax lists, obituaries … you get the idea. A genealogist’s
dream. In the short amount of time I have used the database, I have
found results in text format as well as images of original
mentioned, this resource is provided by an incredibly generous
donation from our Friends of the Library. The Friends are invaluable
partners in many ways, from providing major sponsorship of the
Summer Reading Program to donating funds for materials and programs,
to advocating for your public library. Funding Ancestry Library
Edition is just their latest effort to do good. Thanks, Friends!
Friends have funded a one-year subscription. Whether we continue to
provide Ancestry after the first year is largely up to you. Usage
statistics will play a great role in determining whether we fund a
second year. If you like the database and want it to remain a part
of our services, consider donating funds to the Friends of the
Library to support it. If you like the database and want it to
remain a part of our services, use it often.
those of you new to Ancestry, I will offer basic, hands-on classes
beginning in June. Check out our Web site at www.newulmlibrary.org
for dates and times. I invite all of you to drop by and explore this
new service. See you at the library!
May 5, 2014
Springtime and Gardening
Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference Librarian
It is spring and things are greening up outdoors.
Seeing all this greenery gets me thinking of gardening, be it
vegetable or flower gardening.
The great thing about gardening is that your garden area does
not have to be large—even gardening in pots on a deck can be very
One of the newest gardening books we have at
the New Ulm Public Library just came in the other day and will be on
our shelves soon. The
title of the book is “Plantiful: Start Small, Grow Big with 150
Plants That Spread, Self-Sow, and Overwinter” by Kristen Green.
This book shows how to have a garden that is packed with
gorgeous plants by simply making the right choices.
Green’s book features plants that are self-sowers, spreaders,
and plants that overwinter.
She includes many gardening tips, ideas, and photos that
motivate and inspire gardeners.
A book that I am interested in looking at is
entitled “Straw Bale Gardens: The Breakthrough Method for Growing
Vegetables Anywhere, Earlier and with No Weeding” by Joel Karsten.
(The no weeding caught my eye immediately!)
Conditioning the bales (getting them ready for planting the
seeds) may be a bit of a challenge, but it is very doable.
The chapters are easy to read and understand.
The best part is that you can use as many or as few bales as
you area permits or you think you can handle.
It is always better to start out small and add to it the next
year. Straw bale gardens
produce high yields, never need weeding, do not require soil, can go
anywhere (balconies, driveways, or in your backyard), and can extend
the growing season by several weeks as you can start earlier in the
spring. I have only
glanced through this book, but it is definitely something that I
want to take a closer look at.
Controlling pests in your garden can be a
problem. Aphids, slugs,
moles, cutworms, beetles, and a host of other pests can infest your
garden. “The Gardener’s
Guide to Common-Sense Pest Control: Completely Revised and Updated”
by William Olkowski may be just the book you are looking for.
Pesticides may work at first in controlling weeds and other
garden pests, but they may also damage beneficial insects and the
food that you are growing.
This book gives you a choice of practical and cost-effective
solutions that are less harmful to people as well as to the
If you are looking at growing vegetables for a
local farmer’s market or if you just want to grow for your own food
Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres” by
Pam Dawling could be just the book for you.
The book is well organized and easy to read for the beginning
gardener but also detailed enough for the more experienced
knowing about seeds and soil, the author shares helpful information
on managing a crew, trimming plants, and saving seeds for another
Another new book, checked out at this time, is
“The Organic Book of Compost: Easy and Natural Techniques to Feed
Your Garden” by Pauline Pears.
This book includes instructions on how to make compost, how
to store it, and how to use it.
Whether you have a full-size garden or a balcony in the city,
you can recycle your household waste in an environmentally efficient
Whether your garden is a pot on your balcony, a
part of your backyard, or a few acres in a field, we have books that
can help you in your gardening endeavors.
For more reading, check out the sections 631s-635s at the New
Ulm Public Library. We
have many books on flower and vegetable gardening as well as
composting and controlling pests.
Come in and check these areas out and happy gardening!
April 28, 2014
Upcoming Author Visits at the Library
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
An author visit at the library is one of my
favorite things. I am impressed by the dedication and artistic
ability required to create a book. And I am amazed by the number of
local folks who have done this so adeptly. It’s a pleasure to
provide a forum for these authors to share their work, and we have
three visits scheduled in May.
First up, Renee Wendinger of Sleepy Eye will
share her first historical novel on May 8 at 6 p.m. “Last Train
Home” is a fictional companion to Wendinger’s nonfiction book,
“Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York.” “Last
Train Home” is the story of orphans Johnny and Sophia and is based
on the lives of local orphan train riders, including Wendinger's
mother. Wendinger will give a short presentation and then sign
copies of her book. Thanks to the Brown County Historical Society
for partnering with us on this program.
On May 19 at 6:30 p.m., the Mystery Book Group
will welcome Thomas Maltman for a discussion of his latest book,
“Little Wolves.” Maltman has a Master’s degree from Minnesota State
University, Mankato, and was a teacher at Cedar Mountain in Morgan.
That setting is the basis for “Little Wolves,” a brooding mystery
set in the late 1980s. Copies of “Little Wolves” are available
through the library, although it’s not necessary to read the book
before the program. Maltman also is the author of “The Night Birds,”
a fictional account of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
Ulm native Dr. Peter Mansoor returns May 29 at 6 p.m. for a
presentation based on his newest book, “Surge: My Journey with
General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War.” Dr.
Mansoor is the General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair of Military
History, Ohio State University, and a retired U.S. Army colonel.
During the surge of 2007-8, he served as executive officer to
Petraeus, the Commanding General of Multi-National Force-Iraq. Dr.
Mansoor is the author of a number of books, including “Baghdad at
Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq.”
programs are free and open to the public. I invite you to join the
library in welcoming these gifted writers as they share their work
with the greater New Ulm community. See you at the library!
April 21, 2014
A World of Books
Betty J Roiger,
Just the other day, I was
watching one of the morning TV talk shows. They were
interviewing one of the stars from the new movie
“Divergent.” The newsperson asked her if she had
read the (very popular) books this movie series was
based on. She smiled and replied that these were
young adult books and said something to the effect
that she was trying to be an adult. [She smiled.]
She continued with: But the script was great.
OK. Let’s pause here. Turn away from the TV
screen. Let’s think about what this young woman said
and/or implied because it sure didn’t make me smile.
I heard: Adults don’t read young adult books. Now,
after that, I don’t even know where to start to
discuss why that statement is flawed.
I think I will try to just string some words
together. “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “Catcher in the
Rye.” “Lord of the Flies.” “Tom Sawyer.”
“Huckleberry Finn.” “A Wrinkle in Time.” “The
Hobbit.” “The Wizard of Oz.” AND, um, that little
series with a boy’s name, oh yeah, “Harry Potter.” I
think you know where I’m going. But, yes, I will say
it: If adults are not reading young adult books,
they are missing the world. I mean that very
seriously. Just because there is a YA (young adult)
or junior label on something, please, never let that
stop anyone of any age from reading it.
Second, I want to say that her statement made me
very sad. To not delve into the world of a book
because of the feeling that you were past an age is
just disappointing. I heard another star say he
hadn’t read “The Hunger Games” when he had a part in
it, and that was his loss. I know Jennifer Lawrence
read the books, and I know the kids from Harry
Potter read Rowling’s books. They knew the worlds
they were inhabiting and were interested in the
books, the movies, everything. I think that is part
of their huge success, plus the fact that the
original material was just plain awesome.
There is a man named Mo Willems who consistently
writes clever, funny, enjoyable picture books such
as “That is Not a Good Idea,” “Don’t Let the Pigeon
Drive the Bus,” “Knuffle Bunny,” and the varied
adventures of Elephant and Piggie. I can open “Can I
Play Too?” when Snake asks Elephant and Piggie to
play catch, and I literally fall apart with
laughter. How can a snake possibly catch a ball? The
reason I am talking about a picture book is this: It
might not be on an adult’s usual reading list, but
if I had missed reading Elephant and Piggie books,
my life would not be as happy as it is. I can say
the same about “Harry Potter,” “The Hunger Games,”
“Wonder,” and scads of other junior books and young
Finally, I’d like to say that
I read a lot, and I remember a lot of the books I
have read. But ask me to name a character from a
book I read last year, and I might have to wrinkle
my forehead and think a minute. Let me be a name
dropper here for a minute: Tom & Huck, Bilbo
Baggins, Scout and Jem, Katniss, Wilbur, Old Yeller.
Did your imagination conjure up identities for most
of those names? Yeah, well, they are characters in
junior and young adult books. They are well written
and alive in the imaginations of millions of
readers. They have touched our lives and the lives
of children for generations because these characters
live in the worlds created in young adult or junior
books, which are perfectly all right for folks of
any age to read and enjoy.
April 23rd is
World Book Night (and it’s Shakespeare’s birthday!).
If you want a few laughs and a free (brand-new)
book, come to the library at 6 p.m. to help
celebrate books and spread the love of reading one
book at a time.
April 14, 2014
Tippi Hedren's Coming to New Ulm!
by Betty J. Roiger & Kris Wiley
Kris: Who’s Tippi Hedren?
Betty: Who is
K: Yeah, that’s what I asked.
Who’s Tippi Hedren?
B: You’re kidding me!
Tippi Hedren is a local, small-town girl from our
very own Lafayette, Minnesota! And she is a
glamorous movie star. Haven’t you ever seen
Hitchcock’s “The Birds”?
K: Hmmm. Maybe?
B: OMG! I was 10 or 11 when I saw that movie! I
still remember leaving the theater and starting the
three-block walk home with a friend. It went pretty
well, walking in the dark, until, for some unknown
reason, a flock of blackbirds exploded into the sky
en masse from the tree we were walking under. I
don’t recall anything after that except our feet
took flight as we flew home, too. “The Birds” was
frightening and seemed utterly possible, nature run
amuck. I thought it was brilliant.
K: OK. So
this woman is a Minnesotan and a movie star. Got it.
B: No. [sigh] No, you haven’t. She is much, much
more than that. This lady is a tireless advocate and
supporter for saving exotic big cats. She has a
preserve named Shambala where she gives homes and
shelter to lions and tigers, mountain lions, and
bobcats. Cast off from private owners, zoos, or
circuses, unwanted, abused, or ailing big cats can
find a home with Tippi. These large animals will be
cared for and given safety because of her preserve.
K: That is pretty amazing. How do you know
B: I’ve read about it for years.
Tippi came on my radar with “The Birds,” but when I
first read about Tippi and Shambala, I was really
impressed that this movie star was so philanthropic
to big cats. I mean, so many celebrities just want
to be celebrities posing with their Starbucks
coffee. Here was a woman who was devoting time and
energy and money to create a haven and do some good
in the world.
K: That really is something,
B: Yep. This lady is a true star.
And she happens to be the mother of Melanie
Griffith, who is a movie star in her own right.
K: Wow, then that means Antonio Banderas is her
son-in-law! And he is famous for being the voice of
“Puss in Boots” in the Shrek movies. So there seems
to be a cat theme floating throughout the family.
B: Heh, yeah. Yep, there are definitely many
sides to a person: where they’re from, what they do,
who their family is, what they love. And there are
many sides to Tippi Hedren: Minnesotan, movie star,
mother, grandmother, animal activist.
Then I think we are very lucky to have her come back
and speak to us here in New Ulm. As part of the
Storytellers series funded by the Arts and Cultural
Fund through the Traverse des Sioux Library
Cooperative, Tippi Hedren will be speaking at the
District Administrative Center (15 N. State) on May
1 at 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the
public; seating is first come, first served.
B: I cannot wait! Just be aware when you walk up
to the Junior High, there are a lot of trees around
that building … and where there are trees, there are
birds. Just sayin’.
April 7, 2014
Add More of the Little Moments
Katy Hiltner, Children’s Librarian
Just the other day I was reminded that the
little moments in life add up to some of life’s most
treasured memories. We may not easily recall these
little moments. However, I bet many adults can
recall at least one favorite book from their
childhood. This past month, Betty Roiger had a
wonderful display in the library featuring some of
those childhood favorites (Harriet the Spy, Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory, and Little Witch, just to
name a few). While these books have found their way
back onto the shelves, it’s not too late to check
one out today for yourself or even for your family.
Along with recalling favorite childhood books,
adults will just as easily remember the joy of
listening to a book read aloud to them. I can still
recall as a 2nd-grader listening to the school
librarian read chapters from the book “The Boxcar
Children.” It was the first time I had heard
“Violet” used as a name, and like the children in
the book, I wanted to drink cold milk from a chipped
tea cup and eat freshly picked blueberries. I can
honestly say that listening to the story of the
Boxcar Children is nestled into my memory forever. I
believe we never truly outgrow the joys of listening
to stories read aloud to us, hence the popularity of
As a children’s librarian, I get to see a lot of
neat trends taking place in our community. Lately,
I’ve been noticing more and more parents checking
out chapter books to read aloud to their young
children. Some of the series going off the shelves
include Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series,
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie
series, and Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series.
There are so many great read-aloud books available.
To help in the search for a good book or series,
Carla Fjeld has created a list of read-aloud chapter
books for young children. This list will be
available in our “Read-Alikes and Series List”
binder at the library. If you’re interested in
finding out more, just stop by the Children’s Desk.
We’re happy to recommend a good book. Of course,
sharing books together is great at any age! A
popular series to share together as a family is, of
course, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. There is
such comfort in hearing a story read aloud, and it’s
a treat that one never outgrows.
As adults, we know that sharing books with
children helps build their reading skills,
vocabulary, and imagination. But please don’t just
take this librarian’s word for it. I came across a
wonderful Web site featuring “Ten Read-aloud
Commandments,” according to children’s author Mem
Fox. While I don’t have room to share all of these
tips, I want to share just two. Fox states: #1.
“Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every
single day reading aloud. From birth!” and #10.
“Please read aloud every day because you just adore
being with your child, not because it’s the right
thing to do.”
Happy Reading Aloud!
March 31, 2014
On the Rocks
Betty J Roiger,
Is it too early to be thinking
of beach reads? The snow IS almost gone, after all.
For me, the term “beach read” means something light
“On the Rocks” by Erin Duffy meets
these requirements. Abby is trying on wedding
dresses when her phone starts ringing incessantly,
and suddenly she discovers that her fiancé has
dumped her via Facebook. She falls into a pit of
despair (and ice cream) when she finds her life
revolving around her two new best friends: Ben &
Jerry. When her best friend, Grace, invites her to
the beach for the summer, she goes, thinking she has
nothing to lose but the extra weight she has gained.
Abby uses humor and sarcasm to get through
her breakup, which made for a funny read. But what I
really enjoyed were her jabs at technology and how
it has changed and assaulted our lives in personal
ways. It continues to blow my mind how insidious and
invasive technology has become.
is dumped on Facebook. Prior to 2004, we wouldn’t
have even known what that meant since rings and
invitations played a bigger part of our lives than
the words “single status” on a computer screen. The
instant and casual use of digital devices persists
in prolonging Abby’s pain. Once her boyfriend, Ben,
moves away, it doesn’t really end her connection to
him as he continues to text her. And, because she
isn’t over him, she continues to write back. At one
point Ben texts that he is thinking of her. She
reads it and responds that she is thinking of him,
too. The next text reads: Sorry, that was meant for
someone else. So she tries subterfuge unsuccessfully
and texts back that hers was for someone else, too.
Later, when she is in Newport and back
on the dating scene, she finds out about a Web site
that posts “walk of shame” photos of islanders who
are caught walking home in the clothes they were
last seen in the day before. Abby muses: “Once again
I found myself dumbfounded at how technology had
changed the way we all interacted. It used to be
that people had to actually know you in order to
humiliate you.” And on the topic of “sexting,” she
says: “I really missed the old days, you know, when
someone had to actually be in your presence in order
to see you naked.”
One of the best (or
worse) relationships Abby laments about is the one
she has with her mother. I dare anyone to read the
part about what her mother wears to her sister’s
wedding and not laugh out loud. Abby sums up her
relationship with her mother when being nagged about
calling home. She thinks (but does not say aloud),
“I’m trying to save money and the long distance
calls to the underworld are pricey.”
out just in time for the warm weather (hint, hint,
weatherman), “On the Rocks” is a fun, breezy read.
Pick this one up if you want to follow Abby after
she finds herself on the bad side of social media,
and find out how she fares in the battle of the
March 24, 2014
CAST(LE) and the Library: A Great
Kris Wiley, Assistant
The library enjoys
partnering with community groups on projects and
programs, and we’ve had great success when working
with a number of local organizations. Our joint
efforts ensure a greater number of people have
access to educational and entertaining
One of our long-time partners
is Community and Seniors Together and its offshoot,
CASTLE Lifelong Learning. We have shared programming
ideas, facilities, and publicity opportunities for a
number of years, and next month we’re working
together on two great programs.
coincidence, both events are scheduled for Thursday,
April 10 – fortunately at different times! At 10
a.m. at the Community Center (600 N. German St.),
the library and CAST will welcome photographer Doug
Ohman for a one-hour slideshow presentation about
the state parks of Minnesota. Ohman contributed the
photography for the book “Prairie, Lake, Forest:
Minnesota’s State Parks,” and he will share his
beautiful work, including images of New Ulm’s
Flandrau State Park. Ohman also has published
“Libraries of Minnesota” and “Barns of Minnesota,”
among other titles. I enjoy his engaging, personable
approach to presentations, and I’m looking forward
to this photographic tour of our state’s parks.
Then at 6 p.m. at the library (17 N. Broadway),
the library and CASTLE will be host to a book
discussion of “Simon’s Night” by the great Jon
Hassler. The one-hour program will be facilitated by
Ric Jacobsen, pastor at Oakwood United Methodist
Church and a frequent CASTLE contributor. “Simon’s
Night,” published in 1979, explores the issues and
experiences of aging through the eyes of Simon Shea,
a retired professor of English at a small Minnesota
college. I expect lots of laughs and a few
heartbreaking anecdotes during our discussion.
Copies of “Simon’s Night” are available through
the library. Stop by or call us at 507-359-8334 to
place a hold on a copy.
Both programs are
free and open to the public. Ohman’s event is made
possible by a Legacy grant from the Traverse des
Sioux Library Cooperative. The book discussion is
made possible through the generosity of CASTLE and
Pastor Jacobsen. Participants in the book discussion
do not need to be CASTLE members.
For a full
list of library programs, visit the events page on
the library’s Web site, www.newulmlibrary.org, or
call 507-359-8334. All library programs are free and
open to the public. See you at the library!
March 17, 2014
2013 at the Library
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
the New Ulm Public Library has to file a statistical
report with the State Library. Because the data
requested is pretty similar each year, we compile it
into a spreadsheet which provides an ongoing
comparison of our services as the years go by. I
thought I’d share with you some of the facts and
figures from the latest report.
widely viewed statistical number among public
libraries is circulation. Many public
libraries—including those in the Traverse des Sioux
region—saw overall circulation declines of
approximately 10% in 2013. Here in New Ulm, our
circulation was flat, down less than .3%. We think
many factors contributed to our better-than-average
circulation statistics including: the new materials
added, the thorough weeding last year, e-books,
programming and more.
But there were changes
in those circulation stats. One example is that for
the first time in our organizational memory,
children’s materials out-circulated the adult
materials. About 44.6% of our 2013 circulation was
children’s materials, 43.9% was adult materials and
11.5% was teen or other circulation. Another example
is electronic books. Usage of e-books continues to
increase (now 500-600 items per month) since first
offered in 2011, although the percentage of our
circulation that such numbers represent is still
quite small (less than 3%). One might say—“The death
of the book has been widely exaggerated.”
Last year, Kris Wiley, our assistant director and
master of programming kept our events schedule at
the New Ulm Library quite full. For the second year
in a row, the total number of library events
exceeded one hundred. Considering our days open,
that’s about one event every other day! Kris works
hard at keeping programming varied and lively at the
New Ulm Library, and some 3,500 customers attended
library programs in 2013. As always, if you have
ideas for a program, give Kris a call at: 359-8334.
Usage of Internet at the Library increased
substantially in the past two years. Comparing 2013
with 2011 (data was unavailable for 2012), our usage
at the Internet workstations increased from 15, 826
sessions to 21,767, or about 37.5%. Happily for
staff, our reliable Userful workstations had an
uptime last year of nearly 100%. Our contract
renewal with this vendor was also cause for cheer as
our per station daily cost declined nearly 40% to
just $.82 per workstation per day. In the works for
our Internet workstations, adding Microsoft Office
to them sometime in 2014!
Our weeding project
completed in 2013 resulted in a reduction in the
size of our collection from 95,000 items to about
80,000. That may seem like a lot, but our collection
had not been thoroughly weeded in decades. Most of
the withdrawn items were exceedingly old, in poor
condition, or unneeded duplicates of titles. This
weeding project—which gave us a newer, cleaner, more
up-to-date collection—left us a smaller, but better
you ever looked through our “free” books shelf? Our
free book shelf began in 2009 and since then nearly
15,000 items have been adopted by new owners. These
are titles which have not sold in our book sales,
gifts that were not in good enough condition to add
to our collection, or withdrawn books whose
condition precluded sale. We no longer throw out any
books except those whose condition includes mold,
missing pages, broken spines and so on.
Overall, we’re pleased with our statistical portrait
of 2013. We’re even more pleased with each new
library customer we see! Let’s make 2014 our best
March 10, 2014
The Bloom Is Off the Rose
J Roiger, Acquisitions
If you tend to stroll
through bookstores or libraries, you might notice
that book covers develop in cycles. Silhouettes were
big a few years ago. Then body parts were popular: a
person’s back, the body from the waist down, legs,
or the back of a head. I love book covers. I love
watching their evolution. And I totally judge a book
by its cover. Some just suck me right in. Right now
I’m evidently a sucker for exploding flowers.
I read a book awhile ago called “The Husband’s
Secret” by Liane Moriarty, which had a hydrangea
blowing apart on the cover. The main character,
Cecilia, is a typical wife and mother, harried and
running to keep up with everything. The second
sentence draws the reader in: “If it weren’t for the
Berlin Wall, Cecilia would never have found the
letter, and then she wouldn’t be sitting here, at
the kitchen table, willing herself not to rip it
open.” Here’s the thing. Cecilia’s husband leaves
for a business meeting, she finds a mysterious
letter, and believing there are no secrets between
them, she asks him over the phone about it. He
becomes nervous, says he wrote it when she had their
first child saying how overwhelmed and proud and
happy he was. Now since he’s embarrassed, he begs:
Please don’t read it. (Ba ba bum! Cue the music of
distrust!) And the stirring of mistrust and
misgiving is raised in her mind. I was greatly
amused by this woman’s inner dialogue. Still from
the first page: “She wasn’t going to open it. It was
absolutely clear that she should not open it. She
was the most decisive person she knew, and she’d
already decided not to open the letter, so there was
nothing more to think about. Although, honestly, if
she did open it, what would be the big deal?” I
found this to be quite an enjoyable book. Cecilia is
funny, the characters were believable, and the
mysterious letter reveal was good. I would a read
Moriarty book again.
Then I read a magazine article where they
pointed out the emerging theme of bursting flowers
on book covers. I wondered: Has the flower become
the symbol of a marriage, and is the detonation of
it the revelation of something horrible hidden
within? I was intrigued. I remembered I had been
seeing a lot of ruined flowers lately. The article
showed a few books, one of which was “The Husband’s
Secret,” which I had liked, and, so why not try
another one? Suddenly I was sucked into a different
novel with a flower explosion cover. “Before We Met”
is written by Lucie Whitehouse. Hannah is a Brit
living in America when she is swept off her feet by
Mark, who is also British. He is a financial phenom,
handsome, and fun, and he loves her. They marry,
settle in England, all is well. Having moved puts
Hannah out of a job and at loose ends. And then Mark
goes on a business trip. (I am telling you, these
business trips are poison to a marriage!) He doesn’t
return when expected. She can’t reach him. People
from his office think he’s on a vacation with her.
What?!? He calls and tells her he’ll be later than
expected. He’s lost his cell phone; she shouldn’t
try to reach him. (Ba ba bum! Cue the music of
distrust!) So she starts to dig. Digging into
financial papers, Hannah realizes her savings have
been cleared out. She wonders where the heck her
husband is and what has he really been doing!?!
I have to say this book had the tension
ratcheted up a little more for me. I would
definitely read Lucie Whitehouse again, too. More of
a thriller than Moriarty’s novel, Whitehouse’s book
made me a little more cognizant about the general
health of flowers and their explosiveness.
Otherwise, when my husband, Doug, was putting on his
coat and reaching for the car keys, why would I have
searched his face and asked casually: “Hey, where ya
going?” Doug: “Filling up the car. It’s going to get
cold again. I’ll be right back.” Hmmm, THAT didn’t
sound like a business trip. But it got me thinking
maybe I need to stop with the damaged flowers and
check out a different type of book cover.
February 24, 2014
April 15-Income Tax Time-Coming Soon
Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference Librarian
April 15 is just around the corner and people
are getting excited. As my granddaughter would say,
“Whoopee, my birthday—what are you getting me?” But
we as adults moan and think to ourselves, “Tax day
is looming!” Another year has come to an end and
that means it will soon be time to file your income
taxes. Yes, April 15 is when our income taxes are
due. Are you ready? Here are some tips on making
this a less stressful time in preparing for income
Even though it is a necessary evil, it doesn’t
have to be as stressful as we sometimes make it if
we do some preparing. The best thing you can do is
to be organized. This not only helps you, but it
makes it easier and more efficient for your tax
preparer (if you use someone else to prepare your
taxes for you). It makes the whole process a lot
shorter from start to finish, and you will get your
refund much quicker (especially if you e-file and
have your refund directly deposited to your
Here are a few steps to help make tax time a bit
easier for you.
a. Take an envelope or folder and label it Tax
Documents. Here you will place everything that you
will need as you prepare for your taxes.
a list of all your interest-bearing accounts that
you have (including checking, savings, certificates
of deposit, etc.). Your tax form from last year will
be a big help to you in getting all these accounts
c. W2 forms.
d. If you have any
stocks and bonds, get that information from your
broker if you have not received this information
e. Every time you receive any kind of
interest forms (1099-Int., 1099-Div, 1099-R) or any
kind of tax statement, cross that off your list
until they are all marked as received.
f. If you
sold stocks or bonds or mutual funds during the
year, gather all the information you can. You will
need purchase prices and dates of when these
transactions took place.
g. If you have rental
property, you will need rent receipts, utility
bills, mortgage statements, real estate taxes,
repair bills, insurance bills, etc.
h. Gather all
your receipts you plan to use when filing your taxes
including but not limited to charitable donations,
unreimbursed business expenses (gas, meals, travel,
supplies, tolls, etc.), education expenses,
child-care costs, documented moving expenses or job
search expenses, medical expenses, medical insurance
premiums, church donations, and/or pharmacy expenses
not covered by insurance.
i. If you made any
large purchases during the year, such as an
automobile or large appliance, put those receipts in
your folder as well.
j. Keep this folder handy
as a general reminder to keep yourself organized and
not to wait until the last minute to start preparing
Keep in mind this is a very generic list. All of
the above mentioned items may not apply to your
particular situation or you may have a much more
complicated tax situation. This is just something to
get you started on the right path to filing your tax
return. Some of the mistakes that taxpayers make
when filing income taxes include waiting until the
last minute to file, not being prepared, or losing
out on deductions due to missing or incomplete
information from lack of planning. You can request
an extension to the filing deadline but keep in mind
that you are still responsible to pay interest on
any taxes you owe.
Many people like to do their own taxes and that
is just great. Filing with the help of a program
such as TurboTax can save you money but if your
taxes are more complicated, you might want to seek
the advice of a CPA to do your taxes. Consider how
complicated your return will be when deciding the
best way to do your taxes. One of the best books
that I know of for helping with income taxes is J.K.
Lasser’s “Your Income Tax 2014” for preparing your
2013 tax return. Subjects covered in his book
include the basics of filing, what you have to
report as income, what deductions can you claim, how
much tax do you owe, strategies to help you save on
your taxes, and planning ideas for your business.
Once you are done, Lasser explains how you file
electronically, filing extensions, amended returns,
and IRS audits. We have a copy of this book at the
library, please be sure to come in and check it out!
February 17, 2014
Read “The Giver,” and See the MLC Production
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
a latecomer to the young adult book “The Giver” by
Lois Lowry, and I checked it out only because Sue O.
wouldn’t stop talking about it when we worked
together. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down,
and I sure knew why Sue was raving. Beautiful
writing, compelling characters, enough suspense to
keep a reader guessing – all wrapped up in a
dystopian setting. And Lowry published the book in
1993, long before dystopia became cool.
read “The Giver” last year, thought it was great,
moved on to the next book on my pile, and didn’t
give it much thought again until I heard that Martin
Luther College Forum was planning to present the
stage version. Actually, I got an e-mail from the
play’s producer, Kristi Koelpin, wondering whether
the library would partner on a program. We quickly
agreed on an event that would provide a
behind-the-scenes look at the making of a play. We
called it Backstage Pass, and it happened last week.
Not too many people showed up for the program,
but those of us who did had a fantastic experience.
We learned about the sound system and how the sound
technician pulled together effects that were
approved by the director. And how the sound and
light technicians have coordinated to bring Jonas’s
visions to life. The heartbeat effect was
Our next stop was the
set, and the set managers shared how they worked
with Kristi’s ideas to develop three areas on the
stage. My favorite was the Giver’s office, which had
loads of books all over the floor and a giant
bookcase that was being painted by talented MLC
We saw the green room, which seemed
to be the hangout for the cast and crew. Lots of
chairs, a beat-up couch – it was so cozy and
inviting I got a little nostalgic for my college
days. There’s work done in the green room, though,
because that’s where hair and makeup reside. I had
no idea actors use white makeup on their eyelids to
make their eyes pop. And props also are located in
the green room, which is how I found out that all
those books on stage actually were boxed up in the
Finally, we went back to the stage
and met most of the actors. There were freshmen and
seniors, novices and veterans represented, and I
think all of them had read “The Giver” before they
auditioned. The director and three of the actors
worked on a scene, so we saw some of the stage
directions. And then the director let the actors
finish the scene – teasing me just enough that I
can’t wait to see the full production.
amazed by the professionalism of the cast and crew
and by their willingness to spend time presenting
Backstage Pass. The production is entirely
student-run, so these gifted young people are
preparing a fantastic play while working as
full-time students. And they all seemed as genuinely
pleased to present this behind-the-scenes event as
we were to attend. I hope this is only the first of
many Backstage Pass collaborations.
I’ll be in
the audience this weekend (the schedule is Friday,
February 21 and Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m.
and Sunday, February 23 at 2 p.m.) enjoying the show
and knowing just how much thought, time, and effort
went into the production.
February 10, 2014
NEW DVDS AT THE LIBRARY
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
There’s always new
books at the Library, but I’m here to tell you there’s always new
DVDs as well. Though I’m usually immersed in the latest
documentaries which have arrived (there’s a couple of those below),
this month I’ve been watching more feature films. Here are some I
Inequality for All
Economist, columnist and
academic Robert Reich produced this documentary on how the widening
income gap in America is having a devastating impact on the economy.
This film got very limited play in movie theatres last fall (shown
in only one theatre in Minnesota), so if you haven’t heard of this,
think of it as An
Inconvenient Truth for the economy. Be forewarned, however, this
is scary, disturbing stuff.
Captain Phillips (2013).
A film that re-tells the story of the 2009 hijacking of a container
ship by Somali pirates, the kidnapping of the captain of the vessel
and his rescue by Navy Seals. Wonderfully acted by Tom Hanks, but
also featuring a great performance by Somali-American actor Barkhad
Abdi (whose family emigrated to the United States when he was 14,
settling in Minneapolis). Abdi is a graduate of Moorhead State
University and has received an Academy Award nomination for Best
Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.
A Place at the Table
(2012). Tells the powerful
story of three Americans who don’t know where their next meal is
coming from. Attempting to illuminate America’s “hunger crisis,” the
filmmakers portray these people as having missed out on the American
dream, and as part of 50 million in America who don’t get enough to
eat. Join actor Jeff Bridges and others for this intimate story.
Why Jeff Bridges? In
1984, Bridges and other entertainment industry leaders founded the
“End Hunger Network” aimed at encouraging, stimulating and
supporting action to end childhood hunger. They’re still trying.
Enough Said (2013).
This charming romantic
comedy was James Gandolfini’s last film (released after his untimely
passing) and it’s a good one. Co-starring
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, the plot centers around two divorced
people questioning their own impressions and wondering if life
really offers second chances.
Buyers Club (2014). An offbeat dramedy starring Matthew
McConaughey as Texas cowboy, Ron Woodroof, whose life is turned
upside down when he is diagnosed with AIDS.
Determined to survive his diagnosis, Woodroof looks for both
legal and illegal treatments in his quest for life. Co-stars
Abbey (2013). Season 4.
People keep telling me to watch this period British drama
about life among the upper-crust in 1920s England.
So far I’ve resisted. But other Library staff
say it’s a marvelous drama, and well worth watching. The cast
this season includes American guest stars Paul Giamatti and Shirley
MacLaine, two of my favorites, so maybe I’ll finally succumb to
temptation? Maybe you should, too?
So that’s what’s new this week. We’ll see you
at the Library!
February 3, 2014
North of Boston
Betty J Roiger,
Christmas Day found Doug and me out
shoveling. With shovels. Cuz we don’t have one of those
complicated things, you know, a kid to do it for us. While
outside I started thinking about a James Lileks short story
where he mentions shoveling. Lileks is a Minnesota author,
and this is what he wrote: “When I began, I was determined
to do a good job, to expose every last square millimeter of
concrete to the cold sun. A brass band could march down my
sidewalk. After a half an hour, I decided that people could
damn well walk single file … Half an hour later, I was
shoveling out a trail best suited for unicyclists.”
I was making a Lileks path, wide enough for a person to
traverse, knowing Doug would come behind and shovel end to
end on the sidewalk so elephants could easily navigate it.
Being outside shoveling, basically alone in my own head, my
mind bounced from books to TV. I was reminded of an argument
between Archie Bunker and his son-in-law about what to put
on their feet in case of a fire. Archie said, “A sock and a
sock and a shoe and a shoe!” and Rob would put on a sock and
a shoe. Archie was having a fit, and Rob said, “Your way you
would be standing outside in the rain in wet socks. My way I
could hop around on one dry foot!” That’s how Doug and I
shovel. I just want to get some of it shoved aside so
there’s walking room, and Doug wants every flake moved.
Anyhow, it was OK shoveling, but it got even better when
a nice neighbor came over with one of those complicated
things, you know, a snow blower, and bailed us out.
With no shoveling left to do, my brain slid back to the
really cool book I had just read. I met the character Pirio
Kasparov in Elisabeth Elo’s “North of Boston.” Since her
best friend’s ex needs a hand on his lobster boat, she
offers to help. It’s early, cold, and foggy when a freighter
comes out of the gloom. There’s no time to react. Pirio
dives; Ned has time only to give their location before the
boat is totaled and he is lost. After four hours Pirio is
saved, becoming a medical miracle for surviving hypothermia.
As time passes, she continues to ask how the
investigation into finding the careless freighter is going,
only to run into dead ends. So for the sake of Ned’s son,
she starts to dig for answers on her own. This book took me
places I didn’t know much about (perfumes, fishing,
hypothermia, the evil men do for sport) but for me, Pirio
was worth following. She is spunky, interesting, stubborn,
and sarcastic. Sometimes her inner monologue had me laughing
out loud. When she runs into an old lover at Ned’s funeral,
she thinks, “More sadly, all the once-sharp bodily angles
are rounded, as if it had been decided by the gatekeepers of
middle age that they’d be better off padded for their own
protection by a layer of fleshy bubble wrap.” Reading this
mystery, I got totally and enjoyably wrapped up in a story
that weaves together strands of Pirio’s life, her friends,
world issues, and murder. And that was so much more fun than
scoop, throw, shuffle, scoop…well, you get my drift. Drift,
ha-ha, get it? Yeah, I am the world’s worst shoveler. But I
know a good book when I read one.
January 27, 2014
Enjoying Time Indoors
While I encourage reading all
year round, I think there is something extra nice about
reading books during winter’s coldest days. For this
librarian, there is nothing better than snuggling with a
good book and a warm blanket. Add a cup of hot chocolate
(with marshmallows, of course) and you’ve got a perfect way
to spend time indoors.
Here in the Children’s Room,
we always have an assortment of books to browse. Each month,
we like to highlight a particular theme or genre in our book
displays. This month’s featured displays are “Once Upon a
Time…” (fairy tale picture books for all ages), “Snow Books”
and “Valentine’s Day” (picture books), and “Travel Back in
Time” (junior books). We’ve also created a “Books You May
Have Missed” display in the junior area. These undiscovered
library gems are reads just waiting to be checked out. Be
sure to stop by this display to give these books a second
With a new year upon us, it’s always a good
time to read something different. I was thrilled to learn of
a fifth-grade class that’s reading mysteries. There are so
many mystery books to choose from whether it be the classic
Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries or something more
contemporary like The 39 Clues or Keepers of the School
series. If you’re looking for a mystery book, just browse
the book stacks and look for a green mystery sticker on the
book spines. In fact, you can look in the junior book stacks
for an assortment of genres. A “sticker guide” makes it easy
to find a favorite genre whether it be mystery, fantasy,
science fiction, or historical fiction.
found a good book, be sure to tell others about it! The
fifth-graders who are reading mysteries are having fun
sleuthing, and they are excitedly talking about their books
with classmates. It’s a reminder that at any age, you can
surprise yourself with the discovery of a new genre. If you
find a book you like, go ahead and tell others about it. For
adults, the perfect opportunity to share books is by signing
up for the Adult Winter Reading Program. Stop by the Service
Center to report if something is a hot read or it left you
Of course, we cannot stay cooped up indoors all
winter. If you’re stuck on the not-so-great winter roadways,
I’d highly recommend popping an audio book into your CD
player. The library has great audiobooks for all ages. My
main resource for audio book recommendations is our very own
Carla Fjeld. As Carla will advise, the reader of each book
makes all the difference. Thanks to Carla, I’ve discovered
the joys of Rosemary Wells’ “On the Blue Comet,” and
Jennifer Jacobson’s “Small as An Elephant,” both junior
audiobooks. Two more titles to check out are the junior
audiobook “Summer at Forsaken Lake” and the young adult
audiobook “Cleopatra’s Moon.” These audiobooks are a great
reminder of how a good book can help you escape to warmer
places, if only for a short time.
While many of us
are anxiously waiting for early signs of spring, there is
hope in knowing that a book or an audiobook can give us the
much relished escape from the cold of winter. As Dave Barry
writes, “Reading [is] a vacation for the mind...” Here at
the New Ulm Public Library, we invite you to stop by the
library to check out a “book vacation.”
January 20, 2014
New Year’s Resolution
Adult Services/Reference Librarian
You want to shed a few pounds or do something to get rid
of that sluggish feeling you have been experiencing. January
is a popular time for making this kind of resolution. Gray,
cold, wintery type days make us want hot drinks, chocolate
cookies, and thick sweaters. We don’t want to think of
salad-based diets or tight fitting workout clothing. Juicing
is a good way to add color and fresh fruits to not only pep
you up but also to hint that summer will be here before we
Are you feeling stressed and exhausted these days? By
adding a colorful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to
your diet, in the forms of fresh juices and smoothies, you
can decrease the harmful effects of stress and fatigue on
your body. Two books that we have at the library are “The
Juice Lady’s Remedies for Stress & Adrenal Fatigue” by
Cherie Calbom and “The Handbook of Smoothies and Juicing: A
Guide to Mixing Over 200 Healthy Drinks” by Judith Millidge.
Calbom’s book has many recipes and tips for ways to lower
your stress levels, how to combat stress eating, and nine
common symptoms of adrenal fatigue. In looking through
Judith Millidge’s book of smoothies, most of the recipes
call for ingredients that you have in your refrigerator—you
don’t have to make special purchases to make these
Do you like to eat out but not really sure what is
really healthy? “The Calorie King Calorie, Fat &
Carbohydrate Counter” book should be of help. From
Applebee’s to Culver’s to Perkin’s to Red Lobster, you are
able to see how many calories are in the product, see the
fat content, and the carbohydrate content as well. This is a
very handy little book to keep on hand for reference. And
the size is such that it can fit nicely in your purse.
Another book for quick reference is entitled “Eat This Not
That! Supermarket Survival Guide” by David Zinczenko. You
can open this book to any page and find food items that can
be switched to help you save pounds. The New Ulm Public
Library has a newer edition of this book on order.
I have been hearing more and more about eating “raw.” I
am not totally sold on this idea but I know that many people
are, so I looked at a few of the books that we have at the
New Ulm Public Library on this subject. Three of the books
that we have on the shelves include “Raw Food for Real
People: Living Vegan Food Made Simple” by Rod Rotondi,
“Rawlicious: Delicious Raw Recipes for Radiant Health” by
Peter and Beryn Daniel, and Erica Palmcrantz Aziz’s book
“Fabulous Raw Food: Detox, Lose Weight, and Feel Great in
Just Three Weeks.” Each of these books shows that a diet
that includes a high percentage of raw foods is not
difficult to achieve. Each books has recipes that gives a
person the opportunity to decide just how much of a change
they want to make in their eating habits.
Most of us know Al Roker from the Today show on NBC. At
almost 350 pounds, he made a promise to his father that he
was going to change himself. He managed to lose quite a bit
of weight, but gradually he started gaining it back. That is
when he devised a plan and stuck to it. It wasn’t always
easy, it never is, but his book should be of inspiration to
all. There will be setbacks and frustrations, just don’t
lose faith in yourself. His book is informative and humorous
as well. Look in the 613.25s at the library for his book as
well as many other good reads. If you are searching for a
particular book and do not see it on our shelves, stop at
the Service Center. We can search our system and all of
Minnesota for the book for you. Good luck to you in keeping
your resolutions for 2014!
January 13, 2014
We Love Author Visits
Betty J Roiger,
Acquisitions & Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
B: I’m so excited! William Kent Krueger spoke at the
library last night!
K: I know! I was there. Actually I helped set it up for
the library in conjunction with Donna Lambrecht and the
United Way of the Brown County Area as the first program of
this year’s Life Living Series.
B: I was probably the last New Ulm person to read
“Ordinary Grace,” a novel set in a mythical small, German
Minnesota town. I finished it this past weekend so I was
glad to have some of my questions answered by the author
K: He was an entertaining speaker. Narrated by a
13-year-old boy, “Ordinary Grace” takes place in the summer
of 1961, when a series of deaths, possibly murder, suicide,
or accident, unfolds as Frank struggles to understand a
confusing adult world. I couldn’t hear all of your
B: Well, I am always fascinated by titles, and I
wondered at this one. At a funeral when Nathan, the
Methodist minister, pauses before saying grace, his wife,
who’s on her last nerve, snaps and says something to the
effect “can’t you ever say an ordinary grace?” So I got that
reference to the title, but I really felt Nathan lived an
ordinary grace, quietly suffering yet standing firm,
striving to put one foot in front of the other as his best
self. Mr. Krueger told us that yes, the two characters that
he felt had ordinary grace were Nathan and his son Jake, who
stutters. And when he explained that, I could see that in
Jake, as well.
K: There were some interesting questions about Krueger’s
Cork O’Connor mystery series and why he decided to make Cork
a composite of Ojibwe and Irish Catholic heritage. Krueger
found the contrast an interesting dynamic, and as a reader I
agree. In fact, I’m a big fan of the Cork O’Connor series
and recommend it to people who like a protagonist who
evolves throughout a series.
B: Because Krueger’s visit was funded in part through a
Legacy grant from the Traverse des Sioux Library
Cooperative, we were able to add a number of additional
copies of the O’Connor series to meet demand.
K: Back to his talk: It was funny when Krueger said he
wanted to be Hemingway when he began writing and it wasn’t
until he failed that he really could write.
B: I know probably many locals liked the setting of
“Ordinary Grace,” but I loved his imagery. His description
of car lights flickering around outbuildings enchanted me:
“Far off along the highway to Mankato car headlights flew
across the face of the hills and barns and outbuildings and
they reminded me of fireflies.” And this moment in the
church at Bobby’s funeral was quietly evocative: “It was
quiet in the church when he finished and the breeze that
swept through the open doors cooled us and the flowers
beside the coffin rustled as if someone had passed by.”
Which I told Mr. Krueger, and he responded to the group by
saying : “This woman thinks I’m Hemingway,” which brought a
K: The best part for me was his plea to parents,
friends, and relatives to exclaim when children they know
show an interest in the arts. He wrote “The Walking
Dictionary” in the third grade, and his parents “oohed and
ahhed” over it, and that actually started him on his path.
B: I loved that, too. I’m all for early encouragement
and enjoyment of the written word. You know I think all
books, for any age, need to be enjoyed. I just love to be
taken anywhere a book wants to take me. And plunging into a
summer in Minnesota in 1961, sipping Kool-Aid, with “Have
Gun Will Travel” and “Ed Sullivan” playing in the background
during a cold winter weekend was a great place to visit.
January 6, 2014
by Larry Hlavsa,
It’s been a long time since I polled
New Ulm Library staff for their favorite Web sites. However,
I did so this week and got quite a variety of
recommendations. You might find some of these interesting!
Topdocumentaryfilms.com – It has a long name, but this
Web site is wonderful if you’re interested in FREE,
streaming documentary films. While it hosts none of the
films itself, the site provides transparent links to
hundreds of full-length documentaries on Google Video and
YouTube. Some of the documentaries are old, some are new;
some are radical, funny, depressing, or all of the above.
You can even sign up for a mailing list for when new
documentaries are added. Maybe best of all, there are no
advertisements in any of the videos. I love this site.
Bookriot.com – Assistant library director, Kris Wiley,
loves this site and says that their motto—“Always Books.
Never Boring” is pretty much spot on. What does it do?
BookRiot.com is really about “talking about books with other
readers.” There are professional writers who frequent this
site, but there are more people just like you and me who
simply love books. A key philosophy of the site is “the book
is always better than the movie.” Isn’t that true!? Kris
says the site has great tips on forthcoming titles, and
suggests not missing the writings of “well-redheads” who
provide great, funny reviews.
The main thing I can say about this site is –“Fantastic!”
With information on over 350,000 titles and 30,000 authors,
you can search by author or by title. And once you’ve found
a title, besides info on that title, FantasticFiction.com
provides links of where to buy it new, used or in e-book
format. It even provides links to Abebooks.com (see below).
I used it find 54 titles by James Michener including a $1
copy (plus shipping) of “Centennial.” One staff member
said—“This site is great for finding information about the
series of a particular author.” Great for finding
information about forthcoming books as well!
EarlyWord.com – This site categorizes itself as the
librarian/publisher connection, but don’t worry, they won’t
check your library card for proof that you’re a bookworm.
EarlyWord.com has lots of information on “best books lists,”
lots of links to reviews, and lots of chat (including audio)
with and about prominent authors. Great lists of award
winners, publisher’s catalogs and even a list of books being
made into movies! Our fiction expert, Betty Roiger,
says—“EarlyWord.com is a bright and colorful site and fun to
browse through. Early Word alerts me to good books that are
coming out and has links to other book review sites. It uses
fun popular culture references such as when an author shows
up on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, or when Stephen
Colbert gives a ‘Colbert bump’ to a book. Early Word is
awesome for librarians and book lovers.”
– This is a gateway extraordinaire for used books available
through thousands of used booksellers selling millions of
titles throughout the world. I’m almost sure that—“If you
can’t find it at Abebooks.com, it can’t be found!” The vast
inventory of Abebooks.com ranges across every possible genre
and sector in publishing – new, used, rare, antiquarian, and
even out-of-print. You can even look up the holdings of
participating Minnesota independent booksellers! Or you
could become an independent bookseller yourself through an
Abebooks.com program. I have used Abebooks.com to find a
number of vintage Abraham Lincoln titles that were not
available in Minnesota.
After the 50 below wind
chills earlier this week, one staff member suggested
ITSSOCOLDIGOTTAREAD.COM for my list, but I’m sharp and
realized she was pulling my leg. I think she just wanted the
day off to catch up on some reading.
December 30, 2013
Reading Program for Adults Begins January 6
Kris Wiley, Assistant Director
Your New Ulm Public
librarians love talking about books, and one of the ways we
encourage your input is by sponsoring the Winter Reading
Program for adults. This year’s program is scheduled for
January 6 through February 28 and is open to all adults.
Here’s how this free program will work: Beginning
January 6, register at the Service Center. Then log every
book you read or listen to through February 28 on a ballot
provided by the library. Drop the ballot into the designated
box at the Service Center. Everyone who logs at least one
title will be eligible to receive a free book. Log at least
four titles to be eligible for additional prizes; winners
will be drawn randomly.
This year we’re working with
the theme “Burning Up for Books.” You’ll notice the ballots
provided by the library come in several colors, which
correspond to the thermometer on the bulletin board near the
Service Center. Dark blue is for lousy books that leave you
cold; light blue is for not-so-great books; yellow is for OK
books; orange is for good books; and red is for great books
that have you raving to all your friends and librarians.
This is a completely subjective assessment, so you can base
your selection on writing style, plot, character
development, overall enjoyment, or any other consideration.
Then take a look at the thermometer on the bulletin board.
I’ll be posting the titles you read there, and you might see
something new you would like to read.
inspiration to get you started? How about reading books by
the three authors who will visit the library for the Life
Living Series? The library is thrilled to partner with the
United Way of the Brown County Area for this year’s project,
“Telling Our Stories.” On Monday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in the
library meeting room, we will welcome our first guest,
bestselling author William Kent Krueger. Best known for his
Cork O’Connor mystery series set in the North Country,
Krueger will discuss his latest novel, “Ordinary Grace.”
This standalone book is set in New Bremen, Minnesota, a
fictionalized Minnesota River Valley town, in 1961. The
story is told 40 years later from the perspective of Frank
Drum, whose life changed over the course of that one summer.
The Life Living Series will continue Monday, Feb. 10
with author Kevin Kling and Monday, Feb. 17 with author
Lorna Landvik. All programs begin at 7 p.m. and are free and
open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.
This series is made possible by the United Way of the Brown
County Area and a grant provided by the Traverse des Sioux
Library Cooperative and was funded in part with money from
Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
the library to pick up a book by these great authors, and
while you’re here, register for the reading program and
share your reading experiences with us. See you at the
December 23, 2013
There is No History, Only Biography
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
“There is properly no
history, only biography” proclaimed that pre-eminent
American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson. As we approach
the end of 2013, the list of those Americans departed in the
past twelve months has grown long. Through the New Ulm
Library you may borrow biographies, or autobiographies of
many of these people. For the fledgling authors among you,
some eminent Americans who died this year seem to have no
biographers. Maybe you’re a biographer? Anyway, here are
just a few of the people whose biographies you may wish to
Jonathon Winters (d Apr 11, 2013,
aged 87). The comedy pre-cursor of Robin Williams (and many
others), Johnny was known, remembered and beloved by many of
the babyboomer generation. Is there a one of us who has
forgotten his character, “Maudie Fricket”? For his life and
philosophy, see “Winters’ Tales: Stories and Observations
for the Unusual” (1988). Sadly, there appears to be no
biography out there yet on Jonathan Winters. This is one I’d
personally like to do.
Roger Ebert (d Apr 4, 2013,
aged 70). Is there anyone in their 50s to 70s who didn’t
watch “Sneak Previews” or “At the Movies” with Gene Siskel
and Roger Ebert? Appearing throughout the last decades of
the 20th century, these two critics guided many (dare I say
most?) moviegoers of their generation. Ebert died this year
after a courageous decade-long struggle with cancer. I give
his memoir—“Life Itself” (2011)—“Two Thumbs Up!”
George Jones (d Apr 26, 2013, aged 81). If you’re not a
country music fan, then maybe you won’t recognize the name
George Jones. On the other hand, if you are a country music
fan, how could you not recognize the name of the singer who
dominated the charts for six decades. Jones was often termed
“the greatest living country singer” and deserved the
moniker. There’s no quality biography on him available yet
so check out his autobiographical ” I Lived to Tell It All”
Annette Funicello (d Apr 8, 2013, aged 70).
Who can forget their first love? For a lot of pre-adolescent
boys of the 1950s, their first love was Annette Funicello of
“Mickey Mouse” fame. While Ms. Funicello went on to many
beach movies in her teens and 20s, to those of us who were
pre-adolescent boys in the 50s, she will always just be
“Annette.” Ms. Funicello succumbed to MS this year. She told
her story in “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (1994).
Ernest Borginine (d Jul 8, 2012, aged 95). Okay, I’m
throwing in “Ernie” even though he died back in 2012. To me,
Ernie was one of a truly select group of great actors of the
post-war era. If you haven’t seen “Marty” (in which he plays
a really good guy) or “From Here to Eternity” (in which he
plays a really bad guy), then treat yourself some evening.
You can also read his autobiography “Ernie” (2008).
Margaret Thatcher (d Apr 8, 2013, aged 87). No one can say
the “Iron Lady” didn’t make a mark on the world, though
perhaps as many regard it as a black mark as a positive one.
Nonetheless, her story is fascinating and can be found in
her autobiographical “Margaret Thatcher” (2013). A critical
portrait of her can be found in “The Iron Lady: A Biography
of Margaret Thatcher” (1990). The definitive biography
remains to be written.
Pauline Friedman Phillips (d
Jan 16, 2013, aged 94). If the name Pauline Phillips means
nothing to you, how about “Abigail van Buren,” or “Dear
Abby”? The advice columnist for generations was read by fans
and critics alike over the last half of the twentieth
century. You didn’t have to agree with Abby to find her
columns required reading. Her story (and her sisters) can be
found in “Dear Abby: The Unauthorized Biography of Ann
Landers and Abigail Van Buren” (1987).
died in 2013 included: Deanna Durbin, Tom Clancy, David
Frost, Elmore Leonard
Helen Thomas, James Gandolfini,
Esther Williams, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Van Cliburn, Stan
Musial, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine and Ken Norton. Many of
these have not been the subject of biographies, but much
information on each of them can be found online. Don’t know
how to find it? Ask for help at the New Ulm Library!
December 16, 2013
What’s for Christmas?
Betty J Roiger,
If you have been reading “Off the
Shelf,” you might know that the staff has been talking about
the best books we have read this year. Wouldn’t the best
books also make the best gifts?
“Wool” by Hugh Howey
made my list. Independently published science fiction,
“Wool” takes place in a silo that looks out upon desolation.
You wouldn’t think a lot could happen in a silo, but this is
an amazing page-turner. The suspense and action build as
characters move up and down the silo struggling to solve
mysteries and stay alive. The good news is that Howey wrote
the sequel, “Shift,” and completed the trilogy with “Dust.”
So how are they? I was in line for them, but they keep
checking out! Meanwhile, Sue O has flown through the series
and loved, loved, loved them. So what am I waiting for?
Well, Christmas. Hopefully they’ll be under our tree.
Kris and I both recently raved
about “Dead Mountain” by Donnie Eichar. This book would make
an amazing gift. Solving the mystery of why nine kids didn’t
hike out of Siberia in the 1950s was just the most
engrossing nonfiction I’ve read in a while. Another
nonfiction book I’m giving this year is called “Everything I
Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book” by Diane
E. Muldrow. If you grew up with Golden Books like I did,
this book will take you back and make you smile. Pictures of
the tawny, scrawny lion and the pokey little puppy accompany
a whimsical guide for grownups.
Need ideas for that young adult in your life? Try “Six
Months Later” by Natalie Richards. Chloe falls asleep in
study hall in May and wakes up to find snow on the ground.
She’s gone from being a single, mediocre student to dating
the handsome jock and getting straight “A’s.” Great as that
seems, she has no memory of the past six months, her best
friend hates her, and too many things just don’t add up. I
liked discovering things right along with Chloe as she tried
to create a timeline for her lost life. This was a fun
little mystery. And (no spoiler) there is a cooler, cuter
boy who shows up to help her. Yay!
I also liked “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas. In a
world that once held magic and cures, the king is slowly
destroying any and all things connected to knowledge and
healing. Page one: Eighteen-year-old Celaena, the greatest
assassin in all the land, is in prison. The king’s son wants
her to enter a contest for the best (baddest) assassin. The
prize … serving the king and living free. Even though the
king is pure evil, Celaena takes the challenge. This is a
great fantasy, the first of a trilogy. The characters are
well developed, smart, and interesting, and there is a lot
going on. This was a wonderful read. I’m currently reading
the second book, “Crown of Midnight,” and it is as hard to
put down as the first one was. Just where do an assassin’s
For middle school readers, “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s
Library” by Chris Grabenstein was a lot of fun to read. Kyle
is the main character; he is a goofball and an avid game
player. When awesome game creator Mr. Lemoncello builds a
library in his hometown, Kyle wants to win one of the
coveted spots for a library lock-in. Only a dozen children
are chosen to solve puzzles and play games to find the
secret exit. This book had a funny “Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory” vibe that I really enjoyed.
There were a few picture books this year that I
completely loved for different reasons. David Wiesner’s “Mr.
Wuffles” is a wonderful wordless work of art. Mr. Wuffles is
a gorgeous tuxedo cat that has a little, tiny, occupied
spaceship trapped in his house. You have to “read” it to
know what I mean. Beautiful, inventive, fun, and a little
strange, this book was a feast for the eyes and the
“The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt is a
hilarious take on what would happen if a box of misused
crayons went on strike and left outraged notes for their
bewildered user. Black wants to do more than just outlining,
while Orange and Yellow are fighting. Both believe they are
the color of the sun. Fun and funny, this picture book would
be great for kids and parents who might have to read it over
“How to Train a Train” by Jason Carter Eaton is just the
best train picture book ever. Finding advice for the care
and feeding of a new puppy or kitten is easy, but this book
is everything you need to know to find and keep your very
own pet train. First, you coax them to you with lumps of
coal, and seriously, it just gets sweeter and funnier from
Whoever is on your Christmas list, books always make a
great gift, and there are plenty of good ones from which to
choose. Happy hunting and happy holidays!
December 9, 2013
Yes, Betty, There Is a Santa
Back in 1897, a little girl
wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper asking the
question, “Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa
Claus?” Virginia’s friends had told her there was no Santa,
and she was worried. The response that was written to her
has gone down in history. Part of it reads: “Virginia, your
little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the
skepticism of a skeptical age.” And continues: “Yes,
Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as
love and generosity and devotion exist...”
like to add my two cents saying, I agree: Yes, there is a
Santa--sometimes there are many. They go by different names
and don’t always wear the red suit. And I doubt they are
jumping in and out of chimneys, but they are just as
generous as old St. Nick. I think if we look, we can find
Santa embodied in the spirit of others.
when things were squeaky tight in the materials budget area,
we were given an unexpected gift of $1000 from a very
special Santa. If you are an avid reader or a member of a
book club, this gift likely made a difference for you. This
contribution allowed us to purchase approximately 90 more
titles for our fiction collection that we otherwise wouldn’t
have been able to finance.
The many Santas who make
up the Lions Club of New Ulm very generously gave the
library money for large print this year. Large print is a
very important piece of our library, and we count on the
Lions to supplement our large print collection for us. To be
able to read at any age is a gift, and the Lions grant many
people that continued joy.
Throughout the year, we
have been given generous donations and memorials from
various community members, much of which have gone into
collections providing picture books, readers, junior books,
fiction, and nonfiction for our community. Other donations
have been provided by community groups for children’s and
Additional thanks really must go to
the Santas who disguise themselves as Friends of the
Library. Thanks to all the members who continue to renew or
add their membership dues and for supporting the library
with fundraising events. These right jolly (yes) old (no)
elves graciously work to raise funds to facilitate our
programs and materials. Not only do they support our library
collections, many of our programs come to life due to our
Friends. Thanks, too, to all the folks who browse our book
sale and help us.
I did not know Hildegard “Kitty”
Lieb, but there are many days I silently thank her. When
“Kitty” died, she left the library an endowment, and that
endowment’s interest has bailed out our dwindling materials
budget many times over the years. What an extraordinary
gift! She has been as welcome to our library as Kris Kringle
is for eager children. Although it isn’t every year that we
use the interest, I cannot begin to express how her
continuing gift has enriched our collections.
this is the place where I can add that I also believe in the
existence of another seasonal character, as well. I would
like to extend a special thanks to The Grinch for dragging
himself from his cave and enduring the children’s laughter
and cheer with his begrudging good humor. Seeing The Grinch
in action, I have to say I don’t know the last time I
laughed so hard. Even The Grinch was playing Santa for us
“Please tell me, is there a Santa Claus?”
Well, I can attest, yes, I think that Santa exists. The
Santas in New Ulm are mysterious and many, generous and
thoughtful. And what would I say to Santa if I saw him? I
would whisper a heartfelt “thank you.” The gifts you give us
last the whole year and more. Merci. Gracias. Danke. Thank
December 2, 2013
Linda Lindquist, Adult
What’s that I smell? Cookies and breads baking? We must
be getting closer to the holidays as all those wonderful
smells come wafting through the air bombarding my senses. It
makes me want to go home and dig out all my cookie recipes
and start baking for Christmas.
I took a few minutes and went to the bookshelves here at
the New Ulm Public Library to find what we have in our
baking collection. Of course, I found a bunch of great
cookbooks! Then I started to look online at Amazon and found
some new and interesting cookbooks to add to the collection.
Hopefully these new books will be here soon and out on the
shelves for patrons to check out.
Are you going to be involved with a cookie swap this
holiday season? Good Housekeeping’s book, “The Great
Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook” has many good suggestions
for you. It starts out telling you how to host a cookie
swap, then moves on to bar cookies, drop cookies, rolled and
cut-out cookies, and then on to shaped and refrigerator
cookies. There are lots of hints for decorating cookies as
well. This is just a neat handy book to have on hand to help
anyone during this busy time.
“Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook” is a wonderful book
to get anyone in the holiday spirit. It is full of wonderful
Christmas cooking, decorating, and entertaining ideas. There
are 250 recipes to help give you ideas for wonderful family
feasts plus a holiday survival guide to help you plan,
organize, and prepare a perfect party—without all the
stress. Also included are some fun gift ideas and craft
projects that everyone can have fun making and sharing. The
pictures, as always, are wonderful.
All you Debbie Macomber fans will want to check out
“Debbie Macomber’s Christmas Cookbook.” She loves this
holiday and all its traditions and wants to share her
recipes so everyone can have a joyous holiday season. She
reminisces about her personal memories and observations both
past and present. She shows you how to set a beautiful
holiday table, how to decorate your home, and also how to
make Christmas crafts and decorations with children. This
cookbook can help you to create your own memories and
traditions with your family.
A book that is on order for our library and should be
here shortly is “Vegan for the Holidays: Celebration Feasts
for Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day” by Zel Allen. Allen
is a Vegan cooking expert who demonstrates that plant-based
holiday foods are as delicious, innovative, and elegant as
their meat-based counterparts. All of the holidays, from
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s
Day, are covered in this cookbook.
For kosher bakers, we have on order the book “The
Holiday Kosher Baker: Traditional & Contemporary Holiday
Desserts.” This is a modern approach to Jewish holiday
baking that includes both contemporary and traditional
recipes. This book is a collection of delicious, fail-proof
baked goods. It includes many innovative and delectable
desserts plus dozens of low-sugar, gluten-free, and nut-free
treats to enjoy all year.
One other book that is on order and should be here
shortly is entitled “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of
Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious
Celebrations” by Ree Drummond. This collection of recipes,
photos, and homespun humor will help you celebrate all
through the year. Some of the recipes included in this book
are Resolution Smoothie on New Year’s Day, Whiskey BBQ
Sliders and Dr. Pepper Cupcakes for The Big Game, Glazed Ham
for Easter, Watermelon Sangria for a sizzling Fourth of July
cookout, and perfect Popcorn Balls for Halloween. For
Christmas she has included Caramel Apple Rolls, Christmas
Rum Cake, and a selection of cookies perfect for Christmas
delivery to family and friends.
Again, these are just a few of the cookbooks that are on
the shelves now or will be here shortly. Come in and see
what we have to offer.
Enjoy all your holidays all year ‘round.
November 25, 2013
Conversations From the Cubicles – We’re Wrapping Up
2013 With a Bow
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions &
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
are like confessionals, right? I confess I don’t read much
nonfiction. I tend to wander off on tangents when I read it,
much like reading a story problem: “Two people got on the
train at Chicago, one got off in Philly, and if the train
was going 50 miles an hour, how cold was it in New York?”
and I’m gone.
K: But then last week we were
discussing our best of 2013 picks, and I handed you “Dead
Mountain” by Donnie Eichar.
B: Yep, I’d never heard
of it. You handed it to me and said …
K: … It’s 1959,
10 Russian kids go hiking in the northern Ural Mountains,
and only one gets back alive. I read it in two nights.
B: I handed it back and said: Gee, thanks for the
K: And I said: You know that from the first
page. And then you took it back.
B: I read it in two
days, too. It is sort of a college-level merit badge hike,
so nine youth trek toward an isolated mountain in Siberia.
When they don’t return and there is no word, the search
parties go out. They find their tent, solidly upright in the
snow, filled with all of their packs and shoes, food left
out, and nobody around. Why would anyone leave their only
shelter, without boots, at night, in 25 degree below zero
K: Brrr. Creepy and cold. The pictures
looked as barren as a moon landscape.
B: Coldest cold
case ever! But it read like fiction and put evidence
together like an episode of CSI: USSR. Theories ranged from
aliens to crazed convicts to avalanches and bomb tests. I
gave it a 4 out of 5 —if someone had seen a Yeti, it would
have ranked a 5 for me. Other than that, it was tragic,
fascinating, bizarre, and illuminating. So glad I read it!
What else made your list?
K: Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor
& Park was such an honest, real book. Sure, it says it’s
young adult fiction, but I think most all of us can relate
to the drama and tragedy of high school and bullies and
first love. Rowell gets all kinds of kudos from both of us,
B: She sure does. I read “Fangirl” and loved
it. Cath is starting college, her twin wants her freedom,
her Dad is going off the rails, and although online she is
one of the most popular authors of fan fiction, in college
she is totally alone. It is angst and bravery, love and
honesty and just so much darn fun. It’s falling down and
getting back up. It’s finding that someone who loves you and
will drive through a snowstorm to be there for you. Back to
K: I’m sensing a theme here. My very
favorite book of the year was “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes,
and it’s about the relationship between a quadriplegic and
his caregiver. Of course they don’t like each other at
first, but then … love. But it’s not all hearts and flowers.
There are serious issues here, most notably the right to
die. I’m not afraid to admit it: I cried.
surprise! Well, so you were crying, so what?! It’s not a
crime! Okay, more confession: I have to say I put a
tearjerker on my list, too. I started reading “Love That
Dog” by Sharon Creech out loud to Doug in the car. It is a
junior book about a boy stuck in an English class having to
write his own poetry. It weaves the boy’s efforts with
well-known poems. It is beautiful, sweet, and touching. And
caught me off-guard; halfway through, I was choking and
sobbing, trying to get the words out to finish the story for
Doug. The emotional power of poetry is amazing. I loved that
dog, and I loved that book.
K: Books that brought
smiles, books that brought tears, we’re posting all the
staff’s favorites of 2013 on our Web site
(www.newulmlibrary.org) and Facebook page. Stop by and let
us know what made your best of 2013 list. See you at the
THE MURDER OF JFK: THE SURVEY SAYS
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Last Tuesday, a
crowd of over sixty New Ulmers (and a few out-of-towners)
gathered to listen to my talk on the Kennedy assassination
at the New Ulm Library. The audience viewed some video
clips, watched a PowerPoint presentation and collected some
handouts. Prior to the program, nearly fifty people in the
audience filled out a brief unscientific survey. We did this
survey before my presentation since I didn’t want anything I
was presenting to change peoples views in any way. After
all, the information I presented tended to support the
argument that Oswald did not kill the president. The
audience was composed mostly of people who’d lived at the
time of the assassination. Only a few members of the
audience were too young to remember the events of November
22, 1963. I’d like to share the interesting results of this
survey with you.
The first question I asked was about
Lee Harvey Oswald. Did he kill Kennedy by himself (22.7%),
with others (61.4%), or was he innocent of any involvement
(15.9%)? I found it surprising that nearly 85% of people
thought Oswald was involved in some way in the murder, and
that only a few thought Oswald was “a patsy” as he claimed
in the Dallas County Jail the day after the assassination.
The second question was TRUE or FALSE, and asked the
survey takers if they thought one or more agencies of the
U.S. government were involved in a conspiracy to kill JFK.
Perhaps tellingly, some 66.7% thought the government was
involved, while 33.3% thought this was a false allegation.
I’m not sure if this speaks more to the general distrust of
government now, or to what we thought back then.
third question asked the survey takers to check off as many
people and/or organizations as they thought had been
involved in the assassination. The list included: Oswald
(87.0%), C.I.A. (39.1%), Lyndon Johnson (37.0%), the Mafia
(30.4%), Secret Service (26.1%), the F.B.I. (15.2%), J Edgar
Hoover (15.2%), Other (13.0%), the Russians (10.9%),
Industrialists (10.9%), Fidel Castro (8.7%), Bankers (6.5%)
and the military (4.3%). Our audience thought by a large
majority Oswald was involved (87.0%) in the assassination,
thought an agency or person in the U.S. government may have
been involved: C.I.A. (39.1%), Lyndon Johnson (37.0%) or the
Secret Service (26.1%). The Mafia (30.4%) was also suspected
in the assassination. Other individuals or organizations on
the list received far fewer votes. I found the absence of
votes for Fidel Castro (8.7%) to be highly interesting!
NOTE: The total percentages do not add up to 100% since the
survey takers could check off as many choices as they
My fourth question dealt with the Warren
Commission. Over the years it has received much criticism
and skepticism over its report, so my TRUE or FALSE question
was if the Commission had been “fair and impartial in its
exploration of who killed Kennedy.” Only 22.0% of the survey
takers thought this was the case; fully 78.0% thought the
Commission had not been fair and impartial. It made me
wonder: had the Warren Commission done a better job, would
we now still have so much skepticism over its conclusions?
I also asked people where they were when they learned
Kennedy had been shot. Since most of our audience was aged
55 to 75, nearly everyone listed where they had been, some
in great detail. The vast majority of our audience, like me,
had been in grade school, high school, a few had been in
college. The most interesting comment was—“I was in the
basement of our house, my husband called me and said they
shot Kennedy. I didn’t believe him….”
It’s now fifty
years later, and many of us still can’t believe it.
November 18, 2013
Mark Your Calendars
With a chilly breeze in the air,
it is sure a good time to nestle inside with books. It’s
also a great time to fill up your calendars with one or all
of the library’s upcoming programs.
On Tuesday, Nov.
26 at 6 p.m., John Knisley will present “Winter Snoozers:
Minnesota Wildlife Gets Ready for the Cold Season.” Open to
all ages, this family program is a chance to learn about the
wonders of wildlife.
Here at the library, we invite
you to kick off the holiday season with a “Meet and Greet
with The Grinch” program on Friday, Nov. 29 at 4 p.m. Stop
by before the Parade of Lights to take a photo and wish The
Grinch “happy holidays!” But please, don’t delay! The Grinch
has to leave at 5:15 p.m. to get ready to join the “Whos in
Whoville” for the parade.
The library staff is so
excited about the Grinch’s visit that we’ve also planned
holiday movies and crafts in the Children’s Room from 3:30-6
p.m. Our goal is to bring so much holiday cheer to the
library that the Grinch’s heart just HAS to grow bigger. We
hope to see you there!
The holiday cheer continues
into December with a special guest visit by Mrs. Claus. She
will be visiting the library on Monday, Dec. 9 and Thursday,
Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. All are welcome to enjoy stories, songs,
treats, and photos. With Santa so busy, Mrs. Claus loves to
see the children at the library. The more the merrier!
But wait, there’s more! The library staff and ECFE will
host a Bedtime Storytime on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.
Children and their families are invited to stop in to enjoy
holiday stories and activities.
This holiday season,
we hope that you’re able to fit any one of these programs
into your schedule. Registration is not required. If you
find out you’re available the night of a program, feel free
to stop by. For more information about any of the children’s
programs, please call 507-359-8336.
is next week, I want to take a moment to extend my thanks to
all who make these library programs possible. There are many
who come together to help…performers, presenters, sponsors,
organizers, volunteers, and library staff. Thanks to all for
your hard work and talents! Thank you also to the children
and their families who support the library’s programming
efforts. Each year, I am filled with gratitude for the
support the community extends to the New Ulm Public Library.
Thank you to all!
November 11, 2013
THE MURDER OF JFK: THE BIGGEST COLD CASE EVER
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Everybody who knows
me quickly realizes I’m a little obsessed about the John
Kennedy assassination. I was thirteen years old, and in 8th
grade algebra class, when we suddenly heard a girl screaming
in the school hallway. Our teacher went to investigate and
came back with the information that Kennedy had been shot in
Dallas. Our school was dismissed early that day, and most of
us went right home to our television sets.
people that weekend, I was glued to the television through
the next forty-eight hours. I remained glued when Oswald was
murdered (the first live murder in U.S. history), then for
another twenty-four hours when Kennedy was buried in
Arlington National Cemetery. As with many Americans, I cried
often that weekend. It was the cruelest weekend of my
teenage years, yet also the most memorable.
people I initially accepted the notion that Lee Harvey
Oswald did it, and acted alone. But as the Warren Commission
released its report in September, 1964, and as the critics
began to multiply, I increasingly became a skeptic myself.
When bootleg copies of the Zapruder assassination film began
to be shown in the early 70s on American college campuses,
it became clear to me and many others, that at the very
least, Oswald could not have fired the fatal shot.
Wednesday, November 22, 2013 will mark the fiftieth
anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. In
recognition of that anniversary, on Thursday, November 14th
at 6:00 p.m., I will present a program at the New Ulm
Library entitled—“THE MURDER OF JFK: THE BIGGEST COLD CASE
EVER.” Some would argue against dredging up the Kennedy
case, but I have always found myself in the camp that says
the assassination is a “cold case” and needs to be solved.
The victim, a president of the United States, deserves
justice and has never had it.
I will use this program
to present an eclectic series of film clips, none of which
bolster the Warren Commission’s 1964 conclusion that Lee
Harvey Oswald killed the president, and did so while acting
However, please don’t come expecting a definitive answer
as to who the real assassins were. Over the years critics
have presented reasonable and sometimes convincing arguments
that the assassination was the work of—the CIA, the CIA &
Mafia, Fidel Castro, the Russians, Cuban exiles, the Secret
Service, a clique of rich businessmen, Oswald, and yes, even
Lyndon B. Johnson. After decades of studying the Warren
Commission Report (not just the summary, but the twenty-six
volumes of evidence), and the books of nearly every critic
out there, the only thing I have is a guess as to the most
likely guilty parties. After the presentation, I’ll present
my guess. Maybe you’ll share yours?
may have recently heard that recently the American
government—which had denied for fifty years the existence of
a secret military base known as “Area 51”—has finally
admitted its existence. The government has also denied for
fifty years that any of its agencies was involved in the
murder of President Kennedy, yet it still holds many secret
documents relating to the assassination which it withholds
for “national security” reasons. Really, fifty years later?
At my presentation I will distribute a bibliography
of books on the assassination. Some of these are now decades
old, though new books on the topic continue to appear with
regularity. Most of these titles are obtainable through your
New Ulm Public Library. Join us on Thursday, November 14th
at 6:00 p.m. for—“THE MURDER OF JFK: THE BIGGEST COLD CASE
November 4, 2013
Where Were You on November 22, 1963?
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference Librarian
Think back 50 years ago to November 22, 1963, at
precisely 1:00 p.m.—where were you? I distinctly remember
sitting in history class when our principal interrupted over
the intercom system informing us that our 35th president,
John F. Kennedy, had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Very few moments are so indelibly etched in our minds that
we can recall them clearly.
As you have probably seen or heard, there are many new
books that have come out in the past few weeks and months on
JFK. We have purchased several of these books for the New
Ulm Public Library. I will highlight a few of these books,
but I am not going in any order of importance. Not all of
these books will appeal to all readers, but that is the
beauty of it all. Readers are free to choose from all that
has been written.
Robert Dallek’s, “An Unfinished Life,” is probably one
of the best Kennedy biographies that have been written to
date. Most Americans have turned Kennedy into a celebrity,
and historians are not really impressed with this president.
Biography writers like Kennedy as a subject, but they feel
they have to come up with fresh information on him in order
to sell their books. In his newest book, Dallek reveals
information about Kennedy’s severe health problems and all
the ways the people closest to him have tried to cover it
up. “Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House” is
also written by Dallek. In this book, the author focuses on
the fairy-tale aspects of the Kennedy family history and the
workings of the Kennedy White House. Unlike his latest book,
Dallek doesn’t reveal much new information on the Kennedys.
Thurston Clarke is the author of the book “JFK’s Last
Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence
of a Great President.” In this book, Clarke suggests that
the death of the Kennedy’s third child, Patrick, brought the
parents closer together and may have signaled the end of
Kennedy’s womanizing. He also contends that in the final 100
days he was becoming a great president. Clarke feels that
Kennedy was persuading the House minority leader Charles
Halleck and the Senate minority leader Everett Dirksen to
support a civil rights bill. If Kennedy would have been
re-elected, he would have pushed the bill through Congress.
Bill O’Reilly’s “Kennedy’s Last Days: The Assassination
that Defined a Generation” is a gripping account of the
events leading up to the most notorious crime of the
twentieth century. O’Reilly vividly describes the Kennedy
family’s life in the public eye, the crises facing the
president around the world and at home, the nation’s growing
fascination with their youthful president, and finally, the
shocking events leading up to his demise.
The Editors of LIFE magazine have a new book out
entitled “LIFE The Day Kennedy Died: Fifty Years Later: LIFE
Remembers the Man and the Moment.” It didn’t take long after
President Kennedy was assassinated that LIFE magazine
reporters were on the scene. LIFE was always covering the
October 28, 2013
Friends Book Sale November 7-9
Wiley, Assistant Library Director
How amazing are the
Friends of the New Ulm Public Library? Pretty amazing! This
year alone, the Friends have donated funds for a set of
encyclopedias, fiction books, special events, and iPads for
the Children’s Room, and they were major sponsors of the
Summer Reading Program. And that’s just the start. The
Friends are the library’s fiscal agent for grants, the
Friends apply for grants to support library programming, and
the Friends are some of the library’s biggest fans. See what
I mean? Super amazing!
The Friends couldn’t do all of
this without community support for the group’s major
fundraiser, the annual book sale, which is fast approaching.
The book sale begins with a Friends-only preview sale
Thursday, November 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The sale continues
Friday, November 8 from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturday,
November 9 from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Everything is 25 cents to
50 cents, and there will be a $3 bag sale Saturday. Our
library meeting room will be filled with a wide variety of
children’s books, bestsellers, nonfiction titles, classics,
and DVDs, thanks to generous donations from the public. Last
year in this very column I said we had the largest inventory
in our history; I’m pretty confident this year’s stock is
For those of you who want first pick,
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 Thursday evening, and you’re welcome to shop
immediately. Members who haven’t paid their 2013 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.
And for those of you doing some fall cleaning, there is
time to drop off your book donations for the sale. Bring
your boxed books to the library’s Service Center during
regular library hours through Saturday, November 2.
All proceeds from the sale go to the Friends of the New Ulm
Public Library, who turn around and give back to the
library. Funds generated from this year’s book sale will
help fund next year’s Summer Reading Program, new materials,
special events, and many other things that make New Ulm
Public Library a great place to work and visit. As you’re
making your way down Broadway between November 7 and 9, stop
by the library and show your support for the Friends and the
library by purchasing a book. See you at the book sale!
October 21, 2013
Thanks to the Optimist Club and Library Friends!
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
Your New Ulm
Public Library is thrilled to partner with community
organizations for a number of public programs. One of our
long-standing partners is the Optimist Club of New Ulm,
which just approved funding another year of free movie
programs at the library. So for another year the library
will provide free, family friendly movies at least once a
month in our library meeting room – all because of the
generosity of our local Optimist group. Thanks, Optimists!
Our next film screening is Saturday, November 16 at 10
a.m. Because of restrictions established by the movie
licensing company, the library cannot advertise the name of
the film in marketing materials outside of the library.
However, I can tell you that the film is rated G and runs
104 minutes. Call our Service Center at 507-359-8331 for the
All movie events are free and open to the public. We
have some beanbags as well as chairs and tables set up to
accommodate everyone. We provide popcorn and soda at no
charge. Our “theater” is enhanced with a sound system set up
by our friends at New Ulm Community Access Television. I
have been coordinating our film series for four years, and
we continue to offer this programming because it’s an
entertaining option for people of all ages that occurs in a
safe, welcoming environment. You’re invited to join us
As long as I’m talking programming, I want to recognize
the contributions of our Friends of the New Ulm Public
Library. The group, which has more than 100 members, does so
much for the library, from donating funds for materials to
acting as fiscal agent for grants to being wonderfully
active and committed library patrons. Thanks to the Friends
for all of that and specifically for funding the library’s
Noon Tunes program. The library schedules about four music
programs each year, and local musicians share their time and
talent by playing for about an hour in our adult fiction
area. This program is unique in that patrons don’t have to
sit in front of the presenter to listen and enjoy. The music
fills the library for the enjoyment of all.
We have two Noon Tunes programs coming up. On Saturday,
November 2 at 12 p.m., brother-sister duo Ross and Danielle
Deopere will play folk and bluegrass music. The Deoperes are
founding members of The Little Prairie Pickers, which
regularly plays in the area. Check out the band’s music
video at thelittleprairiepickers.com/media.html.
On Thursday, November 7 at 12 p.m., hall of fame
musician Dick Kimmel will share his talents with a bluegrass
set. Kimmel is a great friend of the library, playing with
his band, Dick Kimmel & Co, and his duet partner, Jerilyn
Kjellberg. We’re thrilled he’s coming back for a solo
performance. Find out more about him at dickkimmel.com.
See our full listing of library programs at
www.newulmlibrary.org. And thanks again to all of our
community partners, including the Optimists and Friends. See
you at the library!
October 14, 2013
Scanning Your Family History
Hlavsa, Library Director
The New Ulm Public Library
will soon be getting a new ST ViewScan II Digital Microform
Scanner System. This state-of-the-art system allows scanning
of newspaper microforms to a USB flash drive and works with
microfilm, microfiche and other media. This system will
replace our borrowed Minolta reader/printer which has been
on a long-term loan for the last three years from Community
Research Technology, Inc. (aka Sports Central), a local
group led by Herb Schaper. Because of Sports Central’s
ownership of this 1990s equipment, the Library was able to
get a sizable discount on the ST ViewScan II. We are
grateful to Herb and his board for providing this benefit to
Also exciting is that along with this unit we
will be acquiring a companion scanner in the form of an
Epson Perfection Color V700 microform and photo scanner. It
can scan book pages, documents, microfiche film
transparencies, slides and even glass plate negatives.
What’s it good for? Well, for one thing, all of those
Kodachrome slide transparencies you have from the 1950s –
1970s can now be made digital and saved to a USB flash
drive! The machine will also have Adobe Photoshop Elements
software to process your photos. We think many users will
find this a terrific new service.
What about our
newspapers collection? Since we already own 50% of all
historical microfilms from the Brown County region, our plan
now is to request a Legacy Grant to obtain the other 50%. If
successful, we will then be able to provide historians,
geneaologists, family history writers, and others full
access to all of the newspaper documents ever produced in
the New Ulm area. We think that’s pretty exciting.
Some of you may ask—“Why get a new reader/printer/scanner?
What about newspaper digitization? Aren’t all of these
newspapers being digitized?” The answer is yes and no. Most
Minnesota newspapers which pre-date 1922 will ultimately be
digitized. In speaking recently to Jane Wong of the
Minnesota Historical Society, I found out that 1 million
pages of Minnesota newspapers have already been done.
However, Jane estimates that leaves about 33 million pages
left to do. It will take “many years” to do all of those
since most of the funding is coming through ACHF, NEH and
other grants. And some post-1922 newspapers may never be
done since copyright may preclude their digitization.
Another question some have asked is—“Could there be
competition in the Library for the use of this machine since
it will serve multiple functions? That is, newspapers being
researched and people digitizing photos.” Yes, it could, but
your Library will provide access in the same way we do for
Internet workstations. Each person will have one hour to use
it as he or she pleases. After that, use will pass to the
next person in line.
When will this exciting new
piece of equipment be available? We’re hoping for a November
launch. We hope you’ll find uses for this equipment, and we
look forward to helping you utilize it!
October 7, 2013
Fall Into Reading
Pull up a chair. Yeah, sit. Get comfortable. It’s story
time, and I’m going to tell you about some good ones.
October: It’s that haunting time of year. Unfortunately,
people can be haunted by a variety of things. They can be
haunted by an experience or by things that happened in the
past. There is also the unexplained. The “What-was-that?”,
“Did-that-light-just-flicker?” things that happen. And that
would be ghosts. Oh, yeah. Well now there is “Help for the
Haunted.” John Searles has written one of the top 10 books
published in September that librarians across the country
love. I started this read with expectations of ghosts and
ghoulies and bumps in the night. What I got were ghost
hunters, mysteries, and a young teen trying to come to terms
with the brutal double murder of her parents. And she wants
to find out what the heck is in the basement. Did I mention
the creepy doll yet? Well, there is also a really creepy
doll. My advice: Yeah, don’t go down there. And get rid of
that doll. I mean, isn’t that just common sense? But read
this. It is a great fall,
cool-night-read-with-the-lights-down-low so that when that
floorboard creaks you can’t really see if anything is
sneaking up on you.
Jason Mott’s “The Returned” just hit the shelves. Harold
and Lucille are now in their golden years, having lost their
only son in a drowning in 1966. Their relationship is
comfortable, stable, tempered by both happiness and grief.
And then Jacob comes back. He is still 8 years old.
Everywhere in the world, deceased folks are returning home.
And the living are flummoxed as to what to do with them. No,
gang, this is not a zombie book. This book shines a light on
society and people and the things people do when the world
throws them a curve. Follow Harold and Lucille, lovely
people who try to do the right thing in a world gone wrong.
Seizing one last chance to be with the people they love.
The buzz around Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl” is loud.
Cather is just starting college. She’s alone, bewildered and
lost. An additional blow: Her twin wants to room separately,
eat separately and have fun separately. The first person
Cather meets is Levi, who is friendly. Her roommate: not so
much. Cather worries. She worries about being alien. She
worries about her twin. She worries about her dad being home
alone without them. On the other hand, she has a secret. She
writes fan-fiction for the most popular fantasy series ever
written (think Harry Potter-ish), and she has thousands of
fans. In fact, she is an accomplished writer in her own
right; it’s just that she has borrowed someone else’s
characters and world. And that’s something her English
professor doesn’t understand. She wants Cather to write
something original. “Fangirl” encapsulates the unknown:
being on your own for the first time, meeting people who
have no connection to you, and awkwardly falling in love.
Some of the comments made in “Fangirl” felt like something
my husband might have said to me way back when, so this
really seemed true to life. I smiled, I laughed out loud,
and I can’t wait to read this again one day. Loved it.
These three titles are all from the 10 books librarians
picked to recommend to patrons for September. We have that
list up by the front desk (each with a brief synopsis), and
October’s list has already joined it. Several of us are
adding our two cents to the sign and giving these titles
either thumbs up, a so-so thumb, or thumbs down. So don’t
just take my word for it (although I’ll vouch for these
three), check out what other librarians like, too.
September 30, 2013
Learn More About Longtime Civic Leader Fred Johnson
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
library owes its beginnings to Fred Johnson, the longtime
civic leader who was instrumental in establishing the New
Ulm Public Library in 1937. Your Brown County Historical
Society also founded by Johnson, in 1931. Johnson was a
trailblazer who recognized the importance of documenting and
preserving history. One of his most lasting legacies is a
collection of more than 3000 signed photographs and letters
from famous and historical figures.
For the past
couple of months, samples of some of the more famous photos
and letters have been displayed at the library. There were
presidents and vice presidents; then there were authors.
This month’s display is Famous Folks and includes the Wright
brothers, Winston Churchill, the Mayo brothers, Andrew
Carnegie, and Billie Burke. Stop by and take a look at the
fantastic display the library staff has created.
tribute to Johnson culminates this Thursday, October 3 at 6
p.m. with a presentation by Johnson’s granddaughter, Joan
Baeza. Baeza will discuss her grandfather’s legacy and
collection and share family photos and heirlooms. This event
and the displays are sponsored by the New Ulm Art &
Collections Advisory Board. Then don’t miss Baeza as the
Grand Marshal in the German-American Day Parade on Saturday,
October 5 at 11 a.m. on Minnesota Street. The parade is
sponsored by the German-Bohemian Heritage Society.
Here’s just a bit more about Johnson. He was born in 1870 in
St. Peter and moved to New Ulm in 1889 to become the editor
of the New Ulm Review. His list of contributions to the
community was extensive and included helping to plan and
build German Park, the city cemetery, and the boulevard on
Joan Helen (Johnson) Baeza is the daughter
of Norman and Geraldine Johnson and the granddaughter of
Fred Johnson and Emma Seiter. Her great-grandparents are
Adolph and Helena (Erd) Seiter, who were among the first
settlers of New Ulm. The Seiters and Johnsons were
proprietors of New Ulm’s historic Dakotah Hotel for many
years. The hotel served as a hospital and refuge during the
U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
Baeza moved to Holbrook, Arizona, with her parents in
1949. She has a BA in English literature from Stanford
University, and has been a rancher, writer, editor, and
teacher at Northland Pioneer College. Her history “Arizona:
The Making of a State” was published in 2012 by White
Mountain Publishing Co. as an official Arizona Centennial
Legacy Project. She continues to write from her home in the
White Mountains of east central Arizona.
Join us this Thursday to learn more about Johnson, meet
his granddaughter and see for yourself Johnson’s amazing
collection of signatures. See you at the library!
(Biographical material courtesy of Joan Baeza.)
September 23, 2013
Linda Lindquist, Adult
October means many things to
different individuals…watching football games, cool crisp
fall air, thinking about and planning that perfect Halloween
costume, watching horror movies, and carving pumpkins, just
to mention a few. When I started thinking of all these
things, I decided my article was going to focus on books
about Halloween. Here are just a few of the books that are
on the shelves at the New Ulm Public Library.
think of Halloween, ghosts and ghost stories come to mind.
Are you interested in spooky things or are in need of a
ghost-hunting guide? Check out “The Minnesota Road Guide to
Haunted Locations” written by Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk.
These two individuals have done a great deal of research
throughout the state of Minnesota looking for the scariest
and strangest ghost stories. They spent many hours searching
for the real history, tracking down different versions of
the legends, and finding eyewitnesses to back up their
stories. All you need to do is get in your car and check out
some of their haunted locations. If you want a good ghost
story, one that give you goose bumps, makes your hair stand
on end, and leaves you terrified of the dark, read “Coast to
Coast Ghosts: True Stories of Hauntings Across America” by
Leslie Rule with a foreword by Ann Rule. Rule takes you on a
nationwide journey, Seattle to Key West, to places where the
dead refuse to rest. If you want more scary stories, the
133.1 section of the library is the place to go for stories
about ghosts and haunted places. We also have several new
books on order that will be in the library soon. “Shades of
Blue and Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War” by Steven Berman and
“Haunted Wisconsin” by Michael Norman will be on the shelves
Moving on to something not so scary, or
maybe it is if you have trouble sewing like I do, check out
the Halloween costume books. Do you have a young child that
you want to make a costume for or are you looking for an
idea for yourself? How about a costume for being a bunch of
grapes, a crayon, or a fairy? What about being a television
character or a rock star? Take a look at “The Fantastic
Costume Book: 40 Complete Patterns to Amaze & Amuse” by
Michelle Lipson & Friends, “The Halloween Handbook” by
Bridie Clark and Ashley Dodd, or “Halloween Costumes” by
Singer for some great ideas for costumes for you and your
child. These books are located in the 394s and 646s.
These days, Halloween decorations are becoming almost as
popular as Christmas decorations. More and more people are
putting up displays inside and outside their homes. In our
745.5941 section you will find books to help you decorate
for Halloween. You will find recipes for delicious treats,
ways to carve and decorate your pumpkins, and ideas for
decorating your home. Some of the books that I looked at
included “Homemade Halloween: Quick and Easy Costumes,
Decorations, and Not-So-Frightening Family Fun” put out by
the Fox Chapel Publishing Company, “The Big Book of
Halloween Fun” by Susie Johns, and “Pumpkin Painting” by
Jordan McKinney. Any of these books can help to make your
Halloween more fun.
In addition to the above
mentioned books, new Halloween books are on order for the
library. Titles of new books coming include “Embracing the
Spirits: True Stories of My Encounters with the Other side”
by Barbara Parks, All You Frightfully Fun Halloween
Handbook” by the Editors of All You, “Adventures of a Ghost
Hunter: My Investigations into the Darkness” by Adam Nori,
“Extreme Pumpkin Carving: 20 Amazing Designs from Frightful
to Fabulous” by Vic Hood, and “Mysterious Minnesota: Digging
up the Ghostly Past at 13 Haunted Sites” by Adrian Lee. Be
sure to check out the Halloween display in October featuring
many of these books. There are also many books and videos
available in the Junior and Children’s sections in the
library as well. If you cannot find what you are looking
for, be sure to ask a librarian for help.
Have a safe fall season and a Happy Halloween!
September 16, 2013
Meet Minnesota Author Peter Geye
Wiley, Assistant Library Director
Do you realize just
how many Minnesotans are writing books? We could spend the
rest of our lives reading amazing books written only by our
favorite sons and daughters. From mysteries (think William
Kent Krueger and Julie Kramer) to war stories (Tim O’Brien)
to Native American multigenerational sagas (Louise Erdrich),
there is a Minnesota writer for nearly every Minnesota
And then there’s Peter Geye. He’s getting special
mention because he’s visiting the library on Monday, October
7 at 6:30 p.m. We’ll listen to him read from his second
novel, “The Lighthouse Road,” and follow that with a
discussion of the book. All are invited to this free
program, which is funded through the Arts and Cultural
Heritage Fund by the Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative.
There’s still plenty of time to read the book. Place a
hold on a copy of “The Lighthouse Road” by calling us at
507-359-8334 or e-mailing me at email@example.com. Thanks
to my generous co-worker (Katy!), several extra copies of
the book have been ordered, so everyone who wants to
participate will be accommodated. As a bonus, local
bookstore Sven & Ole’s will provide a limited number of
copies of “The Lighthouse Road” and “Safe From the Sea”
(Geye’s first novel) for purchase at the event. Checks only
will be accepted. Thanks, Sven & Ole’s!
So, about “The Lighthouse Road.” I can tell you it takes
place in the North Country at the turn of the 20th century.
I can tell you it’s the story of Odd, an orphan who is
raised by an eccentric man in the wilderness of Gunflint,
Minnesota. And I can tell you that Odd falls in love with
the wrong woman but tries to make her the right woman. But I
can’t begin to convey the sense of place this novel evokes –
location is paramount to the story. And I can’t begin to
tell you what a beautiful character Odd is and how well so
many of the characters of Gunflint are portrayed. I hardly
can wait to hear how Geye envisioned this novel.
evening with Geye will focus on “The Lighthouse Road,” but
I’m sure he’ll answer questions about his first book, “Safe
From the Sea.” One of our library book group regulars said
she liked “Safe From the Sea” even better than “The
Lighthouse Road,” which, believe me, is saying something.
“Sea” takes place in the North Country of Lake Superior and
focuses on the relationship between a dying man and his son.
Copies of this book (which also comes in audiobook format)
are available by placing a hold through the library.
If you enjoy book discussions, join us for this special
event. And then consider joining our general book discussion
group the first Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. See you
at the library!
September 9, 2013
E-BOOKS: AN UPDATE
by Larry Hlavsa,
The New Ulm Public Library, along
with the other Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative
members, began offering e-books in May of 2011. Now, with
over two years of e-book and downloadable audiobook
“circulation” complete, I thought you might be interested in
where this program stands.
commercials of the past few years, you’d think everybody
owned a tablet, e-reader or smartphone, and that people are
now mostly reading electrons, not the printed page. Well,
not so fast! Our users in New Ulm now number 650 and they
have checked out 8,558 items since our program began in May
2011. Among all Traverse des Sioux users, the circulation
has totaled 82,767. But while electronic devices for reading
books are extremely popular among a segment of our users,
the most interesting statistic I’ve extracted from our
statistics is that just 2.1% of New Ulm Public Library total
circulations last year involved e-books or downloadable
audiobooks. So while many people are enjoying books in an
electronic format, far more continue to prefer—or at least
Our e-materials collection has
certainly grown the past two years and now includes 701
downloadable audiobooks, 3429 e-books and 10 videos. Yes,
that’s right, I said—“Videos. ” Recently, a few nonfiction
videos have been added to the collection. For the present
though, this will not include feature films. However, user
demand will influence decisions about this collection. So if
video downloads are of interest to you, let us know verbally
and through your borrowing of these items.
items have been the most popular?
Over the last 30
days our most popular titles among all users have been:
First Sight by Danielle Steel, The Newcomer by
Robyn Carr, Fetching Raymond by John Grisham and
Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich.
Over the past two years our most popular e-books among all
users have been: Inferno by Dan Brown, Bride on
the Loose by Debbie Macomber, Four Corners of the
Sky by Michael Malone and Fifty Shades of Grey
by E. L. James.
Over the past two years our most
popular downloadable audiobooks among all users have been
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Catching
Fire by Suzanne Collins and Mockingjay by—you
guessed it—Suzanne Collins.
Considering just New Ulm
users, the most popular titles of the past two years have
been: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The
Litigators by John Grisham, Unbroken by Laura
Hillenbrand, The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood and
Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts.
contract between the Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative
and Overdrive, Inc. is up in early 2014, so be sure and let
us know if this service has been important to you. One way
we know you’re enjoying the service is through statistics
such as those above, but it also helps us when you verbally
let us know that you have enjoyed the service and would like
to see it continued. So please let us know.
e-book do I want to read next?
September 2, 2013
Betty J Roiger,
It is a long trip, but it’s so worth it.
I hadn’t known I was going to go today, but then everything
fell into place. I had been at sixes and sevens, talking to
Kris, telling her I didn’t have a book to read. She looked
at me in complete astonishment. (Yes: mouth open.) There
were no words. (I know!)
I had gotten done with
“Visitation Street” on Sunday night and had paused, not
really knowing where to go next. “Visitation Street” is by a
new author, Ivy Pochoda, who is on Dennis Lehane’s new
imprint. Doug had read “Visitation Street” and had liked it,
really liked it. So, on his recommendation, that’s when I
went to Red Hook, N.Y., on a hot summer night with two
teenage girls who embark on an adventure on the Hudson River
using a hot pink rubber raft. Only one girl comes back.
This was something more than just a mystery. The
neighborhood had a pulse; each character became so engaging,
I hardly noticed when the mystery became secondary. I found
myself really wanting to know what was going on with
everyone on “Visitation Street.” While wondering if
characters would emerge unscathed or just wounded, this
quote struck me: “He’s thankful for the projects’ residents
who turn a blind eye to other people’s suffering so they can
get on with their own.” This was a tough neighborhood where
bad things could happen to good people. In the midst of the
human struggle, you want some good to follow the bad. It
turned out to be a great place to visit, but now I was done,
gone from Red Hook.
“So, now what are you going to
do?” Kris was speaking quietly to me, like I was as
unpredictable as nitro, ready to burst without a novel to
inhabit. “I don’t know, I just don’t know.” Books, books
everywhere, and nothing was calling my name. Kris left. And
that’s when it happened. The wonderful, regular, familiar
UPS man brought our freight, and I unloaded the new
arrivals. And, just like that, going about my business,
sorting the “rush” books from the rest, I moved a stack next
to my computer. There it was: “How the Light Gets In” by
Louise Penny. And I knew I was going to Canada, back to
Three Pines, back to Detective Inspector Gamache. I left
Kris a note before I went to lunch scribbling: ‘gone to
Three Pines, back soon’ since I knew she’d know where I was
It might be blazing hot here, but it’s winter
back up in Canada, and that’s where I found Ruth, bundled
up, sitting with Rosa, her duck, watching the children play
hockey. Oh, yes, there’s trouble. The unsettled problems
between Jean-Guy and Gamache keep festering. There is a
missing woman, a body, and murder. And a big question is
posed: Would you, could you give up who you love best to
save someone else you love?
Well, there’s a light on
at Gabri & Olivier’s B & B, and it looks like Clara’s
probably painting at home. Maybe Myrna’s bookstore is still
open. “Oh! but anyway, I’m in Three Pines, we're home –
home! – and they're all here – and I'm not going to leave
here ever, ever again, because I love them all! And... oh,
Auntie Em, there's no place like Three Pines!” (To corrupt a
quote) (And yes, that might seem over the top, but if you
ever have the chance to walk into this world created by
Louise Penny, you won’t want to leave either.)
the event that you want to visit someplace new, I’d
recommend going to Brooklyn and strolling through
“Visitation Street”; it is an interesting place. But if you
want to go to Three Pines, check out Louise Penny because if
Three Pines really existed, I would so be hanging around on
the village green waiting to meet Chief Inspector Gamache.
And Ruth and Rosa. And maybe … well, you get the picture.
August 26, 2013
Sharing Stories at the Library
Kudela, Children’s Librarian
“Children are made readers on the laps of their
parents.” — Emilie Buchwald
Is there anything more wonderful than to see children
walk out of the library with stacks of books? This summer,
the library staff saw hundreds of children participate in
the summer reading program. Children and their families
embraced the “Dig Into Reading” theme as they dug in the
stacks to discover new books and treasured favorites. This
children’s librarian didn’t think there could be anything
better than watching the children’s collection circulate to
so many families. This week, however, I was proven wrong.
There is something just as exciting. What can it be? Family
literacy efforts, of course! On the same morning, I saw a
mom use a phonics book to teach her daughter to read and a
dad who sat on the library’s turtle bean bag to share books
with his preschool son. I also spotted a young girl who was
practicing her reading skills while her sister listened. Oh,
the joy of sharing books! It’s rewarding to see children
become excited about learning to read. After all, teaching
children to read gives them a necessary skill, and gives
them a gift they will carry with them throughout their
Here at the library, we encourage families to stop in to
check out the many available resources to support early
reading skills. There are books, books on tape/CD, readers,
and beginning chapter books. Your child may even want to
practice their reading skills on the newly installed iPad
stations in the Children’s Room. Book apps make it possible
to listen to and interact with stories such as the “Five
Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, “Mother Goose,”
and Sesame Street’s “The Monster at the
End of This Book.”
The New Ulm Public Library’s programming also helps to
reinforce children’s reading and learning. Stop by and check
out these upcoming library programs:
The library's fall
storytime schedule will resume on Monday, Sept. 16.
Storytimes are held on Mondays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. Each
storytime is focused on a weekly theme which includes books
and songs. These storytimes are geared toward toddlers and
preschoolers, but all ages are welcome. Registration is not
Beginning in October, the library staff and Early Childhood
Family Education (ECFE) will offer a series of Bedtime
Storytimes. Held on the second Wednesday of each month at 6
p.m., these storytimes will include stories and simple
activities. Mark your calendars for Wednesdays, Oct. 9, Nov.
13, and Dec. 11. Registration is not required for these
fall, the library will kick-off its family program schedule
with a very special storytime. New Ulm resident Judy Gag
Sellner will present a “Books by Grandma and Me” Storytime
at the New Ulm Public Library on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 6
p.m. A family program for all ages, Judy and her
granddaughter Evelyn will share stories they have written
together. Following the program, Judy and Evelyn will be
selling and signing copies of their children’s books. All
are welcome to enjoy an evening of storytelling. What could
promote literacy better than sharing books and talking with
a local author? This is a program that’s sure to entertain
and inspire! Registration is not required.
Of course, the
library is just one community resource. Don’t forget to
utilize all of the terrific resources at your child’s school
library, too! There are so many opportunities for children
to access books. What a wonderful community we live in! May
the sharing of books continue to flourish.
August 19, 2013
Need A Break Before School Starts?
Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference
Still looking for
something to do for those last days of summer? How about
checking out some of the many festivals, fairs, and other
events going on close to home? You don’t have to drive far
to enjoy some of these events.
The Brown County
Historical Society in New Ulm has U.S.-Dakota War
Commemoration events planned the week of August 19-25. These
events will be of interest to local residents as well as
persons visiting the area. Bus tours, walking tours, and
author visits are scheduled. The museum will also be having
a free day on Saturday, August 24. Be sure to check out the
museum’s Wanda Gag exhibit on the second floor and the
U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 exhibit on the third floor. For more
information, check out the Brown County Historical Society’s
Web site, www.browncountyhistorymn.org, for dates, times,
and reservations. Also, be sure to stop by the New Ulm
Public Library. We have several books at the library written
by the visiting authors as well as many books on the
U.S-Dakota War of 1862.
Festivals and state fairs are in abundance during the
last two weeks of August in and around Minnesota. The Corn
Palace Festival in Mitchell, South Dakota, goes from August
21-25. The original Corn Palace was established in 1892.
Early settlers displayed the fruits of their harvest on the
building’s exterior in order to prove the fertility of South
Dakota soil. Each year, exterior decorations are completely
stripped down and new murals are created. If you want to
learn more, a book entitled “Corn Palaces and Butter Queens”
is on order and should be in the New Ulm Public Library
Of course, we cannot forget the “Great Minnesota
Get-Together” that takes place each year at the end of
August. This year, the Minnesota State Fair runs from August
22-September 2. The 320-acre Minnesota State Fairgrounds is
located mid-way between Minneapolis and St. Paul and is
known for its beautiful gardens and architecture reflecting
the art deco and Works Progress Administration eras. It
began as a territorial fair in 1854 and changed to the
Minnesota State Fair in 1859, a year after Minnesota was
granted statehood. And of course we have books in the
library about our great state fair. “State Fair: The Great
Minnesota Get-Together” by Susan Lambert Miller, “Minnesota
State Fair: An Illustrated History“ by Kathryn Strand
Koutsky, and “The Road to Blue Ribbon Baking” by Marjorie
Johnson are just a few of the books about the Minnesota
State Fair. These books are located in the 630 and 641
sections at the New Ulm Library.
If you have a really sweet tooth, you might want to take
in the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival running from August
23-24. Fudge was not invented on Mackinac Island, but
Mackinac Island’s fudge has become the most popular fudge in
America. Early fudge makers would place their marble slabs
in their front windows, set up the cooling fans to blow the
wonderful aroma out into the street, and attract crowds to
come in and purchase their wonderfully scented product. For
more information about Mackinac Island’s fudge, contact the
Mackinac State Historic Parks. Phil Porter has written a
book entitled “Fudge: Mackinac’s Sweet Souvenir.” This book
can be purchased through the Mackinac State Historic Parks’
website, www.mackinacparks.com. One more state fair that is
close in our area is the South Dakota State Fair at Huron,
South Dakota. This fair runs August 29-September 2. Check
their website at www.sdstatefair.com for scheduled daily
These are just a few of the festivals and fairs going on
in the area. Don’t forget to check out the county fairs,
too! There are still plenty of days to enjoy these events
before fall begins.
August 12, 2013
Dakota War Commemoration Events Scheduled
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
New Ulm Public
Library is pleased to partner with the Brown County
Historical Society and several other community organizations
to provide educational programming that commemorates the
U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. For a complete list of events, go
to www.browncountyhistorymn.org or call 507-233-2620.
On Thursday, August 15 at 6 p.m. at the library, local
historian John LaBatte will present
“Accuracy-Balance-Respect and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862,”
which will include information about his blog,
Lunch and a Bite of History is returning. This year’s
sessions will be held from Monday, August 19 through
Thursday, August 22 at the BCHS Annex. All programs begin at
12 p.m., and attendees are invited to bring their lunch. On
August 19, independent historian Lois Glewwe will discuss
her research into the march of Dakota prisoners through New
Ulm to Mankato in November 1862. On August 20, independent
historian Dr. John Isch will discuss the Dakota after the
war, including the reservation system. On August 21,
independent historian Curtis Dahlin will discuss his newest
book, “The Stories and Burial Places of Civil War Soldiers
and Militia Killed in Battles With the Dakota.” On August
22, independent historian Mark Diedrich will share the
fascinating and unique story of Old Betsey, the most famous
woman of the Mdewakanton Dakota tribe.
On Monday, August 19 at 6 p.m. at Wittenberg Collegiate
Center Auditorium on the Martin Luther College campus, there
will be a screening of the documentary film “Dakota 38.”
After the film, there will be a discussion with Franky
Jackson, Director of the Renville County Historical Society
and Museum, and JB Weston of Flandreau, S.D., and Peter
Lengkeek of Crow Creek, S.D, who were featured in the film.
This project is made possible in part through funding
provided by the Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative
through the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.
It’s field trip time Tuesday, August 20 from 6:30-8 p.m.
The public is invited to tour the New Ulm Battery House and
learn about the Battery’s rich, 150-year history. The house
is located at 2000 N. Spring St., which is near the compost
site and the trap range off North Broadway and 21st Street.
On Wednesday, August 21 at 6 p.m. at the library, Family
and Friends of Dakota Uprising Victims will discuss “The
U.S.-Dakota War and the Settlers: The Aftermath.” Panelists
will include: group co-founders Jan Klein, a descendent of
the Charles and Caroline Cla(u)sen family, Birch Coulie, and
Joyce Kloncz, a descendent of Carl and Johanna Heuer,
Milford Township; and Matthew Boisen (Anton and Walburga
Ochs, Milford Township); George Luskey (William Luskey,
Tyrone Township, LeSueur County); Mary McConnell (Ellen,
David and Joseph McConnell, Thomas Brooks, Birch Coulie);
and Joan Wilcox (Johanna Lundborg Paulson, Sunburg (West
Lake), Kandiyohi County).
On Thursday, August 22 at 6 p.m. at the library, Mark
Diedrich will discuss the famous Dakota chief Little Crow in
the context of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
On Saturday, August 24, children preschool age and up
are invited to the library for two programs. At 1 p.m.,
Bringing Books to Life will be a Dakota culture storytelling
program with Lori Pickell-Stangel of the McLeod County
Historical Society. This event is sponsored by the Brown
County Historical Society. At about 2 p.m., members of the
Wanda Gag House Association will present a hands-on historic
crafts program. Supplies will be provided.
All of the
programs listed above are free and open to the public.
Seating is first-come, first-served. But wait – there’s
more, including bus tours of the Leavenworth and Milford
areas, walking tours of downtown New Ulm, a book signing
with local authors, a New Ulm City Cemetery dedication and
tours, and the historical society’s third-floor exhibit,
“Never Shall I Forget.” I look forward to seeing you at this
year’s Dakota War commemoration events!
August 5, 2013
by Betty J Roiger,
The jig is up. It’s no secret. We know
you binge. How do we know? Because we are the ones checking
out all of the DVDs to you guys. And, well, because we do
it, too. Now that popular TV series come out regularly on
DVD, saying: “Just one more?” is a pretty common occurrence.
Anybody and everybody can go on a series binge once in a
while, whether it is watching “Mad Men” or “Game of
We all have our favorite DVD series; just
like some folks prefer vanilla over chocolate (yes, it
happens!), some folks are diehard “Walking Dead” fans, and
some people love “Downton Abbey.” I happen to like both.
What I really would like to see is the “Walking Dead” cast
guest star on “Downton”; that literally would be a riot. We
could watch the dowager try to shrivel a zombie at 20 paces
with one of her snarky comments: “My maid. She’s leaving. To
get married. How could she be so selfish?” or Mary taunt
Edith that no zombie would date her. That would be amusing
until it was a mess. In that scenario I’m afraid Rick and
Daryl would outlast the Grantham clan, or at the very least,
I just want to assure “Walking Dead”
fans that season three is on order and is due out at the end
of August. With cataloging and processing, figure early
September to be sitting on your couch as Rick and his group
find and inhabit the prison as they continue to fight for
their lives. It is the first introduction to the Governor.
If you haven’t read the graphic novels, this guy is one
seriously bad (think bad a bunch of times) guy.
“Dexter” season seven is here, or rather, it is checked out
and has people waiting for their holds to be filled.
“Dexter” is an unusual phenomenon in that the main character
is a serial killer, AND the viewer is kind of, sort of,
rooting for him. I know. That sounds weird, Betty. Yeah, who
knew? Dexter works for the police and removes the “problems”
that fall through the cracks of the law. Me? I do not
encourage this kind of behavior … but I will watch it. This
show has violent content, blood, and a good deal of humor.
If you haven’t watched “How the States Got
Their Shapes” on the History Channel, this show makes
learning fun. Viewers learn many factors (such as guns,
gold, even bar fights) can determine state lines. Every
border reflects not only geography but our social,
political, and religious history, as well. This series makes
for a quirky, scenic, informative, entertaining binge.
“Orphan Black” is coming soon! Warning: This show is
addictive! Sarah is a streetwise hustler who witnesses a
woman jump in front of a train. Realizing the woman could
have been her twin, Sarah assumes her identity to get access
to her bank account, which leads to bigger problems. Then
Sarah finds another woman who looks like her, and then
another. The storyline is great, but it is the remarkable
acting of Tatiana Maslani as many physically identical
women, each with a distinct personality, accent, and
mannerisms, that captivates viewers. She’s that good. I am
intrigued by each clone but adore Alison, the uptight soccer
mom, as well as Cosima, the scientist with dreadlocks.
September will bring season two to “Homeland” fans who
are waiting for the next chapter of Brody and Carrie, and
after that, can Sharknado be far behind?
you like to watch science fiction, action, or educational,
chances are we have something at the library you might like
to see. Stock up on popcorn and chips, or be healthy and get
some carrot sticks, just be ready for your next series
July 29, 2013
Kids iPads are Coming!
by Larry Hlavsa,
Technology has become an integral
part of library service over the past few decades.
Computerized catalogs, e-books, digital magazines,
Internet-enabled computers and PCs are now a part of almost
every public library. For New Ulm Public Library, now comes
A generous donation by a local family, and
some supplemental funds from the Friends of the New Ulm
Library, have allowed us to purchase two iPad4s. Each of
these devices has been filled with at least twenty software
“apps,” and on Monday, August 5th they will be available in
our Children’s Room for public use.
The use of iPads
is growing in public libraries. In fact, the Eau Claire,
Wisconsin, public library two years ago became the first in
the country to check out Apple iPads. While checking out
iPads is a bit beyond our budget here in New Ulm, we are
replacing our eight-year-old Windows games PCs, with the
Apple iPads. They are easier to find software for, easier to
configure, and they’re more fun for users!
our iPads has games, books, puzzles, and educational apps
for 2-10-year-olds to enjoy. We’ve used lists of the best
apps from the American Library Association and other “best”
compilers to choose what is on each iPad. I think youngsters
are going to “flip” with enjoyment as they investigate these
new machines. Each iPad has a different selection of apps so
there will be over forty software choices for kids to enjoy.
In order to minimize the interference with other library
users of iPad speakers, ear buds will be required for iPad
use. Ear buds will be for sale at the Library for $2, or you
may bring your own.
As far as we can tell, New Ulm
Public Library is the first system in the nine-county area
of Traverse des Sioux to offer iPads for public use.
We hope you’ll bring your 2-10-year-old kids to the New
Ulm Library after August 5th to try out our new iPads. We
think you’ll be impressed with this new means of delivering
educational content and fun to youngsters. We know your
2-10-yearold kids will be overjoyed!
July 22, 2013
Oh, What a Summer!
Summer days are breezing by! Can
you believe that July is nearly over? It seems like
yesterday we were making plans for the Summer Reading
Program. Now it’s already the eighth week of summer, and
we’re looking to wrap up the children and teen reading
programs. Before we officially end the reading programs, I
want to share a few of the summer highlights.
2013 Summer Reading Program kicked off with a flourish of
activity on June 3. Local performer Doug Hughes worked
nonstop shaping balloons into swords, rabbits, flowers, and
more. His program, Clowning Around with Summer Reading, was
a huge hit with children and adults. While we don’t know
just how many balloon creations he made that morning, we do
know that 314 children signed up for the reading program
that day. Since then, the reading program numbers have grown
and grown. To date, 886 children and 72 teens have
registered for the summer reading programs. There is no
doubt about it…New Ulm and the surrounding communities have
a lot of dedicated readers. Speaking of dedication, I want
to give a shout-out to teen volunteer Gabby Budenski, whose
creativity with teen programs has made yet another fun and
memorable summer for reading participants and library staff!
Along with enjoying books, reading participants have
“dug” into library activities too. This summer, the library
welcomed several regional authors. Minnesota children’s
author Laura Purdie Salas brought her love of poetry to the
library and encouraged children and adults to read poems
aloud. What a neat experience! Also in June, paranormal
researcher Chad Lewis of Wisconsin captivated patrons with
his multimedia presentation of Minnesota hauntings. I dare
say a few audience members may have gone to bed that night
with the lights turned on!
School may not be in
session, but there is a lot of learning going on. In June,
Teresa Peterson, a representative from the Dakota Wicohan,
treated patrons to a Dakota storytelling and short language
lesson. In July, Ikumi Miura led children and adults in a
short Japanese language lesson and showed each participant
how to write their first name in Japanese.
it wouldn’t be a “digging” summer reading program without a
program that involves dirt. In June, Master Gardener Intern
Lisa Pelzel showed children how to make a garden caterpillar
craft. With sunshine and plenty of water, by now those
caterpillars should be sprouting plenty of grassy hair!
Finally, I can’t mention summer reading without talking
about all the family programs. Each summer, the library and
park and rec host a Kids’ Concert in German Park. Despite
this year’s overcast weather, plenty of families came out to
rock to the tunes of Minnesota children’s musician Will
Hale. With plastic blow-up guitars on hand, Hale had the
crowd of children dancing and playing guitar. It was a sight
to see! More music followed in June with a special Mother
Goose storytime. Mother Goose had children singing,
clapping, and dancing along to her music and nursery rhymes.
Wait, summer reading is not over yet! On Thursday,
July 25, summer reading participants are encouraged to stop
by the library for a Celebration of Reading. The Narren will
be hosting a dance class from 10-11 a.m. From 11:30 a.m.-3
p.m. crafts and treats will be available in the Children’s
Room, and door prizes and sign-ups for prize drawings will
be held throughout the day. Please note that this year’s
grand prize winners will be notified by phone. To qualify
for a grand prize, each reading participant must turn in
their fifth and final bookmark by noon on Thursday. If your
child has not completed his or her fifth bookmark, please
know that we will honor bookmarks until Wednesday, July 31.
So, if your child is close to being done, please encourage
him or her to read just a little more. Judging by the smiles
on children’s faces as they pick out their free book, the
summer reading program leaves a positive impression which
stays with them for years to come. Thanks for your continued
July 15, 2013
Trying to Lose Weight?
When people say losing weight, what comes to mind?
Dieting. It seems that a new diet book (or maybe even more)
comes out every week. Some dieting books that come to mind
right away are “Atkins for Life: The Complete Controlled
Carb Program for Permanent Weight Loss and Good Health” by
Robert C. Atkins, “Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the
Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health” by William Davis,
and “South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and
Better Health for Life” by Arthur Agatston, and “Weight
Watchers.” Dieting is definitely one good way, but there are
other things we can do to lose weight as well.
One of the easiest things to do is walking. It doesn’t
have to be for a long period of time. Even if you can only
walk three or four times a week, walking is still good for
us. We have several books on walking in the 613.717s in the
library. These books cover everything from getting started
with the right shoes, what to wear, stretching exercises,
how far you should walk, etc. Some books you might want to
look at are “Move a Little, Lose a Lot” by James A. Levine,
“The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and
Fitness” by Mark Fenton, and “Walking for Fitness: The
Low-Impact Workout that Tones and Shapes” by Nina Barough.
The important thing to remember is that you want to feel
better and you don’t want to make this a chore. If you could
find a walking buddy, so much the better.
Would you like to lose weight by undieting? An
interesting book that I was looking at is entitled “Go
unDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss” by Gloria
Tsang. This is a guide designed to help a person lose weight
for good by making small changes, one step at a time. When
you are purchasing processed foods, check the ingredients
list on the package carefully. Just because the list may
have only four, five, or six ingredients doesn’t always mean
that it is healthier than foods with longer lists of
ingredients. When looking at the ingredients list, see if
you recognize most of the ingredients. If you don’t know
what most of the products are, maybe you should put it back
on the shelf—it probably isn’t the best for you to consume.
Some other hints to remember—try to shop at food markets
whenever possible for the freshest food products. Also,
avoid canned soups, processed pasta, frozen dinners, and
frozen pizzas. For more tips, check out the appendixes at
the end of this book. Tsang’s appendixes include nutrition
requirements for an average healthy adult, 30 snacks less
than 200 calories, and 50 small actions to help you undiet.
When dieting, always keep in mind that nutrition is very
important. Anne Maczulak’s book entitled “The Smart Guide to
Nutrition” is a good source to go to. In her book, she
covers understanding the balanced diet, learning the truth
about sugar, how to spot harmful fad diets, managing your
salt intake, and learning how to choose nutrient-rich foods.
The book also tells you which carbohydrates, fats, proteins,
vitamins, and minerals your body needs to help you stay
healthy, boost your immune system, and how to fight disease
and aging. Diets come and go, nutrition doesn’t change.
Not all diets or programs work the same for everybody.
Remember, weight loss doesn’t have to be just dieting.
Sometimes changing some of our daily lifestyles will help to
lose weight. We have many books in the 613.2s that may be of
interest to you. Come in and check them out.
July 8, 2013
Epistolary Novels: the Next Best Thing to
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library
I used to write letters all the time. To my
grandma, to my friends, to a childhood pen pal in Texas.
Then the Internet was born, and I wrote e-mails to friends
and colleagues (not to my grandma, though; she still got the
real deal). Now there is text messaging, and I seem to
communicate only in abbreviations. But I still love the idea
of letters, which probably is why I’m drawn to epistolary
My first experience with a novel written in
letters was in college when I took an 18th century British
literature class. There I was introduced to Fanny Burney’s
“Evelina or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the
World.” Evelina’s coming of age reveals much about British
society in the era before Jane Austen. In fact, “Evelina”
reminded me of Austen and the “sense and sensibility” of a
young woman in that bygone time.
Since “Evelina” I
have read several epistolary novels but none that has stuck
with me as much as “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. It’s
a violent and painful look at the lives of black women in
the South in the 1930s. I think the tears began before the
end of the first chapter, and they didn’t stop until well
after I finished the book. I have heard the movie is
fantastic, but I challenge you to read Celie’s letters and
not be as heartbroken as I.
Perhaps the most
well-known epistolary novel of the past few years is “The
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann
Shaffer and Annie Barrows. A perennial book club favorite,
this is a World War II story that takes place primarily on
the island of Guernsey, which was occupied by German
soldiers. Juliet works for a newspaper in England, but when
she receives a letter from a man living on Guernsey, she
travels to the island, and she embraces the people she
Just this past weekend, I finished “Letters
from Skye” by Jessica Brockmole, coming soon to our shelves.
Alternating between World War I and World War II, this is
the story of Elspeth Dunn, a married woman who begins a
relationship through letters with David Graham, an American
college student. War tears them apart, and it’s only years
later when Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, begins writing
letters of her own that she learns her mother’s story.
Notice how all these books are historical novels?
Perhaps letter writing largely is a thing of the past, but I
think the nostalgia we feel toward letter writing will
continue to inspire novelists. And that’s great news for
this reader. See you at the library!
July 1, 2013
Great Civil War Reads
by Larry Hlavsa, Library
America is in the midst of many upcoming Civil
War anniversaries, and the 150th anniversary of the
Battle of Gettysburg is now only a few days away. It might be a good
time to settle in with some good Civil War reads that you may have
missed. Here are some suggestions, a few brand new, but all of
“1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History” by
Charles Bracelen Flood (2009). This has been around for a few years,
but it’s one of the most illuminating books I’ve ever read about the
Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. The year of 1864 was event-filled,
and to its breadth of drama, author Flood adds numerous details
which will be new to the average Civil War reader. I read “1864” by
listening to the full-length CD-book available here at the library.
If you’ve got a long trip planned, this CD-book would be well worth
taking along for your CD-player.
“Killing Lincoln” produced by Tony and Ridley
Scott (2013). DVD. Based on The New York Times best-selling novel by
Bill O’Reilly, this docudrama produced by National Geographic and
the History Channel, is the suspenseful, tragic story of the events
surrounding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. While
many aspects of the plot to slay Lincoln are widely known, much more
of the background history unfolds in this insightful thriller. Actor
Tom Hanks also does a fine job is his role of narrator.
“Lincoln” directed by Steven Spielberg (2013).
DVD. What might seem to be of limited dramatic interest, the
Congressional debates leading to the passage of the 13th
amendment, instead provide the engaging backdrop to one of the best
films on Lincoln ever produced. Everyone knows what a great actor
Daniel Day Lewis is, and his third Academy Award for Best Actor in
“Lincoln” was well-deserved. If you’ve seen “Lincoln”, see it again.
If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?
“A Chain of Thunder” by Jeff Shaara (2013).
Unless you’re a Civil War buff, the siege of Vicksburg, aka the
“Gibraltar of the Confederacy,” is probably little known to you. Yet
Lincoln said—“Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until
that key is in our pocket.” Now, highly-regarded Civil War
novelist, Jeff Shaara, brings us his long-awaited novel of
Vicksburg, and it does not disappoint. NOTE: Vicksburg fell the day
after Gettysburg ended, which explains its relative obscurity in
American historical memory.
“Gettysburg: the Last Invasion” by Allen Guelzo
(2013). The latest tome on Gettysburg “draws the reader into the
heat, smoke, and grime of Gettysburg alongside the ordinary
soldier.” By the first two-time winner of the Lincoln Prize, this
history has been called “riveting, provocative, fascinating,
insightful” and is due the accolades it has received. If you’ve read
everything else about Gettysburg, this is still worth your time.
That says a lot.
“Cain at Gettysburg” by Ralph Peters (2012).
The story follows a tough Confederate sergeant from the Blue Ridge
Mountains, and a German political refugee through the great battles
of Gettysburg. Winner of the American Library Association's W. Y.
Boyd Award for Excellence in Military Fiction, this novel has been
called “savagely realistic.”
Good reading, and Happy Fourth of July!
June 24, 2013
Don’t Wait for the Next Big Read
The good news is every new
novelist wants to write the next “Gone Girl.” The bad news
is every new novelist wants to write the next “Gone Girl.”
When Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” came out last year, it
wasn’t her first rodeo as she already had written two
novels. Prior to the hype, I was looking forward to her new
book never realizing it was going to be “the” barn-burner of
the summer. Now all of these fledgling novelists are trying
to hit the target right out of the gate. And that just isn’t
an easy task.
This spring I started to read “The Other Typist” by Suzanne
Rindell because the reviews were calling it “Hitchcockian”
with “Great Gatsby” flourishes. Ooo-kay. I like Hitchcock.
And I really like F. Scott Fitzgerald. I started reading
this book in fits and starts because something better came
along in between. THAT is never a good sign. In the end I
didn’t find it Hitchcockian or Gatsby-ish. I got to the last
page wondering what the heck just happened—but not in a good
So it was with some trepidation that I started “The
Execution of Noa P. Singleton” by Elizabeth L. Silver.
Unlike “The Other Typist’s” speaker, I liked Noa (pronounced
Noah) as a narrator. From the first page the reader finds
Noa sitting on death row after being found guilty of murder.
Ten years have passed, and the date of her execution looms.
In all of that time she has never once uttered a word in her
own defense. And suddenly the mother of the woman she killed
wants to try to save her. Because reviews called this book
unpredictable and haunting, I was looking for twists all the
way along. “The Execution of Noa P. Singleton” isn’t like
“Gone Girl”; it is something else entirely. And that’s a
good thing. It is a story about truth and lies, deceit,
love, and what human beings do to themselves and to each
other. I closed this book, and I am still thinking about
Noa. And I’m thinking that Elizabeth Silver is an author to
I opened “A Hundred Summers” by Beatriz Williams after I
finished with Noa. The first few lines set me down in 1931
following BFF socialites: Budgie driving “hell for leather”
in her nifty convertible with her gal pal, Lily, holding on
to her wool-felt cloche for dear life. I immediately knew I
was in for a treat. Fast forward seven years. It is summer
and Lily’s former best friend, Budgie, is arriving to open
up her summer place with her new husband, Nick (Lily’s
former fiancé), much to Lily’s dismay.
Alternating chapters reveal events in 1931 when Nick and
Lily are falling madly in love and he has not a single
interest in Budgie, contrasting with 1938 as Lily spends
time on the beach with her 6-year-old sister, Kiki, and
trying to hide her heartbreak when her old friends arrive.
“A Hundred Summers” is a tangle of adult situations all
having adult ramifications. A storm is brewing, a storm not
like anyone has seen in a hundred summers. And that’s just
the weather. Williams’s jargon (traipsing, nifty, humdinger,
darling) slowly took me away, unveiling a slower time when
phones were located in out-of-the-way niches and television
didn’t exist. This turned out to be my first fun summer
Having to be the “next big thing” is a lot of pressure.
If I were looking for something good to read, I’d skip over
“The Other Typist” and stop in for visiting hours at the
prison for “The Execution of Noa P. Singleton” and certainly
sprawl out on the beach in “A Hundred Summers.” Maybe the
mantle of “The Next Gone Girl” is still out there;
meanwhile, there are some good reads coming out for the
summer. Come in and see what’s new.
June 17, 2013
Digging Up Books!
The Summer Reading Program is in
full swing at the New Ulm Public Library. Signing up is
easy, and young readers of all ages are enjoying the “Dig
into Reading” summer program. If you haven’t had time to
sign up, please feel free to stop by. Children who register
before July 1 still have plenty of time to complete the
program’s five bookmarks and earn a free book. During a
visit to the library, be sure to check out the children’s
contests and activities as well as the weekly craft
projects. There are bugs to count, gnomes to find, library
questions to answer, and an “I Spy” jar. Children are also
encouraged to build a gnome or fairy home, which will be put
on display at the library. Please stop by the Children’s
Desk for more information.
Now, summer is a busy time
for families. You may be asking yourself, why should I sign
my child up for the summer reading program? Just this past
week, I had young patrons share two very good reasons.
First, I heard from a boy who was debating whether or not to
sign up. When asked if he liked to read books, he told me he
wanted to become a better reader. Signing up for the summer
reading program is a wonderful way to become a better
reader! After all, reading, like most things in life, just
takes practice. Just don’t take my word for it, ask children
who’ve participated in the program. Yesterday, a girl told
me that her school reading grade improved because she
participated in last year’s summer reading program. Without
hesitation, she signed up again this year. We can read the
advice from experts and study statistics, but there is power
in the words of children. This summer, we encourage you to
sign your children up for the summer reading program so they
can “Dig into Reading.”
This summer, I’ve had several
older readers stop by the Children’s Room asking about the
reading program. While they are a little bummed that they’ve
outgrown the children’s program, we assure them there is
still plenty for them to do this summer. Readers ages 13-18
may sign up for the teen reading program, “Groundbreaking
Reads.” Teens may stop by the Service Center to complete a
registration form. After reading a book, they write the
title and author of the book and put it into the
“Groundbreaking Reads” box (located by the former reference
desk). By reading just one book, a teen earns a free book at
the end of summer. Of course, the more books they read, the
better a teen’s chance to win a grand prize. Most teens are
going to read at least one book this summer, so signing up
for the reading program makes sense. After all, who doesn’t
want a free book?
Summer is a wonderful time for
reading. While the weather in recent days may not lend
itself to outdoor activities, there is always a book waiting
to be read. Next time you’re driving or walking by on North
Broadway, stop by the New Ulm Public Library and make this a
summer of reading for yourself and your family!
June 10, 2013
by Linda Lindquist, Adult
Did you have a favorite pet when
you were growing up? Maybe you lived vicariously through a
friend’s pet. Maybe you read about some interesting pets in
books through the years. Anyway, pets hold special places in
our hearts. Many books have been written recently about
special pets and here are just a few of them.
looked at the cover of this book, I couldn’t believe that
anyone would want to adopt this dog. But one family sure
did. “Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love” by Larry Levin
is just such a dog. With only one ear and a great deal of
scar tissue on his face, you might wonder how anyone could
love him. The Levin family took to him instantly, and he
becomes a loyal and protective member of their family. Oogy
overcame great odds. Being loved helped him to persevere
despite all his trials, much as we as humans can overcome
many trials in our lives.
“Marley & Me: Life and Love
with the World’s Worst Dog” by John Grogan is about a young
couple starting their married life who decides to adopt a
puppy into their family. Marley is a lovable yellow lab pup,
full of energy, and not a care in the world. He doesn’t know
when to quit. Before long he is 97 pounds of uncontrollable
energy crashing through screen doors, flinging drool all
over guests, chasing through backyards, stealing women’s
undergarments from clotheslines, and chewing and eating
everything he can get in his mouth. But through it all, he
is loyal and loves his family dearly. This is a great movie
How much of an impact can an animal have and
how many lives can one cat touch? Is it possible for an
abandoned kitten to transform a small library into a tourist
attraction, bind together an entire town, and eventually
become world famous? Dewey Readmore Books, of Spencer, Iowa,
is just that cat. “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who
Touched the World” by Vicki Myron is a read that cat lovers
(or any animal lover) will enjoy reading.
If you are
a comic lover, take a look at “How to Tell if Your Cat is
Plotting to Kill You” by Matthew Inman. This book is full of
facts and jokes. If you need a good laugh, check this one
And one more book I want to talk about is
entitled “A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the
Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher” by Sue Halpern. Halpern
and her labradoddle get a new lease on life by becoming a
certified therapy dog team. They visit nursing homes and
share time with the residents living there. The book shows
companionship, kindness, and giving love, while expecting
little in return. It’s a good read to take your mind off
There are many more books on our
shelves about pets in general. Take a few minutes to check
out some of these and other titles in the 636s at the New
June 3, 2013
Listen Up! to These Library Programs
Wiley, Assistant Library Director
Your New Ulm Public
Library loves to feature singers, songwriters, and
instrumentalists, and summer is the perfect time to showcase
The library’s Noon Tunes program in
the adult fiction area provides a relaxing hour of music.
This Tuesday, June 11 at 12 p.m., 2009 Minnesota Music Hall
of Fame inductee Steve Moran will play a variety of musical
styles and instruments. My introduction to Steve was
watching him expertly play multiple instruments
simultaneously on stage with the Wendinger Band. Steve,
longtime band instructor at New Ulm schools, is sure to
display his amazing solo talent. This program is sponsored
by the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library and the
Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.
On Monday, June 17 at 7
p.m., bluegrass group Barton’s Hollow will take the stage at
German Park. This six-piece band, whose members are 16 to 21
years old, includes New Ulm’s own Ian Kimmel. Barton’s
Hollow played German Park last year to a standing ovation,
and I’m looking forward to hearing more from this energetic
group. This program is co-sponsored by New Ulm Park and Rec
and KNUJ and is funded by the Carl and Verna Schmidt
Especially for kids, the library and New
Ulm Park and Rec are sponsoring a rock concert with
children’s performer Will Hale on Thursday, June 20 at 6:30
p.m. at German Park. Will is traveling from the Twin Cities
to encourage children and their families to sing, dance, and
have a great time. This program is funded by the Carl and
Verna Schmidt Foundation.
On Monday, July 8 at 7
p.m., local favorite Dick Kimmel & Co will play at German
Park. Dick Kimmel and Jerilyn Kjellberg are the vocal
powerhouses at the front of the group, and they are joined
by Graham Sones on banjo and Terry Johnson on bass. For
select performances, they are joined by Ian Kimmel on
mandolin and Tom Schaefer on fiddle. Dick Kimmel & Co’s
blend of traditional bluegrass always draws big crowds. This
program is co-sponsored by New Ulm Park and Rec and KNUJ and
is funded by the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation.
All of these programs are free and open to the public.
Seating is first-come, first-served. Call 507-359-8334 for
more information. I look forward to seeing you at these
concerts with your dancing shoes on!
May 27, 2013
Dig Into Reading and Discover Groundbreaking Reads
by Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian
Summer is almost
here, and the library is gearing up for its annual summer
reading programs! With the themes “Dig Into Reading” and
“Groundbreaking Reads,” this year’s programs will inspire
children and teens to dig a little deeper to discover the
wonder of books and the fascinating world around them.
To interest young readers of all ages, two reading
programs will be offered again this summer. The children’s
reading program is open to children ages 1 to 12, and the
teens’ reading program is open to young adults ages 13 to
18. Registration for both programs begins on Monday, June 3
at 9:30 a.m. The kick-off program, “Clowning Around with
Summer Reading,” is planned in the Children’s Room from 10
a.m.-1 p.m. Watch for juggling fun and balloon creations!
For those who can’t make it to the library on June 3, there
is still plenty of time to sign up because registration will
run through the month of June.
Summer Reading Program
The goal of the
children’s program is for participants to read for 30
minutes a day for 25 days between June 3 and July 25. For
those children who are pre-readers, they are asked to listen
to books read to them for 20 minutes a day for 25 days. To
help track their reading time, children who register will
receive a “Dig Into Reading” summer reading record. The
reading record features five easy-to-cut-out bookmarks and a
reading certificate to color. After completing five days of
reading (or listening), children will cut out a bookmark and
return it to the library. This year’s bookmark activities
include a variety of games and surprises, and all children
who complete the program’s five bookmarks will receive a
free book and be eligible to win one of 10 grand prizes.
Children who are looking for some extra reading fun can also
pick up a summer challenge sheet. Participants who complete
this sheet while working on their 25 days of reading will
receive a bonus prize when they complete the program.
While reading is at the heart of the summer program, the
library staff has planned many activities to encourage
children to be creative and have fun at the library. This
year’s participants will be invited to build their own gnome
or fairy home--watch for details at the library! There will
also be weekly crafts, plenty of activity sheets, a family
challenge sheet, and summer storytimes on Mondays and
Thursdays at 10 a.m. This summer’s storytime schedule will
kick-off on Thursday, June 6.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a
summer reading program without library contests. This year’s
contests include a Gnome Hunt, an I Spy How Many Items? jar,
a Go Buggy counting contest, and an Unearth Library Gems
contest, which will have junior readers digging in the
stacks to answer weekly questions.
Another feature of
the summer reading program is a calendar of special events.
June’s library calendar is jam packed with many guest
presenters, including Minnesota Book Award winner Laura
Purdie Salas, author and paranormal researcher Chad Lewis,
children’s rock ’n’ roll performer Will Hale, and even
Mother Goose! Other featured June programs include a Dakota
language program for children and adults, and a digging in
the dirt garden craft project. Of course, June is just the
beginning of summer fun. There are free movies and more
programs to come. For a complete listing of the library’s
calendar of events, please check out the library’s Web site
at www.newulmlibrary.org. There is family fun for everyone!
Teen Summer Reading Program
Teens are invited to register for the Summer Reading
Program at the Service Center. Throughout the summer, they
will log every book they read on a slip of paper and drop
the paper in a designated box at the former Reference Desk.
Every teen who submits at least one slip will receive a
book. Additional prizes will be drawn randomly from all
The library has several special events
planned for teens, including a visit from paranormal
researcher Chad Lewis on June 13; a Monday Night Concert in
German Park with Barton’s Hollow on June 17; a Supernatural
for Teens program on June 21; a teen book group on
June 28; a teen book trivia program on July 13; and a read
the book, watch the film program on July 19. And don’t
forget about Battle of the Books, the trivia-style
competition open to teens throughout the Traverse des Sioux
Library Cooperative. This year’s event is scheduled for
August 3 in St. Peter. Interested teens must register with
The New Ulm Public Library is
fortunate to receive major funding for the 2013 Summer
Reading Programs from the Friends of the New Ulm Public
Library; the Minnesota Book Awards; the Carl and Verna
Schmidt Foundation; 3M of New Ulm; and the Traverse des
Sioux Library Cooperative through the Arts and Cultural
Heritage Fund. The library also receives generous prize
donations from local businesses, organizations, and patrons.
A complete list of donors can be found on the library’s Web
site. Thank you, donors, for your generous support!
As always, the most important reward of our summer reading
programs is that these programs help children and teens
maintain or even improve their reading skills that lay the
foundation for school success. If parents and libraries work
together to encourage summer reading, kids can be winners.
So come to the library this summer for some good books and
plenty of fun!
May 20, 2013
The End of the Internet
Betty J Roiger,
I remember when we had one computer in
the library. I suppose that is hard for some people to
believe at this technological point in time, but that’s how
it was here in the 1990s. Even odder, the public and the
staff shared it. It lived on a wheelie cart, and we moved it
from place to place, floor to floor. The word “Internet”
wasn’t a word that was often used, either. I remember Dan
training us on the computer and telling us that “not
everything on the Internet was true.” And he had a Web site
to prove it.
This Web site featured a lovely tourist
town with a castle, hot springs, an underwater city, and
even nuclear submarine docks. Cracks in the earth sending up
hot air kept the temperature balmy year round and made it
convenient for whale watching. Maybe this even sounds like
the adventure land you want to vacation to this year. Yeah?
Well, it’s close if you want to visit; the Web site is
describing a place called Mankato, Minnesota.
(http://city-mankato.us/) Yep. It’s the Sibley County Hot
Springs, and you, too, can “strap on an oxygen tank and dive
beneath the crystal clear waters of the Minnesota River” to
see “the Underwater City of Mankato.”
I know, right?
When Dan showed us this Web site, considering where we live,
of course we were all laughing and enjoying the information
about the “great Mankato pyramid” and “haunted Mankato.”
“Winter Solenoid” sounded great as it was “celebrated on the
coldest day of the year” suitable for “tee shirts and
Bermuda shorts” with plenty of “hot dish, bars, and jello”
to go around! Who wouldn’t want to “get out of the harsh
Minnesota winters of New Ulm to [go to] the balmy
tranquility of Mankato”?
The thing was, people would
find this Web site and believe it. In 2007, a woman brought
her mother up from Kansas to visit the underwater city and
was upset to find that it didn’t exist. Even though the last
point of interest on the Web site is a “Direct link to The
End Of The Internet,” people didn’t realize that this is a
perfect example of what many people use the Internet for:
This site is just for fun. (The end of the Internet looks
like a bunch of stop signs with the warning “go back before
your computer disappears into a black hole.”)
the three or four pages of disclaimers that really had us
howling, though. “Do not operate a motor nor non-motor
vehicle when viewing this page. Do not mix with … chocolate…
… Some assembly required. … Freshest if eaten before date on
carton. … Does anyone really know what time it is? … Please
remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop.”
And even: “Mankato, as portrayed on these pages, DOES NOT
Back in the day, when we helped people we
would do our best to guide them to reliable sources. Now
almost everyone has their own home computers and the
personal ability to Google or Bing. Let’s hope that anyone
who goes on the Internet takes what he or she sees and reads
with a grain of salt. Cuz like Dan said: Folks need to know
that just because it is on the Internet doesn’t mean it is
true. “Crystal clear waters of the Minnesota River”…ha, if
you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.
May 13, 2013
Have the Right Magazines?
by Larry Hlavsa,
Last fall the New Ulm Library made a
decision to reduce the size of our magazines collection. We
had been noticing for some time less public use of the
collection, and figured it was a good place to cut, based on
the reduced usage. Why are fewer people using library
magazines? My theory is that with SmartPhones, iPads, PCs
and other electronic devices all accessing the Internet,
people may just be getting more of their casual reading on
such devices, rather than through magazines.
the titles we dropped was the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Lo and
behold, we got a complaint, and the complaint was not
without some validity. The patron lamented that we just
didn’t have much in the way of financial publications any
more. Well, he was right, if you just consider “print”
magazines we only carry MONEY, ENTREPRENEUR and MINNESOTA
BUSINESS. That is a pretty slim selection!
consider that twenty years ago we didn’t have the electronic
access we now have. The Electronic Library of Minnesota
(ELM) offers our library customers full-text searching of
such magazines as FORBES, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK, FORTUNE,
THE ECONOMIST and the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW, just to name
a few. Twenty years ago, libraries also didn’t have Internet
access, but now we have eleven public Internet workstations
for our customers to search hundreds, even thousands of
business publications across the world. While such access
may not be as convenient for some people, it is more
convenient for others. And it certainly represents an
expansion of our collection in a wide variety of subject
But even that’s not all. Soon, your Traverse
des Sioux libraries will offer electronic access to forty or
more magazines through a vendor called “Zinio.” You can
check out: zinio.com on the Web for a preview of what is to
come. While only a few of these are likely to be financial
magazines, they will nonetheless expand our collection in a
number of subject areas, not to mention making access to our
library even more of a 24/7 proposition.
But back to
the issue of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. We would love to hear
from more New Ulmers about whether you think we should
reinstate this title to our collection. It’s a $284 a year
subscription, or about 8% of our subscription budget, just
for that one title. But tell us if it’s important to you
that we have the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Comments on either
side of the issue will help us decide if this newspaper
should remain a part of our collection.
Just submit a
“comment form” (available at the Library’s Service Center),
or give me a call at: 359-8332, or email me at:
P.S. Maybe there’s another
magazine or newspaper you would like to see us subscribe to?
Please let us know what you’d like in our collection.
We--and our materials--are here for you!
May 6, 2013
Ready For Some Gardening?
by Linda Lindquist,
As I sit here working on my
May article on gardening and look out my window—it is
snowing. It is May and it is still snowing—and not just a
few flakes, it is accumulating on some surfaces. But that is
not going to stop me from thinking spring and planning my
garden. And to be honest with you, I have already bought a
few packets of flower seeds. I am determined to not let this
snow stop me.
I want to start with composting. Now you
might think that composting can only be done if you live in
the country—not so. Composting can be done on a farm, in the
suburbs, or in a city apartment. “Composting Inside & Out”
by Stephanie Davies is a good place to start. She gives a
complete overview of the composting process and where you
can find the equipment necessary for composting. She also
has step-by-step instructions for different methods of
composting, different ways you can use the compost you
produce, and she tries to answer questions on problems that
may come up.
Do you have some bushes, trees, or
plants that need pruning? Have you done some pruning in the
past and damaged or killed plants? Then “Cass Turnbull’s
Guide to Pruning: What, When, Where & How to Prune for a
More Beautiful Garden” is just the book for you. One hundred
sixty plants are covered in her book. Turnbull gives
friendly, expert advice for the home gardener. Cass’ mission
is “to end the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and
shrubs caused by mal-pruning.”
And now the fun part
really begins—selecting the plants for your garden. This
time I am concentrating on flowers. A book I found in our
collection is entitled “Annuals and Perennials: A Gardener’s
Encyclopedia: Select the Best Plants for Gardening Success”
written by Geoff Bryant and Tony Rodd. Over 1300 plants are
described in their book. I do not have the “green” thumb
when it comes to gardening, but I think I have found a book
that will help me to plant and grow the flowers that are
suitable for our climate. Maybe you are interested in doing
some landscaping in your garden or yard. “Landscaping with
Native Plants of Minnesota” by Lynn M Steiner should be of
help. She covers flowers, trees, shrubs, vines, evergreens,
grasses, and ferns suitable for Minnesota’s harsh climate.
Some of you are probably thinking, I don’t have room
for a garden. You may live in a small apartment or a condo
in the cities or maybe you just don’t want or have time for
a huge garden. How about container gardening? William
Aldrich and Don Williamson’s book “Container Gardening for
the Midwest” may meet your needs. Almost any plant that can
be grown in a conventional garden can be grown on a smaller
scale in a container. Gardening should be fun and enjoyable,
and container gardening is no exception. Even if you have
room for only one container, you can still derive much
pleasure from it.
All of the books mentioned above,
and many more, are available at the New Ulm Public Library.
Gardening books are located upstairs in the Reference area
in the 631-635 section. Be sure to ask if you have any
problems finding the book you are looking for. If you are
looking for a particular title and we do not have it, ask
and we will check all of Minnesota to see if that title is
available. Happy gardening!!
April 29, 2013
Surplus to Some, Treasures to Others!
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
I’ve been involved
in many rummage, garage, porch and estate sales in my life.
I’ve always found them fun. Often I find nothing in a
particular sale for me, but you have to take a risk
sometimes to find a treasure. Have you read the story about
the person who found a Picasso in Shreveport, Louisiana at a
garage sale for $2?
The New Ulm Library is having a
rare “surplus sale” from noon on May 6th through 7:30 p.m.
on May 7th. We have an old microfilm reader, stuffed
animals, tables, a storyboard, book stand, a circular
mirror, an electronic keyboard, several desks, some large
tables, a library card cabinet, a photocopier, some old
portable typewriters, and more. None of these are items the
library has any more use for, and all are being sold for
bargain prices. These are being sold on a “first-come,
first-served” basis so get to the library early if you’re
While there are no “pre-sales,” you can
have a look at our surplus catalog any time before the sale.
Multiple copies of the catalog are in the Service Center at
the library for your review.
Incidentally, if you’re
the kind of person who likes to do some research first,
here’s a couple of library-owned titles that may help before
attending your next rummage, garage, porch or estate sale:
The Garage Sale Millionaire: Make Money with Hidden
Finds from Garage Sales to Storage Unit Auctions and
Everything In-between by Aaron LaPedis (2012).
Sale Gourmet : Streetwise Shopping for Fun, Profit, and Home
Improvement by Anita Chagaris (2005)
On the other
hand, if you want to clear your life of clutter, rather than
adding to it, you might try checking out:
Clutter: Reclaim Your Space, Reclaim Your Life (2005).
Now I’ve looked carefully through the items in our
library surplus sale, and I don’t believe there’s a Picasso
anywhere to be found. But you may find some other
“treasure,” something that you have a use for that can be
purchased cheaply. Join us for our surplus sale on May 6-7!
April 22, 2013
Library Staff and Volunteers Are Great
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
always is a fun time of the year at the library. We’re
looking forward to spring (especially this year!) and
planning for the Summer Reading Program. We’re reading the
hot new books and discovering authors who will become like
old friends. And we’re recognizing the contributions of our
library staff and volunteers.
Last week we celebrated
National Library Week, a time to recognize and honor the
contributions libraries and library workers make to our
communities. Tuesday, April 9 was National Library Workers
Day, when we honored our dedicated and hard-working team for
its service. The library staff strives to provide a
comfortable and helpful atmosphere, so whether you’re
working on a computer, finding a book, attending a program,
studying, or visiting us for any other reason, you always
Library visitors most often see the
finished product of our staff’s efforts – from functioning
computers, to a storytime presentation, to a book that’s
available for checkout off the shelf. All of that is
possible because of much work behind the scenes. Staff
selects materials and catalogs materials and processes
materials. Staff is trained to locate materials and check
out materials and then check those materials back in for the
next user. Staff plans, promotes, and performs storytimes.
The New Ulm Public Library staff brings a multitude of
talents and skills to the library, and together we do our
very best to make the library a great place to visit.
This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Week, a
time to recognize and thank our volunteers for their service
to the library. We have a fantastic group of volunteers that
steps up in a number of ways. The volunteers tidy shelves,
deliver books, clean books, copy and fold brochures, assist
with programs, facilitate a book group, and help in many
other ways that make a huge difference. Their selfless
contributions – always done with a smile – ensure the
library is a wonderful place to work and visit.
Several of our volunteers have been with the library for a
number of years, and we are especially grateful for their
long-term dedication to the community. Volunteering isn’t
always particularly glamorous – remember when I said our
volunteers clean books?! – but the rewards can be great.
Volunteers connect with others, strengthen communities, and
become more well-rounded people. In fact, research has
linked volunteering with improved health (see
www.nationalservice.gov). Many organizations in our
community would be thrilled to meet with you and discuss how
you can be of service. To quote Martin Luther King Jr.,
“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Think
about how your time and talents could benefit others, and
April 15, 2013
Tales from the Library Cubicles
J Roiger, Acquisitions & Kris Wiley, Assistant Director
Betty: Hey, Kris … what’s up?
Kris: W – e- l – l,
World Book Night is coming up next Tuesday, April 23.
Really? I cannot wait. Last year, it was a blast.
know! It was fun to give away copies of “The Hunger Games”
by Suzanne Collins, “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, and
“Blood Work” by Michael Connelly. And to hear everyone read
favorite poems and short stories.
B: Sue had us all
leaning forward with that sort of creepy Mary Elizabeth
K: Yeah, that was memorable.
B: You had the
best job though.
Betty: You were emcee, and you
got to throw candy at people.
K: To people, toward
B: Details, details. Candy coming at a person at
any speed is welcome. Everyone wanted to guess the quiz
questions and win. They were into it, rapid-fire answers for
K: Do you want to spill what’s happening this
B: Sure! Well, Gigi told me about a unique book she
had read called “My Ideal Bookshelf.” It is about the
personal favorites of more than a hundred people:
celebrities, chefs, authors, fashion designers. They all
share the books that have helped them, defined them, let
them follow their dreams.
K: We took a look at the book
and decided to have a paper template of a bookshelf that
people who attend could fill in with their much loved books.
And we have markers and funky paper for people to make up
their own cool book spines.
B: And then do we talk about
our favorites? Because I don’t like to choose.
what’s your favorite book?
B: What?! Did you not listen?
I don’t like to single one out … then the other books on my
ideal shelf will feel bad.
K: OK, then, what are some of
B: It changes. For instance, I loved “A
Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle when I was younger.
I’d have to say “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is
just about a perfect book for me. So, what’re some of your
K: “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood and
“Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier are right up there. “Olive
Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout.
B: “The Hobbit” by
J.R.R. Tolkien changed my life. “Harry Potter and the
Prisoner of Azkaban” by J.K. Rowling rocked! I wonder if
“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio will make my ideal bookshelf?
K: So…as I was saying… adults and teens are welcome to join
us for World Book Night on April 23 at 6 p.m. in the adult
fiction area of the library. Remember! We are giving away
B: And you know I love “A Game of Thrones” by
George R.R. Martin.
K: You are still talking … you are
not going to quit, are you?
B: [sigh] My ideal bookshelf
isn’t big enough.
April 8, 2013
Pick a Poem for April
by Katy Kudela,
There is nothing like sitting
down to read your favorite childhood book. Just this past
week, I shared some of my favorite fairy tales with the
children at storytime. It was wonderful to see that
“Goldilocks and the Three Bears” captured their attention
just as well as it did mine years ago. It’s true that some
stories never grow old! The same can be said with poetry.
After all, many of us can name a nursery rhyme just like
that. Some of us might even have a poem or two tucked away
in our memories. My earliest poetry memory comes from the
Childcraft Books, which sat alongside the World Book
Encyclopedias my parents had lining the bookshelves. Inside
the Childcraft Book of poems was the silliest poem I’d ever
“I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see
than be one.”
As a child, I
recited this poem again and again as if it was the funniest
joke in the world! Poetry is perhaps the best example of the
power that words can bring. In just a few short phrases,
poetry has the power to paint a picture in words. Leonardo
da Vinci is quoted as saying, “Painting is poetry that is
seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt
rather than seen.”
This April, celebrate National
Poetry Month with a visit to the library. The library has an
assortment of poetry books for all readers. You will find
several poetry book displays set up in the Children’s Room.
You can also browse the 811 sections in the picture book,
junior, young adult, and adult nonfiction collections. You
will find a wealth of poets from Robert Frost to Maya
Angelou to Jack Prelutsky. You might even discover a book
you have not read before like Laura Purdie Salas’
“BookSpeak!” which is a collection of poems that is all
about books. Here’s part of her poem called “This is the
“…And she is the reader
who browses the
and looks for new worlds
but find herself.”
I encourage you to take time this month to add a poetry
book to your stack of checkouts. By reading one poem a day,
you will be enriching your world, and the best part is that
it only takes a few minutes! Browsing the stacks this April,
you just might find a poem or two you want to add to your
collection of memories or your child’s collection of
memories. As poet Maya Angelou says so well, “Any book that
helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading
one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” A
book of poems may be just the book that opens your child to
the wonderful and imaginative world of literature. It might
also be the book that reminds us as adults the power a few
words can hold.
April 1, 2013
April is Financial Literacy Month
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference
Are you sufficiently educated about your personal
finances? Have you taught your children how to handle money?
Are you ready to change your financial situation? April is
Financial Literacy Month and now would be a good time to
address these questions.
During these challenging
economic times, it is important for individuals and families
to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. The more
we know about our personal finances, our savings, and our
credit card debt, the better off we will be. And the sooner
we begin teaching our children, the better off they will be
as well. April is a time of new beginnings; a perfect time
to begin doing this.
There are some basic steps you
should take to get started on the road to financial
stability. First, you need to examine your attitudes about
money. Are you ready to accept the responsibility for
changing your financial situation? Secondly, clear out
financial clutter—get rid of unnecessary papers and
receipts. Items to save are paycheck stubs, canceled checks,
and documents pertaining to buying and selling or improving
your home. Receipts for major purchases should be kept as
long as you retain that item, and individual income tax
returns should be kept for seven years (according to the
Internal Revenue Service). Another step is to get a copy of
your credit reports. There are three credit bureaus:
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These are three separate
entities and information contained in each of the reports
varies slightly. To get a free credit report, visit
www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1- 877-322-8228.
Another step is to make a list of what you “need” and what
you “want” and then rank this list according to how
important these “wants” and “needs” are for your family. You
need to set some short-, mid-, and long-term goals.
Short-term goals should be able to be attained in two years.
Mid-term goals may take two to five years to complete.
Long-term goals may take more than five years to accomplish,
but it is important to have some goals in each category.
Another important step is to track where all your money
goes. Make a list of your variable expenses—those that
change from month to month such as clothing and food
expenditures. Next you will want to make a list of fixed
monthly expenses—car payments, mortgage payments, rent
expenses, utilities, etc. Finally, you will want to identify
periodic expenses such as insurances that are paid once or
twice a year, vacations, income taxes, etc.
mentioned steps are just a few that are mentioned on a web
site to help individuals find financial freedom. The web
site is: www.financialliteracymonth.com. In reading through
the steps, I found several ideas that are easy for all of us
to follow and that can help us to attain our financial
wellness. And it is never too early to teach our children
money management. Simple daily tasks such as watching us at
the ATM machine, paying our bills, balancing our checkbook,
or talking about our spending decisions are lessons we can
teach our children. Giving them an allowance and showing
them how to save a portion of it is a valuable lesson for
them. Have your child take a portion of their saved money to
the store to purchase a small item that they want.
As always, we have books at the New Ulm Public Library that
can be checked out. We have many personal finance books in
the 332s section. Some books to teach children about money
management include “The Berenstain Bears and Mama’s New
Job,” A Bargain for Frances,” “Sheep in a Shop,” and
“Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday.” Not all of
these books are at the New Ulm Public Library, but we can
get them from other libraries in our system.
is the official National Financial Literacy Month. But you
can start on any day or any month of the year to create
successful strategies to better your financial position.
March 25, 2013
by Betty Roiger, Acquisitions
don’t peek for Christmas presents. When someone says: “Close
your eyes, and put out your hands,” I don’t open my eyes.
And I don’t look at the last page of the book. But then I
started “Wool” by Hugh Howey.
I hadn’t ducked into a
Science Fiction world for a while because I have plenty to
read. I went out to talk to Kris at the front desk; she was
checking in “Wool” and gestured at the cover, saying, “This
is getting some buzz.” “I know,” I said, “I’ve wanted to
read it.” She thrust it at me saying, “Here!” “Uhm, what?!
That’s sort of line jumping.”
(sputtered my inner
dialogue). “I have a stack of books waiting to be read, and
this one needs to wait its turn.” But “Wool” didn’t wait its
turn. “Wool” cut in line and moved to the front and
thankfully, gratefully, I am glad it did.
children were playing while Holston climbed to his death”...
is how “Wool” starts. You like Holston right away in the
story, even as he climbs the spiral stairway of the silo, to
the up top. Questions abound. He is going to his execution,
but will he clean? He broke the rules, he wants out, and
that means a death sentence. (I know!) Not much of this
makes sense to anyone reading this. Why a silo? Why does he
want to die? Why can’t you go outside? What is cleaning? One
of the best parts of this “Wool Omnibus” is that the answers
are revealed quickly but not so quickly to spoil the
intriguing premise. Once you are in the silo, with Holston,
then with Jahns, and Marnes, and you begin viewing the
hydroponic floor, the growing floor, IT where the techies
work, you know with each step up or down you are entering a
complete and fascinating world.
character you first meet is the one you follow through the
book. But from the get-go it doesn’t look good for Holston.
Who exactly am I shadowing? I’d advise you to head below 140
floors to down deep on those spiral stairs and get to
Mechanical to find Jules. Jules is the character you really
want to follow. She is the best mechanic maybe ever.
This book is addictive; once you enter, you do not want
to leave. “Wool” is a wonderful world to be sucked into, not
that it is necessarily a wonderful world. I found myself
reading slower, slowing down to remain in the silo with
Jules. At the same time, I flipped forward to the next
chapter to see if everyone I liked remained intact. (Yes, I
know! I don’t peek.) Yet “Wool” has its own rules. (So I had
to. I needed to know!) This book is intense and
irresistible. Hold on while “Wool” unravels and then
re-stitches itself into something else. Follow Jules up top
and down deep; it is worth it to get to the bottom of the
secrets. I peeked. You’ll be flipping the pages, too, to
find out what’s next. And then, you just might not want to
If you like Science Fiction, please
give “Wool” a shot. And here’s the thing. If you don’t read
Science Fiction, do not let that stop you from trying
“Wool.” This could take
place anywhere, anytime, which I
think is the mark of a good story. And “Wool” is simply a
good story. Come in and check something out.
March 18, 2013
Interior Re-design at the Library
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Doing more with less
seems to be the standard these days in state and local
government. But how do you do more with less when your
library offers its services in a building designed in 1976,
at a time when staffing multiple levels and floors was not
Your New Ulm Public Library has five
floors open to the public. We have just over seventeen
people (or about the equivalent of ten full-time people) to
offer services on these five floors, and we’re open six days
a week, including four evenings. We’re spread pretty thin.
As budgets have dropped in the past few years, we’ve
done our best to maintain services. So far, so good. But we
know that since 80% of our budget is people, future budget
cuts will result in lowered staff levels. We’re trying now
to be proactive in looking at how and where we offer
As the years go on, and people leave or
retire, there is an increasing probability that they will
not be replaced at the same hourly level, or they may not be
replaced at all. If that’s the case, and we want to continue
maintaining services, we have to reduce the locations where
we offer service to the absolute minimum. Our Service Center
(formerly the Circulation Center) is being looked on as the
place where in the future those services will be offered.
While in the future the other four floors in our
building may not be staffed, we are also looking for ways to
give them a staff presence. One way is to move our managers
(library director and assistant library director) to offices
on empty floors to maintain a staff presence on those
floors. Moving them there would also make them more
available to the public.
Most of our ideas are in
still in the formative stages, but a committee was recently
formed to begin looking at the options. Included on the
committee is the library director, two librarians, a library
aide and two members of our library board. The committee
will meet every month or two to plan for the interior
re-design of the library. Its purpose will be to develop a
design that will make the library a continuing place of
education, programming, learning and fun.
Director Kris Wiley will be project manager for this
interior re-design effort and will lead the aforementioned
committee. She can be reached at: 359-8334, or by email:
Incidentally, now is a great
time for you to express your thoughts about the interior
design of the library. We encourage you to contact Kris with
any of your thoughts, suggestions or ideas!
March 11, 2013
Friends Team Up With Sven & Ole’s for Book Fair
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director
Our Friends of
the New Ulm Public Library is a fantastic organization. The
group supports the library in any number of ways, from
providing funding for materials and programs to attending
events to advocating for library services.
Friends’ major fundraiser is the annual book sale, which is
held in the library basement in late fall. The proceeds from
the sale, as with all of the Friends’ funds, go toward
making your library even better. Now the Friends have a new
opportunity to raise money. In partnership with Sven & Ole’s
Books in New Ulm, the Friends will benefit from a book fair
this Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. Customers must
mention the book fair when they check out, and 25 percent of
their sale will benefit the Friends.
It gets even
better. The bookstore is accepting pre-orders for William
Kent Krueger’s newest novel, “Ordinary Grace.” Customers
must order the book at the store, and for every pre-ordered
copy of “Grace,” Sven will give $8.25 to the Friends. And
he’ll get your copy signed by the author. The book’s
publication date is March 26; Sven will have your signed
copy available for pickup at the store April 5. Sven & Ole’s
Books is located at 2 North Minnesota Street; the phone
number is 507-354-6421.
If you are not familiar with
William Kent Krueger, he is best known for his Cork O’Connor
series of mystery novels set in northern Minnesota.
“Ordinary Grace” is a departure. The publisher’s
introduction to the book sets the tone: New Bremen,
Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season,
ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of
Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a
mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of
innocence and hope for a country with a new, young
president. But for 13-year-old Frank Drum, it was a grim
summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many
forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
been in contact with Krueger and received this quote from
him: “When I first began contemplating the writing of
‘Ordinary Grace,’ the seed for all my imagining was New Ulm.
As the novel grew, I added elements of other towns in the
lovely Minnesota River Valley, but New Ulm—an earlier,
smaller, maybe simpler version—was always at the heart. I’m
so grateful to everyone there who offered me stories and
There is a book trailer for “Ordinary
Grace” on YouTube and can be accessed at
The mission of the
Friends of the New Ulm Public Library is to support your
library. In just the past year, the Friends have donated
funds for large-print books, audiobooks, and numerous
programs, among other things. All proceeds from this book
fair event will go toward continuing their support of
library materials and programs. So if you’re out shopping
this Friday and Saturday, stop in at Sven & Ole’s.
March 4, 2013
What to Read Next?
Children’s Librarian, and Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions
“So many books; so little time.” It’s certainly a
wonderful problem to have, but trying to decide which book
to read next is a predicament for many readers. Here in the
Children’s Room, this question comes up a lot. Sometimes
it’s young readers looking for something else to read while
they patiently wait for the next Rick Riordan book. Other
times it’s parents hoping to draw their children into a new
book series. Luckily, as one young patron said, our library
has a lot of good books!
No matter the age level or
the interest, the shelves of the New Ulm Public Library
offer something for everyone. Even better…if we don’t have
the book you’re looking for, we can search for the book in
other libraries. It’s really that easy! So, with an
abundance of books sitting on the shelves, the question
still stands: “What to read next?”
If you’re looking
for new children’s picture books, the 2013 Caldecott books
are a great place to start. This year’s medal winner is
“This Is Not My Hat” written and illustrated by Jon Klassen.
Follow along with a very small fish who thinks he is
outsmarting a very much larger one.
Judging from this
year’s winners, the world of picture books is flourishing!
Klassen also illustrated another honor winner: “Extra Yarn,”
written by Mac Barnett, demonstrates the magical gift of
generosity. Toni Buzzeo wrote “One Cool Friend,” which is
beautifully illustrated by David Small in black and white
with touches of color. This book is the story of a suit and
bow-tied boy who finds a friend in the penguin he
“liberates” from an aquarium. Humor ensues.
the Children’s Room, be sure to check out this month’s Dr.
Seuss picture book display. There you can locate your
favorite Dr. Seuss book or perhaps discover a book you have
not yet read. With 44 children’s books written and
illustrated by Theodor Seuss Geisel, there is an assortment
to choose from. If the books are checked out, please stop by
the Children’s Desk and we can request a book from another
For junior readers looking for a good book,
the best place to start just might be the library’s
“Read-alikes and Series Lists.” Created last summer by
library aide Carla Fjeld, this resource offers many book
suggestions. Don’t forget that you can always ask the
library staff, too. While we try to read as many books as we
can, we also ask readers to share their favorite titles.
After listening to readers, we know that Jake Maddox writes
some cool sports books and Margaret Peterson Haddix writes
page-turning science fiction books. Nancy Drew and The
Boxcar Children are also proving to be timeless favorites.
Junior readers may also want to branch out and try
something different. A great place to start is the series
“You Choose.” A reader might be a first-class passenger on
the Titanic or a German immigrant traveling to America.
These books put readers in the driver’s seat. A reader gets
to choose who to be, where to go, and what actions to take.
Minnesota author Rachael Hanel presented her “You
Choose” book “Can You Survive Antarctica?” at a recent
family program. First, audience members were asked to test
their knowledge of foods to take to Antarctica. Unlike a
summer camping trip, a trip to Antarctica (even in the
summertime) becomes a survival mission. Hanel then read
aloud from her book and let the audience choose its paths.
Sharing the book as a read-aloud created an educational and
entertaining evening. With a variety of topics available,
the “You Choose” series would be fun for families to share.
In fact, it’s a good reminder that all kinds books are made
for sharing. You can share riddles at supper, read a chapter
before bedtime, and listen to an audiobook in the car!
So, if you stumble upon the question “What to read
next?” please remember your local library has many books to
browse, and the staff is always happy to help.
February 25, 2013
Oscar’s Best Pictures at the Library!
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
I’m one of the one
billion people who watched the Oscars last Sunday night.
Okay, the widely publicized estimate of one billion viewers
is probably suspect, so let’s say I was one of the hundreds
of millions. Close enough.
I love the Oscars, despite
the fact that my favorites rarely win. I’m always happy to
argue about best actor, best actress, best director, best
screenplay, and similar categories, but the “Best Picture”
selection is always among my top five films of the year. I
rarely am upset about the Academy’s choice in the “Best
Picture” category. This year I saw most of the nine
nominated films before Sunday night, and while I wish
“Lincoln” had won (I admit a decided prejudice for anything
about Lincoln), “Argo” was a very fine film.
me to thinking. How many of Oscar’s “Best Pictures” over the
last thirty years can you borrow from your local public
library? I decided to do a little research to find out.
Calculator and IOLS (integrated online library system)
in hand, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Traverse
des Sioux libraries own 297 copies of “Best Pictures” from
the last thirty years, and that we own one or more copies of
all thirty “Best Picture” films since 1982.
fanatic that I am, however, I wasn’t done. I then began
wondering—Which film do we have the most copies of? Since
libraries purchase multiple copies only of items that are
circulating well, it seems fair to say that the more copies
we own, the more times they have circulated. My logic says:
most owned = most watched.
The “Best Picture” that we
own the most copies of turns out to be “Titanic,” James
Cameron’s epic 1997 film about the doomed ocean liner.
Looking for still more statistics I then used our IOLS
reports to determine that our twenty-five copies (both VHS
and DVD) of “Titanic” have gone out an amazing 2,191 times.
We may be landlocked here in southern Minnesota, but we
still like sea disasters as much as any part of the country.
To help you out next time you’re at the Library, here’s
the list of “Best Pictures” from the past thirty years.
Remember, all of these can be obtained through interlibrary
loan if New Ulm Public Library does not directly own them.
Terms of Endearment (1983);
Amadeus (1984); Out of Africa (1985); Platoon (1986); Last
Emporer (1987); Rain Man (1988); Driving Miss Daisy (1989);
Dances With Wolves (1990); Silence of the Lambs (1991);
Unforgiven (1992); Schindler’s List (1993); Forrest Gump
(1994); Braveheart (1995); English Patient (1996); Titanic
(1997); Shakespeare in Love (1998); American Beauty (1999);
Gladiator (2000); A Beautiful Mind (2001); Chicago (2002);
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003); Million Dollar
Baby (2004); Crash (2005); The Departed (2006); No Country
for Old Men (2007); Slumdog Millionaire (2008); Hurt Locker
(2009); King’s Speech (2010); The Artist (2011); Argo
February 18, 2013
Hooray for Local Writers
Kris Wiley, Assistant
Except for an occasional newspaper column, I’m
a reader, not a writer. I’m enthralled by words on a page and their
ability to evoke emotion and memory. Much of my spare time is spent
curled up with a book, and I love talking about what I’ve read,
which makes being a librarian here in New Ulm pretty fantastic. My
co-workers and our library patrons love the written word as much as
All that is to say I am in awe of writers –
their creativity, their diligence, their ability to share what is in
their head. Before I came to New Ulm, I knew writers only by their
work; I rarely attended author events. Then I moved here and quickly
realized how fortunate our community is to have a number of
published writers eager to share their gift. The library has been
host to many readings featuring local writers, and we are continuing
that commitment over the next month. All of these upcoming programs
are free and open to the public, and they begin at 6 p.m. Books will
be available for purchase, and they will be added to the library’s
This Thursday, February 21, Gary Wiltscheck
will share “The Story of Sr. Adelaide Koetter.” Sr. Adelaide grew up
in Freeport, Minn., and became a missionary nun on Kariru Island off
the coast of New Guinea. On March 17, 1943, she was one of about 40
people killed by Japanese soldiers. Wiltscheck has photos taken by
and letters from Sr. Adelaide during her mission to supplement his
presentation. In addition, Gary will discuss Lt. James McMurria, who
crossed paths with Sr. Adelaide in the South Pacific and went on to
be captured by the Japanese and held as a prisoner of war for 1000
days. The Brown County Historical Society is a partner.
On Tuesday, February 26,
Rachael Hanel will present an interactive program for all ages based
on her book “Can You Survive Antarctica?” Hanel will share a short
reading from her book and ask attendees to choose their “fateful
path.” To further bring the book to life, Hanel will ask attendees
to pull items from a bag and decide if the supplies will help them
on their adventure. By the end of the program, readers will find out
firsthand if they have what it takes to survive Antarctica.
The River Ranger Program is a partner.
On Thursday, February 28, Sheila Wingate will
talk about her new book, "Courtland, The Early Years: 1855-1910."
She will share information about her research as well as the history
of Courtland Township. The photographs in
the book tell stories of Courtland readers might not know about. The
Brown County Historical Society is a partner.
On Thursday, March 7, novelist Dave Gehrke will
be on hand with his second mystery, “Goodbye Ginny Madison.” The
book is about a romance writer pretending to be a mystery writer so
he can solve a real mystery, clear his live-in uncle of a murder
charge, convince his housekeeper to fall in love with him without
her discovering he’s really a romance writer pretending to be a
mystery writer, so they can all live happily ever after. When it
comes right down to it, all Greg Monroe wants to do is say goodbye
to Ginny Madison, his romance writer nom de plume.
On Thursday, March 14, Pell Johnson will share
stories from his second book, “Fowl Deeds: The Adventures of Fowl
Hunters on Swan Lake, Nicollet County Minnesota and a Few Other
Interesting Places.” He will be at Orchard Hill Assisted Living at 3
p.m. and the library at 6 p.m.
For more information about these and other
programs, call the library at 507-359-8334 or visit
www.newulmlibrary.org. See you at the library!
February 11, 2013
Black History Month Observed
Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference
The month of February is historically considered Black
History Month as designated by the United States Congress in
1926. This is a time when we can remember the struggles,
accomplishments, and contributions of African Americans. All
month long we celebrate and highlight people and events of
Black history in the United States and around the world.
Here are just a few of the things that can be done to
celebrate Black History Month:
1. Read Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
2. Visit a
local museum or art gallery. Most will be featuring African
American artists, musicians, etc. during the month.
Check with area colleges and universities to see if they
have special programs or events commemorating Black History
4. Listen to music by Scott Joplin, Charley Pride,
Bob Marley, Beyonce, or other African American musicians.
5. Check out a book.
We just purchased some new books
about African Americans for the New Ulm Public Library. One
title is “Black White Blue: The Assassination of Patrolman
Sackett” by William Swanson. Patrolman Sackett was on the
St. Paul police force when he was killed by a sniper’s
bullet in the 1970s. There was much racial tension during
that time. It is a true account of crime and punishment,
race, and community.
Rachel L. Swarns has a new book
on Michelle Obama entitled “American Tapestry: The Story of
the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle
Obama.” Michelle Obama’s family saga is a journey from
slavery to the White House in five generations. This is not
only a family history but also about a nation going through
racial intermingling and slavery. James McBride, author of
“The Color of Water,” stated, “A grand, important book that
shows how American bloodlines are rarely wholly black or
purely white, neither one race nor another. Nowhere is that
more true than in “American Tapestry,” an eloquent history
of the First Lady’s family.”
“King: A Biography” by
David Levering Lewis is in its 3rd edition. The 1st edition
was published shortly after King’s assassination in 1968. It
is a very readable book and full of historical insight.
Lewis tells of King’s achievements but also points out his
flaws and limitations. It is a classic biography capturing
the voices and feelings of the times of King’s legacy. |
One other book that was recently purchased is “The Black
Revolution on Campus” by Martha Biondi. She combines
research with interviews to tell how students turned the
slogan “Black Power” into a social movement. Biondi
illustrates how Black studies have produced innovations that
have had an impact on research and curriculum on campuses
over the past 40 years.
These are the newest books we
have on our shelves about African Americans. African
American authors, with books on our shelves, include Walter
Mosley, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, and
Bill Cosby to mention a few.
One more thing…be sure
to check your local TV listings, especially PBS. There are
many specials, documentaries, and movies that will be shown
during the month of February commemorating Black History
February 4, 2013
Take Your Child to the Library Day!
Kudela, Children’s Librarian
A celebration is buzzing
through libraries called “Take Your Child to the Library
Day!” While every day is a great day to stop by the library,
this celebration is a chance for families to stop by their
local libraries for an extra day of fun. Inspired by a
librarian in Connecticut, this grassroots celebration has
become an annual event held on the first Saturday of
February. This year, librarians across the United States and
Canada are joining in the fun.
The New Ulm Public
Library will celebrate its own “Take Your Child to the
Library Day!” on Saturday, Feb. 9. The celebration will kick
off with a preschool storytime presented by the Narren at
10:30 a.m. All are welcome to come learn about the history
of these masked characters, listen to fun stories, and enjoy
For children who like
crafts, be sure to stop by the Children’s Room to make a
bookmark or two. The library staff will provide the ink,
stamps, and cardstock¬—we ask children to supply the ideas
and talent! This craft project will be available throughout
the day or while supplies last.
We are encouraging
children, tweens, and teens to sign up for the “I love this
book” contests. Like last year, these contests are a fun way
for readers to share their favorite books. Teens and tweens
are asked to fill out a slip that names their favorite book
or books. Younger children are asked to draw a picture of
their favorite book character. All of these book suggestions
and drawings will be featured in displays at the library.
Each teen, tween, or child who enters the contest has a
chance to win two free movie tickets to Carmike Cinema 3 in
New Ulm. For more details, stop by the children’s desk or
the service center. The contest runs through Friday, Feb.
Of course, a visit to the New Ulm Public Library
would not be complete if you don’t take a few minutes to
browse the library’s collection. From fiction and nonfiction
books to audio books, movies, and puzzles, there is always a
discovery waiting to happen. If you don’t have a library
card to access these materials, take a minute to stop by the
service center. Signing up for a library card is easy, and
the staff will be happy to help you. Children also can get
their own library card if they have a parent or guardian
with them. By taking just a few minutes to sign up for a
free library card, you immediately open yourself and your
children to a world of wonder, learning, and fun. As
children’s author Marc Brown (“Arthur” books) says, “Having
fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.”
January 28, 2013
Doorways to Books
Betty J. Roiger,
Opening a book is like walking through a
doorway. Books welcome you, invite you in, and it’s up to
you whether you want to take that step, go inside and take
that journey to explore a new and unknown place.
fellow librarian sent me a link that said librarians picked
“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” as one of their top three
titles of 2012. Although I had purchased it for the library
when it came out, I had slid it way back in my “things to
read someday list.” I just finished it. Out of 5 stars, I’d
give it a 5. Yeah, it’s good.
At first, I thought it
was a book lover’s book and would trash technology. But it
unfolded into a quest, involving people who loved books and
embraced technology. It is hard to describe this experience,
but it hooked me fast, the writing was enjoyable, and the
tale, well, quite a tale was being spun. This book makes a
reader stop and think about our lives right now and realize
that where we are is hardly short of astonishing. Here’s a
sentence: “My phone couldn’t even connect to the internet
back then.” It mashes up books and where we are, what
happens every day, and it basically says: “It’s all good,
let’s go for a ride.” And it’s quite a ride. It’s hard to
say more than that except that the cover glows in the dark,
and how cool is that?
The next book I entered was a
novel of suspense called “And She Was” by Alison Gaylin. I
didn’t know anything about this book other than Harlan Coben
endorsed it on the cover saying he was a fan. Now I am, too.
The main character is Brenna Spector, who is a missing
persons investigator. She has that neurological disorder
that allows her to remember every detail every day of her
life. Somehow she makes all that work for her. The book
starts out fast with a missing woman who turns out to be
tied to a decade-old missing child, and Brenna is on the
case. Brenna also has an over-the-top, ultra-cool dude macho
computer specialist partner who makes for some comedic
moments. But the parts that had me laughing out loud
involved a really annoying, “shushing” librarian whose sole
purpose in life seems to be making Brenna’s life more
difficult, making me wonder if the author had a bad library
experience in her past. Meanwhile, her characters were
interesting, and the mystery was involving.
moment, I’ve opened the door into “The Death of Bees” by
Lisa O’Donnell. I am now immersed in a completely different
world in the poorer neighborhoods of Glasgow, Scotland. From
the first page the reader knows that it is Christmas and
that two teenage sisters have just buried their
ne’er-do-well dead junkie parents in their back yard. Having
grown up emotionally and physically neglected, possibly
survival is the only thing they understand for
certain. And if authorities find their parents gone, they
fear they will be separated and put into foster care.
Marnie is 15, street smart, and hardened. She knows if
she can make it to 16 she can legally take care of her
sister, Nelly. Nelly, is odd, eccentric, and speaks in a
posh Bette Davis accent. Help comes from an unlikely source,
when a neighbor’s dog shows an overly enthusiastic interest
in their back yard. And so this elderly gay neighbor begins
to feed and nurture them, giving them some semblance of
stability, as least, he thinks, until their parents return.
There is a black humor here, darkness and light, goodness
and cruelty. This is harsh, gritty, realistic, and riveting,
and I can’t wait to read what comes next.
I would like to encourage you to step through your own doors
by opening a book. You never know what worlds there are to
explore between the covers until you step in. Check
something out, that first step might be a dilly.
January 21, 2013
Linda Lindquist, Adult
Are you (or your children, for that matter) getting
tired of the cold, winter days and nights and looking for
something new and different to fill those hours? This could
be a perfect time to start a new hobby. Or it may be a good
time to start thinking of that special vacation you are
looking forward to. The following suggestions may be of
interest to you.
Scrapbooking or journaling are hobbies that many people
enjoy. It doesn’t have to take much to get started, it’s a
great way to organize pictures, and a story can be told at
the same time. Scrapbooks and journals can be as simple or
as elaborate as you want to make them. A good way to get
started is to attend a workshop at a local craft shop. The
workshop will allow you to try tools and materials before
you purchase them. Some of the books at the library on this
topic include “Start Scrapbooking: Your Essential Guide to
Recording Memories” by Wendy Smedley and “The Organized &
Inspired Scrapbooker” by Wendy Smedley and Aby Garvey. Janet
Pensiero’s book “Totally Cool Journals, Notebooks & Diaries”
has some neat projects to help a young person get started
scrapbooking or journaling.
Are you a knitter but tired of making afghans, scarves,
sweaters, gloves, etc.? How about making some knitted
jewelry? “Little Knitted Jewels” edited by Kara Gott Warner
and “Beaded Bracelets to Knit” by Leslieanne Beller look
interesting and challenging (challenging for me, easy for
others). These projects make use of leftover scrap yarns and
walk the knitter through several useful techniques such as
knitting with beads, working in the round, knitting with
wire, and more.
This really isn’t a hobby, but maybe you are thinking of
taking a winter vacation yet or possibly looking forward to
next summer’s vacation. New Ulm is such a German community,
and maybe you are looking forward to a trip to Germany.
“Eyewitness Travel Germany” is one of our newer travel books
on Germany. Included are many sights to see in the different
regions of Germany, hotels to stay in, and of course
restaurants to capture the flavors of Germany. Also included
in the book is a practical information section giving advice
on when to go, visas and passports, customs regulations,
taxes and tipping, traveling with children, etc. Or maybe
you would like to take a vacation but you or someone in your
group is limited because of being in a wheelchair or having
a problem walking. Check out “22 Accessible Road Trips:
Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers” by Candy B.
Harrington. Included in the book are trips to Pacific,
Mountain, Central and Eastern states. Once you have looked
through and read this book, you will see that being a slow
walker or in a wheelchair is no longer a barrier to going on
vacation. If you have young children in your group (or the
young at heart regardless of age), take a look at “America’s
Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans and Families” by Allen W.
Nyhuis and Jon Wassner. The book gives a brief description
of the zoo, address, website, admission and fees, and
Guess I have rambled on long enough. These are just a
few of the books that you can check out at the New Ulm
Public Library. If you are looking for something that you
cannot find on our shelves, let us know. We will check other
libraries in our system or check in MNLink for books. Enjoy
the rest of your winter.
January 14, 2013
Rebus and Other Cold-Weather Reads
Wiley, Assistant Library Director
This week’s cold
spell coincides perfectly with the return of one of my
favorite fictional characters – Scottish detective
inspector-turned retired civilian investigator John Rebus.
After 17 thrilling books, author Ian Rankin said goodbye to
Rebus in 2007, and I was left with a void in my reading
life. But now Rebus is back in “Standing in Another Man’s
Grave,” and I couldn’t be happier.
Rebus is one of
those flawed characters whom you can’t help but adore. He’s
irascible, complicated, and brilliant, which is a wonderful
combination for making few friends and many enemies. He’s
also determined, which provides for dramatic storylines.
There are many recurring characters in the series, but Rebus
is the glue. “Standing in Another Man’s Grave” is the first
book to feature Rebus since he retired from the police
department, and now he is reviewing cold cases as a
civilian. The long-lost case of a missing girl followed by
the disappearances of two women catch his attention, and he
quickly realizes the tragedies are connected.
mentioned our current cold snap because as much as the Rebus
series revolves around the main character, the weather plays
an almost equally important part. Edinburgh, Scotland, has
to be one of the consistently chilliest, dampest places on
Earth, or so you would gather from Rebus’ forays on the city
streets. He always seems to be popping into a pub to warm up
with a pint or going into a shop for a milky coffee to fend
off a chill. I end up shivering right along with him.
I suggest reading the series in order to get the full
flavor; Rebus evolves over the course of 17 books, and, as a
reader, it’s enjoyable to evolve with him. Start with “Knots
and Crosses.” I’ll be reading “Standing in Another Man’s
Grave” with a cup of hot chocolate and a thick blanket.
If you aren’t cold enough yet, there are a couple of
other wonderful detective series in which the weather plays
a great supporting role. Go even farther north in Scotland
to Aberdeen for the Logan McRae series by Stuart MacBride.
Or head to Iceland for Arnaldur Indriðason’s Reykjavik
Murder Mysteries featuring Inspector Erlendur. Or travel to
Denmark for the Department Q series with Carl Mørck by Jussi
Adler-Olsen. Then curl up and enjoy!
January 6, 2013
What New Ulm Adults Read
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Ever wonder what
New Ulm is reading?
Well, I have, and as we’ve been
weeding the New Ulm Library book collection the past several
months, it has become clearer what kinds of books are most
popular with local readers. Some of what we’ve found out is
surprising, and some of it is unsurprising. Here’s a list of
the types of materials and subject areas most in vogue among
Mysteries. Everyone seems to love a
good mystery, and New Ulm is no exception. In fact,
mysteries are so popular here that the library is starting a
Mystery Book Group! The group will meet the last Monday of
every month at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to join. The first
title to be discussed comes from the Flavia de Luce series
by Alan Bradley. Stop by the Library’s Service Center to
place a hold on a copy of the book today. You can also ask
for a large print copy or an audiobook if you prefer.
Large print. The population of New Ulm is quite fond of
large print books. While our senior population is
responsible for much of that popularity, other elements of
the population use large print materials as well. As my own
eyes have aged, I know I’ve grown more appreciative of large
print books. Incidentally, we’re very thankful to the Lion’s
Club of New Ulm which annually contributes funds to help
develop this collection. Thanks, Lions!
guess there is a reason why there are so many self-help
books published—they are extremely popular with readers!
That’s certainly the case here in New Ulm. Psychology is the
primary area we’re talking about, although self-help covers
other areas as well. Topics like: how to have a better
marriage, how to raise children and how to deal with stress
are just a few of the topics we have books on.
Cartoon, anime and graphic novels. I frankly was surprised
to see how popular these kinds of books are in New Ulm.
Staff have said in the past that they were, but until I
looked at the circulation statistics I wasn’t a believer.
Now I am. I even found one title for myself—Rex Libris. I,
Librarian—“The astonishing story of the incomparable Rex
Libris, Head Librarian at Middleton Public Library, and his
unending struggle against the forces of ignorance and
darkness.” Wow! Who says librarians are boring, or
unpowerful? Certainly not Rex Libris! Our selection of
cartoon, anime and graphic novels is quite large, so you’re
bound to find something you’d like on our shelves.
Popular novelists. No surprise here. Best-selling authors
are as popular in New Ulm as anywhere else in the country:
Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts, Lee Child, Debbie Macomber,
Nicholas Sparks and John Grisham are just a few of the more
popular authors in New Ulm.
E-books. Our e-books
collection began in 2011 and is steadily increasing in
popularity. Traverse des Sioux libraries circulated 34,670
e-books in 2012; of these, 3,543 were by New Ulm Library
cardholders. While still a small portion of our total
circulation, we are watching these e-books stats carefully.
Are e-books the future of libraries? Or will the book remain
supreme? Stay tuned. The jury is still out.
collections of ours that are popular include: World War II,
the American Civil War, inspirational books, science
fiction/fantasy, cookery, resume, and—as one fellow staff
member put it—“anything new!” With more than 80,000 items in
our collection, we’re bound to have something you would
like. So come on in and have a look!