ARCHIVE OF 2012
ARCHIVE OF 2011
ARCHIVE OF 2010 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2009 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2007 ARTICLES
Dec 29, 2008 - Apologies to Clement Moore
by Lori Roholt & Betty Roiger
Dec 22, 2008 - Shake Yourself Awake - by
Dec 15, 2008 - The Winter Solstice by Lori
Dec 08, 2008 - Simply Christmas
by Betty Roiger
Dec 01, 2008 - Mrs. Claus is Coming!
by Diane Zellmann
Nov 24, 2008 - A Visit From the Friends Book Sale
by Larry Hlavsa
Nov 17, 2008 - Speak Up!
by JoAnne Griebel
Nov 10, 2008 - Veteran Authors
Nov 03, 2008 - Election Exhaustion by
Lori Roholt & Betty Roiger
Oct 27, 2008 - Books in a Series
by Diane Zellmann
Oct 20, 2008 - What's Going On?
Oct 13, 2008 - Iceberg, Right Ahead!
by Linda Lindquist
Oct 06, 2008 - Upcoming Library Events
by Lori Roholt
Sep 29, 2008 - 2nd Annual Library Friends
Book Sale by Larry Hlavsa
Sep 22, 2008 - What Fiction Can Teach You
by Betty Roiger
Sep 15, 2008 - Storytime is Back! by
Sep 08, 2008 - Law and Order by Linda
Sep 01, 2008 - Upcoming Events by
Aug 25, 2008 - History of the New Ulm Library
by Larry Hlavsa
Aug 18, 2008 - Good Evening
Aug 11, 2008 - What Fun It Was! by
Aug 04, 2008 - A Picture is Worth a Thousand
Words by JoAnne Griebel
Jul 28, 2008 - You've Just Got To by Lori
Jul 21, 2008 - They Also Ran by Larry
Jul 14, 2008 - What Does It Mean?
by Betty J
Jul 07, 2008 - Voices in Your Car
Jun 30, 2008 - History Revealed by JoAnne
Jun 23, 2008 - Travel Minnesota
by Lori Roholt
Jun 16, 2008 - The Bells and Other Library
Questions by Betty J. Roiger
Jun 09, 2008 - Here Kitty, Kitty
by Betty Roiger
Jun 02, 2008 - Women Presidential Candidates
by Linda Lindquist
May 26, 2008 - What's Cookin' at the Library?
by Diane Zellmann
May 19, 2008 - Memorial Day Reading
May 12, 2008 - Penderwicks Return
May 5, 2008 - I Forget by Betty Roiger
Apr 28, 2008
- Traveling World War II-Era Exhibit to Stop at the
New Ulm Public Library by Lori Roholt
Apr 21, 2008 -
Empowering by JoAnne Griebel
Apr 14, 2008 - Special April Displays
Apr 07, 2008 - Did You Ever Write a Poem?
by Larry Hlavsa
Mar 31, 2008 - April Has Something for Everyone
by Linda Lindquist
Mar 24, 2008 - Snails & Puppy Dog Tails or Sugar
by Diane Zellmann
Mar 17, 2008 - Movies At the Library
Mar 10, 2008 - Author Bill Holm by Lori
Mar 03, 2008 - Library Regulars by Larry
Feb 25, 2008 - Spring Is Approaching
Feb 18, 2008 - An Unusual Winner
by Diane Zellmann
Feb 11, 2008 - For Every Heart by JoAnne
Feb 04, 2008 - I Read What I Read by Lori
Jan 28, 2008 - Silhouettes and Snow
Betty J. Roiger
Jan 21, 2008 - Internet & Authors: Meet Brian
Freeman by Betty J. Roiger
Jan 14, 2008 - Can Summer Be Far Off?
Jan 07, 2008 - January Thaw by Betty
December 29, 2008
Apologies to Clement Moore
by Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
and Betty Roiger, Acquisitions Librarian
‘Twas just after Christmas, the library was hushed,
Just a few patrons were coming, slogging in through the mush.
They searched through the shelves, and looked with great care,
In hopes that certain books would be found right there.
Soon readers would doze off, with books in their laps,
And all would settle in for a long winter’s nap.
Folks would be snuggled, down deep in their beds,
And visions of best sellers would skip through their heads.
Back at the library, things were still busy,
As librarians on all floors, worked in a tizzy.
The moon shone quite bright, out onto the snow,
Announcing the visit of the star of the show.
Soon to the librarians eyes would appear,
A miniature sleigh pulled by tiny reindeer.
And their little old driver, quite lively and quick,
Also known as Santa, Kris Kringle, St. Nick.
He drove up and called, he sped through the snow,
“Christmas has passed, certainly you know.
“Still I need some new authors; reading makes winter less dreary.
It’s a great time to get hooked on a hero or theory.”
The librarians responded, they all knew their stuff,
They could help Santa--they would give him enough.
“There are classics like Austen, and Melville, and Maughm,
And new ones like Picoult, and Steel, and Albom.
For shivers there’s King, and Koontz, and John Saul,
Cornwell does forensics, readers like them all.
Evanovich’s Grandma will bring you a smile,
Nora Roberts’s novels make you sit for a while.
Nicholas Sparks brings a tear to your eye,
And Diane Mott Davidson gives you murder and pie.
Sedaris is funny, and so is Dave Barry,
Muggles all like books about a young boy named Harry.
’The Last Lecture’ by Pausch, for vampires, check Rice,
Suspense from John Sandford goes over quite nice.
Oprah’s picked Wroblewski and Follett and Tolle,
Kingsbury and Snelling touch on things that are holy.
Joy Fielding has thrillers, while Kinsella’s a delight,
But nothing is bigger than Meyer’s ‘Twilight.’
And if you want a Christmas book that’s always a cinch,
What could be better than Seuss and his Grinch?”
“Thank you all kindly, I’ve got what I need--
Gift ideas for me and others who read.”
His eyes were a-twinkle; he did look quite merry,
“Thanks to you all, I’ll commend you to Larry.”
With a nod and a wave he took himself back,
Climbed into the sleigh and onto his pack.
To his team, he gave shout-outs, “Let’s be on our way!
I appreciate your ideas, you’ve really saved the day.”
The librarians felt giddy; it had been a long night.
They had used all their stamina, but it all felt just right.
So they smiled when they heard, as they got one last look,
“Season’s Readings to all, and to all a good book!”
December 22, 2008
Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby!
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
It’s December in Minnesota, and already I have cabin fever. Do you
feel this way too? It’s time as Dale Carnegie said, to “Shake
yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep
through you. Live today with gusto.”
January offers us the chance to do just that. January is National
Hobby Month! An article by Edwin Teale in the May 1941 issue of
“Popular Science” lists America’s favorite hobbies: photography,
stamps, music, model making and home workshop. Today we enjoy
digital photography, music, crafting, collecting just about
everything, sewing, woodworking and more. This New Year take time to
enjoy your hobby; if you don’t have one, now is the perfect time to
develop a hobby.
Hobbies are good for you. They provide a distraction from daily
problems, giving you a chance to regroup. Hobbies foster creativity
and self-esteem. Hobbies such as reading, cards, board games and
puzzles build your mind. Are you interested in crossword puzzles? Do
you need a ten-letter word for future? Check out “Webster’s Official
Crossword Puzzle Dictionary.” There are many books and magazines
available at your library to help you develop those hobbies. For
collectors there is “Campbell’s Soup Collectibles;” for beaders
there are books on jewelry making. “Beadweaving” by Ann Benson has
lots of ideas and tips along with some original designs. “Marvelous
Transforming Toys” is a fun book for woodworkers. “The Art and Craft
of Leather” has step-by-step instructions for eight projects. Your
public library has many books on hiking, travel, crafting,
photography, bridge and more.
Your library has magazines for the hobbyists including “Antiques and
Collecting,” “Bead and Button,” “Collectible Automobile,” “Crochet,”
“In-Fisherman,” “Knit Simple” and” Woodworker’s Journal.” Hobby
magazines are also available online through Electronic Library
Minnesota or ELM. The ELM collection includes titles such as “Model
Airplane News” and “Model Railroader.” The January 2009 issue of
“Model Railroader” includes an article on building the Milwaukee
Road’s Beer Line. There are other articles on track designs, even
designing a harbor scene. Your library has many hobby resources.
Edwin Teale’s 1941 article speaks to us today. He said, “Seeking
relief from the strain of an uncertain future, millions of persons,
in recent months, have joined the ranks of the hobby-riders.” So
this New Year, visit your library for hobby ideas.
December 15, 2008
The Winter Solstice
by Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
According to scientists' best guess, humans have recognized the
winter solstice for about 12,000 years, and we in the northern
hemisphere will do so again just after noon on Sunday, December 21,
2008. Technically, the winter solstice marks the instant when the
sun's position in the sky makes the largest angle with the side of
the equatorial plane opposite the observer. We experience that
phenomenon as the longest night of the year following months of
lengthening nights, and the last day of the year before daylight
hours begin to increase.
Throughout time and across cultures, the winter solstice, whether
marking 'midwinter' or the beginning of winter, has given rise to
celebrations with 'rebirth' or 'reversal' themes. These celebrations
usually serve as lively 'winter therapies.' Perhaps the most widely
recognized of these celebrations is Christmas on December 25: the
winter solstice as recognized in the Julian Calendar. In the 3rd
century, before Christmas's rise as an important Christian holiday,
citizens of the Roman Empire celebrated the Sol Invictus festival,
or the festival of the Unconquered Sun, on December 25. For the
Romans, the 25th marked the first day, after the ‘solar standstill’
of the solstice, when daylight hours are on the rise and the sun is
‘reborn.’ Some believe that Christ eventually replaced the figure of
the Unconquered Sun, explaining why Christmas is celebrated on
The ancient Greeks celebrated Brumalia, a festival honoring
Dionysus, the god of wine, and involving merriment. The festival's
name comes from the Latin word 'bruma,' meaning 'shortest day.'
Before Christianity spread throughout Europe, Germanic peoples
celebrated a winter festival called Yule or Jul. The traditions
associated with this festival, including the slaughter of a boar,
the hanging of holly and mistletoe, and burning the Yule log, have
become incorporated, in one form or another, into modern Christmas
In China and other parts of East Asia, the Dongzhi Festival is
celebrated on the winter solstice with family gatherings and eating
Tangyuan, or rice balls, often brightly colored and symbolizing
reunion. In Northern China, celebrants enjoy dumplings. The festival
recognizes the philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos (yin
and yang), and the increased flow of positive energy accompanying
longer daylight hours.
Zuni and Hopi Native American tribes celebrated Soyalangwul on the
winter solstice, ceremonially bringing the sun back from its winter
hiatus. Celebrants construct 'pahos' or prayer sticks to bless the
community during this time of purification, and 'kivas,' chambers
used in rituals, are reopened.
The library has books that explore these varied but coincident
celebrations of the winter solstice, like John Matthews' ‘The Winter
Solstice: The sacred traditions of Christmas’ and ‘Yule: A
Celebration of Warmth and Light’ by Dorothy Morrison. Many books
also use the solstice as a literary theme. In 'The Titan's Curse,'
book three of children's author Rick Riordan's fantasy series 'Percy
Jackson & the Olympians,' the heroes must rescue the goddess Artemis
before the winter solstice. Rosamunde Pilcher's 2000 novel 'Winter
Solstice' is set in England and, according to a review in Booklist,
"warms the heart like a good cup of tea." Joyce Carol Oates
represents the shift from summer to winter in two main characters in
her 1985 novel 'Solstice.'
Of course, references to the winter solstice are not confined to
literature: R. Carlos Nakai includes a song called 'Winter Solstice'
on his 1983 album 'Changes: Native American Flute Music.’ This CD
and the books mentioned are available from the New Ulm Public
Library. Ask one of our reference librarians for more materials on
the winter solstice, and may your winter festivities be joyous!
December 8, 2008
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
Christmas is coming. It is
coming, it’ll be here, and then it will be gone just as fast. It is
tradition whipped to a frenzy with hype and build-up. It is a time
of both sadness and happiness, and disappointment and enchantment.
And maybe it can be just a little overwhelming at times. It is
rarely, simply, Christmas.
We have a book in the library called “Simplify Your Christmas: 100
Ways to Reduce the Stress and Recapture the Joy of the Holidays” by
Elaine St. James. It is a little book and a quick read. It is giving
me some new ideas to think about that I’d like to share.
I liked this idea from chapter 37; it is about a woman who carries
Christmas tags in her pocket. She jots notes down on them and leaves
them for people. When she’s waiting in line at the bank, she will
write a note to the teller, telling her she looks nice. She puts
notes in her children’s lunch boxes telling them she is proud of
them. She leaves tags at cafes for waitresses to thank them for
their service; often when she goes back, they remember and thank
her. It is her small, but effective, way of spreading some Christmas
cheer. I think the name of the chapter sums it up nicely: “Send
Tidings of Comfort and Joy.” It comprises both “simple” and
“Christmas” in a tidy package.
If you read chapter 56 maybe you’ll want to rethink what you do with
Christmas stockings. Every year people shop for those little
gimmicky gifts to fill up everyone’s stockings. One fable about the
tradition for Christmas stockings is that St. Nicholas felt sorry
for a poor family and tossed some coins down the chimney. Since
their stockings had been hung there to dry, the coins landed in and
filled the stockings. Maybe this is the year to stuff the stockings
with fruit and some practical items that can actually be used, like
toothpaste or a paperback. Even better, fill a stocking and give it
to away to someone who needs it.
Chapter 61 sets Christmas shopping on its ear. A group called
S.C.R.O.O.G.E., which stands for the Society to Curtail Ridiculous,
Outrageous, and Ostentatious Gift Exchanges, believes that the true
meaning of Christmas cannot be found in a shopping mall. They
suggest you ask yourself questions like ‘How much will it be used?’
‘How long will it last?’ ‘Will it end up in a landfill?’ ’What’s the
worst that will happen if I don’t buy this now?’ before you buy
something. It gives one pause. Times are tight--why not make every
Creating the Twelve Days of Truly Meaningful Gifts is the topic of
chapter 71. “On the first day of Christmas, give up a grudge you’ve
been carrying against another person. The second day of Christmas,
make someone’s life brighter… On the twelfth day of Christmas, say a
fervent prayer for peace on earth.” This year redefine Christmas,
simplify Christmas, and simply enjoy Christmas!
December 1, 2008
Mrs. Claus Is Coming!
Zellmann, Children's Librarian
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Children’s Room.
We have nutcrackers, gingerbread men, candy canes, evergreen trees,
Rudolph, snow, and more. We also have exciting news: Mrs. Claus is
coming! She will be our special guest at Storytime next week. Mrs.
Claus will be here on Monday, December 8 at 7:00 P.M. and Tuesday,
December 9 at 10:00 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. She will read stories, sing
songs, hand out treats and pose for pictures. Children, their
parents, and other caregivers are invited to attend. Mrs. Claus
loves to see children at the Library!
Here’s more good news: our display cart is filled with picture books
about Christmas. Young children and the adults who read to them will
want to look through these books and check out a few. On display are
some old favorites like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The
Several new arrivals are on display as well. In “When Santa Lost His
HO! HO! HO!” by Laura Rader, everyone at the North Pole is helping
Santa find his laugh. This story just might make children giggle.
“Santa Duck” by David Milgrim presents a charming duck who learns
the joy of giving. Toddlers will request “Jingle-Jingle” over and
over again. Author Nicola Smee has created a fun-filled sleigh ride
for Cat, Dog, Pig, Duck, and Mr. Horse.
Of course we have books for school-age kids too. Our Junior book
display features books on Christmas crafts, cooking, traditions,
stories, and more. Old favorites like “Christmas in Camelot,” a
Magic Tree House book, and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” are fun
to read over again.
For those who prefer to read the newest in their favorite series
books, we have Brian Jacques’ “Doomwyte,” the latest in his popular
Redwall series. “Charlie Bone and the Beast” is book number six in
Jenny Nimmo’s Charlie Bone series. And Hank the Cowdog fans should
look for # 52, “The Quest for the Great White Quail,” another
humorous mystery story about Hank.
Our Holiday video shelf has several titles for the younger set,
including “Max and Ruby’s Christmas,” “It’s a Very Merry Muppet
Christmas,” and “Thomas & Friends: Ultimate Christmas.” Older kids
might enjoy watching “Christmas at Plum Creek” or “A Christmas
Story” to find out what holidays in the past were like or “The Year
Without Santa Claus” for a more modern tale.
Families who plan to travel during the Holidays might want to browse
through our audiobooks or music on cassette or CD. These items help
make any trip seem shorter and more enjoyable.
December can be a very busy month, but I hope families will find
time to stop in at the Library. Kids and adults too will be sure to
find something to enjoy.
November 24, 2008
A Visit From the Friends Book Sale
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
(to the rhythm of A Visit from St. Nicholas)
Twas the night before the book sale, when all through the shelves,
Not a creature was stirring, not even ourselves.
The books were arranged in the Meeting Room with care,
In hopes that people soon would be there.
For now, the people nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of book deals danced in their heads.
And the director in his jacket, and I in my cap,
Had just opened the doors, with a generous tap.
When out in the parking lot there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the door to see what was the matter.
Away to the street I flew like a flash,
Seconds before hearing a very loud crash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But still more boxes of books, so majestic and dear.
With a scratch of my head, so lively and thick,
I thought for a moment it must be a trick.
But as yet still more boxes appeared and appeared,
I exclaimed— “Alas, we’re not ready!” which is just what we’d
"Now Kay! now, Betty! now, Linda and Larry!
On, Vicki! On, Ruth!, On Lori and Lowell!
To the top of the table! The books are so thick!
Now file away! Stash away! Stow away, quick!"
As our Friends brought in more books for the sale in a flash,
Still we thought—“Will we be ready, even with this mad dash?
We grew tired and weary, but kept thanking our donors,
“Be assured for your books, we’ll find worthy owners!”
And then, in a twinkling, I heard at the door
The clawing and scratching of customers galore.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the stairs they all came with a bound.
They tumbled and they stumbled, they were each on a mission
Each looked so earnest I feared a collision.
But each grabbed a box to store their new treasures,
And each smiled with contentment, awash in new pleasures.
Their eyes how they twinkled! Their smiles how they shown!
Their hearts filled with gladness at new titles unknown.
Then suddenly appeared the library director,
Who himself was well known as an avid collector.
The stump of a pencil he held tight in his teeth,
As he totaled the sales, exclaiming—“Good grief!”
He smiled as he counted and seemed pleased to the bone,
Saying — “So many books have found a good home!
But the sale was not over, another day to get through
The Friends had arranged two days for the crew,
The customers came and the customers departed,
This had not been a sale for anyone fainthearted.
By the end of the weekend the work was all done,
All the books had been sold, it had been such great fun.
The Friend’s of the Library had been there both days,
Helping the Library in so many ways.
Another book sale was under our belt
Helping New Ulmites we earnestly felt.
And the Library Director ‘ere he drove out of sight,
We heard exclaiming—"Happy Reading to all, and to all a
The Friends of the New Ulm Library is holding their annual book sale
on Friday, December 5th (9:30-5 p.m.) and Saturday, December 6th
(9:30-12:00 p.m.). We hope to see you there!
November 17, 2008
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to educate,
support and thank the thousands of family members providing care for
their loved ones. The theme for this year, Speak Up!, is taken from
Suzanne Mintz, president of the National Family Caregivers
Association. She says, “One of the most important attributes on
being an advocate for your loved one is the willingness and the
ability to speak up and keep your eye on the ultimate goal,
protecting not only the health and safety of your loved ones but for
yourself as well”.
The library has several new books related to caregiving. “My Mother,
Your Mother: Embracing Slow Medicine” by Dennis McCullough explores
the compassionate approach to caring for the aging. Slow medicine
anticipates needs, rather than waiting for a crisis. Caregivers are
rewarded with more time with the people they love. In “Designated
Daughter: the Bonus Years with Mom,” D. G. Fulford tells the story
of her closest companion, her mother. Fulford returned home to care
for her widowed mother; the move changed both of them, bringing a
closeness they treasured.
Suzanne Mintz says caregiving is about love, honor, value and you.
She reminds caregivers that taking care of oneself is valuable for
the loved ones in your care as well. Her book “A Family Caregiver
Speaks Up: It Doesn’t Have to Be This Hard” is packed with practical
ideas for family caregivers. The American Cancer Society’s “Cancer
Caregiving A to Z: At Home Guide for Patients and Families” is
arranged by topic. Each section includes “What the Patient Can Do”
and “What Caregivers Can Do.” Maria Meyer has several books
including “The Comfort of Home Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide for
Caregivers” that explains information on preparing your home,
planning daily activities, setting up a care plan and more.
Helping your parents age in place safely is discussed in “Eldercare
911 the Caregiver’s Complete Handbook for Making Decisions.” Other
topics include balancing work and caregiving. Developing awareness
and utilizing support are two ideas carried in many of the resources
for family caregivers. Barry Jacobs continues these thoughts in “The
Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and
Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent”.
There are many other resources available. A list of websites can be
found on the book display in the reference area. National, state,
and local resources are listed.
November 10, 2008
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
This past Tuesday, we observed Veterans Day, an
annual holiday celebrated by that name since 1954. Originally called
Armistice Day and first celebrated in 1919, the holiday marked the
end of World War I and honored those who fought in the war. Just as
Memorial Day’s significance has changed over time, Veterans Day is
now a holiday to honor all veterans.
Several notable authors were veterans of military service, including
Edgar Allan Poe, who joined the U.S. Army in 1827 and graduated from
West Point in 1830. His first book, “Tamerlane and Other Poems,” was
released the year he enlisted.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, a Minnesota native, joined the Army in 1917,
just after first submitting the novel that would become, after
revision, “This Side of Paradise.”
Ernest Hemingway, a contemporary of Fitzgerald and author of such
classic works as “A Farewell to Arms,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,”
and “The Sun Also Rises,” served in the Red Cross Ambulance Corps
after failing a medical examination required to join the army during
World War I. Hemingway later reported on the Spanish Civil War and
World War II.
“Peanuts” creator and another Minnesota native, Charles Schulz, was
drafted and served with the U.S. Army’s 20th Armored Division in
World War II.
Theodore Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, author of iconic children’s
books including “Green Eggs and Ham” and “How the Grinch Stole
Christmas!,” joined the army in 1943 as Commander of the Animation
Department of the U.S. Army Air Forces. During his service, he
produced propaganda, documentary, and training films for the
Bill Cosby, humorist, actor, and author of such books as
“Fatherhood” and “Cosbyology,” joined the Navy in 1956 and worked
with Korean War casualties.
Walter Dean Meyers, author of books for young people including
“Fallen Angels” and “Monster,” joined the Army in the mid-1950s and
served for four years. His most recent book, “Sunrise Over
Fallujah,” takes place during the Iraq War.
Check out the works of these and other veterans at your library!
November 3, 2008
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
Betty Roiger, Acquisitions Librarian
By the time you read this, the election and the entire hullabaloo
will be over. We will have a new president coming to the White
House. All of the campaign promises will be set into motion. All of
our problems will be solved. Life will be good. And you can locate
the library’s fairy tales on the shelves in the 398.2s. Tall tales
and folklore can be found in the 398.22 section.
But what if the economy isn’t on its feet by Friday? Maybe we should
pay closer attention to just how our money is invested. If you
haven’t started yet, crack open some of our books. Check out books
on investments (332.6), retirement (646.79), and saving money for
retirement (332.024) and look into planning and savings for
You can hold your breath until gas and oil prices go down, or you
can look into insulating and weather proofing your house. Our
weatherizing materials don’t move around in the library like gas
prices tend to. Take a deep breath and look no further than 693.83
Buy a house, sell a house, and lose your shirt. Before leaping into
the housing market, do your research in the 643.12s. But in case you
do lose your shirt, learn to make your own: our knitting and
crocheting books are in the 746s; sewing books are in the 646.4s.
Hopefully, we have heard the last of remarks bandied about such as
‘putting lipstick on a pig.’ But still we wondered: what color
lipstick would a pig wear if it got to choose its own shade? At the
library, riddles can be found in the 818.6 area. (Here at the
library we think anything in the pink family would be appropriate on
swine. We refuse to speculate as to what kind of eye shadow they
Over time, “Joe the Plumber” will fade into obscurity, but the
library will still have books and DVDs featuring the likes of Bob
the Builder, Thomas the Train, and Dora the Explorer in our
If your candidate didn’t come out ahead and you’re considering
drastic action, emigration topics can be found in the 320s (legal
aspects in the 340s). Hopefully, though, it’s simply time for some
good, old-fashioned escapism. Thankfully we have plenty of fiction,
mystery and fantasy for everyone. In non-fiction, the humor section
is 814.54 and cartoons can be found in 741.5973s. Laughter is often
the best medicine.
George Santayana is often quoted as saying, “Those who cannot learn
from history are doomed to repeat it.” The 900s comprise our history
section. The history of war is in the 940s while politics is close
by in the 973s.
October 27, 2008
Books in a Series
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
“Can you recommend a good series?” This is a question that kids and
parents ask me frequently. Series books are very popular right now,
and there are lots of them available.
One series I have been recommending lately for ages 8 to 13 is
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney. The first book was published
in 2007, the second in 2008, and a third is coming out in January
2009. This series tells the story of a middle school boy’s hilarious
daily struggles. Cartoon-like drawings throughout the books add to
the humor. These books will make kids laugh out loud.
Another series that has been around since 1986 when the first book
was published is “Redwall” by Brian Jacques. Jacques is a master
storyteller. He creates a magical animal world with interesting
characters like the evil rat Cluny, young mouse Matthias, powerful
badger Constance, and mute squirrel Silent Sam. With detailed
accounts of medieval warfare, Jacques tells exciting tales of good
versus evil. I recommend this series for ages 9 to 14.
The “Redwall” series continues to be popular, and fans will be happy
to know that book #20 has just been released this month. Its title
is “Doomwyte” and it should be available for check out here within
the next few days. Some new characters to look for are Korvus Skurr
the raven and Sicariss the snake.
A new series entitled “39 Clues” was just published by Scholastic in
September 2008. Book #1 is “The Maze of Bones,” written by Rick
Riordan. The plan is for an action-packed, 10-title series, with
each book written by a different author. The second book, “One False
Note,” is due out in December ’08. Kids from ages 9 to 13 are the
In “39 Clues,” siblings Dan, age 11, and Amy, 14, along with other
relatives, receive a choice of inheriting one million dollars or
participating in a dangerous treasure hunt. The treasure hunt
requires them to travel throughout the world and explore history to
locate the 39 clues. Only one team can win, and the game has no
Kids can join in the hunt and be part of the story; that’s what
makes the “39 Clues” series unique. It involves not only books, but
also trading cards and an on-line game that allows readers to search
for the 39 clues and compete for over $100,000 in prizes. Kids who
are interested should read the book and then go to the website
www.the39clues.com. to register in order to play the game. This is a
groundbreaking concept by the publisher Scholastic, and I am waiting
to see how kids respond.
If none of these series interest you, please stop by my desk in the
Children’s Room to ask for more suggestions. Whether you prefer
“Little House on the Prairie” “Narnia Chronicles,” or “A Series of
Unfortunate Events,” getting started on a series can lead to an
extended journey filled with adventures.
October 20, 2008
What’s Going On?
Betty J Roiger, Acquistions Librarian
What’s happening at the New Ulm Public Library? Settle in and get
comfortable; I have so many things to tell you. Of course, we have
new books and DVDs coming in. Come browse the library shelves, I
guarantee you’ll find something.
We have a new phone answering system! Yikes! I know—everyone hates
listening to their choices, push 1 for this and 2 for that and by
the time you get to 7 you’ve forgotten your earlier choices. Ours is
fairly simple. Here’s a little guide for you: press 2 for our hours,
3 reaches the main circulation desk, reference questions can be
answered at 4, children’s is 5, 6 is acquistions if you want to talk
to me, 7 is programming, and our director can be reached by pressing
8. Please always feel free to just use any line. Especially if you
are in the midst of the choices and feel lost, just pick a number;
anyone here will happily direct your call. Do not feel flummoxed—as
even the library must push its way into the 21st century. And the
plus side is, if you would normally call in for a specific
department, you can easily get there directly now. No more hold
It’s nearing Halloween. Anybody who braved coming in last year was
met with a bunch of scurvy pirates running all of our desks and
taking care of business in between planning our next plundering high
seas adventure. This year on Halloween, any library visitors may
meet up with the passengers of the Titanic. You might see the
unsinkable Molly Brown, Captain Smith, or any of the various other
1st class and steerage immigrants. Even we are not sure who will get
a boat or might wind up afloat in frigid North sea waters at this
point. We are passing out lifesavers (candy) for any intrepid
library users that day so there is no need for patrons to worry
about going down with the ship.
Recently the New Ulm Lion’s Club generously gave us a donation for
Large Print books. Please watch for new large print, coming to our
shelves soon. We are so delighted to enrich this area as so many
more people are reading large print. I love it because it is so easy
on the eyes.
Finally, we are in the midst of collecting donations for our 2nd
annual book sale in December. We are getting books in already. So if
you have new or used books or DVDs you know you don’t want, please
bring them in. Then in December drop in and pick up some fine
bargains. If they are in good condition and gently used, they may
even make good Christmas presents.
All proceeds from this sale go to our Friends of the Library group.
And just this year, they in turn enabled us financially to give
children free cake and ice cream for our summer reading program kick
off, helped fund our author series, and supported various other
We are continually grateful for our wonderful community support.
Thank you all. And we make every attempt to have or obtain any
materials our patrons request. At a time when the economy may be
scary, it is good to enjoy this kind of a symbiotic relationship. We
live by this saying: "Libraries will get you through times without
money better than money will get you through times without
libraries." Thanks again for your support.
October 13, 2008
Iceberg, Right Ahead!
Linda Lindquist, Reference
Most of us
have heard or read about the sinking of the ocean liner Titanic. The
Titanic left Queenstown on April 11, 1912, on her maiden voyage with
a total of 2,240 passengers. On April 14, 1912, disaster struck. The
Titanic struck an iceberg and sank. One thousand five hundred
seventeen persons lost their lives that evening.
Books have been written and movies have been produced depicting this
catastrophe. A tourist attraction in Branson, MO, has a scaled down
replica of the Titanic. In this attraction you are able to touch and
feel an iceberg, see the boiler room and steam-powered generators,
attempt to walk on a tilting floor just as the passengers did, view
dishes and clothing from that era, and even have the opportunity to
walk down a replica of the grand staircase. Also, as you enter you
are given a boarding pass with an original passenger’s name. At the
end of the tour is a wall showing all the names of the passengers.
You check your boarding pass name to see if you were a survivor or a
victim of the disaster. It is a very interesting exhibit to go
The New Ulm Public Library has many books on the Titanic. Some of
them are on display by the Circulation Desk and some are being
displayed in the Reference area. Many of the books are more suitable
to browsing a little at a time. A book entitled “1912 Facts About
Titanic” by Lee W. Merideth is full of information about the
Titanic. It begins with the construction of the Titanic and getting
all the supplies aboard, tells about the crew, and some of the
passengers, and all the food that was needed for this trip, and of
course, striking the iceberg.
We have a compact disc of the music that was being played on the
Titanic as it was sinking. There were only a few musicians on board,
but instead of trying to save themselves, they kept playing as the
ship settled quietly lower and lower into the sea.
And if you have not seen the movie entitled Titanic, we have it in
DVD and VHS format for patrons to check out. Even though you know
what the outcome is going to be, it still is a great movie to watch.
One final note, be sure to stop in at the New Ulm Public Library on
October 31. The display case is full of ‘items’ similar to those
that would have been on the Titanic. You may also see some ‘people’
from that era in the library as well.
October 6, 2008
Upcoming Library Events
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
The New Ulm Public Library
will host a Fall Author Series in the coming weeks featuring two
authors whose books were recent Minnesota Book Awards finalists. The
first visiting author, Wing Young Huie, is a photographer and author
whose book Looking for Asian America: An Ethnocentric Tour
was a 2008 finalist in the General Nonfiction category. This work,
like Huie's previous books Frogtown: Photographs and
Conversations in an Urban Neighborhood and Lake Street USA, is a
collection of photographs with an engaging, human focus and
illuminating text. Huie will speak at the library on Tuesday,
October 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the library's lower-level meeting room.
The event is free and open to the public.
The library is a great resource for photographic work. In addition
to Wing Young Huie's books, the library has books like Tom Wright's
Roadwork: Rock & Roll Turned Inside Out, photos and the
stories behind them from rock photographer Wright. Unseen
America: Photos and Stories by Workers, edited by Esther Cohen,
is a frank and poignant collection of black and white photographs
taken by non-professionals. In contrast, the nature photography of
Colin Prior in a work like The World's Wild Places almost has
a look of unreality to it, so remarkable are the natural colors and
forms it captures. Different again is Mendel Grossman's With a
Camera in the Ghetto, which combines photographs and newspaper
articles from Lodz, the World-War II-era Jewish ghetto in Poland. In
broader strokes, but also deeply compelling are the images from Life
magazine's 100 Events that Shook Our World: A History in Pictures
of the Last 100 Years. Our reference staff can help you find
these and many other photography books at our library.
As you mark your calendar for Wing Young Huie's visit on October 21,
and also note that Catherine Friend, the second author in the
series, will visit on Thursday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. Friend is
the author of books for both children and adults; her children's
book The Perfect Nest was Minnesota Book Awards finalist in
the Children's Literature category. Friend's most recent book for
adults is The Compassionate Carnivore: Or How to Keep Animals
Happy, Save Old MacDonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still
Eat Meat. These author visits are made possible by the Friends
of the New Ulm Public Library and a grant from the Friends of the
Saint Paul Public Library.
September 29, 2008
2nd Annual Library Friends Book Sale!
Hlavsa, Library Director
In December, 2007, the Friends of the New Ulm Library held its first
annual book sale. The sale was a huge success generating $1500 in
cash proceeds and another $1500 worth of materials that were added
to our collections. The Library and its customers benefited greatly
from the donations made for the sale. Now we need your donations
again! December 5-6, 2008 is the Friends 2nd annual book sale. Can
it be bigger and better than the first? That will depend on you!
Please bring your good quality, used books, CDs, DVDs and
books-on-tape to the Library between now and December 3rd. Tell the
staff they’re for the Friends book sale. We’ll be collecting these
donations over the next two months for the early December sale.
Incidentally, if you’re a member of the Friends of the New Ulm
Library, there will be a “sneak peek” sale on Thursday, December
4th. Membership in the Friends is just $10 and you may apply at the
You might be wondering how the proceeds from this sale benefit the
library and its customers. Well, during the year past several
months, the Friends have sponsored an author series at the Library,
provided prizes for the 2008 Summer Reading Program and purchased
materials for the Library.
By the way, don’t just donate materials, come to the book sale
December 5-6 and buy some stuff. At the sale there will be great
deals for all!
September 22, 2008
What Fiction Can Teach You
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
I’ve been reading what some other readers say about fiction. One
reviewer said that she liked books that have a subject to follow
along with the story that adds an additional special something. An
example of this would be if the book also involves dogs, or
knitting, or some other topic that a reader might be interested in.
I just picked up “The Lace Reader” by Brunonia Barry because some of
the characters were psychic and I like reading about things that are
beyond the norm. In the book, which takes place in Salem,
Massachusetts, there are a group of women who read people’s past,
present, and future from lace when it is held up in front of their
faces. Imagine my surprise when the author started to describe the
lace. It is similar to the knippling lace that we have around here.
Years ago, I took a class on how to make it. It is a fascinating and
beautiful craft. And it has created an additional interest for me in
reading the book. So now I don’t just want to find out why someone
has gone missing, I am also enjoying the descriptions of the
bobbins, pillows, and lace. And like lace, this story is a decidedly
intricate piece of work. I guarantee than you won’t stop thinking
about it until long after you close this book.
Another reviewer of fiction recently wrote something that made me
grateful that someone had put into words. She said that you can
learn things from fiction; it isn’t just nonfiction that can teach
us something. I love to read fiction, but sometimes I think I need
to be reading more nonfiction. What this reviewer wrote just set me
free, mainly because I feel like I learn things all the time about
people, places and things from the fiction I read.
One of my newest favorite authors is Louise Penny. She writes
mysteries that occur in a little town in Canada named Three Pines.
Seriously, I want to live there. Everyone seems eccentric, friendly,
and unique, and yet they all fit in and are accepted. I will tell
you I picked up the second book first and knew I needed to stop when
all the characters seemed to know each other better than I did. I
was so caught up with it I didn’t want to stop reading. Three Pines
is an inviting place to visit, even with the murders that take place
What I learned while reading Penny’s mystery “The Cruelest Month”
was a psychological theory that one of the characters referred to as
‘the near enemy.’ “It is two emotions that look the same but are
actually opposites. The one parades as the other, is mistaken for
the other, but one is healthy and the other’s sick…” One example
would be pity and compassion. “Compassion involves empathy. You see
the stricken person as an equal. Pity doesn’t. If you pity someone
you feel superior.” They look the same, but compassion is the noble
emotion. And as long as there is pity there is no room for
compassion. She gave some other examples as well that had me mulling
over this concept well after the mystery was solved and I was on to
reading something else.
So open your fiction and enjoy the story, but be mindful you might
just learn something too.
September 15, 2008
Storytime Is Back!
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
This is an exciting week in the Children’s Room at the Library. We
are starting our fall session of Storytime. Some children are
showing up with huge smiles, and others are wandering in with some
apprehension. What should they and the adults who bring them expect?
Let me ease any apprehension and explain how Storytime works.
Every Storytime includes reading books. We read the newest titles as
well as some old favorites. We sing songs. We perform fingerplays
and action rhymes. Sometimes puppets even show up and we get to talk
with them! Children meet other children and have opportunities to
interact with each other. It’s fun!
Storytime has another very important component: learning. Every
storytime features one pre-reading skill, such as letter sounds,
letter shapes, and rhyming words. We learn to enjoy books and see
that others enjoy them too. These pre-reading skills help develop
early literacy and help increase the chances that children will find
learning to read easier.
Each week we have four Storytimes, and each program lasts about 30
minutes. These sessions are free and do not require registration.
Here is the schedule:
Mondays 7:00 P.M. Family Storytime
Tuesdays 10:00 A.M. Preschool Storytime
Tuesdays 11:00 A.M. Preschool Storytime
Thursdays 10:00 A.M. Toddler Storytime
All children are welcome. The books and activities are geared
towards preschoolers and toddlers. Since we often have a range of
ages (from babies to 7-year-olds), we have a variety of attention
spans. It all seems to work out. We encourage parents, grandparents,
daycare providers, and other childcare individuals to bring children
The person who brings a child to Storytime is very important.
Obviously, children cannot come on their own. Adults help monitor
the children they bring. Adults also participate in the activities
since kids love seeing grownups joining in. Then throughout the day
adults and children can discuss the stories, sing the songs, or
repeat a rhyme that they learned in Storytime to keep that
Good things happen at Storytime. If you know a little one who might
benefit from coming to Storytime, I encourage you to join us. It can
be a special time for you and each child you bring.
September 8, 2008
Law and Order
Linda Lindquist, Reference Librarian
Are you familiar with the show Law and Order on television? The show
is now in its 11th season and is filmed on the streets of New York.
Real-life stories and legal issues that plague people every day are
depicted in each episode. Most cases are not open and shut. The
characters and plot twists keep you guessing right up to the end.
What has Law and Order got to do with the New Ulm Public Library?
Almost everyone is faced with a legal question sometime during his
or her lifetime, probably not as stressful as on television, but
still we need to find an answer. It may be a question about a will,
family and medical leave, operating a small business, estate
planning, tenants’and landlords’ rights, living together, etc. The
list goes on and on and on.
We have been updating the legal section at the New Ulm Public
Library and would like to share some of these newer titles with you.
Denis Clifford has written a book entitled “Nolo’s Simple Will Book”
that includes all the forms and instructions you need to create a
legally valid will without the expense of a lawyer. Topics covered
include leaving property and cash to loved ones and organizations,
naming a guardian for your minor children, making arrangements for
payment of your debts and taxes, and naming an executor to handle
Family and medical leave can help an employee balance the demands of
work and family, but sometimes it is hard to apply in the real
world. “The Essential Guide to Family & Medical Leave” by Lisa
Guerin and Deborah C. England provides you with the information and
forms you need to comply with the law. It helps to answer questions
about who qualifies for leave, how much time a person is allowed,
and what are your and the company’s obligations to each other.
Marcia Stewart, Janet Portman, and Ralph Warner have teamed together
to write books for landlords and tenants entitled “Every Landlord’s
Legal Guide” and “Every Tenant’s Legal Guide.” The tenant’s guide
gives you legal and practical information to deal with your
landlord, roommates, and other tenants. The landlord’s guide helps
you handle the day-to-day issues you face as a rental property
owner. Each book has charts covering all the current laws landlords
and tenants need to know and follow for each state. And the best
part is they are easy to read and understand.
These are just a few of the books we have at the New Ulm Public
Library that may be of interest to you if you have legal questions
and want to do some research on your own. Stop at the library and
check the 346’s in the nonfiction area. You may be able to get some
answers to questions you have before seeking professional advice.
September 1, 2008
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
Did you know that you can find newspaper and magazine articles from
thousands of publications using your library card? That your library
hosts a magazine exchange? That you can request items from other
libraries and pick them up at your local library? It’s true, your
library is a unique and valuable resource, and one that you’re
already supporting with about $50 in taxes annually.
September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month, the New Ulm Public
Library will host “Getting to the Most from Your Library” drop-in
tours throughout the month. Whether you already have a library card
or it’s time to get one, stop in at 7 p.m. on Monday evenings or
noon on Wednesdays for an informational tour of the library, as well
as an opportunity to ask questions or provide suggestions about
library services. You will learn how the library’s materials are
organized, how to use our online catalog to find books, movies, and
music, and about the many special services offered at the library.
Included in these services are programs for all ages, including
adults. On Tuesday, September 16, the library will host another
TRACES Museum travelling exhibit. The library hosted this mobile
museum for the first time in May of this year, but this visit will
feature a new exhibit: “Held in the Heartland: German POWs in the
Midwest, 1943-1946.” As many may know, New Ulm was the site of a
German POW camp during World War II, so this exhibit has particular
local relevance. The public is welcome to tour the exhibit at any
time from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. that evening. Sorry, the exhibit is not
accessible by wheelchair.
On Tuesday, September 23, the library will host a second round of
“Are You Smarter than a Librarian?,” our very own game show.
Contestants will be selected from those who attend, and will try to
answer more trivia questions correctly than a panel of library staff
members. Prizes will be awarded, there will be special questions for
school-age children, and all are welcome to attend, even if you just
want to watch!
Future events include a Fall Author series with photographer and
author Wing Young Huie on October 21 and Catherine Friend, author of
books for adults and children, on November 6. These authors were
Minnesota Book Awards finalists, and their visits are made possible
by the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library and a grant from the
Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Watch for details about a
visit from a ghost hunting organization around Halloween.
Please consider attending a tour session on a Monday evening or
Wednesday at noon this month to make sure you are “Getting the Most
from Your Library”!
August 25, 2008
|HISTORY OF THE
NEW ULM LIBRARY
Larry B. Hlavsa, Library Director
Erna Holzinger, ca
While mulling over some
historical scrapbooks of New Ulm Public Library history recently, I
suddenly realized that in just three short years we will be
celebrating our 75th Anniversary as an institution. It’s quite an
achievement to have been around so long, don’t you think?
Thinking about what the Library might do for the anniversary in
2012, the thought came to mind of writing a short history of our
institution for publication during the celebration. Since I’ve long
had a fascination with local history, the research that would be
involved in such a project is right up my alley. In fact, I’ve
already begun. I recently compiled a detailed listing of the
fourteen people who have served in New Ulm as library directors or
interim directors since the Library opened its doors on February 15,
Erna Holzinger was our first City librarian. She was a New Ulm
native having been born here on March 24,1896. Her father was an
early local carpenter. Erna began her career as an instructor in the
New Ulm Schools where she would spend eleven years. But in the
mid-1930s, the movement for a local public library was strengthening
and Erna became involved. She was “elected” as the first librarian
at a meeting of the Board of Governors on May 5, 1936. Erna would
consequently serve for over nineteen years as the city librarian
until her untimely death of a stroke while on duty at the library in
1955. She was just 59 years old. Erna was known for her love of
children and existing photos of her generally show her instructing
young library patrons.
Incidentally, the year 1937 seems like a strange time to have been
opening a library. The United States was entering a deep recession
in that year which was a continuation of the Great Depression.
Unemployment in the United States would rise to 19% in 1938. Of
course, maybe it wasn’t such a surprise after all. Public libraries
have historically shown strong usage during hard economic times.
Public libraries are, after all, a place of lifelong learning.
Okay, I know all of you find this interesting, but I can hear you
saying—“Yes, but what’s your point?” It’s a fair enough question. My
point is that this is a good time to be gathering information about
the history of the New Ulm Library. Some of the first users may
still be around, eight of the former directors are still living and
many older New Ulmites may have photos of the old library and
memories to share. I would like to take this opportunity to
cordially invite anyone in or outside of New Ulm with information or
photos to share to do so by calling (359-8332), writing or visiting
me (Larry Hlavsa). The New Ulm Library is at 17 North Broadway
Street. I hope to see many of you in the future.
Incidentally, New “Umite” is a term I found in various issues of the
New Ulm Journal dating from the 1940s. Do we still use that term?
Are we still New “Ulmites”? Or New “Ulmers”? Another topic for
August 18, 2008
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
The anniversary of Alfred
Hitchcock’s birthday was August 13. One of our displays this month
features books about him and DVDs of his movies.
Alfred Hitchcock. Just saying his name brings scary thoughts to
mind, unpleasant surprises, and things that go bump in the night. I
have a great appreciation for Hitchcock. I grew up when his films
were in theaters, even though I wasn’t always allowed to go see
them. I do remember going to ‘The Birds.’ Maybe my Mom didn’t think
twice about it because of the innocuous title. And I also remember
walking the three blocks home, when all of the night birds seemed to
start chattering at once and took to the sky. Then the movie, fresh
in my mind, sunk in. Suddenly my feet had wings, too, and I flew
Often at home, we watched ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ which later
became ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.’ There are episodes that are
still ingrained in my head. When I meet people of my age and
Hitchcock comes up, we can use shorthand to recall details of an
episode, and everyone knows what we’re talking about. “Remember the
one where Steve McQueen plays a gambler going up against Peter
Lorre?…” Just writing this, I can see the table, their fingers, and
the flicking of the lighter. Will it start ten times in a row?
Extreme tension builds. Unforgettable.
Hitchcock wasn’t just scary, though, and I think that’s why he
appeals to me. He had a twisted sense of humor. I’ve been looking up
quotes from him and they are very funny. Hitchcock said, “I am a
typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately
be looking for a body in the coach.” And this one makes total sense
to me even as it makes me laugh: “The length of a film should be
directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.” To a woman
who complained that the shower scene [in “Psycho”] so frightened her
daughter that the girl would no longer shower, Hitchcock replied,
“Then Madam I suggest you have her dry cleaned.” He also said:
“Someone once told me that every minute a murder occurs, so I don’t
want to waste your time, I know you want to go back to work.”
I could go on about why I like Hitchcock. But in the end I just like
his work. You know what you are getting with him. You know he will
make some kind of unobtrusive appearance in each of his films. You
know you are going to be scared and there will be a twist in the
tale. At some point you might laugh nervously. And you know if you
watch one of his movies, you might be sleeping with the lights on.
Next time you visit the library, reacquaint yourself with Hitchcock
and check something out.
August 11, 2008
Fun It Was!
Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
Children’s Room is almost quiet now. The Summer Reading Program has
ended, and Storytime is on a short break. Once again we had so much
fun! Kids were busy reading books and discovering all that was
cookin’ at the library. Many came in frequently to search for the
hidden fortune cookies, complete the weekly craft, play the
Minnesota Word of the Day game, and go fishing. Now it’s time to
congratulate and say thank you.
Congratulations to the 852 kids who registered for our program.
(That’s a record-setting number for our library!) These kids read
lots of books and earned some very cool prizes. Some attended camps
here and learned a few new skills. Some attended our special events
and enjoyed the entertainers. Others put their artistic talents to
the test when they created some fantastic dreamy cakes. These cakes
are still on display on the walls of our entryway near the
Children’s Room. Come in and take a look!
Congratulations to the parents of those 852 kids. Without their
parents’ encouragement and cooperation, many of these kids would not
have been able to participate. The icing on the cake for parents
may be that as kids return to classrooms this fall, they will reap
further rewards from being readers during the summer.
the local businesses of Casey’s, McDonald’s, Kraft, New Grand Moon
Buffet, Retzlaff’s, Subway, Sven & Ole’s Bookstore, and Walgreens
for contributing prizes, treats, and awards. The Minnesota Twins,
Vikings, Lynx, and Timberwolves provided an assortment of prizes
too, and we thank them.
thank the New Ulm Community Center for hosting four of our special
events, the Friends of the Library for serving treats for our
program’s kick-off, and Brown County Family Services for helping us
fund one of our special events. A host of individuals, too many to
list here, contributed time, money, or prizes. The Summer Program
thanks all of them.
I extend a
special thank you to the staff of the NUPL for their extra efforts
behind the scenes. Their creativity and donations were the
ingredients that helped to create all kinds of cookin’ displays.
Journal, KNUJ, New Ulm Telecom, and Time Warner did an excellent job
keeping everyone informed about what was going on at the library
this summer. We appreciate their assistance and thank them for
their extra efforts on our behalf.
congratulate all of our program participants and their parents, and
we thank everyone who contributed in any way to help make our
program cook. We hope summer of 2009 will be just as fine!
August 4, 2008
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
What is art? Lynda Lehman believes art “encourages
us to view the world in new ways, as well as look into ourselves.”
Art speaks to us in ways words cannot.
August is American Artists Appreciation Month. The
library has many wonderfully illustrated resources for your
enjoyment. Hudson River was the first well-known American school of
painting. When you see Frederich Church’s “Niagara,” you hear the
rushing waters. In Albert Bierstadt’s “Emigrants Crossing the
Plains,” you feel the weariness of the travelers as sunset
approaches. The Hudson River painters take us back to a time long
gone, but not forgotten. You can see these touching landscapes in
“The Hudson River School” by Bert Yaeger.
Charles Russell and Frederic Remington are considered
two of the greatest artists of the American West. William Ketchum
has compiled a full color portfolio of their works in “Remington and
Russell: Artists of the West.”
The library also has biographies of American
artists. “Mary Cassett: Painter of Modern Women” by Griselda
Pollock is a biography of this American impressionist who painted
women of all ages. Cassatt destroyed much of her own work, but
Pollock explores Cassatt the artist and her influence on the world
Art is another medium for recording our history. Rena
Neumann Coen’s book “Painting and Sculpture in Minnesota, 1820-1914”
shares the talent of Minnesotans and early artists who visited the
Minnesota Territory. Works by Eastman Johnson, Albert Bierstadt and
Douglas Volk are depicted in this historical reflection on
Minnesota. The Minnesota Historical Society website at
www.mnhs.org provides access to the Photo and Art Database which
includes many works by New Ulm artist, Anton Gag. Our history is
reflected in art.
Local artist Wanda Gag is known for her
illustrations, especially “Millions of Cats.” Alma Scott’s ‘Wanda
Gag: The Story of An Artist” is a must read for New Ulmites.
“Myth, Magic and Mystery: One Hundred Years of
American Children’s Book Illustration” features the works of Robert
McCloskey, Maurice Sendak, Tasha Tudor, and others.
President Franklin Roosevelt established the Works
Progress Administration in 1935. Federal Project Number One
provided funds for arts projects employing more than five thousand
artists. The Federal Art Project included education, research, and
art exhibitions around the country bringing art into the lives of
artist, Georgia O’Keeffe said, “One can’t paint New York as it is,
but rather as it is felt.” What is art? Art is expression. Art
is feeling. Visit the library and celebrate American artists.
July 28, 2008
You've Just Got To
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
Every year at the end of July, I start to think about
August, and I begin to panic a little. I feel like it’s “crunch
time,” that I really need to capitalize on this next month because
it’s all the summer we’re going to get this year.
Perhaps a similar sentiment has given rise to a
number of books written in the past few years listing those things
you must do “before you die.” Consider this a warning well in
advance: you will need some time to do everything described in
1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die
edited by Stephen Farthing, 2007. Though the paintings in question
are reproduced in miniature and accompanied by a brief history, the
editor introduces the book by explaining, “the only way to
understand just how good a painting is, is not to take another’s
word for it, but to go and see it in the flesh and spend time with
it. So this book sets out to be a visitor’s handbook and traveling
companion, not an armchair travel guide.”
Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die
by Steve Davey, 2004. The author describes an ‘unforgettable place’
as “the sort of place that is so special that as soon as you
discover it exists you just know you have to go there." This book
compiles 40 such places.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die
by Patricia Schultz, 2003. The author quotes Mark Twain saying
“’Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” This book aims to help you
avoid such disappointment.
Unforgettable Things to Do Before You Die
by Steve Watkins and Clare Jones, 2005 and Unforgettable Journeys
to Take Before You Die 2006. The authors provide detailed
accounts of the activities and sights to see in each locale, along
with the reminder that “there is no substitute for actually taking a
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
edited by Robert Dimery, 2006. This book bills itself, rather
modestly for its size, as “a stimulating introduction to some of the
greatest albums released over the past 50 years.”
If you’re closer to other milestones in your life,
you might check out 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School
by Steven Jenkins and Erika Stalder and 500 Places to Take Your
Kids Before They Grow Up by Holly Hughes. Enjoy, and don’t let
the summer (or the rest of your life!) get away from you.
July 21, 2008
They Also Ran
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
With the presidential election now just 104 days away, we now have
our two “presumptive” candidates for the 2008 election from the
major political parties. Barack Obama for the Democrats; John McCain
for the Republicans. Beyond that, I only see one thing as certain,
that being, one will win the presidency and the other will lose. The
loser will quickly be relegated to the status of “also ran.” Here’s
a little party question for trivia lovers. How many presidential
“also rans” can you name? I bet not many.
Many years ago I read a book by Irving Stone called THEY ALSO
RAN. It was written in 1945 and chronicled the losing
candidates in each American presidential election from Henry Clay in
1824 to Thomas Dewey in 1944. I was in college at the time and a
history major so it sounded interesting. Lo and behold, it turned
out to be one of the most memorable books I would ever read.
What was special about THEY ALSO RAN? Well, I guess
the most fascinating thing was how historian Stone viewed each of
the losing candidates. In historical retrospect, Stone related how
some “also rans” would have been disasters had they won, and how
others would have made much better presidents than their victorious
opponents. In his book, which is a mixture of biography, history and
political analysis, Stone succeeds admirably in making each of these
mostly forgotten presidential losers interesting.
Unsurprisingly, the New Ulm Public Library doesn’t own a copy of
this now 63-year old book. I find that regrettable, given the fact
I think it still offers many lessons and perspectives on the
American presidential process. Of course, being the director of the
New Ulm Public Library does offer me some perks. One is ordering
books and I have had our staff order a copy of THEY ALSO RAN.
I plan on re-reading it when it comes in and highly recommend it to
anyone interested in politics, history and/or biography.
Incidentally, in 2007 Carolyn Volpe published a sequel of sorts
called, THEY ALSO RAN: Losing Candidates in the United States
Presidential Elections 1789-2004. While reviews indicate it
is a less analytical and descriptive volume than that by Mr. Stone,
it does bring into focus all of the losing candidates from the first
American presidential election until the present. The New Ulm Public
Library has also ordered this volume.
There are only 104 days until the 2008 presidential election. Do you
know who the next “also ran” will be???
What Does It Mean?
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
There are sayings and clichés we hear everyday. What do they really
mean? When several of the library staff were recently working on a
project and there was some disagreement on how to proceed, I blurted
out, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” As
Larry went on working he murmured, “Emerson.” It’s always good when
someone knows what you are talking about. So what does it mean?
A good example of this is the story about the woman who cuts off
both ends of a ham before baking it. When her husband asks why she
does it, she said that’s how her mother did it. So he asks her
mother why she did that, and she says the same thing, “That’s how my
mother did it.” So the husband approaches the grandmother and asks
the question. And she says, “Because I have a very small oven.”
(This is an abbreviated version of the story from Zig Zigler.)
The women were being consistent, but it was a foolish consistency
because they did not understand the reason behind it.
Emerson is not saying that consistency is bad; he is saying being
consistent with that which you do not understand is bad. We don’t
have to continue to do things in the same way if there turns out to
be a better way to do it, a more efficient way, or if we can learn
from the experience of others.
My former boss, Dan Reilly, used to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson and
say, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you
could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them
as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and
serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old
nonsense.” That one sticks with me, even though I can’t always do
it. So what does it mean?
This one is pretty self-evident, especially if you slow down and
really read it. And breathing deep while you read doesn’t hurt
either. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we fail. Emerson advises us
not to replay them over and over, don’t beat yourself up when you go
home, don’t replay them in your head, and don’t even bring them back
to work the next day. Close the book on whatever it was and let it
go. We shouldn’t add it to the baggage we are already carrying
As long as I’m sharing Emerson quotes, I’ll end with one. It was
hard to choose; he does have so many quotes that I find quite
beautiful. I think this is one that my husband really likes, so I’ll
choose that: "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny
matters compared to what lies within us." So what does it mean?
Well, think about it; it’ll come to you.
July 7, 2008
Voices in Your Car
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
The Children's Room is a busy place this summer. Kids are checking
out all kinds of books, magazines, and videos. Our audiobooks are
also in demand right now, especially for families who are taking
road trips for their summer vacation. These families have discovered
that books on cassette or CD can turn a long road trip into an
enjoyable family drive.
Audiobooks, also called talking books or books on tape, are great
entertainment for all ages. They provide additional benefits too.
Hearing good literature read by a professional reader can amplify
understanding of the text. Listening to audiobooks improves
listening skills. And when the story is over, it gives everyone in
the car something to talk about.
Our junior collection has many excellent titles. We own several of
the Newbery Award winners. Titles like "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of
NIMH," "A Wrinkle in Time," and "Holes" would be good choices for
Families who prefer historical fiction could try "Felicity, An
American Girl," which includes six stories about Felicity. “Little
House in the Big Woods” would be another great choice, especially
here in Minnesota.
For fantasy fans, we have "Beyond the Deep Woods," first title in
the Edge Chronicles series. Listeners will be fascinated by Twig’s
thrilling adventures as he enters the world of strange people,
goblins, trogs, and beasts. We also have "Redwall," the first in the
very popular series by Brian Jacques. This would be an excellent
introduction to this magical and legendary tale where good wins over
evil. In addition, we have all seven Harry Potter titles in both
cassette and CD. Jim Dale, who narrates all seven titles, has won
several awards for his reading of these books. He skillfully
supplies a unique voice for each character, which makes for great
listening. For more fantasy titles, families should just look for
the fantasy sticker on the spine of the audiobook.
Families who love to laugh out loud should really try one or two
"Freddy the Detective" or "Hank, the Cowdog" series books. The humor
in these books will melt away the miles of a long trip.
Mystery lovers can enjoy trying to predict the outcome of mysteries
like “House on the Cliff,” a Hardy Boys book, or “Hidden Staircase,”
a Nancy Drew title. A mystery sticker on the spine will indicate
more mystery titles.
Listening to an old classic could provide a bit of nostalgia for the
adults in the car and a great first experience for the younger
riders. With titles like "Old Yeller," Pippi Longstocking,"
Charlotte's Web," "Where the Red Fern Grows," or Roald Dahl's "the
BFG," young and old alike are sure to be entertained.
Stop in and browse our shelves for what suits your family best.
Check out a few good audiobooks to enjoy on your way to and from
your next vacation destination. Those voices in your car will create
pleasant memories for the entire family.
June 30, 2008
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
Recently, the traveling exhibit "Vanished: German American Civilian
Internment 1941-1948" visited the library. As part of the exhibit,
books relating to internment and prisoners of war were available.
The library has added several to the collection. There are several
aspects to the stories told: life in Nazi Germany, Midwest POWs in
German camps, German POWs in U.S. camps, and German-American and
German-Latin American civilians interned in U.S. camps or deported
to German camps.
Annelee Woodstrom relates her childhood in "War Child Growing Up in
Adolph Hitler's German". She recalls eighth grade. "On a wall map,
we followed our forces to the expanding fronts, and our teacher
encouraged us to pin the Norwegian towns they had conquered."
"Only the Least of Me Is Hostage: Midwest POWs in Nazi Germany"
describes prison life in detail. The stories are told in letters,
diaries and photos. "Behind Barbed Wire Midwest POWs in Nazi
Germany" is a book of few pages, but has much to say. It explores
the lives of the prisoners and how art, religion, food, Red Cross
packages, homesickness and freetime were their existences.
German soldiers were held in U.S. camps. "Camp Papers: the German
POW Newspapers at Camp Algona, Iowa 1944-1946" provides insight into
the lives and times of these men. Camp Algona and its 35 branch
camps in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Iowa held up to
10,000 German POWs. The POWs published two newspapers that included
world news, short stories, sketches, and poems by the men. One
soldier describes Christmas 1944, Christmas as a POW. "Everyday our
first and last thoughts are with our loved ones at home." Anita
Albrecht Beck's book "Behind Barbed Wire German Prisoners of War in
Minnesota" includes the camp in New Ulm.
Unknown to many is the internment of German Americans and German
Latin Americans. Anneliese "Lee" Krauter's "From the Heart's Closet:
A Young Girl's World War II Story" tells of her German immigrant
parents living in New York. Her father was labeled a "dangerous
enemy alien" and sent to Ellis Island. The family was eventually
sent to Crystal City, Texas, Family Internment camp before being
sent to Germany. "Vanished: German American Internment 1941-48" by
Michael Luick-Thomas tells the stories of German Americans labeled
as "enemy aliens" and interned in U.S. prison camps. More than
11,000 German Americans were imprisoned at Ellis Island; Sparta,
Wisconsin; Bismarck, North Dakota; and Crystal City, Texas. Ursula
Vogt Potter recalls the day after Pearl Harbor. In "The Misplaced
American" she remembers how the FBI came to their home, took
pictures from the family album and took her father away. Her father
spent two years in internment camps in North Dakota, Washington and
Montana. Never was he told why he was imprisoned or who his accusers
were. His wife and children remained on the farm where they were
harassed by their government.
"Nazi's and Good Neighbors: the United States Campaign Against the
Germans of Latin America in World War II" relates how the U.S.
seized 4000 German Latin Americans from 15 countries and sent them
to a U.S. internment camp in Texas.
This is history, American history. We keep up with current news, but
let us not forget the past and the lessons it teaches.
June 23, 2008
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
I’ve just returned from a very pleasant, if all-too-brief vacation.
I was back in my home state of Wisconsin, in Door County: the
peninsula on the east side of the state extending into Lake
Michigan. Of course, vacations always involve some splurging, but
this trip’s biggest splurge was on gas money for the nearly
nine-hour trip. If I get another chance to take a couple of days
away this summer, I think I’ll stick to Minnesota, perhaps saving on
gas while celebrating the state’s 150th anniversary.
The following books, available at the library, might serve to
inspire your travels in Minnesota. While you’re away, pick up a post
card and mail it or bring it in to the library on your next visit.
We will post it with a map in our rear entryway to create a visual
tour of the state.
Minnesota 150: The People, Places, and Things that Shape Our State
by Kate Roberts. This sesquicentennial publication could prompt a
Pieces of My Heart: Everyone has an Everest by Jim Klobuchar. This
collection of essays may spark your interest in travels both in and
Minnesota Vacation Days: An Illustrated History by Kathryn Strand
Koutsky. Vacation as your parents and grandparents may have done.
This work also includes 90 “vintage recipes.”
Minnesota by John Radzilowski. This book combines Minnesota history
Weird Minnesota: Your Travel Guide to Minnesota’s Local Legends and
Best Kept Secrets by Eric Dregni. Try this book if your tastes run
to the unusual.
The WPA Guide to Minnesota compiled and written by the Federal
Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration. Another
historical look at our state, particularly the 1930s.
Minnesota Marvels: Roadside Attractions in the Land of Lakes by Eric
Dregni. Try out this book if you’re planning a road trip.
Ask at the reference desk for additional titles, including movies,
and happy traveling!
June 16, 2008
The Bells and Other Library
Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions Librarian
Every organization has routines. When you learn them, they seem
reasonable. However, if you are unfamiliar with those customs, they
might raise some questions.
For instance, someone rang the bells the other night at closing and
I heard a little tiny girl’s voice ask her father, “Why them play
music?” Why indeed. The bells were an idea of our previous director,
Dan Reilly, who had seen them at another library. He thought that
ringing the bells at closing instead of, say, yelling: “Hey! Go home
now!” was a pleasant way of closing up shop for the day.
Why do some of the books have numbers on their spines? Well, that is
the Dewey Decimal system. Dewey was the guy who devised a system of
organizing books into categories that were divided into groups.
Briefly, all the nonfiction books are grouped into ten main classes.
The 000s are Generalities, the 100s contain Philosophy and
Psychology, Religions are in the 200s, and the Social Sciences in
the 300s. 400s contain Languages, 500s have Natural Sciences and
Mathematics, and the 600s are Technology and Applied Sciences. The
arts are in the 700s, Literature is in the 800s, and then the 900s
have Geography and History. Then within each of these groups, the
ten main classes are further subdivided. It creates an
organizational framework to shelve materials so that items with the
same subject will land in the same area and then can be easily
What is my password and why don’t I know it?? The computer asks for
it when I try to place a hold, and I didn’t even know I had a
password. Your password is your last name. It is loaded into the
computer when you get a library card. When you go into the catalog
and your account, you are able to change it. No need to worry; there
is no secret handshake or decoder ring involved.
What’s an ILL? Some librarians refer to some books as ILLs. That
sounds odd, doesn’t it? It comes from the shorthand of the acronym
for Inter Library Loans, which are the materials we get from other
libraries for our patrons. Another unfortunate word choice comes
from whoever set up our computer system. When a patron is issued a
library card, it is issued for three years. After that the card
expires. When a patron hands over an old card, and staff needs to
take extra time to update it, the patron might ask what is wrong.
The words, “Oh, you’ve expired,” really just isn’t a cool
Every organization has rules and routines. People come here to get
their questions answered. We can try to find the answers for you or
show you how to find them yourself. It’s okay if you don’t know that
the books on pruning are shelved in the 631.542 area. We can point
you in the right direction. But when you hear the bells, well, that
means you only have a few minutes to check out those books before we
close, because “Hey, we’re going home.”
But before we go, on Thursday, June 19, our library in holding a
Dawn-to-Dusk Read-a-Thon. If you want a change in your routine, come
and take part in our Read-a Thon. It’ll be fun for everyone.
Jun 9, 2008
Here Kitty, Kitty
Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions
June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Some studies have shown that
having a pet can help lower blood pressure. So adoption is a good
thing for them and good for you as well. Cat people, just like other
pet owners, have favorite pet stories to tell.
Over the years I have been associated with many cats. When I was
little we had
cats named by color and demeanor like Blacky, and Tiger, and Queen.
And we also named them after favorite cartoons like Pixie and Dixie.
As I got older the names changed along with my life. In middle
school I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and had a great cat named
Scout as a companion. In high school I worked in a restaurant. Since
I came home smelling like a hamburger, Bacon was always eager to see
When we were first married we got our first cats together and called
them Tobey and Tigger. Thinking back, I think my sister named them.
One night Tobey climbed up the telephone pole across from our house.
It was getting dark and there we stood peering up into the gloom to
see Tobey crouching above and crying. It was my idea to play
fireman, get a blanket, and hold it out for Tobey to jump into. My
husband Doug was skeptical. So was Tobey. We stood in our deserted
street, arms out wide, holding the blanket and waited. Tobey jumped.
We caught him. Doug is still dubious about the whole thing.
Now one of our cats is named Harry. His full name is Harry Potter.
(Yes, he is named for the famous character in J.K. Rowling’s
series.) He knows and comes to both his names, and he also is aware
that saying the two names together isn’t necessarily good. Turns out
his name can be confusing for other people.
Once, a few years back, Doug and I were out to supper with Doug’s
mom. Harry was much on my mind as his stomach was upset and we had
just been to the vet. There was a lull in the conversation and I
blurted out, “Harry Potter has irritable bowel syndrome.” Elaine
looked up from her plate, paused, and asked seriously, “How will
this affect the rest of the books?”
Owning pets is good and bad, funny and sad. It is always an
adventure. Finding that pet that will change your life can be as
easy as visiting the Humane Society and meeting the furry faces
there. Check out our New Ulm Humane Society that is open on
Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It is an excellent facility,
and there might be a pet there that is waiting for you.
And if you already own a cat, June 1st was Hug Your Cat Day. You can
still belatedly celebrate it. If your cat doesn’t seem like he or
she wants a hug, give it a little snuggle or scratch its head.
Secretly, your cat really will appreciate it, and it’ll help your
Jun 2, 2008
Women Presidential Candidates
Linda Lindquist, Reference Librarian
Every time you turn on the television or radio, open a magazine or
newspaper, or even have a conversation with anyone, eventually the
topic of politics comes up. In a recent conversation with a friend,
we were trying to remember women who had run for the office of
President of the United States. It didn’t take too long and we were
A Google search was done and we found quite a few women have run for
the presidency of the United States. The first lady to be nominated
for president was Victoria Woodhull. She was only 33 at the time and
could not legally be President but she ran anyway. She was involved
in many scandals and did not have much time for campaigning. On
election day in 1872 she actually was in jail, charged with sending
obscene material through the U.S. mail. You can read all about her
in “The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria
Woodhull” by Lois Beachy Underhill.
The first woman who actually campaigned for the President of the
United States was Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood in 1884. She was a
two-time presidential hopeful, campaigning in 1884 and 1888 on a
women’s suffrage platform. She was one of the first female lawyers
in our country and also the first woman to be admitted to the U. S.
Supreme Court Bar. Jill Norgren’s “Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who
Would be President” has thoroughly researched Lockwood’s remaining
papers, most of which were destroyed after her death. The June 2008
issue of American History (available at the New Ulm Public Library)
has an article on Belva Lockwood written by Jill Norgren.
Shirley Chisholm was the first African American to run in 1972 for
the presidency. In “The Good Fight”, she sees her campaign as an
extension of her role in politics and as a voice for minorities. In
this book she tells the truth as she sees it regardless of its
effect on her political future. And in “Unbought and Unbossed”,
Chisholm tells about her life and the American political system.
Hillary Clinton is currently running for president. Magazine and
newspaper articles are written almost daily about the upcoming
election. We have many books in the library on her.
These are just a few of the women who have run for the office of the
President of the United States. Stop in at the New Ulm Public
Library and check out the display on the second floor depicting
these brave, ambitious women in their quest to become President.
May 26, 2008
What's Cookin' at the Library?
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
The Children’s Room is all set for summer. The walls are decorated,
cool mobiles are hanging from the ceiling, and of course, good books
are sitting on the shelves waiting to be checked out. Look What’s
Cookin’ at Your Library is the theme for our summer reading program.
We invite all kids from ages 1 to 13 to sign up for this free
reading program and earn prizes for reaching reading goals.
Brochures explaining the program are available at the Library, and
the information is also included on our website at:
http://www.newulmlibrary.org/srp2008.html Registration begins
on Monday, June 2. We’re even offering free ice cream and cake for
all who register before 3:00 PM on that day. (Sorry, parents don’t
The goal of this program is for kids to read for 30 minutes a day
for 25 days between June 2 and August 5. The pre-readers (AKA
read-to-me’s) need to just listen to books read to them for about 20
minutes a day for 25 days.
Kids should come to the Library and sign up; they will receive a
bookmark that they use to keep track of the days when they read.
Kids earn a prize after reading for five different days (or
listening for the read-to-me’s), and all who complete the program
will be eligible to win 1 of 10 grand prizes.
We have cooked up several additional activities for kids. On
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 A.M., storytimes will entertain
kids from ages 3 to 8; people of all ages who enjoy stories are
welcome. We have four Camps À La Carte for kids of ages 8 to 13.
And, anyone who wants to can be part of our Photo Fun activity by
submitting a photo for display in the Children’s Room.
Kids can find a recipe for fun at our library every day all summer.
Our Food for Thought bulletin board activity will challenge kids’
brains. Our Cookin’ Up Crafts are available every day for kids to
create in the library or take out and complete at home. Our mobiles
represent book titles so take a look and make a guess.
For those who like to compete we have several contests. Kids can
enter our fishing contest and try to catch the biggest fish to fry.
They can guess how many cookies are in our cookie jar. Or, they can
try to find one of the ten fortune cookies hidden in the Library
each week. Kids can also dream up a dreamy cake and enter our
drawing contest. And since we’re helping Minnesota celebrate its
150th birthday this summer, we have a Minnesota Word Challenge
contest going on every day. It takes only 3 minutes to enter. You
won’t have to eat your words, but you will need to think of words.
Who will be the first one to earn 150 points?
Our five special events this summer should be great fun. Our first
event happens on June 17 when Jungle Sam & the Safari Band come to
New Ulm. Their interactive concert will have all ages rockin’ and
rollin’. Our third annual Dawn-to-Dusk Read-a-Thon will involve
readers of all ages as we count how many pages we can all read on
June 19. Let’s try to read more pages than we did last year! In July
Mike the Baker Man is stirring up trouble with his storytelling and
giant baking tools, and the RAD Zoo is bringing several fascinating
reptiles and amphibians for kids to see but not eat. Peter Bloedel
brings comedy, magic, music, and juggling here in August. Our
brochure and website give dates, times, locations, and more
Our library wants to partner with parents and teachers to make sure
that every child reads well and reads often. Reading is the
foundation for all learning, and we hope to help make it fun.
Research shows that children who don’t read in the summer may lose
some of the reading progress they worked hard to achieve during the
school year. Our program can provide an incentive for kids to read.
Parents play a major role by making it possible for kids to sign up
and by encouraging them to attain their goal. So come to the Library
this summer, and let’s get cookin’!
May 19, 2007
Memorial Day Reading
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
Memorial Day Weekend is upon us again. We relish the long weekend
and the beginning of summer, but most importantly, we remember those
who died in service to our country. Originally called Decoration Day
and established to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil
War, Memorial Day has become a time to commemorate all U.S. men and
women who have died in war and military action. Unfortunately, few
of us are untouched by tragedies of war, and we all owe a debt of
gratitude to our military personnel. The following books are
available from the library, and provide timely, poignant reminders
of why we celebrate Memorial Day.
Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives by Jim
Sheeler. In this new book, the author follows Major Steve Beck as he
notifies the families of wartime casualties. Sheeler provides
intimate accounts of the lives and deaths of these servicemen.
Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman
by Mary Tillman. In another recent work, a mother shares memories of
her son, his service in Afghanistan, and, after he was killed in
2004, his family’s search for the truth about his death.
Peace Mom: A Mother's Journey Through Heartache to Activism
by Cindy Sheehan. After Casey Sheehan was killed in Iraq in 2004,
his mother declared, "I will spend my life trying to make Casey's
sacrifice count for peace and love, not killing and hate." In this
memoir, she shares her experiences in grieving for her son and
reaching a national audience with her message for peace.
Memorial Day in Poetry chosen by a Committee of the
Carnegie Library School Association. Though a much older
compilation, these moving poems are fitting tributes to those who
have died in service to our country. From “In Flanders Fields” by
“…Tell them, O guns, that we have heard their call,
That we have sworn, and will not turn aside,
That we will onward, till we win or fall,
That we will keep the faith for which they died.
Bid them be patient, and some day, anon,
They shall feel earth enwrapt in silence deep,
Shall greet, in wonderment, the quiet dawn,
And in content may turn them to their sleep.”
May 12, 2008
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
I’d just like to take this opportunity to refresh your memory about
an author that I think is worth reading.
If you read our Off the Shelf column a while back, I wrote about a
delightful junior book called, “The Penderwicks: a Summer Tale of
Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy,” by Jeanne
Birdsall. I hope you got a chance to read it because Birdsall has
written a sequel called, “The Penderwicks on Gardam Street.” I was
anxious to read more about the four sisters, Rosalind, Skye, Jane,
and Batty, when I finished the first book. And I was apprehensive
that the second book wouldn’t stand up as well as the first.
Never fear. Gardam Street proves to be just as interesting as their
summer vacation in the previous book. In this book their father’s
sister has just delivered a letter written years before from their
dead mother requesting that he move on with his life, begin to date,
and perhaps remarry. As much as he doesn’t want to date, his
daughters dread it even more. To combat this plan, Rosalind and her
sisters conceive an anti-matchmaking plan of their own. They begin
to choose women for blind dates who are so annoying that their
father will never consider a second date, much less think of ever
settling down with her. Little do they know that dear old dad is
working on a plan of his own.
Jane is still writing about Sabrina Starr. When she turns in a paper
with her fictional character in it rather than the famous women in
history she is supposed to write about because Sabrina is more
interesting, she gets a bad grade. Meantime Skye is all about
science and math and has no time for fiction. So in a flash of
inspiration the girls decide to switch assignments in the future.
Jane writes a play for Skye and Skye does Jane’s homework. This plan
seems plausible until the teacher wants to put “Skye’s” play on
stage for the parents with Skye as the lead. Since she wrote it,
Jane can quote the overwrought play chapter and verse, while Skye
has stage fright and cannot remember a word. That could mean that
the jig is up and time is running out as the play must go on.
None of the topics that Birdsall takes on seem momentous.
Matchmaking, playing soccer, noticing boys, and putting on plays are
all normal and commonplace activities. Maybe that is what makes it
so magical to visit these children. You enter their world and it is
just like the neighborhoods we grew up in. Kids play ball in the
street, big sisters get annoyed at tag along littler sisters, boys
are jerks who tease but are also kind of good to have around,
neighbor kids stop in for ice cream.
I guarantee that if you step into the Penderwick’s world, you will
be reading with a smile on your face. These characters are unique
and have depth. They are funny and creative. Birdsall brings four
little girls to life, and the books are written in such a manner
that you feel welcome to join them. Every time I think that I have a
favorite Penderwick, something else happens and I realize I just
enjoy them all. I hope you will too.
May 5, 2008
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
I had an article in mind to write today. It was right there in my
head, like when you walk into a room and then wonder why you’re
there. And now I can’t think of it. Oh yeah, I remember. Amnesia.
Amnesia has been a device used in movies, television and books for a
long time. It can be permanent or temporary, imaginary or disguise,
fake or real.
If it were real, amnesia would likely be terrible. However, in the
hands of British author, Sophie Kinsella, it is also very amusing.
In “Remember Me?” Lexie is out partying with her friends. They are
drunk, it’s pouring rain, and she has to face going to her father’s
funeral the next day. All she wants to do is go home. In the
downpour she races for a taxi and falls…and when next she wakes, she
is in a hospital.
Her mother looks older, she doesn’t understand why her close chums
aren’t visiting, she is skinny, and her teeth are fixed. When she is
told it is 2007 instead of 2004, she doesn’t believe it. Her mother
tells her Eric is anxious to see her but she doesn’t know an Eric.
It seems that sometime in those three years she had gotten married.
Anxiety and apprehension start to mount as she dreads meeting her
husband for the first time that she’ll remember. When Eric appears
he is gorgeous, has a voice like an actor, and is rich. Suddenly
things aren’t looking so grim. She herself has a posh job. She lives
in a spacious expensive loft with servants. It seems like she has
woken into a Cinderella story. She gets to live the fairy tale.
Or does she? While she is finding her bearings, in a moment of
euphoria she twirls around her new living area, accidentally breaks
a glass leopard, panics, and hastily stuffs it under a couch
cushion. Her husband hands her a bill for the damages. She loves her
new look but when she asks for a slice of bread for her soup, Eric
smoothly tells her, “Darling, we don’t do carbs.” Venturing back to
work, it slowly becomes clear that the reason her friends avoid her
is that she is a witch boss from the underworld. Suddenly her fairy
tale existence isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Stacked on top of
that, the questions she asks friends and loved ones are not always
Like while she is still in the hospital, Lexie levels with her
sister, Amy, (who has grown from a lovely girl into her terrible
teens,) revealing to her that she cannot remember anything. Amy
commiserates and then says that Lexie needs to see her baby; he
misses her. Her sister then brings in an Asian child and tells Lexie
she adopted him, blah, blah…and then breaks down into laughter when
Lexie nearly hyperventilates desperately worrying that she knows
nothing of being a mother. Hearing a commotion in the hallway,
reality hits Lexie and she tells Amy to get the baby back where it
belongs. Who can she trust to give her the truth? Who can and will
fill in those blank places in her memory? And who is that cute guy
always hanging around? Why does he keep staring at her? And that’s
when it gets really interesting.
The book is a humorous, enlightening journey that draws Lexie into
her new life while connecting her with her old one. On the way she
finds love and friendship and herself. I read this book in two
nights. I loved Kinsella’s “Can You Keep A Secret?”, and I enjoyed
this one as well. Now why would I have forgotten that?
Traveling World War II-Era Exhibit
to Stop at the New Ulm Public Library
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
On Monday, May 5 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., the library will host a
traveling exhibit presented by the TRACES Museum in St. Paul. The
exhibit, housed in a renovated bus, is called “Vanished:
German-American Civilian Internment, 1941-1948.” According
to the museum’s press release: “Some disappeared under the cover of
night, while others were taken during raids on their place of
employment. About a third were kidnapped by U.S. agents in other
countries and brought here by force. None had a lawyer, or were
charged with, tried for or convicted of a war-related crime. Many
were imprisoned for the duration of that global war, and for years
after it ended.
Suspected terrorists? Inmates at Guantanamo Bay? No. 15,000
German-American civilians the U.S. Government interned between 1941
and 1948. Using ten narrative panels, an NBC “Dateline” documentary
and a 1945 U.S. Government color film about this story, TRACES’
mobile museum—a retrofitted school bus called the BUS-eum 2—will
tour four Midwest states during spring 2008, reaching schools,
libraries and historical societies. TRACES Director and historian,
Michael Luick-Thrams will tour with the exhibit.”
This chapter of U.S. history is both little-known and potentially
controversial. The museum notes that “Both camp staff and many of
those interned were sworn to secrecy. In 1988 the U.S. Government
acknowledged that it had interned Japanese Americans during WWII,
and in 2000 it admitted that it also had imprisoned Italian
Americans; as of this writing, however, it has never confessed to
having interned German Americans.” You will have a chance to weigh
the evidence for yourself; just stop in any time between 5 p.m. and
8 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public, though the bus is
not accessible by wheelchair. More information about the TRACES
Museum and this exhibit is available at traces.org.
These recent examinations of World War II are available at the
library to augment your investigation of the era. Our reference
librarians can help you find a wealth of other resources as well:
The War. This 6-part documentary from Ken Burns
originally aired on PBS last year. Particularly poignant are
readings of wartime articles from the local newspaper of Luverne,
The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 by Geoffrey C.
Ward with an introduction by Ken Burns, is a wonderful accompanying
book featuring still images from the film.
Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, The End of
Civilization by Nicholson Baker. In an interview with the
Amazon.com, the author stated: “…It was the one just, necessary war.
We acknowledge that it was the worst catastrophe in the history of
humanity--and yet it was "the good war." The Greatest Generation
fought it, and a generation of people was wiped out…I didn't want to
convince, but only to add enriching complication.”
Tales from a Tin Can: The USS Dale from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo
Bay by Michael Keith Olson. This book uses eyewitness
accounts to showcase a specific set of events and experiences from
the Pacific theatre.
Educating Encouraging Empowering
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
Educating, encouraging and empowering express the theme of this
year’s Fibromyalgia Awareness Day on May 12. This chronic pain
illness is recognized by the American Medical Association, the
National Institute of Health, and in 1990 by the American College of
Rheumatology when criteria were defined in diagnosing the condition.
An estimated 3-6 percent of the US population suffers from
fibromyalgia. Widespread body pain in at least 11 of 18 tender
points is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Fatigue, stiffness,
and problems with memory and concentration are other symptoms. There
is no test for this condition, but rather diagnosis is a process of
ruling out other causes. It takes an average of 5 years to get a
The library has several recent books on fibromyalgia: “Your Symptoms
Are Real: What to Do When Your Doctor Says Nothing Is Wrong” by
Benjamin Natelson, “From Fatigued to Fantastic!” by Jacob Teitelbaum,
and Barbara Keddy’s book “ Women and Fibromyalgia: Living with an
Invisible Disease.” Lynette Bassman has written “The Feel-good Guide
to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” She shares
information on conventional and alternative treatments and
nutritional approaches. This is a resource worth reading. Another
helpful title is “The Arthritis Helpbook” by Kate Lorig and James
Fries. The authors explain arthritis and fibromyalgia, ways to
reduce and cope with the pain, and information on communicating with
your health care provider and others.
There are several websites of interest. The National Fibromyalgia
Association www.fmaware.org provides an overview for newly diagnosed
patients. Topics A-Z include information on nutrition, sleep, stress
and the importance of a positive attitude, household tips and
day-to-day life. The WebMD Fibromyalgia Health Center www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/default.htm
provides information and links to other resources. The U.S. National
Library of Medicine www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fibromyalgia.html
links to a fact sheet available in English and Spanish as well as an
interactive tutorial for patient education.
There are many advertisements for fibromyalgia medications; you may
have seen some of these ads on television or in magazines. Patients
and their families need to become informed; the library has
resources to help you talk with your doctor and make informed
decisions. Stop in and see the book display in the reference area.
Special April Displays
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
April and the unpredictable Minnesota spring weather are here.
Fortunately, the displays at the Library are not so fickle. Every
spring we have a window display, a poster contest, and a celebration
of poetry for people to enjoy.
Hot air balloons are the subject of our window display. They are
hanging on the Library windows facing Broadway. Take a quick look at
them as you drive by or, better yet, stop in at the Library and take
time for a closer look. Each one has the name of the child who
designed it. The Brown County Day Care Providers have put up these
hot air balloons made by the children in their care. Their theme for
2008 is Child Care – Soaring to New Heights. This display will be up
through the month of April.
On April 17 the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will
be holding its annual poster contest called “Roadsides Are for the
Birds.” The DNR holds this contest each spring to help educate
students and the public about the growing importance of roadside
habitat for many species of grassland songbirds, game birds, and
other farmland wildlife. As wildlife habitat continues to disappear,
roadsides play a critical role as a nesting habitat.
Students in grades 7 and 8 from throughout Minnesota participate in
this contest by sending in their entries. Winning students can earn
prizes for themselves and their schools. From April 18 through April
28, we will display the top 40 winning posters in our library’s new
We encourage you to stop in and take a look at these posters. The
kids’ creativity combined with an important message about wildlife
habitat makes an impressive display. You will enjoy the artwork, and
you may even learn something. For example, one of last year’s
posters urged farmers and others to delay mowing roadsides until
after August 1 each year. That is the best way to avoid destroying
nest and newborn wildlife. What an important message!
All of the 40 winning entries will be on display at the Minnesota
Deer Classic and Sports Show in St. Paul in March 2009. The top
three grand prize winners will have their posters on display at the
Minnesota State Fair in the DNR building in August 2008.
Our April poetry display located near the Circulation Desk is
looking good. Remember, you still have time to add your poem(s). And
do pause to read what others have contributed; you will find old
favorites as well as engaging original poetry.
These special displays are here for only a short time. We hope that
you can find time to stop in and take a look.
Did You Ever Write a Poem?
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
This month is National
Poetry Month, an annual event established by the Academy of
American Poets in 1996 to “achieve an increase in the visibility,
presence, and accessibility of poetry in our culture.” National
Poetry Month has been successful beyond everyone’s expectations and
is reputedly now the largest literary celebration in the world.
Personally I have written many poems in my life. Indeed, I have a
small book full of them. Nearly all of my poems, however, were
written some three decades ago while I was in my 20s. During those
days, I found first love and lost first love, I lived in the
inspirational Yosemite National Park (in truth, one of America’s
most beautiful national parks), and of course, I agonized about the
meaning of life. These poems on tattered, mostly handwritten, and
decidedly yellowing pieces of paper reflect my thinking, my trials,
and yes, even my agonies during this period. And boy, do I mean
agonies! It was a great, albeit sometimes painful period for this
During those years, I submitted several poems to the New Yorker and
other literary magazines. While I had no success in getting them
published, I still have my writings and reflect on them at times.
Here’s one I called—The Summit.
“At last I reach the summit,
Of a long sought mountain top.
At last I cry above it:
"Victory is mine! You are beaten!”
…tears stream down my face…
For soon I must descend,
And once again,
The mountain will be on top.”
At New Ulm Public Library, many of our staff love poetry. And we’ve
decided to particpate in the celebration of National Poetry Month by
making available space for your favorite poems. Bring us your
favorite poem and we’ll post it on our entryway wall. If your
favorite poem is by you, that’s even better! While affixing it to a
wall isn’t quite the same thing as getting published, we hope you’ll
want to share your work with others. Just bring your poems to the
library or email them to our programming librarian at:
Here’s hoping you stay on “The Summit” longer than I did!
April Has Something for Everyone
Linda Lindquist, Reference Librarian
As I was searching for something to
write about this month, I saw a magazine display pointing out all
the interesting things happening during the month of April. I
decided to highlight some of these for you.
First off, April is National Frog Month. Frogwatch USA is a study
that is managed by the National Wildlife Federation and United
States Geological Survey to increase awareness of the amphibian
decline in the United States. Check out their website at nwf.org/frogwatchusa.
What a fun way to get everyone in your family involved in an outdoor
April 13-19 is National Library Week. This would be a great time to
read some of the classics such as “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau,
“Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson, “Global Warming: Personal
Solutions for a Healthy Planet” by Chris Spence, “Green Living: The
E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth” by the editors
of 3/The Environmental Magazine, and “Encyclopedia of Organic
Gardening” edited by J. I. Rodale and Staff.
The Week of April 13-19 is also National Environmental Education
Week that promotes understanding and protection of the environment.
In our homes we can replace burned-out light bulbs with
energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR fluorescent bulbs, turn off unneeded
lights, dim lights when you can, and bring natural sunlight into
your home whenever possible. Cars are a big detriment to the
environment. Replace your gas guzzler with a new one if possible.
Buying a fuel-efficient car (like a Hybrid) would be great. Drive
less, get your car tuned up, and slow down. Racing your car’s engine
or idling your car for long periods of time uses up gas and your
money. Keep in mind that April 22 is Earth Day. Do something special
on that day to improve our environment.
April 15th—dreaded Tax Day. Be sure to file your taxes before the
end of the day!
April 22-27 is TV Turnoff Week. Take your TVs, DVDs, VCRs,
computers, iPods, and any other electronic devices you have and turn
them off for a week. Say goodbye to all those commercials that
bombard us daily. Take the time to get outdoors for a walk, do some
gardening, or how about visiting with your neighbors.
And we can’t forget April 25, National Zucchini Bread Day. If you
look really hard, I’ll bet you can find a forgotten bag in your
April is a busy month—get out and enjoy it.
Snails & Puppy Dog Tails or Sugar
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
Two junior nonfiction titles caught my attention recently. Both
looked like old-style books sitting on our “New Books” shelves. Both
were published in 2007. The authors of these two books explain in
their introductions that they wrote these books to entice kids into
becoming involved in good, old-fashioned games and activities. Even
kids who are into email, iPods, and computer games will find ideas
for adventure and fun in these books.
The first book was “The Dangerous Book for Boys” by Conn and Hal
Iggulden. As I glanced at the table of contents, I thought, “Wow!
There is a lot of good stuff here.” Boys who pick up this book will
learn to make the greatest airplane in the world, a tree house, a
bow and arrow, crystals, a workbench, a periscope, and more. Boys
can learn how to juggle, skip rocks, perform coin tricks, tie five
essential knots, and hunt and cook a rabbit. This book also contains
a variety of information that boys might need to know some day. For
example, it has a map of the United States, an illustrated list of
the seven wonders of the ancient world, an explanation of First Aid
basics, and illustrations of the constellations.
The second book was “The Daring Book for Girls” by A.J. Buchanan and
M. Peskowitz. Girls who check out this book can learn to make
friendship bracelets, a tree swing, a peg board game, the coolest
paper airplane ever, and more. They can learn how to paddle a canoe,
make a campfire, whistle with two fingers, or negotiate a salary.
Like the “Boy” book above, this book includes handy basic
information that’s good to know, such as Robert’s Rules of Order,
the Bill of Rights, and Greek and Latin root words.
Both books include a disclaimer to parents and encourage that the
activities should be carried out under adult supervision. Despite
the titles, boys and girls might want to share these books because
many of the activities will appeal to both genders.
These books may look old, but they present a wealth of ideas for
kids. Dads and sons, mothers and daughters, grandparents and
grandchildren, or any adult/child combination could use these books
for ideas that might lead to some great bond-building activities.
Adults will appreciate the nostalgia, and kids will have fun
Check out our copies; I think that you will find them entertaining
and informative. You may even decide to purchase a copy as a
birthday gift for the special child in your life. Enjoy!
Movies at the Library
Betty J Roiger, Acquistions
The library has just added some new movies. “3:10 to Yuma” is a
western that is based on a story by Elmore Leonard. I haven’t read
this book, although I have read and enjoyed westerns written by
Leonard. Now that I’ve seen the movie, I am curious to see how
closely the movie sticks to the book.
“3:10 to Yuma” stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Russell is an
outlaw who is on the run. Christian Bale is a downtrodden farmer
whose farm is being burned out in an effort to run him out of town.
Because he needs money badly to save his farm, he agrees to help
bring Russell to justice. All the good guys need to do is make it to
the train with Russell to send him off to prison. Sounds easy. But
then Russell is not going quietly. Other problems arise as they are
traveling through rough country, meeting up with other men with
other hard agendas, all the while being paced a few steps behind by
Russell’s gang. The gang is trying just as hard to make sure Russell
doesn’t make that train as the good guys are trying to get him to
it. This isn’t just a black & white, bad guy, good guy tale. The bad
guys have some good traits. The good guys have some gray areas. It’s
a shoot ‘em up western. And it is violent.
I thought it was also a good story. There is a father son
relationship that develops. There are several scenes between Russell
Crowe and Christian Bale that get to the heart of their characters.
There are basically good people who are conflicted. And there are
bad people who are extremely loyal. It really is a melting pot of
many different aspects of people. Again, it is violent. Yet I
thought it had a lot of substance.
Another movie that the library has is called “Disturbia”. The title
is a play on the word suburbia and it is rather like an updated
version of Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” In “Rear Window” Jimmy Stewart
is a photographer who is laid up with a broken leg. All he has for
his amusement 24/7 is gazing at the apartment building across the
way, sometimes with his zoom lens. He gets to know his neighbors via
voyeurism, and when he begins to suspect one of murder, the action
starts to ratchet up. “Disturbia” has a similar premise. A teenager,
Shia LaBeouf, is sentenced to house arrest and has an ankle monitor
to keep him there. When his mom takes away his television, all he
has to do is spy on his neighbors. And that’s when he starts to
notice some disturbing things. Of course, a teenager who has
recently been arrested doesn’t have much credibility; so convincing
anyone of his suspicions is an additional problem. Although as
problems go, that’s not as bad has having the villain start watching
One of the screenwriters of “Disturbia” was Christopher Landon, who
is the son of Michael Landon. Yep, that Michael Landon who was in
“Little House on the Prairie” and for those of us who remember, he
also played Little Joe on “Bonanza.”
Speaking of “Bonanza”, if you want to watch a new western with a lot
of action that is not for the faint-hearted, check out “3:10 to
Yuma.” And if you want to watch a suspense thriller with a little
humor thrown in that pays homage to Hitchcock, try “Disturbia.”
Author Bill Holm
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
When compiling a list of best-loved regional authors, Bill Holm’s
name is sure to appear near the top. The New Ulm Public Library is
particularly proud, then, to host Mr. Holm as our last guest in the
2008 Author Series sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Called
“one of Minnesota’s funniest and most thought-provoking essayists
and poets,” Bill Holm was born in Minneota, Minnesota, in the
northwestern corner of Lyon County, a descendant of Icelandic
immigrants (Aho, Melissa, “The Reader’s Shelf,” Library Journal 3
(2006): 112.). He is an alumnus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St.
Peter, and currently teaches at Southwest Minnesota State University
in Marshall. As a testimony to his teaching skill, among his past
students is Jill Elizabeth Nelson, the second in this 2008 Author
Series, who spoke at the library on February 21.
On his own, Holm is the author of numerous books of poetry and
essays, but he has also collaborated extensively on multi-artist
works. Holm recently spoke in St. Paul with noted Minnesota author
Garrison Keillor, wrote the narrative counterparts to the photo
essays The Quiet Hours: City Photographs (2003) and Cabins of
Minnesota (2007), and contributed a poem to an annual Minnesota
Center for the Book Arts compilation celebrating handmade books in
2005. Holm seems to embrace writing as a community effort, both
creating and sharing his work with others. Translating the Dakota
name Minneota as “much water,” Holm notes: “You live in much water
yourself, however different the details. The only way to honor your
own is to honor mine—a small favor all writers ask of all readers.”
(The Heart Can be Filled Anywhere on Earth, 26.)
Certainly, Holm’s writing offers challenges to us as Americans. In
his most recent book of essays, The Windows of Brimnes: An American
in Iceland, he asserts: “We—not the Germans, the Chinese, or the
Arabs—seem to me the most easily bullied people on earth” (131).
Such criticisms, however, come from a relatable, rather than
judgmental, source. A reviewer of Eccentric Islands: Travels Real
and Imaginary remarks, “…for all his observations, Holm's
willingness to poke fun at himself will reassure thoughtful readers
that he is both as ordinary and extraordinary as they are” (review
of Eccentric Islands, Publisher’s Weekly 44 (2000): 65).
Bill Holm’s visit is sure to be as entertaining and thoughtful as
his writing and his previous public appearances have been. All are
welcome to attend the presentation in the library’s lower level
meeting room on Monday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. There is no cost to
attend. As an added treat, refreshments will be served by a local
Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) chapter.
Selected Bibliography of Bill Holm’s Work:
The Music of Failure, 1985
Boxelder Bug Variations: A Mediation on an Idea in Language and
Coming Home Crazy: An Alphabet of China Essays, 1989
The Dead Get By With Everything: Poems, 1991
Chocolate Chip Cookies: For Your Enemies, 1993
Landscape of Ghosts, 1993
The Heart Can be Filled Anywhere on Earth: Minneota, Minnesota, 1996
Eccentric Islands: Travels Real and Imaginary, 2000
The Quiet Hours: City Photographs, 2003
Playing the Black Piano, 2004
Cabins of Minnesota, 2007
The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland, 2007
March 3, 2008
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Every library has some. Sometimes they’re young. Sometimes they’re
old. Sometimes they come to research. Sometimes they come to use the
Internet. Sometimes they just come to read. Sometimes, they come to
talk. Sometimes, they just come to sit and think. I’m speaking about
library “regulars.” These are the people who come in so regularly to
the public library, that they become well-known to staff—known on a
Such a man was “Randy” Tastel who passed away last week. Randy was a
fixture at the New Ulm Library. Everyone knew Randy. He was
soft-spoken, intelligent and well-read. He would read for hours.
Occasionally, staff would get phone calls asking—“Is Randy in his
office?” No one needed to say his last name. We knew who they meant.
Randy’s office was whatever chair he happened to be sitting on in
the library. If he didn’t happen to be in, staff would
suggest—“He’ll probably be back. Call later.” And he usually was.
Randy was that much a fixture at the library.
Randy would talk to anyone. He would often be overhead in historical
or political discussions with other patrons. But they were never
heated discussions. As one staff member recalls—“He was a gentleman
and a gentle man.” While Randy seemed a private man to most staff,
he clearly enjoyed his conversations with other customers and with
staff. In his later years, he would come to the Reference Desk to
share his feelings about things he was reading.
Randy, when he was younger (in his 70s and 80s), rode his bicycle to
the library, seemingly every day, where he would read newspapers,
magazines, books, and write letters-to-the-editor of the New Ulm
JOURNAL. Sometimes Randy would bring staff tiger lillies for our
front desk. Sometimes he would tell staff about bargains he’d found
out about at local stores. One time, Randy shaved off his well-known
beard, entered the library and wasn’t recognized for hours. Other
times, patrons jokingly, but with evident affection, would comment
that he was here so much they thought Randy lived here. Randy was a
regular at the library, learning about whatever he could.
How long did Randy patronize the New Ulm Library? No one really
knows. Our staff member with twenty-five years on the job says—“He
was coming here before I arrived in 1983!” Most locals who knew
Randy knew he loved learning. They knew his affection for the
library and what it offered him. The staff at the New Ulm Library
was saddened to hear of Randy’s passing last week. We have truly
lost one of our most devoted “regulars.” Library staff love all of
our “regulars.” We are sorry to have lost Randy Tastel. We will miss
Spring is Approaching
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Well, spring is
approaching, and how do they say it—“A young man’s fancy turns
to golf!?” Okay, so I’m not a young man, and maybe that’s
not an exact quote, but my fancy does turn to golf about this time
each year. There’s something about whacking that little ball around
the fine greenery of a well-kept golf course. If you’re a golfer
you know what I mean. Some shots remain in your memory forever. I
still remember Greenhaven Golf Club in Anoka, Minnesota in 1967.
Playing a par three, I overclubbed and sent my ball flying over the
green, almost certainly headed out-of-bounds and a penalty. Ah, but
providence, sweet providence intervened. The ball hit a tree angling
back towards to the green, getting a mid-flight adjustment in
glancing off the top of a small hill, then catching just enough
fringe to slow it down allowing it to finish one foot from the hole.
My near disaster had turned into a near hole-in-one! Minnesota Fats
couldn’t have angled it better on a pool table.
still not quite time in Minnesota to head out to the links. We
diehard golfers are still resigned to Hawaiian golf vacations,
watching the early PGA tournaments on television or reading about
golf. And boy, is there a lot to read about golf! The New Ulm
Public Library has books of fiction, books of instruction, materials
on choosing a golf vacation—even books about golf psychology. I
found over a hundred titles in our catalog dealing with golf. Here
are a few ideas for you:
by Rick Shefchik. This is a mystery involving a Minneapolis police
detective who gets invited to the Master’s tournament in Augusta.
Guess what happens! Well, our protagonist is a detective, and this
is a mystery, so there must be a murder. But on a golf course? Fore
all you mystery lovers.
Caddy for Life: the
John Edwards Story
by John Feinstein. An inside look at the world of golf over the
forty years that Edwards caddied for legendary pro Tom Watson.
Edwards's career as a caddy is a fascinating story in and of itself
but also represents a microcosm of the changes in modern
How I Play Golf
by Tiger Woods. I haven’t read this one myself but it has lots of
photos and lots of instruction. If you’re young and just taking up
the game, the instruction will be great. If you’re mature, enjoy the
pictures because you’ll never, ever hit it like Tiger. Nor should
Tee off! You can play
by Nick Fauchald. This is a 24-page picture book about learning golf
for the newest readers in your family. Do you think you’re the
father of a fledging Tiger Woods? Maybe this one will help
motivate your little Tiger!
The Women's Guide to
Golf : A Handbook for Beginners
by Kellie Stenzel. If
you know nothing about golf or just want a refresher course, this is
a great title. How do I know? Well, the reviewers on Amazon.com told
me so. One reviewer called it the “best book out there” for women
taking up the game. Hmmm. I wonder if it could do this male golfer
So there you have it. Five little suggestions. But, trust me,
they’re just the tip of the iceberg. If you were to read every book
on golf in the New Ulm Public Library, you’d still be reading by the
start of next winter, and you’d have missed the entire 2008 season.
And that definitely would not be good fore you!
An Unusual Winner
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
It’s that time of year for book awards. As a Children’s librarian, I
look forward to hearing who the winners are for two special awards:
the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott Medal. A committee of the
American Library Association (ALA) selects winners for both of these
The Newbery Medal goes to the author of the most distinguished
American children’s book published during the previous year. The
2008 Newbery Medal winner is Laura Amy Schlitz for her book entitled
“Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village.” This
book is a collection of 21 stories about different characters who
live in the village. Schlitz uses several different poetic forms and
styles to tell these stories.
Each year the Caldecott Medal goes to the artist of the most
distinguished American picture book for children. Most picture books
have 32 pages. I mention that because this year’s winning book has
533 pages. You can imagine my surprise when I learned that the 2008
Caldecott Medal goes to Brian Selznick for his book entitled “The
Invention of Hugo Cabret.”
At first I thought there must be some mix-up. Then I rushed to my
bookshelf (at home) to find this book. I had taken it home to read
for two reasons: 1. It looked intriguing. And 2. A local teacher had
stopped at my desk to rave about it. (This just goes to show you
what good taste our local readers have!) After reading it, I
realized that Brian Selznick definitely deserves the Caldecott
Selznick uses a unique combination of words and black and white
pencil illustrations to tell the story of Hugo, an orphan boy who is
living alone in a train station in Paris in 1931. Hugo has to become
a thief to survive and to support his dream of restoring the wind-up
toy (an automata) left behind by his father. Hugo meets a strange
girl and a mysterious old man who turns out to be Georges Melies,
the father of science fiction movies. I don’t want to give away the
ending, but this story is suspenseful. I was turning the illustrated
pages as quickly as I could to find out what was happening next.
Then I would slow down to read the pages of text interspersed
between the illustrated pages.
You see, the illustrations in this book actually help tell the
story. In most books, illustrations merely support the text.
Selznick explains his book this way: It’s “not exactly a novel, not
quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or
a movie, but a combination of all these things.”
Selznick’s book is a fun read. Kids and adults of all ages would
enjoy reading this book. We shelve it in the Junior Fiction area.
Award-winning books are usually special in some way. “The Invention
of Hugo Cabret” is indeed special. I applaud the ALA committee for
stepping outside the box to choose this unusual book as the winner.
For Every Heart
JoAnne Griebel, Reference Aide
“For Every Heart, There’s a Story” is the caption on the American
Heart Association website www.americanheart.org. “For Every Heart’
invites families to share their stories of heart disease. February
is a month of hearts. We exchange valentines, but perhaps the best
valentine we can give is heart health.
Since 1963 Congress has required the President to proclaim February
American Heart Month. Did you know that more than 21% of all deaths
in Minnesota are due to heart disease? Heart disease is the second
leading cause of death in Minnesota; stroke is the third leading
cause of death in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Health
website www.health.state.mn.us has fact sheets with more information
on heart health.
You can access these websites at the library. Stop and check out
some of the print materials on healthy hearts. “How to Prevent Your
Stroke” by Dr. J. David Spence explains what a stroke is, how to
identify the signs of a stroke, and how to help manage cholesterol
and control high blood pressure. Cecily Ross shares her family’s
experiences in “Love in the Time of Cholesterol: A Memoir With
Recipes”. After her husband suffered a heart attack at the young age
of 44, the couple made many changes in their approach to health and
life. Larry Katzenstein’s “Living With Heart Disease” is well worth
your time. This AARP Guide has clear illustrations and explanations
about heart disease and taking charge of your health. “Strong Women,
Strong Hearts: Proven Strategies Tailored Specifically for Women”
covers everything from risk assessment to nutrition, fitness and
Don’t forget ELM (Electronic Libraries for Minnesota) databases. ELM
can be accessed from the library, home, school or office using the
link on the library homepage at www.newulmlibrary.org. Click on
Reference, then ELM. You will need to log in with your library card
number. You can access many magazines including the “Harvard Heart
Letter” and “Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter”.
Take care of yourself; your heart will love you for it.
I Read What I Read
Lori Roholt, Programming
Just between us, the last mystery novel I read was from the Trixie
Belden series, and I was in grade school. As a librarian (albeit one
new to the profession), such an admission is made in an apologetic
tone. After all, some of the most popular and creative authors
writing today are mystery novelists.
Still, I believe many readers can relate to my situation: we have
our literary tastes, and there is so much to read to suit those
tastes that branching out to read other genres just doesn’t seem,
well, necessary. Of course, I am open to the notion that I don’t
know what I’m missing, and perhaps one day I will pick up a mystery
novel and be hooked. Until then, I’ll stick with what I know I like,
and I bet you will, too!
That said, I am eagerly anticipating the library’s upcoming Author
Series featuring four mystery authors. Hosted by the Friends of the
New Ulm Public Library, the series will launch on Tuesday, February
12 with Brian Freeman, author of Immoral, Stripped, and the
soon-to-be-released Stalked. Freeman writes thrillers; according to
his online biography, his are novels of “psychological suspense.”
On Thursday, February 21, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To
Catch a Thief mystery series (including Reluctant Burglar, Reluctant
Runaway, and Reluctant Smuggler) will visit to discuss her writing.
Also a mystery author, Nelson’s books incorporate elements of
suspense and romance, as well as Christian themes.
In March, the series continues with co-authors Marilyn Victor and
Michael Allen Mallory visiting on Monday, March 10. Set in a
Minnesota zoo, their mystery novel Death Roll introduces readers to
zookeeper “Snake” Jones and a man-eating crocodile.
Whether or not you are a reader of mysteries, I hope you will plan
to attend the 2008 Author Series. These guests are sure to have
interesting insights into the publishing industry, the creative
process, and the experience of being authors in Minnesota today.
Clearly, the mystery genre is explored in diverse and fascinating
ways by our visiting authors.
Each author visit will begin at 7:00 p.m., and will be held in the
library’s lower level meeting room. The final visit in the series
will be a bit of a departure from its ‘mysterious’ predecessors. On
Monday, March 17, Bill Holm, an author of essays and poetry, will
speak at the library. Watch for more about Bill Holm in an upcoming
article, and ask around: an alumnus of Gustavus Adolphus College,
Bill Holm has made a number of well-received public appearances in
Silhouettes and Snow
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
It’s cold. Brrrrr. It is really cold. It’s the kind of weather that
makes you want to make some soup, sip some hot chocolate, and curl
up with a good book.
Don’t have a good book? The library can help you there. If winter
has you in a hole, you need to pop up, pop out, and pop into the
Who pops out in this weather? Well, it is almost Groundhog Day and
if a groundhog can pop out of his burrow to predict the weather, you
can make it here and pick out a book to curl up with. Think of all
the pressure that woodchuck has. He has to predict the weather! Even
weathermen can’t always make accurate predictions. Either the
groundhog will see his shadow and foresee six weeks more of winter,
or if it is overcast there will be no shadow to see and he will
predict an early spring.
If you are curious as to the legend of Groundhog Day, I found two
references that claim it originated from some Scottish poems. One
couplet declares "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, There'll be
two winters in the year."
The other poem states:
“As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and snow
Winter will be gone and not come again”
I’m not sure how Candlemas Day and a marmot that predicts the
weather became connected. What I find curious is that a groundhog is
also known as a marmot, a woodchuck, a land beaver, a ground
squirrel, and a whistle pig. Juggling all of those names, how does
he possibly find time to make weather predictions?
I do know that your choices are much less stressful. The library is
warm and spacious. You can bring your own covered coffee and take
your time browsing the shelves for just the right thing. Don’t look
for shadows here; we have tangible things to read and see and listen
to. Why not sit down in one of the over stuffed chairs and read a
little before bundling back up to go outside?
And when outside, don’t even bother to look for your shadow. Keep
that scarf around your face because the wind is rough. Just make
sure you have that book or DVD under your arm as you go so that when
you get home, you can snuggle down and stay there.
Internet & Authors: Meet Brian Freeman
Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions
To a librarian, writing or talking to an author is
like a teenager meeting a rock star. Authors introduce us to
diverse, fascinating, dangerous, fantastic, and different worlds.
With the advent of the Internet, books will often offer a website or
email address for the book’s author. I have written to a few authors
when I just wanted to tell them how much I enjoyed their work. It is
amazing to me when they write back. Writing to an author is a
two-edged sword. The good part is that it is exciting corresponding
with authors. The bad part is: they are writing back. That means,
they aren’t writing their next book. So whatever charge you are
getting out of communicating with authors, they aren’t writing their
next book. Don’t even think that there may be tons of people writing
to them. Just don’t go there.
So I wrote to Brian Freeman. I had to tell him that I loved the fact
that there were twists and turns in his books and not all of them
were predictable. I’m okay with not being able to solve the crime,
but I want to be able to TRY TO solve the mystery. His books give
you all the information; you just have to get there. I became a fan.
I wrote. He wrote back. How great is that? He said he liked to visit
libraries. Now almost a year later, Lori has scheduled him to speak
at our library. He is coming here February 12th, and his new book is
due out in February. I couldn’t be more excited.
His first book “Immoral” is an explicit thriller whose main
character is a Duluth police detective named Jonathan Stride. While
I enjoyed the plot, I also liked that I could feel a Minnesota
winter in his words: “He dug in his boots, stiffening his body
against the swirling wind. The cold felt like knives on the sliver
of his face where the wool scarf left his skin exposed.”
Moreover, Freeman introduces enough characters that there are plenty
of suspects to choose from if you want to try to guess who done it.
His characters’ personalities and style are well developed and
interesting. “Stride didn’t spend much money on clothes himself. He
kept resoling the cowboy boots he had worn since he traded in his
uniform to join the Detective Bureau, and that was a long time ago.
He still wore the same frayed jeans that he had worn through nine
winters, even though coins now sprinkled the ground through a tear
in his pocket. His leather jacket was similarly weather-worn. It
still bore a bullet hole in the sleeve, which aligned with the scar
on Stride’s muscular upper arm.”
He draws you into the story employing all your senses to involve you
completely in Stride’s world. “Even a year after she was gone, he
could still smell Cindy in the house. … In the early days he had
wanted to banish the smell from the house and he had thrown open all
the windows to let the lake air wash through. Then, when the aroma
began to fade, he got scared, and he shut up the house for days for
fear he might lose it altogether.”
With so many books out there to read who has time to re-read one?
Well, I just re-read “Immoral” and I still got caught up in the
story and with Freeman’s writing. Brian Freeman pulls the reader
into the mystery while giving the reader a dead on description of
Minnesota. If I hadn’t sent him an email already, I’d sit down again
to tell him how much I enjoy his work. But you know, I just don’t
want to disturb him if he is writing.
Can Summer Be Far Off?
Linda Lindquist, Reference Librarian
Have you checked your mailbox lately and found a seed catalog among
the items delivered to your doorstep? Well, I have received three or
four in the last few days which makes me think summer can’t be too
far off. Oh what fun it is to sit down and start to dream and plan
for warmer days, getting out in the sun, and working in our gardens
By looking at the catalogs you see all those wonderful vegetables
and herbs and flowers to put in your garden. I checked our shelves
here at the New Ulm Public Library and found these books that I
wanted to share with you. The first one is “The Edible Mexican
Garden” by Rosalind Creasy. Many herbs and vegetables are covered in
her book. She tells us the different varieties available, ways to
plant and grow them, and recipes to use the vegetables and herbs.
How about growing gourds in your garden? Ginger Summit’s book
entitled “Gourds in Your Garden: A Guidebook for the Home Gardener”
is for you. Every garden has challenges including soil type, weather
conditions, and space available for planting. Whether you are a
gardener who loves the shapes and sizes of the gourd plants or you
are a crafter looking for the perfect gourd for a project, you might
want to look at this book.
Are you looking for new ways to use the herbs grown in your garden?
Tessa Evelegh’s book “Herbcrafts: Practical Inspirations for Natural
Gifts, Country Crafts, and Decorative Displays” could be just that
book. There are over 40 craft projects using fresh and dried herbs
to create gifts, decorations, and recipes. A directory at the end of
the book lists many of the common herbs telling what they look like,
how to cultivate them, and how to use them.
These are just a few of the books we have in our gardening section
at the New Ulm Public Library. Come in and browse through the 635s
to see what is available. Also check out our display in the
Reference area featuring gardening books.
I always seem to have big plans for the most wonderful garden ever,
but those plans sometimes go by the wayside. Oh well, it’s good to
get outdoors in the fresh air and scratch around in the dirt anyway.
Enjoy planning your garden!
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
It’s already January. All the big movies contending for awards have
been making their appearances during the Christmas season. Some
titles you might have been hearing about are “The Golden Compass,”
“Atonement,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Into the Wild.” So one
of our January displays is called Reel Lit.
This display holds the books that current movies have been made from
and the ones you have been hearing about. I just read Richard
Matheson’s “I am Legend.” Matheson wrote for “The Twilight Zone.”
You might remember the episode with William Shatner who is the only
one who spots the gremlin sabotaging the plane he’s on; that’s an
episode Matheson did. He wrote “I am Legend” in 1954. It still
stands up if you read it. It has been made into “The Last Man on
Earth” in the 60’s with Vincent Price, and in the 70’s Charlton
Heston made it as “The Omega Man.” So my husband and I went to see
the new version of the movie called “I am Legend.” Without spoiling
anything, Will Smith does a great job. So does his dog. Really. I
just don’t know why they didn’t stick to the book; the book works. I
have a t-shirt that says “Never judge a book by its movie.” I
believe that. Come and read the book and then see the movie or see
the movie and then fill in the gaps by reading the book. It’ll be
Our second display celebrates Coffee Gourmet International Month. It
is called Uncommon Grounds. Even if you don’t drink it, many people
love the aroma of a good cup of coffee. So brew up some or buy
yourself a good cup of coffee and pick up one of these books. We
have mysteries here like “Through the Grinder,” and “Coffee to die
for,” as well as non-fiction entitled “How Starbucks Saved My Life”
and “Coffee Made Her Insane and Other Nuggets from Old Minnesota
New glass in our display case means we have a new display inside.
The United Way is celebrating 50 years of service from 1957 to 2007.
Please stop and take a look at their tradition of caring and helping
others. It is a good visual example of people helping people.
January can be bitter, snowy, windy, and just plain freezing. If you
need a place to thaw out, come in from the cold, bring a covered cup
of coffee with you and check out what’s on display.