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New Ulm Public Library




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

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(in reverse chronological order)




Dec 29, 2008 - Apologies to Clement Moore by Lori Roholt & Betty Roiger
Dec 22, 2008 - Shake Yourself Awake
- by JoAnne Griebel
Dec 15, 2008 - The Winter Solstice
by Lori Roholt
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
by Lori Roholt

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?
by Betty Roiger
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 Diane Zellmann
Sep 08, 2008 - Law and Order
by Linda Lindquist

Sep 01, 2008 - Upcoming Events by Lori Roholt

Aug 25, 2008 - History of the New Ulm Library by Larry Hlavsa

Aug 18, 2008 - Good Evening by Betty Roiger

Aug 11, 2008 - What Fun It Was! by Diane Zellmann

Aug 04, 2008 - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words by JoAnne Griebel

Jul 28, 2008 - You've Just Got To by Lori Roholt

Jul 21, 2008 - They Also Ran by Larry Hlavsa
Jul 14, 2008 - What Does It Mean?
by Betty J Roiger
Jul 07, 2008 - Voices in Your Car by Diane Zellmann
Jun 30, 2008 - History Revealed by JoAnne Griebel
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
by Lori Roholt
May 12, 2008 - Penderwicks Return
by Betty J Roiger
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 -
Educating Encouraging Empowering by JoAnne Griebel
Apr 14, 2008 - Special April Displays by Diane Zellmann
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 & Spice
by Diane Zellmann
Mar 17, 2008 - Movies At the Library
by Betty Roiger
Mar 10, 2008 - Author Bill Holm
by Lori Roholt
Mar 03, 2008 - Library Regulars
by Larry Hlavsa
Feb 25, 2008 - Spring Is Approaching
by Larry Hlavsa
Feb 18, 2008 - An Unusual Winner
by Diane Zellmann
Feb 11, 2008 - For Every Heart by JoAnne Griebel
Feb 04, 2008 - I Read What I Read by Lori Roholt
Jan 28, 2008 - Silhouettes and Snow
by Betty J. Roiger
Jan 21, 2008 - Internet & Authors: Meet Brian Freeman by Betty J. Roiger
Jan 14, 2008 - Can Summer Be Far Off?
by Linda Lindquist
Jan 07, 2008 - January Thaw by Betty Roiger


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 December 25.

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 celebrations.

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

Simply Christmas
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 purchase count?

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!

Diane 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 Polar Express.”

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 all feared.

"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 good-night!"

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


Speak Up!

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

Veteran Authors
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 military.

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


Election Exhaustion
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 yourselves.

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 for information.

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 would use.)

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 children’s section.

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 intended audience.

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 rules.

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 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 music!

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 programs.

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 Librarian




















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 through.

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!

Larry 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 door.

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 there.

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 to Storytime.

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 interaction going.

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 your affairs.

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


Upcoming Events
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

Larry B. Hlavsa, Library Director

Erna Holzinger, ca early 1950s.

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, 1937.

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 research.


August 18, 2008


Good Evening
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 home.

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


What Fun It Was!                            

Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian


The 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.   

We thank 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.


We also 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. 

The 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.


Again, we 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 of art.


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 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 all Americans.


American 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 these books!


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 journey yourself.”


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???

July 14, 2008

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 around.

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 listeners.

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

History Revealed
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

Travel Minnesota
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 history-themed vacation.

Pieces of My Heart: Everyone has an Everest by Jim Klobuchar. This collection of essays may spark your interest in travels both in and beyond Minnesota.

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 and travel.

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 Questions
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 found.

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 explanation.

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 me.

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 blood pressure.

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 stumped.

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: 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 qualify.)

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 information.

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 John McCrae:

“…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

Penderwicks Return
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

I Forget
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 answered truthfully.

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?

April 28, 2008
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

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, Minnesota.

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, 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.

April 21. 2008

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 proper diagnosis.

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 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 provides information and links to other resources. The U.S. National Library of Medicine 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.

April 14, 2008

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 entrance hallway.

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.

April 7, 2008

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 fledgling poet.

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!

March 31, 2008

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 What a fun way to get everyone in your family involved in an outdoor activity.

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 freezer.

April is a busy month—get out and enjoy it.

March 24, 2008

Snails & Puppy Dog Tails or Sugar & Spice
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 learning.

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!

March 17, 2008

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 you back.

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.”

March 10, 2008

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 Music, 1985
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

Library "Regulars"
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 first-name basis.

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 him.

February 25, 2008

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.

Well, it’s 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:

Amen Corner 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 professional golfing.

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 you try.

Tee off! You can play golf 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 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 any good?

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!

February 18, 2008

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 medals.

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 Medal.

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.

February 11, 2008

For Every Heart
JoAnne Griebel, Reference Aide

“For Every Heart, There’s a Story” is the caption on the American Heart Association website “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 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 emotional health.

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 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.

February 4, 2008

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 the area.

January 28, 2008

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 library.

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.

January 21, 2008

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.

January 14, 2008

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 once again.

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!

January 7, 2008

January Thaw
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 worth it.

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 Newspapers.”

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.

Last updated: Monday, December 31, 2012

Last updated: December 31, 2012