OF 2012 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2011
ARCHIVE OF 2010 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2008 ARTICLES
ARCHIVE OF 2007 ARTICLES
Dec 28, 2009 - Sophie Hannah by Betty J
Dec 21, 2009 - De-stress Not Distress
by JoAnne Griebel
Dec 14, 2009 - 1-2-3 READ & Win!
by Diane Zellmann
Dec 08, 2009 - Library Programming Gets a Boost
With State Funds
by Kris Wiley
Nov 30, 2009 - Shop at the Library This Week
by Betty Roiger & Kris Wiley
Nov 23, 2009 - Who Needs It?
by Betty Roiger
Nov 09, 2009 - A Call for Library Volunteers
by Kris Wiley
Nov 02, 2009 - Keeping Afloat by Betty
Oct 26, 2009 - Unusual Minds
by Betty Roiger
Oct 12, 2009 - Domestic Violence Awareness
by Linda Lindquist
Oct 05, 2009 - Teens: Check Out Your Public Library
by Kris Wiley
Sep 28, 2009 - Celebrate the 'Wizard of Oz'
by Betty Roiger
Sep 21, 2009 - Listen to This!
by Betty Roiger
Sep 14, 2009 - It's Time for Stories!
Sep 07, 2009 - Because There's a Lot of Living
Left to Do...by JoAnne Griebel
Aug 31, 2009 - Reaping What We Plant by
Aug 24, 2009 - To Be 6 Again...
Aug 17, 2009 - Every Journey Begins with a Single
by Betty Roiger
Aug 10, 2009 - Summer Results by Diane
Aug 03, 2009 - Are We Almost There?
by Linda Lindquist
Jul 27, 2009 - TTYL by Betty Roiger
Jul 20, 2009 - Something for Nothing by
Jul 13, 2009 - What's Your Perspective?
by Betty Roiger
Jul 06, 2009 - Creative Kids
by Diane Zellmann
Jun 29, 2009 - Be Creative
@ Your Library!
by JoAnne Griebel
Jun 22, 2009 - Latest All City Read
Jun 15, 2009 - Fiction or Nonfiction? by
Jun 08, 2009 - Woo Woo by Betty Roiger
Jun 01, 2009 - Freedom
by Linda Lindquist
May 25, 2009 -
Summer Reading Program Begins June 1st by
May 18, 2009 - Post Secret by Betty Roiger
May 11, 2009 - The Diogenes Club?
May 4, 2009 - Why Weed Now?
Apr 27, 2009 - Only Connect!
Apr 20, 2009 - Spring Cheer by Diane
Apr 13, 2009 - 8 Men and a Duck
by JoAnne Griebel
Apr 07, 2009 - Are We Doomed?
Mar 30, 2009 - Truth and April Fools by
Mar 23, 2009 - Dr. Seuss on Display
Mar 16, 2009 - Lost Your Job and Don’t Know Where to
Turn? by Linda Lindquist
Mar 09, 2009 - A Valuable Community Resource
by Lori Roholt
Mar 02, 2009 - Librarian on the Red Carpet
by Betty Roiger
Feb 23, 2009 - Michael Crichton by Betty
Feb 16, 2009 - Books Are Winners Too! by
Feb 09, 2009 - Happy Birthday! by JoAnne
Feb 02, 2009 - Informational Films at the Library
by Lori Roholt
Jan 26, 2009 - Using MnLINK to Find Books
by Larry Hlavsa
Jan 19, 2009 -
A Dash of This and a Pinch of That by
Jan 12, 2009 - Books Set in Minnesota by
Jan 05, 2009 - Two Tales by Betty Roiger
December 28, 2009
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
We try to keep on top of trends here at the library. Often
when the courier bins arrive and we begin sorting books, it
becomes apparent that certain books seem to be going back
and forth quite frequently. If it is a Grisham or Patterson
book, we tend to have it already as these authors have
predictable bestsellers. It is the unknown author I try to
keep my eyes open for.
We have been getting requests for a book I hadn’t previously
heard about called “The Wrong Mother” by Sophie Hannah. So I
looked up reviews and thought it sounded really fascinating.
I put the title on my list of items that were to be ordered.
When I looked up Sophie I noticed she had several books, so
I decided to investigate further. The reviews were
interesting, and I ordered “Little Face” and “Hurting
Distance” as well. As intrigued as I was having read the
reviews of “The Wrong Mother,” I decided to start on “Little
Face.” Well. Wow.
“Little Face” is about new mother Alice who goes on her
first outing away from her baby only to return to the front
door ajar, her husband, David, sleeping, and her baby gone,
with another in its place. Predictably she is frantic and
inconsolable and calls the police. The police arrive to
listen to her hysterics and all the while David keeps
stating calmly that the baby is their baby. Now the police
have conflicting reports and different takes on these people
and their reactions. As the story unfolds, revelations
continue to pile up. This is very British, very gothic, and
there are moments of violence. It is also the reader’s
introduction to Sergeant Charlie (Charlotte) Zailer and her
partner, Detective Constable Simon Waterhouse. The lies, the
twists and turns keep the pages turning.
So next I picked up “Hurting Distance.” This book continues
to develop the characters of Charlie and Simon and their
relationship. Naomi Jenkins goes to the police when her
lover doesn’t show up for their usual rendezvous. She is
worried that he is missing and perhaps hurt. While the
police take her semi-seriously, they halfway believe that
her lover, Robert, is just trying to let her down by
avoidance. As time passes and with suspicions of his wife
growing, Naomi gets more desperate and decides that the only
way to really get police aid will be to say that Robert
actually raped her. Once she brands him as a rapist, the
police must pursue his whereabouts, as he might be a
possible criminal. When the police finally locate Robert,
they find him near dead with a head wound. As the police
investigate the assault on Robert, Naomi’s lies come to
light and other truths surface as well. The plot takes on
more and deeper implications as Charlie’s life becomes
entangled and the lies and truths begin to stack up to build
a story. Again, this book has lovely twists and red
herrings, and I was caught up in it. Warning: This novel has
violence as well, and if you don’t like British vernacular,
you might not enjoy reading this.
Watching trends can not only help us spot new authors to put
on the shelves, but this time it also gave me a new author
to look forward to reading.
December 21, 2009
De-stress Not Distress
by JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
Long lines, crowded stores, endless “to do” lists. Sound
familiar? Christmas is almost here; what’s done is done. The
next item on your list is you; take a deep breath, pause and
enjoy the special times of Christmas. This is easier said
than done. There are cd’s and books at your library that may
help you de-stress, not distress.
Erica Braeley’s “Ten Minute Stress Relief” offers techniques
to help you relax and feel renewed. There is a chapter on
understanding your stress, including a self-assessment quiz.
Dr. Richard O’Connor’s “Undoing Perpetual Stress: The
Missing Connection Between Depression, Anxiety and 21st
Century Illness” explores getting along with others and
ourselves. “God Help Me! Finding Balance Through God’s
Grace” by Gregory Popcak offers another perspective on
stress management. Two chapters are of special interest:
Chapter 6 “Find Where You Left Yourself” and Chapter 7
“Practice Joy.” Many of you are familiar with Prevention
Magazine. The Editors of Prevention Health Books have
compiled “Prevention’s Best Stress Busters” including how to
create serenity and information on soothing foods and herbs.
“Dancing for Health” by Judith Lynne Hanna, explains how
dancing is a healing art in both Western and non-Western
cultures. Yoga is another stress management technique. Your
library has books and DVDs about yoga. Another DVD “The Joy
of Stress” shows the positive side of stress. Loretta La
Roche uses humor, wisdom and patience to break negative
thoughts that result in stress. A special feature of the DVD
includes “Ten Little Commitments” to reduce stress. Sounds
“Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress” by Rita Emmett is
for all of us who feel overworked, overwhelmed and over
scheduled. The author says, “True time management means
actually spending as much of your time as you can doing
those things you want to do.” In her book she explains how
to develop self-care and time management skills.
For those of you who have no time to read about stress
management, your library has several audio books on cd and
cassette. Dr. Wayne Dyer and Dr. Christine Northrup have
co-authored “Inside-Out Wellness: The Wisdom of Mind/Body
Dr. Edward Hallowell’s “Crazy Busy Overstretched, Overbooked
and About to Snap!” is described as “strategies for coping
in a world gone ADD.” Another title you may want to check
out is by Dr. Richard Carlson, “Easier Than You Think
Because Life Doesn’t Have to Be So Hard.” Dr. Carlson is the
author of the popular “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”
Remember this quotation by Ovid, “Take rest; a field that
has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Take time for yourself
and your family, visit the library together and choose some
books, or DVDs to enjoy. Happy Holidays from all of us at
your public library!
December 14, 2009
1-2-3 READ & Win!
by Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
If you know a child who loves Elmo and other Sesame Street
characters, you might be interested in the special Sesame
Street Live program that is coming up soon in January at the
Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato. Today I received some
free ticket vouchers for this program to give away to kids.
Read on for more information.
The special program is called “1-2-3 Imagine! With Elmo &
Friends.” There are three performances:
• Tuesday, January 19, 2010, at 7:00 P.M.,
• Wednesday, January 20, 2010, at 10:30 A.M., and
• Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 7:00 P.M.
All kids need to do to become eligible to win these tickets
is to read four books between now and January 13, 2010.
Pre-readers who listen to someone read four books to them
qualify as well. Here are the steps to take:
1. Select 4 books you would like to read or listen to.
2. Come to the New Ulm Public Library and ask for a 1 2 3
READ entry form.
3. Write the titles of the 4 books on the entry form.
4. Each time you read or listen to a book, return the entry
form to the library and ask the librarian to initial that
you have read it.
5. After reading or listening to all 4 books and having the
librarian initial each one, give the completed entry form to
the librarian by January 13.
6. Your entry form becomes your chance to win a FREE ticket
to “1-2-3 Imagine! With Elmo & Friends” at the Verizon
7. All winners will be selected randomly and notified by
8. Winners will pick up their voucher at the Library and
then redeem the voucher at Verizon Wireless Center box
Each ticket voucher is good for one ticket (premium seating
not included) to any performance. Additional tickets will be
available for purchase. If you have questions, please
contact the Children’s desk at the Library (359-8336) or go
to their website at sesamestreetlive.com.
In addition, we have several dot-to-dot activities and
coloring sheets featuring Elmo and his Sesame Street friends
available at the Library from now until January 19, 2010.
All children who come to the Library may choose as many as
Kids who are interested in the free tickets to the Sesame
Street Live should start reading (or listening to) books as
soon as today. Elmo hopes to see you soon!
December 8, 2009
Library Programming Gets a Boost With State Funds
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Director
Look for many exciting programs at the library in the months
to come courtesy of you, the voters of Minnesota.
New Ulm Public Library received approval for nearly $4700 in
grant requests for programming from the Arts and Cultural
Heritage Fund, which was created to support the arts and
preserve our cultural heritage. The fund was created by the
passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in
The library is a member of Traverse des Sioux Library
System, which will receive about $231,000 in Legacy funds in
fiscal years 2010 and 2011. Some of that funding will be
used for statewide, multiregional and regional efforts.
Sixty percent of the total will be awarded as subgrants to
TdS member libraries.
Here at New Ulm Library, we’ve been brainstorming for
programming ideas, and we reached out to the Wanda Gag House
Association for input and support. By the first deadline on
Nov. 30, we submitted six subgrant applications, all of
which were approved. Now we’re in the process of confirming
speaking dates and completing contracts.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming programs, all
supported through Legacy funds:
January – Edward Micus, award-winning poet and short
January – Renee Wendinger, orphan trains historian
February – Nicole Helget, memoirist and novelist
March – Dr. Fred Doty, author of A Ministry Remembered
March – Deborah Kogan Ray, author of Wanda Gag: The Girl Who
Lived to Draw
April – Grassroots publishing workshop with Melessa
We are grateful to the Wanda Gag House Association for its
partnership with these programs, as well as Martin Luther
College for partnering with Ray’s author visit. Stay tuned
for further details. And if you have a programming idea,
contact me at 507-359-8334 or email@example.com.
A huge thank you to the Optimists Club, which donated $385
for the movie license that allows the library to show many
movies for free. The Optimists were generous contributors to
the Summer Reading Program, and they have stepped up again.
Another huge thank you to the Simply R.E.A.D. book
discussion group, which donated $250 at the Friends of the
Library book sale. We’re speechless.
November 30, 2009
Shop at the Library This Week
by Betty Roiger, Acquisitions & Kris Wiley, Assistant
We’re slashing our prices! Everything must go! These are
rock-bottom prices! Actually, that’s not entirely true. It
is time for the annual Friends of the Library book sale, and
we wanted to get your attention. However, these prices are
really good, and if everything did go, that would be great
because all the profits come back to benefit the public.
The pre-book sale is Dec. 3 from 6-8 p.m. The sale continues
Dec. 4 from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Dec. 5 from 9:30 a.m.-1
p.m. at the New Ulm Public Library basement meeting room.
Paperbacks are 25 cents each, and hardcovers, videos, CDs
and DVDs are 50 cents each. There will be a $2 bag sale
For those of you who want the biggest and best selection,
here’s a great option: Become a Friend of the Library, and
you can shop at the pre-sale Dec. 3. Purchase your
membership at the door, and you’re good to go. Members who
haven’t paid their 2009 dues can pay at the door, as well.
Memberships are $5 for individual youth, $10 for individual
adult, $20 for family, $50 and over for corporate, and $100
for individual lifetime. Thursday night is a great time for
a sneak peek and the opportunity to get first dibs on all
the good deals.
So what is for sale? You want James Patterson—we have James
Patterson. How about Dean Koontz? We have Dean Koontz,
Patricia Cornwell, Hoag, Macomber, and on and on. There are
just about every genre of book, from mysteries to science
fiction to fantasy, as well as children’s and young adult
titles. There are music CDs, audiobooks, and VHS tapes.
There even are a few DVDs. Our Friends are hard at work
sorting materials to give you the best shopping experience.
All proceeds from the sale go to the Friends of the New Ulm
Public Library, who turn around and give back to the
library. Talk about a win-win situation! This year alone,
the Friends have funded more than $700 for the children’s
Summer Reading Program, ice cream sundaes for 252 children
who signed up on the first day of Summer Reading, $500 for
talking books on CD, $225 for author visits, $750 for the
children’s department and $500 toward technology needs for
the library’s new computer work stations. As a library
staff, we’re grateful for the Friends’ commitment to
programming and materials, which is a direct result of the
dedication of Friends members and the book sale fundraiser.
But the biggest thanks of all go to you. The sale wouldn’t
be possible without a great community effort. We reached out
to request donations of books, videos and other materials,
and you responded. Thank you, thank you for your generous
contributions. Now we have that many more books and videos
for you to buy, and we’re asking for your help again. Stop
by this week, pick up a classic or a new favorite, and know
that you are playing a part in creating the library’s
future. See you at the library!
November 23, 2009
Who Needs It?
by Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions
Large Print. It is a type of reading material that has
larger typeface. So what? Who needs it?
That’s an easy one. Everyone. Large type books may have
originally been created to enable folks with eye problems or
those getting older to keep reading on their own.
It isn’t anymore. Here at the library, we have people of all
ages who check out our large print to read. Kids who have a
difficult time reading, read it. Seniors read it. Staff
reads it. Everybody reads it. We all readily admit, for
those of us who like to read before we go to sleep, large
print is great. Our eyes are getting tired, and large print
is big enough and bold enough to allow us to read “just one
more page” before we succumb to sleep.
So that’s large print. Why talk about it now? Well, the
Lions Club of New Ulm just gave us a very generous donation
to enlarge and add to our collection. Wow! Yeah, that’s what
I said, too. This is a tough economy. That is a gift. We
thank them. As do our patrons.
I immediately wrote to my two best vendors and said, “guess
what!?” We just got a gift and can purchase some large print
books. I got responses from both vendors within 10 minutes.
Because, you know, not only are we under economic pressure,
so are our vendors. They want a sale, sure, but they both
were sincerely glad to hear from us. One immediately sent us
six complimentary large print books. They promised free
shipping on my order. The other company offered a 20 percent
discount. So why am I going on about this?
Well, I personally think that goodness and generosity begets
more of the same. The openhandedness of the Lions allowed me
to order from two companies, who, in turn, offered their own
kindness. And you know who also benefits? Everyone in New
Ulm, all the patrons in our system, anyone who checks out
large print materials from us or asks for large print
through interlibrary loan.
Generosity grows. It feels good. And it needs to be
recognized. Thank you, Lions. Thank you.
November 9, 2009
A Call for Library Volunteers
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Director
There are many
opportunities to volunteer in our community, from service
organizations to religious institutions. And according to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of you already give of
your time and talent: About 61.8 million people in the
United States volunteered through or for an organization at
least once between September 2007 and September 2008. That’s
26.4 percent of the population.
Here’s another place to consider volunteering: your public
New Ulm Public Library has many activities suitable for
volunteers based on your skills, abilities and interests. We
provide training and a flexible schedule as well as the
opportunity to meet new people, share your gifts and serve
the community – all in a great environment.
We have ongoing activities you might enjoy, such as basic
office tasks, helping maintain our displays or straightening
our shelves. We also have an adopt-a-shelf program, which
involves selecting a favorite section of the library and
keeping it neat and in proper order. This is an excellent
group volunteer opportunity, possibly for book clubs. If
you’re interested in a one-time volunteer opportunity, we
have short-term projects to be completed at the library.
New Ulm Public Library has some requirements for volunteers.
You must be at least 16 years old; you also must complete an
application form and meet with us for a brief interview.
Finally, the City of New Ulm will complete a background
check on all volunteers who complete the application and
Stop by the library for more information or to pick up a
volunteer application form. Or take a look at the volunteer
page of our Web site at www.newulmlibrary.org; select
Outreach and Volunteer Services. There is a link to the
application form. Also, a list of ongoing activities is
provided, although it is by no means exhaustive. If you have
a particular skill, let us know. Whether you’re an
individual or a group, we have opportunities for you. Hope
to see you at the library!
November 2, 2009
by Betty Roiger, Acquisitions
It has been said over and over again. We are living in tough
times. But that’s not the kind of keeping afloat I’m talking
I’m talking about actually swimming and keeping your head
above water. Maybe, if you’ve had lessons and have a high
buoyancy level, it’s easy. But that’s not who I’m concerned
about right now. I’m talking about the little tadpoles, and
tikes whom we want to encourage in swimming and boating, but
who might need a little help.
Believe it or not, one of the services the New Ulm Library
provides is that we loan out life jackets for infants (less
than 30 lbs), children (30-50 lbs) and youth (50-90 lbs.)
These personal flotation devices are hanging right across
from our circulation desk. Parents can take them down, find
the right size, and try them on their children before
checking them out. These jackets have a one week check out
period, but if a vacation takes a little longer, we can make
This was originally intended to be only a seasonal service,
but we found that patrons check out life jackets all year
round. We learned that during winter parents take their kids
on long weekends to hotels that have pools. With our life
jackets, these children can swim safely indoors in the
We just received a generous donation of one dozen new
personal flotation devices for all three groups, infants,
children and youth from the Brown County Sheriff’s
Department. This came at an opportune time as we were
weeding a few of our older jackets. We thank the Brown
County Sheriffs Department for helping the New Ulm Public
Library to continue providing life jacket loans for
October 26, 2009
by Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions
We have a speaker coming November 7th at 10:00 a.m. who has
an unusual mind. His name is Tim Kehoe and he is the creator
of Zubbles. He is an inventor and an author…but maybe you
have not yet heard of Tim Kehoe or Zubbles. Sit back and
relax because I’d be delighted to introduce them to you.
This past summer a regular patron came in who had just seen
a group of authors speak. One that neither of us had heard
of was Tim Kehoe, and she had been captivated by his
presentation. You see, his is the stereotypical overnight
success story that in reality took years. We are all
familiar with blowing bubbles with those little wands and
watching them float away. Well, Tim wanted to make bubbles
that were in specific, vibrant colors. And so he began his
14-year odyssey of creating colored bubbles. In the process
he learned a lot about chemistry and even more about dyes.
He turned countertops and clothes and himself blue. Still,
he kept on inventing. Then when he discovered how to dye
bubbles that didn’t stain, he named his invention Zubbles.
[The librarians here have tried Zubbles, and they are really
cool.] [Actually, awesome.]
Tim’s story is also fascinating. While on the path of
inventing, he was interviewed by a small magazine, and asked
an interesting question: if he could do anything he wanted,
what would it be? Well, this was something he hadn’t thought
about, and, off the top of his head, he said, “I’d write a
children’s book.” Actually, he was going to go back to
inventing. But then something amazing happened. Someone
heard about the children’s book and called Tim to tell him
they would be interested in it. [You better sit down for
this part.] The folks who called were from Plan B, Brad
Pitt’s production company. And they were interested in
whatever Tim would write. So Tim sat down to write. He wrote
and rewrote. And he found out writing wasn’t as easy as
people think. But like his perseverance with coloring
bubbles, he continued.
I’m happy to say I just finished reading the culmination of
his writing, which is called “The Unusual Mind of Vincent
Shadow.” This is a children’s book about a boy who invents
things, all sorts of things. Vincent Shadow is in middle
school and he has a secret laboratory where he creates
things like “Biting Beast Balls,” “FibFinderPenz,” “MoodPaintz,”
and “Roc-Kitez.” His life has ups and downs, but even when
he is disappointed he just keeps on inventing. One of
Vincent’s inspirations is Nikola Tesla, a mechanical and
electrical engineer who was born in the 1800s. [Tesla could
also be said to have had an unusual and inventive mind.]
When some of Tesla’s artifacts and notebooks are discovered,
the results impact Vincent’s life. This is a fun read. Moms
or Dads reading with their kids would also get a kick out of
Come to the library on Saturday, November 7th to meet Tim
Kehoe and hear about Zubbles and much, much more. Kids of
all ages are welcome!
October 12, 2009
Domestic Violence Awareness
by Linda Lindquist, Adult Services Librarian
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic
violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving
a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every
background and circumstance. A family’s home becomes a place
of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is
battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a
loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members. Men
may experience domestic violence as well but tend to be more
silent about the abuse.
The New Ulm Public Library will be hosting author Chris
Harris on Thursday evening, October 22, 2009, at 7 p.m. in
the basement library meeting room. Her book, “What the Hell
Was I Thinking?”, discusses her personal history with
spousal abuse. Chris grew up in the Lafayette area and
graduated from New Ulm Public High School. She will be
telling her story and sharing her book. Copies of her book
are currently available at the Country Loft and Sven and
Ole’s in New Ulm. Crime Victim Services staff persons will
be on hand that evening as well to answer questions.
Abuse generally falls into one or more of the following
categories: physical battering, sexual assault, and
emotional or psychological abuse. The abuse usually
escalates over a period of time. Victims may experience
control of finances, lying, using children to manipulate a
parent’s emotions, fear, cuts, broken bones, forced sexual
contact, yelling, silent treatment, biting, kicking,
stalking, violence to pets, public humiliating, ridicule,
threats to harm family and friends, etc.
Domestic violence reaches all sectors of the population.
Older women are very vulnerable to domestic violence. Older
women are more likely to be bound by tradition and culture
that prevents them from leaving an abusive relationship.
They are often financially dependent on an abusive spouse.
Women living in rural areas lack resources, are more
isolated, have fewer support agencies available, and do not
have the transportation or communication systems available
to them to get out of an abusive situation.
And as always, check out the books on display in the
Reference area of the New Ulm Public Library on domestic and
October 5, 2009
Teens: Check Out Your Public Library
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Director
New Ulm Public Library has a multitude of resources and
activities especially for young adults, from electronic
databases to special events to novels. They’re all just a
click or stop away.
Teens working on research projects need look no further than
ELM, the Electronic Library of Minnesota (www.elm4you.org).
ELM consists of 48 databases, several of which provide
access to full-text articles. Try Discovering Collection or
MAS Ultra – School Edition for primary source material, maps
and multimedia. Britannica Online has seven interfaces with
age-appropriate encyclopedia content written by experts. If
you need to write a persuasive essay or debate an issue,
Points of View Reference Center provides full-text articles
that cover multiple sides.
ELM is a free resource for Minnesota residents; however, you
need a public library card to access some of the resources.
Teens younger than 16 are required to have a parent’s or
guardian’s signature on the library card application form.
Ask for assistance at our circulation desk.
You can accomplish much of your research without leaving
your home, but keep in mind that the library has great study
spaces as well as materials available for in-house use and
checkout. And take advantage of our reference staff; whether
it’s database searching or finding just the right book for
your paper, we have a wealth of knowledge, skills and
abilities to share.
Then consider taking a break from studying by joining the
library’s Teen Advisory Group. Young adults who will turn 13
this school year through age 19 are welcome to join TAG and
have your voice heard. Do you want board game nights at the
library? How about a book group? Crafts? Wii? What kinds of
materials do you want the library to purchase? Here’s your
chance to shape the young adult department. Check out the
teen page on the library’s Web site (www.newulmlibrary.org/webpages/teens.html)
for more information, and remember to bring a completed TAG
registration form to a meeting or activity.
Finally, don’t forget Teen Read Week Oct. 18-24. This year’s
theme is Read Beyond Reality @ Your Library, which
encourages young adults to read something out of this world
for fun. The following series certainly fit the bill:
• The House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast follows
Zoey Redbird and her friends at a vampyre finishing school.
Tempted, the sixth book in the series, is due out at the end
• The four-book Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld takes
place in a futuristic society where being pretty isn’t all
it’s cracked up to be.
• The Mortal Instruments is an urban fantasy series by
Cassandra Clare that focuses on a group of teen
Shadowhunters who fight demons.
Check the young adult display for more otherworldly ideas.
September 28, 2009
Celebrate “The Wizard of Oz”
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
It’s been 70 years since the children aged 8 to 108 first
sat down to see “The Wizard of Oz.” They were the first ones
to hear, “Surrender, Dorothy!” and “Lions and tigers, and
bears, oh my,” and “I had an Auntie Em myself once,” and
“Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore” lead all
of us into the wonderful world of the Wizard of Oz.
I had once heard the story that the author, L. Frank Baum,
used to tell these stories of Dorothy and her journey to
little children. When he did, they would burst out with
“ooohs” and “aaahs” in amazement. So Baum named the Wizard
‘Oz’ after all of the “aaahs” he received. I don’t know if
it is true, but it makes a good story.
There are other stories that come from “The Wizard of Oz,”
such as, that it represents America. And the strawman was a
symbol for agriculture, while the tinman stood for industry,
and the lion represented labor.
Maybe so. But I think the magic for me was in the quotes,
“there’s no place like home” and “if I ever go looking for
my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my
own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really
lost it to begin with! Is that right?” all couched in the
magic of munchkins, flying monkeys, witches, danger,
friendship, and love.
I think that most of us have fears and joys and go looking
for things only to find them closer than we originally
thought. And granted, maybe we don’t go singing and dancing
down a yellow brick road with new, extraordinary friends,
but we do find that friends and love sustain us through the
scary, uncertain times. We don’t necessarily sing, “You're
out of the woods, you're out of the dark, you're out of the
night..." but it’s really nice to see someone singing it as
they dance safely out of the forest.
And I like the truths that are in “The Wizard of Oz” whether
they are obvious or hidden, serious or humorous. The
conversation between Dorothy and the Scarecrow is funny, but
there is also some truth in it.
(Scarecrow): I haven't got a brain... only straw.
(Dorothy): How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?
(Scarecrow): I don't know... But some people without brains
do an awful lot of talking... don't they?
(Dorothy): Yes, I guess you're right.
We have a display up for “The Wizard of Oz” at the library.
There are books, graphic novels, and DVDs here to be checked
out. On Tuesday the newest special edition DVD with extras
is being released for the 70th anniversary, and we have it
on order. So if you want to travel down the yellow brick
road one more time, come in and check something out.
September 21, 2009
Listen to This!
by Betty Roiger, Acquisitions
It is no secret that there has been an economic crisis in
America that includes Minnesota. Budgets have been cut. Many
people’s lives have been affected.
Even the library, an institution that basically offers free
materials and Internet service to the public, has been
affected, as we need funding to provide our services.
One of the offerings of our library is our collection of
audio books on cassettes and CDs. This collection has always
been well used. With all of the CD players in vehicles now,
more and more people take a book along to listen to while
traveling. We have patrons who are truckers, commuters, and
both frequent and infrequent travelers who avidly use our
audio book collection. They will check out two or three or
even seven or eight audio books to make sure that they have
enough listening material to last them until they get where
they are going. Our collection never seems large enough or
current enough to meet the demand that is put on it.
Enter the Friends of the Library (FOL). If you don’t know
about the FOL, this is an organization whose sole purpose is
to support the library and its programs. Friends groups in
America have raised money to provide aid for library
programming, and materials, and have even built libraries
when there was nowhere else to get funding. Our Friends
group is in its early stages. Yet, with each successful
endeavor, they have given generously to the New Ulm Public
I mention them now because they recently gave the library a
gift of $500 to purchase audio books on CD. Because of the
Friends of the Library, you can hear one of the new James
Patterson books on CD: “8th Confession.” If you like David
Baldacci, we now have “First Family” in a talking book. I am
not sure how similar it is to the new movie out now with
Meryl Streep, but if you missed seeing that, listen to
“Julie and Julia” so you know what all the buzz was about.
We have two audio books by Christian fiction writer Karen
Kingsbury, called “Take One” and “Take Two.” In the shadow
of his untimely death, we also were able to get “Unmasked:
The Final Years of Michael Jackson.” Due to space, I am
leaving out many more fiction and non-fiction titles. But I
can’t omit “Deep Stress Relief: When You Need a Long
Vacation, but Only Have a Short Time,” and “Inside-Out
Wellness” only because they sound interesting.
I wrote this article was written for several reasons. One
was to let the public know that we have new audio books on
CD! The other purpose was to introduce the public to the
Friends group if you already are not acquainted. If you
become a member, all proceeds go to support your library.
And after you join whatever time and effort you want to put
into the group is your choice. No strings, no slave labor,
it’s all good. And while you are mulling over the Friends
group, come in and check out the new audio books courtesy of
our Friends of the Library.
September 14, 2009
It’s Time for Stories!
by Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
Storytime at New Ulm Public Library begins its fall session
next week. I am looking forward to seeing the preschoolers
and the adults who bring them. We will have lots of fun and
learn something too.
Every Storytime includes books. We read new titles as well
as old favorites. We sing songs and sometimes even dance. We
perform fingerplays and action rhymes. Puppets and
flannelboard characters frequently show up. Children meet
other children and have opportunities to interact with them.
The adults usually interact as well, sharing ideas and
experiences and making new friends.
Every Storytime includes learning. The children learn
pre-reading skills, like letter sounds, letter shapes,
vocabulary, and rhyming words. They 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. Early
literacy is the foundation for reading.
Each week we have four Storytimes, and each program lasts
about 30 minutes. These sessions are free and do not require
registration. Our first program begins on September 21. Here
is the weekly 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; each one will receive a nametag
upon arrival. 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. Children listen and interact according to
their own level of language skills.
We encourage parents, grandparents, daycare providers, and
other childcare individuals to bring children to Storytime.
Adults play an important role by monitoring the children
they bring. Also, throughout the day they can discuss the
stories, sing the songs, or repeat a rhyme or letter sound
that the children learned in Storytime. This reinforces the
So if you know a preschooler who would benefit from
attending Storytime, please bring that child and try to make
it a part of your weekly routine. Together we can develop
and nurture that child’s love of books and help establish a
foundation for reading. Can you think of a better gift to
give a child?
September 7, 2009
Because There’s a Lot of Living Left to Do…
The year is full of new beginnings. January brings the start
of a new year. Spring is a time of new growth, and September
the beginning of a new school year, a fresh start.
September is Healthy Aging Month, a time to focus our
attention on the positive aspects of getting older. This is
the time to make a fresh start on how we prepare for our
Healthy Aging at www.healthyaging.net has sponsored the
September observance for fifteen years. They aim to
encourage and motivate us to take responsibility for our
physical, mental, social and financial health. Your library
has materials to help prepare for the years ahead.
“Stay Young with T’ai Chi” offers nontraditional exercise to
strengthen flexibility, breathing and mobility as well as
reduce stress. “You Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for
Extending Your Warranty,” by Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr.
Mehmet Oz may be familiar to many. Gene Cohen has written
“The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain.”
We’ve all heard how important it is to continue learning and
doing word puzzles to keep our minds active.
“Claiming Your Place at the Fire: Living the Second Half of
Your Life on Purpose,” a collection of stories, begs to ask
these questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? What do I care
about? and What is my purpose?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone has written several books including
“Ageless Face, Ageless Mind” in which he explains his
three-part plan to reverse physical and mental aging. “The
Longevity Bible,” by Dr. Gary Small, describes eight
strategies for healthy aging including sharpening your mind,
having a positive outlook, and mastering your environment (a
nice way to say declutter)! You’ll have to read the book to
discover the other strategies.
“Retire Happy,” by Richard Stim, offers advice on what you
can do now for a “great retirement” later. The editors of
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance share ways to build a nest egg
in “Retire Worry-Free.” Topics include IRA’s, life and long
term insurance, pensions, and other money smart tactics.
Dennis and Martha Sargent’s “Retire,and Start Your Own
Business” takes you step-by-step as you begin a new venture.
The slogan for Healthy Aging is “because there’s lots of
living left to do…”. So visit your public library and
explore the opportunities available as you develop a
positive outlook toward all your tomorrows.
August 31, 2009
Reaping What We
by Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions
Isn’t it wonderful having a garden, being able to plant
something and then, later seeing the results of your labor
blossom and bloom?
In a manner of speaking we are experiencing a similar
phenomenon at the library through the efforts of Lori Roholt,
our previous assistant director / programming librarian, who
applied for and received a grant prior to her departure to
another job. Lori planted the seed by applying for a
Picturing America Grant from the National Endowment for the
Humanities for the New Ulm Public Library. We are now
enjoying the benefits of her efforts by being able to share
this art with everyone who visits our library.
Through the grant we recently received 40 reproductions of
American art to display for the public and then keep for the
The exhibit is called “Picturing America” and is the newest
project of the ‘We the People’ program of the National
Endowment for the Humanities. ‘We the People’ strives to
promote understanding of America’s history and founding
principles, so this program is bringing masterpieces to
classrooms and libraries all across America. This initiative
will expose thousands of citizens to outstanding American
art by giving them an opportunity to view masterpieces that
normally would be seen only in art galleries or museums.
Part of the mission of the National Endowment for the
Humanities is that “a nation that does not know where it
comes from, why it exists, or what it stands for, cannot be
expected to long endure—so each generation of Americans must
learn about our nation’s founding principles and its rich
heritage.” The endowment committee feels that viewing and
studying visual arts will help achieve this. As we
appreciate American art, it can give us insights into our
nation’s character, ideals and aspirations.
Some of these 40 prints are black and white, while some are
in color. Some pieces are photographs, pictures of basketry
and sculpture, or reproductions of paintings. Artists like
Norman Rockwell, Edward Hopper, and N.C. Wyeth are
represented. Many you might recognize; others may be new to
Since we don’t have the available wall space to show all
forty masterpieces at the same time, in September we will be
hanging a few in the entry hallway to begin with and build
from there. You may even see some hanging from our second
This fall when you come in to the library, we hope that you
will enjoy the fruits of this grant and be able to spend a
few minutes enjoying the new and different artwork blooming
around the building.
August 24, 2009
To Be 6 Again...
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Maybe you caught this recent humorous story circulating on
“A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, observing his
wife looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday
was not far off he asked what she'd like to have for her
'I'd like to be six again', she replied, still looking in
On the morning of her birthday, he arose early, made her a
nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six
Flags theme park. What a day!
He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the
Wall of Fear, the Screaming Monster Roller Coaster,
everything there was. Five hours later they staggered out of
the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt
He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a
Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Then it
was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite
candy, M&M's. What a fabulous adventure!
Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into
bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and
lovingly asked, 'Well Dear, what was it like being six
Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed.
'I meant my dress size, you idiot!!!!'
The moral of the story:
Even when a man is listening, he is gonna get it wrong.”
While the New Ulm Library has many self-help books,
including many on honing listening skills, there’s no
guarantee any of them will make you “six again.”
Nonetheless, here’s a few titles related to listening to get
Voices in the family : a therapist talks about
listening, openness, and healing by Daniel Gottlieb
(2007). By a family therapist who talks about listening,
openness, and healing. Sharing stories from his private
practice, the author relates how to make peace with
ourselves, our families, and our partners.
But I didn't mean that! : how to avoid
misunderstandings and hurt feelings in everyday life
by June Paris (2007). If you continually put your foot in
your mouth, six simple questions may help you avoid the
problem and instead converse with empathy, confidence, and
Listen up : how to improve relationships, reduce
stress, and be more productive by using the power of
listening by Larry Lee Barker (2000). This guidebook
offers advice on how to improve relationships, reduce
stress, and be more productive by using the power of
The power of a positive no : how to say no and still
get to yes by William Ury (2007). From the
bestselling co-author of "Getting to Yes" this audiobook
teaches the essential skill of saying no in a way that
produces positive results.
Stop arguing with your kids : how to win the battle of
wills by making your children feel heard by Michael
P. Nichols (2004). Nichols' promotes a responsive listening
approach to raising children that is smart and sound. He
convincingly explains the importance of listening to
children's feelings and defusing arguments before they
August 17, 2009
Begins with a Single Step
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
For some reason in our society girls are more often readers
than boys. Ironically, studies have shown that children are
influenced to read more if they see their dads reading. It
becomes a loop that if everyone is reading, reading
flourishes, and if reading isn’t encouraged it doesn’t.
I just read two young adult novels that I enjoyed, so much
so that I encouraged my husband to read them, and he liked
them as well. One is entitled “Shift” by Jennifer Bradbury.
The tag line on the book is “Friends fade away…others
disappear.” This book is about a cross-country bike trip
that two friends decide to make after graduation and before
entering college. Chris is the son of caring, blue-collar
parents, and Win (Winston) is the son of wealthy, impossible
to please parents. Chris has always been the responsible
one, and Win has always been the troublemaker.
The book starts with Chris in college, and as it unfolds,
you realize that the boys were separated at a point on the
trip. Chris returned home and entered school, and no one has
any idea what happened to Win. When the FBI approaches
Chris, the seriousness of what happened on the bike trip
becomes apparent. The book is told by using every other
chapter in current time and the others as flashbacks to the
trip. While the mystery is what really happened to Win and
why and how, it is also a coming-of-age story. The story is
one of growing up, leaving home, making your own decisions,
and becoming the person you were meant to be. It was
entirely worth reading.
The other book I just read was “Reality Check” by Peter
Abrahams. I don’t think I have read Abrahams before, but I
will again. The main character is Cody, a football jock from
a struggling background. His only way out of the small town
he lives in is going to be sports scholarships until an
angry opponent hits him in the knee. Afraid that he’ll hold
her back, the parents of his wealthy girlfriend send her
East to a ritzy school to separate them. Suddenly she goes
missing. Having had his career dreams shattered, the only
thing Cody can think of to do is to travel out East to find
her. The book recounts his tenacity and spirit as he goes up
against unknown odds to do what he believes is right to help
the one person who he always trusted. The book is a mystery
and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader
In both books, as you follow each main character, Chris and
Cody, you are rooting for them to find what they are looking
for, both inside and out. Both books happen to involve
actual journeys, and these physical passages mirror the
inner journeys the boys take and the decisions they make
along the way. It is an added benefit and fun to have the
mysteries solved too.
Whether you are male or female, I think anyone would enjoy
either or both of these books. Come in and check them out.
August 10, 2009
by Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
Activity in the Children’s Room is less hectic these days.
Our Summer Reading Program ended last week, storytime is on
break until fall, and the “Be Creative @ Your Library”
posters and decorations are coming down. I miss the
whirlwind of activities and contests and prizes, but now I
have a little time to reflect on all that happened.
First of all, I want to congratulate the 898 kids who
registered for our program. (That’s a record-setting number
for our library!) These kids read lots of books and earned
cool prizes. Some attended camps here and learned new
skills. Some attended our special events and enjoyed the
entertainers. Others displayed their creative talents by
drawing on our wall and/or drawing a creative creature for
our art contest. These creative works of art are still on
display in the hallway next to the Children’s Room. Come in
and take a look!
I congratulate the parents of those 898 kids too. Without
their parents’ encouragement and cooperation, many of these
kids would not have been able to participate. Parents’
efforts should pay off when kids return to classrooms this
fall. Hopefully, their summer reading will produce a
positive result in each child’s reading level.
We were fortunate to receive donations this year that funded
our program. The Friends of the Library and the Optimists
Club of New Ulm gave generous monetary donations. The local
businesses of Casey’s, McDonald’s, Subway, and Sven & Ole’s
Books contributed prizes, treats, or awards. The Minnesota
Twins, Vikings, and Lynx provided an assortment of prizes
too. We thank them because we simply could not run our
summer program without these contributions.
The New Ulm Community Center hosted four of our special
events, and the Friends of the Library provided and served
ice cream sundaes for our program’s kick-off. Twelve
downtown businesses agreed to let us use a spot in their
store windows to display our “missing” famous paintings. In
addition, several individuals, including our staff
(especially Betty Roiger!), contributed time, money,
expertise, or decorations. I thank them because these people
helped add fun and excitement to our program.
Publicity for our events is vital to the success of our
program. The Journal, KNUJ, NUCAT, Comcast, and the city
sign on Broadway did an excellent job of keeping everyone
informed about what was going on at the library. We
appreciate their assistance and thank them for their extra
efforts on our behalf.
Again, we congratulate all of our program participants, and
we thank everyone who contributed in any way to help make
our program be creative and fun for kids. I can’t wait to
begin planning for summer 2010!
August 3, 2009
Are We Almost There?
Linda Lindquist, Reference Librarian
How many times have you gone on vacation and your children
have said, “Are we there yet?” Do you want to get away for a
little vacation but you don’t’ have the time or the money to
go on a long vacation? How about a day or two-day trip
closer to home?
There are many places and things to see and do in all states
and many are free. How about checking out your state capitol
building? We have a book at the New Ulm Public Library
entitled “State Houses: America’s 50 State Capitol
Buildings” by Susan W. Thrane and Tom Patterson. Each
capitol building is pictured and a short article is written
about each one. The Minnesota capitol is free and you can
take a tour lasting approximately an hour telling about its
history, art and architecture, and if the weather permits,
you can walk to the quadriga (golden horses) on the roof of
What about visiting one of the state parks for a weekend
excursion? The website www.dnr.state.mn.us will give you a
listing of all the state parks in Minnesota and the many
activities available in each park. There are several state
trails that travel through and to Minnesota state parks.
These trail maps can be ordered over the phone, through
e-mail, or by writing to the DNR. The DNR website lists all
the state trails in Minnesota. I clicked on the Casey Jones
State Trail and found that hiking, horseback riding, biking,
in-line skating, snowmobiling, and wheelchair access are
available on the trails in this park. This trail is situated
in an agricultural area with fields of corn and soybeans,
Laura Ingalls Wilder in Walnut Grove, wind towers, and
pipestone quarries. If you are interested in visiting a
state park in Minnesota, check out the DNR website for more
Or how about getting in your car and taking a scenic drive?
The website www.exploreminnesota.com will help you find the
scenic byways in Minnesota. Minnesota has 22 byways
encompassing more than 2800 miles of roadways ranging from
the iron range in the north to rolling farmland in the
south. The drives range from 9 miles to 575 miles. What a
wonderful way to spend an afternoon or plan an entire week’s
vacation on the scenic byways of Minnesota. Check out this
website as it has a great deal of information on many places
to visit throughout Minnesota.
And after looking over all the above possibilities and you
still can’t decide on a vacation spot, how about your local
library? At your library you can check out books on any
subject or any vacation spot to visit now or sometime in the
future. We also have movies, magazines, music, and yes, even
life jackets, to help you plan for that wonderful last
minute vacation yet this summer. Are We Almost There?
July 27, 2009
by Betty Roiger, Acquisitions
How fast are we going, really? I’m not talking about speed
limits or gravity and the spinning of the earth. I’m talking
about technology and the fact that acronyms are becoming an
integral part of people’s writing and speech. Is everything
going so fast that we don’t have time for words anymore and
just need to type and talk in letters? Want an example? How
R U? Gr8. [Translation: How are you? Answer: Great.] Single
letters and numbers are now standing in for whole words. And
so our language is evolving into a new shorthand.
Back in 1970 Alvin Toffler wrote a book called “Future
Shock.” Toffler wrote about the death of permanence and how
information was coming to us from all directions. He
informed readers about how hard it was to take everything
in, since there was so much bombarding us. He wrote about
how fast technology was changing, and with those changes,
how we were transforming. And now our ways of communication
are changing with the advent of iPods, iPhones, and texting
I understand the acceleration and the rapid changes of time.
I rode my bike without the aid of a bike helmet. Yes, I ran
into a tree and a lamppost, but I’m still here to tell the
tale. There were no seatbelts when I grew up. I was a child
of the mother’s-arm-across-your-chest-quick-stop since
little kids mainly stood up in the front seat to better see
out of the front window. And there were no roller blades for
us. We had those cheap clamp-on skates that needed a key.
And no matter how tight you made them, inevitably one would
let loose so then you would have to skate, clump, skate,
clump back to whoever had the key, with the leather strap
hugging the skate to your ankle and killing you all the way.
Change; it happens. I survived all of these new inventions
and changes very well, thank you.
I just wasn’t prepared for language to evolve as well. The
only shorthand I was acquainted with was that swirly,
scribbly stuff my older sister used in her diary. But the
shortcuts from texting and tweeting are sneaking into
conversations as well as books.
Now when you are talking with someone about something
personal and they might say; “TMI.” Your brain has to
translate that into “too much information” and let you know
you need to stop talking. Someone else might sign off an
email with ttyl and before you stare at it too long, it
suddenly occurs to you that they mean “talk to you later.”
The only one that still boggles my mind is LOL—is it lots of
luck, lots of laughs, lots of love? Loads of Llamas? I just
don’t know. I only know whatever that last “l” is; there is
a lot of it.
I expect, like with helmets, seatbelts and skates, I might
be able to persevere. After all, I work in a library and I
can look things up. And the best part is I’m a WIP. (That’s
“work in progress” for those of you who are trying to keep
July 20, 2009
Something for Nothing?
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Last week on the way home from a trip to the Twin Cities, I
stopped at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake. I hadn’t been
there in several years and I was curious at what it might
look like now. Architecturally it seemed only slightly
different. There was a large new parking ramp and skyway.
There seemed to be a bit more space. But something else was
pretty amazing. The parking lots were still full. The casino
was still packed. There was nary a seat to be found at a
one-armed bandit. That hadn’t changed at all. And it was
good news for me. I don’t like crowds. I left without losing
so much as a nickel.
Your library is, of course, a much better deal for you than
a casino. We take nothing from you, but we offer you scads
of entertainment. Even better than that, we offer you
knowledge on the cheap. Borrow our books, magazines, DVDs,
videos and books-on-tape. It’s all free! Now, what did you
get free from the casino the last time you went? Soda pop,
drinks or popcorn? None of those is particularly good for
your health and, of course, you paid for those with the
money you lost while gaming.
While it’s true you can’t win a million dollars while using
the library, you can gain knowledge that will aid you in
getting a better job. You can find several different kinds
of entertainment. You can research how to make better
decisions in life, on the job, or even at the casino. But
here’s the best thing of all. You can save yourself big
bucks! How is that? Well, by using the library’s materials
instead of renting or buying them yourself, here’s what your
savings might be:
Rent a movie 1x a week ($3 each) - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE
Buy 10 books a year ($25 each) - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE
Subscribe to 2 newspapers ($50 each) - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE
Subscribe to 2 magazines ($30 each) - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE
Buy 2 audiobooks a year ($30 each) - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE $
Buy 5 CDs a year ($10 each) - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE $ 50.00
Attend 2 programs for kids ($5 each) - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE
Rent a computer (20 hrs @ $10 hour) - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE
Broadband Internet connection - GET AT LIBRARY - SAVE
($40 a month)
If you add those up, the savings amount to $1366.00 a year.
Now that’s not chump change, is it? Of course, your results
will vary but here’s the really amazing thing. The more you
borrow from the library, the more you save! If you’re a
heavy library user, your totals might easily double the
numbers above. Now where else can you save money so easily?
I work at the library so you’d think my pockets would be
flush with cash. Alas, it’s just not so! I can’t quite deny
myself those too frequent book purchases, the occasional
magazine subscription, and yes, the broadband Internet
connection. I’m afraid that I’m a bit of an information
junkie. But it’s nice to know that if times got tight, I
could cut those things out of my personal budget and rely on
While the library really is a better deal than the casino, I
don’t expect the foot traffic at the library to ever exceed
that of a casino. Like I said, we can’t offer you the chance
to “get rich quick.” But maybe what we offer will help you
to get rich slowly? Wouldn’t that be worth the investment of
a trip to the library?
July 13, 2009
What’s Your Perspective?
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
At the library we have books on visual perspective. Maybe
you are familiar with the picture of the old crone, that, if
you look at it a certain way you can also see a beautiful
young girl. There is another picture of a white vase that
actually is created because of the black silhouettes of two
faces looking at each other. These books show visually that
what you see is all about how you look at something.
We use perspective in our lives everyday. A high school
friend just drove down to visit me. As we walked to her car,
she apologized profusely about “the piece of junk she had
rented.”…while I was seeing a beautiful new blue car. We got
in and she said, “Look at the windows.”
She said, “You have to roll down the windows!”
I replied, “I know, that’s how my car is.”
“And you have to push down the locks!”
I said, “I know, that’s how my car is. And when it’s dark we
roll down our windows & hold a flashlight out to see…not to
mention the squeegees when it’s raining…” Ok, I’m being
facetious. My point is manual was a drag to her; it is a
basic part of my day so I don’t mind it. I clutch, shift,
roll down, lock. Not a problem. Perspective.
Lori, who used to work here, was half my age, but never mind
that—you only need to know that to get my point. She had
watched a movie from the 50s & 60s and told me she thought
of it as a period piece. I sputtered & choked…to get out,
“Hey, I was alive then—it’s so not a period piece!” But I
could see that it was all in the way we each looked at it,
what we brought to it: she experienced a world she never
knew watching it; me, I recalled memories looking back.
Because we could accept each other’s perspectives, we had a
good laugh over it.
When my boss moved to town, into his new home, there was a
garage incident, which resulted in a broken door. He said he
thought about getting upset and then realized he had planned
to replace it someday anyway so why waste the energy?
We are living in a time of increasing pace, more
responsibilities with less time to do them, commitments, and
stressors from all sides. We have speeded up with cell
phones, instant results, fast food, immediate contact, and
the Internet. There is an invisible frenzy in our lives as
everyone tries to meet deadlines and go faster. In the midst
of all this, we do have choices. We have perspective: the
way we can view a situation, a problem, or a person. We can
choose peace and calm over panic and anxiety.
A lady my Mom-in-law knows was walking down the street and
had a passing thought about the rowdy kids in front of her.
It was a judgmental thought. The next thing she knew, she
had fallen. The first people to her side were those kids,
helping her. Everyone has a bad day, things happen to them,
there are reasons why they are in a hurry, or seem rude.
Judging a book by its cover maybe isn’t such a big deal when
we’re reading, it might be better to go slower when it is
If you can put the breaks on and stop to look at a
situation, sometimes it becomes clear that rather than anger
or reaction, there is an upside, or positive way to view it.
I read once about a guy who was told he had cancer, a cancer
that wasn’t curable. He asked, “How many people have lived
having this?” The answer that he was given was “None. And
the man said, “Then I’ll be the first one to survive.” And
So concluding my ruminations about perspective, I’ll leave
you with an old joke. A guy was driving along a road, coming
up to a curve. Suddenly a car swerved around it, and the
woman driving it screamed out the window at him, “Pig!” and
veered on. He couldn’t imagine what he had done to her, was
terribly insulted and continued to drive around the corner
only to see a very large pig loose in the middle of the
What he perceived as an insult wasn’t one. It was a warning.
It all comes down to perspective. Maybe something is not
clear to you yet, but it will be and choosing the positive
perspective might make all the difference. Just pick up a
book about Thomas Elva Edison and remember his quote: “I
have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t
work. We now know a thousand ways not to build a light
bulb.” So come to the library and select something to read,
you might just find a new perspective.
July 6, 2009
by Diane Zellmann, Children's Librarian
The Children’s Room is a very busy place this summer. Over
800 kids have signed up to read and be creative. Our
statistics bear this out. Our library normally circulates
anywhere between 12 and 16 thousand items a month. In June
alone we have circulated nearly 23,000 items. So kids are
reading lots of books, and the youngest ones are listening
to someone read lots of books to them. They are earning
prizes and doing so much more!
Some kids are playing Artopoly (our version of Monopoly)
while the younger ones are tossing socks in the Sock Toss
game. Others are drawing on our wall (Yes, they have our
permission), identifying famous creative thinkers, or
guessing the number of lids on our special display. Some are
attending camps to learn about art, magic, and/or chess.
Still others used trash to create some impressive treasures.
We even have quite a few who are acting as detectives and
trying to solve the mystery of the missing famous paintings.
Kids have been drawing creative creatures too. We have many
creatures on display in the hallway near the entrance to the
Children’s Room, and more are coming in each day. These
drawings are amazing so I encourage everyone to take a look
Our next special event involves lots of creativity. On
Thursday, July 16, from 3:00 to 3:45 P.M., we are presenting
the Brodini Comedy Magic Show. This free program will be
held at the New Ulm Community Center, located at 600 North
German Street. People of all ages who enjoy comedy and magic
are invited to attend.
Brodini is an award-winning, professional magician who
performs throughout Minnesota and teaches magic to
elementary students. Recently, he was voted Minnesota’s
favorite magician. Most of his magical tricks involve
audience participation. His tricks are easy for children to
follow, yet still entertaining enough for adults to enjoy.
Scarves, coins, cards, balls, ropes, and other objects will
be part of his act.
One special prize available for all Minnesota kids who
participate in summer reading is offered through the Get
Creative @ Savings for College Sweepstakes program. Kids
have a chance to win a $1,000 cash-for-college prize and
help their library win $500. Parents who have not completed
an application for this scholarship should ask for a form at
the desk in the Children’s Room.
Our Summer Reading Program is going strong as we begin July.
The kids are having fun being creative. Readers are keeping
up their reading levels, and listeners are gaining
pre-reading skills. Education disguised as fun is a win-win
situation for everyone!
June 29, 2009
Be Creative @ Your Library!
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
What is creativity? It’s generating ideas, communicating,
and entertaining. Creativity sharpens our minds, solves
problems, and most of all is fun and inspiring.
The 2009 Children’s Summer Reading Program revolves around
creativity. There are all sorts of activities for the
children. Your library has books to inspire ideas for adults
and families. Summer is a great time to explore our
Arts and crafts are part of kids’ camps, vacation Bible
schools, rainy day activities and more. Craft time gives us
a chance to relax. It offers families a time to talk and
share ideas. Craft projects help develop ideas and skills
without competition. Your library has books to get you
started on some unusual projects. “Stray Sock Sewing; Making
One-of-a-kind Creatures from Socks” has colorful pictures of
what to do when only one sock is left. You can use your
imagination and create your own creatures or puppets. Now
that you have some puppets, how about writing a story? You
can illustrate the story with photos or drawings.
Do you like to watch the clouds go by? Do the shapes remind
you of something? What about the sights and sounds of
summer? Journaling, scrapbooking, and poetry are ways to use
your creativity to capture and share those memories. Check
out Frances Mayes’ “The Discovery of Poetry: A Filed Guide
to Reading and Writing Poetry.”
Think green and be creative. Kate Shoup’s “Rubbish Reuse
Your Refuse” has some unusual projects including pop can
tabs made into a belt. Recycle that worn out wool sweater to
make a felted handbag; a picture frame crafted from maps is
perfect for vacation photos. Susan Beal’s “Super Crafty” has
ideas for sock monkeys to crafts for your pets. “How to Be
Creative If You Never Thought You Could” by Tera Leigh
offers several projects plus this word of advice, “Listen to
yourself.” Use your imagination and create gifts for family
and friends. Interested in woodworking? The library has
several books on making wooden toys such as trucks and
tractors. There are books on quilting, drawing, and
Home decorating involves some creativity. Mary Engelbreit’s
“Crafts to Decorate Your Home” has garden, window and other
fun projects to help you get started. Cake decorating is
another creative avenue. Debbie Brown’s “50 Easy Party
Cakes” has pictures to inspire. Imagine a cake decorated to
look like a farm tractor, dolphins, and building blocks,
even a bookworm cake.
Using our imaginations to create gifts or items for the home
and yard gives us a sense of accomplishment. Someone once
said, “Imagination is intelligence having fun.”
So visit your public library and be creative!
June 22, 2009
Latest All City Read
by Betty Roiger, Acquistions
Recently several New Ulm groups (Community Ed., CAST, and
several area churches) came together with the library to
suggest an all city read using a book many of them had been
reading. The library has accommodated all city reads in the
past. Previously we have made available copies of Hassler’s
“Grand Opening” and Doty’s “A Long Year of Silence” for
everyone to read.
The book that was suggested by this group is called “The
Impossible Will Take a Little While.” It is a series of
short essays, adaptations, and poems edited by Paul Rogat
Loeb. The book’s title was inspired by “the same indomitable
spirit expressed in the Billie Holiday lyric and World War
II Army Corps of Engineers motto: ‘the difficult I’ll do
right now. The impossible will take a little while.’” One
reviewer has called it a “hymnbook of hope; one’s heart
cannot help but sing.”
I have just begun reading this myself. The editor’s
introduction talks about the fear and terrorism that holds
many, not just Americans, in its grip. And that hope is the
only remedy to fear, no matter what the odds. “…nothing
buoys the spirit and fosters hope like the knowledge that
others faced equal or greater challenges in the past and
continued on to bequeath us a better world. Even in a
seemingly losing cause, one person may unknowingly inspire
another, and that person yet a third, who could go on to
change the world, or at least a small corner of it.”
I think that you can see by the quotes I have been using
that the folks who have read this book or parts of it have
been inspired. And the people in New Ulm, like Patti, Carol,
and Dian, were inspired to suggest this as an all city read.
They were inspired to raise the funds for the books, some
people were inspired to donate the money for this project,
and everyone was inspired to share it with New Ulm.
We have ten circulating copies of “The Impossible Will Take
a Little While.” There is a display at the circulation desk,
and one in Reference with copies to check out. We will have
a book bag to circulate soon for any book clubs that are
interested in discussing this book. In July we will have an
entire display up with copies to circulate.
We hope that the people of and around New Ulm will be
motivated to read this book. This book lets you know that
what people do can influence others and that chains of
events that may, at first, seem insignificant may, in fact,
change the world. Pick up this book. Read any part of it.
Then later, come share your opinion or just come to listen
at the book discussions that we expect will get under way
June 15, 2009
Fiction or Nonfiction?
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Everyone knows that a novel of any genre is basically a
story, that is, a figment of the author’s imagination. While
novels may be partly based on fact, having at least some
element of truth, everyone accepts that literary license
allows the author to do with the story whatever he chooses.
After all, fiction is fiction. By definition it’s not true.
On the other hand, an incident at the Library today brought
home the issue of nonfiction books and under what
circumstances they should be withdrawn from library
bookshelves. A library customer claimed that the book The
Arming of America: the Origins of a National Gun Culture by
Michael Bellesiles should not be on our library’s shelves
since it has been discredited. The opinion I heard from the
customer was that nonfiction books which are untrue should
not be on the library’s bookshelves.
Indeed, the book, which won the 2001 Bancroft Prize--one of
the most prestigious awards for American history
writing--was later discredited by many. Its Bancroft Prize
was later rescinded because of “scholarly misconduct of the
author.” The author also lost his job at Emory University
and his original publisher dropped his contract. Garry
Wills, who originally had enthusiastically reviewed the book
later said, "I was took. The book is a fraud." Historian
Roger Lane, offered a similar opinion: "It is entirely clear
to me that he's made up a lot of these records...It's 100
percent clear that the guy is a liar and a disgrace to my
On the other hand, Mr. Bellesiles does have a few defenders.
Some think his book contains no more errors than many
others. After the revelations, he apparently won some
support from leading scholarly organizations, including the
American Historical Association and the Organization of
American Historians, which passed resolutions deploring the
harassment and abuse directed at him. And the author himself
pointed out that roughly three-quarters of the book has not
The point of all of this is that people too often believe
something just because it is published. It may be published
in books, newspapers, the Web, or through some other media,
but the mere fact of publication leads some to give the
book, newspaper article or Web site credence it may not
I hope the following statement doesn’t shock too many, but
here it is—“Every work of nonfiction ever published has
errors.” Some errors are purposeful, some are accidental,
some are errors of quotation and some are errors of
emphasis. Some nonfiction works are full of errors, others
have very few errors. But really, how are we to know?
Personally, I’ve always been a great fan of Judge Judy who
has often said—“If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true.”
Okay, not very scientific, but I’ll bet following this
admonition would lead to truth more often than not. But
that’s just my opinion.
So should the library withdraw books, magazines or
newspapers when something untrue is found in them? Hmmm. At
what level of untruth? How many untruths before a work
should be judged worthy of withdrawl? Are they untruths, or
just different perspectives? And, finally, who decides what
truth is? Is it partly cloudy today, or partly sunny?
Speaking as a librarian, I think that, in most cases,
deciding on when an item should be withdrawn, it is best to
let the public decide with their library cards—“If an item
circulates, it stays. If it doesn’t circulate, it goes.” Of
course, just because it circulates doesn’t make it true. See
So the next time you read a book, magazine, Web site or
newspaper from or at the Library remember that everything is
subject to degrees of truth. Just because you borrowed it
from the Library, doesn’t make it true.
June 8, 2009
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
I’m not sure when it really started, but the supernatural
has been permeating our reading material for some time. The
phenomenon did begin before “Twilight”, but the Stephenie
Meyer’s series did help it zip along.
If you haven’t heard of the Young Adult novel “Twilight,”
you might be living in a cave, so keep your head down…there
might be bats. “Twilight” is the story of a young girl who
moves to Washington state, meets and falls for the young man
of her dreams. He is tall, gorgeous, rich, and, in fact, is
a little bit older than she thinks at first. Turns out he’s
immortal. And he has fangs.
Fangs are showing up in all kinds of books. Of course the
fantasy genre always used to be the place to look for
vampires, but now romances have vampires, there are
detective books with psychics, and mysteries with ghosts.
Where there once were vampires, now there are ghosts,
werewolves, faeries, gargoyles, and yes, even zombies.
I just read “The Zombie Queen of Newbury High,” a young
adult novel. It was quite humorous. A teenage girl feels
that she is losing her boyfriend’s attentions and might be
left in the cold for prom. So she finds a wacky herbal shop
in the mall and gets a love potion. Except and
unfortunately, it really isn’t a love potion. It’s a zombie
curse and it affects the entire school.
Suddenly she finds herself Miss Popularity since everyone is
bringing her Twinkies and cookies; one and all are making a
point to talk to her, even telling her she smells good. Then
new boy in school hastens to explain to her this isn’t
because everybody suddenly likes her. He tells her the
zombie curse will take four days to complete, and she is
their zombie queen. She beams: very cool, that’s good. No,
he informs her: that’s bad. Because right now they are
worshiping her, feeding her to plump her up, and on the 4th
day, she’s lunch. The reason they like how she smells is
because she smells like chicken. And then the race is on to
cure the students and staff, not get eaten, and still get a
date for prom.
We recently had a request from a patron to get more normal
mysteries and fiction, no paranormal stuff. Well, we still
get regular fiction and mysteries and science fiction. But
the supernatural creatures and events in books are popular
elements right now. People are reading them and the market
and authors continue to provide to meet that demand.
Vampires and zombies and werewolves might be with us for a
while. Just know, not all of these books take themselves too
seriously, and some are a hoot to read.
June 1, 2009
by Linda Lindquist, Reference Librarian
The 4th of July will soon be here. When I think about the
4th of July, many images start to roll around in my mind
(families and picnics, freedom, our great nation, people
becoming citizens of the United States, etc).
The 4th of July is a great time for families to get together
to maybe watch a parade, go to a baseball game, go to the
zoo, or grill out. We have several books on grilling at the
New Ulm Public Library in the 641s. I just went to the
shelves and looked at three grilling books. Included in each
of the grilling books are tips on getting started, correct
utensils to use, and many, many recipes. The most important
part of the barbecue—have loads of fun!
The 4th of July brings to mind our freedom that we have in
the United States. Many citizens of the United States take
this freedom for granted. What about all the immigrants who
are not citizens? How do they go about getting their
citizenship? About a year and a half ago, public libraries
received “Civics and Citizenship Toolkit: A Collection of
Educational Resources for Immigrants.” Many educational
resources are included in this Toolkit.
While looking through the Toolkit, I found two sets of flash
cards that should be very helpful to anyone learning about
the history and government of the United States. Those who
take the test to become a citizen will be asked questions
about the president, the political parties, the flag, the
branches of the government, senators and representatives for
each state, the Constitution, etc. Other resources in the
kit are booklets welcoming persons to the United States, the
Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the
United States, a DVD entitled “A Promise of Freedom” and a
CD entitled “Becoming a U.S. Citizen.”
This kit isn’t just for persons studying to become citizens.
This could be a valuable resource for history or civics
instructors to use in their classrooms when they are
reviewing for a test.
This Toolkit is available for anyone to check out. All you
need is your library card.
May 25, 2009
Summer Reading Program Begins June 1st
By Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
The Children’s Room has giant paintbrushes, crayons, colored
pencils, an art palette, television camera, and other
unusual objects hanging from the ceiling. There’s a
robot-like guy named Metal Man along with his friend, Waddle
the Turtle. Does that mean the Summer Reading Program is
about to begin? Yes! This is the summer to Be Creative @
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 www.newulmlibrary.org. Registration begins on Monday,
June 1. Plus, we are inviting kids who register before 3:00
P.M. that day to create their own delicious ice cream
sundae. (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 1 and August 6. 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
In addition, we have other activities that encourage kids to
be creative and have fun. 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 Creative Camps for kids of ages 6 to 13. Our Trash to
Treasure Show invites kids to create a treasure from
recycled materials. Kids can solve the Art Mystery by
locating 12 stolen famous paintings, they can identify 12
Creative Thinkers by breaking the secret code, and they can
create their own art on our wall. We also have crossword
puzzles, word finds, and coloring sheets available every day
and a special craft activity set up each week.
For those who like to compete we have several contests. Kids
can earn points playing the Sock Toss or Artopoly games.
They can guess how many recycled lids are hanging from our
ceiling. A very unusual object is hanging from our ceiling
just waiting to be identified. And, kids can draw a creative
creature to enter in our art contest.
We have five special events this summer that should be great
fun. Our first event happens on June 9 when Jim Jayes brings
his Marionettes and Magic Show here. Mr. Twister’s Balloon
Show will be here on June 25. Our Chess Tournament takes
place on July 14. Also in July, the Brodini Comedy Magic
Show will be in town. On August 6 Dennis Warner brings his
guitar for the Kids’ Concert.
This year two new opportunities will extend the rewards of
taking part in our program. All participants will be honored
at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair on September 2 at “The
Great Minnesota Read-Together at Carousel Park.” Also,
through a Get Creative @ Savings for College Sweepstakes
program, all Minnesota kids who participate will have a
chance to win a $1,000 cash-for-college prize and help their
library win $500.
As always, the most important reward of our summer reading
program is that by providing an incentive for kids to read
during the summer, it helps kids maintain or even improve
their reading skills. 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 for
some good books and creative fun.
[Note: Our Summer Reading Program for Teens starts on June
May 18, 2009
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
I don’t know if you have run across any of the Post Secret
books in our non-fiction section. They are quick and
These books were conceived and compiled by Frank Warren. It
says in the front of the first book: “The instructions were
simple, but the results were extraordinary.” It started when
Frank had an idea for a community art project and began
leaving blank postcards in public places or handing them out
to strangers. They were told to write down a secret they had
never told anyone and mail it to him anonymously. The secret
could be about anything: betrayal, fear, desire, regret,
humiliation, or joy. These postcards could reveal a secret;
the only stipulation was that it be true and never shared
with anyone before. He asked people to be brief and
Along the way, people started to make their own artwork
along with their secret and decorated the postcards they
sent in. The results became these books that exhibit
postcards that can make you laugh, or cry. They can shock
and repulse you. Some can make you feel for the strangers
who exposed their feelings in such a raw manner.
The secrets can run the gamut from “My mom thinks she’s fat,
I think she’s perfect” to “I handed the most important
person in my life the drugs that killed him.” There are
confessions like “I have to cheat to beat my deaf 84 year
old grandmother” and “Sometimes I miss prison” and “every
morning I go to work hoping she’ll say “I Quit”
Other post cards are gifts of joy such as “I wish life was
like a VCR, so I could rewind & replay good memories” and
“Holding my nephew for the first time made me believe in
God.” Several are just funny like “I used to fertilize a
ring in our lawn every time I mowed it. It grew. My parents
still think it was Aliens.” Some are sad or shocking and
tragic. Many are just very relatable like the one that says,
“I still can’t believe you died so I pretend you are away on
a very long vacation having the best time ever.” And some
are just endearing: “The day I turned eleven, I waited all
day for the letter written in emerald-green ink telling me I
had been accepted to Hogwarts.”
Whatever you might think of whichever postcard you are
reading, one thing will be true: they are thought-provoking.
Post Secret is an intimate view into people’s secret selves.
They can provoke controversy, initiate discussion, and still
be valued for whatever truth they tell.
May 11, 2009
The Diogenes Club?
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
In the nineteenth century libraries were held to be quiet
places for contemplation, study and reflection. They were
not so much places for socialization, and certainly not for
fun. Some public libraries might even occasionally have been
described as a place like The Diogenes Club.
By the time we entered the twenty-first century libraries
had evolved into sometimes noisy, sometimes boisterous and
sometimes downright crowded places. This evolution has not
left everyone happy. While many enjoy the programming and
events that now make libraries more a place of socialization
and fun, many still long for the “good old days.” They want
the library to be the old, quiet place it once was.
Some of the reasons for the change in libraries has been
societal. Today attitudes towards young people are different
than they were in the nineteenth century. In earlier times,
children were expected “to be seen and not heard.” That
tradition has long since been gone by the wayside. Also, in
the early days, children were often not to be seen in the
library at all. The early public library was originally
designed more as a haven for adults, not young people. As
such, libraries were naturally quieter, more contemplative
These days adults must share the library with teenagers and
children on a more or less equal footing. Egalitarianism has
won out; rightfully so. Nor can libraries do as golf courses
do having “men’s day” when at least for one day, the kids
are kept out. No, kids, teenagers and adults all have to
live, study, learn and congregate in their public library in
peace and harmony. And this, for the most part, they do.
Librarians all over the country continue to hear from the
occasional adult lamenting the passing of the “good old
days” when libraries were quiet, when libraries were calm,
when libraries were places of meditation. We try to tell
them about the changes that have occurred, and then we try
and find them a quiet, out-of-the-way location in the
Today, we librarians all accept the occasional loudly
unhappy child in the library. We try to keep our programs
respectful of others in the library. And we like to believe
we foster peaceful and harmonious relations among our
customers. Rest assured, in the twenty-first century, your
public library is not The Diogenes Club!
NOTE: The Diogenes Club was a fictional
gentleman's club created by the noted author Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle and it was featured in several Sherlock Holmes
stories. Its members were misanthropic and unsociable with “
No member permitted to take the least notice of any other
one.” The number one rule of the club was that there was to
be no talking, to the point where club members could be
excluded for coughing.
May 4, 2009
Why Weed Now?
Betty Roiger, Acquistions
I know what you’re asking yourself. Why in the world are
those librarians weeding (pulling books off of the shelves)
in a time of economic crisis? Isn’t that wasteful? I’m glad
you asked. Please let me try to explain about libraries and
the importance of weeding.
The word “weeding” itself is a nice figure of speech, which
brings to mind gardening. Anyone who is familiar with
gardening knows about stooping (ouch, aching back) or
kneeling to pull out tiny, trailing weeds…or in my case
because I leave it too long, digging in my heels and tugging
at the huge weeds. What does weeding your garden accomplish?
Well, it reveals the flowers to their best advantage and
allows those flowers to flourish. It removes the weeds,
which compete for sunshine and water and nutrients in the
This is very similar to what happens when you weed books out
of the entire library collection. Books are sitting on the
shelves, not circulating, unread, damaged, old, and unused.
Removing these materials showcases the books we do have and
allows them to have more life, to circulate more. If by some
unlucky chance a book has mildew, removing it in time stops
the spread of mildew to other books. Weeding books takes the
unread, unused materials away from the collection and allows
the books we have to stand out and bloom as it were.
Weeding is also an opportunity to look at our collection and
replace authors and classics that are tattered or in poor
shape to give them new life. It is an occasion to get rid of
damaged materials that many patrons will not look twice at.
Thus the library gets rid of unread materials.
These unread materials go into our perpetual book sale,
which is next to the circulation desk so we can sell these
not quite perfect books to get funds for our library. This
puts books into the circle of life in that it is a good
rotation of recycling and replacement and reusing. What's
more, they may find a good home in someone else’s library.
Weeding is something that takes place on a regular basis in
all libraries. It really is a way to revitalize a collection
and show it to the best of its ability. Often after weeding,
circulation statistics go up as well, since patrons can
readily find or discover things they might not have seen
This is one of the ways we rejuvenate our collection so that
we can bloom while we grow.
Apr 27, 2009
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
Earlier this month, we recognized National Library Week,
whose theme this year was “Worlds Connect @ Your Library.”
More than a catchy marketing phrase, I think the theme
really captures an important part of how we use the
library: we read the news and develop a connection another
place, be it down the street, across the state, or half a
world away. We use the Internet to connect with a childhood
friend who has moved away. We read books that connect us to
places we’ve never visited, but can clearly see in our
mind’s eye. And sometimes, depictions of the places we know
well allow us to make a different kind of connection: we
see how the life we live plays out on the page, and how we
might connect to those around us.
recently borrowed a book called “State by State: A
Panoramic Portrait of America,” published by Ecco in 2008.
The book features essays about each of the American states
written by a native writer. I skipped around, reading about
the states with which I was familiar, starting with
Wisconsin, my home state. Right away, I was disappointed
that Daphne Beal, the author of the essay, was no longer
living in Wisconsin, but had left in young adulthood. It
turned out she had grown up in the opposite corner of the
state, and her impressions often varied greatly from my
own: her generalizations often did not apply to what I had
known of the state, and her perspective struck me as
distanced. I felt the same disappointment with the essay
about Minnesota, then New Mexico. Was each essay written by
someone who could not help but infuse their writing with the
reasons they left their home state? How valuable is a
portrait of a place when it contains little to which another
resident can relate?
I am much more inclined to enjoy books
about places I know that both reflect and deepen my current
understanding of the place. I, too, have experienced awe
and contentment in Minnesota’s Northwoods, just as Justine
Kerfoot describes it in “Woman of the Boundary Waters”. I
have reveled in the changing seasons in Western Wisconsin,
just as Michael Perry does in “Truck: A Love Story”. It is
truly delightful to read a book and feel an automatic
connection with a place, a sense that the author is telling
your story, but in words you would be hard pressed to turn
out so eloquently.
But what about those portrayals of
places we know, but do not recognize in writing? I came to
understand the value of “State by State” as reinforcement
that, though we may inhabit the same place, we frequently
experience it differently. And while such writing does not
give us the familiar pleasure of recognition, we might yet
be able to connect with those whose experience differs, and
populate our place in the world with a fuller understanding
of our fellow inhabitants.
In “Howard’s End,” E.M. Forster writes,
"Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only
connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted,
and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments
no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed
of the isolation that is life to either, will die." Let the
library help you connect—“only connect!”
Apr 20, 2009
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
Spring is in the air – finally! It feels so good and seems
to put everyone in a cheerful mood. Our library has some
special displays right now that add even more cheerfulness.
Puzzles and puzzle pieces are on display on the Library
windows facing Broadway. The Brown County Day Care Providers
have put up the puzzles made by the children in their care.
These puzzles are colorful, complex, creative, and, yes,
cheerful. Their theme is “Quality Childcare – Putting the
On April 16 the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
held 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
Students in grades 7 and 8 from throughout Minnesota
participate in this contest by sending in their entries.
Winning students earn prizes for themselves and their
schools. From April 17 through April 27, we are displaying
the top 40 winning posters in our library’s entrance hallway
near the Children’s Room.
The kids’ creativity combined with an important message
about wildlife habitat makes an impressive display. You will
enjoy the artwork, learn something, and certainly be cheered
up just thinking about the effort these students have put
All 40 winning entries will be on display at the Minnesota
Deer Classic and Sports Show in St. Paul in March 2010. The
top three grand prize winners will have their posters framed
and on display at the Minnesota State Fair in the DNR
building in August 2009.
Since April is Poetry Month, we have a display of Junior
poetry books in the Children’s Room. You will find poems
about animals, nature, people, and places. You will find
poems by well-known poets like Shel Silverstein, Jack
Prelutsky, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and even Mother
Goose. Poems about weather are in demand this time of year,
so here is one written by an anonymous poet and entitled
“Weather” that always makes me smile:
Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!
These special displays are here for only a short time, but
they are well worth a trip to the library. Come and enjoy.
April 13, 2009
8 Men and a Duck
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
Americans were spending more money and time on radio,
television, and music. The American Library Association and
the American Book Publishers felt these interests lead to
less time spent reading. They formed the National Book
Committee in 1954 whose goals were “encouraging people to
read in their increasing leisure time” and “improving
incomes and health and developing strong and happy family
life.” In 1958 the result was the first National Library
Week. All types of libraries are celebrated. This year we
celebrate April 12-18 with the theme “Worlds Connect @ Your
In keeping with the theme, the New Ulm Public Library is
highlighting true travel stories and guides. Paul Theroux’s
“The Pillars of Hercules: Grand Tour of the Mediterranean”
begins in Gibraltar journeying the shores of the
Mediterranean Sea. He traveled by foot, bus, train, and ship
exploring the past and present stories along his way.
Have you ever thought of selling your home, business and
possessions, and taking your family to travel the world?
David Cohen, former editor of the “Day in the Life” series
did just that. He realized “that life is short and you have
to live your dreams while you can.” Cohen relates his
family’s adventures and growing together in “One Year Off.”
For those of us who can’t just pack up for a year and travel
the world, there are armchairs, those comfy easy chairs
where we can imagine ourselves backpacking across Europe,
floating down a canal in Venice, going on safari in Africa.
Rebecca King wrote “Armchair Travels,” a photographic
travelogue from Amsterdam to Vienna.
“8 Men and a Duck” by Nick Thorpe is the story of a 2500
mile voyage from northern Chile to Easter Island in a reed
boat. Imagine sailing that distance in a reed boat with a
crew that included a tree surgeon, jewelry salesman and two
Barbara Hodgson’s “No Place for a Lady” documents women
travelers throughout history. In 1847, Harriet Martinwau
traveled across the Sinai on foot and riding camels. In
1848, accompanied by three friends, Harriet cruised the Nile
River. The book is a collection of fascinating travel
adventures. Interested in road trips? “Lewis and Clark
Road Trips: Exploring the Trail Across America” by Kris Gale
provides a detailed guide highlighting the journey of these
explorers. Gale includes maps, historic sites, photos, and
just about everything you need to plan your trip. Not sure
where you would like to travel? Check out “Frommer’s 500
Places to See Before They Disappear” from Minnesota to
Your public library subscribes to several travel magazines
including “Travel and Leisure,” “National Geographic,” and
“National Geographic Traveler.” Travel guides are also
available. Enjoy your travels by plane, boat, train, car or
April 07, 2009
Are We Doomed?
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director
Have you heard about 2012? It’s all the buzz among staff at
the New Ulm Library. The Mayan calendar ends on December 21,
2012 which—we are told-- may signal the end of times. Of
course, no one really seems to know what “end-of-times”
means, but it certainly doesn’t sound promising. Then there
are the other possible sources of gloom and doom for the
year 2012 (or somewhere thereabouts); Edgar Cayce, the Bible
Code, the Orion Prophecy, St. Malachy, and Nostradamus.
There is even supposedly an end-times prophecy relating to
the Great Pyramid of Giza. Gosh, you’d think the
economic collapse of 2008 would be enough!
Well, naturally we at the library like to be in the know and
we like our customers to be informed as well. So naturally
we have a few of the plethora of books coming out about
2012. They each provide a good read, but only if you’re an
optimist at heart Pessimists should probably stick to
agonizing about the future of Wall Street.
The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies &
Possibilities is a compilation of fairly deep essays by
a variety of authors including scientist Gregg Braden,
researcher Ervin Laszlo, physicians Karl Mare and Christine
Page, and visionary Jean Houston. The Mayan Calendar is the
starting point for these contemplative essays but many other
topics are discussed as well. This is a serious look at the
topic, not the sort of drivel you see in the National
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 2012 by Synthia
Andrews. If you believe in 2012 as a potential milestone in
human history, this book doesn’t matter. You already know
all of this stuff. But if the only thing you know about 2012
is that it’s a leap year, then this will give you a nice,
erudite, simple and uncomplicated introduction to the topic.
2012: The War for Souls by Whitley Strieber is a
science fiction work related to the 2012 phenomenon. Here’s
the publisher’s summary: “A mysterious alien presence
unexpectedly bursts out of sacred sites all over the world
and begins to rip human souls from their bodies, plunging
the world into chaos it has never before known.” Wow! Kind
of a throwback to what happened in 2008 with real estate? Of
interest to anyone interested in science fiction and the
2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning by Marie
Jones. Another book covering the end –of–days, but this one
has a twist; i.e. “what we perceive to be doomsday might be
the equivalent of the caterpillar turning into the butterfly
- a positive end, and a fantastic new beginning.” Hmmm. I
like that. We may yet make it through to 2013.
Worthwhile if you’d like a more positive angle to 2012.
And finally, a book we don’t own but that I’m ordering.
2022 Anunnaki Code: End of the World or Their Return to
Earth? by Maximillien De Lafayette. The subtitle kind of
tells it all: Ulema Book of Parallel Dimension,
Extraterrestials and Akashic Records. Yikes. In a
nutshell, the premise is that extraterrestrials called the
Anunnaki were responsible for the genetic creation of
mankind some 100,000 years ago and they’re coming back in
2022! I don’t know if this will classify in fiction or
nonfiction, but it will certainly classify as bizarre. Watch
for it on the new books shelves in the near future.
Now, aren’t you glad I brought up the topic of 2012?
March 30, 2009
Truth and April Fools
Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions
Questions, questions, we get questions. Finally, the answers
to those frequently asked questions that we get at the
People often ask how we select the books we purchase for the
library. (Not really, no one asks.) Well, we all have
scientific methods for purchasing. Before even revealing
this information, I should be swearing you all to secrecy,
but, well, today, you all look trustworthy. Just don’t let
it get out, okay? We have library journals with book
reviews. I use a dowsing rod to locate the best books on the
page. When it starts to shimmy, I look to where it is
pointing and that’s my pick. Linda just flips the magazine
open at random, closes her eyes, points, and then orders
that book. Lori uses a tuning fork, taps the page, and
whatever sounds good, well that’s it. Diane swings her
necklace over the top, and if it dangles in a circle rather
than side to side, that’s a good one. We used to read all
the reviews, make note of bestsellers in book stores, see
things advertised on TV, and get suggestions from patrons,
but our scientific methods seem to work better for all of
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 fact is we all were deprived
piano lessons as young children, and this is our only chance
to practice. Then again maybe 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 yelling: “Go home now!” was a pleasant way of
closing up shop for the day.
People wonder, “Why do some of the books have numbers on
their spines?” We don’t really know. Sometimes we scratch
our heads and go, “What is up with all of these numbers? If
only two hundred years ago someone, say, with the name of
Melvil Dewey, would have devised a system to divide all
subjects into ten main classes with ten divisions, which
would then further, be divided into ten sections. Then these
categories with subcategories would have created a complex
yet organized way to arrange all subjects, and he could have
called it the Dewey Decimal system.” Well, that is some
People often place holds on materials they would like that
don’t happen to currently be on the shelf. Some people ask:
“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.” Well, we used to require a secret
handshake and a decoder ring, but that got kind of unwieldy.
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 have the choice to create a
Well, some of the above is just “April fools.” And some of
it is truth. Staff does read journals and do not rely on
gimmicks to do selection. We play the bells to announce
closing. And Melvil Dewey was the creator of our
organizational methods in nonfiction. Your password is your
last name unless you change it. You can always ask a staff
person to verify what it is for you. And that’s the truth,
although sometimes it might be fun to have a secret
handshake and a decoder ring too.
March 23, 2009
Dr. Seuss on Display
Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
Raise your hand if you have never read or listened to a book
written by Dr. Seuss. I’m willing to bet that not too many
hands went up. As most of you well know, Dr. Seuss is the
world-famous author who wrote more than 60 children’s books.
He published his first book in 1937 and his last one in
1990. This explains his popularity with people of almost all
ages today. Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss
Geisel, was born on March 2, 1904, and died on September 24,
1991. If he were still living, he would have turned 105 this
To celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday, several members of our
staff created a Seussapalooza retrospective of Dr. Seuss’s
books and famous sayings. It’s located in the hallway of the
north entrance to our library. Here you can see a tower of
turtles temporarily topped with Yertle; you will see the Cat
in the Hat, some green eggs and ham, Cindy-Lou Who, a fox in
socks, a red fish, a blue fish, and more!
You will also get to read a few favorite lines written by
Dr. Seuss, like “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful
lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” and “Be who
you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t
matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Dr. Seuss created so many imaginative characters. Yertle the
Turtle, the Sneetches, the Oobleck, the Sneedle, Thing 1 and
Thing 2, the Yooks and the Zooks, and Horton the Elephant
are just a few. The fanciful illustrations of these
characters provide further evidence of the creative genius
of this man. Writing stories that were entertaining
for children was important to Dr. Seuss. Whether he
mesmerized children with the magic of the 500 hats belonging
to Bartholomew Cubbins or wrote fun-to-read rhymes for
beginning readers, Dr. Seuss’ books were a treat.
Although Dr. Seuss wrote picture books, he occasionally
wrote about some very serious topics as well. His “The
Butter Battle Book” warns of the arms buildup and the threat
of nuclear war. “The Lorax” shows concern for the
environment and encourages manufacturers, businesses, and
individuals to take responsibility for their actions. Even
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” provides a gentle message
For anyone who wants to read more about the life of this
remarkable author/artist, we have two interesting books.
“The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew up to
Become Dr. Seuss” by Kathleen Krull is in our Junior
nonfiction collection. “The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and
Nothing but the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss
Geisel” by Charles Cohan is in the Young Adult nonfiction
If you are one of the many fans of Dr. Seuss, stop in to see
our display and check out a few of your favorite Dr. Seuss
books. After all, “The more that you read, the more things
you will know. The more that you learn, the more places
you’ll go.” If you bring a child along, both of you will
have fun. As a children’s librarian, I can’t end without
giving my favorite Seuss line: “A person’s a person no
matter how small.”
March 16, 2009
Lost Your Job and Don’t Know Where to Turn?
Linda Lindquist, Reference Librarian
Have you, or someone you know, recently lost your job due to
the tough economic times our country is going through? Are
you looking for a new career? How about finding a website to
search for a new position? The New Ulm Public Library may be
of help to you.
If you are looking for a new career, the following books may
be useful. They include “Best Jobs for the 21st Century” by
Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin; “150 Best Recession-Proof
Jobs” by the editors @JIST and Laurence Shatkin; “The
Fastest-Growing Careers for the 21st Century” by the
Ferguson Company; and “100 Fastest-Growing Careers” by
Michael Farr. These books compare careers and talk about
earnings, needed education, necessary skills needed for
different positions, and advancement possibilities.
Are you looking to change your career or updating your
skills for your present job? The following books may be
useful. “Master the Police Officer Exam” printed by the
Peterson Company, Norman Hall’s “Postal Exam Preparation
Book”, and Kaplan’s “Civil Service Exam” are just three of
the books on our shelves to help brush up your skills.
Not all of us are college graduates. Two new books on our
shelves for those of us who have a high school diploma are
entitled “Great Careers with a High School Diploma: Personal
Care Services, Fitness, and Education” written by Amy
Hackney Blackwell and “Great Careers with a High School
Diploma: Hospitality, Human Services, and Tourism” written
by Rowan Riley. Information covered in these books include
telling you about the career, who you will work for, how
much money you can expect to make, what your day could
consist of, training you will need, and someone working in
that field at the present time is interviewed.
Or are you looking to retire? How about reading “Retiring as
a Career: Making the Most of Your Retirement” by Betsy Kyte
Newman? All of us look forward to retiring. We plan our
finances for retirement, but do we plan emotionally and
socially as well? We can all learn from the experiences of
others who have gone before us and can benefit from their
We promised websites for those looking for new positions.
Some that we found are:
Minnesota Workforce Center System
http://www.mnwfc.org/jobopenings.htm State of Minnesota
Minnesota Conservation Corps
Hire Vets First
Career One Stop
USA Jobs (federal government jobs)
Job Bank USA
Keep checking the shelves at the New Ulm Public Library for
new books on these topics.
March 09, 2009
A Valuable Community Resource
Lori Roholt, Programming
While there is little good news to be had on the economic
front lately, your public library remains a great resource,
especially in tough economic times. Unless otherwise noted,
library resources are available at no charge because city
and county residents' tax dollars support its operation.
Of course, the library has books: fiction, non-fiction,
new, not-so-new, large print, audiobooks, and reference for
adults, young adults, and children. Other print resources
include magazines (the library has about 60 subscriptions
and a free magazine swap) and local, regional, and national
Among the library's most popular offerings are informational
and feature films on DVD and VHS, available for checkout by
cardholders. The library also has music on CDs.
Public Internet access is also available at the library.
Residents and non-residents alike may use the computers for
30 minutes when others are waiting, or longer if no others
are waiting. Computers are currently available on a
first-come, first-served basis, though you may call ahead to
reserve computer time. You can print from the library's
computers at a cost of 20¢ per page. Wireless Internet
access is available throughout the building for those using
Some of the library's less obvious services include test
proctoring, meeting room rental at $20 for up to 4 hours and
$40 for up to 8 hours, and presentation equipment rental,
including an LCD projector and screen. Ask at the main desk
for more information about these services. The library also
carries both state and federal tax forms available at no
charge, and has a photocopier and fax machine for public
use. Photocopies cost 20¢ per page, and faxes are $1 per
Unfortunately, the library is not immune to tough economic
times. There are many ways, big and small, that you can
help the library remain a strong community resource. You
can return books and other materials on time and in good
condition, and you can donate your used books or other
materials that the library might add to its collection or
sell in a book sale. You can provide suggestions for
improving services, and become a Friends of the Library
member for an annual membership fee. If you appreciate
library services, you can tell your local, county, or state
representatives that you'd like to see continued support for
Mar 02, 2009
Librarian on the Red Carpet
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
Maybe you were one of the millions of people that tuned into
the Oscars a couple of weeks ago. For awhile there were a
ton of awards shows to watch: the Golden Globes, the SAG
awards, and finally, the Oscars. The world got to see many
celebrities dressed up and walking the red carpet.
Now there are even shows dedicated to evaluating the red
carpet event and what everyone was wearing. Did the
celebrity wear something garish or were they the best
dressed? And were those jewels decorating their wrists and
necklines or cheap knockoffs? Reporters stand on the
sidelines and yell, “Who are you wearing?” “Oh my gosh, who
made your shoes?” And later when they make their report,
they say, “What were they thinking?!”
It got me to thinking what would happen if a librarian
walked the red carpet.
“Excuse me, Madam Librarian, over here?”
The librarian turns to the speaker, smiles.
“Who are you reading right now?”
“Well, I just finished reading the third book by Anna
Godbersen called “Envy.” The series started with “Luxe”
continued with “Rumors” and will go on after “Envy.”
“I’ve never heard of them, what are they about?”
“The world of Luxe takes place in old New York, it is the
world of the very wealthy and the very poor. These books
involve social climbing, lies, betrayals, and heartbreaking
misunderstanding. And yes, there is even true love buried
somewhere beneath it all. Manners rule people’s lives but
gossip and rumors fuel all the fires of everyone’s deepest
longings and secrets. It’s a very intriguing place to
“Anybody else you could recommend to the people out there?”
“As always I would propose Louise Penny to anyone who likes
a good mystery. I just read “A Rule Against Murder” and it
was great to get back to her Inspector Gamache and follow a
mystery set in a Canadian bed and breakfast. And Sophie
Kinsella’s humor might gain a new audience now that there is
a ‘Shopaholic’ movie out there. Christopher Moore’s newest
is called “Fool” and plays havoc with the King Lear story
from the bawdy jester’s point of view. Recently I’ve been
introduced to Joe Hill through a short story. Not everyone
knows he is the son of Stephen King and a talented writer in
his own right."
“Can I use that as a scoop?”
“Oh, and Ms Librarian, one last question…”
“Who are you wearing?”
And she walks away thinking that her shoes pinch, her dress
is a trifle itchy, and she would rather be home, with her
feet up, reading a good book.
February 23, 2009
Betty J. Roiger, Acquistions
One of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton, just recently
died. He was very prolific and varied in his work. I have
read his books for over thirty years.
A long time ago, when I was in high school, “The Andromeda
Strain” came out and was very popular. I went to a small
school and our library had only one copy of the book. All
the boys in the group I hung around with were reading it. It
was all the buzz. And I was way down on the reserve list.
Since they were often raving about this book, I would ask,
“What’s happening?” and they would laugh and refuse to tell
me. Almost daily snippets of these conversations would
occur, vaguely referring to fantastic and frightening
scientific goings on. I was sincerely frustrated and anxious
for my turn. The. Day. I. Got. The. Book, these boys told me
the twist plot ending. Really. It was as if they answered
all my “What’s happening?” questions at one time. Yeah, they
were jerks. It didn’t stop me from reading it though and
discovering Crichton. It was his first best seller. It
explains why I never stopped reading Michael Crichton’s
work. And it also explains why I don’t hang around those
Probably my favorite of the books that he wrote was
“Jurassic Park.” If you’ve seen the movie, it really doesn’t
compare to the book. I still remember the part in the book
where the scientists are explaining that the computer
tallies the animals they have created every fifteen minutes
to make certain that no animals are inadvertently escaping.
The numbers always match. A few pages later, when the
paleontology expert suggests maybe they are looking at it
wrong, they shouldn’t be looking for dinosaurs getting away,
they should be looking for a total. They tally again and
realize the numbers are rising, dinosaurs are breeding, that
there are far more dinosaurs on the island than anyone
expects. There is no way of knowing how many there are now,
and no one knows if they have been getting away or for how
long. I remember the hair rising on the back of my neck. And
my brain went into “Oh-oh, here comes trouble” mode.
Michael Crichton formulated possible thrillers from his love
of medicine and science. He wrote about viruses in “The
Andromeda Strain” to signing gorillas in “Congo.” “Jurassic
Park” took the foibles of cloning to a gigantic level, and
“Rising Sun” explores the lengths in economic competition
that the Japanese seemed to be willing to go to in the
United Sates. He even wrote a documentary- style emergency
movie that eventually became the TV show “ER.”
For me he made science accessible, understandable, and fun
to read about. He introduced me to different ideas and
possibilities and bound them all together with exciting
stories and intriguing mysteries. Crichton was a good writer
who will be missed.
February 16, 2009
Books Are Winners Too!
By Diane Zellmann, Children’s Librarian
The Children’s Room has some new award-winning books ready
for checkout. Each year it is fun to find out which books
win these awards. It is also interesting to learn something
about the winners.
The Caldecott Medal is awarded each year (since 1938) by the
American Library Association (ALA) to the illustrator of the
most distinguished American picture book for children. In
2009 the award goes to “The House in the Night,” illustrated
by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson.
“The House in the Night” is a bedtime book for young
children. The author’s spare text, only three to seven words
per page, mentions nighttime things that interest
preschoolers, like a key, a light, a bed, a book, a bird,
and the moon.
The illustrations match the text perfectly and add
interesting details. They are done in black and white with
touches of yellow for the sun, moon, stars, and other
special items. A couple of local readers mentioned that
these illustrations are somewhat similar to those of Wanda
Gag. I agree. Even the kittens that appear on several pages
could have been inspired by those in “Millions of Cats.” You
will find this new book in our Caldecott Corner next to our
nonfiction picture books.
The Newbery Medal is awarded each year (since 1922) by ALA
to the author of the most distinguished contribution to
American literature for children. In 2009 Neil Gaiman won
for his “The Graveyard Book.” It’s the tragic story of a
sleeping family, a murderer, and a toddler who escapes to a
safe place: a graveyard. Graveyard spirits name the toddler
Nobody and agree to protect him. Kids who like books with
danger, fantasy, and humor will like this story. Since this
title will appeal to a range of ages, we will have copies in
both the Junior and Young Adult fiction sections.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is a fairly new award, first
presented in 2006, and is given annually for the most
distinguished American book for beginning readers published
in English in the U.S. during the preceding year. For 2009
this award goes to “Are You Ready to Play Outside?” by Mo
Willems. This is the fourth book in his series about Piggie
Perhaps some of you recognize Willems as the author of the
picture books about Knuffle Bunny and the pigeon who wanted
to drive a bus and eat a hotdog. Willems succeeds writing
beginning readers by combining easy-to-read words, clever
ideas, and expressive illustrations. This combination
results in books that make kids laugh and enjoy their new
reading experience. Dr. Seuss surely would have loved to see
that Willems won the award. This book is shelved with other
beginning readers at the end of our Junior fiction
Stop in at the Library to see these and other award-winning
books. Also, look for our Caldecott and Newbery posters that
list the honor books that were this year’s runners-up for
February 9, 2009
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
February is a month of celebrations beginning with Groundhog
Day and Valentine’s Day. President’s Day commemorates the
birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
“President Lincoln the Duty of a Statesman” by William Lee
Miller reveals Lincoln the president. Richard Brookhiser’s
“Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington” goes
beyond the story of the cherry tree and discovers an
intelligent and “audacious individual.” Those birthdays made
me wonder who else celebrated a birthday in February.
Bess Truman was born on February 13. Her daughter, Margaret
Truman, has written a wonderful biography of her mother,
“Bess W. Truman,” sharing Bess’s early life in Missouri and
her life as First Lady. “Quiet Strength” celebrates the
courage of Rosa Parks, who on December 1, 1955, refused to
move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa
was born on February 4.
Closer to home we observe Laura Ingalls Wilder born February
7, 1867. Donald Zochert has written a delightful biography,
“Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.” If you are
interested in the times of Laura Ingalls, be sure to check
out “Laura Ingalls Wilder Country” and explore the places
Laura lived and described in her books.
“Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography” by William Butcher
tells about one of the most translated and best selling
authors. After you read this biography, try reading or
re-reading “Around the World in Eighty Days” or another of
Verne’s works for a new perspective.
Several entertainers celebrate February birthdays including
Audrey Meadows who starred with Jackie Gleason in “The
Honeymooners.” Who can forget Jack Benny? Jack Benny and his
daughter Joan wrote “Sunday Nights at Seven.” Benny tells
the story of his 1934 radio debut. He greeted the audience
with, “Jell-O, folks, this is Jack Benny.” Jell-O sales hit
record numbers. You’ll enjoy this story of Benny, a generous
and talented man.
Speaking of talent, Johnny Cash and Erma Bombeck are two
more February birthdays. Steve Turner’s biography, “The Man
Called Cash,” is one you won’t want to miss. For light
reading, try “Erma Bombeck: Life in Humor” by Susan Edwards.
The author remembers Bombeck’s humor and ability to make us
laugh at ourselves.
Visit the library for these and more fascinating
February 2, 2009
Informational Films at the Library
Lori Roholt, Programming Librarian
Everyone knows that the library has books to check out, but
the savvy library user knows there's much more you can
borrow using your yellow library card: audiobooks, music
CDs, magazines, newspapers, and movies. Our movie selection,
both on DVD and VHS, includes feature films, kids' movies,
and informational films. I consider our informational films
a treasure trove: you can find fascinating stories, educate
yourself on a variety of topics, and keep the films for
Some gems include "Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains," a
documentary that follows former president Jimmy Carter on a
book publicity tour. The "Scenic Walks of the World" series
can provide travel ideas, or a little escape from the
Minnesota winter. "King Corn: You Are What You Eat," follows
two East Coast college kids who grow an acre of corn on an
Iowa farm and trace its path to the food supply. The
five-disc "Planet Earth" series from David Attenborough
explores wildlife throughout the world. "Gitmo" is a 2007
film that gives an inside look at the American detention
center at Guantanamo Bay. The "Mythbusters" series
chronicles attempts to debunk urban legends with scientific
recreations and experiments. In "Air Guitar Nation,"
participants from all over the world compete for rock star
status, sans guitars. "Wordplay" showcases a different kind
of competition: the American Crossword Tournament, and
features New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz.
In addition to these titles, you will also find
informational movies on travel, exercise, biography,
history, crafting, recreation, and much more.
To view a list of our informational movie titles, use
iBistro, the library's online catalog and select "Advanced
Search" from the bottom of the basic search box. If you'd
like to see only movies that are owned by the New Ulm Public
Library, choose us in the 'Library' field. To see all
informational movies available in our library system, choose
'All.' Movies owned by other libraries in our system can be
requested and sent to a more convenient pick-up location
when you "Place Hold". Then select 'Informational DVD' or
'Informational VHS' in the 'Type' field, leaving the other
fields as they are. This will give you a lengthy list of
informational films listing our most recent additions first.
Don't hesitate to ask our staff for help in navigating the
library catalog or collection!
Jan 26, 2009
Using MnLINK to Find Books
Larry Hlavsa, Library Dircector
Did you ever consider becoming a journalist? By journalist,
I don’t mean a newspaper reporter, I mean someone who writes
for themselves, a writer of journals. My career as a
journalist began in earnest during the early 1980s although
I have bits and pieces of journals from the 1960s and 1970s
as well. And while I don’t know exactly, I estimate my page
production now at about 3,000 pages. I’ve been journaling a
long, long time.
Despite all of this journal-writing, I’ve never read a book
on the topic. This morning I checked our catalog at the New
Ulm Public Library looking for a book on journal-writing,
but sadly I didn’t find much about “diaries” or “journals.”
No library can have everything! But not to worry. I’m also a
librarian and I know my library card is a very valuable
commodity. I know about MnLINK.
What is MnLINK? MnLINK is a statewide virtual library that
electronically links major Minnesota libraries. MnLINK is
made up of two major components: the MnLINK Gateway and the
Integrated Library System (ILS).
Okay, you say, that’s Library-speak. What’s it mean to me?
Well, what it means is that you can search for, then borrow
books from all over Minnesota, right from your home
computer. Here’s an example. I used my Internet browser to
go to the New Ulm Public Library Web page (www.newulmlibrary.org),
clicked on the “Catalog” button and then on the “MnLINK”
button. I was now on the MnLINK site. I entered my search
term “diaries” and came up with hundreds of books owned by
libraries in the state. I quickly scanned the titles and
came up with four that sounded perfect for me. By clicking
on a button for each, and having my library card bar code
number handy, I quickly had requested on interlibrary loan
four books on journal-writing. My books will be coming to
the New Ulm Public Library for me to check out just as if
the books were owned by this library. They’ll be coming from
Duluth Public Library, Hennepin County Library and the
Arrowhead Library System. How long will it take? Most books
arrive in a few weeks. That’s plenty quick enough for me.
I’ll be busy writing in my journal in the meantime.
So try MnLINK! And remember, if you need help with MnLINK,
your New Ulm Public Library staff is here to serve you!
Jan 19, 2009
A Dash of This and a Pinch of That
JoAnne Griebel, Library Aide
Seems we just finished with baking
cookies for Christmas, making many of the same recipes every
year. Baking together is a fun way to learn math and
science: understanding fractions, how various ingredients
combine to make cookies moist or crunchy, and how yeast and
baking soda work in recipes. The Home Baking Association
has designated February as “Bake for
Family Fun Month.” The library has many cookbooks, but for
those of you just starting out with baking, or even if you
are an experienced baker, here are some books of special
Pies are not just for dessert. This is
the idea behind “Retro Pies” by Linda Everett. She shares
recipes for homemade potpies, such as veggie pie, garden
delight, and colonial chicken pie. Enjoy healthy eating by
making your own pizza. There are lots of ideas in the
“Pizza Cookbook” by Myra Street. “Artisan Bread in Five
Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg is popular at our house.
We made light whole wheat bread and it was delicious.
There are books for special diets too.
“Great Gluten-free Baking” has over 80 recipes for tasty
cakes, breads, muffins and cookies. Jean Wade has compiled
a cookbook “How Sweet It Is…Without the Sugar.” Recipes use
granulated fructose and juice concentrates in place of
Like to bake, but shouldn’t eat the
cakes and cookies? Then check out “Sweet Gratitude: Bake a
Thank You.” The book has fun illustrations and step-by-step
instructions. It describes baking a gift as a “thank you
from the heart.” “Baked From the Heart, Gifts of Love for
Special Occasions” has ideas for those special days. How
about making a batch of meringue and chocolate kisses for
your special someone this Valentine’s Day?
Do you have cranberries in your freezer
left from Thanksgiving? Try marbled cranberry cake or one
of the other cranberry recipes in the “New Good Cake Book.”
There are more than 125 recipes that can be prepared in less
than thirty minutes. Visit the library and see these and
other books on display in the reference area.
Baking together not only builds math
and science skills, but builds family time. Baking and
sharing the baked goods with family, friends and neighbors
builds togetherness. Baking with family makes memories.
Years from now, you’ll remember the fun and food and the
meringue that just didn’t turn out.
Jan 12, 2009
Books Set in Minnesota
Diane Zellmann, Children's Librarian
How important is the setting of a story? Sometimes the
setting does not affect a story much at all. In some cases,
it’s vital. And other times, it enhances the story and
piques the reader’s interest. Since I have lived in
Minnesota all my life, I usually take special notice when
Minnesota is the setting. Several new books from our Junior
fiction collection are set in Minnesota.
Louise Erdrich has recently written “Porcupine Year.” It
tells the story of one year in the life of an Ojibwe girl.
Omakayas is twelve years old when she and her family set off
on an exciting journey from the shores of Lake Superior
along the rivers of northern Minnesota. Danger and hardships
create a struggle to survive. “Porcupine Year” is the sequel
to Erdrich’s award-winning series that began with “The
Birchbark House” and continued with “The Game of Silence.”
Although these two titles are also good books, it’s not
necessary to read them in order to understand “Porcupine
“Home of the Brave,” by Katherine Applegate, is another book
that takes place in Minnesota. Kek, an orphan, comes to
Minnesota from Africa. Kek’s story is one of immigration and
acceptance of others. It is also about weathering a tough
Minnesota winter and making friends with a cow. Applegate
writes the story in verse. Here’s a sample:
Winter is wet and heavy work. …
After such a winter,
summer comes like a present with a bow.
Summer is ice cream and skateboards
and sweet grass under your
Rusty Nail is the fictitious name of a small town in
Minnesota in Lesley Blume’s book “The Rising Star of Rusty
Nail.” The story takes place in the early 1950’s during the
Joe McCarthy era. Ten-year-old Franny, a piano prodigy,
begins taking piano lessons from Olga, a mysterious Russian
musician who is new to Rusty Nail. Is Olga a Communist spy?
Some Rusty Nail residents get caught up in the hysteria of
the time. Franny and her best friend spy on Olga to discover
the truth. Blume combines history, music, and humor to
create a delightful and entertaining story.
These three Junior books would be great reads for ages 9 to
12. Another “Minnesota” book of special interest to New Ulm
residents of all ages is a new biography of Wanda Gag. It is
a picture book entitled “Wanda Gag, The Girl Who Lived to
Draw,” written and illustrated by Deborah K. Ray. Ray
includes quotes from Wanda Gag’s diary such as “I grew up in
an atmosphere of Old World customs and legends, of Bavarian
and Bohemian folk songs, of German Marchen.” This is a
beautiful book that celebrates Wanda’s talent and
determination to pursue her dream.
If books about Minnesota interest you, stop in at the
library to check out a couple. Use our catalog to do a
subject search for Minnesota and limit it to your specific
interest, or simply ask a staff person at the Reference desk
or Children’s desk for help. You may find something to
Jan 05, 2009
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions
I just read two very different books and had two very
different, yet enjoyable, reading experiences.
One took place late summer in Paris, the final day of
August. Samuel Carver is called ‘the accident man’ because
he makes accidents happen and problems disappear. When
governments have a situation they need taken care of that
might break the law, it’s him they call. Carver isn’t
completely heartless; he takes out terrorists, not
civilians. And although his last job went without a hitch,
he is feeling some qualms that a pilot died as well as his
target. Suddenly he is called to do a quick hit. He doesn’t
want to do it, it’s unexpected; but his unknown bosses
insist, stating his choices: do the job, or disappear
His target is a terrorist. He gets a brief rundown, the
materials he requests, a motorcycle. He moves into place
near a tunnel and watches as a white Fiat drives in front of
a black Mercedes that is moving too fast as it flees a
motorcycle buzzing it with camera flashes. He flashes his
lights, dazzling the driver, and makes the accident happen.
And then he starts to make his escape, never realizing that
he has unintentionally caused the death of a princess.
That’s the set up of “The Accident Man” by Tom Cain. This is
a conspiracy theory / chase book. The death of Diana is the
set up that leads into Carver’s rush to find out who’s
behind it and why, while striving to stay alive. If you
liked “The Bourne Identity,” you might like this as well.
A totally different read, “The Shadow Year,” takes the
reader back to the 60s, where a tinkling bell precedes the
ice cream truck, and winter blizzards find families crowded
into their kitchens around the stove for warmth. It is a
time when kids make their own entertainment. It is also a
time when some people start to go missing around their
block. And that’s when Jim and his brother decide to solve
This isn’t a soft and cuddly, pleasant look back into the
past. Even though the author, Jeffrey Ford, evokes strong
memories of a time long ago, there are also dangers here.
Issues like alcoholism, child abduction, and death all make
appearances. There are moments of the unexplainable like the
tiny town that Jim is constructing in their concrete
basement, under the pull string light. Here he makes a
cardboard reproduction of their neighborhood and calls it
‘Botch Town.’ Eerily enough, the clay figures move around or
vanish entirely when someone in the neighborhood disappears.
This dysfunctional family draws you in, the children seem
believable, the time period evokes memories for the reader,
and even the supernatural events seem plausible. It was an
interesting place to spend some time in, even though it
wasn’t always a settling experience. Reading either one of
these books will take you on interesting journeys to