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New Ulm Public Library




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

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(in reverse chronological order)


ARCHIVE OF 2008 ARTICLES           


Dec 31, 2012 - Share Your Love of Reading at the Library by Kris Wiley

Dec 24, 2012 - Café Au Lait by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

Dec 17, 2012 - Are You Ready for Some Football by Betty Roiger

Dec 10, 2012 - A Flurry of Activity by Katy Kudela

Dec 03, 2012 - Weeding Is Not for the Faint of Heart by Larry Hlavsa
Nov 26, 2012 - Conversations From the Cubicles: It’s Our List! by Betty Roiger & Kris Wiley

Nov 19, 2012 - A Time for Thanksgiving by Kris Wiley

Nov 12, 2012 - NO ARTICLE

Nov 05, 2012 - Where's the Reference Librarian? by Larry Hlavsa

Oct 29, 2012 - Go Shopping at the Friends Book Sale by Kris Wiley

Oct 22, 2012 - Budo by Betty Roiger

Oct 15, 2012 - Stirring Up Some Halloween Fun by Katy Kudela

Oct 08, 2012 - Identity Theft by Lina Lindquist

Oct 01, 2012 - Conversation Across the Cubicle: Downton Abbey by Betty Roiger & Kris Wiley

Sep 24, 2012 - Whither the Book? by Larry Hlavsa

Sep 17, 2012 - Science Fiction or Reality? by Betty Roiger

Sep 10, 2012 - Falling Into a New School Year by Katy Kudela

Sep 03, 2012 - Politics, Politics, Politics by Linda Lindquist

Aug 27, 2012 - Kids Take on the Planets by Betty Roiger

Aug 20, 2012 - New Nonfiction at the Library by Larry Hlavsa

Aug 13, 2012 - Record-Setting Teen Reading Program by Kris Wiley

Aug 06, 2012 - Bats, Books and Summer Fun! by Katy Kudela

Jul 30, 2012 - What’s New on the Shelves by Betty J Roiger

Jul 23, 2012 - Listen Up! to These Audiobooks by Kris Wiley

Jul 16, 2012 - Library Hours Change Proposed by Larry Hlavsa

Jul 09, 2012 - What's New in Nonfiction Books by Linda Lindquist

Jul 02, 2012 - In the Heart of Summer Reading by Katy Kudela

Jun 25, 2012 - Authors to Watch by Betty Roiger

Jun 18, 2012 - Great Television Mini-Series at the Library by Larry Hlavsa

Jun 11, 2012 - U.S.-Dakota War Symposium Schedule by Kris Wiley
Jun 04, 2012 - Heartfelt Thanks by Betty J Roiger
May 28, 2012 - Dream Big at Your Library! by Katy Kudela & Kris Wiley
May 21, 2012 - AWEsome Library Tool for 2-8 Year Olds! by Larry Hlavsa & Katy Kudela

May 14, 2012 - Murder: Overdue! by Larry Hlavsa

May 07, 2012 - Professor Plum Did It by Betty Roiger

Apr 30, 2012 - Sing Ho! by Betty Roiger

Apr 23, 2012 - Summer Dreams and Wishes by Katy Kudela

Apr 16, 2012 - Earth Day by Linda Lindquist

Apr 09, 2012 - Thank You to Library Staff and Volunteers by Kris Wiley

Apr 02, 2012 - E-Book Donations to Library? by Larry Hlavsa

Mar 26, 2012 - Come Out and Join Us for World Book Night by Betty J Roiger & Kris Wiley

Mar 19, 2012 - U.S.-Dakota War Roundtable Planned by Kris Wiley

Mar 12, 2012 - Busy Month of April by Linda Lindquist

Mar 05, 2012 - You rang? by Betty Roiger
Feb 27, 2012 - Library's Anniversary a Great Success
by Kris Wiley & Katy Kudela
Feb 20, 2012 - Reminiscing by Betty Roiger
Feb 13, 2012 - Hurray for the Library! by Katy Kudela
Feb 06, 2012 - Tax Time Once Again by Linda Lindquist
Jan 30, 2012 - Supernatural Spectacular for Teens by Kris Wiley
Jan 23, 2012 - Whither the Book by Larry Hlavsa
Jan 16, 2012 - Worldbuilders by Betty Roiger
Jan 09, 2012 - Ringing In the New Year by Katy Kudela

Jan 02, 2012 - Zero In On Books at Your Library by Kris Wiley




December 31, 2012


Share Your Love of Reading at the Library
Kris Wiley, Assistant Director

Winter is prime reading time, right? Picture a comfy chair, a cup of hot chocolate, freshly baked cookies, and a fantastic book. The only thing that would make this more perfect is the opportunity to share your reading experience with others. That’s where your library comes in. Again this year, New Ulm Public Library will sponsor a winter reading program for adults.

Here’s how this free program will work: Beginning January 7, adults can register at the Service Center. Then log every book you read or listen to between January 7 and March 1 on a ballot provided by the library. Drop the ballot into the designated box at the former reference desk. Everyone who logs at least one title will be eligible to receive a free book. Log at least four titles to be eligible for additional prizes, including a Kindle E-reader and Amazon gift cards, thanks to donations made to the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library. Winners will be drawn randomly. Thanks, donors and Friends!

For the second consecutive year, we’re working with the theme Zero In On Books. You’ll notice the ballots provided by the library include a picture of a target. Mark on the target how well you liked the book. This is a completely subjective assessment, so you can base your mark on writing style, plot, character development, overall enjoyment, or any other consideration. Take a look at the target on the bulletin board near the Service Center. I’ll be posting the titles you read there, and you might see something new you would like to read.

Need some inspiration to get you started? If you like books in which the cold landscape of the North Country is as vivid as any of the characters, you might enjoy “The Lighthouse Road” by Twin Cities author Peter Geye. Spanning the late 1800s to the 1920s, this book is all about family secrets and lies and love – and the harsh Minnesota winters. For a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, can’t-turn-the-pages-fast-enough thriller, you might try “Into the Darkest Corner” by Elizabeth Haynes. Cathy is four years removed from nearly being killed by her boyfriend-turned-stalker, and she’s still reeling from the emotional trauma. Of course she meets a new guy, but the old one isn’t gone for good. If narrative nonfiction is your game, you can’t go wrong with the highly acclaimed “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo. It’s difficult to fathom the poverty in India’s slums, but Boo brings alive the misery and the hope of the people living there.

Stop by the library to place a hold on any of these books, and while you’re here, register for the reading program and share your reading experiences with us. See you at the library!


December 24, 2012


Café Au Lait
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

Every now and again Kris sets up a Noon Tunes program. Last week we were introduced to a new group, Café Au Lait, a four-member band. While I have enjoyed a lot of the music heard at the library, it rarely hits my wheelhouse because I have an eclectic taste in music. I like old stuff, rap, classic rock, big band, pop and, well, you get the picture. So I slid into a seat just as the group started improvising on Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” while nuCAT set up to film. Now there is a movie line that is so overused everyone recognizes it, which is: “You had me at hello.” But, OMG, Café Au Lait had me at “Caravan.” If the band had played an hour of “Caravan,” I would have been totally glued. I did not want it to stop.

However, it is rare that groups play just one song. And as good as the Ellington was, Café Au Lait was equally good at quite a diverse variety of music.

The band broke into a version of an American jazz standard that comes from one of my favorite Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant movies: “Bringing Up Baby.” The opening strains sounded, and I was so there. Kris turned with a little puzzled frown, so I whispered the title: “I Can't Give You Anything but Love." That was when Katy slid into her chair with a smile, whispering, “Do they do weddings?” Geez, I hope so. I hope these musicians do a lot of different venues. People need to hear these guys.

The great part of the program for me was that I knew most of the songs, but they all sounded different. Using another overworked phrase, “They made each song their own.” But they did it well. If you expected a song to slow down, they jazzed it up, and if a song was jumping, they smoothed it way down. At different times I was sort of awed by the guitar, then the fiddle, caught by the accordion, and watching the bass. I’ve seen and hear them all played before, but never together, and together this was cool. If they had a CD, I would have bought one for me and several for friends. Yeah, THAT good.

I can tell you they segued from jazz to gypsy, from waltzes to German tunes. I can say I was partial to the jazz and gypsy. But when they said, “This next one is an Irish tune,” Kris’s smile broadened. Then they moved from Irish to Ray Charles. There was something for everyone with these musicians. They shifted from fast to slow with a Sam Cooke song. I love Sam Cooke. It was slow and smooth, and Katy whispered, “I’m tearing up.” I whispered back, “I don’t know you well enough, or I’d ask you to slow dance,” and we both started to laugh. But that was the kind of music they were weaving; they have a sound that makes you want to dance.

Café Au Lait is made up of James Ihrke on bass, Ben Marti on accordion, Dave Rupe on guitar and Lehi Hoehn on fiddle. You put these four together, they might seem just like anybody else, but hand them their instruments, and boy, you have a little bit of magic. They got in a groove, invited the audience in, and we gladly stayed for the show. Their talent was evident; it was beautiful, fun, and catchy. But when you find yourself nodding, saying the words, tapping your feet, you know something else is going on.

So how can you do music justice with words? I can’t. All I can do with words is say: Remember Café Au Lait. If you happen to walk past a cozy nightclub, a saloon, even the library, for Pete’s sake, and you see a sign saying: One night only: Café Au Lait. Do not pass by. Walk in. Sit down. And ask for an encore of “Caravan.” You’ll love it


December 17, 2012


Are You Ready For Some Football?
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

If you missed out on the library fantasy football league this year, let me be the one to tell you: “Don’t miss out next year.” This has been a fun league! I know what you’re thinking: “But, Betty, I know nothing about football.” Let me tell you, you CANNOT know less than me. So just how did I get to be a football maven?

Well, it happened like this, the library league didn't have enough teams to function. So that day I found Kris running around the building recruiting staff to join the league to give our patrons someone to compete against. Several of us said: “But I know nothing about football.” She said: “You don’t have to.”

And so it started. I had a team. Kris showed me the Web site and our league. I took her at her word: I didn’t do anything because I didn’t have to. And then Monday rolled around, Katy strolled around our cubicle and said to me: “Smoked you!” “What?!” And slowly, very slowly, my reptile brain came to life and I went…”erk! What!? The season started?! Three weeks ago?! I’m last??!! Huh?”

So my journey began. I know there are people out there who are thinking incredulously: “So you watched football!?” Heck no, I’d rather watch paint dry. Okay, now I know what football fans are thinking: “Then how do you field a team?” Well, I proceed very scientifically. I have a guy named Aaron Rodgers on my team and he had a 1 by his name so I kept him. Victor Cruz stays on my team cuz he wrote a book; yes, I have an author football player. There was a guy name Doug (Martin) on my team but he wasn’t producing so he was going to have to go (even though, coincidentally, my husband’s name is Doug)…until he made a zillion points (while he was sitting on my bench) so I kept him. (And I took him off the bench too.) I also chose guys whose names have hyphens like BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and guys with unusual names like Shayne, Knowshon, and Pierre. The New York Giants were having a good defense (for a while) and I didn’t have any giants so…I got some. You never know when you’ll need giants on your side. I’d get a Hobbit too if there were any out there.

Thus I have fought my way up from dead last to dead middle…which I thought was pretty good considering my non-start. I like checking stats and then creatively choosing a new player. And so far my co-workers are appreciating me more too. I call them up and text them when I see that one of their players has an “IR” next to their name. This could stand for “I Rule” but I suspect it might be more like “injured reserved.” A “P” means a player is "probable", maybe "possible", or just "pooped out" which is misleading when they go out to play anyway. Katy recently said to me, I got a text from a number I didn’t know telling me to change my wounded players, was that you? I guess I should have signed my urgent message, but there was a man down!

Now here we are entering the playoffs and as Kris has always been very supportive and helpful to me during this learning process, I’ve been asking her advice. We are against each other in a playoff game now and she really knows her stuff. I have people on the bench who have mega point values but she assures me that’s the way to go. (Joke, it’s a joke.) But she does keep muttering “What have I done…I’ve created a football Frankenstein” under her breath.

So what have I learned? I’ve learned to be aware that refs can go on strike and that can affect me personally. I have learned that when my team players are doing well, they are probably on the bench (called “riding the pine” by the way). I’ve learned that my husband thinks I’m a pod person since he keeps asking me what I’ve done with his wife. I’ve learned that the week I rest my injured probable guy, everyone else in the whole universe will play him and he’ll make beaucoup points. But I’m not bitter. No. I can safely say I still don’t know what I am doing, but I am having a good time doing it. (And don’t look now, but guess whose awesome team is in the playoffs?!)  


December 10, 2012


A Flurry of Activity
Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

December is here, and with it brings a lot of holiday preparations. Here in the Children’s Room we kicked off the holiday season with a visit from Mrs. Claus. While Santa is busy back at the North Pole, Mrs. Claus is happy to visit the children at the library to share stories, songs, and, of course, candy canes! A visit with Mrs. Claus always puts everyone in good cheer and provides a jolly start to the season.

But wait! A guest appearance from Mrs. Claus is just the beginning of a flurry of December activities at the library. You don’t want to miss The Little Prairie Pickers on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. These local musicians will be taking the stage for an
all-ages concert. The group, consisting of Danielle Deopere on banjo, Ross Deopere on guitar, Laura Karels on mandolin, and Angie Becker Kudelka on bass, plays folk, classic country, alternative bluegrass, and traditional bluegrass. It will be an evening of toe- tapping fun!

On Saturday, Dec. 15 at 10 a.m., stop in for a storytime featuring Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Children will receive a take-home holiday activity pack. Plus, there will be a special guest appearance by The Grinch, so be sure to bring along your cameras!
Camo Critters & More is another must-see program at the library. This River Ranger program will be held Thursday, Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. in the library meeting room. River Ranger Coordinator Ron Bolduan's multimedia presentation will look at local critters, test track identification skills, and challenge the audience to find the critter in the Camo Critter Hunt - a wildlife "Where's Waldo?"
After Christmas, there is still more fun to be found at the library. On Thursday, Dec. 27 at 10 a.m., everyone is invited to a family friendly film sponsored by the Optimist Club and Friends of the New Ulm Public Library. The movie is rated G and runs 75 minutes. Please call the library at 507-359-8331 for the film title. Later that same day, the library is hosting a special Hunger Games program just for teens beginning at 1 p.m. Teens ages 13 and up are invited to dress up as their favorite character and join in the program, which will include games, treats, and viewing the movie, which is rated PG-13.

Indeed, December is a busy month with holiday preparations and gatherings. We at the New Ulm Public Library hope you can continue to fit library visits into your schedule whether it is to stop by for a movie or book or perhaps you can stay longer to enjoy a library program. We hope you can even make a visit to the library a new tradition in your holiday preparations and enjoyment. Wishing you and yours a safe and joyous holiday season!

December 3, 2012


Weeding Is Not for the Faint of Heart
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Ever do some spring housecleaning, going through your house, deciding what to keep and what to throw away, give away, or sell? You know, trying to rid your life of stuff that no one has looked at or used in five, seven, ten years or more; the stuff gathering dust and of no use to anyone.

What happens within a week? “Dad, where’s my _____ that used to be in the basement?” Whatever the item was, the child hasn’t used it in years. Now, all of a sudden, he needs it. You apologize, explain in detail the reasoning behind throwing it out, but they seldom understand. Luckily, 99% of what you weeded, they’ll never miss.

I last wrote about weeding public libraries in this column in 2010. At New Ulm Public Library we have 95,000+ items. Each year we add another 3,000 new titles, sometimes more. Guess what happens if we let things collect on our shelves? Well, we eventually outgrow our space. And if we outgrow our space, what do we need? Well, we need more space. Or maybe we just need to do some weeding! Maybe we just need to withdraw old items, little used, damaged books which seldom or never circulate. Librarians have long known the importance of weeding!

Ever hear of the “Pareto Principle?” This axiom states that, “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” It’s more commonly called the 80-20 rule, and it applies to library collections in this way. Librarians have found over many decades that 80% of our circulation comes from 20% of our collection. That means that much of our collection is little used. This situation is aggravated when a collection is never weeded, or inadequately weeded, and out-of-date, dirty, damaged items are allowed to accumulate on shelves. Then a 90-10 rule might actually apply. Or, a well-weeded collection might have a 70-30 rule. Anyway, as you can see, weeding is an important library activity. Our goal is have the items you want on our shelves, not torn, grimy, yellowing books you don’t want.

I know what you’re thinking—“Don’t some libraries keep everything?” Yes, actually they do, and they’re called archives. I worked in one at the start of my career, the Minnesota Historical Society Library. Weeding in an archives is usually done based only on the condition of materials, and even then, an item withdrawn is often replaced. But public libraries are not archives, and never have been. Public libraries may have special collections which are treated like archives; for example, our New Ulm local history materials and the German American Collection are archival, but the vast majority of our collection items have a shelf life, and will not— indeed cannot—be kept forever. We just don’t have the space.

So how do we choose what to weed? Here are some of our major weeding criteria:

--Publication date (a 20-year old book on cancer might be dangerous to your health)
--Condition (water-damaged, broken bindings, writing in book, yellowed pages and so on)
--Number of copies (we may have needed two copies when a title was new, but when it’s been around five years?)
--Circulation (if it hasn’t circulated in seven years, it’s probably not worth keeping, some classics exempted)
--Subject matter (the content of some materials like medicine dates quickly, others like choosing a dog breed does not)

So every time we consider a book for weeding we’re actually looking at multiple things. We’re careful about what we weed, and sometimes sad. Some good things simply lose their audiences over time.

All this being said, do we ever hear “Mr. Director, where’s the book ______ that used to be in the collection?” Or maybe, someone looks at a book for sale on a table and says “Mr. Director, why are you selling this book!?” Yes, we occasionally hear such comments. So we’re always happy to discuss weeding with the public, but I think it’s important that you understand there are always reasons behind the withdrawal of every title, and they’re usually a mixture of the reasons listed above.


November 26, 2012


Conversations From the Cubicles: It’s Our List!
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions, and Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Betty: Kris, it’s that time of year again.
Kris: I know, right?! As we wrap up 2012, NU library staffers are gushing about the best books, music, and movies of the year.
B: You made me stop at ten! I didn’t want to leave anyone out! Yikes, I’m hyperventilating just thinking about it.
K: Well, I had no problem picking my favorite book of the year. It’s “The End of Your Life Book Club” by Will Schwalbe. It’s an ode to reading, to books, and to the author’s mother , whose cancer diagnosis was the catalyst for the club. Tissue alert!
B: You do love to cry with a book. I think I have to go with “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. It’s not just the story, back and forth between a husband and his missing wife (via her diary), it’s the no wiggle room Gillian allowed readers. That book was so tightly written, you just fell for it.
K: I read it, too, but I couldn’t devour it because the characters were so nasty to each other. Give me sad, not mean.
B: Nasty, but married people will get it. Marriage gives you lots of ammunition over the years, and Nick and Amy just kept stockpiling. But I know what you mean about sad: You were reading “Wonder” just before I got to it. You had told me…
K: I had a public display of tears in a local restaurant, but I couldn’t stop reading to collect myself.
B: So I had girded myself (I will not cry), then in my living room I could feel the sob in my throat, and there it was … such an emotional, wonderful book. Don’t let the junior category keep you away from this. R.J. Palacio personalizes handicaps, bullying, being different, embracing yourself. It was the kindness that did me in.
K: It definitely is not to be missed. Another good book, which is getting critical raves and recently won the coveted National Book Award, is “The Round House” by Minnesotan Louise Erdrich. I have to confess this was my first Erdrich, but I certainly will go back to read her earlier work. Discrimination is at the heart of this book, but what I loved about it was the mysticism.
B: You know I can go on.
K: I know, but first let me say that the staff’s picks, including all of ours, are listed on the library’s Facebook page. OK, go.
B: OK, another good book is “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton. Kate blew me away when I read “The Distant Hours,” so I went into this skeptically. I even was complaining to you halfway through I was so sure I knew where she was going. Boy, was I wrong. Shifting between WWII and the present day, then back to the ’60s, the end had me thinking: “What just happened?!” She did it again. So we had so many enjoyable reading experiences in 2012, and yet …
K: My nightstand pile is overflowing. Here’s to another great year of reading in 2013.
B: If we can ignore the Mayan calendar ...


November 19, 2012


A Time for Thanksgiving
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Here at the library we have a lot of reasons to be thankful. One major reason for our good cheer is that we will continue to offer feature film programs thanks to the generosity of the Optimist Club of New Ulm. For the third consecutive year, the Optimists are partnering with us to present free movies to people of all ages. In the past, we have shown blockbuster films such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Rango.” Our biggest crowd to date – 100 enthusiastic children and caregivers – enjoyed “The Lorax” this past August.

Movie programming at the library provides people of all ages, and particularly children, with another avenue of recreation and entertainment in a safe environment. The library’s theater is enhanced with a large screen and excellent sound system, the latter thanks to our friends at New Ulm Community Access Television. Our Friends of the Library provide popcorn and drinks at each event.

Thanks to the Optimist Club, we will continue to show films on a monthly basis. Our next film is scheduled for Tuesday, December 4 at 3:30 p.m. (the film is rated PG and runs 100 minutes), and we have another family friendly film planned for Thursday, December 27 at 10 a.m. (rated G, 75 minutes). Because of restrictions set by the licensing company, we are unable to advertise the film titles outside of the library; however, we post fliers in the library, and people are welcome to call us at 359-8331 to learn about our upcoming screenings.

In addition, we are starting a Civil War feature film series Saturday, December 1 at 1 p.m. Once a month through April, we have scheduled a Civil War-related film. Again, stop by the library or call us for the titles.

On another thankful note, a huge thank you to all who helped make the annual Friends of the New Ulm Public Library book sale a great success. From Co-Chairs Marlene Ingebritson and Carolyn Todd to the many volunteers who set up, staffed, and disassembled the sale, to the many, many, many of you who donated and purchased materials, all of you went above and beyond for your public library. All of the proceeds from the sale will go toward materials and programs that enhance the library’s collection and make this a great place to visit. We appreciate your efforts.

Thank you, thank you to all!


November 12, 2012



November 5, 2012


Where's the Reference Librarian?
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Next time you come to the New Ulm Library, you’ll notice a significant change—the old Reference Desk is now unstaffed. No, we haven’t decided to drop reference services. We’ll still be finding books for you, recommending titles, answering your questions, and so on. You’ll still have access to the Internet through our Userful workstations and we’ll continue to help you with those as needed. So what will be different? Well, we just won’t have a separate desk for the reference person anymore. Starting November 5th our reference person is being posted at the former Circulation Desk and will be available to help you in the same ways she did before. But she’ll also be more available now to help you with checking books out, picking up holds, purchasing withdrawn materials and applying for library cards.

Why are we doing this? Frankly, staffing multiple desks in multiple rooms requires more staff than a single desk. Since our budget has been in decline for several years--and seems unlikely to increase in the coming years--we have been looking for ways to better utilize staff. Having all “public services” staff in one location certainly is more efficient than struggling to staff multiple locations.

Is our merger of the Reference Desk and the Circulation Desk something unique in the library world? Not at all. Many medium-sized libraries across the country have been merging such desks as budgets are squeezed. The Martin County Library in Fairmont, MN has had such a merged desk for some time. My previous library in St. Helena, CA--which has a roughly equal sized collection and staff--also has a merged desk. In both cases, the merged desk is working well.

Our new desk will be called our “Service Center.” If you have a reference question, an appropriate person there will be available to help you. If you’re checking materials out, a different person might help you. If you need any kind of library service, it is from the “Service Center” desk that you will be able to obtain it.

Eventually even our Children’s Librarian will move to the Service Center, although that won’t happen until we’re able to move the Children’s Room itself. Right now, staff is engaged in a thorough weeding of the Library’s collections, something that hasn’t been done in a decade or more. The weeding project is scheduled for completion by March 31, 2013. After that is completed, we will be establishing a timetable for the swapping of the Children’s Room and the Fiction Room.

Our changes are being designed hopefully to make your library more sustainable; that is, so that we can do more with less. Also, all of the changes will be scheduled and designed to have the least possible impact on our patrons.

These are tough times, and—“When times get tough, the tough get efficient!” Any questions? Check with someone at our “Service Desk”!


October 29, 2012

Go Shopping at the Friends Book Sale
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

New Ulm Public Library has the most amazing Friends. And by Friends, I mean Friends of the Library. Our Friends support the library in so many ways, and now we’ve reached the time of year where the Friends can use your help.

The Friends of the Library annual book sale begins with a Friends-only preview sale Nov. 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The sale continues Nov. 8 from 3-7:30 p.m.; Nov. 9 from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; and Nov. 10 from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Everything is 25 cents to 50 cents, and there will be a $3 bag sale Saturday. There will be a wide variety of children’s books, bestsellers, nonfiction titles, classics, and DVDs on hand, thanks to generous donations from the public. I have been moving carts of donations to storage, and I think we have the largest inventory ever this year.

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 preview sale. Purchase your membership at the door, and you’re good to go. Members who haven’t paid their 2012 dues can pay at the door, as well. Memberships are $5 for individual youth, $10 for individual adult, $20 for family, $50 and over for corporate, and $100 for individual lifetime. Wednesday night is a great time for a sneak peek and the opportunity to get first dibs on all the good deals.

All proceeds from the sale go to the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library, who turn around and give back to the library. This year, the Friends gave $1000 for the children’s Summer Reading Program; $1000 for a children’s literacy workstation; $500 for large print books; and $900 for furniture and equipment in the Children’s Room – and that’s just for starters. Besides providing funding, the Friends attend library programs, volunteer at events, and act as the fiscal agent for grants. The library is grateful for the Friends’ continuing efforts to raise awareness of the library’s programs, collection, and services.

The book sale is the Friends’ major fundraiser, and the proceeds will help fund next year’s Summer Reading Program, new materials, and many other things that make New Ulm Public Library a great place to work and visit. As you’re making your way down Broadway between Nov. 7 and 10, pull into the library and show your support for the Friends and the library by purchasing a book. See you at the book sale!

October 22, 2012


Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

OK. Let’s have a debate. It is that time of year, after all. Now, where shall we meet? Town halls can be so impersonal. How about … I know! Let’s meet at the library! Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Debates can get … what’s the word? Tedious, repetitious, frustrating? Well, before you skip to the next article (which would be the equivalent of changing the channel) … let’s pick a really good topic. I pick: books. (And because I’m writing this and you aren’t, let’s stick with books.)

That’s settled. Let’s move on. I would like to talk about my new favorite book. I pulled it off the shelf at random and found a totally delightful story awaiting me. Now, keep in mind, I unpack the freight, so I saw this book; heck, I ordered this book. I always have plenty to read between my favorite authors and new book buzz, but this one wasn’t even on my radar.

I know you want to raise your hand here and ask, so I’ll just tell you. The book is “Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend” by Matthew Dicks. In a nutshell, the title tells it all. (But I’ll pretend I’m like a politician and not stop right here. That would just be too short and pithy, so I’ll elaborate. OK?) This book is the story of Max Delaney’s imaginary friend, Budo. Budo is an incredibly well-defined imaginary friend; he has arms and legs, eyes and ears. In his memoir he explains that most people don’t realize how many imaginary friends are incomplete. Many don’t have ears. Some are bright color-crayon yellow or just a spot on the wall. Budo knows this because he meets a lot of imaginary friends given that he goes to school with Max.

Early on, the reader realizes that Max must have some autism-spectrum disorder because of the things he does. But that is also the reason Budo is so distinct; Max has an extraordinary imagination. Having the world revealed through Budo (and partially through Max because he imagined Budo) is just part of the book’s charm.

Here’s a tidbit. “Like last week Max couldn’t open a jar of jelly to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. ‘Budo.’ he said. ‘I can’t open it.’ ‘Sure you can,’ I said. ‘Turn it the other way. Lefty loosy. Righty tighty. … It worked. Max opened the jar. But he was so excited that he dropped it on the tile floor, smashing it into a million pieces. The world can be so complicated for Max. Even when he gets something right, it can still go wrong.”

Another part of the book’s appeal is how well Budo takes care of Max, especially when a dangerous situation arises. I won’t reveal anymore. Just know that the writing is amazing. It lets you see the world from a child’s point of view: altogether confusing, joyful, and nutty. This book was like opening a door and allowing me into a child’s classroom, listening to a teacher reading a story, being intimidated by bullies, taking me back to remember being a kid and having an imaginary friend because no one else was around. It is charming, poignant, and not to be missed.

Oops, look at that. Time’s up. Thus ends the debate. Sorry you don’t get a chance to rebut but, honest, I am not steering you wrong on this. I don’t want your vote; I don’t need your money. The only promise I am making is that you will like this book. (And the author didn’t pay me a cent to say that.)


October 15, 2012


Stirring Up Some Halloween Fun
Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

Pumpkins, ghosts, and black cats, oh my! The Halloween countdown has begun. Judging by the speed our Halloween picture books are going off the shelves, I would say there is a lot of excitement. We’re just as excited here in the Children’s Room. We have our decorations up and are planning some Halloween festivities. Those children who come to storytime at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25 or 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 29 are invited to wear their Halloween costumes. We’ll celebrate Halloween a few days early with stories, songs, games, and a parade around the library. It should be a “boo-filled” day for all who come.

If you’re looking for some more Halloween fun, be sure to sign up for the “Bedazzle Your Pumpkin” family program on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. We’ll provide the pumpkin and dazzle; you provide the magic! All ages are welcome, but registration is required. Please register for this program by Monday, Oct. 22. For more information and to register, call the library at 507-359-8336. We want to extend a huge thank you to Ron and Karen Domeier of New Ulm for supplying us with pumpkins. Thank you for your generosity!

With the weather turning cooler, the library is a great place to stop by whether you have a few minutes or a few hours. For those quick visits to the Children’s Room to check out books and movies, be sure to also pick up activity sheets to take home. From coloring sheets and mazes to connect-the-dot and word searches, these activity sheets provide fun for children of all ages. If you have a bit more time to spend in the Children’s Room, you might be interested in a new activity that reinforces a child’s searching and counting skills. Hidden around the picture book area are pictures of a black lab. Children are asked to find the dogs and mark off the numbers on their activity sheet. Simply finding all the dogs has been a great reward for children. Some children have even proudly written their name on their sheet to take home as a souvenir.

If you’re looking for a longer visit to the library, please stop by on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m. All are invited to a family friendly film that is rated PG and runs 93 minutes. Call the library at 507-359-8331 or 507-359-8336 for the film title. Thanks to the Optimist Club and Friends of the New Ulm Public Library for their continued support of the library’s movie programs.

As the leaves whirl and twirl outside, the library staff continues to bustle up plenty of good reads, activities, and programs. There is always plenty to do at the New Ulm Public Library. For a complete listing of calendar events, please be sure to check out the flyers posted around the library, press releases listed in the newspaper, or the library’s Web site at


October 8, 2012


Identity Theft
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference

Fall is here and Christmas shopping season is fast approaching. And along with shopping comes an increased chance for identity theft. Do you own an iPhone, an iPad, use the Internet, or go on Facebook and other social networks? Do you use your regular telephone or credit/debit cards to purchase items? If so, you are at risk for identity theft. Identity theft takes place when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes.

Identity theft strikes more than 9 million people every year according to the Federal Trade Commission. Often persons are not even aware of the fact that their identity has been stolen. Some of the warning signals of identity theft include:

--denied credit or loans for no apparent reason
--monthly credit card statements, utility bills, etc. stop arriving
--receive a credit card you did not apply for
--start receiving bills from places you never shop at
--receive bills from a collection agency
--notice some of your mail is missing

There are some things you can do to help protect yourself from identity theft:

1. Don’t give out account numbers or social security numbers to anyone who contacts you by phone.
2. Don’t carry your social security card with you.
3. Be careful when using ATMs. Don’t let anyone see you enter your pin number.
4. Limit the number of credit cards that you have and close those that are inactive.
5. Keep track of monthly bills to be sure you are getting them every month.
6. Do not leave payments in your mailbox for the mail carrier to pick up—take them to the post office to mail.
7. Destroy all documents that have account numbers or personal information on them before throwing them away. (A shredder might be a good investment.)
8. Review your credit report at least once a year.

If you are a victim of identity theft, contact the three major credit bureaus to flag your account. These credit bureaus are:

1. Equifax
P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, Georgia 30374
Equifax Phone Numbers
1-800-685-1111: Credit Report Inquiries
1-888-766-0008: Place Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report

2. Experian
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, Texas 75013
Experian Phone Numbers
1-888-397-3742: Credit Report / Dispute Information/ Fraud Hotline

3. TransUnion
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834
TransUnion Phone Numbers
1-800-916-8800: Dispute Items on Credit Report and Status Checks
1-800-680-7289: Fraud Alerts and Identity Theft Information

You should then get copies of your credit reports, contact the creditors of any accounts that have been tampered with, and contact the police to file a report.

You might want to check the Federal Trade Commission web site for more information on identity theft. Their web site is Information on their site can help you avoid identity theft or advise you what to do if you have had your identity stolen.

And as always, we have books at the New Ulm Public Library, or we can get a book from another library for you, dealing with identity theft. We have a new book on order titled ”50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” by Steve Weisman. It should be on our shelves soon.

October 1, 2012

Conversation Across the Cubicle: Downton Abbey
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions and Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Kris and I often talk books over our adjoining cubicles. But recently, most of our talk has centered on a television show …

K: I just started catching up on “Downton Abbey.”
B: OMG! Doesn’t it rock?
K: I know, right?!
B: I’m caught up through the first two seasons on DVD, and I’m breathlessly waiting for season three to start in January on PBS. Where are you?
K: I’m a little behind you, so don’t spoil anything.
B: Never! But what do you think of Mary and Matthew?
K: They have great chemistry. Mary is my favorite character; I’m not sure whether to feel sorry for her for her position as eldest daughter or to tell her to suck it up and deal. My favorite couple is Bates and Anna.
B: Bates had me at “Hello.” And then when the other servants played the dirty trick on him in the first episode, I was totally Team Bates. And I love the time period, mainly because I’m fascinated by their hats.
K: Don’t the English still have cool hats? In any case, I’m with you. I was sucked in when the series started with the sinking of the Titanic. Season two is going through World War I, and …
B: Wait! Wasn’t it amazing how the Titanic affected the family’s fortunes and propels the storyline for years? Downton has no immediate heirs, so a third cousin (Matthew) is in line to take over. And if Lord and Lady Grantham can marry off Mary to Matthew, Downton will stay in the family.
K: Readers may have heard that Downton was nominated for many Emmy Awards this year but won only one major title: Maggie Smith was named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham.
B: I loved it when Matthew’s mother, Isobel Crawley, says to Violet, “What should we call each other?” and Violet replies, “Well, we could always start with Mrs. Crawley and Lady Grantham.”
K: Seasons one and two are available on DVD through the library. Stop in and place a hold on your copy today. And let us know you think of Downton.
B: We can almost guarantee you’re going to love it!

September 24, 2012

Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Seldom a week goes by that a library patron or a friend doesn’t ask me—“Now that e-books have taken hold, is the physical book going away?” I hope not. But it sometimes seems like there are those trying to hasten its departure.

Virtually all publishers now distribute e-book editions of their new titles as well as print editions. That’s good. But did you know that today not all publishers will sell electronic editions to public libraries? Indeed, after two centuries of supporting publishers with our pocket books, a few publishers have quit supporting public libraries by denying us access to their e-book titles. This means 112,000 libraries and perhaps 169 million library users are not able to access the electronic titles of Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin. Will more industry giants follow the example of these publishers?

Other publishers, though not going so far as denying access, have doubled and trebled their electronic book prices to public libraries. As an example, Hachette Book Group announced effective Oct 1, 2012, an average 220% increase in their catalog titles of pre-2010 materials. Is it any wonder that many librarians have begun feeling like publishers are “sticking it to public libraries?”

Though the prices individuals pay for e-books have not approached those charged to libraries, do you imagine that once we’ve been squeezed, and once the public is dependent on e-readers and tablets, that the industry won’t impose increases on individual users? What is the likelihood of your personal e-books doubling and trebling in price at some point in the future?

Where does this leave public libraries? We don’t quite know yet, but none of it portends well for the future. Nationally and locally the economic downturn of recent years has adversely affected budgets of most public libraries. Now it seems like we’re being strictured by the publishing industry as well.

While support during the downturn of recent years for the New Ulm Public Library from our municipality, our Friends of the New Ulm Library, local businesses and the public has helped us to weather the storm, it now seems like publishers are abandoning us or otherwise making our difficult budgeting task ever tougher.

“Now that e-books have taken hold, is the physical book going away?” I don’t think so. I personally hope that e-books and e-readers don’t take over the world. Not in my lifetime anyway. I’m encouraged recollecting when (about 1975) talk first began about the “paperless” office. When’s the last time you walked into a paperless office? I think that as the death of the paper-filled office was widely exaggerated, I think the death of the book is also widely—and incorrectly—being exaggerated.


September 17, 2012


Science Fiction or Reality?
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

I recently was browsing our Science Fiction and Fantasy section, and suddenly it blindsided me—the lauded Science Fiction writers from back in the day are now few and far between on the shelves. Heinlein, Zelazny, Bradbury, Herbert, Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov…when I was growing up those were the guys who dreamed big dreams, and many of the things they wrote about have come to exist in our lifetime.

One of my favorite authors, Roger Zelazny, predicted electronic books. He wrote an awesome series called “The Chronicles of Amber” (unfortunately dying before finishing it) and predicted in a quote: “I would like to take this opportunity to plug my new book, to be published in both computerized and printed versions in time for 2012 Christmas sales – but I've not yet decided on its proper title. ‘Grandchildren of Amber’ sounds at this point a little clumsy, but may have to serve.” He died in 1995, and just as he predicted, his “Amber” series is now available in electronic format.

Ray Bradbury just died recently. He was an amazing writer, and things he wrote about we almost take for granted these days. He described ear buds when he wrote, “And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight…” He foresaw omnipresent electronic surveillance: “Tonight, this network is proud to have the opportunity to follow the Hound by camera helicopter as it starts on its way to the target…” as well as ATMs: “Montag walked…with the money in his pocket (he had visited the bank, which was open all night every night with robot tellers in attendance)…” And I well remember the vivid image of futuristic wall TVs when I read, “How long you figure before we save up and get the fourth wall torn out and a wall-TV put in?” Imagine: a future society when people would be watching wall-sized TVs and not paying attention to what was happening in the world around them.

Oh, excuse me, did I interrupt you from watching your very large TV to make you read this article? See, isn’t amazing that this man somehow “knew” we would be planted in front of large TVs? On shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” tv watchers can actually hear comments about robots (like the ones below), which are directly related to Isaac Asimov.

“Wolowitz: Sheldon, if you were a robot, and I knew and you didn't, would you want me to tell you?
Sheldon: That depends…Uh, let me ask you this: When I learn that I'm a robot, would I be bound by Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics?
Koothrappali: You might be bound by them right now.

Leonard: What's going on around here?
Sheldon: Internet's been down for half an hour.
Koothrappali: Also, Sheldon may be a robot.”

Bradbury also foreshadowed cell phones in a way, except his characters had wrist radios. “When it wasn’t music, it was inter-office communications, and my horror chambers of a radio wrist watch on which my friends and my wife phoned every five minutes.” I think we all have a horror story involving someone else’s cell phone in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is interesting looking at these authors’ works and realizing what they envisioned at their desks while writing now being part of our daily lives. Makes me wonder who are the Science Fiction writers of today who will predict the next big thing?


September 10, 2012


Falling into a New School Year
Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

September is here and children are back in school. While schedules have changed, it is wonderful to see children and their families still making time to stop by the library. Lots of families are checking out school-themed picture books. Junior readers are browsing the shelves for their favorite series. And some readers are checking out books to help them with their schoolwork. Whether it is for leisure or for studies, the library has a wealth of books and resources for throughout the school year. Don’t forget that if a book is not on our shelves, the library staff is happy to put a copy on hold or find your request in another library. Interlibrary loans make the book possibilities seem nearly endless!

If you’re looking for a good book, be sure to check out the displays in the Children’s Room. We’re asking readers to tell us about their favorite books. Currently, a “Books we love!” display is featured right outside of the Children’s Room. Junior readers have been excitedly writing down their favorite books from the summer. These top book picks have made for a popular junior book display. On the picture book side of the room, we’ve also started an interactive display. The bulletin board “A Crop of Good Books,” features the titles of favorite picture books. Parents are invited to pick up a few apples at the Children’s Desk and write down their children’s favorite picture books. We’d love to have a bulletin board covered in apples. Thank you in advance for your participation!

While the autumn days are getting busier, don’t forget there are still plenty of activities to check out at the library. The fall storytime schedule began this past Monday, Sept. 10th. Storytimes will be held on Mondays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.

If you can’t fit a storytime into your schedule, please be sure to check out the family programs that are offered on the last Tuesday of each month. Each month offers something different. September’s family program is all about fantastic music! On Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m., all are invited to Creepin’ Critters, a family music program featuring bluegrass fiddler Becky Buller of Nashville and local bluegrass legends Dick Kimmel and Jerilyn Kjellberg. This 45-minute program will entertain music lovers of all ages. Registration is not required. For a complete listing of library events, check out the library’s Web page and click on the calendar link.


September 3, 2012


Politics, Politics, Politics

Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know this is an election year. The yard signs are showing up all over town, annoying advertisements are playing on television and radio, political persons are in every parade, and every day it seems new books are being published.

We are going to take a look at a few of these books that have recently been published. Let’s start first with the book entitled “The History Buff’s Guide to the Presidents” by Thomas R. Flagel. He covers topics such as presidential pastimes, most controversial elections, assassinations and attempted assassinations, and also the most influential first ladies. This is a good book to browse, put down, and come back later to read a little more.

“Campaign 2012: Twelve Independent Ideas for Improving American Public Policy” is edited by Benjamin Wittes. Some of the issues covered include domestic economic growth; America’s role in the world; health care; Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East; and terrorism. These are all questions facing the presidential hopefuls as well as the challenges awaiting the winner of the upcoming election.

If you enjoy listening to books, James Carville and Stan Greenberg’s “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” may interest you. According to this book, we as citizens need to get involved and take back our country. Washington and Wall Street have messed things up for the average American. Work has been devalued, education costs have skyrocketed, and people are not being rewarded for a job well done. It is time for both political parties to admit their errors and failures.

“Selecting a President” by Eleanor Clift and Matthew Spieler explains how our presidential electoral system actually works. Candidates have to follow rules that were established back in the late eighteenth century. Presidential elections are exciting, important, and inspiring starting from the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire and ending at the White House in Washington, D.C. These authors talk about the role of alternative parties, various primary election rules from state to state, campaign financing, and some of the controversies surrounding recent elections.

And I just wanted to mention a movie that is now playing at the River Hills Mall in Mankato, MN. The title of the movie is “2016: Obama’s America.” It is a documentary based on two books-- “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” by Dinesh D’Souza and “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” by Barack Obama. “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” is in the New Ulm Public Library and “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” is on order and should be in our library the latter part of September.

The political scene is heating up. We need to become informed citizens by listening and reading about the persons running for office, be they city, state, or national. How informed are you?


August 27, 2012


Kids Take On the Planets
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

I just wanted to give a shout out to the children who participated in the summer program, specifically those who named the planets we had hanging up in the Children’s Room. Thanks
for playing this game. I got to run the spreadsheet on all of the children’s planet ideas and I’m here to tell you these entries are a stitch.

I have to say, after seeing hundreds of entries and trying to decipher different handwriting, I had an epiphany. I was struggling over scribbles and scrawls to make sure I got the proper word down for each child. Then it occurred to me that even if they don’t yet all have the language or the vocabulary (that adults have), these kids have an amazing creative process going on. Whether or not they could spell it, these children are putting down imaginative, funny, and inventive ideas.

I can give you an example. When creating them I was trying to come up with different planet ideas, but frankly, I didn’t always stray too far from known planets. One of the planets looked sort of like Saturn except that the ball was bright yellow surrounded by a soft green colored ring. Some of the kids came up with surprising ideas to name this planet. Some of my favorite entries were: “Butterland,” “Lemon & Lime Planet,” “The Daisy Planet,” “John Deere,” “Planet Green Bay Packer,” and “Sun with a Pet Snake.” There was also “Balarena,” which I believe translates to Ballerina—a lovely representation of the round globe with the ring being a tutu.
I love it.

By the end of making nine planets I was getting more comfortable with the clay. The last one I did was a conglomeration of Styrofoam pieces. This planet actually looked egg-like and was cracked open like it almost had jaws. And then, for a joke, I made a little meteor and glued it in “the mouth.” I thought to myself—it looks like Pac Man. So as I am tallying the children’s ideas I discover that, sure enough, some kids “got” my joke and wrote “Pac Man Planet.” I was kind of happy that we were on the same track. Then other names started coming along like: “The Meatball Planet.” I looked at it again and thought: “Why, that meteor does look like a meatball!” That answer made me laugh. Names like “Big Mouth” and “Planet Hatch,” “Bitesize” and “Gumball Treat,” “Chomp” and “Munch,” “Crakt Egg” and “Chewing World” followed. I’m telling you, these are ideas from kids as young as 3 up to age 11. It really is remarkable and wonderful what is happening in their heads.

So I wanted to thank all the children for their participation. And send a special thanks to moms and dads for bringing their children to the library. It takes time and sometimes an effort to manage it all. I saw something on TV a short time ago about how moms are really the CEOs of their homes. They are scheduling everything, juggling a lot, masterminding and mapping activities and obligations, and running here and there. Thanks for doing all that and working the library into your lives.

Judging from these entries, I think that you parents are feeding these children’s heads in ways nobody even imagined by sharing our world of books with each individual, evolving brain. I hope their creative ideas continue to fuel our world because these children really are incredible.

August 20, 2012


Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

One thing about working at a library is that new books which you’d like to read are always coming to your attention. The following are 2012 titles that we now have at the New Ulm Library which I haven’t read yet, but all of which sound interesting and worthwhile. Maybe you’d enjoy one or more of them?

Pharmageddon by David Healy (2012) - 338.476 Healy

A searing critique of the modern “medical-industrial complex” which the author says is “geared to treating patients in the same way a service station handles a car that comes in for servicing.” Healy says the profits of pharmaceutical companies are so tied to blockbuster drugs that they overhype drug benefits while minimizing, or even denying, real hazards. Healy concludes things are so bad that “medicine as we have known it is at death’s door.”

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mimbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (2012) - 305.56 Boo

The dramatic story of the struggle for a better life in one of the world’s most unequal cities. By Pulitzer Prize winning author, Katherine Boo, the story is set in slums shadowed by luxury hotels. A poverty-stricken family, seemingly on their way to a better life, ultimately faces the effects of a global recession, terrorism and a son wrongfully accused of a shocking tragedy.

Hopelessly Divided : the New Crisis in American politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond by Douglas E. Schoen (2012) – 320.973 Schoen

One of America’s top political pundits looks at the growing chasm between politicians and mainstream America. This chasm is leading to populist movements on both the right and the left, leaving our two-party system on the brink of possible collapse. If you’re wondering why America has become so polarized, this volume may provide you with some answers.

I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did by Lori Andrews (2012) - 323.0285 Andrews

Social networking has brought down national governments, but did you know that it is also eroding your privacy rights? Frighteningly, the same power of information used to topple governments can be utilized destroy careers, marriages and lives. An essential wakeup call for all who blindly use Facebook, Twitter or other social networks.

Selecting a President by Eleanor Clift (2012) - 324.973 Clift

Succinct review of the electoral process in America, published just in time for the 2012 election. Shows how campaigns can be exciting and inspiring, but also disillusioning, all the while governed by rules conceived in the 18th century. A brief civics lesson for American voters.

So there are five brand new titles for your consideration. Check them out at your New Ulm Public Library.


August 13, 2012


Record-Setting Teen Reading Program
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

The 2012 Summer Reading Program for Teens had a banner year with a record 72 young adults registering for the nine-week program. Forty-six teens logged 446 books, which bests the 2011 total by nearly 200 books. Wow!

Teens read everything from Harry Potter to “The Hunger Games” to Nicholas Sparks. They read classic authors such as Charles Dickens and contemporary favorites such as Sarah Dessen. They read romance and fantasy and dystopia. The most impressive entry: “The Passage” by Justin Cronin, a science fiction bestseller that is 766 pages and weighs about 10 pounds.


In addition, teens attended a writing workshop and a dream interpretation program. They got physical at a tae kwon do workshop. And they read “Big Fish,” then watched the film adaptation. Eight local teens participated in the Battle of the Books trivia competition Aug. 11 in St. Peter. Our teams studied hard and did a great job.

The Summer Reading Program for Teens would not have been possible without the help and generosity of many organizations and individuals. Major funding came from the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library and Traverse des Sioux Library System. Local businesses and individuals, including Sven and Jean Eelma, Haar Friseure, Kris’s Klippers, Lola’s Larkspur Market, Penazz Hair and Day Spa, and Uptown Service, donated grand prizes. Local media outlets and businesses publicized our events. A special thank you to the Friends and the New Ulm Area Shrine Club for kicking off the summer with cotton candy treats.

Our library staff was invaluable to the program’s success. Staff members worked on displays, printed copies, folded fliers, changed their schedules, and in many other ways made sure everyone enjoyed their experiences at the library.

To all of you: Thank you! Your efforts and contributions are appreciated.

Again, congratulations to our participants. We look forward to another great program in 2013!

Here is what’s next for us: The library is sponsoring a Fantasy Football League for ages 9-18 this NFL season. Participants must have a Yahoo! E-mail account. The regular season will run 12 weeks, and playoffs will follow. Sign up today and add excitement to your Sunday afternoons.

Information sheets and registration forms are available in the Children’s Department, or call us at 507-359-8334.


August 6, 2012


Bats, Books, and Summer Fun!
Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

Wow, what a summer! It is hard to believe that we just wrapped up the 2012 Summer Reading Program. Before we pack away all of the bats and nighttime decorations,
I want to take a moment to recap the children’s program, “Dream Big – Read!”

Congratulations to the 863 children who registered for the program. Their enthusiasm and eagerness made the reading program a huge success. This summer, children proved once again to be avid readers. It seemed as if the books were flying off the shelves! It was fun to watch children search for their favorite authors and book series as well as branch out and try new authors and genres. The “Read-Alikes” book list binder was a great resource for both children and their parents. Thanks again to Carla Fjeld, children’s library aide, for creating this binder of valuable information! Along with staff suggestions, children were eager to recommend books, too. There is nothing quite as rewarding as watching a child’s face light up as she talks about a good book!

In addition to finding books, children enjoyed counting bats, naming planets, answering trivia questions, and finding those hidden sheep. Some attended our special events and storytimes while others let their imaginations soar as they drew their idea of what’s in outer space. The children’s and teens’ artwork remains on display in the hallway near the Children’s Room. Be sure to stop by and take a look. There is a lot of great art to see, and we extend a big thank you to Ruth Lindemann and Carolyn Borgen for serving as judges in this year’s art contest. Speaking of art, I also want to extend a thank you to Cierra Krenz for creating the wonderful window display at the library. If you’re driving by on Broadway, you will be sure to see it.

The Summer Reading Program brings so many fun summer memories, and none of this would be possible without the tremendous wealth of community support. There are so many people to thank! First, we send a big thank you to the parents and caregivers who encouraged, supported, and often drove, rode bikes, or walked with their children to the library. Thanks to your efforts, children had fun learning and maintained their reading skills. Another big thank you is extended to the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library. The Friends are local residents who are committed to the library’s success. They help the library throughout the year but make an extra special effort to kick off the Summer Reading Program every year. This year, the Friends, with the help of the New Ulm Area Shrine Club, provided cotton candy on the opening day of the program. In addition to the Friends, Kayleigh Maurer also donated her time on opening day. She used her talents to provide face painting for children.

The Summer Reading Program would not have been possible without the help and generosity of many organizations and individuals. Major funding for this year’s Summer Reading Program came from the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library, an anonymous family donation, 3M of New Ulm, and the Traverse des Sioux Library System. Local businesses, including McDonald’s, Subway, Casey’s General Store, Burger King, Papa Murphy’s, Perkins Restaurant, Cash Wise Foods, and Kwik Trip, contributed prizes, treats, and awards. Sven and Jean Eelma donated prizes and coupons for the finale program. The Minnesota Twins donated specially autographed Tony Oliva prints, and the Minnesota Lynx provided game tickets. Finally, we say thanks to the Optimist Club, who provided the movie license so we could show films throughout the summer.

This year’s Summer Reading Program brought the continuation of several wonderful partnerships. In July, the library staff partnered with Community and Seniors Together to present a “Betsy-Tacy Musical Experience.” New Ulm Community Access Television’s staff also generously donated its time so this musical program could be broadcast on local television. Later in the month, the library staff partnered with the staff at New Ulm Park and Rec for an outdoor concert featuring Snapdragon Seeds. In addition, the library staff was welcomed at German Park and the Community Center for special summer programs. Finally, a big thank you goes out to local media outlets and businesses for publicizing the library’s events.

As I share my gratitude, I must also extend my deep appreciation for the library staff and volunteers. Staff members and volunteers worked on displays, printed copies, folded fliers, changed their schedules, and in so many other ways made sure the children and their families enjoyed their experience at the library.

Clearly, the Summer Reading Program is a community project. To everyone, I extend a heartfelt thank you! Your efforts, contributions, and participation are sincerely appreciated.

Again, congratulations to our participants. We hope you had a wonderful summer and look forward to another great program in 2013. Remember to keep reading and dreaming big!


July 30, 2012


What’s New on the Shelves
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

Looking for something good to read? Here are a few new plots to tempt you to drop into the cool of your library.

How creepy would it be to work at a pizza joint and have someone call in to ask if “the girl in the Mini Cooper” is making deliveries? Fortunately for Gabie … but not so good for Kayla, the girls switched shifts. This is where April Henry’s young adult thriller begins and then takes the reader for a ride in “The Night She Disappeared.”

Not for the faint-hearted, Don Winslow’s “Kings of Cool” is the prequel to “Savages.” Violence, adult content, and language make this a far from PG-13 read, yet the man has a gift with words. This is almost like reading hardcore poetry, if you will.

S. J. Bolton’s “Dead Scared” is her second book featuring Lacey and Joesbury. This time there seems to be an epidemic of suicides at Cambridge University except there are too many similarities to be ignored. And why would so many pretty girls want to kill themselves? This psychological thriller kept me turning the pages right up until the fierce ending.

Once a reader closes the book, do the characters live their own lives until the book is opened again, making each character replay the same old story over and over? This is the premise of Jodi Picoult’s newest venture written with her daughter, Samantha van Leer, entitled “Between the Lines.” Juxtaposing Oliver’s character, who desperately is trying to get out of the monotony of his fairy tale existence, with Delilah, a real teen who is just trying to survive high school—this book asks the question: Can a two-dimensional character find romance outside the book?
“Surviving the Hindenburg” is a new junior book by Larry Verstraete with fantastic illustrations by Minnesota artist David Geister. This true account, told through the eyes of a 14-year-old cabin boy, is not only a remarkable story but a visual treat, as well.
For anybody who ever has blanked out right before taking a test, read “F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers” by Richard Benson. It will have you laughing out loud; I guarantee it. Here’s a test question: "Give a brief explanation of the meaning of the term 'Hard water'." Answer: "Ice." And: "Mobile phones are very popular. Give one advantage and one disadvantage of owning a mobile phone." Answer: "Advantage: You can order takeout for your school lunch. Disadvantage: Your parents can get hold of you at any time." Reading this is like eating potato chips, you just want one more.

OK, one more: “Describe the shape and structure of the Milky Way." Answer: "It's kind of like a long, bumpy rectangle. It's completely covered in milk chocolate, but inside there are two delicious layers: chocolaty nougat and caramel." This book is totally funny.

There is something for everyone at your library. We have books that are scary, breathtaking, imaginative, beautiful, and just plain funny. Come in and check something out.


July 23, 2012


Listen Up! to These Audiobooks
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass the time on a road trip or a three-mile run. Getting caught up in a thrilling plot or a fascinating character sure makes the hills more manageable. The following audiobooks have kept me in good company recently.

"Turn of Mind" by Alice LaPlante is a mesmerizing, at times horrifying, portrait of a woman’s descent into Alzheimer’s. Dr. Jennifer White was a brilliant surgeon who is suspected of killing her best friend, but neither the police nor the listener can get a handle on her actions or motives. This is a woman whose life has come apart by her illness, and at the most crucial times she can see herself spiraling right along with the listener. The prose was so honest I found myself rewinding so I could hear Jennifer’s words a second and third time.

"A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty" by Joshilyn Jackson is the contemporary story of three generations of women growing up together in Alabama. Grandma Jenny, mother Liza, and daughter Mosey never had an easy time, but now that a baby’s body has been dug up in their backyard, a devastating secret might tear them apart forever. Jackson narrates her novel beautifully, and this listener had no trouble distinguishing the voices of the characters. The Southern lilt in Jackson’s voice made me think of sweet tea and magnolias.

"Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier is a classic gothic novel that we read for the library’s Adult Book Discussion Group a couple of months ago. I had read the book twice – it’s in my top 10 of all time – so I decided I’d listen to it this time to refresh my memory. I’m a sucker for accents (see previous review), and this time it was Anna Massey’s spot-on British accent in this 1983 recording that hooked me from the start. I’ve been saying “tis-sue” rather than “tish-ue” ever since. And Mrs. Danvers is creepy no matter which format you choose, so whether you read the book or listen to the audiobook, you’ll win.

“Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles sends the listener to 1930s New York and is reminiscent of “The Great Gatsby.” I’m not a huge fan of Gatsby, but I am a huge fan of Katey Kontent, the young woman who hobnobs with the well-to-do of New York society in Towles’ story. Her wit and wisdom drive this story – and there’s a surprise or two just to keep the listener on her toes.

All of these audiobooks are available through the library. Check one out, pop a disc in your CD player, and watch the miles on your next trip fly by. See you at the library!


July 16, 2012


Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Over the past few years, Library staff has noticed a decided drop off in our business after 8:00 p.m. This is true both in the summer and during fall, winter and spring. Our customers do not seem to be staying beyond that time to use library services. Since we are always looking for ways to economize, we are proposing that starting this fall the same schedule apply year-round with the library closing at 8:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. We’d like to know what you—the public—thinks.

This small hours change would save the library about $4,000 per year which we would plan on putting back into the collection budget. The past few years have been budgetarily difficult and the collections budget has been reduced from a high of $58,300 in 2008 to $51,000 in 2012. Any method we can use to augment this budget is helpful.

As everyone knows, the past few years have been difficult for all state and local budgets. Many Minnesota libraries, in fact, have faced budget cuts resulting in hourly reductions. Some of these have been quite severe. This year, my former employer, St. Paul Public Library, has reduced their hours by 10%. At New Ulm Public Library we have managed to get through these years with no reduction in hours. We hope the public will see some wisdom in this small reduction which we do not believe will adversely affect service.

Nonetheless, we welcome all public comments.

Send your emails to:, your letters to: 17 North Broadway, New Ulm, MN 56073, or call me at: 359-8332. I will share all comments with the Library Board at their next meeting on August 9th at 4:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. At that meeting the Library Board will take up the proposed change in library hours. If you choose, this would also be a great opportunity for your comments.


July 9, 2012


What’s new in non-fiction books
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference


We have been receiving so many new and interesting non-fiction books a t the New Ulm Public Library recently that I decided to just mention a few of them in my article. As most of you are aware, we have been getting ready for the 150th Anniversary of the Dakota Conflict for several months. We have had speakers at the library and there are events going on throughout the state on the Dakota Conflict. We have gotten several new books on this subject at the library as well.

John LaBatte has written a book entitled “Historic Fort Ridgely”; Darla Gebhard and John Isch have collaborated on a book “Eight Days in August”; and John Isch himself has written “The Dakota Trials.” Two books written by Corinne L. Monjeau-Marz are “Alexander Ramsey’s Words of War” and “Recollections and Memories of August 17th, 1862: The Day before the Dakota War.”

If you are interested in quilts or monuments, you might like “Civil War Quilts” by Pam Weeks and Don Beld and “Minnesota State Monuments to the Dakota Uprising” by Curtis Dahlin. All of the above mentioned books are new and can be found at the New Ulm Public Library.

If you are an avid golfer, a coffee table book entitled “From Fields to Fairways” by Rick Shefchik may be o f interest to you. Golf clubs and courses have been sources of recreation, fellowship, and business for generations of Minnesotans. Memorable moments in Minnesota golf include Bobby Jones’s victory in the 1930 U.S. Open at Interlachen Country Club; the PGA’s War Relief Match at Midland Hills Country Club in 1942 with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby; and Tiger Woods’ two upset losses at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2002 and 2009. There are over 200 photographs—many of them have never been seen before—featured in “From Fields to Fairways.”

A book that was recently purchased and that I found really interesting is “Working Americans 1880 - 2012” put out by the Grey House Publishing Company. It takes you decade by decade and gives you all kinds of interesting and fun information. For instance, gasoline cost 21 cents per gallon in 1941, 30 cents per gallon in 1957, and now $3.50 in 2012. A Macintosh computer in 1981 cost $1,788 and was humungous compared to our slim, compact computers today. A Sony Cassette Player cost $400 in 1970. Today we can buy a computer for that same price. A barber in 1898 made between $5 and $15 per week—a hundred years later it cost $8 for a man’s haircut. And 15 years later it is over $20 for a man’s haircut. These are just a few of the fun and interesting facts in this book.

There are many more new non-fiction books on the shelves; stop in and check them out.


July 2, 2012


In the Heart of Summer Reading
Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

The Summer Reading Program is in full swing at the New Ulm Public Library. Signing up is easy, and young readers of all ages are enjoying the program. If you haven’t had time to sign up, please feel free to stop by. Children who register before July 7 still have plenty of time to complete the program’s five bookmarks and earn a free book! During a visit to the library, be sure to check out the children’s contests and activities as well as the weekly craft projects. There are imaginary planets to name, trivia questions to answer, and bats to count. Children are also encouraged to participate in the “What’s in Outer Space?” art contest.

The Summer Reading Program is breezing by, and it’s hard to believe a month has already past. Still, there is plenty more fun to be shared at the library. This month’s Summer Reading Program calendar includes:

• A Betsy-Tacy Musical Experience with Sunday Punch Quartet on Thursday, July 12 at 11 a.m. This special storytime will feature stories of Maud Hart Lovelace and barbershop music.
• Steve Sanders of Snapdragon Seeds will perform an outdoor children’s concert on Thursday, July 19 beginning at 6:30 p.m. A regular performer at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, Sanders released his first CD last August.
• On Friday, July 27 at 10 a.m., the Narren will be at the library to share their love of music and dancing with children ages 5-12. No registration is required for this program. Children may simply show up wearing their dancing shoes!
• If you’re looking for more fun, and want a cool place to hang out, don’t forget the library also offers free movies. Upcoming movie dates include Wednesday, July 11 at 6 p.m. and Thursday, July 26 at 3 p.m. Call 507-359-8336 for movie titles.

There are several other community programs to mark on your calendar. This month, an exciting two-part program is available for teens. On Wednesday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 18 from 1-2 p.m., teens are invited to learn about the martial art of tae kwon do from Mr. David Ross and students from Next Level Tae Kwon Do in New Ulm. Registration and parental waiver are required. Pick up a packet at the circulation desk, or call 507-359-8334.

On Wednesday, August 1 at 10 a.m., Jan Keaveny will host a children’s book group at the library. The “Mr. Putter and Tabby” series by Cynthia Rylant will be discussed. This program is a great opportunity for children who love books and want to talk about what they’ve read. After all, book groups aren’t just for adults!

Also, be sure to make note of the upcoming “1860s Life on the Prairie Workshop” for children and teens ages 8-16. Offered by the library and the Wanda Gag House Association, this free program will be held Monday, July 30 through Thursday, Aug. 2 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. daily at the Brown County Fairgrounds Schoolhouse. Registration is required. Please call Diana at 507-354-2937 or Kris at 507-359-8334 for more details.

Summertime is indeed a time for fun and relaxation. Here at the library, we also hope it’s a time for some reading fun. Stop by and browse the shelves or stop by for a program. For a complete listing of the library’s calendar, check out the library’s Web site:


June 25, 2012


Authors to Watch
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

So I found my new favorite British author! At loose ends for reading… I checked out S.J. Bolton’s (then) newest mystery called “Now You See Me.” Here’s the first sentence: “A dead woman was leaning against my car.” Intriguing, right? I dived in. The main character is Lacey, and as you already know, she encounters a dying woman who, in reaching out to Lacey, plunges the knife deeper into her body. Lacey, both a cop and a human being, desperately tries to come to the woman’s aid. When the police view the scene, at first they believe Lacey is the killer; she is covered in blood and has the knife. Once they realize she is also a constable, they basically “bag” her, putting her hands in baggies to preserve crime scene evidence, hustling her back to the police station. As the plot unfolds, it is revealed that the killer is mimicking Jack the Ripper’s slayings; and ironically, Lacey is somewhat of a Ripper expert. Although Jack the Ripper has been written about and used as a plot device many times, Bolton still manages to spin this in a different way. Not a fan of real graphic murder mysteries, I was captivated by Lacey.

When I reached the ending, I wasn’t ready to be done with Lacey and Detective Joesbury. I thought the story was complete, but those characters, surely there could be more? Then I found that a sequel was coming out. Yeah! So I wrote to Bolton to let her know how much I enjoyed the book. And one night while I was checking my e-mail, I saw a strange name and idly thought: spam! Imagine my surprise when I realized that S.J. responded to me! I am torn when this happens; pleased that the author wrote and semi-horrified that an author is writing to me rather than writing her next book. She was so nice and happy that Americans were enjoying her work. Heck yeah, not a problem! I’m waiting for the sequel right now.

Several years ago, I wrote to another author, Gillian Flynn, after reading her book called “Dark Places.” “Dark Places” is about a 7-year-old who flees outside when her mother and sisters are killed. She identifies and testifies against her brother, putting him in prison. Then things happen to make her question what she really heard that night. I was totally involved in this book and remember questioning the character of several of the characters, which I told Gillian in an e-mail. I recall that she asked me to read her other book and give her feedback on that one, too. I found her to be totally approachable and really talented.

She has a new book out now, called “Gone Girl,” that has been making some of the must-read lists. I knew right away I had to read it, too. This mystery is about a marriage and a suddenly missing wife. It is told in alternating chapters by the husband, Nick, and absent Amy’s diary. The reader immediately knows that, according to Nick, Amy can be a bit of a witch. Whereas Amy’s diary reveals that Amy thinks she is funny and smart and supportive. According to the diary, Nick can be secretive and sort of a jerk. And yet Nick thinks he’s an extremely handsome, likeable guy. So who does the reader believe? As the pages turn, the tension builds; like the tension on a rope as it is pulled tighter and tighter, the pressure increases the further into this marriage the reader goes. One marriage with two perspectives: a missing woman and a self-conscious, oblivious husband. The marriage is alternately sincere and secretive, suspicious and snide, unknowing and manipulating. So who is the creep? And just exactly how creepy is he or she? Where is Amy? And how guilty is Nick, cuz readers know: The first suspect is always the spouse.

This is a slippery, snarky, snide ride as the reader becomes a voyeur of a marriage going wrong, yet is not able to see where it is heading. I caught myself whispering: “What did you do?” to several characters in different places. As a reader, you can’t look away. There is a reason “Gone Girl” is making the best lists. Don’t miss it.


June 18, 2012

Great Television Mini-Series on DVD at the Library
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Over the decades, there have been many great television mini-series. Some, like Roots by Alex Haley, nearly everyone has seen. Lately, the New Ulm Library has acquired several mini-series that you may not have seen, or that you may not have seen since their debut on network television decades ago (since mini-series are seldom, if ever re-broadcast). When nostalgia sweeps over you, check out one of these mini-series on DVD from your New Ulm Library. Besides their entertainment value, some are even educational.

Rich Man, Poor Man (1976) – 1604 minutes on 9 disks.
This 1976 dramatic mini-series was the first on network television and its success led to many others. Hard to believe but this was once-scandalous television. The series stars Peter Strauss and Nick Nolte as the ne'er-do-well Rudy and ambitious Tom Jordache, “brothers locked in an incessant rivalry owing in large measure to their bitterly cynical father, Axel (Ed Asner).” There’s also free-spirited Julie Prescott (Susan Blakely) to make things more interesting. This classic mini-series is based on the novel by Irwin Shaw.

Backstairs at the White House (1979) – 444 minutes on 4 disks.
This 1979 mini-series earned eleven Emmy nominations for its portrayals of servants, presidents, and first ladies during eight American presidencies. Watch American political history unfold through the eyes of a maid and staff living and serving in the White House. Based on a novel by Lillian Rogers Parks the series stars Olivia Cole and Leslie Uggams.

Rough Riders (1997) – 183 minutes on 2 disks.
A well-done mini-series about Teddy Roosevelt and his “Rough Riders” during the Spanish-American War. Here’s a chance to join Tom Berenger (as the young Teddy Roosevelt), Sam Elliott and Gary Busey as they march and ride with the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. But this film is about more than just the war. It offers an excellent sense of the nationalism and Randolph Hearst's yellow journalism that were characteristic of the times.

King (1978) – 271 minutes on 2 disks.
Nominated for nine Emmy Awards this biographical mini-series of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., takes an unflinching look at one of the world's most public heroes during one of the most troubling periods in American history. Starring Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson and Ossie Davis, King is a riveting tale that won accolades for its portrayal of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta.

Little House on the Prairie (2004) – 255 minutes on 2 disks.
Based on the autobiographical novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this is not the Michael Landon television series. Instead, this Disney mini-series tells the story of the dangerous journey by covered wagon made by the Ingalls family from an economically depressed Wisconsin to a hoped-for better life in Kansas. Much, much closer to the look, touch and feel of Laura’s memoirs than the television series, this is highly recommended.

These excellent DVD mini-series and others await you at the New Ulm Public Library. Check out and enjoy one or more on your next trip to the library.

June 11, 2012


U.S.-Dakota War Symposium Schedule
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

A subgroup of the 150th Steering Committee of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 has been working for well over a year to schedule an academic symposium for thoughtful discussions related to various aspects of the war. It has been a pleasure to be part of these efforts, and I’m pleased to announce the schedule of speakers.

The symposium will take place Friday, August 24 at Turner Hall, 102 S. State St. in New Ulm. Presentations will begin on the hour between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break at noon. Each presentation will last about 35 minutes with 10 minutes following for questions. The list of speakers is as follows:

9 a.m. – Dr. Mary Lethert Wingerd, author of the Minnesota Book Award-winning “North
Country: The Making of Minnesota.” Dr. Wingerd, associate professor of history at St. Cloud State University, will provide perspective on the history of the area we now call Minnesota as well as a framework for the U.S.-Dakota War.

10 a.m. – Dr. Zabelle Stodola, professor of English at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, is the author of “The War in Words: Reading the Dakota Conflict through the Captivity Literature.” The working title of her presentation is “Snana: Minnesota's Pocohontas,” which will deconstruct and expose the reasons for the overly positive cultural stereotyping and sentimentalization of both Pocahontas and Snana (Maggie Brass).

11 a.m. – Dr. Elden Lawrence, former president of Sisseton Wahpeton College and former visiting professor of ethnic studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is the author of “The Peace Seekers: The Indian Christians and the Dakota Conflict” and “Stories and Reflections: From an Indian Perspective.” His presentation is titled “Beyond the 38.”

1 p.m. – Walt Bachman, B.A., M.A., J.D., is a former trial attorney whose forthcoming biography of Joseph Godfrey is titled “Black Dakota.” His presentation is titled “Differing Portrayals of the Dakota War Over Time: Political Correctness in 1900 and 2012,” which will cover the radically differing approaches taken by historians during the two selected periods.

2 p.m. – Dr. Julie Humann Anderson’s presentation is titled “Reconciling Memory: Landscapes, Commemorations, and Enduring Conflicts of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.”

This project is sponsored by the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library with partners the Brown County Historical Society and Turner Hall. The New Ulm Area Foundation and the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation are providing generous support.

For more information about library-sponsored programs, go to For a list of Dakota War commemorative events (which continues to be updated), go to and click on Calendar of Events.


June 4, 2012


Heartfelt Thanks
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

I just read an interview with George R. R. Martin, and he concluded with something I could really relate to. He was looking at picture of his third-grade class and recognized himself and his close friends but didn’t remember who the other kids were. “Undoubtedly I was alive every day I was growing up, but most of those memories are gone.” And he went on to say, “I never saw the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock or the parties on Gatsby’s lawn, but they seem more vivid than things that I actually lived. If we are the sum of our experiences, … then books are [as important a] part of my life [as] my actual life.” What a great gift it is, then, to lend someone a book.

That leads me to thanking some people I don’t necessarily know. And they don’t know me either, probably. And they also won’t know all the people they touched with their generosity. That’s the really nice thing about gifts: They make all sorts of people all sorts of happy.

I wanted to thank a gentleman who thought of us after his wife died. In memory of his wife, his generosity enabled me to purchase some inspirational fiction. I received another gift so that I was able to purchase some large print. There is always a demand for large print. Thank you. Then a club gave us some memorial money. Since book clubs read all sorts of things, Linda and I split the money and ordered both nonfiction and fiction books. Thank you.

It is an unwritten policy at the library that when a staff member has a death in the family, the rest of the staff chips in together for them. We ask what the loved one liked in life, be it a hobby or pastime, and we purchase book or books in their memory on those topics. In this way we give the library something in memory of someone who is lost to us, and we build up parts of the collection that we might not otherwise have money for. This time, we purchased some organic gardening books. Thank you, guys.

So from all the readers who will be touched by these gifts, thank you. New places, characters, and stories will be part of many readers’ lives because of your thoughtfulness. The library thanks you, and we are totally happy to share our good fortune.


May 28, 2012


Dream Big at Your Library!
Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian & Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

Summer is almost here, and the library is gearing up for its annual summer reading programs! With the theme “Dream Big – Read!” this year’s programs will inspire children and teens to use their imaginations and explore the world around them.

To interest young readers of all ages, two reading programs will be offered again this summer. The children’s reading program is open to children ages 1 to 12, and the teen reading program is open to young adults ages 13 to 18. Registration for both programs begins on Monday, June 4 at 9:30 a.m. Children and teens who register on the kick-off day will receive a voucher for a treat while supplies last. We want to extend a big thank you to the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library and the New Ulm Area Shrine Club for providing this year’s treats! For those who can’t make it to the library on June 4, there is still plenty of time to sign up because registration will run through early July.

Children’s Summer Reading Program

The goal of the children’s program is for participants to read for 30 minutes a day for 25 days between June 4 and August 2. Children who are pre-readers are asked to listen to books read to them for 20 minutes a day for 25 days. To help track their reading time, children who register will receive a “Dream Big” bookmark. After completing their five days of reading (or listening), children will return their completed bookmark to the library for a prize and a new bookmark. All children who complete the program’s five bookmarks will receive a book and be eligible to win one of 10 grand prizes. For children ages 6 to 12 who want an extra challenge, they can complete a reading challenge sheet to receive a prize and be named a “Dreamy Reader.”

While reading is at the heart of the summer program, the library staff has planned activities to encourage children to be creative and have fun! While visiting the library, children can search for sheep or identify the bulletin board’s display of nocturnal and diurnal animals. There also will be crossword puzzles, word finds, and coloring sheets available along with a family challenge sheet. Plus, summer storytimes will be held on Mondays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.

There are also lots of contests planned at the library. Night Owl Trivia questions will be posted each week, and children are invited to enter the What’s In Outer Space? art contest. There is also the Go Batty Counting Bats contest and the Out of This World (name that planet) contest.

Another highlight of the summer reading program is the calendar of special events. The first big program of the summer reading season is the Sky Dome Planetarium’s journey through the stars. June’s calendar also includes a Book Arts Workshop presented by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, storytelling by the WonderWeavers, and a family program with origami enthusiast and children’s author Chris Harbo. Of course, June is just the beginning of summer fun. There are free movies and more programs to come. For a complete listing of the library’s calendar of events, please check out the library’s Web site at There is family fun for everyone!

Teen Summer Reading Program

Teens are invited to register for the Summer Reading Program at the Circulation Desk. Throughout the summer, they will log every book they read on a slip of paper and drop the paper in a designated box at the Reference Desk. Every teen who submits at least one slip will receive a book. Additional prizes will be drawn randomly from all submissions.

The library has several special events planned for teens, including a visit from author Rebecca Fjelland Davis on June 8; a dream interpretation workshop on June 21; and a read the book, watch the film program on July 20.
And don’t forget about Battle of the Books, the trivia-style competition open to teens throughout the Traverse des Sioux Library System. This year’s event is scheduled for August 11 in St. Peter. Interested teens must register with Kris (507-359-8334). This is the program’s fourth year, and it gets better every year!

The New Ulm Public Library is fortunate to receive major funding for the 2012 Summer Reading Programs from the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library; an anonymous donor; 3M of New Ulm; and the Traverse des Sioux Library System through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The library also receives generous prize donations from local businesses and organizations. A complete list of donors can be found on the library’s Web site. Thanks, donors!

As always, the most important reward of our summer reading programs is that it helps children and teens maintain or even improve their reading skills that lay the foundation for school success. If parents and libraries work together to provide incentives for reading, kids can be winners. So come to the library this summer for
some good books and fun.


May 21, 2012

AWEsome Library Tool for 2-8 Year Olds!
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director & Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

Literacy is accomplished most easily at an early age, and the New Ulm Library now has a computer workstation oriented towards promoting literacy among 2 to 8 year olds. It’s called the “AWE Early Literacy Workstation” and it’s filled with fifty+ computer software programs that promote literacy and encourage lifelong learning. These programs span seven curricular areas including mathematics, music, art, science and more.

Some 35% of American public libraries now own one or more of these workstations and it’s easy to see why. The educational titles are pre-loaded on the computer and displayed using engaging dynamic graphics and intuitive menus. The vendor also provides full support, updates and has designed the machines to be fully secure in a library environment. The AWE workstation does not provide Internet access thereby avoiding the issues that come with such access.

The New Ulm Library was able to purchase one of these units through the support of the Friends of the New Ulm Library, an anonymous family donation of $1000 and by utilizing some budgeted technology funds. Initially, we have purchased one unit, but we hope to purchase a second one before the end of the year. Here’s why:

Children learn independently with the AWE workstation. Since its addition just a few weeks ago, the AWE workstation has been a big hit in the children’s room. In fact, staff have noticed that all of the gaming computers have increased usage since the AWE workstation was set up in the library. Children’s Librarian, Katy Kudela, notes—“I think one child having fun makes others want to join in.”

The colorful workstation and its amazing graphics especially catch children’s attention. It’s fun to see children try out the computer even if they’ve never used a library game computer before. Children seem to be naturals at using the AWE workstation. Katy further notes—“I have to sheepishly admit that it was a young patron who advised me the computer has a touch screen! There is no need to explain to them how to use the computer. They just sit down and start playing.” Amazing! So far one of the most popular games has been a science game, which teaches children about the “amazing human body.” Learning while having fun is the best combination!

Bring your 2 to 8 year old to the New Ulm Library and have them show you how to use our AWE Early Literacy workstation!


May 14, 2012


Murder: Overdue!
Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Well, it’s all over! Two murders in the Library in two nights. Did you hear about it?

Some eighty-one mystery fans joined NUACT’s Paul Warshauer and a cast of twelve in solving two separate library-based mysteries on Friday, May 11th and Saturday, May 12th. There were “Ooohs” and “Ahhs” and “Mmmms” galore as Paul guided the participants through crime scenes (locations in the library), skits among the possible perps and victims, cross-examination of the suspects, and finally, a balloting on WHODUNIT.

The original play—written by Paul Warshauer especially for this event—involved a hostile takeover of the New Ulm Library by a Silicon Valley tech firm called Pineapple, Inc. The firm’s goal was to replace the New Ulm Library with a Tech Center sporting a huge T5 Internet pipe. No more books! Just bits and bytes. The stellar cast of local actors included:

Adam S. Appel (Zach Holmquist), CEO of Pineapple, Inc.
Natasha Naerdo (Stefanie Havemeier), Asst. to the CEO
Delilah D. Dahmdan (Becky Comnick), a construction firm owner and mob boss
Boobles D. Sympletan (George Hirschboeck), an intern with the mob boss
Mayor Frieda Flipflappah (Judy Sellner), mayor of New Ulm
G. Gordon Piddley (Kent Menzel), mayor’s assistant
Fred Flipflappah (Marlyn Sellner), husband of the mayor
Lawrence Librahubris (Jared Schwab), library director
Maria Geisel (Jodi Poehler), children’s librarian
Otto Schleissithoff (Mark Santelman), pig farmer from Essig and Friends president
Sonja Schleissithoff (LaRonda Bourn), wife of the Friends president
Mary Sunshayne (Sue Ullery), Chamber of Commerce president

Thanks also to the docents for the production—Gabby Budenski, JoAnne Griebel, John Holmquist, Nicole Kalow, Baily LaMountain, Zach Lingl, Abby Matthews, Mary Jo Roeber, Jenna Sieve and Leasa Sieve. Ticket takers were Nikie Groebner, Eunice Riebel and Leasa Sieve.

Murder: Overdue! was a collaboration and joint fundraiser for the New Ulm Actors Community Theater (NUACT) and the Friends of the New Ulm Library. Nearly $2,000 was raised in support of the two organizations. Thanks to the eighty people who attended and enjoyed this unique event!

Finally, thanks to the Friends of the New Ulm Library--especially Alma Marin--who provided the wonderful desserts, and Kris Wiley, who coordinated the event for the New Ulm Library.

Now the Library will go quiet again as it prepares for the next hostile takeover by a Paul Warshauer script! Maybe next year?


May 7, 2012


Professor Plum Did It
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

I was alone in the library late one night. I had forgotten a phone number at my desk and was just going to run in and get it. It was no big deal; I’ve worked in this building for thirty years. I could almost find my way around in the dark so I didn’t need a light. Coming in the backdoors, with light from the street to guide me, I rounded the corner, and I could hear the snap of a door closing. I looked back. Nope, there’s nothing there. It was just the sounds of a building settling.

By the time I was in the workroom, I could hear the hum of the elevator. “Hmm. That’s funny. No one else is in here. Maybe it turns on periodically,” I thought. In any case I was almost to my desk so I was fairly sure I could find the number and get out fast. But noises add up rapidly with the imagination doing the calculations. What ifs started to stack up in my brain. What if there IS someone here? What if something happens? The library seems to have an unlimited amount of shadowy nooks, towering shelves, and creepy noises. Where is the best place to hide? What’s around the next corner? And suddenly my brain made that final leap: The library is the perfect place for murder.

So we’re hosting one. Yep, that’s right; we’re inviting everyone to the library for a murder. Friends of the New Ulm Library and NU Actors Community Theater are having a mystery night at the library. Creepy, shadowy, noisy old building that it is. Murder: Overdue! will play out both Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets are twenty-five dollars each, nonrefundable. Everyone is welcome. There is only general seating.

Will there be thrills and chills? Well, there is no guarantee. What is guaranteed is that there WILL be a murder (a false one), there will be audience armchair detectives, there will be fun, and there will be dessert. So who gets it? Is it the pompous librarian with the pencil in the office? Could it be the Chamber president with an encyclopedia in the basement? And more important, who done it? Was it the Mayor in the conference room with a date due stamp? Or could it be the Friends of the Library member in the fiction stacks with a ream of paper? (Paper cuts can be deadly.) Did a book truck run over the victim? Did the murderer leave an important clue? And most important, what is for dessert?

Well, to find out the answers to these and any other questions, you will have to come and find out. Just know that there aren’t any candlesticks or a nifty conservatory like in Clue. But we do have wicked staplers and a unisex bathroom. Who knows what will make a killer combination?


April 30, 2012


Sing Ho!
Betty J Roiger, Acquistitions

Do you ever get a song caught in your head? And have it singing around and around inside? If it is a bad song, it drives you nuts. Then it is like annoying ear bubblegum. But if it is a good song, you kind of just go with it. You know what I mean?

When I was a kid, we would open our little plastic record player and put on one of our thick, yellow, vinyl Disney 45s and sing along to the records. We didn’t have many records to choose from. The ones I remember were Winnie the Pooh, Tawny, Scrawny Lion, and the crocodile song from Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

The Winnie the Pooh record was Pooh singing this cheerful song. It went: Sing Ho! for the life of a Bear. Sing Ho! for the life of a Bear!
I don’t much mind if it rains or snows,
Cos I’ve got a lot of honey on my nice new nose,
I don’t much care if it snows or thaws,
Cos I’ve got a lot of honey on my nice clean paws!

Whenever I have heard that, for me, it has been always a happy, happy song. And today, I’m singing it. (Whether I’m a bear or not.)

It is a good day because our Friends of the Library group gave the library a gift of money to purchase some large print books. This is an excellent surprise for a lot of reasons. One, we always can use money for large print. Two, our large print readers are so awesome and enjoy it a great deal. Whether it is a patron who is reading large print or customers who are checking large print out for their parents or children to read, our large print circulates. So this is a boon. I immediately contacted my large print vendors, both of whom are just great to work with, to see what is new and what discounts I can get. So this is a “Sing Ho!” kind of day, knowing some large print books are on their way to us.

Another Friends group recently graced us with a gift, as well. The Friends of the LeSueur library gave our Traverse des Sioux Library System a gift of money to spend on e-books. We were able to get a nice number of e-books due to that influx of money. I’m not sure if patrons who use e-devices know this, but while an individual may purchase an e-book for twelve to twenty dollars, the same title costs us upwards of seventy or eighty bucks. (And this is if we can even get access to it.) Yes, there is that much difference in cost. This is because, unlike a single customer, a library can circulate an e-book hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. While understanding that publishers want to get paid as much as they can for their merchandise, this is still painful to library pocketbooks. So the generosity of the LeSueur Friends was a gift to all the patrons in our nine-county system.

Consequently, “Sing Ho! for the life a bear!” is in my head today, which is a good day. Thank you to LeSueur Friends and New Ulm Friends. Today, having this happy little tune buzzing around in my head means that good fortune is being shared. And that is what libraries are all about. (Sharing and friends and sometimes bears.)


April 23, 2012


Summer Dreams and Wishes
Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

It’s true that spring came early this year, but in the Children’s Room we are already thinking ahead to summer. Plans for the 2012 Summer Reading Program are well under way. This year’s theme “Dream Big-Read!” will stretch the imagination and encourage children to explore the world around them…even outer space! But before the program can launch, there is lots of work to be done.

Twas a month before the Summer Reading Program begins,
and our “to-do lists” are filling up our filing bins.

There are brochures to print, fold, and hand out,
and plenty of flyers to post all about.

There are bats to make and bedtime sheep to hide
for these decorations will make
a fun scene inside!

Stars will hang from way up high,
and Betty’s planets will make
for a dreamy night sky.

Everyone at the library is doing their part
to make summer reading fun
right from the start.

The work is great fun, and we can’t wait to see
the faces of children smiling with glee
as they walk through the door
to find books, movies, and activities galore!

While the children’s staff is dreaming about summertime, there is still plenty of fun to be had in the months of April and May. We’re all about spring with our “Springtime” and “Happy Earth Day!” picture book displays along with our “Spring into Sports” junior book display. Springtime activities are on the calendar, too, including an Arbor Day program in German Park with a group of second-graders. We’re also excited to welcome a St. James school visit. These first-graders will be learning about Wanda Gag and her much loved books.

In May, there is more fun to be shared. The Optimist Club and the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library are sponsoring a free movie event on Friday, May 18 at 10 a.m. On Tuesday, May 29 at 6:30 p.m., Jordan Budenski will share his family program “Rompin’ Rodents!” It will be an evening of wildlife learning and fun for all ages.

Whatever the season, there is always lots of activity happening at the New Ulm Public Library. For a listing of all the library’s events, please be sure to check out the library’s online calendar at, watch for flyers posted in the library, or give us a call at 359-8331.


April 16, 2012


Earth Day
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference

Every year on April 22 we celebrate our planet with “Earth Day.” The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. It was a nationwide teach-in on college campuses so people would become aware of environmental issues. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin is credited with starting the first Earth Day celebration. On that first Earth Day, 20 million Americans demonstrated in the streets, in parks, and in auditoriums in organized protests to protect the environment against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife. That first Earth Day got everyone working together for the same common cause—preserving our environment.

There are many ways in which all of us can take part in Earth Day. Here are some examples of things to do on Earth Day:
1. Organize an Earth Day walk, hike, run, swim, or bike outing. Everyone, from little too big, could be included in this event.
2. Collect old incandescent lightbulbs and recycle them. A group such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or 4-H could make this a project for their organization.
3. Call your local Parks Department and offer to clean up a park or plant a tree or trees.
4. Check with a local nursing home and offer to plant and help maintain a vegetable garden for them.
5. Organize an e-waste recycling drive. Collect old computers, televisions, and other electronic equipment from your community and recycle them.

These are only a few suggestions. If you think for a while, you can come up with more ideas for celebrating Earth Day.
Check your local library for ideas on “going green” or conserving energy in our homes, workplace, and communities. “Reducing Your Carbon Footprint at Home,” “Save Energy and Cut Your Bills,” “Get Out!: 150 Ways for Kids & Grown-ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future,” and “Green Buildings” are just a few of the titles available at the New Ulm Public Library.
Earth Day should not be set aside for only one day during the year. We have to think “green” for every day of the year. Start small and work your way up. Our children are the leaders of the future—it is important that they learn the importance of the environment now and how to protect it so future generations can enjoy our Earth.


April 9, 2012

Thank You to Library Staff and Volunteers
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

This week we celebrate National Library Week, a time to recognize and honor the contributions libraries and library workers make to our communities. Tuesday, April 10 was National Library Workers Day, when we honored our dedicated and hard-working team for its service. The library staff loves books and information, and we do our very best to put books and information into your hands.

My hope is that you have a positive experience every time you visit the library. Whether that means you talked books with a librarian, read a magazine while drinking a cup of coffee, used one of our computers, or found just the right book, we strive to provide a welcoming atmosphere.

I want to take a moment, though, to make you aware of a few of our staff’s efforts behind the scenes. Materials are ordered, and they are processed, and they are paid for, and they are shelved and reshelved and reshelved. They are repaired and repaired and repaired. Then they are weeded and discarded. Tax forms are ordered and made available. Storytimes are developed, and chairs are set out and then put away. Information about electronic books and readers is committed to memory. Speakers are booked, and publicity is created. Computers work properly, and our technology functions. The library remains neat and tidy. And we try to do all of this without showing you just how much we sometimes sweat.

The truly remarkable thing about all of this is that everyone at the library has found a niche. Our staff has a wide variety of interests and talents, and we put them to the best use for you. Thank you to our staff – you and your work are valued.

April also is National Volunteer Month, a time to recognize and thank our volunteers for their service to the library. We have a fantastic group of volunteers that steps up in a number of ways. One of our volunteers delivers books to homebound residents in New Ulm. Another volunteer facilitates the Teen Book Group and helps develop teen programming. One recently spent two hours making copies of and folding brochures. Another cleaned children’s materials. All of our volunteers do whatever we ask of them. Their efforts are by no means glamorous, but all of it is necessary and very much appreciated. Thanks to all of our volunteers. You rock!

April 2, 2012



by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

Now that e-books have been available through the Traverse des Sioux Libraries (of which New Ulm Public Library is a part) for almost a year, we’re getting asked—“How do I donate my e-book to the library?”

It’s a good question, but there’s really not a very satisfactory answer. Unlike physical books, which can be handed off to the library once you’re done with them, the licensing of e-books does not allow donations to a library. Though you can sometimes (depending on who you bought the e-book through) loan your purchased title to a friend, you cannot give it to a library for loan to other users. It’s just not allowed. That’s not the library’s decision, but that of the authors/publishers/distributors.

It’s sad, but true. So how can you help the Library when you buy e-books? Well, starting this week, if the title you wish to borrow is checked out on the Library’s Web site, you can click on a link called “Buy it Now” and purchase the book for your own e-reader. If you do so, about 10% of the value of your purchase will be credited to the Traverse des Sioux Library System (TdS) allowing us to purchase more digital materials such as e-books and downloadable audiobooks through OverDrive. That means us! Remember though, use this only if you want to purchase the item because you don’t want to “Place a Hold” and wait for the book.

Here’s a few Q & As that might help you understand how this works:

Q: How will my library use the funds it earns from my purchase?

A: Funds the library earns from the OverDrive WIN Affiliate Program will be credited to the OverDrive account of the Traverse des Sioux system for purchase of more eBooks and audiobooks. The titles and materials the library selects are at the library's discretion.

Q: How do I know what is a qualifying purchase for my library to get credit?

A: eBook and/or digital audiobook purchases and other items from OverDrive WIN Affiliated Retailers will provide the library with a credit from your purchase. “Other items” means even if you buy a television, the library system will receive a credit for the purchase of additional digital materials!

Q: Is my purchase tax-deductible?

A: No. Purchases from OverDrive WIN affiliated retailers are not tax-deductible.

Q: How do I choose a retail partner?

A: When you select the green "Buy it Now" link located beside titles on the library’s e-materials Web site, you will see a list of OverDrive WIN Affiliated Retailers. Clicking on a retailer's logo will link you to that retailer's commercial website. Not all retailers offer the same titles or formats that your library does, and the content available may not be compatible with all devices. Please review the retailer's website for additional information. Over time TDS will be adding additional OverDrive WIN Affiliated Retailers so the list is subject to change.

Q: What’s the one thing you need to remember to insure your purchase benefits the Library?

A: Remember, you must click on one of the “Buy it Now” links on the TDS Web site (, then click on the vendor through whom you wish to make a purchase. If you do that, the TDS libraries will receive a credit—generally about 10%—of the value of your purchase. NOTE: if you go directly to the vendor Web site without going to the TDS Web site first, the TDS libraries will not receive a credit.

So there you have it. A new way for you to help the New Ulm Public Library and other TDS libraries when making online purchases through such well-known vendors such as, Barnes & Noble and others. We hope you’ll give it a try!


March 26, 2012


Come Out and Join Us for World Book Night
by Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions & Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

B: So, Kris, I hear you are reading “The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.”

K: I am. Some of those stories are creepy!

B: Oh, yeah. Totally. I thought that Jon Scieszka’s “Under the Rug” was wonderfully snarky and had me laughing at his audacity at the end.

K: I thought you would be upset about the cat.

B: Ha! Feline lover that I am, I realized that sacrifices must be made for that ravenous rug. I found so many stories interesting because each author took a Chris Van Allsburg picture and wrote a story around it, taking the pictures into realms of the weird, or magical, or even sweet.

K: I’m still reading it, but I liked “Uninvited Guests” by Jules Feiffer. It begins, “Henry was startled, but not that surprised by the appearance of a singing mouse in his studio.” Turns out Henry is a children’s book writer and illustrator who has nothing left in his life except the characters he has created. I thought it was heartbreaking.

B: One of my favorite authors, Louis Sachar, introduces a boy to a ghost in “Captain Tory.” Normally, one would think that a ghost would be scary, but this one, well, not to give it away, but this one is sort of heartwarming. So maybe we need to mention why we are both so interested in “The Chronicles of Harris Burdick”?

K: Sure. As you know, World Book Night is coming up on April 23; it is an annual celebration designed to spread the enjoyment of reading and books.

B: And we have something planned to spread the love of reading to others?

K: Yes! Beginning at 7 p.m. on April 23, we are going to read aloud from “The Chronicles of Harris Burdick,” which will be fun. And because these stories are short, patrons can come and go as they please. We are also having trivia contests, AND there will be free books and refreshments.

B: So we are actually giving away books?

K: Yep. Maybe you’ve heard of “The Hunger Games”?

B: Ha ha. Really, with the movie opening, all I want to do is re-read it. What a great book.

K: I know! And we also have copies of “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card to give away. Look, all the participation we require is just to have fun. Stop by to hear a story, or read one if you like. Play trivia and maybe win a prize.

B: Sounds good. Better than hiding under the covers reading a book by yourself with a flashlight.

K: Exactly. It is World Book Night: Come out and celebrate with us.


March 19, 2012


U.S.-Dakota War Roundtable Planned
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director


For nearly two years I have been working with the folks at the Brown County Historical Society and the 150th Anniversary Steering Committee of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 to bring speakers to the local community. Our lineup of historical novelists and local and regional historians has been well received.

Our programs have been leading up to the commemorative week of events planned throughout New Ulm and Brown County between August 20 and 26. A wide variety of groups has scheduled a multitude of programs – everything from bus tours of the Milford, Leavenworth, and Hanska areas to film screenings to a concert to a play and much more. Go to for more information, and click on Calendar of Events for a full listing of programs.

The library’s involvement in the commemoration focuses on speakers. Specifically, I have worked with a subcommittee to schedule a roundtable, which will be Thursday, August 23 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Turner Hall. Historian Dan Hoisington will moderate the discussion, which will be a point-counterpoint format with historians Curtis Dahlin, Corinne Marz, Stephen Osman, and Don Heinrich Tolzmann. The panelists will discuss up to eight questions that they will receive in advance. The questions are being prepared by the subcommittee; however, we ask for the public’s assistance. What question related to the Dakota War would you like discussed by the panel? Drop off your suggestions to the library or mail them to me at New Ulm Public Library, 17 N. Broadway, New Ulm, MN 56073; call me at 507-359-8334; or e-mail me at I will collect responses through April 20. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful submissions.

If you’re looking for material to prepare a question, stop by the library. We have a number of books and videos that might provide inspiration, and our reference staff will help you locate just what you need.

The roundtable is made possible by a grant provided by the Traverse des Sioux Library System and was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The roundtable is just one of the many events scheduled to commemorate the Dakota War. Watch here for more information as we get closer to August.


March 12, 2012


Busy Month of April
Linda Lindquist, Adult Services/Reference

Did you know there are 74 monthly observances in the month of April? A few of these are Alcohol Awareness Month, Autism Awareness Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month, Couple Appreciation Month, Frog Month, Grilled Cheese Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, Month of the Young Child, National Card and Letter Writing Month, National Humor Month, National Kite Month, National Poetry Month, Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month, School Library Media Month, Stress Awareness Month, and World Habitat Awareness Month.

If you don’t want to celebrate just one thing during the month of April, you can choose something different every week. During the first week we can Explore Your Career Options, the second week is National Library Week, during the third week we can celebrate International Whistlers Week, and the last week we have the Week of the Young Child. And if you really want variety in your life, you can choose something different every day during the month. If you have access to a computer you can check out all the different monthly, weekly, and daily observances during the month of April. The web site that I looked at is

What has all of this to do with the library? Books, of course. April is National Kite Month and in the 629s we have books on designing, constructing, enjoying, and flying a kite. In the junior section we have a book titled “Asian Kites” by Wayne Hosking. This book shows 15 different kites that can be built at home from materials that you already have or that can be purchased at a local craft or hobby store. The winds in April are great for flying (or attempting to fly) kites.

Child Abuse Prevention Month is also observed during the month of April. We have a series in the New Ulm Library written by David Pelzer about child abuse. The series includes “A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive, “The Lost Boy,” and “A Man Named Dave.” Or another book is titled “Child Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints” edited by Louise I. Gerdes. We have many other books on child abuse as well.

Do you like to read poetry or maybe you like to write poetry. The library has many good poetry books. Check out the 800s for poetry books by Garrison Keillor, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, and many other authors. What about writing letters? I know many of us don’t do as much as we used to (Internet and cell phones have taken the place of letters) but we have books that can help us. Rosalie Maggio wrote “How to Say It: Choice Words, Phrases, Sentences & Paragraphs for Every Situation” and “Everyday Letters for Busy People” by Debra Hart May can help us to write letters of condolences, invitations, resignations, etc.

No matter what the observance may be during the month of April, chances are we have a book on our shelves at the New Ulm Public Library relating to that topic.

And one final note, April 15th is fast approaching. Remember to file your income taxes.


March 5, 2012


You rang?
Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

March 3rd was the anniversary of the birthday of Alexander Graham Bell, who was the inventor of the telephone. And it was March 10, 1876, when Bell spoke the first words through a phone to his assistant in the next room. He said: “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.” Who knew that with those seven words he would open up the world to telephones? Who could foresee the complex new world of cell phones we live in?

Some people might praise Bell for his invention, as phones can immediately build lifelines when there is an emergency or crisis. Who hasn’t been cheered by the call from a friend or loved one? Then again, praise might not be the first thing to your lips when people answer their phones in a movie theater or when they are pulling into traffic in front of you while talking on a phone. Prior to answering machines, who hadn’t stood dripping from the bath, having raced to the phone only to miss the call? It’s kind of a mixed bag.

I think for most people phones are great. For me, phones are weird. I have a cell phone, somewhere. I got it for emergencies and perhaps would use it more, except, from the first day, I began receiving phone messages for someone else. (I still don’t know if I have an old, previously used number or if our numbers are so similar that I keep getting her messages.)

Often I think she has more calls on my phone than I do. Furniture companies have left her messages that they are dropping off a couch, friends call her to say they are headed to the cabin, and the Republican Party reminded her to vote. I never return any of these calls, as they aren’t for me, and I wouldn’t know what to tell her friends. Maybe she changed her number for a reason. Maybe she’s undercover. Maybe she’s in witness protection. I can make up a whole existence for this person who I’ll never meet whose phone lines have crossed mine. I’ve just come to accept that my phone leads a schizophrenic life over which I have no control.

Lately I have been texting with my nephew about a TV show we both watch. At least, I think it is my nephew, as there is no name associated with the number. Whenever I think of calling the number to make sure it is him it is too early or too late to call so I don’t. Meantime, I just text about this show with whomever—and someone out there who writes back seems to like the program, too. I think it’s him. I’m pretty sure.

As you can tell, phones are weird for me. I imagine if I had been Bell’s assistant when he was inventing the phone and he called for me to come and assist him, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the message.

February 27, 2012

Library’s Anniversary a Great Success
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director, and Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

The library celebrated its 75th anniversary this week, and we had a blast marking this milestone.

Sunday’s open house brought together library employees and board members past and present with community members to commemorate our institution. There was beautiful music provided by John Holmquist, Zach Holmquist and Devin Nelson, followed by Dick Kimmel & Co (including Jerilyn Kjellberg, Ian Kimmel, Graham Sones and Lee Folta). I can’t say enough about how amazing the musical entertainment was. Thanks, musicians!

As part of the festivities, artist Del Iron Cloud unveiled the 5-foot-by-10-foot painting he created just for us. This original work is titled “Evening on the Dakota Prairie” and hangs on the library’s main floor above the patron computer stations. This piece is absolutely gorgeous. At the moment, I’m looking at the lone cottonwood tree that stands in the foreground, and I’m awestruck by the detail in the bark and leaves. This painting was made possible by many donors, and I thank all of them for the generosity. I also encourage you to stop by the library and admire this piece.

Refreshments and other tasks were handled ably by Friends of the New Ulm Public Library. It’s always a pleasure to work with the Friends!

During this week’s storytimes, the children have been learning all about birthdays. The “Let’s Celebrate Birthdays” theme has included stories, songs and games. The children even got a chance to blow out pretend birthday candles. As it turns out, counting and blowing out 10 candles is plenty of work. I think we’re all glad I didn’t try for the library’s 75 candles!

On Tuesday night, families braved the rainy weather to gather in the children’s room for a special “Happy Birthday Library” storytime. The storytime was a chance to celebrate the many parts of the library. One of the highlights of the evening was reading aloud the story “Millions of Cats” by Wanda Gag. Following storytime, the children were treated to cookies and milk downstairs in the meeting room. While music played in the background, the children had fun decorating their cookies with frosting and sprinkles. The evening’s cookie decorating was made possible thanks to generous donations from Hy-Vee and CashWise Foods. On behalf of the library and participating families, I must pass along a big thank you and a round of applause for the donations. The evening was a fun way to celebrate the library’s birthday!

These events would not have been possible without the ongoing support of the New Ulm community. Your commitment to the library makes what we do here possible. Over the past 75 years, the library has grown and changed with you, and we look forward to serving you for 75 more. Thank you, thank you!


February 20, 2012


Betty J Roiger, Acquisitions

The library has many stories. Not all of them are in books. It was thirty years ago that I began working at the NUPL as a youngster. I didn’t realize I was that young then, and I can’t believe I’m middle-aged now. I’ve worked with many people over the years. But the ones I started with will always stand out in my mind.

Find yourself on the floor laughing with just one comment, well, Ruth Wagner could do that. Darlene Albrecht was dignified, and one of the kindest women I have ever met. If you knew Esther Radke, you’ll know she knew this library top to bottom and had a memory like a steel trap. If you wanted something Esther could tell you where it was. There was JoAnne Griebel, a soft-spoken, brilliant researcher who I had the pleasure of working with again just recently. And last but never least was Flo Wilfahrt. Flo did more PR just by talking than anyone I know. She was more than a co-worker to me, she was a friend and never far from hilarity. I doubt anyone could have been luckier to work with this bunch of women.

Thirty years brings a lot of stories, some I could regale you with and some, no, I won’t be repeating. Here’s one that went down in our history. Like I said, Flo was a talker. She and Esther shared an evening shift and on that night they would walk downtown for a bite before returning. Well… on their return, Flo regaled us. It seemed they were walking down the sidewalk, Flo talking (as usual) when suddenly she noticed that Esther was not beside her. Flo paused and looked over her shoulder at Esther and asked, “Esther, why are you stopping?” And Esther shrugged and gestured to the blockade that Flo had blithely ignored in her storytelling. Flo looked down and saw her feet planted not quite to the ankles in wet cement while Esther stood safe and dry on solid ground. Eventually Flo slogged out, and cleaned her shoes to get back to work. Abruptly in her narration, Flo turned to Esther and semi-accusingly demanded, “Esther! Why in the world didn’t you say something?” And when Esther could manage to get a word in, she replied: “You wouldn’t stop talking.” And we (Flo included) just went off into laughter.

Finally, I want to mention the guy who hired me, the gentle man, who, when you called him “Mr. Reilly,” said: “Call me Dan.” Dan was quiet in the way he steered his staff in the direction he wanted us to go. He had his own memo system. A memo would go out to everyone, no matter who it was directed to. Once I asked him, “I don’t believe I am doing this wrong, why am I getting this memo?” And he said that he had developed a “one-size-fits-all” memo so that when it went out, the person(s) it was directed to would not be embarrassed but would get the message, while the rest would get a reminder. And so we came to know his policies and adopted them as our own. One of the things I remember best were the times he would speak at our Christmas parties and other get-togethers. Dan would stand up and read poetry or parts of books that spoke to him, sharing with us things that were lyrical and beautiful. Sharing, that’s what is at the heart of being a library.

It has been a lot of years, a lot of folks have come and gone, and more books than I can count have passed by me. We have a building which isn’t everyone’s esthetic because it is concrete, but I love it because the ceiling reminds me of a waffle iron and because I’ve known so many people who have cared for this place. Here is where knowledge lives, alongside adventure, romance, fantasy, and truth. New Ulm is richer for having this library. We hear it all the time from folks, “This is a great library.” It is. And I am richer for being able to remember.


February 13, 2012


Hurray for the Library!
by Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

As I type up this week’s library column, I look around and see children searching the online library catalog, playing computer games, and pulling board books from the bins. Parents are busy browsing through picture books and picking out DVDs. It’s simply another busy February weekday at the library. But wait! February signifies more than a month on the calendar. In fact, 75 years ago the New Ulm Public Library opened its doors to the public.

Where I am sitting in the children’s room was the original building. If I were to close my eyes and picture the building in 1937, I imagine patrons would have been just as busy, although books and newspapers would have been the available resources. Certainly the library’s founders could not have imagined today’s electronic resources or the library’s vast volume of books. Still, I believe they would be pleased with the library’s legacy as a resource and community center.

In honor of the library’s 75th anniversary, the library staff and Friends of the Library are hosting an open house on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 1-4 p.m. All are welcome to join in the afternoon of celebration and fun. Check out the library’s calendar for a complete listing of open house events.

The celebration will continue on Tuesday, Feb. 28 in the children’s room. As part of the 75th anniversary celebration, a “Happy Birthday Library” family storytime will be held at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to join in the storytime with songs, stories, and cookie decorating. Registration is not required.

Now, the anniversary is still a couple of weeks away. For those who just can’t wait for the end of the month, be sure to stop by the children’s room this Saturday, Feb. 18. The Narren will be presenting a preschool storytime from 10:30-11:30 a.m. All are welcome to come learn about the history of these masked characters, listen to fun stories, and enjoy juggling entertainment.

When you stop by the library this month, be sure to check out all of the wonderful books the community is reading! This month, the children’s room and the teens’ area are holding an “I love this book” contest. Teens and tweens are simply asked to fill out a slip that names their favorite book or books. Younger children are asked to draw a picture of their favorite book. All of these book suggestions and drawings will be featured in displays at the library. Each teen, tween, or child who enters the contests has a chance to win two free movie tickets to Carmike Cinema 3 in New Ulm. For more details, stop by the children’s desk or the circulation desk.

Indeed, February is a month of celebrating for the New Ulm Public Library. We hope you will be able to join in the fun and celebration. For the library’s long history is built upon the support of a generous and strong community. As we shout hurray for the library, we’re truly shouting hurray for the New Ulm community!

February 6, 2012

Tax Time Once Again
by Linda Lindquist, Reference Librarian

Can you believe it? Tax time is here again. It seems as though we just did our taxes and now we have to do them again. Some of us have a deadline of February 28 for filing our taxes. This year we get one extra day because of it being leap year. Most taxpayers have until April 15 for filing taxes. The federal income tax filing deadline for the tax year 2011 is April 17, 2012. The District of Columbia is celebrating Emancipation Day on April 16, 2012, so the deadline has been pushed back to April 17, 2012. State taxes still have to be paid by April 16, 2012, as April 15th falls on a Sunday this year.

If you do your own taxes or if you have someone prepare them for you, having all the necessary paperwork that you need to complete the forms will help speed up the process. The IRS has a checklist to help you. The checklist includes:
• W2 forms from all employers.
• Form 1090G if you received a refund of state or local income taxes.
• 1090 form(s) that you have received for dividends, income tax withholding, or other forms of income.
• Receipts for any itemized deductions you might be taking on Schedule A.
• Records and receipts for any other income or expense you think might affect your federal income tax liability.
• Social Security numbers for all dependents.
• Bank account numbers if you plan to get a refund electronically, or pay taxes due electronically.

Many of us elect to prepare our own income tax returns. The Internet has made this process simpler by giving us direct access to tax preparation software programs. There are several software programs available to help with preparing your federal as well as state income tax returns. They walk you through the whole process from entering your Social Security number, automatic calculation of formulas, and even a process to check your forms when they are completed—you can even check your previous year’s tax return with this year’s to see if you forgot anything. The software can even flag information that might trigger an audit of your income tax return. All of the programs allow for e-filing—electronic filing of your tax forms. E-filing sends your information directly to the IRS in an electronic format and you receive your refund (if one is coming to you) more quickly.

The New Ulm Public Library has many of the forms available for patrons doing their own taxes. If you cannot find the form that you need, please stop at the Reference Desk and we will check the IRS web site and the Minnesota web site and print the form for you.


January 30, 2012


Supernatural Spectacular for Teens
by Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

I’m a little late to the Supernatural party, but in this case, it’s better late than never. Thanks to Gabby, Betty and Katy, I’m getting schooled on this fantastic television series.

Gabby is such a fan that she has created an entire library program based on the show. Teens who want to share their admiration for all things Supernatural, or teens who want to learn more about the show, are invited to the Supernatural Teen Spectacular on February 13 at 3:45 p.m. in the library meeting room. Gabby has developed a fun, interactive multimedia presentation, and we’ll watch an episode of the show. We encourage participants to dress up as their favorite character; I’m thinking hoodie with a jean jacket. We’ll play classic ’80s music, too.

Some background on Supernatural: The show focuses on brothers Dean and Sam Winchester, who lost their mother to a supernatural force and were raised by their father to fight as soldiers against horrific paranormal forces. Time after time, Dean and Sam fend off supernatural threats, and over the years they have received help from father-figure Bobby and fallen angel Castiel.

I was familiar with the show’s stars from one of their previous roles: Jensen Ackles was Eric Brady on “Days of Our Lives,” and Jared Padalecki was Dean Forester on “Gilmore Girls.” Now Jensen portrays Dean, the older, sarcastic, fiercely loyal brother, and Jared plays Sam, the prodigal brother who gave up a shot at law school to return to the family business of supernatural hunting.

Supernatural, in its seventh season on the CW network, was named Favorite Network TV Drama and Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show at this year’s People’s Choice Awards. Catch new episodes Friday nights at 8 p.m. Or start from the beginning and check out seasons 1-6 on DVD from the library.

As long as you’re in the supernatural mood, stop by our display near the circulation desk that features teen fantasy books. It’s a popular genre and includes everything from angels to vampires to werewolves – a paranormal situation for every taste. Then drop in at the Supernatural Teen Spectacular to meet other Dean and Sam fans. See you at the library!

January 23, 2012


Whither the Book?
by Larry Hlavsa, Library Director

In May, 2011, the Traverse des Sioux Libraries--including the New Public Library--began circulating e-books and downloadable audiobooks through the OverDrive, Inc. service. So far, it’s been a novel adventure.

In the first eight months of the service we have circulated 14,229 e-books or downloadable audiobooks. That’s 1.3% of our total circulation. While the e-book circulation stayed pretty steady the first seven months, after Christmas we noticed a big jump in the statistics—in fact, almost a doubling of the circulation per day. That’s consistent with a recent article by the Pew Internet & American Life Project titled—“Tablet and E-book reader Ownership Nearly Double Over the Holiday Gift-Giving Period.” The article noted that the number of Americans owning at least one digital reading device jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January. Wow! That’s a lot of electronic Christmas presents.

Nearly 3,000 people in the Traverse des Sioux region are now using our OverDrive service; about 300 of those are New Ulm users. The size of our collection has grown from its initial 400-500 items to about 1650 now. With 3000 users, that means our collection is stretched pretty thin. The good news is that our OverDrive contract renews at the end of February, and we’ll soon be doing more purchasing. Last year a kind New Ulm lady donated $500 towards our e-book collection and recently the Friends of the LeSueur Library donated $2500. Such donations go 100% to the collection!

Incidentally, I wasn’t being cute when I said it has been a “novel adventure.” Fiction has easily been the first choice of our e-book users with over 86% of the items checked out being fiction. Kind of makes me sad personally since I’m the nonfiction selector for the system, but now that you know, maybe you’ll download some nonfiction?

Be aware when looking at the e-books collection that various forces drive the choice of items in our collection. First, not all publishers offer their titles as e-books. Sad, but true. Second, some publishers offer their new titles as e-books, but only after a period of time on the “paper” market. And that period of time can vary widely. Third, some publishers offer their titles only for private purchase, and not through library-focused services such as Overdrive, Inc. Are they prejudiced against libraries? Might be. So please understand that if the title you want is not in our collection, there may be a reason for that beyond our control. But do ask for the titles you want, or we won’t know to look.

While all of this e-book volume on our OverDrive service is music to our statistical ears, it does lead to the inevitable question—“Is the book on the way out?” Personally, I don’t think so. . No one I’ve talked to has said—“I want all of my books on my Kindle.” What if you’re on a cruise and you drop your Kindle overboard. How much time, effort and money will it take to re-compile your library—even if you know what your library is? Food for thought.

Personally, I collect books on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, art instruction, Christianity and the Kennedy assassination. (Yeah, I’m a pretty esoteric fella!). I want none of these on an electronic device. I’ll keep them on paper thank you very much. I don’t think I’m alone in preferring paper for purposes of collecting. I do wonder if fiction books on paper may be on their way out. Do people collect John Grisham novels?

The future of the book remains to be seen, but it seems clear already that e-books have staked out a place in the heart of many of our users. Check out our collection at:

January 16, 2012


Betty J. Roiger, Acquisitions

Hey, I just found a series. It’s good. Uhm, maybe, outstanding. Actually it’s amazing. If you are a reader of good fantasy series, like “Green Rider” or “Game of Thrones: Song of Ice and Fire” this author might be right up your alley. And by the way, it is nothing like those series. The author is Pat Rothfuss, and I just finished “The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2.” His is an original voice.

This tale begins in a tavern, run by an unassuming, quiet, red-haired man named Kote. Times are bad, and the roads are getting dangerous. There are bandits about and villages grow poor as getting goods from place to place becomes harder. Yet something else is coming in the darkness. There are stories of attacks by things: spiders the size of dish platters with legs sharp as razors that can kill a horse or man.

Tales are told in the tavern of a young red-headed boy named Kvothe, of the Ruh (think: traveling minstrel gypsies). His life is good until a song is sung and the troupe is visited by, (well, I can’t say or write who or we’ll all be killed) and everyone is murdered, except for Kvothe. And so begins a boy’s struggle to live, to survive, to get to the university to learn, and to find out more about the folk who destroyed his life.

Unfurling here are stories within stories, tales and songs all twining together so that the commonplace story of Kote, innkeeper, and the extraordinary lore of Kvothe the bloodless, the hero, the caller of lightning, the dragon slayer, are juxtaposed until you realize they are one in the same. One is the true version and one is the version that rumor and time embellished.

I don’t want to reveal the story, but I do want to tell you what else I discovered. I was almost finished with book two and wanted to know, of course, when to expect book three. I browsed Pat’s website and noticed a tab called “Worldbuilders.” Now many fantasy authors make their own maps of their worlds and I assumed (never assume) that this was something about the world of Kvothe, so I clicked on it.

Now I liked these books. And I like this author. But when I started to read what he was doing, I knew I really liked this guy. Imagine if you started to make a lot of money. What would you do? Buy a new car? Pay off the mortgage? Get a Wii and an XBox? Pat Rothfuss, a guy who is a new writer, now a best-selling author, and probably coming into a lot of money, well, he has started a team to raise money for Heifer International, a wonderful charity that helps people in all countries fight poverty and hunger. This is a great charity, as the money goes to buying goats and cows so people can have milk, for chickens so people can have eggs, or even water buffalo to pull plows, give milk, and fertilizer. What Pat has done is set up a team so whatever you give, he’ll match half as much again. In 2010 they raised $192,000. to help the world.

Worldbuilding. Yeah, Pat Rothfuss has done that—the story of Kvothe is inventive, original, intriguing. And much as a good fantasy takes a reader to other wonderful places, he has also thought about worldbuilding in a real sense. He looked around and not only thought: what can I do to help the real world; he has enabled people to give aid and multiply it. That just impresses the heck out of me. Much as I love Kvothe, I think I love Pat more. I have yet to find out why Kvothe is a kingkiller, so I will have to wait until book three. But watching readers take a strike at hunger in the meantime, well, that makes a good story too.


January 9, 2012


Ringing in the New Year
by Katy Kudela, Children’s Librarian

While the recent warm temperatures may make it seem more like spring than winter, the children’s staff has been busy ringing in the New Year. Or, as our bulletin board says, it’s more like “reading in the new year!” There are so many “new” books to read along with our usual “snow” favorites. We’re displaying “series” books in the junior area. Our challenge is “bet you can’t just read one!” There are so many good series books out there, and we hope young readers take the opportunity to try something different for the New Year. In addition, we also have a new display titled “Legends and Folk Tales.” These picture books offer a world of information. Feel free to stop by and check out a book for the whole family to enjoy!

As 2012 begins, the children’s area is helping with the Brown County Early Childhood Initiative. Children 0 to age 5 are invited to participate in the free “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program. This program encourages parents and caregivers to read to their children in preparation for Kindergarten. With so many wonderful stories to share, it doesn’t take long to count up all of those good reads! For those unable to attend the kick-off Tuesday night, additional information and registration is still available. For further information contact the library at 507-359-8336 or contact the ECFE Office at 507-359-8417.

The children’s staff is also ringing in the New Year with great music. We’re excited to start the 2012 family programming with a bluegrass musical event! Minnesota Music Hall of Fame inductee Dick Kimmel will perform a family program at the New Ulm Public Library on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to come for an evening of bluegrass music. Registration is not required. Be sure to watch the library’s calendar for additional family programs, which will include storytimes and author visits! With a New Year, the children’s staff is busy preparing to bring continued good reads and programming fun for children of all ages.

January 2, 2012

Zero In On Books at Your Library
Kris Wiley, Assistant Library Director

I’m guessing many of you are spending this winter reading books on your new electronic readers. Or maybe you’re listening to books on your new iPod. Or maybe you just plain love the feel of books and have a stack on your coffee table. Whatever the case, we want to know what you’re reading, and the library’s Winter Reading Program for adults is the perfect opportunity to share your reading experiences.

Here’s how this free program will work: Beginning January 9, adults ages 18 and older can register at the circulation desk and receive a coupon for three free books at the next Friends of the Library book sale (thanks, Friends!). Then log every book you read or listen to between January 9 and March 3 on a ballot provided by the library. Drop the ballot into the designated box at the reference desk. Everyone who logs at least one title will be eligible to win small prizes.

Your enjoyment of the books you read or listen to helps tie the program with its theme, Zero In On Books. You’ll notice the ballots provided by the library include a picture of a target. Mark on the target how well you liked the book. This is a completely subjective assessment, so you can base your mark on writing style, plot, character development, overall enjoyment, or any other consideration. Take a look at the target on the bulletin board near the circulation desk. I’ll post the titles you read there, and you might see something you like.

Looking for a couple of recommendations to get you started in the new year? If you like biographies, history, or books about s


ARCHIVE OF 2008 ARTICLES           
trong women, try “Catherine the Great” by Robert K. Massie. This is by no means a quick read, but your time is rewarded; Massie creates a stunning portrait of Catherine, who was born in 1729 and went on to rule Russia for more than 30 years. If you liked Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy featuring Lisbeth Salander, try “The Keeper of Lost Causes” by Jussi Adler-Olsen. This thriller, the first in a series, features chief detective Carl Morck, who is fighting his own demons as well as Denmark’s criminals. And finally, if you liked “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins or “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, try “Delirium” by Lauren Oliver. Dystopian fiction is “it” in young adult literature right now, and Oliver has focused on an interesting premise for the first book in her series: Love is a disease, and the government performs a procedure after every citizen’s 18th birthday to cure the illness.

Stop by the library to place a hold on these books, and while you’re here, register for the Winter Reading Program and share your reading experiences with us. See you at the library!

Last updated: Monday, December 31, 2012


Last updated: December 31, 2012