Posted in Get Connected

Full STEAM Ahead 2019

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We had a great time at Full STEAM Ahead this past Saturday. Thank you to all of our volunteers, the Pipestone Area Friends of the Library, Coborn’s, Hanks’ Foods, Pepsi, Subway, State Farm Neighborhood Assist, and the Pipestone Area Community Foundation for helping us make this day a success.

Full STEAM Ahead attendees could enter a drawing to win a 3D printed prize. Our lucky winners are:

  • Beth Angrimson
  • Melissa Melcher
  • Aaron Prunty
  • Will Rops
  • Monica Sullivan

Most of the tools and technology we used on Saturday are also available to use in our STEAM Room. Patrons can use the STEAM Room any time the library is open outside of school hours and scheduled programs. Just ask a librarian to use the STEAM Room or for more information.

Even though Full STEAM Ahead is over, we still have plenty of STEAM activities going on at Meinders Library. Code Club starts today after school and will continue all summer on Mondays at 3:30pm. Kids 8-18 can learn how to make apps, games, and websites. We will also have STEAM activity days on Wednesdays at 2pm in June and July.


Posted in Get Connected

Full STEAM Ahead Preview

As you gear up for our third annual maker event on Saturday, May 18, you may want a head start on mapping out your day. Use the following guide to maximize your time at Meinders Community Library.

Full steam Itinerary 2019

Full STEAM Ahead is a self-directed program of hands-on fun for all ages and interests. The open-house format allows for tinkerers to join us for a few hours or for the day. We are open from 10am-3pm.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or the blog prior to Full STEAM Ahead to have your name put in a drawing for a 3D prize. One winner will be drawn from this social media pool. A list of winners will be shared on each of the media sites on Monday. Winners can contact the library to pick their prize and color scheme. 

Attend Full STEAM Ahead and enter your name once again. Five winners will be drawn at the end of Full STEAM Ahead.

3d prize pic

This event is free and open to the public, so spread the word and enjoy a day of exploration with family and friends!

The Pipestone Area Friends of the Library will be serving lunch from 11:00-1:00, thanks to generous donations from Coborns, Hank’s Foods, Pepsi, and Subway. In addition, support has been provided via our State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant, as well as a grant from the Pipestone Area Community Foundation for our digital makerspace.




Posted in Just for Fun, Uncategorized

Confessions of a Closet Gamer

code club
Code Club @ Meinders Library

Once upon a time a young girl grew up in the world of words with no television. Fast forward through the ages and into raising her own children. This young lady discovered Battle Tanks with her oldest son. The years went on and the occasional game of Battle Tanks was played with her boys. Often it was a marathon session where mother and son fought their way to the very end, winning heroically against the Nintendo 64.

Then came the library. A place where books abounded, and ironically, so did technology. The entire community got behind the library and it won a huge nation-wide grant. Programs were hosted, technology was purchased. Tools were bought, and Bloxels happened.

This easy to navigate game builder once again sucked the girl (now of a respectable age) into the world of gaming. Only this time, it was to create. Just for fun, she introduced her youngest to Bloxels. Together, they designed games. Her characters were pulled from thin air and imagination. The screen was hers to master. Kind of.

You see, while she was somewhat computer literate, coding was an elusive thing relegated to that one high school class 30+ years ago when computers took up nearly a whole room and Oregon Trail still touted stick figures. In other words, her ability to create was limited.

Then Prenda came along. And a whole new world opened up. (Click to see how.)

This (now middle-aged, but still young at heart) woman took a training with two peers (also very young at heart) on creating a code club. Once again, the possibility of creating (and playing) games was at her fingertips. Joy filled her heart and the trio committed to running a Code Club in the library.

What is coding, one might ask? The short answer is this: it is the magic that makes our technology work.

Long answer: it’s hard work. It’s trial and error. It’s exploring possibilities and making something out of nothing. It’s what makes your phone ring and your alarm clock sing. It tells the world of machines what to do, when, and how.

And it’s easy enough for eight-year-olds and sophisticated enough for NASA engineers.

This summer, youth 8-18 are invited to learn how to code. This weekly, self-paced program will keep coders of all ages and learning styles invested. While we encourage youth to bring their own laptop or chromebook, we will have computers available for participants.

Code Club will meet from 3:30pm to 5:00pm every Monday between May 20 and August 19. Parents of young participants are encouraged to stay for the first session to help their child register, though older youth will be able to follow the steps alone. If you bring your own device, please have Chrome downloaded and ready to go before the first session on May 20.

To get the most out of the summer Code Club, coders are encouraged to join us as often as possible. However, since this club is self-directed, coders can still attend that family reunion or step into the program as summer heats up.

Light snacks will be provided. Because if there is one thing a closet gamer knows for certain, it is this: imagination runs on fuel!

happy coding~ jody

Posted in Book Talk

“STEAM”y Reads


This Saturday, May 18th is Meinders Community Library’s third annual Full STEAM Ahead. Patrons of all ages can come and tinker with us from 10:00am-3:00pm. A free lunch will be served from 11:00am-1:00pm courtesy of the Pipestone Area Friends of the Library, Coborn’s Hank’s Foods, and Pepsi.

For those of you who may not know, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts, and Math. To commemorate our favorite annual event, here’s a list of books divided into STEAM categories. In these books Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math may permeate the entire plot of the book or just be a character’s passion. Many of these books could even fit under multiple STEAM categories.


  • A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole (Adult)
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (Middle Grade)
  • The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (Young Adult)
  • Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor by Patricia Valdez (Picturebook)
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Young Adult)


  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (Middle Grade)
  • Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes (Middle Grade)
  • Railhead by Philip Reeve (Young Adult)
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (Young Adult)
  • The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson (Adult)


  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (Picturebook)
  • Genius by Leopoldo Gout (Young Adult)
  • Dreaming Up by Christy Hale (Picturebook)
  • Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by John Scieszka (Middle Grade)
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Young Adult)


  • Fiber & Brimstone by Laura Childs (Adult)
  • Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (Young Adult)
  • The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby (Young Adult)
  • Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light (Picturebook)
  • The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (Middle Grade)


  • Counting on Katherine by Natascha Biebow (Picturebook)
  • Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani (Picturebook)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Middle Grade)
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Young Adult)
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Adult)

STEAM Nonfiction

  • Recycled Scince by Tammy Enz and Jodi Wheeler-Toppen
  • STEAM Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Radioactive: How Irene Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed The World by Winifred Conkling


Posted in Get Connected

So Far, Yet Still So Close

20190509_193112Once again, my Saturday will be filled with travel. This weekend I’m taking a handful of audio books on the road with me to Duluth. Despite traveling solo, I’m super excited that I will have good company.

Thanks to our robust collection of audio books, both physical and digital, I was able to nab four books that intrigued me. From start to finish, the process took eight minutes.

What is an audio book, you may ask? It’s a handy little book you can take anywhere and listen to while doing nearly anything. Audio books can be in CD format or found online. I often like to listen to an audio book when I’m in the car by myself, as it passes the time and allows me to get to the bottom of my ToBeRead pile much quicker. It’s also a great companion when I’m working out or walking, doing dishes, or gardening.

We have two platforms at the library that allow Plum Creek Library System patrons to “read” audio books online.

Click for audiobooksrb digital


OverDrive eBooks audiobooks




When you find yourself far from home, stay connected with a great audio book from Meinders Library!


Posted in Just for Fun

Cuter Than A Bug’s Ear

favorite charactersMy uncle was quite the character. Every time I saw him, he would tell me I was cuter than a bug’s ear. I didn’t know if this was a good thing or not, but coming from a favorite uncle, I took whatever he threw at me.

Time with Uncle Bill meant freedom and fun and lots of dirty work. While my parents raised us to get in and out of trouble on our own (natural consequences and problem solving skills at its finest), Bill’s house was something just a bit different.

It was a little like Lord of the Flies, but with no malice. The first crop of cousins spent endless hours exploring his property. We shoveled muck in the mornings to earn a trip to the lake for the afternoon. We made homemade coleslaw and kraut, and ate Ramen noodles like they would quit making them. We salted homegrown radishes and the slugs that threatened to eat them.

Bill’s house was my introduction to the dark side via Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It was also the summer of hippies as we piled into a bus and drove across the state to attend a week-long rodeo. It’s with him that I won a first place trophy for calf riding.

Uncle Bill was always bigger than life. To be cliched, he was quite the character, and it made perfect sense that his term of endearment for me would be “cuter than a bug’s ear.” I’m not sure how the game evolved, but my response would inevitably be, “You’re cuter than a dump truck.”

I can only hope that you have a “dump truck” character of your own who taught you so much about life simply because of who they were.

If not, I will provide you with three of my all-time favorite literary characters that have impacted who I am.

My most beloved character is Cassie Logan from Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Hands down she is the sassiest, sweetest, savviest young lady I’ve read. The life lessons she taught me about perseverance, “fairness”, and heart are unparalleled. Her personal growth over one heartbreaking year of night ridings and burnings, of white girl humiliation, and an uncanny ability to hold a certain innocence in the midst of violence shaped who I am today. It’s a book I’ve read every year since I was 8 years old.

My second fave is Bartimaeus, a nasty little djinn who tries his hardest to wreak havoc in the world of the magician boy who summons him. Jonathan Stroud writes with British wit and charm and infuses stuffy, pretentious Bartimaeus with hope, humor, and a curmudgeonly personality you can’t help but love. The Amulet of Samarkand is the first in a trilogy that quickly became my second annual must read- thanks to Sylvan Learning Center.

My newest love is Boy in The Book of Boy. New to the library, the main character teaches so much about the meaning of home. The message is beautifully told through a medieval pilgrimage that rivals Bernard Cornwell, but for kids. Catherine Gilbert Murdock weaves a tight and intriguing tale that culminates in a somewhat surprise ending. Boy’s transformation of figuring out who he is and where he fits into the world is one we can all learn from. Timeless in its storytelling, this novel is now on my perennial read list.

So there, three characters plus my Uncle Bill to start your day. Hopefully you will find delight in those around you, and that their little quirks can endear you rather than annoy you. If not, just remember that all the characters we meet have something to teach us about ourselves.

happy reading~ jody