Posted in #WeAreWaterPipestone

And the Winner Is…

We had two winners last night at our Opening Ceremony of We Are Water MN. One wins an annual MN State Park pass and the other earns bragging rights. More on this in a moment.

Angel Lopez: finger painting

First, a little background on We Are Water MN. We started our water journey back in the spring of 2019 with an in-depth application to the Minnesota Humanities Center. Before deciding whether or not we should even apply for the grant, I reached out to area businesses to see if this was something we should pursue. I figured that without support, there would be no reason to apply in the first place.

I received a resounding yes from a handful of key organizations and went ahead with the submission. After we found out that Meinders Community Library had received the grant and that Pipestone would be a host community for the We Are Water MN exhibit, our community partners got busy planning. Wind of this great project was picked up by a news outlet and I was asked by a very inquisitive journalist, “When did you become so passionate about water?” This question was followed by a slew of others that included words and phrases like “groundwater”, “WRAPS”, “pollution”, “purification”, “parts per million” etc, etc, etc. (Here is where I lost track of the conversation and got lost in my own head.)

Confession 1: I had seen a video of the We Are Water MN traveling exhibit and knew that we had to have it here. So I could see it. And interact with it. And share it. Because exhibits are cool. And this one is tailored to our corner of the prairie, making it doubly cool.

Confession 2: I had an ulterior motive that did not include water at all. It included people. Water was simply the tangible piece of the puzzle that would help me reach this goal. In a nutshell, water is the one thing that we all have in common no matter where we come from or what we do. We all use water, need water, and connect through water. But, we all use it, need it, and connect through it in different ways. In my mind, bringing people together to hear these unique perspectives, laying the ground work for shared experiences via water-themed programs, and providing a safe place for open conversation seemed like a great way to invest in our community.

Confession 3: The inquisitive journalist was clearly much more passionate and knowledgeable about water than I. Her next question brought me back to reality–and I’m paraphrasing because it took a moment to fully engage with said reality, “It doesn’t seem like you know all the things there is to know about water that you should know to fully help others know….(insert a wee bit of Charlie Brown’s teacher and a lot of self doubt here)…is this going to be a problem?”

Was it? I cycled back through my first two confessions before answering. “Of course not.”

My librarian mind, the one that literally spends her days researching facts and digging up good info through reliable sources, argued that I didn’t need to know anything about water to pull off the requirements of this grant. All I needed to do was find the people who actually knew the facts. I simply needed to find the reliable resources. And I found them in our community partners and in our collaborators, our volunteers, and our presenters.

From the fall of 2019 until yesterday, our partners trained, met, and planned. Their time, talents, and tenacity turned a dream into a reality. Our volunteers and community collaborators worked their tails off so the vision on paper could become the reality. My deepest thanks goes to the dozens of people who played a role in last night’s success. My gratitude is extended to all the individuals who took time out of their lives and showed up for a night of food, fun, and education. Programs never work without someone to enjoy them. And last night definitely worked.

During the Opening Ceremony, we heard that water is one of the greatest resources we have. It is also one we need to monitor, care for, and preserve. The same is true for relationships. Our community is one of the greatest resources we have. The proof of that was on display at 6:00pm last night on the library lawn.

Opening Ceremony Presentation

  • Artist Angel Lopez provided pre-program, live entertainment by finger painting a beach scene. Angel has set up his in-person paintings around the community over the past four years and will be at the vendor fair on the Pipestone County Courthouse lawn during Water Tower Festival.
  • State Partner Jennifer Tonko joined us from the Minnesota Humanities Center. We Are Water MN is led by the Center in partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. It is only through these State Partners that our Southwestern Minnesota communities have access to such an amazing traveling exhibit.
  • Internationally known, Randy Spronk farms in Edgerton and regaled us with his childhood water story before sharing how important healthy water is to all of us: locally, nationally, and globally. If you see Randy, ask him about Geritol Water.
  • Jason Overby from Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water followed up by sharing what it takes to supply our corner of the state with safe drinking water. They are quite literally are who you call when your well runs dry.
  • But for those of us on city water, Mayor Myron Koets helped us understand why a new water treatment facility was necessary for the health and well-being of our residents, as well as those who live downstream from us. It’s so important to remember that what we flush doesn’t just affect us.
  • Next, Camas Johnston sang the Water Song in Ojibwe, her native tongue. If you’ve never heard her sing, you are missing out. Her thanks to water was by far the most moving I’ve ever witnessed.
  • Travis Erickson, quarrier and carver at the Pipestone National Monument, spoke on the spiritual aspect of water in tribal ceremonies and the importance of truly appreciating the gift of water. You can find him at the Monument demonstrating his award-winning skills. Not only did Travis receive the 2018 Prairie Star Award, but his works are showcased in the Smithsonian Institute.
  • Another speaker from the Pipestone National Monument focused on the need for quality water to sustain all life from the tiniest insects to the smallest plants. Gabe Yellowhawk, a Biological Technician Ranger, had spent the morning recording mercury levels in dragonflies. It was a great reminder that our actions (and sometimes inactions) impact every corner of our earth.
  • Pre-show, Bud Johnston from Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers used a drum to bring thunder to audience members. He also spoke on the ways humans alter the landscape which changes natural filtration and purification of water.
  • The cast of Moana Jr. closed out the program with a few songs from their upcoming musical. You can take in the whole production of Moana Jr. July 23-25 at the Hiawatha Pageant Park Amphitheater. Moana Jr. tells the story of stewardship to the land and sea and is brought to you through the Arts & Mentoring Project.

Following the Opening Ceremony program, we hosted a Water Bar with local water samples and asked participants to tell us which water came from Pipestone and to pick their favorite. Samples were collected from the following places:

  1. Edgerton Public Library
  2. Split Rock Creek State Park
  3. Pipestone City Water from the tap
  4. Filtered Water from Meinders Community Library
  5. Hatfield Roadhouse (Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water)
  6. Van Hoecke Farms from the tap (Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water)

Winner 1: Alaina Biegler, the lucky, randomly drawn participant who correctly guessed which water sample was from Pipestone (#3). Alaina won an annual Minnesota State Park pass which gets her into all of Minnesota’s 66 state parks and 9 recreation areas. Her family’s water story is also featured on one of the We Are Water MN exhibit panels.

Winner 2: Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water from the Van Hoecke Farm (#6). Overwhelmingly, samplers agreed that this water was the most delicious in the area. Congrats to all living north of town who get their rural water through LPRW. Just be careful who you brag to lest you find yourself hosting a plethora of tea-time visitors.

As intended, this sampling kicked off a lively discussion. Most wanted to know why water from one source (Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water) wouldn’t always taste the same. According to Jason Overby, the answer is in the well. While LPRW serves a large area, it sources its water from different wells throughout the region. Not only that, but water flavor can also be impacted by they way water is treated, any fortifications added such as fluoride, or the pipes used to carry water from the source to the tap. Further, your own body’s chemistry can influence how you perceive water flavor.

What makes water good? We invite you to find out. Sample water wherever you go. What does it taste like? How does it feel on your tongue? What is the same or different about it compared to other water you’ve sampled?

We invite you to share your water stories with those around you and to connect with others in your community at our remaining We Are Water MN events.

Pipestone has a fantastic water story. It’s a story that has no end, but one we undeniably play a leading part in. On behalf of all our partners, we invite you to stop by the library between now and September 13 to explore our state’s water story and our role within it.

confession 4: water is a valuable resource, and so is community. in my opinion both need deliberate and thoughtful preservation~ jody

Posted in #WeAreWaterPipestone


It’s finally here, and more amazing than we hoped it would be!

Stop by tonight, July 15, for the Opening Ceremony of We Are Water MN Traveling Exhibit. The social half-hour begins at 5:30pm and is followed by a program filled with local speakers and entertainers. The exhibit will be open for your viewing pleasure until 8pm.

The We Are Water MN traveling exhibit was visited by a group of enthusiastic youngsters during a summer school field trip. Some were able to meet Mayor Koets and learn directly from him, while all youth joined Pipestone National Monument Ranger Gabby for our Read with a Ranger story time. All had the chance to crack the codes to Plunged: an Escape Room.

If you can’t make it tonight, the exhibit will be at Meinders Community Library until September 13.

Posted in Alerts

Holiday Hours

Meinders Library will be closed July 3rd through July 7th.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

Since our annual cleaning and maintenance fall directly after a holiday, our Fourth of July closure is extended by two days.

Stop by and pick up your reading, listening, and viewing materials by 5:00pm Friday. We will reopen Thursday July 8th.

Need-hands on activities for the little ones? We’ve got STEM Kits just waiting for the right family!

Traveling for hours on end? Audiobooks are a great way to spend windshield time after your favorite radio station starts its second loop.

Can’t think of that perfect dessert? We’ve got tons of new cookbooks and a nice selection of cakepans.

Worried about company? We’ve got you covered with board games and puzzles.

Just stop in and we will help you discover what is missing in your upcoming holiday plans!

Posted in Get Connected

Happy Juneteenth!

It’s not often that a Federal Holiday is created. In fact, only eleven such holidays exist: the first being Independence Day (aka Fourth of July) in 1870. The newest, Juneteenth National Independence Day, was signed into law yesterday, and is being celebrated by the Federal Government and their employees today (because June 19 falls on a Saturday, and that’s how holidays roll.)

So, what is Juneteenth?

In a nutshell, Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved African Americans in the United States learned they were free. At this point you may feel slightly confused. Shouldn’t Juneteenth describe the day enslaved African Americans were actually freed with the end of the Civil War? The short answer is yes. The long answer acknowledges that over two full years had elapsed between the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the date when the last slaves in Galveston, Texas, finally heard the news of their freedom.

Juneteenth is not a new celebration for the Black community and its allies. The roots were cultivated back in 1865 as a day of remembrance for a hard-won dream. It is only recently that the remainder of America has actively heard the story of those lost 30 months of freedom.

Race, slavery, colonialism, oppression, criminal justice, justice, equality, equity, freedom.

These are difficult topics of conversation to have with ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our communities. They are a fraught history that can bring out the worst in us. But they can also bring out the best.

What can I do about our nation’s newest holiday?

I can read widely, and respectfully listen to as many viewpoints as I am able. I can give myself time to process what I learn–and others the space to do the same. I can recognize that everyone comes to the table with different life experiences than I do, and therefore are entitled to their own emotions, feelings, and ideas. I can educate myself and share my knowledge with those who ask, while listening to those who want to share their knowledge. I can change my opinion as new information is brought to my attention. I can change my actions based on what I learn.

I can take responsibility for my actions and acknowledge that good intentions do not necessarily equal good outcomes. I can treat others with care and compassion. I can engage in authentic and genuine relationships.

I can celebrate Juneteenth with and in honor of my Black friends and the Black community as a whole.

If you would also like to celebrate our newest Federal Holiday this weekend, check out this article by Bring Me the News to find MN events close to you.

If you would like to learn more about the history of Juneteenth or would like book recommendations on this topic, contact the library. We have so many wonderful books that address our nation’s critical conversations.

As for me, I am currently reading Come Juneteenth by Ann Rinaldi. This historical, young adult novel follows “one family’s awakening to the true meaning of freedom and explores the events that led up to the creation of Juneteenth.” It is the perfect complement to other books I’ve been reading such as Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. and How to Make a Slave and Other Essays by Jerald Walker. To name but a few.

keep learning and learn to keep an open mind~ jody

Posted in Just for Fun

Calling All Crafters

Plum Creek Library System has rolled out our newest digital platform, and it’s sure to delight DIYers of all ilk.

Perfect for makers, crafters, day care providers, parents, programmers, organizations, families, homeschoolers, and home businesses, Creativebug has thousands of award-winning art & craft video classes taught by recognized design experts and artists.

But don’t take our word for it. Click the link to Creativebug and use your PCLS library card to access tutorials on a wide range of projects sure to take your home-decorating and gift-giving to a whole new level.

Posted in Alerts

Meinders Library Closed Friday June 11

Photo by Kelly Lacy on

All good things need updating. As work continues on the new elementary school, the Pipestone Area Schools campus will be without electricity on Friday–including the library.

Meinders Library will be closed all day Friday, and staff will not have access to the phones or email. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience!

Stop by before close on Thursday to get your weekend reads or utilize our online platforms to satisfy your need for words.

Please share this widely!

Also, we just learned that our annual cleaning and maintenance will take place July 6 & 7. With the 4th of July weekend, the library will be closed Saturday, July 3 through Wednesday July 7. All services will resume July 8.

Posted in Just for Fun

Ode to Summer Morns

sunlight straggles ‘midst leafy canopies

dapples day old coals and dew-soaked chill

embraced in nature’s frieze

I know nothing about poetry in the true sense of the word. My college books taught me little beyond the fact that I know very little. As a whole, poetry is elusive to me. At times, it feels cramped and rigid in a way that defies my passion for all things soft, flowing, and raw.

Nature versus the manmade constructs that confine us to straight lines and inexplicable perfection.

Maybe that’s why the only poetry that feels right to me is the ode. Short and lyrical, introspective and not entirely bound by strict rules of rhyme and meter. Or maybe it’s just that writers love to follow their own paths–kind of like nature does–and the ode is a great place to do so.

Regardless, nature is a great space to exist in, particularly in the early morning solitude.

For those new to nature or wishing to learn more about how to enjoy the great outdoors, we have tons of books at the library that highlight everything from pocket guides identifying plants, rocks, and animals to travel and survival guides. Whether you like camping, hiking, bird-watching, or a weekend at the lake, we have a book (and maybe even a poem) for you.

And always, your local library can point you in the right direction.

let your adventures begin~ jody

*professional poets may have been harmed by reading my ode. To them, I apologize.

Posted in Alerts, Get Connected

Memorial Weekend Closure & Summer Reading

Meinders Community Library will be closed Saturday May 29th through Monday May 31st in observance of Memorial Day. We will reopen on Tuesday June 1st at 10:00am. We’re here today, Friday May 28th until 5:00pm, so stop by for all your long weekend reading needs!

Next week, we kick off summer programming with our first Pipestone County Popup Storytime on Tuesday, June 1st at 10:30am at Southwest Park. On Thursday June 3rd at 11:00am, we have our first Read with a Ranger session at the library.

The following Monday, June 7th at 6:30pm, Trava Olivier will present Fire, Water, and Old City Hall. This program will be preceded by the Pipestone Area Friends of the Library annual meeting at 6:00pm. Refreshments will be provided by PAFL.

Posted in Get Connected

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, join the national movement to raise awareness about mental health, provide support, educate the public, and support people with mental illness.

Here are just a few of the library resources available for checkout.

  • You’re Not Alone – Zachary David Westerbeck
  • Rewire Your Anxious Brain – Catherine M. Pittman, PhD
  • Unglued – Jeffrey Zuckerman
  • Feeling Great – David D. Burns, MD
  • Maybe You Should Talk To Someone – Lori Gottlieb

Additional resources:

If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are many resources that can help! Do not struggle alone! Please reach out!

Posted in Get Connected, Just for Fun

Expanded Digital Platforms for Young Readers

Just in time for summer vacation, Plum Creek Library System has expanded its Scholastic digital platforms. Accessing them is simple and can help keep the youngsters in your life engaged and learning from the comfort of your own home–or anywhere you have access to internet.

Use your PCLS library card barcode to explore the world and find activities, quizzes, and deep dives into fascinating topics. These platforms are perfect for a variety of ages and interest levels. Some provide content for different reading levels, while others have a Spanish version.

All these platforms are brought to you exclusively through our public library’s membership in the Plum Creek Library System. Stay tuned for adult online resources such as auto repair, legal information resources, extensive DIY tutorials, and Consumer Reports. These platforms are set to roll out shortly.

watch and read your way to fascinating facts on nearly every topic
Scholastic ScienceFlix
dynamic digital content on people, places, and events that shape the world around us
early literacy pairings of fiction and nonfiction in both Spanish and English
the coolest science topics with leveled reading–also in Spanish
bite sized videos in Spanish and English paired with mini lessons
Scholastic Teachables Logo
activities that teach real-world skills for prek-8th grade

Other benefits of being a full member of the Plum Creek Library System include joint programming, access to Overdrive e-books and audiobooks, as well as book sharing with other member libraries. Each week, PCLS delivers books from across its service area (and sometimes the state) to libraries in the system. They also maintain our library catalog, making it easy for patrons to find books from a digital device and place holds on the materials they want.

check out those sweet websites and learn along with your youngsters~ jody