Posted in Books, Books-n-Brew Book Club, Early Bird Book Club, Events and Presentations, Meinders Happenings, News, Programs

How To Survive a Community Read

how to survive

Yes, I know, grammar and punctuation is always the thing. And despite the title of this post sounding a bit strange, it conveys exactly what I want it to.

As it is written, I’d like to tell you a bit about community reads and how to survive them.

  1. Community Reads encourage the masses to read the same book, thus providing a common experience and a nice platform for discussion with anyone who partook in the read–regardless of age, gender, stage of life, or general interests. This book is for everyone. It is universal in our attempts to live our daily lives with grace, courage and dignity.
  2. Reading a book outside your typical genre sometimes isn’t easy. However, it is worth it to broaden your literary experiences. The nice thing about Andy Steiner’s How to Survive: The Extraordinary Resilience of Ordinary People is that she tells the story of courage and triumph in bite-sized pieces. It’s easy to find a story that speaks to you.
  3. As we know time is short, we try to pick community read books that are quick and easy. This allows readers to spend minimal personal time while still being able to participate. So, I would say, don’t be afraid to cut your teeth on this book. Take a chance that you will find a sliver of time to read at least one story of survival.
  4. Sharing is caring. Sometimes we fall in love with literature and are reluctant to pass it along to others in case the pages get crumpled or someone might love a story with their morning coffee. The beauty of a community read is that these books are meant to be shared. The more widely read they are, the more successful our endeavor becomes. Read, share and discuss. Pass along the book to others who are going through tough times and who might need a bit of encouragement, or who enjoys similar writing as you do.
  5. Attend a book discussion. Yes, I know that is uncomfortable sometimes. But listening is also participating. Nobody expects to hear and speak with authority on the topics presented in Steiner’s book. Rather, everyone is encouraged to simply absorb the book as a community, listening to others and yourself about how a story touched you personally.
  6. Lastly, community reads are a no-cost endeavor. Thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Cultural and Heritage Foundation, Meinders Library has 30 free copies of How to Survive for your reading pleasure. Simply stop in and nab a book.

How To Survive Events

Monday October 30 @ 6:00pm: Community Book Discussion

Friday November 10 @ 6:30pm Books-n-Brew Book Club

Saturday November 11 @ 2:00pm Publisher’s Presentation on How to Survive with Adam Wahlberg

Tuesday November 21 @ 8:30am Early Bird Book Club


Posted in Books-n-Brew Book Club, Programs

Book Club Cracks the Code

books n brew
Books-n-Brew Book Club Celebration

After 81 minutes, book club members turned the key on the last lock and escaped with a win!

Mugged: an escape room adventure has 10 locks made up of directional, letter, number, combination and key locks. Each one must be unlocked within an hour to garner a win.


“This is the hardest escape room I’ve ever done.”

“Guys, 16-year-olds are better than us.”


Well, yes and no.

Each team was equally helpful in navigating the pitfalls of our escape room. After each test run, we tweaked some things, making it impossible to compare times. So while the teens technically escaped 13 minutes faster than the adults, it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

Never fear if you are missing out on this round of escape room madness. As of now, we plan to create another escape room in October!

16 hours to go before you can Vote Full STEAM Ahead for $25,000






Posted in Books-n-Brew Book Club, Events and Presentations, Programs, Teen Time

They’ve Escaped!

Nothing in the world is more fun than hanging with teens.

Locking them in a room could be the highlight of my kid-centric career.

They've Escaped
The second group of kids to test run our newest endeavor at Meinders Library.

For one hour (and eight minutes), they cracked codes, pieced together puzzles and solved the mystery of Mugged: an Escape Room Adventure.

Our first crew was a bit younger and consisted of four 13-year-olds. While the escape room wasn’t complete at that time, their feedback was invaluable in showing us what needed tweaked.

The last test crew will enter Meinders Inn and Suites on Saturday. Books-n-Brew book club members will have one last crack at solving the mystery before we go live to the public on Friday, August 18.

Thanks so much to all our willing victims!

*No children were harmed in the making of this blog post, though Emily and I have sore abs from laughing at all the wonderful one-liners they provided for our entertainment.

“That’s a lot of locks.”

“This is really confusing. I like it.”

“Don’t panic. That’s helpful.”

“Oh, God, there’s more?”

Posted in Books-n-Brew Book Club, Early Bird Book Club, Programs

Feed Your Brain. Read a Book.


Developing brains require good stories. Incidentally, we know where you can find some.

Stop by the library and give your noggin a jump start.

If you’d like to read with friends, join one of our book clubs. Our October novel is The Girl Before by Rena Olsen.

Olsen is a Minnesota native who will be here on November 12  at 11:00 am for an author meet and greet and Q&A session.


~upcoming events~

Ten Pigs Trunk Show       Friday, October 14 @ 9:00am

Laura Ingalls Wilder interactive performance on Saturday October 15 @4:00pm

Posted in Books-n-Brew Book Club, Early Bird Book Club, Events and Presentations

Book Clubs: The Girl Before

It’s not very often that a book grabs hold of you and won’t let go. It’s even more rare that a virtually unknown writer is the one to do the grabbing. However, The Girl Before, Rena Olsen’s debut novel, did just that.

By her own admission, Rena Olsen is “a writer, therapist, teacher, sometimes singer, and eternal optimist. By day she tries to save the world as a school therapist, and at night she creates new worlds in her writing.”

The Girl Before

This book is haunting, beautifully written and a thrilling ride. It’s also an eye opener into the grittier side of human nature.

It opens with a raid and takes you on a wild ride of innocence broken. Told in alternating then and now snippets, the story of a young woman used and abused unfolds, revealing a tale of utmost strength and survival.

The Girl Before has been chosen for the October reads for both book clubs. We will also use it as a Community Read which will culminate with an author visit by Ms. Olsen on November 12.

  • Books-n-Brew meets at 6:30pm on October 14th.
  • Early Bird Book Club meets at 8:30am on October 18.

Stop by the library to reserve your copy today, and stay tuned on our blog for other events surrounding our Community Read.