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 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:

http://nami.org
http://samhsa.gov
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

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
bkflix-web
early literacy pairings of fiction and nonfiction in both Spanish and English
sfx-web
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

Posted in Get Connected

Add to Our Legacy

One of my favorite author programs at Meinders Library is one we didn’t actually sponsor. Instead, the Friends of the Saint Paul Library brought us the Moving Words: Writers Across Minnesota panel as one of our last live programs before the pandemic hit.

this awesome event already took place

They did this through a funding program that is currently in jeopardy. Right now, the Center for the Book is making its way through the Minnesota legislature. It has been included in the House version of the proposed Legacy Bill, but so far is absent from the Senate.

A loss of this program can impact the availability of events such as the Moving Words program, the Minnesota Writers Directory, One Book | One Minnesota, Minnesota Writers on the Map, and more.

If you have attended a library program over the years, chances are at least one of them was funded in part or in whole by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (aka Legacy grants). This is true not just for our library, but for many libraries across the state who operate on such small budgets that they couldn’t successfully program without the support of outside funding streams.

It is equally true for large libraries and other partner organizations who create programs that can be shared with communities in Greater Minnesota.

When we hosted Moving Words, I was greatly appreciative of the opportunity to speak directly with author Shannon Gibney. She was so delightful, so grounded, and so passionate in her pursuit of open dialogue with audience members, including students in several PAS English classes she graciously spoke to. In my opinion, nothing beats talking directly with an author to better understand how and why a story came to be. Often, we can learn about things we’ve never even considered. With open, honest, and respectful dialogue, we can also teach.

In fact, every time we engage with others, particularly through great programming like Moving Words, we add our voices to the legacy of a better tomorrow. We create richer and more meaningful connections. We experience the world from a different perspective. As one whose job is to help connect people to each other, to information, and to experiences, I firmly believe funding for things like Center for the Book positively shapes our community’s culture.

As with any questions, concerns, or commentary individuals have regarding policy, the most effective and direct route to advocate for the things you care about is to contact elected officials personally. Not sure who they are? Check out this link to learn who represents you on all levels of government.

This handy dandy website tells you all sorts of great information such as where to vote, which precinct you are in, and important things that the library needs for your library card application like Township and Commissioner District. A simple click on the “Get Involved!” button of this page will provide you access to your state and federal elected officials, your municipal websites, and more.

Like the authors we bring in to share their stories, your perspective matters.

keep reading and keep learning~ jody

Posted in Get Connected, Just for Fun

Full STEAM Ahead 2021

Sign up now for your Take & Make kit. From solar ovens to fairy gardens to mini robots and more, these kits will engage participants of all ages.

  • Exploration Kit: activities will target science, technology, engineering, and math. Will include experiments and tinkering.
  • Craft Kit: geared toward creative minds with activities like painting, fiber arts, and paper craft.
  • STEAM Kit: this kit will have a combination of Craft and Exploration activities and a DIY fairy garden.

They will be distributed on a first come, first reserved basis and items may differ from kit to kit. Pick up day is Saturday, May 15th at Meinders Community Library from 10am-2pm. If you have questions or want more information, call the library at 507-825-6714 or email meinders@pas.k12.mn.us.

Posted in Get Connected

Blackout Poetry

April is National Poetry Month and we are lucky enough to have blackout poetry from Mrs. Wallace’s creative writing class on display. Students transformed pages into found poems and gorgeous works of art. Click on the individual photos for a closer look or come check them out in person in our kid’s section.

Speaking of poetry, with our nonfiction reorganization, our poetry section has a new look. Whether you’re searching for collections by a single poet, works by Minnesota authors, or anthologies focusing on a variety of topics, we’ve got you covered.

Posted in Get Connected, Just for Fun

I Support (Free) Speech

I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again. Today’s youth are amazing. Take our three state speech competitors from PAS. Jori, Will, and Brooklyn are a fraction of Minnesota’s talented speakers heading to State Speech this weekend. Their journey to this point has been years in the making. As their past speech coach and huge fan, I am so proud of their hard work and dedication to their craft. They have overcome obstacles we never imagined and succeeded in ways we adults can, and should, learn from.

my heart belongs to state speech

Let me explain. Competitive forensics requires youth to stand up in front of a judge (or 3 or 5 depending on the level of competition) to be, well, judged. Speak more clearly. Don’t mumble. Check pronunciation. Stop fidgeting. Don’t sway. Make eye contact. Connect with your narrator. Where’s your emotion? Too much emotion. Too loud. Too soft. Where are your facts? I don’t understand your point. Why is this important? Facial expressions, please.

These youth subject themselves to this confusing array of commentary three or four times every single tournament during a speech season. For this reason alone, I respect each and every competitor regardless of how they place. I also learn from them. Perseverance. Grace. Poise. Ability to listen to feedback and learn. Willingness to be critiqued time and time again. How many of us would flat out quit what we were doing if we were criticized for every little thing we did or didn’t do? How many of us would lose our passion, fold up shop, and move on?

Yet, these young speakers have learned to analyze feedback. They have learned to find fact to support their positions. Successful speechies have learned to research, to understand intent, and to marry their opinions with supporting data, and to convey all that in a ten minute presentation. They don’t eschew history, but build on it, taking into account the culture of the times. They thoughtfully weigh their words and actions (yes, they are critiqued on how well they gesture) and use them to show others the value in the words they share. They are asked to look beneath the surface message and make us consider the greater impact of the words they read.

In our current political, social, and cultural climate, we could all put into place the lessons our young competitors have learned through their years on the speech team. We can all take the time to research, listen, and engage in meaningful dialogue about things that are important to those around us.

To that end, Meinders Community Library has mindfully purchased nonfiction books that can aid in researching some of the critical conversations that are currently taking place between families, friends, communities, organizations, and governments. These books aim to inform, as well as present different perspectives.

I am currently reading Think Again by Adam Grant, organizational psychologist and top-rated professor. If Jori had one more year in speech, I’d recommend she check him out. She would love his message to argue like you’re right, but listen like you are wrong. As a mother and a librarian, I love his passion for creating lifelong-learners through the art of rethinking all we “think” we know. I can hear Brooklyn and Will reading aloud–beautifully, fluently, and passionately–from some of the books we have recently added to our collection on poverty, immigration, or the justice system.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I will not have the privilege of listening to them. Will, Jori, and Brooklyn will not have the audience they deserve. They will not have their teammates, families, and other competitors cheering them on in real-time. For this reason, they will shine. Because they know that it is the skills they have learned that matter. Not the accolades of performing in front of others.

I firmly support (free) speech and the absolute necessity of opening our hearts to really hear what others have to say. Good luck, PAS Speechies. You amaze me!

keep reading, keep learning, and keep thinking~ jody

Posted in Get Connected

Welcome to Your Digital Library

There are lots of things to enjoy about Meinders Community Library—curbside pickup, programs, interlibrary loans—but today we wanted to highlight some of our digital resources.

  • Check out ebooks and digital audiobooks through Plum Creek’s Overdrive. Library staff is happy to help you download and set up Overdrive’s Libby app for your smartphone or tablet. If you need a library card to get started with Overdrive and don’t want to come into the library, we can get you set up with digital access over the phone or through email. New ebooks and audiobooks are added every month!
  • If you enjoyed Wellness Wednesdays with JRRYoga and want to continue your practice, this YouTube playlist has all the videos in one handy location
  • For our young patrons, we have several literary and educational databases from Scholastic: BookFlix, ScienceFlix, and Watch & Learn. All you need is your library card number.

Plum Creek Library System is looking to add to its digital platforms, so keep an eye out for updates!

Posted in Get Connected, Just for Fun

Welcome to the Evolution of Your Library

Libraries are an integral part of a community. To find out how libraries have evolved to meet the changing needs of the communities they serve, please spend a few moments listening to MPR’s Humankind Documentary: Libraries Reimagined. For a visual tour of just a few things Meinders Community Library has done, scroll through the fun pics below.

All this and books, too!

So where does all this goodness come from? The short answer is philanthropy such as the Carnegie and Meinders Foundation donations which literally built two of our three buildings, grants like our $25,000 State Farm Grant for Full STEAM Ahead, and taxes at the federal, state, county, and city level.

The good news is that those funds are a good return on your investment. They provide computers to help patrons apply for jobs and wi-fi for community members to connect with family and friends. They give us books, movies, and educational opportunities, as well as programs that enrich lives in myriad ways. Our students read voraciously across all genres and attend after school STEM programs. Our teachers find materials on our shelves and in our makerspace that enhance their curriculums. Our community service providers meet with individuals in our conference rooms, while 4-H studies up for QuizBowl. Youth come to summer camps, and daycares attend storytimes. With our expanded digital platforms, patrons of all ages can read without ever leaving their homes. Exams are proctored for college kids and the Winter Reading Program keeps our bibliophiles busy during the cold, Minnesota months.

This financial support matters to far more people than you can imagine. So, what can you do to make sure our libraries remain vibrant and relevant to those we serve? Funny you should ask. Today is Take Action for Libraries Day.

Right now, we are at a pinnacle moment with MN legislature and how they allocate funding to the library systems across the state including Basic Library System Support (RLBSS) and Legacy Funding. For more information on how you can advocate for your library, check out this Minnesota Library Advocacy page. On a local level, let your elected officials know that you are invested (quite literally) in how your tax dollars are spent. And if all else fails, simply share your library love with anyone you know, as the more your library is used, the better your investment becomes!

keep reading~ jody