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

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

Posted in Get Connected

Librarians on the Loose

Outdoor storytime with Miss Emily. Photos courtesy of Teresa Whipple.
Storytime with school-age kids
Reading the new library books

While we love our physical library space, the librarians of Meinders Community Library also love going out into the community. As the Children’s Librarian, one of my favorite duties is going to visit daycares. Pre-pandemic, it involved going to read a few stories to the kids and receiving nice compliments like “Library, I like your lips—they’re pink!” or “I like your pretty eyeballs.” We may not be doing indoor visits right now, but I still drop off fresh reading material every couple weeks. We managed to get a few outdoor storytimes in last summer and hope to do that again soon.

Because we want readers of all ages to have good books, we provide the residents of our nursing home and assisted-living facilities with a rotation of large-print books. The library also has a shelf of donated books at the food shelf for people to take. Children’s books are especially popular, so we are always happy to accept new or gently used children’s book donations.


Posted in Get Connected

Galaxy of Stars

Join us for a night of stargazing on this Saturday, April 10th at 8pm. Mike Lynch will be here with his telescopes and to share his expertise as we enjoy the night sky. This event is outdoors, but the building will be open to warm up or for bathroom breaks. We will be following CDC guidelines.

Speaking of stars, today is National Library Workers Day! If you have a favorite library worker, from Meinders Community Library or any other amazing library, you can nominate them as Stars for the American Library Association’s Galaxy of Stars. Get to know the dedicated librarians of Meinders Community Library.

Kim VanHoecke, Library Aide

  • How long have you worked at Meinders Community Library? 15 years
  • What’s your favorite thing about working here? Talking with the patrons
  • What’s your librarian superpower? Shelving
  • What have you learned working at Meinders Library? How to use Libby, especially when taking a trip in the car
  • What advice do you have for future librarians? Always be welcoming, friendly, and helpful to all patrons.

Sally Whittle, Library Aide

  • How long have you worked at Meinders Community Library? 25 years in October, plus two summers through a workforce center
  • What’s your favorite thing about working here? My rockstar co-workers and meeting new people from the community.
  • What’s your librarian superpower? Delivery & Interlibrary Loans
  • What have you learned working at Meinders Library? Never judge a book by its cover, or its movie
  • What advice do you have for future librarians? Get to know your collection and your resources. And have fun!

Jody Wacker, Library Director

  • How long have you worked at Meinders Community Library? 5 1/2 years
  • What’s your favorite thing about working here? Getting the right materials into the right hands.
  • What’s your librarian superpower? I have excellent staging skills—helpful for creating displays, rearranging spaces, and setting up snack tables at library programs. Decidedly not helpful when staring down stacks of books.
  • What have you learned working at Meinders Library? Contrary to popular belief, libraries do not have four walls. They are far-reaching in ways we have yet to imagine.
  • What advice do you have for future librarians? Let your community guide the services you provide—and then push just beyond the walls to find the needs your community doesn’t yet know it has.

Emily Blaeser, Children’s Librarian

  • How long have you worked at Meinders Community Library? 5 1/2 years
  • What’s your favorite thing about working here? Helping readers of all ages find a good book, opening boxes of new books, and making faces at babies.
  • What’s your librarian superpower? A good memory for books I’ve read and what we we have in the library’s collection.
  • What have you learned working at Meinders Library? How to use a 3D printer, do origami, and lots of other STEAM things!
  • What advice do you have for future librarians? It’s okay if you have to sing your ABCs while shelving.

We all had librarian confessions to make as well, but we’re keeping them anonymous for now. Can you match the confession to the librarian?

  1. Sometimes when I’m putting away books I’ll set down a stack of books on a random shelf so I can answer the phone or help someone at the desk. And then I forget where I put my stack of books.
  2. I take books home to read and then don’t even start the book.
  3. Sadly, I am not a reader.
  4. I despise the very antiquated and short-sighted Dewey Decimal System. That said, Dewey’s invention of the vertical file is something I can get behind.

Share your guesses below for a chance to win a gift card to a local business!

Posted in Get Connected

Welcome Behind The Scenes Of Your Library

Volunteer in Training

If you think libraries are smooth-sailing, check in and check out operations, your library is doing the right thing. So much goes on behind the scenes to make your experience seamless, and National Library Week is the perfect time to recognize those who make your library visit positive. Info on winning a prize by sharing your library experiences can be found below.

Public library board members serve on boards because they are passionate about a library’s mission to provide free materials and experiences to all people. They work together to create a framework for library staff to carry out equitable, community-oriented services. The pay is terrible (our board members work for free), but the reward of supporting the community is priceless.

Thanks, Meinders Community Library board members, for your public service and guidance.

A close cousin to library boards are friends groups. These dedicated peeps volunteer their time to financially support libraries in vast and varied ways. Pipestone Area Friends of the Library (lovingly referred to as PAFL or Friends) has fundraised and secured donations or grants, as well as spent their own dollars to help us round out our collection, pay for programming expenses, and splurge on big ticket items like new carpet, chairs, and paperback spinners. Each year they buy the Minnesota Book Awards finalist collection and the Camp Read book list for our library. They also support our Summer Reading Program.

I would be lying to say that we could operate without our Friends. Thanks, PAFL!

Similar to Friends, but on an individual basis is the Volunteer. A library’s reliance on generous souls who donate time and effort to help operations run smoothly is very real. At Meinders Community Library, we graciously accept any assistance. Our volunteers quite literally can be hidden away in the back room, covering books, sorting through collection materials, cleaning, painting, promoting, and stickering, or can be found meandering the stacks while shelf-reading. Some run programs entirely for free.

I am afraid to mention our volunteers by name for fear of leaving someone out. In my five years as the director of our beautiful library, our volunteers have ranged in age from 8 to 91. Some give us an hour or two of their time while others keep coming back, month after month and year after year.

Thanks, volunteers, for each and every moment you devote to the library! It makes serving the public far easier.

PCLS, or the Plum Creek Library System, is the mostly invisible rockstar of our behind the scenes kudos each day. Our entire catalog is available to you anywhere and anytime because of the dedicated staff at PCLS. Books from other libraries are delivered to our doorstep because of PCLS staff. We have digital platforms only because PCLS staff do the leg work and up keep. Collective and sometimes free or deeply discounted programming occurs in our library because of PCLS staff.

Joel, Rebecca, Cleo, Anne, Barb, Ken, Dwayna, and Michele, thanks for everything you do. The services you provide are greatly appreciated.

Please share your #LibraryLove for our behind the scenes workers. Also, don’t forget to enter ALA’s drawing for a $100 Visa gift card by posting to Instagram, Twitter, or the I Love Libries Facebook page using the hashtag #MyLibraryIs.

Posted in Get Connected, Just for Fun

Welcome to Your Library

Hoppy Easter and welcome to National Library Week–the collective celebration of all the wonderful things libraries provide free of charge to all patrons.

Our peeps are sharing some of their favorite things to do at Meinders Library. You can, too! In fact, you can enter to win a gift card simply by sharing your library love online. So stay tuned this week and join the fun!

From the American Library Association website: “Celebrate National Library Week 2021 by sharing what you love about the resources and services available at your library. Post to Instagram, Twitter, or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page,  about an e-book, audiobook, virtual storytime or bookclub, or how your library has made a difference while you’ve been social distancing at home. Use the hashtag #MyLibraryIs.  We’ll gather all the entries, and one randomly selected winner will receive a $100 Visa gift card.  The promotion starts Sunday, April 4 at noon CT and ends on Saturday, April 10 at noon CT. Don’t forget to tag your library!

“If you love your library, say it loud and proud: vocal community support helps libraries secure much-needed funding and reminds hardworking library staff that their efforts are appreciated. Participating in the #MyLibraryIs promotion is a quick, easy way to help your library thrive.”

As always, thank you for your support of Meinders Community Library.