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 Just for Fun

You Know You’re a Book Nerd When

receiving new books is like the world’s best present to a librarian

I would lie if I said I wasn’t a little giddy when I opened a box of new books to find them padded with the crumpled signature pages of other books.

So, what exactly is a signature page and just how big is one?

The answer depends. A signature page consists of blocks of text (what we know as pages in a finished book) arranged on a giant sheet of paper. If you look closely, you can see just how messed up the pages can be. The arrangement is upside down, backwards, and not at all in order like you think it might be. This is to accommodate the folding that will later take place.

em’s amazing origami skills at work

To see these pages in action, look at the top or bottom end of a book. In traditional publishing, those little bundles of pages are made up of ONE piece of paper which are folded like an origami swan and cut to fit between the covers of a book. These pages are then nestled into each other and are put into a book as a single unit. This is why if your binding breaks, you often lose an entire chunk of pages.

bound book

It’s also why we sometimes get books that are still stuck together or even out of order. Sometimes things just get a little wonky when you’re working with something as large as a signature page.

The largest signature page that I’m aware of is made up of 32 blocks of text and/or illustration–16 to a side. This is the most economical way of printing, making many traditionally published books divisible by 32. That said, depending on the capabilities of individual printers, signature sheets can consist of two, four, eight, or 16 pages.

Of course, there are print on demand books and e-books, but that’s a whole ‘nother post!

embrace your inner book nerd~ jody

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 Just for Fun

And the Winners Are…

Thanks for guessing our librarian confessions!

Gift cards provided by Pipestone Area Friends of the Library and Coborn’s. Thanks, as always, for your support of our library and the work we do!

Also, just a gentle reminder that Minnesota is still under a mask mandate, so don’t forget your mask at home! Currently, our doors are unlocked during open hours and patrons are free to use the library in-house when it is convenient for them. We want to keep offering this. However, as we are a public (and educational) setting, we need mask compliance to do so.

Curbside pick up of materials is one of our favorite pandemic adaptations, and we plan to continue this service into the future. Simply call us to check out your holds the day you would like them, and we will set them in the vestibule for you to pick up at your convenience.

stay safe and keep reading~ jody

Posted in Just for Fun

Mike Lynch Super Star

Saturday night brought us a beautiful spring evening, a socially distanced crowd, and meteorologist Mike Lynch.

Fast forward a few days, and Wednesday brought a surprise package to the the library: a beautiful, signed photograph, “To all my friends at Meinders Library and everybody in Pipestone! Mike Lynch”

photo cred Mike Lynch

So, if you missed Stargazing with Mike Lynch this past weekend, enjoy this view from his telescope. Also, know that we are already in conversation about his next appearance in Pipestone and the potential glimpse of Saturn in the fall 2022 skies.

keep looking up and keep learning new things~ jody

Posted in Just for Fun

Thank You from Your Librarians

After celebrating National Library Week with Meinders Community Library, it’s no secret that we are passionate about books, our library, and you! One of the things we no longer take for granted is time with our patrons. We’ve missed seeing and chatting with you this past year and can’t wait to dip our toes back into the programming waters.

So, stop out tonight at 8:00pm for some Stargazing with Mike Lynch. Bring a lawn chair if you’d like, eat a treat, and explore the night skies. Don’t forget to mask up and physically distance to keep other stargazers safe.

Heartfelt thanks for your support go out from Emily (who loses books in the stacks and makes faces at tiny babies), Kim (who takes books home, but doesn’t start them), Sally (our non-reading librarian), and Jody (who despises Dewey for all his outdated and old-fashioned faults)!

Keep reading, keep learning, and keep spending time at your local library. We look forward to serving you long into the future!

photo creds for bringing out the best in us go to Stacy Popma

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, 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.

Posted in Just for Fun

Quick Spring Reads

Spring is a time of direct opposites for me. I love the morning birdsong when I take my dogs for a walk. I despise the dirty sidewalks on those same mornings. I love the sun. I hate the spring damp. For some reason, it is more chilling to me than the winter cold.

And speaking of chilling, I am 80% done with Heartbreak Bay, the fifth and final book in a series my daughter and I started reading a year ago. The Stillhouse Lake books by Rachel Caine are uniquely terrifying as they delve into the aftermath of serial killers. More specifically, they follow the lives of a serial killer’s family in the ensuing years.

I love this twist on the psychological thriller genre. It makes for interesting plotlines. I don’t love that the author did not survive her battle with cancer to see the final book in the series published and in the hands of readers.

Apparently, life is also full of direct opposites. One filled with sweetness and heartbreak.

If you have time kill between spring tasks like getting out the grill, dusting off the patio furniture, and thatching your lawn, I recommend a journey to Stillhouse Lake. The books are quick reads–just perfect for those springtime rainy days.

keep reading~ jody

Posted in Just for Fun

How to Enjoy a Rumpus

Thanks to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, I’m sure we’ve all been exposed to the idea of a rumpus. But you don’t have to have wild creatures, bowls of soup, and naughty boys to appreciate a Wild Rumpus. In fact, you can enjoy a bit of a rumpus this winter with little to no prep.

Photo by Mau00ebl BALLAND on

Ingredients of a Good Rumpus

  • a wild thing or two
  • time to devote to the rumpus
  • a loosening of your ideals on how perfectly behaved children (and their caretakers) should act
  • miscellany such as pillows, blankets, treats, books, games, imaginations, stuffed animals, nerf guns, etc…

Mix the above ingredients together in any order and proportion and see where you end up. It might be in a blanket fort playing board games or in a pillow pile with good books and great conversations. It might be sitting at a counter (or on it) eating ice cream out of the container while still in your pjs. Regardless, any scenario focused on connecting with others in your life without an agenda is always a win.

Another way to enjoy a wild rumpus: visit the indie book store in the Twin Cities that adopted the idea of a noisy, free-ranging, raucous commotion both in spirit and in name. The Wild Rumpus book store is a delight in every way. If you happen to be in the area you should visit it in person with your favorite little person. Whether or not you buy a book, the experience is truly magical. If, however, COVID and distance have you far from one of the most unique book stores around, you can still enjoy it.

Story times (ie reading aloud to young–and old–children) are more important now than ever before. Even virtual story times breathe life into the characters and plot, and connect youth to the written word in a very different way than slogging through the words on one’s own. Quite simply, shared stories open the door to all possibilities and ignite imaginations in a way unlike any other activity.

So, in addition to joining our very own Emily for her virtual story times on Facebook, you can settle in with your personal wild thing and listen to talented readers in both English and Spanish from wherever you love to snuggle up.

Of course, you can always pull out a classic and share Where the Wild Things Are with the next generation. Just be prepared for the wild rumpus that is sure to ensue!

make your own stories~ jody