Posted in Just for Fun

Experience Is Priceless

painting catsGenerations have always attributed blanket personas to other generations. I am guilty of exacerbating those blanket statements in this post–but with a positive spin–so please bear with me.

Our youth are currently our most experiential population to date. They are about doing, not having. They are triers, not compilers. No longer does he with the biggest and best win. Rather, she who has done the most is considered richer.

My generation, on the other hand, grew up in a world rich with possession. For the most part, we acquire things. Houses, cars, jewelry, boats, lake homes, televisions, home libraries, and motor homes. This ownership is the whole reason we work so hard.

The turn-of-the-century generation placed great value on family and made tremendous sacrifices to provide for the future generations. My parents fell somewhere in between, holding onto the memories of time spent while being torn by the need to succeed.

None of these approaches to life are right or wrong. They got us where we are today. And rather than focusing on the differences, we are poised to celebrate these intergenerational relationships and all the attributes they bring to the table.

Two weeks ago, my extended family gathered together. Three generations spent time eating, chatting, playing games, and painting. We donned our painting aprons, brandished our paint brushes, and tackled a scary project.

finished catsHalloween cats.

Some plunged forward with little regard for the outlines sketched on the canvas. Others followed the directions to a point before veering off to give their paintings their own personalities. Still others held fast to the process, lamenting their inability to perfectly replicate the picture.

Not surprisingly, the younger generation embraced the idea of doing. They fearlessly incorporated mistakes into purposeful changes to the original. My generation strove hard to create a perfect replica. Fixing and fussing and working even during play. My mom simply basked in the moment, quietly dedicated to getting the job done as she savored the time spent with her kids and grandkids.

The result was fourteen similar but different black cats, a priceless experience, and bonding across the generations.

Each and every day, we have the ability to connect with a variety of people across generations, genders, and cultures. If we take the time to open ourselves up to the experience and eschew expectations of perfection, we can end the day richer than when we started.

At the library, our makerspace allows these kinds of interactions to happen. Groups are welcome to reserve our STEAM Room to tinker and create, making memories in the process. Simply call, email, or stop by the library and we can get you on the calendar.

get connected~ jody

Posted in Just for Fun

Creepy and Kooky

These are the words antique appraiser, Mark Moran, has used to describe some of the items at the library today. He’s also described items as beautiful and intriguing.


This event runs until 1:00 today and is open to anyone who wants to watch our community’s treasures get assessed by an expert in the field.

We will be streaming it live on facebook in a few minutes!

Posted in Just for Fun



Like puzzle pieces, we are all connected.

These connections, no matter how great or small, are a good thing, because shared experiences create stronger communities.

No matter what your passion, connect with those who share your interests. Not sure who that might be? Ask us at the library. We may already have a club for that, or know someone who wants to start one.

get connected~ jody

Posted in Get Connected, Just for Fun


Banned Books Week 2019

One of the more difficult tasks library staff is asked to perform is purging library shelves of materials that are deemed offensive. This request in our library is validated along with a phrase similar to the one that follows:

“The beauty of living in America is that we all enjoy the freedom to read–or not read–what we want. The Constitution guarantees this right. If we took out every book in our library that might offend someone, we would have no materials left in our collection.”

Truth. Everything from the Bible to Zombies would be gone from our shelves.

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We all have different experiences, morals, values, beliefs, and desires. Despite that, we all share the same Constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression. This means we have the right to say and feel and do within our own belief system. It also means we do not have the right to censor other’s words and expressions just because they do not align with ours.

If you would like to show your support for First Amendment rights, stop by the library and get your mug shot taken. Share your “Caught Reading Banned Books” pic on your favorite media site and don’t forget to tag us #BannedAtMeinders.

For more information about banned or challenged books, please look up this great article on intellectual freedom.

keep reading~ jody

p.s. our beautiful banned books props are courtesy of Meredith Vaselaar–longtime librarian and tremendous supporter of us at Meinders Library.

Posted in Just for Fun

When Habit Holds You Back

It’s time for a new cell phone–a process that makes me infinitely cranky for a variety of reasons. I’ve ne61dxdvlgcql._sx384_bo1204203200_ver been a big shopper and cell phone shopping is the worst. Truth be told, I’d be thrilled to have my LG flip phone from over a decade ago. I simply don’t care enough about the newest technology.

Call me old-fashioned, but face recognition and fingerprint scans belong to the FBI. Siri and Co aren’t quite satisfying enough to converse with, and snapdragons belong in your garden, not in your cell phone.

That said, I’m fully aware of the “that’s the way we always do it” trap. But knowing something and acting on it are two different things. For instance, as a librarian and a judge for last year’s MNReads MNWrites Minnesota Author Contest, I’m well aware of EBooks Minnesota. Yet, I haven’t ventured anywhere near this virtual library since vetting the stories for last year’s contest.

Why? Because I’m a creature of habit. I have a stack of books from the library on my night stand and another on an end table in the living room and a third in my book basket that gets moved from place to place as the mood strikes me. I also have books in my car and on my desk at work. Jeff’s nightstand and the bathroom counter occasionally hold a few, too.

So why shop at a virtual library when my habit is holding a physical book? For 360 days I had no reason to.

And then I did. While creating a digital escape room for a presentation at MLA, I hopped onto EBooks Minnesota. I immediately saw a book I loved. I immediately started reading it. And I immediately regretted that habits are so hard to break. Because now I’m on a digital reading kick.

Seriously, EBooks Minnesota has all sorts of super awesome books like the one above on landscaping. This book and so many more can be found if you click right here. Better yet, they are all free and at your fingertips for reading anytime, anywhere.

Well, yours maybe. I still need that new phone to access this library on the go.

hop over to EBooks MN and find your newest read~ jody

Posted in Just for Fun

It’s Getting Deep

And I’m not talking rain.

I’m talking books in general, and Ray Bradbury specifically. As a child, I remember watching the cheesy Sci-Fi channel at my granny’s house. Inevitably, an astronaut’s helmet cracked, an alien injected humans with a thing, or a rocket crashed into a harsh and unforgiving landscape.

On the surface, many of Ray Bradbury’s stories share a similar fate with those 1970’s science fiction movies. Plucky characters valiantly fight the evil martian, proving the perseverance of humans and our unending desire to live.

And yet, when you ask three people the meaning of a Bradbury story, you will likely get three different answers. Ask more, and the interpretations are endless. I know because I’ve dissected and discussed Bradbury since high school, throughout my honor’s classes in college, and into the present as a speech coach.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that Bradbury’s writing has at least three distinct levels. One is all about entertainment. Humans hurtling through the stars in crippled rocket ships, landing on inhospitable planets only to face epic, inter-species battles. It’s cheesy sci-fi movies in word form.

The second layer plunges characters into a personal battle with themselves. Mental health vs fragility. Reality vs imagination. Fight, flight or freeze?

It isn’t until we scratch our way past the dirt and grime that we find a third, deeply disturbing level of social commentary that looks eerily like prophecy. Mankind vs the dire reality of our science and technology catapulting us into the throes of dystopia.

And that’s where the prophecy part of this comes in. You see, Bradbury wrote way ahead of his time. Before man walked on the moon, he wrote about it. He speculated about the stars and our need to reach them, just as we had reached outward from our humble beginnings and crossed the sea to conquer foreign lands.

In a way, his writing is almost like history repeating itself, but on a galactic level. The future and the past colliding seamlessly. Hand-print pictographs on space-ship walls.

Some books are worth a second or third read with intervening years between. The more life we experience, the deeper we can dive into the meaning of a book.

In the meantime, stay dry and keep reading~ jody

Posted in Just for Fun

When Books Have Hooks

Over the past few weeks, I listened to Ruth Ware’s “The Turn of the Key”. For the most part, it was a passive experience. The story is told in a series of memories, writings, and flashbacks. Nothing is urgent. Nothing is actively happening. But the cover was so beautiful and its allusions to “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James kept me plugging away at it, determined to finish it.

The five minute drive between work and home. The seven minutes it took to fix my hair. Minute by minute the chapters fell away.

Then, last Saturday happened. It was a drizzly morning. My hubby was at work. My boys were at football. My in-laws had just left. All of this to say, the television was off and my audio book was on while I cleaned the kitchen.

Twenty-three minutes left in the book.

I sat down, riveted by the lilt of Imogen Church’s accent and the unfolding plot that actually surprised me. Until this point, I thought I had figured out what really happened. Turns out, I didn’t.

Despite twelve hours of passive listening, I was suddenly crushed that the book was over. In fact, I looked at my watch.


An hour left before anyone was expected home.

I drove to the library to grab our copy of “The Turn of the Screw”. Short, but nothing sweet about it. A true ghost story so open ended that even today’s scholars haven’t figured out exactly what happened. Now that’s a book with deep hooks.

On Sunday (another drizzly day), I picked up our book club book and read that from start to finish. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison. After reading the last page, I flipped back to the first and began reading it again.

Another book with hooks. But a different kind. The kind that haunted my dreams. The kind that made me pull out my computer and research. The kind that hurts the soul and makes you think–really think–about who you are and where you come from. Not in the sense of place, but in the sense of emotional space.

Trauma changes us. It touches everything and everyone we touch. It creates a tint through which all other experiences must be seen. It gets its hooks inside of us and no matter how tenderly we remove them, or how much healing we do, the ghost-like memory will always be there. Sometimes pushed to the edges, sometimes right in front of us, but always, ever, it is there.

And that, my reader friends, is what makes a great book great. It, too, gets its hooks inside of us and makes us think. Its message touches everything and everyone we touch. It changes the tint through which we view all future experiences.

A great book with hooks is one with the power to unite, to heal, to understand, to hope, to accept, and to embrace. It pushes the ghosts into the light.

happy reading~ jody