Posted in Just for Fun

Welcome Back, Students

It’s always a pleasure when students return to the library fresh from summer vacation. This year we welcome them back with a new feel to the library, as we want nothing more than to encourage youth to visit the library often.


Some responses we’ve gotten from our new set up:

  • This feels like we’re in college.
  • It’s like we’re in a coffee shop.
  • I love this space. I can’t wait to just sit in it.
  • I almost wish I wasn’t a senior, because I want to spend so much time here.
  • Dude, this is awesome!

And it is awesome. We hope we’ve created a sense of community and belonging with enough space for privacy, relaxing, and of course, study.

In addition to the new furniture, we have great staff at the library who are truly here to help in any way possible. In return, we ask for a few things:

  • Food and drink should be consumed outside the library during school hours. If we want to keep our furniture clean, we can’t have sticky, stains all over the place. After school, we have space at the front of the library where food and drink are acceptable.
  • Furniture is for behinds, not feet. We ask that patrons do not stand on the chairs or sit on the tables. That said, you can put your feet up on the ottomans to relax.
  • Media should be minimal. Nobody should hear your phone ringing or your favorite you-tube video playing. In fact, practice using that inside voice we all learned about in kindergarten. This will make the library more comfortable for everyone.
  • And lastly, please do not move the furniture from where it’s at. While the computer lab and conference room has flexible seating with tables and chairs on casters that you can move to accommodate your group needs, our study area does not for the simple reason that the furniture is set up the way it is on purpose–to accomodate all sorts of patron preferences.

One last quick reminder before I go. It’s the one that keeps me up at night and anxious every afternoon.

The library parking lot is not a student pick-up spot.

Our lot is not set up for easy parking or maneuvering. When parents park in the library parking lot, they take parking space away from public patrons who actually want to use the library. In addition, cars are hit all the time in our lot, which poses a safety risk for students (and family vehicles)–particularly when the lot is congested.

Instead, please use the circle drive. While busy, and also congested, its purpose is as a pick-up zone for youth.

happy learning~ jody


Posted in Just for Fun

So, What Does A Librarian Actually Do?

A. Read All Day       B. Read All Day       C. Other Things       D. A and B

For the answer, check out this movie:


And when you’re done, come talk to me. Because that’s the other thing librarians do after reading all day: we talk to people and we listen to their stories. 

I laughed. I cried. I loved it for its social commentary. I hated it for the social injustice so prevalent in our society. It was truly a worthy way to spend my evening.

~ jody

P.S. If you prefer to wait, you can watch the movie with us on November 8 during a public viewing at the library. We have a discussion guide (from Emilio Estevez himself) to help facilitate stronger community conversation about the vast and varied social concerns reflected in the movie.

Posted in Just for Fun

What’s In a Cover?

20190821_082036.jpgAs readers, we are often concerned with what’s between the covers. We like great characters, intriguing plot lines, and beautiful prose. However, when picking out our next read, we’re often swayed by what’s on the cover: gorgeous illustrations, enticing blurbs, and a great layout. Without these things, we may never crack the book open and give it a chance.

But what’s with the jacket cover itself?

In the 1800s, a dust jacket’s sole purpose was to cover the book in protective coating long enough to get it from printer to owner. This plain piece of wrapping kept dings, scratches, and tears from marring the beautiful leather, silk, or cloth covers of the day.

Fast forward to the turn of the century. At this time, dust jackets were still meant for shipping and disposal, but they had morphed into something a tiny bit fancier. This generation of wraps had a cut-out window to showcase the engravings or embossed titles that were prevalent on the covers.

It wasn’t until the late 1920’s that publishers realized the advertising real estate that dust jackets offered. This was the birth of the modern dust jacket complete with pictures and text used to “sell” the book. Although at this time, these covers were still considered disposable.

In fact, if you have dust jackets predating the 1970’s, consider yourself lucky. Though beware of the stigma attached to this, as these “ancient” dust jackets were preserved more out of laziness on the buyers behalf than out of a sense of keeping a historic paper trail.

Never fear, our librarians were not lazy as evidenced by a quick glance at our shelves. Our older collection is rife with missing covers–the “salable” information cut out of the original dust jacket and glued to the inside covers. On the other hand, our more current collection sports protective coverings on the protective coverings.

Somewhere along the line, libraries discarded the idea of discarding and began using these masterpieces of art and words to showcase the goodness inside each book. The result: a mishmash of covered and uncovered books.

While the books with intact dust jackets wrapped in their fancy, plastic covers may immediately hold more reading appeal, we hope you don’t skip over the books with the plain spines and cloth covers. Those literary masterpieces still deserve your time and attention.

happy reading~ jody

For more information on the history of dust jackets, head over to these blogs.

Posted in Just for Fun

Meinders Movie Theater Is No Longer Haunted

Thanks to our fearless, ghostbusting escapees, the library is once again a safe haven for Pipestone residents.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy this quick escape room countdown:

  • Cats and Spook at 80 minutes
  • A Flock of Sandwiches at 75 minutes
  • Bones’ Harem at 72 minutes
  • The Rainbow Nerds at 71 minutes
  • The Lovebirds at 59 minutes
  • Locks Are for the Birds at 52 minutes
  • (B)lockbusters- the “B” is silent at 44 minutes

Mark your calendars for the last weekend in October and crack the codes in our next escape room adventure.

Posted in Just for Fun

Words Are Hard

Last weekend, I received two amazing gifts–a mug that says “Professional Bookworm” and this:

i before e mugAs we get ready for the new school year, I am once again reminded of all our educational professionals do in teaching our youth to reach their potential.

Reading is hard, but necessary. We live in a world of words. Without them, we get lost.

In fact, a training we just completed at the library gave me a terrifying insight into the world of words. By the age of three, a child coming from inter-generational poverty will hear 30 million less words than a three-year-old child coming from the middle class.


That’s equivalent to not hearing 333.3 full-length novels read out loud. That’s not hearing 111 books worth of words each year. That’s a lot of missing words.

Teachers have my utmost respect, whether they are professional educators or parents and acquaintances taking the time to talk to and read with the youth in their lives.

Words are hard. It’s not weird. It’s a fact.

As you go about your day, please support reading, support strong communication, and support education. It’s the only way any of us can reach our potential.

Thank you, teachers!

happy reading~ jody

Posted in Just for Fun

Tastes Like Chicken and Other Like Things

Two weeks ago, my hubby and I were hanging out with friends talking about exotic foods we’ve eaten or are willing to try. Iguana? Tastes like chicken. Alligator? Tastes like chicken. Frog legs? Yep, you guessed it. Tastes exactly like chicken. By the end of the night this became a joke and inspired a later trip to Ivanhoe to pick up a few of these mystery meats at the seafood market.

Where the Crawdads SingCollectively, the four of us have eaten enough to know that, nope, these meats do not taste like chicken. Inherently we knew that Christopher Columbus had it all wrong when he declared that snake in the new world tasted just like chicken. Besides, we have all eaten enough to know the fallacy of this oft-used phrase to describe unfamiliar foods.

While certain meats might be white and mild, each animal has its own flavor. Chefs and foodies alike recognize the many subtle variations that each fowl and fauna bring to the table.

Likewise, serious readers enjoy the nuances that define individual authors and their individual works. And yet, we are still guilty of categorizing flavors of books to appease our literary tastes.

We google “books similar to…” or tell our reader friends, “If you loved Author X, you will love Author Z.”

As a librarians, it’s what we do. As book lovers, it’s how we shop and how we recommend. Though I doubt you would ever hear one of us say, “It’s exactly like….” In part, because there are far too many word combinations, characters, and plot twists for this sentiment to hold water.

Instead, we are more like great culinary artists who know that slight variations in the amount of one ingredient over another can vastly change the flavor of the end product. Temperatures do matter. As do oils and butter and lard. It might be similar, but it will not be the same.

Keep this in mind as I offer the following recommendation. If you are one of the many who have read or thought about reading Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing, you should give The Witness Tree by Amy Pendino a try.

Both are written by debut novelists, and both tend to end up in the same shopping cart on Amazon. Both have received strong accolades from fellow writers–including two we’ve hosted at the library.

According to Minnesota author Lorna Landvik, The Witness Tree is “deeply satisfying.”

According to Kim at the circulation desk, The Witness Tree is a worthy read. What did she love about it? The main character eschewed the social constraints of the time and stood her ground in the face of 1920’s conservative attitudes.

So while these two books are as alike as alligators and rattlesnakes on the outside, they share a similar flavor–a coming of age story tied to nature, social prejudice, and characters with a strength that defies the norm.

happy reading~ jody

P.S. Railroad Street Seafood in Ivanhoe has crawdads. Though I doubt they taste like chicken!

Posted in Just for Fun

Bags, Books, and Backpacks, Oh My!


I am the ultimate bag lady. I don’t care about shoes and wear the same sandals for generations. Likewise, comfy, old clothes always win out over the trauma of shopping for a new wardrobe. Bags, though? That’s my kryptonite.

They are bold, beautiful, tiny, fun, sleek, sassy, and everything in between.

In school, I carried the same pencils and notebooks from year to year, but always in a new bag. Sometimes in two or three bags over the course of a single semester. But rest assured, I’m not the only bag lady around. Every librarian I know has a penchant for bags and rotates their favorites depending on how many books they feel the need to carry at any given time.

So, you can imagine my delight when we purchased our new STEM backpacks at the library. They are perfect for carrying a collection of books, games, and hands-on activities centered around a theme. Created for ages 0-8, these backpacks delight our youngest patrons, as well as their caregivers.

They have pockets–a must for any good bag–padded shoulder straps for the comfort of all serious backpackers, and room to fit all the cool things inside, ranging from bugs to snakes and pizzas to ice cream. Counting, coloring, measuring, and more can be found in our thirty one bags from our State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant.

Pick up your STEM backpack today and make the inquisitive young un’s in your life as happy as a librarian in a room full of books and bags!

creating bag ladies (and gentlemen) one backpack at a time~ jody