Posted in Get Connected

Let’s Oust Social Distancing and Embrace the Physical Distance Between Us

As a space filled to the brim with words, we know that words matter. Many of them have multiple definitions and fluid connotations. As an introvert, the term “social distance” is permission to embrace the natural tendency to withdraw from social settings.

Photo by Marta Longas on

For those balancing extroversion against the forced isolation of social distancing, the line isn’t so easily walked. Six feet suddenly feels like six miles of seclusion.

That said, even introverts need socialization and can feel nostalgic for daily interactions. I know I do. I miss the days when our library was filled with patrons bustling in and out, sharing snatches of conversation, and swapping snippets from daily life. I miss the times when all of our staff schedules overlapped and we touched base as a collective, not as individual runners merely passing on the baton in the work relay. I miss the times when social was what you did, not what you thought about day in and day out.

But words matter, and they can help us get through this. Instead of focusing on staying apart and not engaging with those around us, we should focus on staying apart safely. Swapping out “social distancing” with “physical distancing” just feels better. This way, six feet is merely six physical feet. It’s no longer a phrase directing us to stay away from each other at all costs.

Patrons should feel welcome to come into the library and share tiny slices of life with staff and other patrons. From the CDC guideline of six feet apart.

We can be social. And we can be safe. It just might take a change in our vocabulary to keep us from feeling isolated along the way.

Please call or email for a 20 minute browsing appointment. When you arrive, adhere to the state mask mandate and keep your six feet of physical distance while enjoying a moment or two of social connection. For patrons not wanting to enter the building, we continue to offer curbside pickup. Your safety and peace of mind are important to us.

stay safe and keep reading~ jody

Posted in Uncategorized

Winter Reading Bingo: Poetry & Short Stories

This week we’re tackling poetry and short stories for our Winter Reading Bingo recommendations. These categories can be a little intimidating if you’re not used to reading them, but we’ve got lots of great options for you.


  • If you’re willing to read a poem, but don’t want to commit to a whole book try The Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day
  • If you want to see gorgeous art alongside the poetry try Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge or One Last Word by Nikki Grimes
  • If you want to read a collection by a Minnesota poet try Mitochondrial Night by Ed Bok Lee, Tula by Chris Santiago, or any of the books on our new Minnesota Poetry shelf
  • If you want to read a novel-length narrative in verse try The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo or Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • If you want to explore poetry by a variety of authors collected in one place try The Best Poems of the English Language or another poetry anthology

Short Stories

Here are some of the newer short story collections we have at the library.

  • His Hideous Hears: 13 of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined edited by Dahlia Adler
  • What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
  • Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond
  • The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans
  • Dark Side of the Loon: Where History Meets Mystery edited by Sheyna Galyan, Christina Glendenning, and Timya Own
  • St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell

We also have collections with short stories by classic authors like Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, and Flannery O’Connor as well as a bunch of mystery anthologies.


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

Posted in Get Connected

Wellness Wednesday: Week 4

We’re back for Week Four of Wellness Wednesday with JRRYoga and Meinders Community Library. Click on the above image to do this week’s quick yoga practice and check back next Wednesday for another video!

If you’re so inclined, you can keep Jamie in your wellness thoughts as she breathes through her yoga practice and COVID.

Posted in Book Talk

Winter Reading Bingo: Historical Fiction

Our next set of Winter Reading Bingo recommendations are all historical fiction. This list of new titles will take you anywhere from 1650s Amsterdam to 1950s Mexico. If you really love historical fiction and want to read multiple books with historical settings for your bingo card, there are books on the list that could also count as mystery, romance, inspirational, YA, and sci-fi/fantasy. If you’re looking to listen to a historical fiction audiobook, there are plenty of good choices through Plum Creek’s Overdrive/Libby.

  • In the Lion’s Den by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore
  • The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
  • Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
  • Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick
  • The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline
  • Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
  • Midnight Blue by Simone Van Der Glugt
  • The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

For more historical fiction recommendations, check out this blog post on WWII stories.


Posted in Just for Fun

Meinders Midwinter Staycation

Tomorrow should be our library’s annual Midwinter Staycation. In the past, this Saturday reset has been filled with self-care, reading, yoga, good company, good discussion, and good food. It has also included a viewing of the PAS One Act play.

Like everything else this year, our Staycation will take place virtually. It is completely self-directed, but we hope you will partake in some of our offerings to make your Saturday a little brighter and your outlook on the rest of winter a little more bearable.

Further, you will have several opportunities to enter our crockpot “door prize” drawing. We are sharing tomorrow’s schedule with you today, so you can collect everything you need to jumpstart the weekend. Including this:

Mezzetta Imported Greek Golden Pepperoncini - 16oz - image 1 of 5

Staycation Schedule

  • Start your day with a moment of mindfulness and a quick yoga practice with Jamie at JRRYoga. As a seasoned massage therapist and certified yoga instructor, Jamie has been a staple at our Staycations. Click here to begin your yoga session. After you are done, use the form below to drop a note identifying the cameo appearance.
  • Spend some time with the written word. Make this time deliberate and thoughtful. If you’re not typically a reader, this quick 15-20 minutes can help you reconnect with something you are interested in. For busy readers, it can reaffirm your love of stories and provide the impetus for starting that new novel you’ve been meaning to read. Don’t have a book in your house? Never fear, your Plum Creek Library card provides access to several digital platforms right from your computer, phone, or tablet. Click here to open our Quick Links page and the digital door to reading materials for all ages and interests. If your card needs renewed or you have forgotten your password, call the library today before 5pm close, and we will help you log into the platform of your choice.
  • Stream a One Act Play. On a typical Staycation Saturday, we would support the PAS One Act cast by watching their subsection performance. Please read about their virtual season here, then search online for one act play videos that interest you. Most One Act Plays last between 15 and 45 minutes. Let us know what you watched and what you thought.
  • Finally, treat yourself to a steaming bowl of chili. In previous years, we’ve made flavored coffee syrups, scrumptious drink mixes, and appetizers to be shared before and/or after lunch. This year, we’re going all out and making a complete meal to battle the chilly temps. This unique chili recipe goes great with shredded cheddar cheese, soda crackers, Frito Lay Scoops, or cornbread. Just keep in mind that any good, throw-together recipe can be modified to taste. A double recipe feeds my voracious family of six.


  • 1 to 1.5 pounds browned hamburger
  • 1 diced onion, sauteed in the pan used for the burger
  • 1 large can (28oz) of diced, stewed, or petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15oz) Hormel Chili with beans
  • 5-8 minced peperoncini peppers with seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup peperoncini juice
  • Chili powder to taste

Mix together all ingredients in a crockpot and let simmer until hot. If you get started late in the day and find yourself hungry now, you can cook the chili on the stove. Like all things in life right now, flexibility is key!

Fill out the form below to let us know how you participated in our Meinders Midwinter Staycation–even if you do so on Sunday (or Monday). We will announce the door prize winner of a 7-quart Slow Cooker next Wednesday, January 27th.

read, relax, and enjoy~ jody