Jan's Column 2018

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Past Columns

December 27, 2018 - Countdown

The countdown to the end of the year has already begun. Five days and we can say goodbye to 2018. On the sixth day we will be firmly into the first day of 2019. Five days, 120hours, 7200 minutes, or 432,000 seconds. Now the average reader reads 200 words per minute. With 7200 minutes left in the year that means you can read 1,440,000 words (and that’s only if you’re an average reader; which I know you’re not). A four-hundred page book would have about 100,000 words in it. That means, theoretically, if you read every minute of every day from now until the end of the year you could read 14.4 books. That would put you well on the way to reaching any Winter Reading Program challenge or goal you may have set for yourself. All those books you could read could also be converted to dragon dollars which would allow you to purchase really cool prize in our store or to donate to one of three charities (the DeForest Area Needs Network, the Dane County Humane Society, and / or the DeForest Area Public Library endowment fund). Even if you don’t want to use every minute that’s left in the year 2018 to read, you may find some books in the list below that will speed you into the New Year.

The library will close at 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve day and will be closed all day on New Year’s Day.

Enjoy the books! Happy New Year!

December 13, 2018 - Weather for Reading

As is so often the case, over the past weekend when we finally started seeing a little, weak, pale, the sunlight the temperatures started to drop into the teens (sometimes low teens) over night. The week we are just about finished with as you are reading this was predicted to be warmer so one assumes the dark, gray, clouds shall have returned. I, for one, think this is perfect weather for reading. There isn’t enough snow to contemplate outdoor sports and reading gives you an opportunity to experience that cozy feeling – which I have been promoting for years, but leave it to the Danes to come up with a word that no one can pronounce but which is very trendy – popularly known now as ,”hygge”. In just two short weeks it will be December 27th, two-days after Christmas, and even a day after Boxing Day. In just two weeks you will be 10 days into the Winter Reading Program and three days from New Year’s Eve. My how time flies. Time truly is flying, In fact, according to my sunrise/sunset chart on December 10th we gained a minute of daylight at the end of the day. Sure, we keep losing it in the morning until the 28th and sunrise stays at 7:29 until January 8th, but by then we've gained 15 minutes at sunset.  Going home after work with a little more light in the sky feels like progress to me. Below you will find some of the new books that have arrived at the library recently. Enjoy!

December 6, 2018 - St. Nicholas's Day

Now that we are into the month of December, the countdowns to special days are upon us in earnest. Today, as we all know, is St. Nicholas’s Day. Some claim that the whole idea of Santa Claus evolved from St. Nick. What we do know about St. Nicholas is that he was (probably) a bishop in 4th century Greece and he had a reputation for gift giving, especially putting coins in people’s shoes. Hence the tradition of putting your shoes outside your door and (if you have been good) finding them filled with small treats (candy, cookies, small toys) in the morning. There is at least one theory that the stockings hung on the mantel (with care) may be related to this shoe-based gift-giving tradition. If you’ve not been good – a.k.a. naughty—you might get some coal in your shoe. But we know that’s not going to happen to you!

Saturday, December 8th, at 10 a.m., Santa will be visiting the library! So make your list and come and talk to the man himself about what you’d like this holiday season. Perhaps you could bring your children and /or grandchildren as well.

The Winter Reading Program begins on December 17th. It’s never too early to start getting in shape for this reading marathon. Below you will find some of the new books that arrived at the library recently. Enjoy!

November 29, 2018 - Countdown

Even though Thanksgiving was as early as it can be, and even though we are now on November 29th sitting on the last Thursday of the month, we have still “officially” entered the count-down-to-the-year-end holidays part of the calendar. As of today, there are 26, count them, 26 days until Christmas Eve. That’s only 624 hours left to shop and prepare your house, your family, and yourself. And once you’ve passed Christmas it’s only a week until the end of the year and a week and a day until we enter the year 2019. Wowzer! Where does the time go? It occurs to me that that is a perennial question and that while the library has the answers to many questions, I am sorry to report, we do not have the answer to that particular question. If you are in a hurry to get to the end of the year and are no good at biding your time, below you will find a selection of new books to distract, engage, immerse, you in their pages so that the time flies by. If you care to fritter away the time and saunter to the end of the year, one of these books is sure to be just the ticket for that as well. Enjoy!

November 22, 2018 - Thanksgiving

I hope you all shall (or already have had depending on when you are reading this) have had a good Thanksgiving Day. I hope you spent it with friends and family and were thankful and grateful for all the members of your family and your circle of friends. I hope you had enough to eat and had a warm place to spend the day. We here at the library are thankful for you. We have books, dvds, cds, and a plethora of different formats of items for you. We are grateful that you follow us on social media. We are thankful that you visit us often and checkout the materials we have. We are thankful for your support.

On the day after Thanksgiving, now known far and wide as “Black Friday” we will be open. Now, you do know (at least the most popular explanation) the reason this day is called “Black Friday” is because the retail stores make enough money with all the “sales” on this day and going forward to put them in the black on the ledger -- the black being the profit side of things. Retailers may go into the black on this first day of the big Christmas shopping season, but a lot of us shoppers end up going into the red. The library offers you an alternative to shopping and the red side. Stop by and check out something to read. After you have finished it, it will be read. Get a scratch--off coupon (while supplies last) which may win you a cookie or a free rental or who knows? In the meantime, below are some new books that can be read or which you may read. Enjoy!

November 15, 2018 - First Snow

We had our first snow of the season this past Friday morning (sometime in the wee hours). I awoke to the grass, car, and porch covered with snow. It wasn’t much snow. Less than an inch I would guess. But, it was enough snow to track a cat in: I know this because I let my cat out in it and I could certainly see where she had set her hot little paws down. Having a snow deep enough to track a cat in means that we can now make a prediction about the number of snows there will be this winter. But first another bit of weather-lore which states that if the first snowfall lands on unfrozen ground, winter will be mild. I think this snow met that criteria. So it should be a mild winter. There are at least four methods knocking around in folklore-based weather prediction circles. They are as follows: 1) Count the number of foggy mornings in August. This number will be the same as the number of snowfalls for the following winter, according to my calendar/ journal there were 8 foggy mornings ... 2) Count the number of days from the first snowfall until Christmas. This number will also give the correct number of snowfalls to expect (which would be 46) or...3) Count the number of days from the first snowfall of the season to the preceding New Moon. This will tell you how many snows the coming winter will bring. The preceding New Moon was actually November 7th but two snows makes absolutely no sense around here, so let’s calculate from the October 8th, new moon. That would be 32 days or 32 snows or …4) The date of the month of the first snowfall in which the paw prints of a cat can be seen predicts the number of snowstorms for that winter season (that would be November 9th or 9 snows. Now “snows” don’t have to be great big accumulations, they just need to be deep enough to track a cat in. No matter what method you use, there’s a fair number of days coming that will be filled with that wintery stuff. Perfect weather for reading. Below you will find some of the new books that arrived recently at the library. Enjoy!

November 8, 2018 - Early Thanksgiving

I got an email last Friday from my east-coast of Wisconsin cousins with an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner and food assignments. I didn’t think much about it since it had only become November a couple of days prior. Now today, when I am really looking at calendars, I am forced to note that Thanksgiving is a mere 14 days – that’s two weeks—from the date of the publication date of this newspaper. “Is it just me?” I asked myself, “Or does Thanksgiving this year seem awfully early?” Since I often answer my rhetorical questions or track down the information so that a highly credible source can answer my questions, I now know the answer. Thanksgiving falling on November 22nd, is the earliest that Thanksgiving can be. The bad news about such an early Thanksgiving is that it really can sneak up on you. The good news is that the time from Thanksgiving to the Christmas and New Year holidays is a week longer. Great for the merchants because of the longer shopping period but good for us shoppers and bakers and family event planners too. So while you may feel a bit pressed right now to find time to read, there is more time coming in the not-too-distant future. Below are some of the new book titles that arrived at the library recently. If you can’t read them now, you can add them to your TBR (to be read) list. Enjoy!

November 1, 2018 - Old Leaves are Falling

The new books have been arriving nearly as quickly as the old leaves are falling of the trees. This is an excellent time of year for reading books. There are not a lot of outdoor chores to do. There are not a lot of outdoor sports to participate in. While we have already past the big, raucous, holiday of fall – and by that I mean Halloween—the candy lingers on and can make a wonderful accompaniment to reading. It is still too early to start worrying about Thanksgiving and it is way, way too early to think about those yearend holidays which will be upon us soon (53 days). Below you will find a few extra titles this week to whet your appetite. Remember, the Winter Reading Program will soon be upon us. It’s good to start training so that you hit the peak of conditioning just as the winter reading program starts. Enjoy!

October 18, 2018 - End of the Growing Season

The first killing frost of the season arrived about a week ago and overnight lows have been bouncing (mostly) around the 30-degree mark. The end of the growing season has officially arrived, but some plants refuse to believe the weather forecasters. But it won’t be long until even the hardiest plant succumbs. It is that time of year when even the hardiest individuals turn on the heat and dare the furnace to run, and it too eventually succumbs and spreads heat throughout the house. It won’t be long, 13 days to be exact, until that first big holiday of the last quarter of the year. By that I mean Halloween. Once you get past Halloween, it’s only a matter of days (22) until Thanksgiving and once you get past Thanksgiving, suddenly it’s Christmas. Somewhere in there we lose Daylight Savings Time and suddenly the days seem a lot shorter. Conversely, the evenings which are the perfect time for reading, seem that much longer. Below you will find some new books. Enjoy!

Breaking News! : Izzie, the wooly bear caterpillar, who has been keeping me company in my office, suddenly, this past Sunday, has a little friend with him. I don’t know where the little fellow came from (well, obviously on one of the leaves that are Izzie’s food source), but he sure is cute. Izzie is an average size wooly bear – about 1.5 or 1.75 inches long. “Junior” is about 3/8 of an inch long and eats very daintily.

October 11, 2018 - Izzie

Sitting next to me in a glass vase is, Izzie, a wooly bear caterpillar. In between rain storms last week, Izzie was discovered making his/ her way towards the hosta plants by the book return on the southwest corner of the library building. We decided to give Izzie a home and see if he/she will spin a cocoon and winter over with us. Izzie is a very hungry caterpillar who really likes a nice bedewed hosta leaf to munch on. Those of you who have been reading this column over the years, know that I have in the past made amazingly accurate predictions about the severity of the upcoming winter based on my interpretation of the weather-lore surrounding the stripe of the woolly bear. I was taught that the wider the stripe the milder the winter. Izzie has a nice wide stripe so, based on the smallest sample size one could possibly have, I would forecast a milder than normal (but who can define normal anymore?) winter. Izzie’s predictive abilities do not extend to predictions of precipitation except what one could interpret from the term “mild”. So why the name “Izzie”? I hear you ask. Well, that black and reddish-brown, striped woolly bear caterpillar will spin a cocoon and spend the winter inside it. When the weather warms, it turns into the lovely, Isabella moth, which is an orange-yellow moth with a 1.5 to 2 inch wingspan with three longitudinal rows of small dots on its abdomen. Hence the name “Izzie”. I also predict there will be lots of books coming your way in the fall and winter months. Below is a sampling of some of the titles that arrived recently. Enjoy!

October 4, 2018 - Flocks

How did it get to be October already? Seemingly overnight we have gone from rejoicing in the cool evenings and sleeping with windows open to getting the furnace checked, getting the blankets out, and sleeping with the windows shut. That first frost warning last Friday was a reminder that it won’t be long now. Migratory flocks of birds are roosting on the telephone lines. Loose flocks are passing through on an almost daily basis. Geese are practicing flight formations as they contemplate heading south for the winter. Exactly a month from today, on November 4th, Daylight Savings Time will end and the evening twilight time will suddenly make going home from work darker. Now, if you’re an extremely early riser, which I am, you will appreciate that extra light in the morning – but only for a while. The nicest thing I can say about the darker days ahead is that they lend themselves to getting cozy with a book—and possible a big wooly sweater or a down comforter, and a cat or dog or two, and perhaps a warm drink (or two). Below you will find some of the new books that arrived at the library recently. Enjoy!

September 27, 2018 - Fall has Officially Arrived

Fall has officially arrived and the weather seems to have been paying attention and started to cool off. Overnight lows are finally dipping into the 40s even as those nights continue to get longer and longer. It is only 34 days until Halloween and 89 days until Christmas (this information provided as a public service announcement). The frost is not quite on the pumpkin yet, but we are definitely heading that way.

Speaking of public service announcements, I thought I would mention here an upcoming author talk at the DeForest Public Library. On Thursday, October 4th, Professor Ronald J. Berger's will be talking about his new book. “Children, Save Yourselves!” is the true story of Berger’s uncle and father, Jewish men who survived the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Poland as children. One brother endured several concentration camps, while the other passed as Catholic among anti-Semitic Poles and eventually became an officer in the Soviet Army. Berger traces the defining pre-war, wartime, and post-war events that marked their extraordinary lives in his book. This program starts at 6 p.m. in the Community Room of the library. This event is hosted by the Friends of the Library. Copies of the author’s book will be available for purchase.

Below are some of the new titles that arrived at the library recently. Check them out! Enjoy!

September 20, 2018 - Fall Ensembles

What a difference a couple of weeks make. I hadn’t been outside of the village environs for a week to ten days and at the end of last week I had a meeting on the opposite side of the county. Not only did I get to experience that Wisconsin season that last from March to November known as construction, but I got to take a gander at the countryside. Boy have things changed. A couple of weeks of dry weather and a couple of weeks further into September and suddenly the all the vegetation is browning off or yellowing. The corn and soybeans and tomatoes and vine-y vegetables are turning sere. The sumac is starting to turn that brilliant almost-neon red it gets and some trees and really thinking hard about putting on their pretty fall ensembles. Some – myself included—consider this the best time of year. The night is coming earlier and getting cooler, the humidity levels – for the most part—have dropped to comfortable levels, it is neither hot enough for air-conditioning nor cold enough for heat, and we are poised between the seasons. Many birds are still around doing practice flights for migration but it isn’t time to go yet. It is a very pleasant time of year and to add to that enjoyment, we have the fall book lists arriving en masse – or at least that’s how it seems at times. Below are some of the new titles that arrived recently at the library. Enjoy!

September 13, 2018 - Donations

Now that the Summer Reading Program a.k.a Summer Library Program, or even a.k.a Summer Learning Program is over there are still a few things that need mentioning before we can tie a bow around the 2018 summer program. As has been the custom for a few years now the dragon dollars earned for reading books and meeting challenges need not be spent in the library’s “store”. Those dragon dollars can be donated to three charities: the DeForest Area Needs Network (D.A.N.N.), the Dane County Humane Society, and/ or the DeForest Area Public Library’s Endowment Fund. I have been willing, out of my own eleemosynary impulses, to convert dragon dollars into legal tender and make payment to those charities on behalf of our reading program participant’s generosity. I shall be converting those dollars soon. This summer the DeForest Area Needs Network received 250 dragon dollars; the library’s endowment fund received 400 dragon dollars; and the Dane County Humane Society received 500 dragon dollars. If you’re doing the math, that’s a whole lot of dragon dollars! Reading does have its payoff, especially for local charities. Until the Winter Reading/Library/Learning Program gets underway in December (which will be upon us sooner than you think – in 102 days, actually.). In the meantime so you don’t lose your hard-won reading conditioning, you will find some of the new titles listed below that arrived at the library recently. Check some out and enjoy!

September 6, 2018 - Hodgepodge

It’s difficult to tell what season it is right now. It is so glooming and soggy that many indicators of the change of season, from summer to fall, are difficult to spot. Corn is usually firing and soybeans are turning yellow (to celebrate the start of football season – Go Packers!) but this year, the crops look confused. I drove up to see family over the holiday weekend – between rounds of thunder storms. The fields on the way to Minnesota were a hodgepodge of green and brown. Apparently even given all the rain we’ve been having if you cut your hay too short, you can still burn it. I’d noticed that same phenomena with lawns around here as well. The most striking thing to me was how high the water was along the Interstate even after the water has been off the roads for a few days now. The poor trees look like they’re wading. I saw a flock of egrets (Great? Snowy? Cattle?) wading in the flood waters in an area I’ve never seen them before. Speaking of birds, loose flocks of starlings and redwing black birds are starting to assemble. Everywhere. I also saw flocks of nighthawks migrating in their jerky flight patterns over the Interstate in two places. Nighthawks usually start heading south at the end of August, so they are right on time. You probably noticed that there aren’t very many robins around anymore, or much of a dawn chorus. Those are two other good indicators that the season is changing. Another indicator is the fall booklist titles are starting to arrive. Below is a sampling of the new books that arrived recently. All I can say about all the rain is it is perfect reading weather and, at least it’s not snow. Enjoy!

August 30, 2018 - Summer Reading Summary

All the books have been counted, all the pages and minutes read accounted for, and I can finally give you all of the amazing numbers about how many people read how many books! Every year, for more years than I care to remember, I have been reporting the number of pages read in concrete terms. I have converted the number of pages read (or pages listened to, or time spent reading) into inches, then converted those inches into miles, and then plotted that number of miles on a map. Since I have been doing this annually for enough years for this to have become a tradition, and since I’m wise enough not to tamper with a fine tradition, here goes!

This year 410 people participated in the Summer Library Program. Those participants managed to read 951,944 pages and did 824 challenges which are quite an impressive number! Now, on to the calculations which begin with this question: “If you laid all the pages of the books that were read end-to-end how many miles would they stretch?” The average size of a page is 9 inches tall which gives us (951, 944 times 9” or 8,567,496 inches—always show your work if you want to receive full credit.). Then we take those 8,567,496 inches and divide by 12 to give us 71495.5 feet and then divide by 5,280 to give us 135.2miles. And, voilà! If you laid all the pages read during the Summer Reading Program end to end and drove east on I-90, you would end up about 8 miles past Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament on I90. Or heading north and west on I-90 you’d end up at– about a mile north of Dakota, MN. Any way you look at it, that’s a whole lot of reading was done this summer! Congratulations to all the Summer Reading participants.

If you haven’t worn your eyes out yet, below you will find some new book titles. Enjoy

August 23, 2018 - Weather Lore

I was up in LaCrosse a weekend ago and ran across a couple of pieces of weather lore I had never heard before. The first was that that it is “six weeks from the time the locust start calling until the first frost”. You may (or may not) recall the version that I have reported about predicting the first frost by using the date the (fall) crickets sing. The locust which my informant referred to are undoubtedly dog-day cicadas. They are called dog-day cicadas because they hatch and start singing during the dog days of summer which you may (or may not) recall is that time period from roughly 40 days from July 3rd to August 11th, when Sirius, the dog star, rises at dawn and summer is typically at its warmest. I’m not sure when the cicadas started singing this summer: I didn’t know I should be paying attention so that a first frost prediction could be made. I’m guessing they’ve been singing for at least three weeks now which would put a first frost in the middle of September (which sounds about right). The second piece of weather lore is however many fogs you get (once the locusts are singing? I’m not sure if this lore is linked to the first lore or not) is how many snows you will get in the upcoming winter. My weather lore informants are snowmobilers so are very interested in snow, lots of snow. Based on the number of foggy mornings we’ve been having this model for predicting the number of snows has me very worried. But while the sun is still warming and the precipitation is still falling as rain and with a holiday weekend in the not-too-distant future to enjoy, let us just carpe diem. And while we’re seizing the day, let us seize a book as well (carpe liber). Some of the library’s newest titles are listed below.

August 16, 2018 - National Days

The Summer Reading Program ended last Friday, so it is too early to have any totals yet. It’s still two and approximately a half weeks until Labor Day. The number of programs at the library has backed down a bit as we are taking a slight break from all the summer programs and before ramping up for the back-to-school push. The number of (what I find) interesting National Days (or National Weeks or, indeed, International Days) is meager. But meager though that number is I shall mention a few before letting you continue down the page to the “New Arrivals” section of this column. Today is National Tell a Joke Day – so I will and shall attempt to keep it literary: What do you get when you cross a porcupine with Harper Lee? To Quill a Mockingbird! It is also National Roller Coaster Day and National Rum Day. You might want to celebrate the later first, to help you find the nerve to do the former. Drinks made with the libation celebrated on the later so often are so smooth and sweet and enjoyable (the little umbrellas, the fruit, the little swords impaling the fruit) that one must be careful about how many one consumes, especially if one is contemplating riding on the former. BTW, if you share a domicile with a chat noir (black cat) as I do, tomorrow is National Black Cat Appreciation Day (August 18th). Let that cat kitty know how much you appreciate them. If you appreciate good books, you will find some of the newest books that have arrived at the library. Enjoy!

August 9, 2018 - Unpredictable Summer

It has been a long, and rather unpredictable summer. Back-to-school supplies are in the stores and on sale already. The giant (and common) ragweed are not only growing very well, they are already throwing their pollen in the air. And the Summer Reading Program will be all-in, all-done tomorrow. Any Dragon dollars earned during the program need to be spent or donated by Sunday, August 12th.

The first Packers’ pre-season game is today (if you are reading this on Thursday, August 9th). The cycle of the seasons just keeps on turning and it won’t be long until the books I am ordering right now show up in October (that’s how far ahead publishing and ordering is nowadays). And believe me, you’re going to like a lot of those October books. Lots of big name authors with best-seller written all over them. In the meantime, there are plenty of great books arriving at the library weekly. Below you will find a sampling to help you while away the hot days and the rainy days and the (slightly) longer evenings. Enjoy!

August 1, 2018 - Crickets

The fall crickets have arrived. The first time I heard them was a week ago today. If you were paying attention to my ramblings (some say mutterings) on June 14th, I mentioned that weather lore says that the first frost is six weeks from the first chirping of the (fall) crickets. So, mark it on your calendars. Around September 6th it should get a wee bit frosty. It seems hard to believe that we are in the 8th month of the year already; that the vegetable crops are starting to ripen; that the corn is so high at rural intersections that you have to creep out (sort of like when the snow gets too high, but let’s not start thinking about that yet!); that the back-to-school sales have already started; that the Summer Reading Program will be ending soon; that the giant ragweed is as high as an elephant’s eye; that the fall book titles will start to appear soon; that the countdown to the Labor Day, that last holiday of summer, has already started (It’s 33 days away in case you’re interested); that the dawn chorus is less emphatic; and that the days are noticeably shortening both in the morning and the evening. The world turns and the seasons do too. One of the many nice things about books is that they can be enjoyed during any season of the year at any time of the day. Below are some of the end-of-summer books that recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

July 26, 2018 - Summer Reading

The Summer Reading Program continues on apace. This year there is a slightly extended run with the end date happening the second week of August. As of today, we are only five days and counting until our biggest bash of summer. Yes. The Harry Potter Birthday party will take place on Tuesday, July 31st at 1 p.m. in the basement of the library. This is the 15th year that the library has been celebrating Harry’s birthday, so why not plan on attending? It’s loads of fun and there is birthday cake. Yours Truly will be mixing up butterbeer (a old family recipe). There are games of skill and knowledge and hunts for treasure. And did I mention, there is cake? If you care to make Tuesday and all library day for yourself and family after the birthday party, at 6:30 p.m. the Concerts in the Park will be featuring the Soggy Prairie Boys. They are always a lot of fun. While Tuesday, July 31st is an extremely fun-filled day at the the library, there is always something happening everyday. Having all those books, magazines, dvds, cds, toys, cake pans, etc. to browse through is also jolly good fun. Below you will find some of those jolly good books which have recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

July 19, 2018 - Interesting Weather

What a summer this has been (so far) weather-wise. Heat wave in May followed by a cool off for June and rain – lots of rain. Then a heat wave for the 4th of July weekend followed by a cool off followed by heat and humidity but very little rain. The weather has certainly confused my crops (tomatoes, sweet peppers); some are large, some are small, some have peppers and tomatoes set, some don’t. I was driving to a meeting the other day and farmers’ crops seem just about as confused as my crops are. I drove past corn that was head-high and some that was knee-high (which if you grew up when I did the adage about corn was “knee-high by the 4th of July”. I saw soybeans that were just getting around to thinking about making an effort, some are nice and tall and bushy. A field of wheat was ready for harvesting but the oats down the road a piece looked a long way from harvest. And hay! What can I say? Some of it looks ready to cut again (or for the third time?) And some got cut and rained on and we all know what that means. Any way you look at it, the weather has been interesting and doesn’t look to quit being interesting for a while. In the meantime, if you’re looking for something interesting to help you beat the heat or ignore the rains or the droughts, below you will find some of the new books that arrived at the library recently. Enjoy!

July 12, 2018 - Marathon

The Fourth of July Parade was a bit like running a marathon – even though I sat the whole way. The heat / humidity index was, oh, about a million degrees and staying hydrated was a challenge. Trying to take a sip of a drink that got warmer as the parade progressed, throw candy, wave, and repeat was more than a little challenging as we rode on the flat bed (a.k.a. the library float) that was bumping over manholes, the railroad tracks, and here and there a pothole. It sure was nice to see all the smiling children and adults waving flags. It was nice to see all of you who were trying to flag down the candy tossers in the library’s entourage as well. For those of you who missed the parade, the library had a unicorn accompanying us. It was magical! A beautiful chocolate palomino in “costume” (i.e. she was wearing a horn). Check out our FaceBook page! We still had a little candy left, so one of these days – when you least expect it – we may be tossing some candy at you from the circulation desk. In the meantime, there are lots of good books, some great books, some so-so books that have arrived lately.

Below is a list of some of the most recent titles. Enjoy!

July 5, 2018 - 4th of July Summary

We are on the other side of the 4th of July. As we all know, aside from the fireworks and cookouts and parades, the 4th of July celebrates the United States declaring its Independence from Britain. Except, that didn’t happen on July 4th, it happened on, Tuesday, July 2nd. On July 4th the final wording of the document was agreed to and then that verbiage was sent to a printer who typeset the document overnight so it could be read at public gatherings on July 5th. On July 19th an engrossed copy, hand written on vellum in a clear hand was ordered by Congress for signatures. No one got around to signing the actual document until August 2nd. So if you missed celebrating or feel like you want to prolong the celebration you could use that August date when the actual signing occurred.

Being on the other side of the 4th of July means that we are heading into the countdown for the Harry Potter Birthday Party (which is on July 31st, as it is every year because it is his birthday) which is a mere 26 days away. Still plenty of time to decide if you’re wearing a costume and if you are, then assembling said costume. This year the Summer Reading Program extends into August, so there is still plenty of time to read, take challenges, attend programs, earn Dragon Dollars and spend or donate those dollars to one of three charities. Below you will find some titles to inspire you to ramp up your reading and earn some dragon dollars too. Enjoy!

June 28, 2018 - Holidays

Now that we’ve passed the summer solstice, can the 4th of July be far away? A rhetorical question that requires no answer, but I’ll answer it anyway. Obviously, the 4th of July is right around the corner. The 4th of July, while not quite the mid-point of summer (From Memorial Day, May 28th to Labor Day, September 3rd there are 98 days. 49 days from Memorial Day is July 16th. This would be the actual midpoint between the summer holidays.)in terms of holidays is the point between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And since it isn’t quite the midpoint that means there are ever so many days more to get your summer reading done. The number of new summer titles keep pouring in. The recent weather hasn’t really been conducive to reading on any local beaches or even any local backyards. There has been such relentless rain recently that you might want to investigate the books in the Non-Fiction section at 623.8 (Nautical engineering and seamanship). While waiting for the skies to clear, there are a number of new books listed below for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

June 21, 2018 - Summer Officially Arrived

Were you paying attention at 5:07 this morning? That's when summer officially arrived. Today marks the astronomical solstice which is astronomically when summer begins. It seems remarkable this year to say summer has just arrived within the past few minutes when we already had a stretch of 90 degree weather at the end of May and then again this past weekend. Day time high temperatures don't really have much to do with length of day, which is what the solstice is all about. Today we will have 15 hours 22 minutes and 14 seconds of daylight. Tomorrow we lose three seconds and it's all downhill from there until the December. But for now, the mornings and evenings are sunlit and the long days of summer are upon us.

All the added daylight is perfect for reading and the publishers continue to release their summer titles. It is also a perfect time for reading because the Summer Reading Program is underway and reading can earn you dragon dollars which may be used to donate to some local charities or to purchase cool items in our "store". Take advantage of the extended days, all the summer titles being released, and staying inside when the heat is too great, to get some reading done. Below you will find a sampling of the new titles that arrived at the library recently. Enjoy!

June 14, 2018 - Lore

As I was driving to work last Thursday, I heard crickets chirping in the lawns. I was somewhat worried by this because it is well-known weather lore that it is six (6) weeks from hearing crickets chirping to the first frost. Now, looking at a calendar that would put the first frost around, oh, July 18th. While this has been a crazy spring (I can’t say early summer yet since the first day of summer is still a week away) a frost in the middle of July would hardly seem possible. So I did some digging around (librarians call this research) and discovered that the weather lore refers (at least in some cases) to fall crickets. Who knew there were fall crickets, right? Not only are there fall crickets there are also spring crickets. The spring crickets are what I have been hearing. They survive the winter in a juvenile form and as the weather warms, they mature and start chirping. They die off and the fall crickets who started their post-winter life as eggs are finally mature and chirping by the end of July or early August. Apparently there can be a short lacunae of chirping between the expiration of the spring crickets and the emergence of the fall crickets. To notice this brief, chirp-less, period in the middle of summer is as rare as hens’ teeth. When the fall crickets start singing is when the countdown to the first frost occurs. I’ll keep you posted on the first frost warnings, but for now, there is still a whole lot of summer yet to come (once summer actually gets here, of course). There are still a whole lot of summer books to be read and enjoyed indoors or outdoors. Below you will find some of the new titles that have arrived recently. Enjoy!

June 7, 2018 - Summer Reading and Harry Potter

While removing the winter-driving paraphernalia from my car last week didn’t quite bring on snow and sleet, it sort of put the kibosh on the ninety-degree heat way we were having and returned us to cooler (almost abnormally cooler) weather. But no kibosh was put on the plethora of new books that keep arriving now that we are in summer-reading season. We are also in the summer reading program season which goes so nicely with the arrival of all these new books. Join the reading program. Read books. Earn dragon dollars for reading books. Spend those dragon dollars in our store or donate them to either the DeForest Area Needs Network, the Dane County Humane Society, or the DeForest Area Public Library Endowment. If you need an excuse to read – I know most of you don’t but in case you do—then do it for charity. There are many exciting programs coming this summer as part of the Hogwarts Summer Academy. The Academy is celebrating our 15th year of holding a Harry Potter birthday party July 31st and the 20th anniversary of the publication of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s

Stone”. On June 13th – in just 6 days—there will be a presentation by the International Owl Center about Owls in Literature. This presentation will include Ruby, the owl. It starts at 1:30.Whoooo would want to miss this? Not you! Check our calendar or the Academy booklet available at the circulation desk for more details. Below are some of the new books that arrived recently. Enjoy!

May 31, 2018 - Summer Vengeance

Well. We started the Summer Reading Program a little early this year and look what happened! Summer in all its heat and humidity decided to show up – with a vengeance. This past holiday weekend certainly got windows opened and air conditioners installed or central air conditioners turned on. Having it suddenly be in the 90s with humidity is somewhat akin to that first snow fall of winter. No matter how much warning you get and how prepared you are, the reality of the weather takes some getting used to. One of the nice thing about libraries is they are warm places to be in the winter and cool places to be in the summer. Another nice thing is that the book publishing cycle cranks out lots of books in winter when one’s activities tend to be curtailed by the cold and snow and then they crank out a lot of books in the summer when everyone is purportedly lying around on the beach or kicking back at the cottage or just hiding from the sweltering heat in a cool dark place. Some of those summer books are listed below. Enjoy! (And just so you know -- and I will take responsibility—I took all the ice scrapers, snow shovels, and other winter-related paraphernalia out of my car over the weekend. If that triggers snow and freezing weather, I apologize.)

May 24, 2018 - Hogwarts Summer Academy

The Summer Reading Program has been underway since May 19th. Have you signed up yet? This year in honor of our 15th year of celebrating Harry Potter’s Birthday our reading program will be offering a bit of Hogwarts – a summer school, if you like. There will be lots of programs which lend themselves to things Potter. There will be “classes” on owls and plants and chemistry. Professor Venom and his animals will be back again this year. Dr. Bassam Shakhashiri will be demonstrating the magic of chemistry in a show that packs in audiences on campus. Oh, and there will be a quidditch demonstration. There is so much happening this summer you sort of need to check things out on our website calendar or pick up the “summer school schedule” available at the library now. Oh, and did I mention the Concerts in the Park? Those will be occurring during the month of July, but prior to the Concerts in the Park series, there will be a short series of Concerts at the Rocks at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays starting on June 12th. Of course, every time you come to the library for one of these wonderful programs you should be checking out some books – not only because of the pleasure reading books brings, but in order to earn dragon dollars which you can redeem for items in our “store”. Those dollars may also be donated to one of three charities – Dane County Humane Society, the DeForest Area Needs Network and the library’s endowment fund – which have donation jars at our circulation desk. I will convert those dragon dollars into United States dollars at the end of the summer. So, to get you started on your summer reading, there is a list of some of the new books that have arrived at the library recently. Enjoy!

May 17, 2018 - 501st Legion

Overheard in the library last Friday (5/11): “At least it wasn’t snow!” [As we all know from living in Wisconsin, 35 degrees and rain given the right conditions can indeed be snow.] Enough said about the weather. This coming Saturday, May 19th, the Summer Reading Program will kick off with our first ever Geekfest. As part of the festivities, members of the Wisconsin Garrison of the 501st Legion will be at the library from 1 to 3 p.m. In case your geekiness doesn’t lean towards the Star Wars franchise, let me tell you who they are. Better yet, let me quote from their webpage “The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While the organization was founded to simply provide a collective identity for costuming fans with similar interests, the 501st is proud to put its resources to good use through fundraising, charity work, and volunteering.” This is a storm trooper garrison who bill themselves as “bad guys doing good”. Don’t miss this chance to embrace the dark side, eat snacks, take selfies, and generally geek out. Hope to see you there! In the meantime, there are a number of new books for your reading pleasure listed below. Enjoy!

May 10, 2018 - Time Flies

My how time flies! It seems like only a couple of weeks ago when winter storms were unleashing their fury upon us (and, indeed, it was only 3 weeks and a day ago that it was). Suddenly it is spring in earnest. The trees are leafing, the grass is being mowed, birds are already rearing their young or sitting on eggs, the temperatures are approaching 80 degrees and it does seem as if summer is right around the corner. We here at the library have already started the countdown to the summer reading program. It is a short countdown this year since we will be starting on May 19th. This year we will be offering an extended summer reading program as part of our celebration of 15 years (That’s right! Fifteen years.) of holding a birthday bash for Harry Potter on his birthday (which we all know is July 31st). There will be many programs to delight Potterheads (you know who you are!) and those of you who have somehow managed to not read a Harry Potter book (just try them, you’ll like them) or see a movie. More details will be coming forthwith. In the meantime, if you’ve not been inspired to start reading (or re-reading) the Harry Potter series, below you will find a listing of some of the new books at the library. Enjoy!

May 3, 2018 - Springtime

Warm days. Frosty nights. Sunshine greening the grass. Robins hopping around. The dawn chorus being joined by new singers almost daily. Birds who were hanging on the suet feeders like crazy a couple of weeks ago, turning up their beaks to the offer of suet now. The white-crowned sparrows stopping to sing “old Sam Peabody, Peabody” on their way a little further north. The ditches suddenly filled with spring peepers peeping away. Trees budding out seemingly overnight and starting to leaf. Crows carrying nesting materials into hidden bowers. Lawns suddenly filled with volunteer violets and dandelions. Daffodils and jonquils that pushed through snow only a couple of weeks ago are in bloom. The sound of motorcycles and lawnmowers. All. All point to springtime in Wisconsin and the beginning of that merriest of months, May. There are many new books still arriving daily. I realize you are suddenly busy now doing things outside and getting out and about. But, there is always time to read. You do have permission to read in short bursts instead of going for the long, sustained read. The books listed below lend themselves to either form of reading. Enjoy!

April 26, 2018 - Cranes

Wow! What a difference a week makes. Last week we had (knock wood) our last snow storms of the season and now, suddenly spring has arrived. The extended, 10-day forecast doesn’t have a snowflake in it. In fact, overnight lows look to be above freezing as well. The warmer weather and angle of the sun have made the snow disappear nearly as quickly as it arrive. This past Saturday, I participated in the annual Midwest Crane Count (which I’ve been doing since 1994). This is the first time that I can remember where the crane count was postponed due to weather. We had a weekend storm coming in on14th of April with winds and mixed precipitation. Columbia County --where I count-- decided to delay the count for a week and hope the weather was better. And indeed it was. It was a partly cloudy morning, crisp (32 degrees), with a beautiful sunrise smearing oranges and reds and pinks across the horizon. Those poor robins, who only days before had been huddling under fruit trees and bird feeders and next to houses for warmth, were everywhere. They were in great voice telling all the other birds to “cheer up, cheer up” and there were lots of other birds -- probably delayed here while waiting to make their flights further north. Juncoes, grackles, plovers, flickers, red-wing blackbirds were still in loose flocks fueling up. Yes, I did see cranes too. I had two different sites this year and had 7 on one and 17 on another and a bald eagle hunting over the intersection of a couple of drainage ditches, a kingfisher hunting over the same ditches, and an osprey sitting in a tree singing (Do osprey sing? The vocalizations were very melodic for a raptor if you ask me). All of this wildlife experienced before 7:30 a.m. when the count was over. Now that the crane count is over, can spring be far behind? I hope not! In the meantime, if you’re not spending every minute outside below you will find a list of some of the new books that have arrived at the library recently. Enjoy!

April 19, 2018 - Booky's Prediction

I know last week I said I was done talking about the weather. I said this after mentioning that, once again, it seemed as if Booky the library’s prognosticating badger, had made the correct call on the day commonly referred to as “Groundhogs’ Day”. Booky had predicted that winter would endure and that there might be flowers beginning to bloom in March, which is sort of what has happened. But Booky is a smart badger (possibly residing in a library has something to do with that) and doesn’t like to get pinned down with actual number of days left in a season -- a season like winter. I don’t know how many of you noticed, but over this past weekend, the prognosticating groundhog to our east posted that he was in protective custody until spring finally decides to arrive because he, Jimmy, had said “six more weeks of winter”. Jimmy also had some interesting and amusing conspiracy theories about why winter was so persistent. Booky has asked me to relay some information. First, Booky’s forecast said winter would hang around; and it has with a few brief respites. Booky still believes that “April showers” (whether they are snow showers or rain showers) will eventually “bring May flowers.” Booky doesn’t believe the mitten cartel conspiracy theory or the weather has been hacked or other theories put forth by Jimmy. Booky does believe, however that the book publishing industry might have something to do with an extended winter which keeps people inside and reading. There has been an unusually large “spring” list of books this year. Coincidence? You decide. Booky is safe and working on photo shoots for Facebook postings and following a normal routine. Booky has received no threats -- or even harsh words-- about the length of this winter to date. Thank you for asking! Below you will find some of that suspiciously large spring list of books mentioned above. Enjoy!

April 12, 2018 - Nation Library Week

This past week was quite the week for new book arrivals. It was also quite the week for weather. I am going to refrain – for once—from mention the weather. I will merely remind you that Booky, the library’s prognosticating badger, made a prediction that spring wouldn’t be arriving anytime soon. It would seem that Booky was correct. Enough said. Speaking of Booky (I was, wasn’t I?), a picture of our little badger should be appearing on FaceBook this week to remind you to celebrate National Library Week. That’s right! This is National Library Week and by the time you shall be reading this, it shall be five sevenths of the way through. There were and shall continue to be for the next few days an opportunity to play library bingo which, if you get a bingo or complete and entire, will allow you to enter a couple of drawings for a fabulous prize. So stop on by and see what’s happening. Just having you come to the library will add to our celebration! Check out these new books that arrived while you’re here. Enjoy!

April 5, 2018 - Harbinger of Spring

Here we are with five-sevenths of the first week of April under our belts. We have made it past the madness of March and the possibilities of basketball playoff snow falls. We’ve made it past Easter and avoided a white Easter. We’ve made it past Election Day (and at this writing it looks like if there are flakes in the air that day, they won’t last very long, if indeed they accumulate in the first place. While it is still getting mighty cold overnight -- I made the mistake of leaving a diet Mt. Dew in the car on Easter Eve and had a frozen soda to contend with as I drove north and west to visit family for Easter. Driving north and west, out into the countryside, the signs of springs return are obvious even if the nights remain cold. There are fields that are truly greening up now and the birds are returning. There are more species and greater numbers all the time. The Turkey Vultures returned to Hinckley, Ohio around March 15th and I saw a few up flying as I traveled towards my family and on the return there were a couple of vultures walking along Morrisonville Road. Another harbinger of spring has arrived. The Mississippi River is filled with geese (Canada and a few Snowies, migrating ducks (Buffleheads, Mergansers, Lesser Scaups, Goldeneyes), coots (or mudhens depending on where you’re from), and gulls. Just as the birds return in increasing numbers as the year progress, so too, do the number of books from the publishers’ spring book lists. Below is a sampling of some of the new titles that arrived recently. Enjoy!

March 29, 2018 - Spring in Wisconsin

March seems to have come in like a bit of a lion and is exiting like a lamb. We have passed the vernal equinox on the 20th of March and we have made it through the high school basketball seasons without a major snow storm here. And now we are looking over the fence at April when “April showers bring May flowers” and we are definitely on the downhill rolling quickly in to those glorious spring days we all long for in the dark and cold of winter. The robins have had the third snow on their tails (which also means that spring is here) and are hopping around on all the lawns looking for worms and starting to think about settling down and building nests. The trees are getting that lacy look as flowers and leaf buds start forming and while there may be frost on the rooftops in the morning, it is warm enough to not need a jacket by early afternoon. Ah, yes. Spring in Wisconsin! While the landscape is slowly coming to life, the publishers are ramping up their spring production. New books are arriving almost daily. Below you will find a sampling of some of the books that arrived recently. Enjoy!

March 22, 2018 - Flurries

There was a small snow event on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon – just a couple of flurries really—but I’m wondering if that counts as the third snow on the robins’ tail that signals that spring is really here and pretty much plans on staying. Add to that the slight cast of green you can see on the lawns and along the ditches where there weren’t piles of snow and the motorcycles that are starting to hit the roads now that the roads are dry, non-snow-covered, and the temperatures warming and you pretty much have spring in Wisconsin. Now, true we are at the very end of the WIAA basketball tournament season and just starting the NCAA tournament season and there is sometimes a major snow storm associated with that but, April is less than ten days away and the days are so much longer and the birds are all a-singing and a-building nests. And we all know what happens in April, right? April showers brining May flowers and all that. Well, not only that April also contains a week-long celebration dear to any and all librarians’ hearts (and yes, we do have hearts—some more so than others, but I digress) and that is National Library Week. As we here at the library count the days until that celebration begins you will find a shelf-load of new books described below waiting for you to check them out.

Enjoy!

March 15, 2018 - Jinxed

I admit it. I am probably the one who jinxed the steady progress spring was making in the area in last week’s column when I noted that spring had arrived. Apologies. I learned a couple of lessons from making that pronouncement. The first thing I learned was if you’re going to predict the weather in Wisconsin in the spring (well, anytime really) then leave some wiggle room in what you say. The second lesson learned was a new piece of weather-lore that had somehow escaped my notice for lo these many years. That lore is: “Spring will come when it has snowed three times on the robin’s tail.” I believe the beginning of the week took care of two of those three snows because there was certainly a loose flock of robins hopping around on my lawn on Monday prior to the snows on Tuesday into Wednesday. We may need one more snow on the robins’ tails for spring to truly be here, but the book publishers certainly think spring has arrived. The spring book titles are beginning to arrive in large quantities. So while we are all waiting to get on the other side of that last robin’s-tail snow, there are plenty of new books -- many of which are listed below--for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

March 8, 2018 - Birds

Well. I am declaring spring officially here. This is based on the fact that I have seen and heard sandhill cranes, robins, and red-winged blackbirds. The red-winged black birds are the clincher as far as I’m concerned. Not the longer days. Not the warmer temperatures. Not the slight cast of green the grass is starting to show. It’s those pesky, omnipresent black birds “ker-chinking” in the background that says spring is (just about) here. Now. Please note that I did not declare winter officially over. It has been my experience of this transitional time in Wisconsin that both winter and spring can sometimes cohabit. In fact, March is rather notorious for blowing hot and cold as it were. And for dumping large snow storms upon us which disappear in a few days. Now is the time to start really planning for a garden – or at least looking at books or magazines about gardens. It is well past time to be starting seeds (but it’s never too late really it will just take longer for your harvest or for your flowers to bloom). It is almost time to be taking that ice scraper and snow shovel out of the car. It is certainly time to be getting some serious (or not too serious) reading done because sooner than you think you will be outside, getting your hands in the dirt, mowing the grass, and enjoying all the outdoor activities you’ve missed for the past months. Below you will find some of the new books that have arrived at the library recently to help you keep busy until you can get outside. Enjoy!

March 1, 2018 - Nebraska

Can you believe it is March 1st already? The Brewers are already planning exhibition games and, believe it or not, it is only 150 days (give or take) until the Packers open their training camp. The birds around my house are starting to change their songs in preparation of spring and attracting that special someone to share a nest with. I have been out and back to Nebraska on my annual trip to see the start of the Sandhill crane migration. This annual ritual for me is an assurance that spring is indeed coming and not too far away. On the drive out to Kearney, NE the snow cover disappeared and ditches and hill sides with southern facings were getting a distinctly greenish cast. The willow trees were turning bright yellow and loose flocks of migrating songbirds were flitting from branch to branch. Officially, as of February 29th, there were about 9,000 cranes in the area. I know I saw at least that many on the drive in. The number of snowy geese is phenomenal. They litter the cornfields in puddles of white that look like ice floes that haven't melted yet. When a flock snowies takes off and comes at you, you'd swear a cloud is headed your way. The surest signs of spring are the meadowlarks that hop off the roads and sing their gurgling songs. I did spy a robin or two bobbing a long, but alas no red-winged black birds this year. And with spring dawdling off to the west and south of us, the spring book titles have begun to appear. Those book titles appear often in large numbers -- nothing to compare with the snowy geese mind you-- so what you see listed below is merely a taste, a hint, a soupcon, of the new books waiting for you at your library. Enjoy!

February 22, 2018 - Holidays & Expos Past

Here we are with only six more days (Count them! Six!) left in the month of February. We have already passed all the major holidays in the month. It is rather surprising how Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12th) and Mardi Gras (February 13th) and Valentine’s Day (February 14th) all fell right in a row in the same week. Today is George Washington’s Birthday although we now clump his special day and Lincoln’s too, into “Presidents’ Day” which turns the third Monday in February into a three-day weekend. With the end of February in sight, that means that March is right around the corner. And right around March’s corner is spring. We may be a few more bouts of winter possibly in the form of the dreaded high school basketball tournament snow storms, but whatever punches winter still has in store are like those from an arm-weary pugilist. A punch may land but it won’t have much staying power. Most of the expos that help us endure the long winter and start thinking about spring and warmer times have already passed as well. The Garden Expo has been and gone as has the Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show. The Fishing Expo is this weekend. So, while you’re making your plans for spring and waiting for all the madness of March basketball to start, why not visit your library and check out the cool programs we offer as well as the cool things you can check out. February is a good time to test drive some of amazing cake pans we have that you can borrow :Or try out some rubber stamp kits and make cards or decorate your world: Or check out one of the new books listed below.

Enjoy!

February 15, 2018 - Winter Weather

What about that snow last Friday? Looks like Booky’s prediction for a prolonged winter is still holding true. I do find it interesting, having lived in the Midwest for all of my life and in south central Wisconsin for nearly 40 years, that there would be cancelation based on a forecast that had the snow ending early in the morning. Back in the day, I would drive to work in blizzards to make sure people could pick up books and movies to help them ride out the storm. Sure we might close early (It is a Wisconsinism that “I prefer to see the ditch I’m sliding in to.) but we waited to see if the hyped forecast was actually happening. Oh well, different times, different forecasts. Speaking of winter weather -- with the mounds of snow decorating the street corners and the birds huddling around the feeders – now is the perfect time to start thinking about gardening and planning what crops you will plant or what annuals you will be decorating with. There is probably no act filled with as much optimism and hope as pushing seeds into soil in tiny peat pots and watching those seeds sprout and turn towards the sun and drop their first leaves and start turning into a miniature-but-recognizable version of the plant you will be putting in your garden once spring and the chance of a freeze is past. Planting seeds is February is an act of faith; a belief that spring will come. You will find many books on gardening in the 635s. You will find a beautiful orange, red hibiscus flower on the plant across from the elevator on the 2nd floor. Below you will find many non-gardening books to enjoy.

 

February 8, 2018 - Booky's Prediction Still True

A little less than a week ago, Booky the library's badger, predicted that winter would be sticking around for a while. So far, the forecast has been accurate. Snow, wind, cold, have all followed Booky's prediction. February snows and cold snaps can do a lot to dishearten even the staunchest Midwesterner. That Wisconsinite who proclaims, to anyone who will listen and without a trace of sarcasm in their voice, "I love winter! I love having four seasons! I love snow and the cold crisp air!" By the time mid-February rolls around most of us are looking for signs of spring, or planning trips south, or taking part in strange outdoor activities like frozen turkey bowling. Anything to keep us from thinking about winter. In case you're looking for something to do next week, stop by Studio 203. The Studio will be decorated for Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday, so that would be Tuesday, February 13th (a.k.a, Valentine's Day Eve --at least this year). Pretend you are in New Orleans, try on some silly, festive, hats, and sample a paczki ( the closet thing to beignets we could find). Take a selfie with French Quarter balconies in the back ground and festoon yourself with some Mardi gras beads. You can pretend, at least for a little while, that you are in the deep South and that spring is only a thousand miles due south. And as always, there are lots of new books to entertain and inform you. They are listed below. Enjoy!

February 1, 2018 - Groundhog's Day Eve

You all know what today is, right? Yes. It is the first day of the second month of the year or February 1st, but, more importantly, it is also the eve of Ground Hog’s Day. Punxsutawney, PA has Phil. Sun Prairie has Jimmy. The DeForest Library has a different prognosticator – Booky the Badger. Booky has only been making predictions since 2015 and has been batting a thousand or is two for two (which is the same thing, I believe). Booky will be making a prediction on FaceBook some time tomorrow, February 2nd, after sunrise. Now, it is totally up to you which prediction you choose to believe, if indeed to choose to believe any. We are all looking for a glimmer of hope as the days of winter drag on and on. Sure, we got a wonderful taste of spring at the end of last week when the sun was shining the birds were chirping and it seemed absolutely balmy. But, alas, in January we recognize this as what it is; teasing. A prediction at the beginning of February saying the winter will be ending soon lifts the spirits and a forecast saying it will be winter for at least six more weeks just really confirms what we already know in our hearts to be true. Hope is what Wisconsinites need this time of year. So, believe Phil or Jimmy if you want – they do have more years of prognosticating under their belts (the mind reels imagining a groundhog wearing a belt, but I digress.)—but remember in nature, where badgers and groundhogs both live, badgers literally eat groundhogs for lunch. (Of course Booky is well fed and would never, ever, eat the competition. Booky is the most benevolent of creatures – and extremely well read too.) While waiting for this breaking news, there are many new books that will help you forget about however many days remain in this winter. Enjoy!

January 25, 2018 - Longer Days

This is the fourth Thursday of January, and there are still six more days left in the month. This has been an interesting month. It shall have had five Mondays, five Tuesdays, and five Wednesdays which, in and of itself is a little unusual. We have also had a couple of January thaws – not that I’m objecting, mind you. But, there is still a fair amount of winter yet to come. We started gaining daylight in the morning on January 8th (we have been gaining daylight on the sunset end of the day since December 11th but those minutes have been adding up and gaining momentum recently). Sunset went past 5 p.m. today when it sets at 5:01. The days have gotten noticeably longer—which in January is often not good news. The weather-lore says “As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens” which it did a bit at the beginning of this month. So we’ll have to wait and see. A week from tomorrow is Ground Hog’s Day and then we will get the “official” forecast about the remaining length of winter. In the meantime, when there isn’t a whole lot to do outside (what with the snow cover disappearing and rain and freezing rain in the forecasts), there are plenty of new books to read. Below you will find a sampling of the books that arrived recently. Enjoy!

January 18, 2018 - Reading Program

This is already the third Thursday of the first month of 2018. My how time flies! If you made a New Year’s Resolution to participate in the Library Winter Reading Program and you procrastinate even though you resolved not to; it’s not too late! This winter our reading program, celebrating the Year of the Dog , continues on its merry way (I suppose you could say “dog-trotting”) until March 16th and ends with a big finale on March 17th. Yes, we did manage to book a dog act to perform for us and it will be on St. Patrick’s Day ( I asked if the dogs would be wearing green and if they could possibly do a jig. I didn’t get much of an answer, but we’ll see.) Until then, join the reading program (online or we can help you in person). Read books. Read books about dogs. Take online challenges. Read books. Attend programs about dogs and dog care. Earn Dragon Dollars. Buy prizes with your dragon dollars in the store. Read more books. Donate dragon dollars if you wish to one of three charities or donate dog “stuff” to the Dane County Humane Society at our library (A list of items they are always looking for is available at the library). Read books. Read more books. If you’re looking for something to read. There is a list of new books below. Enjoy!

January 11, 2018 - Crazy for Cranes

This past Saturday, the morning with the coldest recorded low my thermometer has seen this year, I set out with a friend of mine for a quick trip, down and back, to the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area in Indiana to see if we could locate any sandhill cranes that might still be hanging around in the lower Midwest. Those of you who are long-time readers of this column, know that I am crazy for (sandhill) cranes and also that I try to see them every month of the year. I have been doing this pursuit for the past couple of decades and used to have to go to Indiana in December to get that month’s cranes and then further south to get January’s. But times have changed and the cranes are hanging around Wisconsin into December, and, I am happy to report, are still to be found in Indiana (yet again this year) in January. We drove 231 miles mostly south and a little east and found cranes. They are in a very small area – near the power plant and surrounding fields—but there were lots of them. A couple of clouds of cranes were up and landing on cornfields they had taken the snow off of. In places they were thick on the ground and in other places in family groups. The sun was shining brightly and it was actually hot in the car and 16 degrees and the cranes were dancing and yakking away with the reedy, piping voices of this year’s young joining in. These cranes looked well-adapted to the cold. They looked brawny. Mostly when I think of cranes I think of tall, rather skinny, rather elegant, birds. Birds with a ballet dancers build. The cranes that were hanging out around the power plant were built more like dancers in a musical – say “Newsies” or the gangs in “West Side Story”. They looked stocky, well-fed, and ready to rumble. Even though there was snow on the ground and the temperatures were cold (but warming) to see cranes loafing on cornfields reminds me that spring is not that far away and that if you really need spring (usually) you can drive south to it. Below you will find some of the new books that have arrived this past week which should help you pass the time until spring arrives and

January 4, 2018 - Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Here we are, already on day four of this brand-spanking new year of 2018. If the weather prognosticators are correct, today we may have crawled out of the single-digit deep freeze and be heading towards more normal winter temperatures. If, they are correct. As of today, we have also gained a noticeable amount of daylight on the evening end. You may (or may not) recall that back in the middle of December I marked the passing of the 8th, 9th, and 10th of December as the days with the earliest sunsets at 4:22 p.m. We have been gaining daylight at sunset since then and as of today with a sunset at 4:36, we have gained 14 minutes and are pretty much gaining a minute a day from here on out. While 14 minutes doesn’t sound like all that much, it is noticeable and it does mean we are heading in the right direction if you have already started yearning for spring. Which I for one, have. While we are waiting for spring and longer days and warmer weather, there is a plethora of new titles listed below for you to check out and read and while away the time. I hope this New Year has all sorts of good things in store for you! Enjoy!