Jan's Column 2020

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Past Columns

May 28, 2020 - Forward Dane

As some of you are aware, Dane County entered Phase One of the Forward Dane plan on Tuesday, May 26th. This allows businesses, community centers, libraries, and other operations to be open at 25% of capacity. The library building has many rooms with varying capacities. Our collection right now has been quarantined for a couple of months. The newly returned items are doing their time in quarantine before being returned to the shelves. In order to allow public access that will keep our patrons, our staff, and our collections safe we will be reopening using a phased approach as well. We all wish it were possible to go back in time and just fling the doors open and proceed with business as usual, but we can't. Beginning, June 1st, in order to monitor the number of people in the building we will be making appointments for library use. The appointments will be for 45 minutes which will give you time to use a computer, make copies, print out forms, and browse the collection. At the end of the appointed time all patrons will leave the building and computers and other areas will be sanitized. More details will follow on our website and social media.We apologize in advance for this transition phase. Please bear with us as we try to keep everyone safe and follow the public health directives. Curbside service will continue. Our hours are 9:30 to 5:30 Monday through Saturday. Hours will expand back to our regular hours as restrictions are lifted. We look forward to seeing you ! Below are some new books. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

cover artCreative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care by Anne Basting. The MacArthur Grant recipient and author of “The Stages of Age” outlines radical approaches to drug-free elder care that uses theater, improv and other medically supported therapies to promote engagement and better life quality.

 

cover artThe Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think by Jennifer Ackerman. The best-selling author of The Genius of Birds draws on paradigm-changing scientific research into bird emotions and intelligence to explore advanced behaviors ranging from communicating and giving gifts to forming cooperative groups and dancing.

New Fiction

cover artAfterlife by Julia Alvarez. Reeling from her beloved husband's sudden death in the wake of her retirement, an immigrant writer is further derailed by the reappearance of her unstable sister and an entreaty for help by a pregnant undocumented teen.

 

cover artMiss Julia Knows a Thing or Two, No. 21 (Miss Julia) by Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia's efforts to help a friend escape unemployment are complicated by her husband's mysterious illness and the abrupt appearance of a suspicious grandchild she has never met on her doorstep. By the author of Etta Mae's Worst Bad-Luck Day.

 

cover artThe Stolen Gold Affair, No.9 (Carpenter and Quincannon) by Bill Pronzini. While Quincannon goes undercover to investigate a string of gold thefts in a lucrative mine, his bride-to-be, Sabina, tackles an audacious real-estate scam and an abusive young man's villainous secret. By the award-winning author of  The Bughouse Affair.

 

cover artSunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr. A contemporary woman navigates her journey from a devoted parental caregiver to a person capable of embracing her own joy in the face of hardship. By the best-selling author of the Virgin River series.

 

cover artThe Imperfects by Amy Meyerson. A family’s discovery of a priceless inheritance leads them on a pursuit for the truth that transforms their lives in unexpected ways. By the best-selling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays.

 

cover artA Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky. Returning to her family's Rhode Island beach home after a 20-year estrangement, a real estate photographer navigates painful family secrets that test her bonds with her sisters, while her 13-year-old daughter pursues desperately wanted family ties

 

cover artFurmidable Foes, No. 29 (Mrs. Murphy) by Rita Mae Brown. Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen and her pet sleuths investigate hidden enemies in their effort to expose a scam involving an upmarket organic grocery store that is selling substandard produce. By the author of the Sister Jane series.

 

cover artSeeing Darkness, No. 30 (Krewe of Hunters) by Heather Graham. When a terrifying past-life regression during a girls' weekend in Salem reveals a local politician's sinister nature, FBI Krewe of Hunters special agent Jon Dickson teams up with an apprehensive witness to stop a twisted serial killer.

 

cover artIf It Bleeds by Stephen King. The award-winning literary master presents a collection of four novella-length tales, complementing the title piece with the stories, “Mr. Harrigan's Phone”, “The Life of Chuck” and “Rat”.

 

cover artThe Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine. When the husband she has been patiently supporting for years ends their marriage upon falling in love with another woman, Joanna finds herself enmeshed in an ugly custody battle while struggling with a therapist who dismisses her concerns

 

May 21, 2020 - Spring

There are many things that are hard to believe about the spring of 2020. How quickly time moves on and how quickly the season advances are only two of those things. The white-throated sparrows have migrated through (at least in my backyard) on their way to their breeding grounds in Canada. The song of the white-throated sparrow is said by some to sound like "Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody" or if you live across the border to sound like "Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada". No matter what song they may be singing, they have certainly moved on which is a sign that spring has not only arrived, but that it is progressing.There are geese with good-sized goslings by the pond down by Portage Road and Hey 19. The corn is popping out of the fields all over the place. Dandelions and Yellow Rocket (Barbarea vulgaris) are littering the fields and ditches with their cheerful yellow flowers ( Did you know that both sources of edible greens in early spring? Neither did I until just now.) Nature is moving us rather quickly towards summer. And we all know what summer means, right? The start of the Summer Reading Program which is already getting underway. Keeping tracks of books read will once again be electronic using the Beanstack app from phone or computer. So far, all our plans for programs are virtual.As public health orders evolve, so will our plans. There are new books listed below which, once read, can be added to your summer reading program list which will earn you Dragon Dollars for prize purchases or for donations to selected charities. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

cover artEconomic Dignity by Gene Sperling. The Director of the National Economic Council and author of “The Pro-Growth Progressive” presents a compelling big-picture vision of why the promotion of dignity should be the singular end goal by which we chart America's economic future

 

cover art1939: A People’s History of the Coming of the Second World War by Frederick Taylor. The best-selling author of Dresden draws on contemporary sources in an account of the fateful months between the Munich Agreement and Hitler's invasion of Poland that offers insight into the decisions of key leaders and the experiences of everyday citizens.

 

cover artTroop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World by Nikita Stewart. Describes how hardworking mother of five Giselle Burgess rose from poverty and homelessness to establish Girl Scout troops in 15 New York City shelters to bring pride, life-skill training and community to disadvantaged urban girls.

 

New Fiction

cover artShakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore. An uproarious hardboiled mystery inspired by Shakespeare's most-performed play finds The Serpent of Venice's Pocket of Dog Snogging assuming the duties of a murdered Puck to identify hidden adversaries who have complicated an arranged marriage.

 

cover artCatherine House by Elisabeth Thomas. A dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students and the dark truths beneath their school's promises of prestige.

 

cover artGirls of Summer by Nancy Thayer. Skeptical about their mother's Nantucket romance with a younger man, siblings Juliet and Theo navigate their own tangled relationships involving an idealistic environmentalist and a girl fighting the trauma of a school tragedy.

 

cover artOn Ocean Boulevard (Beach House) by Mary Alice Monroe. Returning to Charleston after a 16-year absence, Cara Rutledge reconnects with family members before her second wedding is abruptly halted by a devastating illness. By the best-selling author of The Summer Guests.

 

cover artTo Wake the Giant: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Jeff Shaara. The best-selling author of The Frozen Hours draws on extensive research and unprecedented access to the Pearl Harbor memorial and museum archives in a high-suspense, historically accurate thriller inspired by the 1941 attack.

 

cover artThe Murder of Twelve, No 51 (Murder, She Wrote) by Jessica Fletcher & Jon Land. Jessica Fletcher tackles an Agatha Christie-style mystery when a sudden blizzard traps her in a hotel with hostile strangers who are barely tolerating each other during the nuptials of a bride and groom from rival families.

 

cover artThe Shooting at Chateau Rock, No. 13 (Bruno, Chief of Police) by Martin Walker. When a wealthy farmer is found dead amid revelations about his disinherited family, Bruno follows leads to a Russian oligarch and a shadowy multinational conglomerate in a case involving the chief suspect's daughter and an aging rock star.

 

cover artWrath of Poseidon, No. 12 (Sam and Remi Fargo Adventures) by Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell. A latest entry in the best-selling series that includes, The Oracle, continues the high-risk exploits of husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo. Co-written by the co-author of the Dirk Pitt Adventures.

 

cover artRodham by Curtis Sittenfeld. This powerfully imagined tour de force of fiction of what-might-have-been follows Hillary Rodham as she takes a different path, blazing her own trail – one that unfolds in public as well as in private – and one that crosses paths again and again with Bill Clinton

 

May 14, 2020 - Firsts

Well. What an interesting Mother's Day we had. I can't recall the last time there was snow on Mother's Day, although just because I can't recall it doesn't mean that it hasn't happened before. What I believe may not have happened before is that there was snow combined with a pollen alert. These past few months have certainly been a time for firsts. First time doing curbside delivery from the library; first time closing the library for a pandemic; first time delivering programs virtually; and first time heading into a Summer Reading Program that looks like it will have a large (if not total) virtual component.

Previously in this column, I had mentioned some titles that might help one think about sheltering at home during this covid-19 time. My hold came up this past weekend on Albert Camus's "The Plague". It is about the city of Oran being in an extended lock down. because of the bubonic plague Perhaps not the happiest of books to be reading, but it does give one some perspective. Camus's description of the inhabitants's response to the increasing death toll and rising restrictions on personal life resonates in our time. The outbreak of the plague in the book lasted for months and months. This took place in the 1940s and it's interesting that people keep meeting in groups, that cafes stayed open, and social distancing was unheard of at that time. The book ends on an optimistic note. Here are two quotes: "So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories." and "What we learn in time of pestilence is that there are more things to admire in men than to despise." I'll leave you with that and encourage you to read the book if you get the chance or can find it in a stack of your old college books

Below are some new books -- not necessarily Nobel Prize literature caliber--. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

Galileo: And the Science Deniers by Mario Livio. The leading astrophysicist and best-selling author of Brilliant Blunders presents a fresh interpretation of the life of the "father of modern physics" that offers new insights into Galileo's discoveries and the challenges he faced from religious opponents.

Officer Clemmons: A Memoir by Francois Clemmons. An intimate debut memoir by the Grammy Award-winning artist who famously played "Officer Clemmons" on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood traces his Oberlin College music studies, his embrace of his sexual orientation and his life-changing chance encounter with Fred Rogers.

Whatever It Took: An American Paratrooper’s Extraordinary Memoir of Escape, Survival, and Heroism in the Last Days of World War II by Henry Langreher & Jim DeFelice. Published to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a never-before-told first-person account of World War II tells the true story of an American paratrooper who survived D-Day, was captured and imprisoned in a Nazi work camp and made a daring escape to freedom.

What Makes a Marriage Last : 42 Celebrated Couples Share the Secrets to a Happy Life Together by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue. The Presidential Medal of Freedom-winning actress and activist and the Emmy Award-winning Donahue host share intimate, engaging conversations with celebrity couples, from Sting and Trudy Styler to Billy and Janice Crystal, that illuminate the secrets of a healthy marriage.

24: Life Stories and Lessons From the Say Hey Kid by Willie Mays & John Shea. A man widely regarded as one the greatest all-around players in baseball history reflects on his lifetime of experience meeting challenges with positivity, integrity and triumph.

New Fiction

The Last Blue by Isla Morley. A narrative inspired by the fascinating real case of “the Blue People of Kentucky" probes questions of identity, love and family

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner. A woman confronts the dynamics of friendship and forgiveness while visiting Cape Cod to attend an old friend's increasingly disastrous wedding. By the best-selling author of Good in Bed and Mrs. Everything.

Someone Like You (Baxter Family) by Karen Kingsbury. Shattered by the discovery that she is not the biological daughter of her parents, Maddie abruptly ends an engagement and moves away before connecting with the grieving friend of a sister and family she never knew existed.

Katheryn Howard, the Scandalous Queen No. 5 (Six Tudor Queens) by Alison Weir. A latest series entry traces the story of the tragic fifth wife of Henry VIII, Katheryn Howard, a teenage beauty who succumbs to the courtship of the ailing king and tries to bear him a son while hiding a dangerous secret.

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight. Begged for help by an old friend, an overworked lawyer investigates a suspicious death in a Brooklyn brownstone before she is confronted by a close-knit circle of parents who would protect an exclusive school.

The Goodbye Man, No.2 (Colter Shaw) by Jeffery Deaver. A sequel to The Never Game finds Colter Shaw investigating a mysterious organization in Washington State that is either a therapeutic healing colony or a dangerous cult under the sway of a charismatic leader.

May 7, 2020 - May Flowers

April showers have certainly brought May flowers, at least around the library. The tulips and daffodils and crocus are blooming even with more frosty evenings in the offing. The trees are leafing out. Those trees that haven’t quite made it to full leaf are providing lacey silhouettes, softening the landscape. The grass is so green that if humans could eat and digest it, we’d all be taking spoons to it. It looks so lush and tasty. Songbirds are busy feathering their nests. The males are singing their little hearts out looking to impress some likely lass. The geese have not only found their true loves, they are already rearing offspring. Lerner and Loewe referred to May as that lusty month in the musical, “Camelot”. If you look around at all the bird activity you can see why. At this very minute, outside my office window at the library, two house sparrows (males) are chasing each other round about a tree. This tree has provided a nesting site before so I’m sure the two sparrows are disputing who has the right to set up housekeeping there. It truly is a lovely time of year as all the new life and the relentlessness of the seasons brings hope. The spring list of books from publishers also bring hope to bibliophiles. The United States Post Office and UPS bring books to the library which brings more, tangible, hope. Below are some books you might hope to get your hands on. These books recently arrived and shall have remained in this library (at least for now) until one of you, Gentle Readers, requests it. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President – and Why It Failed by Brad Metzler and Josh Mensch. The best-selling authors of The First Conspiracy share the lesser-known story of the 1861 assassination attempt on the 16th president by a secret pro-Southern society that organized an elaborate plot targeting a newly elected Lincoln on his inaugural train journey.

Medical Medium Cleanse to Heal: Healing Plan for Sufferers of Anxiety, Depression, Acne,…… by Anthony William. From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Celery Juice and Liver Rescue comes everything you need to know about cleansing to transform your health—and your life.

New Fiction

Queen, No.3 (Sibyl’s War) by Timothy Zahn. A conclusion to the space-opera trilogy that began with Pawn finds Nicole and her fellow sentients swept up in a faction war that complicates her efforts to restore freedom to the shanghaied prisoners aboard the alien ship, Fyrantha.

 

Murder on Pleasant Avenue, No. 23 (Gaslight Mysteries) by Victoria Thompson. When Gino Donatelli is wrongly implicated by the police in a brutal murder, Frank and Sarah navigate long-simmering precinct resentments to uncover the truth. By the Edgar Award-nominated author of “Murder on Trinity Place”.

 

The Stolen Letter, No. 5(Scottish Bookshop Mysteries) by Paige Shelton. Bookseller Delaney Nichols meets a woman who believes she is Mary, Queen of Scots, reborn; and when the Cracked Spine book shop is royally threatened, she must work to save the shop. By a “New York Times” best-selling author.

 

All Adults Here by Emma Straub. A matriarch confronts the legacy of her parenting mistakes while her adult children navigate respective challenges in high standards and immaturity, before a teen granddaughter makes a courageous decision to tell the truth. By the best-selling author of “Modern Lovers”.

 

The Trustworthy One, No.4 (The Walnut Creek Series) by Shelley Shepard Gray. A broken young woman's search for peace leads her back to her hometown, where she rediscovers her faith and reconnects with those she loves most. By a “New York Times” and “USA Today” best-selling author.

 

Old Lovegood Girls by Gail Godwin. Separated by a devastating loss, two estranged college roommates reach out to each other years later in the face of unpredictable hardships before discovering the power of their unbreakable bond to transform their lives.

 

Robert B. Parker’s Grudge Match, No. 8 (Sunny Randall) by Mike Lupica. Reluctantly taking the case of a long-time gangster associate who will forgive a betrayal in return, private investigator Sunny Randall tracks down the man's missing girlfriend and business partner before the murder of a witness reveals unanticipated dangers.

 

Close Up, No. 4 (Burning Cove, California) by Amanda Quick. Protecting a crime-scene photographer who has identified elusive details connecting a string of murders, reclusive investigator Nick Sundridge uses his own uncanny talents to tie the killer to 1930s Hollywood society. By the best-selling author of the “Arcane Society” series.

 

Hello Summer by Mary Kay Andrews. When the dream job she has pursued all her adult life suddenly disappears, an ambitious journalist returns to her family's small-town newspaper before witnessing a car accident that ends the life of a local war hero.

 

April 30, 2020 - Curbside-Pickup

The good news is that the library is back in the curbside-pickup business. We started providing this service on April 24th and shall continue serving you this way until we can do more. While we are ramping up this service, we ask your kind indulgence. We are still figuring out some of the logistics. Right now our hours are 9:30 to 5:30 Monday through Saturday. We may adjust hours as we move forward and figure out what works best for you, Gentle Reader. Please watch our website for changes.

The better news is that as of right now, the new books you have been reading about recently in this very column, are in our library. Because the delivery service of our library system is not moving books between libraries, our new books are likely to stay around for a while. If you don't know exactly what you want, we have a Grab Bag form on our website which allows you to tell us vaguely what you are interested in and we will vaguely try to match your request and bag those items up for curbside delivery.

The best news is that I have some new books to tell you about this week. Books have been ordered all along so new books will continue to arrive -- maybe not almost daily as was their wont, but they do keep on coming. Below you will find some of our newest titles. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

cover artGood Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs by Jennifer Finney Boylan. The best-selling author of She’s Not ThereNew York Times opinion columnist and human rights activist offers a memoir of the transformative power of loving dogs.

 

New Fiction

cover artThe Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd. A testament to the author's talent for creating both compelling characters and intriguing story lines, this audacious novel centers on Ana, the fictitious Galilean wife of Jesus and sister of the infamous disciple Judas. By the author of The Invention of Wings.

 

cover artDead Land, No. 20 (V.I. Warshawski) by Sara Paretsky. In 1913, while on a break from her duties as a lady’s maid in Gilded Age New York, Jane Prescott is drawn into a murder investigation after a woman’s body is found outside of a refuge for women run by her.

 

cover artThe Wedding Dress by Danielle Steel. A treasured wedding gown made in 1928 Paris is handed down through four generations of women in a family shaped by the San Francisco social scene, two world wars, the Civil Rights era and the rise of Silicon Valley.

 

cover artThe Moment of Tenderness by Madeleine L’Engle. A collection of short stories by the late author of the Newbery Award-winning A Wrinkle in Time draws on L'Engle's early life, career and faith to convey uplifting messages about the power of hope.

 

cover artCamino Winds, No.2 (Camino) by John Grisham. The best-selling author of The Firm presents a follow-up to Camino Island that finds novelist Mercer Mann's continued efforts to find literary inspiration in the idyllic region complicated by mysterious intrigues.

 

cover artPretty Things by Janelle Brown. To save her mother, a con artist who hustled to give her a decent childhood, Nina must run her most audacious, dangerous scam yet that involves a privileged young heiress as they both try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

 

cover artWalk the Wire, No. 6 (Amos Decker) by David Baldacci. The best-selling author of The Fix presents a highly charged thriller in which fan-favorite character Amos Decker embarks on an action-packed investigation that is complicated by Baldacci's signature twists and turns. One million first printing.

 

cover artThe Business of Lovers by Eric Jerome Dickey. While a father struggles to reconnect with his estranged son and spiteful ex, his bodyguard brother is invited by three women escorts to consider a job as a male prostitute. By the NAACP Image Award-winning author of A Wanted Woman.

 

April 23, 2020 - National Library Week

Happy National Library Week! I hope you are all finding a way to join the celebration virtually. This week we have a Virtual Escape Room that was created by your local library staff. Major props go to Jess, our Digital Librarian, Raechel, our Teen Librarian, Brian, our Circulation Librarian when he isn't in character as his alter ego, the Library Elf, and Norbert, our dragon. We hope you enjoy this escape room and we look forward to the time we will be able to offer you a physical escape room. This is the first National Library Week I have ever experiences in all my many years as a librarian and they are many -- I started out as a reference librarian in the year of the U.S. Bicentennial. You do the math!. But never, in all those years, was the library closed during National Library Week or for anything else except for your occasional blizzard or some major equipment repair. This has been a first for all of us.

The very good news is there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. The most recent Safer at Home Order allows public libraries to offer curbside service beginning April 24th. Happy National Library Week! We will be resuming service on April 24th. As of this writing all the details have yet to be determined such as the precise hours of availability. During this curbside-delivery time we will only be able to offer the materials we have in our collection since delivery between libraries has not restarted. More details will be posted on our website on how you can limit holds to just our items and how to schedule a pick up time. Beginning on April 24th we will be answering our phones. Please bear with us as we resume this service. Below you will find some of the new books that we have at our library. Enjoy!

April 16, 2020 - Palgue Years

While we are waiting for this quarantine to end, let me remind you not only that great works of literature have been written during plague years in the past, but that books have indeed been written about that experience as well. As I'm sure you all recall, Giovanni Boccaccio wrote his most famous work The Decameron after the epidemic of 1348. That book is structured as a frame story and contains 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death. This book is available from Project Gutenberg as a download. In 1947, Albert Camus, wrote The Plague. Plague sweeps through the French Algerian city of Oran. The response to it allows the author to ask a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. Camus won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. This book is available on Overdrive but has a hold list on it. The final book I would draw to your attention is The Stand by Stephen King. This book has been described as King's apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published in 1978. I remember reading the book then, and for months afterwards I jumped every times someone near me coughed or sneezed. This book is also available through Overdrive.

We are getting closer to the end of the Safer at Home order that is now in place. What the next order will be is anybody's guess and I, for once, will not speculate. We here (virtually) at the library are working hard to bring you programs online. We are continuing to order, receive, and process real books so that when that time comes -- which it will-- when we can at least crack open our doors wide enough to make curbside deliveries, there will be new physical books. Some of those new titles are listed below.  Enjoy and stay well!

April 9, 2020 - Join Our Reading Challenge

Today there are fewer titles than usual. This is mostly due to the fact that the book order that arrived last week had a preponderance of children's books, not best-selling titles or non-fiction titles which might be of interest to you. As I may have already noted, or should have already noted, since you can't get physical books from us currently, now might be the time to overcome your resistance -- nay, some might call it an aversion-- to E-books because there are many titles available now on Overdrive. These titles may not be the titles listed below, but surely some of the titles available will pique your interest. In the meantime, knowing what titles are coming might also be of interest to you.

As we navigate through this plague time and I use the term plague metaphorically, it is perhaps good to know that infectious diseases have been the scourge of humanity for a very long time. If you remember your Elizabethan history (and who doesn't) you may recall that the theaters were closed rather frequently due to plague. During their closing in 1606 Shakespeare supposedly had the time to write "King Lear", "Macbeth", and "Antony & Cleopatra". So while we are all staying at home we can but hope that there are writers out there scribing literary masterpieces to enlighten and inform our humanity. If not, we'll just have to make do with the next James Patterson novel which should be here any minute now. In the meantime, read whatever format you can, perhaps join our reading challenge (Reading Safer @Home-- visit our webpage to find out about joining and logging your books & activities), and stay well.

April 2, 2020 - Overdrive

Having been snake bit two weeks in a row when describing what services the library is still providing as I invoke my muse on Monday mornings to write this little bauble that keeps you from seeing the new books right away, I have determined this week to say nothing. I think we can all agreed that that is the safest course of action. The library is closed by the Safer at Home Order. No physical materials will be leaving the building until that order is superseded. Virtually we are offering some programs and ways to interact with your library. If you need your weekly book fix (or daily depending on how hardcore you are) Overdrive is what I can offer. Tens of thousands of dollars' worth of books have been added to the collection so that there are many titles available to be download and read right now. The titles available won't be today's best sellers, but they are probably yesterday's or yesteryear's best sellers. If you don't have an E-reader such as Kindle you have your phone. The Kindle app can be downloaded on your phone, tablet, or desktop computer, and you can read books there. Often you can adjust the type size and background/ type color combination. If you need to smell and feel the weight of books to enjoy reading, this won't do that for you. But if you want to read, it's the only option right now. Below are some of the newer titles that arrived at our library prior and may or may not be in LinkCat so that you can place a hold for that time in the future when physical books from your local library are a possibility again. BTW, we are still ordering books and books will continue to arrive so that when that glorious day comes we'll have new books to offer you. Stay well!

March 19, 2020 - Our Intention

The burning question on everybody's mind right now -- at least about this library-- is, are you open? At this writing (5:30 a.m. on Monday, March 16th) I can not say for sure that the answer I give now will be true when you read this. While I can say that our intention is to stay open while we can without endangering the safety of the public and library staff; while I can say that we are taking measures to sanitize contact surfaces; while I can say we are encouraging anyone who feels sick (members of the staff and public) to stay home; while I can say we are encouraging everyone to wash their hands (for the 20 seconds prescribed by all public health agencies) after handling library materials; while I can say that we are not having gatherings of 50 or more; while I can say that we have moved our computers to create social distancing; while I can say we are reminding people that libraries are public places and therefore have germs and virus (this is always the case because we are a public place); while I can say that we are doing all that is prudent and reasonable to assure the safety of our staff and our public; while I can say we are exploring ways to continue providing service and programs without face-to-face interactions; while I can say we are following public health guidelines as they emerge on a daily or more frequent basis; while I can say that we trust you, our library patrons, to use your best judgement and to do your own risk assessment about visiting the library; while I can say all of this, I can also say that the decision to remain open may be taken from us. If that is the case, know that we will do all we can to provide service virtually and through our electronic locker system. Please check our website and social media for updates. Below are some of the new titles that have recently arrived at the library -- you can place holds on these without having to visit the library just go to our website; www,deforestlibrary.org and follow the LinkCat link. Enjoy!

March 12, 2020 - Booky's Prediction

I believe Booky, the library's prognosticating Badger was correct. Spring has arrived early and seems somewhat determined to stay even with basketball playoffs looming in the not-to-distant future. The leading indicator of spring for me is the return of the red-winged blackbirds. I noticed them on the afternoon of Friday, the 6th which is about a week earlier than last year's arrival. Another indicator of spring is the end of the Winter Reading Program. True, it ended on February 28th, but all the tallying wasn't done until now. I shall now regale you with those rather impressive numbers. 139 participants logged a total of 7, 256 books! They also completed 368 activities, wrote 68 reviews, and earned 1,467 prizes. Some of those prizes included dragon dollars that were donated to one of three charities. Dragon dollars which I committed personally to change into U.S. dollars. During this Winter Reading Program $335 were donated to the DeForest Area Public Library's endowment fund; $315 to the Dane County Humane Society; and $288 to the DeForest Area Needs Network (D.A.N.N.). I shall be making those donations in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, books in the publishers' spring lists continue to arrive. Below you will find a sampling of few of the new titles which have recently arrived. Enjoy!

March 5, 2020 - Cranes

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a library conference in Nashville, TN. As I started my journey, to pick up a fellow librarian who lives over towards Sun Prairie, a pair of Sandhill Cranes flew over Hwy 19. Now you all, know how much I love Sandhill Cranes (and other birds as well) so that was really cool – to have them return to Wisconsin at the start of the last week of February. (Why back in the day, cranes didn’t show up until St. Patrick’s Day which probably tells you something about how weather patterns have changed). We headed south through the part of Indiana where cranes gather in the fall prior to migrating further south. There were hundreds of cranes loafing around feeding up before pushing on north, or perhaps they wintered over and never left. We continued driving south and came upon a field along I – 65 that had at least a thousand cranes. Usually I have to go out to Nebraska to see cranes in those numbers. What a way to start a conference. Driving back on Saturday, while stopped at a rest area in Kentucky, there were robins hopping and perching in trees. There were migratory flocks of grackles taking a break and strutting around. There were a few meadowlarks singing away. There were small, migratory flocks of red-winged black birds everywhere. Chirping the song that announces springs’ arrival as far as I’m concerned. We drove further north and started seeing a little snow persisting in the fields and ditches. By the time we got to Wisconsin the snow cover was everywhere. I find it heartening that spring is only a few hours’ drive south from here and that the birds are getting in position and poised to come north, any day now. A whole parcel of books arrived this week. Below are just a few of the new titles. Enjoy!

February 27, 2020 - Roller Coaster

Today the WIAA basketball tournaments begin. Even though we've had a predication of an early spring, and one must admit that the roller coaster ups and downs of temperatures has been indicative of springtime in Wisconsin, that doesn't mean that we shall escape the basketball tournament snow storms. Whether (weather!) it's the WIAA girls tournament or the WIAA boys tournament, or even the NCAA tournaments later in March, it seems we always get clobbered with a big, wet, spring snow storm. As much as I like traditions -- most of which are "fine" and "old" -- this is one that I can certainly do without. If forecasts hold, the basketball-tournament snow storm arrived this week to start the basketball-tournament- snow storm season off to a good start. If the storm didn't arrive, well, you and I both know there is a snow storm lurking somewhere in March. While we're waiting for the snow to fly, there are sign's that spring is arriving slowly every day. The day's are rapidly lengthening. If you think about it, it's only 4 months until the longest days of the year, so there's a lot of time to be added to each day to get us there The birds also are thinking spring, While birds are still flocking around feeders, they have started to sing at least a few notes of their lets-get-together-and-build-a-nest songs. You also may have noticed all the new books that are arriving. Those come off of the publishers' spring lists. At least the book publishers think spring is here! Below are a few of the new titles that arrived recently. Enjoy!

February 20, 2020 - Twos and Zeros

While today is not quite a palindromic day, it still sure has a lot of twos and zeros in it. It has been two weeks and two days since the Ground Hog’s Day early spring prediction. We have had two sub-zero mornings since that prediction and snow and a couple of days of colder weather. We have also had sun and above freezing temperatures on a number of days. The extended forecast has not only temperatures in the mid to upper 30s but also a few 40-degree weather days. I won’t say it – or type it—because I don’t want to jinx anything but, it (meaning winter) just might be almost (insert 4-letter word here that starts with an “o” and ends with and “r” and has a 4-point Scrabble consonant in it). One of those old weather adages that I am so fond of dropping into conversations is that “As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens”. When we started the year, sunrise was at 7:29 a.m. and sunset was at 4:33p.m. The sun is now rising at 6:48 a.m. and setting at 5:35. If gaining that much daylight cost a few days of cold, I’m okay with that. The Winter Reading is approaching its end which will be the 28th of this month. There’s still plenty of time to record your books and still plenty of time to read as well. Below are some of the new titles that recently arrived at the library. Read them and record them! Enjoy!

February 13, 2020 - Valentine's Day

In years gone by (and why, I ask am I one of the few who remember those years gone by?) this week would have contained two nationally recognized holidays, i.e Valentine's Day and Lincolns birthday. Tomorrow is, of course, the commercial holiday that follows the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day. The celebration of this holiday on February 14th, started out in in the 5th century as a feast day set by the Catholic church to honor St. Valentines -- there were two Valentines martyred around February 14th by Claudius the 2nd in the 3rd century.There is a theory that the establishment of this saint's day was to overlay chaste romantic love on top of the Roman spring festivities of Lupercalia which were all about fertility, reveling, and welcoming spring. Chaucer took this saintly holy day into the realm of love birds (literally) and it wasn't long before poems and declarations of love, a.k.a., Valentines, became associated with the day. Centuries later printed postcards and greeting cards began to appear and chocolate and other tokens of love became associated with the day as well, and voila! The conflation of a pagan holiday with a Christian saint's day was complete. Another conflation this week is what happened to two of the United States' great presidents' birthdays. Abraham Lincoln's birthday (February 12th -- which isn't even on many calendars anymore as a national holiday) and George Washington's birthday (February 22nd) were conflated into President's Day which will be celebrated this year on February 17th.

 

BTW, this week's Studio 203 features a do-it-yourself Valentine craft. Nothing says "I love you" like a handmade attempt at a card. After you create your masterpiece, check out some of the new books that have recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

February 6, 2020 - Classic News

By the time you read this, this will be the opposite of breaking news. I suppose you could call it "outdated news", or "superseded information", or "out-of-date", "dated", "olds", or "stale" news. I prefer to think of what is to follow as the reporting of a classic news story that you have become accustomed to read about at this time of year. On Sunday, February 2nd, at 7:12 a.m. Booky, the library's badger, waddled his way outside to greet the dawn. There was a band of pastel orange clouds smeared across a baby blue sky. There were no shadows to be seen. Booky thus felt confident in prognosticating an early spring. By the way, the library's naughty elf's umbrella did not influence Booky's prediction -- at least I don't think it did. The prognosticating rodent to the east, i.e. Jimmy the (Sun Prairie) Groundhog did see his shadow. Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and predicted an early spring. Always remember and never forget, that the American badger (Taxidea taxus) feeds mostly on rodents. Personally, I would tend to believe Booky rather than Booky's lunch. And now that we have passed two major calendric marks on the way to spring -- how fortunate we were to have both Groundhog Day and the Superbowl occur on the same palindromic date -- can the publisher's spring book lists be far behind? I think not. Below you will find some of the new titles recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

January 30, 2020 - A Year Ago Today

A year ago today we were right smack in the middle of the polar vortex of 2019. The Dane County Regional Airport report a daytime high of -10 degrees. That night we went to -26. On the 31st we started a slow climb out of the deep freeze with a daytime high of -5 and an over night low of -25. By Groundhog Day it was 44 degrees. So far this year, (knock wood) we have yet -- officially- to have dipped into negative numbers temperature-wise. Isn't Wisconsin weather grand? This coming weekend is not only Super Bowl Sunday, but also Groundhog. Booky, the library's badger, traditionally has been making his prediction (with 100% accuracy, I might add) for the past few years. It is Super Bowl Sunday, so I can't guarantee he will be available for prognostication on that day. We will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, a number of new books have arrived at the library. Below you will find a sampling. Come in and checkout some of these new titles. Enjoy!

January 16, 2020 - Snow

This past weekend we finally got a little snow on the ground. As of this writing (Monday), it is as yet unknown if that snow cover will persist or if the warmer weather predicted will melt it off -- again. The snow cover has brought many birds into the bird feeders, especially onto the suet packs. Last Friday, when all the dire weather predictions had a two-pronged snow attack heading our way over the entire weekend, I happened to drive past the grocery store around noon. The parking lot was packed. People were stocking up in front of the impending (predicted) storm. The large number of cars was true at the library. There was an uptick in foot traffic at the library as people came in to stock up on movies and books to get them through the weekend as the storm, with it's 6-10 inches of snow--kept them housebound. When I got home, I noticed frenzied feeding activity on the suet packs outside my windows as twilight fell. A study in 2013 out of Western University in London, Ontario posits that birds have an internal barometric pressure sensor and the urge to eat is trigger by the shift in barometric pressure in front of a storm. So we at least a working theory about the bird behavior. One wonders if there were no dire weather forecasts to goad people to stock their larders, if some internal sensor would send us scurrying off to the store and the library as a storm moved towards us. Whatever your reason , even if you don't feel an internal urge to visit the library, the weather forecast for this week should be about 85% conducive for stocking up at the library. Below are some of the new titles that have recently arrived. Enjoy!

January 9, 2020 - Winter Reading Program

The Winter Reading Program is well underway as we get firmly entrenched in this new decade. The Winter Reading Program runs until February 28th so there is still plenty of time (50 days to be precise or 1200 hours or 72,000 minutes) get some reading done, enter those titles in the program app, earn dragon dollars which can then be used to A) "purchase" fabulous prizes from our prize store, or B) donate those dollars to one of three charities (I will personally donate US dollars to those charities in the same amount of those dragon dollars). Read for pleasure. Read to pass the time. Read for a worthy cause. Read because it's winter and there isn't a lot to do and spring seems so very far away. Speaking of spring, you have noticed I am sure that the days have been getting longer at the sunset-side of things. The earliest sunset we experience at this latitude is 4:22 p.m. during the early days of December. By the time you read this, sunset will be at 4:40. Sunrise has finally started getting earlier moving from the latest sunrise -- at 7:29-- and, as of the 7th, is at 7:28 a.m. The light has started to return to our winter season. In fact, it is a mere 70 days until Spring officially arrives at 10:50 p.m. Now would be a great time to check out some of the library's books on gardening and start making plans. It won't be long before you can start planting seeds indoors. While you're waiting for longer and warmer days to arrive, you find a selection of books which have recently arrived at the library listed below to help while away the time. Enjoy!

January 2, 2020 - Resolutions

So. How are you doing on the resolutions? So far, so good? They (the experts) say that it takes eighteen months to habituate a behavior, especially if it’s a big change like getting up and exercising every day, or keeping a food journal, or giving up smoking, or not swearing, or not eating chocolate (why would anyone want to stop doing that?), or whatever the activity is. If it is true that it takes 18 months to firmly entrench a habit of healthy living or, putting it another way, of giving up a not-so-healthy life style, then congratulations. You made it through the first day. It gets easier after that or so they (the experts) tell us. With day one under your belt, you only have 539 days to go until you won’t have to think about the behavior you are trying to cultivate or get rid of. After all that those days have gone past, your new habit shall have become totally automatic and part of your new, healthy life style. If you need a little help keeping your mind off how many days there are left to go before you can stop worrying about relapsing (It’s only 12,936 hours after all.) we have a number of new books that will engage and entertain you so you won’t be able to hear those dark chocolate Hershey kisses calling you from that bowl across the room. Wait! I can hear the little tissue paper tongues rustling softly in the distance. Why don’t you go ahead and look at all the interesting new books we have at the library while I go see what those pesky little chocolates want. Happy New Year!