Jan's Column 2020

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Past Columns

July 23, 2020 - "Normally"

Normally, at this time of year, I would be counting down the days to the Harry Potter Birthday party annual event at the library as well as counting down the days to the end of the Summer Reading Program which, normally, follows soon thereafter. "Normally" is the operative word here and since about March of this year, nothing has been what you could call "normal". This year we will be celebrating Harry Potter's Birthday by sending out parties in a bag so that you can celebrate at home and perhaps share some of your celebration with us via social media. We have also extended the Summer Reading Program until the end of August. "Why would we do that?", I hear you ask. For s couple of reasons. First, we put a rather high-priced prize in our prize store and want to give people a chance to earn enough dragon dollars to "buy" it. Second, getting books to read for some of you this summer has been a bit more challenging this summer than in previous years so we thought we would extend the time through the month of August.This means that there is still plenty of time to read, earn dragon dollars, get fabulous prizes with those dragon dollars, or donate them to one of three charities: the Dane County Humane Society, the DeForest Area Needs Network (D.A.N.N.) or the endowment fund of the DeForest Area Public Library. So keep reading! Below are some of the new titles recently-arrived at your library.Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

“The Golden Thread: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjold” by Ravi Somalya. Investigates the mystery behind the 1961 death of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld, drawing on previously undisclosed evidence, recently revealed firsthand accounts and groundbreaking interviews to identify the powerful international cabal behind his death.


“She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man’s World” by Jennifer Palmieri. An empowering guide to feminism by the best-selling author of “Dear Madam President” outlines a blueprint for activism while sharing lessons from her personal choice to live on her own terms instead of embracing toxic patriarchal norms.


“Clean: The New Science of Skin and the Beauty of Doing Less” by James Hamblin, A lively introduction to the new science of skin microbes and probiotics draws on expert and alternative-treatment insights to clarify contradictory recommendations and explain how to cultivate a healthy and natural biome for optimal skin health.

New Fiction

“The Empire of Gold (The Daevabd Trilogy)” by S.A. Chakraborty. In this final installment in the critically acclaimed trilogy, Nahri and Ali are determined to save both their city and their loved ones, but when Ali seeks support in his mother’s homeland, he makes a discovery that threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.


“The Heir Affair, No.2 (Royal We)” by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan. A follow-up to The Royal We finds Bex Porter and her husband, Prince Nicolas, in self-imposed exile in the wake of a scandal before a royal crisis exposes old family secrets and a brother's ongoing disgrace.


“The Outsider, No.12 (Kate Burkholder)” by Linda Castillo. A follow-up to the best-selling “Shamed” finds Kate Burkholder helping a friend from the police academy go into hiding among the Amish to avoid vengeful rogue cops who have wrongly accused her of murdering an undercover officer.


“Shadows Rising (World of Warcraft: Shadowlands)” by Madeleine Roux. Presents an all-new official prequel novel to Shadowlands, the next expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s legendary online game World of Warcraft.


“The Shadows” by Alex North. Forced by his mother's failing health to return to the hometown where a misfit friend committed a shocking murder 25 years earlier, Paul learns about an investigation into a local copycat before realizing he is being followed.


“Peace Talks, No. 16 (Dresden Files)” by Jim Butcher. Joining the White Council's security team to help facilitate peace among hostile supernatural nations, wizard Harry Dresden is confronted by manipulative political forces that threaten all of Chicago. By the best-selling author of the Codex Alera series

“The Sin in the Steel, No. 1 (Fall of the Gods)” by Ryan Van Loan. In a debut fantasy set in a world of dead gods, pirates and shapeshifting mages, a brilliant former street youth-turned-detective and her ex-soldier partner investigate the activities of a pirate queen to expose societal corruption.


“The Lost and Found Bookshop” by Susan Wiggs. Inheriting her mother's San Francisco bookshop in the wake of a tragedy, Natalie bonds with her ailing grandfather and hires a contractor to perform repairs before unexpected discoveries connect her to the community and family secrets.


“The Book of Lost Names” by Kristin Harmel. The best-selling author of “The Winemaker's Wife” draws on true events in the story of a Polish graduate student in World War II who uses her forgery talents to help hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis.


“1st Case” by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts. Recruited into the FBI when her unorthodox programming skills get her kicked out of MIT, a computer genius tracks a killer who has been targeted young women through a sophisticated messaging app.

July 16, 2020 - Harry Potter

A little over two weeks from now, on July 31st, we will be celebrating Harry Potter's Birthday. This year, unlike in previous years, we will not be having a large birthday bash at the library. Instead all you Potterheads will be able to pick up a party in bag so that you and yours can celebrate in your homes. Our staff wizards are currently assembling the bags which will be available (possibly on Harry's birthday eve day -- that would be July 30th) if all goes well and everything arrives from Diagon Alley. Those delivery owls are a little less regular due to the pandemic so the date the party-in-a-bag will be available is fluid right now. Watch our website and FaceBook page for more details. The number of bags available will be limited.

If the Harry Potter Birthday celebration is near at hand, can the end of the Summer Reading Program be far away? No it can't. The Summer Reading Program will end on August 8th -- so a little more than three weeks. There is still plenty of time to record the books you have been reading over this summer, earn Dragon Dollars, and "purchase" prizes in the library's store. If you don't want to come in, prizes can be picked up through curbside delivery or our electronic locker. Below you will find some books you might care to read between now and August 8th and add them to your list. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

“Protocol: The Power of Diplomacy and How to Make It Work for You” by Capricia Marshall. The former U.S. Chief of Protocol under President Obama and the social secretary for the Clinton family explains why etiquette matters in diplomacy and how to use facilitation effectively to navigate cultural complexities with empowerment and respect.


“Nancy Pelosi” by Brenda Jones & Krishan Trotman. Part of a four-book series celebrating women in congress, this biography of the historic, trailblazing Speaker of the House describes how being the daughter of a Congressman and Democratic party organizer in Maryland prepared her to play the political game.

New Fiction

“Read or Alive, No.3 (Bookmobile Mysteries)” by Nora Page. Delighted when the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society chooses Catalpa Springs for its annual fair, septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins investigates the murder of a con artist who had stolen a prized book from Cleo's cousin.


“Into Darkness, No. 5 (Children of O’Hara)” by Terry Goodkind. A latest novella-length entry in the highly anticipated series set after the events of the Sword of Truth novels continues the story of Richard and Kahlan’s children. By the best-selling author of “The Scribbly Man”.


“The Lightness” by Emily Temple. One year after her father leaves home for a meditation retreat and never returns, Olivia, yearning to make sense of his departure and to escape her overbearing mother, runs away and retraces his path to a place known as the Levitation Center.


“Two Truths and a Lie” by Meg Mitchell Moore. From the author of “The Islanders” comes a warm, witty and suspenseful novel filled with small-town secrets, summer romance, big time lies and spiked seltzer.

“The Mist, No.3 (Hidden Iceland)” by Radnar Jonasson. In this gripping conclusion of the critically acclaimed Hidden Iceland series, Detective Hulda is haunted forever by the events that occurred in an isolated farm house in the east of Iceland that opened its doors to a killer.


“The Mountains Wild” by Sarah Stewart Taylor. A series debut set in Dublin and New York introduces homicide detective and divorced mom Maggie D'Arcy, who in the wake of a disappearance and new clues reopens the investigation into her cousin's disappearance 23 years earlier.


“The Girl from Widow Hills” by Megan Miranda. Rendered famous in childhood for her miraculous survival of a dangerous storm, a young woman changes her name and struggles to hide from the media before waking up one evening to find a corpse at her feet.


“Interlibrary Loan, No. 2(A Borrowed Man)” by Gene Wolfe. A sequel to “A Borrowed Man” is set in a future world of artificial intelligence where a clone is loaned out to a little girl before discovering that his original self, a mystery writer, is still alive.


“The Clutter Corpse. No. 1 (Decluttering Mysteries)” by Simon Brett. Stumbling upon a murdered body in a cluttered flat, professional home organizer Ellen Curtis begins to doubt suspicions that are targeting the victim's escaped prisoner son before uncovering disturbing links between the crime and her own past.


“The Golden Cage” by Camilla Lackberg. Discovering that the privileged husband for whom she sacrificed everything has been having an affair, an emotionally and financially devastated woman orchestrates a daring plot for revenge. By the award-winning author of the Fjallbacka series.

July 9, 2020 - Trifecta

Since we passed the July 4th holiday last week, we have passed the middle holiday of the the trifecta that frames our summer season. It won't be long until we are looking at that final holiday, Labor Day. Although "long" in the phrase "It won't be long" is a relative term. In this case it is 61 days away and we all know how much can happen in that kind of time frame. Speaking of midpoints, while the Summer Reading Program continues on, we passed the midpoint (day 42 of an eight-four day program) somewhere around June 27th. If you haven't signed up yet (It's easy. Instructions are on our website. There is an app for that.) there are still 30 days left to read books, participate in activities, earn badges that can translate into prizes, and, if you're so inclined, donate some of those hard-earned badges / dragon dollars into donations for some worthy causes. While some publication dates have been delayed as have some shipping dates due to the pandemic, books continue to arrive at the library. Below you will find some of the new titles which have arrived. If you can't get away for an actual vacation and the staycation we've all been living in these past months is wearing a little thin, there's nothing like taking a vacation in a book and getting lost in a different place, time, and life. Enjoy!

July 2, 2020 - 4th of July

The 4th of July will soon be upon us. This is the first time in forever --well, at least in all the years I've been here and that may seem like forever to some of you -- that the 4th of July parade has been cancelled. There have been a few times that the parade was postponed due to weather and possibly a couple of times when it was cancelled due to weather. This is a first in a time filled with firsts. As much amembers of the library staff and I might grouse about giving up time on the holiday to saunter (I would not go as far as to call it "marching". There is too much stopping and starting for that.) down the crowd-lined streets of DeForest under a blazing sun often in high humidity to toss candy at the smiling faces of children (and adults), not being able to do that this year feels like a loss. There is good news, despite the parade's cancellation, the candy will keep until a happier time and we are planning on doing a virtual parade in and around the library. Keep an eye out for virtual parade. Sorry we can't offer anything but virtual candy at this point. I can offer you some new books this week. For some inexplicable reason all the books that arrived this week were fiction which is probably a good choice for a holiday weekend.


June 25, 2020 - Summer

Now that the first day of summer has officially arrived -- it showed up on June 20th at 4:43 p.m. CDT-- we are suddenly surrounded by all the signs that the season is moving on apace.  The early batch of goslings that hang out around Lake Windsor and the pools at Token Creek have lost most of their downy feathers and are marching around like miniature adults. The robins are working on their second broods of nestlings. Those pale robins you've seen hopping around your lawns looking for worms are probably this year's juveniles and not mom robin who is busy sitting on her eggs.  The early summer crickets have been chirping away for the past couple of weeks. Not to worry, these crickets are not the one's whose song indicate the approach of frost; these are the ones whose arrival indicates that summer is here (or at least the soil has reached the temperature they need to hatch).  The cricket chorus has joined with the frog chorus and the dawn and dusk chorus of birds to fill those long summer nights with song. At the library the signs of summer abound -- a little differently this year, to be sure. The Summer Reading Program is under way.  You can record the books you read and earn badges and tickets for drawings and Dragon Dollars which can be spent in our store. The Concerts at the Rocks series is underway. So far one has been inside because of rain, the other outside. By the time you read this, Tuesday's performance shall have already happened. The weather forecast at this point looks okay so hard to tell it it will be a drive-in concert or a live-streamed performance.  Weather has always been anxiety producing for these programs: this year it gets combined with building capacity and social distancing.But the show does go on!

Phase Two of Forward Dane started last week. This week, because we have a newly-installed people counter and have an accurate way of monitoring the number of people in the building, appointments (except for computer use) are no longer necessary.  We will be closing the library for 15 minute intervals during the day to sanitize high-touch areas and computers, and masks are still appreciated as is wearing gloves (which we provide) when handling the collection.  Curbside delivery will continue. Our hours will continue to be 9:30 to 5:30 Monday through Saturday with the last curbside pickup at 5:15.

Below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

June 18, 2020 - Juneteenth

Today is the eve day of June 19th. June 19th is the official, State of Wisconsin, observation day of Juneteenth. On that day in 1865, General Granger rode into Galveston,Texas to enforce General Orders, No 3 which stated that "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free..." Texas was the most remote of the slave states and it took two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation for that official news to be made known. This day was recognized as a holiday of significance in the 1980s in Texas. Other states followed suit in making it a holiday. This year's celebration in the Madison area is online this entire week. It is a time to celebrate the legacy of Juneteenth and the rich heritage of African Americans. One way of celebrating and observing this holiday (aside from attending some of the virtual sessions being offered) might be to read some of the many books that treat on the topic of slavery, Reconstruciton, and racism -- some of which this library owns, some of which this library would be happy to get for you from another library. Happy Juneteenth!

If you read the last part of the above carefully, you may have noticed that I implied that books are moving between libraries again. That is true. But please realize that while books are moving again they are not moving as fast as was their wont. There is 3-day a week delivery now -- a really great improvement from zero-days a week delivery-- but nothing like the 6-day a week delivery you were used to. While you're waiting for your holds to arrive, below are some new books that recently arrived at the library.


June 11, 2020 - As Rare As Hen's Teeth

It has finally happened. I have no new books to report this week. Let me clarify. I have no new bestselling, popular adult author books to report. During Safer @ Home and subsequently, your library continued to order and receive new books. Hence I was able to tell you about new titles arriving locally even it you couldn't get a hold of those titles immediately. The publishing trade and book jobbers have been laboring under some of the same constraints we all have so that new titles are a tad slower to ship which helps to explain this lacuna. Even without the pandemic-based explanation for this gap in bestsellers, there is precedence. There have been times in the past when I was stuck without a book to tell you about. These times were as rare as hens's teeth. These times were as likely to occur as pigs flying, mules foaling, or a blue moons shining down upon us ( by the way, there will be a blue moon this October -- just saying). If you have scanned this page, you have, undoubtedly, noticed there are book titles below. These are new Children's and Young Adult titles. Since the last day of school occurred this week which we at the library hope will launch hundreds of students into our Summer Reading Program, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some books for our younger readers. Enjoy!

June 4, 2020 - Opening up a Little

This week we opened the library up a bit to the public. There are a lot of rules in place right now as we try to keep you, our staff, and our collection safe. And by keeping our collection safe I mean that right now, most of the items on our shelves have been quarantined for weeks and weeks. Newly returned items have been quarantined for 72 hours before they were shelved. This makes our collection "safe" which is why we ask that you have clean hands or are gloved when you handle it, thus keeping it safe for other browsers. Making appointments to use the library is unusual to say the least, but for right now, it's the best way we have to monitor the number of people in the building so that we don't exceed the percentage of capacity guidelines established by public health. As the guidelines relax, so will the need for appointments. I hope you will continue to bear with us as we all navigate this uncharted territory. Curbside delivery will continue while everyone gets use to going into public spaces again and feeling comfortable doing so. The delivery of materials between libraries is just starting now as well. The past couple of weeks materials returned to other libraries before everything shut down finally made their way back to their owning libraries. Now items on hold at other libraries are beginning to move so some of your holds will begin showing up at our library. "About time!" I hear you say. I concur. Below you will find some of our new titles that arrived via UPS during the past week. Put them on hold! Enjoy!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!