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Jan's Column 2021

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Past Columns

November 26, 2021 - Thanksgiving

This year Thanksgiving fell at about the midpoint between the earliest possible date -- November 22nd-- and the latest possible date -- November 28th. Falling when it does this year, fives a moderately long lead up to those Yuletide holidays which means more shopping days. More shipping days, theoretically mean more sales and more profits, and moving merchants and retailers from operating in the "red" (i.e. debt in accounting terms) to operating in the "black" or the profit side of the ledger, hence the name for the day after Thanksgiving of "Black Friday" -- which is what today is. This is a rather apocryphal explanation that arose in the 1980s. The first time this term appeared was in Philadelphia when police, purportedly referred to the masses of shoppers clogging the streets and sidewalks as "Black Friday". This is the first reference to shopping as the source of the term; however in 1951 or thereabouts retailers' trade journals referred to the Friday after Thanksgiving as "black" because so many workers called in sick that day to get a four day weekend. No matter the historic source, today is a day for frenzied shopping either in person or online. If you need a break and a little island of quiet, stop by the library. We are open. Checkout a book and be well-read (note awful pun on the word "red"). Below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

Cokie: A Life Well Lived by Steven Roberts. The husband of the late legendary journalist reflects on her career as a trailblazer for women as well as her private life, tenacious devotion to helping others and roles as wife, mother, advocate and historian.

 

The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II by Judith MacKrell. Following six remarkable woman as their lives and careers intertwine, this riveting, untold history of a group of heroic women reporters who revolutionized the narrative of WW II reveals how they were forced to fight for the right to work on equal terms with men.

 

Dwyane by Dwyane Wade. This photographic memoir from the NBA superstar looks at his upbringing on the South Side of Chicago, his college career at Marquette and his extraordinary rise to stardom with the Miami Heat.

 

The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III by Andrew Roberts. The last king of America, George III, has been ridiculed as a complete disaster who frittered away the colonies and went mad in his old age. The truth is much more nuanced and fascinating—and will completely change the way readers and historians view his reign and legacy

 

New Fiction

The Last Shadow (Other Tales from the Ender Universe) by Orson Scott Card. As three sapient species live peacefully together on one planet, the children of Ender and Bean must solve the great problem of the deadly virus that could wipe out every world in the Starways Congress, killing billions.

 

The Survivors by Alex Schulman. To finally face what really happened that summer day long ago, three estranged brothers return to the lakeside cottage where an unspeakable accident forever altered their family and find a dangerous new current vibrating between them, testing their loyalty.

 

The Butler by Danielle Steel. Taking a job working for Olivia, a woman who is trying to get her life together, butler Joachim, as his life falls apart, unexpectedly reaches a place with Olivia where the past doesn’t matter and only what they are living now is true.

 

The Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella. To retrieve a beloved childhood treasure hidden in her old home during a huge party, Effie breaks into Greenoaks, and, while sneaking around the house, hears conversations that make her see her family in a new light—and make wonder what she really came here to find.

 

The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield. A “New York Times” best-selling author and astronaut is back with a thriller about the dark heart of the Space Race.

 

Better Off Dead, No. 26 (Jack Reacher) by Lee Child & Andrew Child. Jack Reacher doesn't back down and doesn't hesitate to teach someone a lesson when a shadowy crew picks a fight with the former US Army military police major, in the latest novel of the series following The Sentinel.

 

Foul Play, No. 29 (Stone Barrington) by Stuart Woods. Stone Barrington uncovers a complicated scheme when he learns that a new client is in danger and putting his business and the safety of New York in jeopardy, in the latest novel of the series following Class Act.

 

Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger. Believing she had found true love on a dating app, a young woman is shocked when her lover intentionally disappears and she discovers many other girls who also thought they were in love with the same man.

 

The Nameless Ones (Charlie Parker) by John Connolly. When four of his fellow assassins are murdered by Serbian war criminals, Louis arrives in Europe to find and punish five killers before they can vanish into this air—there is just one problem—the sixth.

 

Silverview by John LeCarre. Giving up his high-powered career to run a bookshop in a small English seaside town, Julian Lawndsley finds his life upended by Edward, a Polish émigré living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, who is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise.

 

November 11, 2021 - Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. Today is the day that commemorates the end of the "Great War", or World War I as it has come to be known. The peace treaties weren't actually signed until June 28,1919, but an armistice between the allies and Germany went into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November, 1918. That date and time is used to remember the end of the hostilities which in effect eneded the war. President Wilson proclaimed November 11th, 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with a call for a brief cessation of business at the 11th hour of that day. In 1938, Armistice Day became a federal holiday. In 1954, Armistice Day, was changed with legislation to "Veterans Day' to honor all veterans. It is a day to thank those you have served in the military for their service to the country. I grew up with older parents, aunts, and uncles. To them November 11th was always Armistice Day and the red poppies sold by veterans on that day were always and forever about the Flander's fields where, as John McCrae's poem says "In Flanders fields the poppies blow /Between the crosses, row on row,/That mark our place; and in the sky/ The larks, still bravely singing, fly/Scarce heard amid the guns below." Below are some of the new titles recently arrived at the library. Come check them out, and enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA by Jorge Contreras. In a behind-the-scenes courtroom drama, a brilliant legal team battles corporate greed and government overreach for our fundamental right to control our genes. 

 

Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages by Dan Jones. This epic history of the medieval world, which was forged by the big forces that still occupy us today—climate change, pandemic disease, mass migration and technological revolutions, shows us how every sphere of human life and activity was transformed in the thousand years covered by this book.

 

The Taking of Jemima Boone: Colonial Settlers, Tribal Nations, and the Kidnap That Shaped a Nation by Matthew Pearl. Explores the little-known true story of the kidnapping of 13-year-old Jemima Boone, Daniel Boone’s daughter, by a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party and the ensuing battle with reverberations that nobody could predict.

 

To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876 by Bret Baier & Catherine Whitney. This follow-up to the acclaimed Three Days trilogy presents a riveting reassessment of Ulysses S. Grant, the great Civil War commander whose actions both as a general and as president played an unparalleled role in preserving the U.S.

 

New Fiction

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan. When she is out of a job just in time for the holidays, Carmen, with little cash and few options, is forced to move in with her perfect sister where she takes a job at a book store that desperately needs her help—and helps her in return.

 

A Christmas Courtship, No. 3 (Berlin Bookmobile) by Shelley Gray. Bookmobile Sarah Anne Miller encourages Atle Petersheim to learn about love through reading romance novels after he mentions his intention to court a local widow as Christmas approaches, in the third novel of the series following An Amish Surprise.

 

An Irish Country Yuletide, No. 16 (Irish Country Books) by Patrick Taylor. Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly is enjoying the caroling and tree-trimming of the Irish holiday season in Ballybucklebo when his black sheep brother returns hoping to reconcile, in the latest addition to the series following An Irish Country Welcome.

 

The Twelve Jays of Christmas, No. 30 (Meg Langslow Mysteriesby Donna Andrews. When a blizzard traps her brother Rob and his fiancé Delaney’s guests inside during their Christmas party, Meg must help the snowbound would-be eloping couple thwart their mothers’ grandiose wedding plans AND solve a murder among the assembled friends and relatives.

 

Twisted Tea Christmas, No.23 (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs. While catering a Victorian Christmas party for Drucilla Heyward, one of the wealthiest women in town who is about to make a huge announcement, tea maven Theodosia Browning finds herself steeped in murder when she stumbles upon Drucilla’s dead body.

 

God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen, No. 15 (Royal Spyness Mysteries) by Rhys Bowen. Spending Christmas at Sandringham estate with an aunt who has ties to the royals, Georgie is distraught when she learns the Queen expects her to spy for her in the newest novel of the series following The Last Mrs. Summers.

 

The Book of Magic (The Practical Magic Series) by Alice Hoffman. In this conclusion of the spellbinding Practical Magic series, a frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they discover secrets hidden from them in matters of both magic and love.

 

Dear Santa by Debbie Macomber. Feeling low after her boyfriend cheated on her, Lindy Carmichael heads home to Wenatchee, Washington for Christmas where her mother encourages her to write a grown-up letter to Santa which ultimately brings her hope and joy.

 

State of Terror by Hillary Clinton & Louise Penny. A passionate young foreign service officer, a dedicated journalist, and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state must team up to defeat an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs.

 

November 4, 2021 - Autumnal Temperatures have Arrived

Our October programs ended on a chilly and blustery Saturday morning with the library's Halloween party. The clouds and wind didn't dampen the spirits of all the children (and their adults sometimes too) who showed up in costume to play games, listen to stories, do crafts, and enjoy the spooky decorations that surrounded the library The "street" magician entertained crowds and did astonishing displays of prestidigitation (from the French / Latin meaning nimble or quick fingers) in spite of the cold. Our next event, this one will be mostly indoors --now that November and autumnal temperatures have arrived -- on November 13th when we will be celebrating Dino(saur) Day at the library. Dinosaurs are the theme for the entire month. Check out our website or FaceBook page for more information. This coming weekend Daylight Savings Time goes away. I am an early riser so I appreciate the light in the morning. But night falls so fast once we return to Standard Time. Which, upon reflection, makes for longer evenings; which, upon reflection, mean more time for reading! There is a Dinovember Reading Program/ Challenge running through the month of November, so take advantage of those long evenings by reading and then recording your books in the BeanStack app. More information is available on our website. In the meantime, below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction

The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family by Ron Howard & Clint Howard. By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming and harrowing, the award-winning filmmaker and his brother, an audience-favorite actor, share their unusual family story of navigating and surviving life as sibling child actors.

 

David Copperfield’s History of Magic by David Copperfield. The legendary illusionist profiles twenty-eight of the world’s most groundbreaking magicians, with over 100 never-before-seen photographs of artifacts from his Museum of Magic including Houdini’s straightjackets and handcuffs and Dante’s sawing-in-half apparatus.

 

Going There by Katie Couric. In this memoir, the iconic media star discusses her professional and personal life, including losing her husband at a young age, her historic turn as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” and experiences dealing with gender inequality.

 

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci. The food-obsessed, award-winning actor, reflecting on the intersection of food and life, presents a heartfelt and delicious memoir of life in and out of the kitchen that takes readers on a gastronomic journey through the good times and bad.

 

All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told by Douglas Wolk. The first-ever full reckoning with Marvel Comics’ interconnected, half-million-page story, a revelatory guide to the past 60 years of American culture—from an authority on the subject who read all 27,000+ Marvel superhero comics and lived to tell the tale.

 

The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine by Brendan Borrell. An award-winning journalist, drawing on high-level access, presents the full inside story of the high-stakes, global race of the lifesaving vaccine to end the pandemic.

 

New Fiction

Child of Light by Terry Brooks. Auris Afton Grieg stages a desperate escape from the prison she's been in since age 15 and meets up with an unusual stranger who claims to be a member of a magical race and insists that she is too.

 

Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. In this highly anticipated sequel to Before the Coffee Gets Cold, four new customers get the chance to travel back in time to face up to their past in order to move on with their lives.

 

The Ballad of Laurel Springs by Janet Beard. While searching for a subject for her fifth-grade history project, 10-year-old Grace discovers that her family’s tangled past is part of a dark legacy in which the lives of generations of women are affected by violence immortalized in folksongs.

 

Crossroads, No. 1 (A Key to All Mythologies) by Jonathan Franzen. As Christmas 1971 approaches, the Hildebrand family of New Prospect, Illinois deals increasing points of crisis including a stale marriage, the draft and their son's sexual orientation in the first novel in a new trilogy from the author of Purity.

 

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride & Jo Piazza. The lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, is severely tested when one woman’s husband, a police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, while the other woman, a reporter, covers this career-making story.

 

It’s A Wonderful Woof, No. 12 (Chet & Bernie Mysteries) by Spencer Quinn. As the holidays approach, Chet the dog and his human partner, private investigator Bernie Little, search for a fellow investigator who disappeared along with a client, in the 12th novel of the series following Tender Is the Bite.

 

Biscuits and Gravy by William & J.A. Johnstone. On the run, a chuckwagon cook, Dewey "Mac" Mackenzie, desperately works cattle drives to stay one step ahead of his enemies, in the new novel from the prolific author of the Last Mountain Men and Matt Jenson series.

 

The Judge’s List by John Grisham. While on the hunt for a serial killer, Lacy Stoltz, an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, discovers that a man hiding behind the black robe may not only taking bribes but may be taking lives.

 

October 28, 2021 - What a Difference a Week Makes

My, what a difference a week makes! Last week we hit 70 degrees a couple of times before Autumn arrived with a big "Ta da! I'm here!" over the past weekend. Overnight lows bounced right around the freezing mark ending the growing season for a lot of plants. Rain arrived, as did gray skies that seem already to have lasted for days at this writing (Monday). My porch plants have all come in from the cold and are now occupying my kitchen and part of my garage as they wait for either an extended warm spell or to slowly fade away due to lack of light.

And speaking of light and the lack thereof, I’m sure you all have noticed how late the sunrise is and how early the evenings crowd in around us. There is only one more weekend to endure (or enjoy) Daylight Savings Time. That happens on Sunday, November 7th at 2 a.m. in case you want to stay awake and watch your clocks automatically “fall back” or in case you want to manually change your clocks at the precise moment.

The library’s Halloween Party is October 30th at 10 a.m. to noon, around the library grounds (weather permitting) and indoors if the weather doesn’t permit. It looks like the month of November -- or Dinovember-- will be filled with dinosaur-themed crafts and activities. Stay tuned for further details.

This is the time of year when the word “cozy” seems to become increasingly important.With daylight and warmth retreating, it is time to find cozy spots to settle in with a cat, or jigsaw puzzle (Probably not with the cat in the room: They really only want to help!), or dog, or cup of coffee, or tea, or other hot beverage, or crossword puzzle, or book, and snuggle under a blanket, and enjoy the spot of warmth and light you have created in the midst of the cold temperatures and dark days. And if you need books to settle in with, we have a bunch of new titles which are listed below. Enjoy!

October 21, 2021 - Count down to Halloween

We are three weeks into the month of October already! This means, among other things, that we are counting down to the library's Halloween Party which will take place on October 30th. That makes the party date Halloween Eve (or All Hallows Eve Eve-- if you want to go back to the holiday's origins. So, nine days and counting to the party, and 10 days until Halloween. This means we are only 10 days away from the end of October. This month has certainly flown by and remained unusual weather-wise. The days have certainly turned crisper since I wrote last week and temperatures have dipped into the high 30s. There has been frost on rooftops early in the morning, but daytime highs have managed to creep up to or near sixty degrees. My porch plants continue on apace. Tomatoes continue to blossom and set fruit and ripen fruit. We've had red-winged black birds chirping away recently. These are migrants from further north as are the bands of robins hopping around still getting at worms since the ground hasn't frozen yet. All-in-all, an unusual October. We are making plans for November's programs and lining up quite a list of dinosaur related programs and crafts. November is, after all, Dinovember. We will be having a rather spectacular Dino Day on November 13th (you might want to put that on your calendar right now!). Lots of new books continue to arrive almost daily. Below you will find some of the more recently-arrived titles. Enjoy!

October 14, 2021 - Taking Advantage of the Weather

The warm weather continues on apace. This past weekend I attended a traditional family gathering -- pumpkin carving and / or decorating -- near La Crosse, WI, which meant I spent a whole lot of time on the Interstate between here and Minnesota. I can report from personal experience that the Wisconsin season of "Road Construction" is still flourishing. I was in stop-and-go traffic from slightly west of Sparta for half an hour. One hardly expects traffic delays on Saturday in October in rural Wisconsin; however, since we are still in Road Constructions season I guess I should have been prepared for the unexpected. There were many, many motorcycles and convertible cars with their tops down enjoying the sun and warm weather. The birds were also taking advantage of the weather and were, seemingly, practicing flying in migratory flocks. Or, perhaps these were actual migratory flocks that have started to stage south from the colder northern climes. Many corn fields were totally fired but not picked because of the rain. It feels as if nature is poised to take the big step into more autumnal weather. Indeed, it seems as if Autumn has one foot in the air waiting to put it down and start the heating season for us all. While we wait for the big step to occur, the days continue to shorten. Those longer evenings give more time for reading as far as I'm concerned. Below are a number of new books for your longer-evening's repast. Enjoy!

September 30, 2021 - Celebrate Fall

This coming weekend is our 2nd (possibly annual) Fall Harvest Celebration. Last year we offered a number of activities outside to celebrate Fall. We used the library grounds to keep everyone safe and follow public health guidelines. Those attending seemed to enjoy being outside enjoying our beautiful grounds, so we are doing much the same thing this year. Saturday, October 2nd, there were be free music, food, games, crafts and an award-winning children's musician, Laura Doherty,performing on the Market Street steps at noon. The activities run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and include story times by Ms Emily at The Rocks (the little park on across the street from the library on the West side), crafts for kids and adults, cookies and apple juice, pumpkin painting, and keyboard music performed by our own, Nolan Veldey. Be prepared for pup-up polkaing to occur on the patio. It is October after all, and the polka seems like a seasonally appropriate dance to engage in. We hope to see you there! And before, after, or during your attendance at this celebration, be sure to check out some of the new books ( or the old ones are good too!) that recently arrived at the library. Some of those titles are listed below. Enjoy!

September 23, 2021 - The change of seasons is definitely upon us.

Fall officially arrived a couple of days ago and right on cue, the weather turned autumnal. That high temperature on last Sunday that got rather close to 90 degrees might have been the last gasp of summer as temperatures the rest of this week will be staying in the mid-to-upper 70s. And shall we talk about the overnight lows? That five letter word that begins with “F” is yet to be in the forecast, but lows in the 40s are being predicted. The cold will certainly stunt if not stop the growing season. At this point, I will be happy to see it end. I have been overwhelmed by tomatoes and there are many still on the vines threatening to ripen and demand entrance into my house. I was out driving about and noticed that the turkey vultures seem to be flocking up. Mehintks they are starting to make migration plans. There was a flock of robins on my driveway the other morning, eating the berries that have fallen off a tree. These birds are definitely on the move. It’s been a while since of seen any individual robins around the neighborhood. This group might be migrants from further north as they make their way slowly south. The change of seasons is definitely upon us. While the leaves aren’t departing from the trees (much) yet and only a few trees are blushing with color, the fall book titles have been leaving the publisher’s warehouses and arriving on our shelves. Below are some of the more recent books that have arrived at the library. Enjoy!

September 16, 2021 - Fall is coming

In a little less than a week -- 6 days to be more precise-- at 2:21 p.m. on September 22nd, Fall will officially arrive in this area. While we have yet to have that six-letter word that begins with "f" in the forecast or even that five-letter word that begins with "f" in the forecast or in a warning, the days are surely turning autumnal. The day time temperatures are hanging below 80 degrees (for the most part) and the overnight lows are holding in the mid-50-degree range (mostly). A few early, show off trees, have started to change colors while the fields and grasses have begun to lose their lush greens, exchanging them for brown and beige and tan. If you are an early riser you will have noticed already how long it takes for sunrise to occur. It's a good hour and a quarter later (6:40 a.m.) than the earliest of times we see in June (5:15 a.m.). I don't know if we even want to talk about sunset which is happening around 7:10 nowadays when once it was happening closer to 8:40. The nice thing about dwindling hours of daylight is that there aren't many chores you can do while waiting for sunlight in the morning or after sunset in the evening. Those times are perfect for reading! Sure, you have to turn a light on unless you're using an electronic reader or reading on your computer, but what other downside is there? Below you will find some of the recently-arrived book titles at the library. Time to settle in with a good book and enjoy!

September 9, 2021 - National Library Card Sign-up Month

I hope you all enjoyed the last holiday of summer. The weather was perfect and we seem to be transitioning nicely towards more autumnal weather. Corn is firing, grains have been harvested, what one would assume to be the last crop of hay lies windrows, and if you squint at some trees you might notice they are thinking about changing colors. These early indicators of the change of seasons also indicates that National Library Card Sign-up Month is upon us. Not only can your library card empower you to dream, create, learn, explore, and connect. Your local library card also allows you to connect and save at these local businesses: Hometown Pharmacy DeForest: 10% off Hometown Living, Norske Nook-DeForest: $3 off an 11" pie (excludes the pie of the month), The Poppy Seed: 10% off drinks, and The Sage Apothecary: 10% off regular priced items. Just show your library card during the month of September and save!. If your library card is looking a bit raggedy, or if you've misplaced or lost it, during the month of September we will give you a free replacement. If you don't already have a library card, now would be the perfect time to get one. You can not only then take advantage of the savings mentioned above, but you can also check out some of the new books mentioned below! Enjoy!

September 2, 2021 - The Season is Beginning to Turn

After a few near-ninety degree days last week, summer seems to be loosening its grasp this week. High temperature's near 80 degrees, low humidity, some sun thrown to brighten things up and fall seems to be strengthening its hold on the calendar. We are in September, school has started, and Labor Day will be upon us this weekend. Lots of plants are beginning to finish production weather we are talking about tomatoes or four o'clocks. Tomatoes are ripening so fast they are hopping off the bushes and walking into the house. The flowers are dropping seeds right and left. The fall crickets started chirping about three weeks ago, which, as we all know, means that the first frost is only about three weeks away. If you are an earlier riser you will have noted how much later it is until the first light appears in the world and that the dawn chorus has gotten progressively quieter. Dusk descends upon us a whole lot sooner than it did only a couple of months ago. The season is beginning to turn. The "beach books" or "summer reads" are being replaced by the publishers' fall list of titles. "What's the difference?", I hear you saking. "Not much", I would reply. The summer fare seems to be slightly lighter in subject matter and treatment. The fall titles might have a bit more substance, but since these descriptors are highly subjective, I'll stand by my not-much answer. Below you will find some of the titles that recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

August 26, 2021 - Pages

The Summer Reading Program ended on August 6th. Last week I gave you all the numbers for the program in terms of number of participants and books read. This week I have had time to do the math and can tell you how many pages were read and what that works out to in miles. Every year, for more years than I care to remember, I have been reporting the number of pages read in concrete terms. I have converted the number of pages read (or pages listened to, or time spent reading) into inches, then converted those inches into miles, and then plotted that number of miles on a map. Since I have been doing this annually for enough years for this to have become a tradition, and since I’m wise enough not to tamper with a fine tradition, here goes!

This year 476 people participated in the Summer Library Program. Over 22,666 books were read. The books read convert to 1,857,614 pages. That’s just over 3,900 pages read by every participant. There were 280 reviews were written and 7,698 badges were earned.

Now, on to the calculations which begin with this question: “If you laid all the pages of the books that were read end-to-end how many miles would they stretch?” The average size of a page is 9 inches tall which gives us (1, 857,614 times 9” or) 16,718,526 inches—always show your work if you want to receive full credit. Then we take those inches and divide by 12 to give us 1,393,210 feet and then divide by 5,280 to give us 263.86 miles. And, voilà! If you laid all the pages read during the Summer Reading Program end to end and drove north and west via I90 you would end up about 16 miles west of Alberta Lea, Minnesota. If you headed south along 190/194 you’d be about 2 miles this side of South Bend, Indiana. How cool is that? Based on the huge number of readers and the ginormous number of books read, I am forced to conclude that this was a great summer for reading. Congratulations to all the Summer Reading participants.

Below you will find some recently arrived books to keep you in shape for the start of the Winter Reading Program, which isn’t all that far away. Enjoy!

August 19, 2021 - Summer Reading Results

The Summer Reading Program ended on the 6th of August. Since most participants now use the Beanstack app, we are able to get aggregated data much more quickly than in part years. I know that some of you wait with bated breath for me to do the mathematical calculations that convert pages into miles read and then plot those miles onto a map of Wisconsin and beyond. Today I thought I would give you the large number flyover, before subjecting you next week to the Summer Reading Program road trip. So here goes! WE had 597 registered readers. Those readers made it through 22,666 books, earned 7, 698 badges, and wrote 380 book reviews. The largest group of readers, as always, was those who read, board and picture books, and early readers). They read a whomping 15,327 books. Those reading Chapter & Plus Books were the next largest group who read 4,005 books. Tenss read 1,278 books. Adults read 1,278 books. And library staff, the smallest group by far read 678 books which is an impressive amount per capita when you consider there were over 100 Adult readers who read a mere 1,278 books. Any way you look at it, a whole lot of reading was done this summer., whole lot of badges were earned, and a whole lot of community challenges were met. To help keep you reading and stay in shape for the Winter Reading Program which isn't that far away, you will find some of the new titles that recently arrived at the library listed below. Enjoy!

August 12, 2021 - Preliminary Data

It's hard to believe that the Summer Reading Program is finally over. The final books and activities were added in by the end of the day last Friday. Now the tallying and comparisons begin. Did the Teen readers beat the library and school staff readers? Will students and elementary school participants get to slime Ms Emily and/or their school librarians? These and other burning questions have yet to be determined. By next week at this time I should have all those answers and a bunch of statistics as well. I will just say, having looked at preliminary data, that both our teen librarian and children's librarian are in for either a tie-dye pie-ing or a slimming. Both of which events-- should the data hold true without any last minute come from behind wins from library and school district staff-- will be very, very, public and if not live-streamed at least they will be captured on video so they can be watched again and again and again.

The next couple of weeks library staff will be planning for the fall as the intense summer programming comes to an end. There will be one final concert -- T.R. Loon will be performing -- earned by all the Summer Reading Program participant who met and exceeded the challenge and stretch goals. This will be on August 30th at 6.p.m.

Next Thursday, August 19th, the library will be closed for relamping. Relamping involves bringing in lifts to reach those canister lights and counce lights that reside up near the beams of our dramatic, interior, ceiling. Normal hours will resume the next day assuming all goes well. In the meantime you may wish to stock up on reading material. Below you will find some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

August 5, 2021 - Reading Program is Ending

The end of the Summer Reading Program is literally, hours away. You have until 5 p.m. on Friday, August 6th to enter your titles and activities. Those titles and activities will earn you Dragon Dollars for use in our store or to donate to some local charities. That's the good news. The bad news is those Dragon Dollars must be expended by 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 8th.

Many of the Summer Reading Program challenges are drawing to a close. Right now it looks like the Teen readers shall have beaten the library and the DeForest Area Middle School and High School staff in number of books read. This means our Teen Librarian and staff members from the middle and high schools will have tie-dye pies hurled at them.

The community challenge for number of books read has also been met and exceeded resulting in not only a final concert on Market Street with treats, but I do believe the library elf will be having his head shaved as well.

Enter any and all books you've read for the Summer Reading Program now! Don't delay!  Redeem those Dragon Dollars now! Don't delay! Just because the Summer Reading Program is at its end doesn't mean that you can continue to read.

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

July 29, 2021 - Harry Potter

There are two day's left in the month of July and we all know what that means, don't we? It means that the Harry Potter Birthday Party is only two days away. This year the Harry Potter Birthday Party will be held outside. There will be quidditch. Hagrid's hut and the forbidden forest will be featured. Honeydukes will be there. Refreshments will be provided by The Three Broomsticks. It should be great fun especially if the weather cooperates. If it doesn't we will try again on August 1st. Having only two days left in the month also means that with the Summer Reading Program ending on August 6th and those 2 days left in July you have a mere eight days to get all those books you read this summer recorded to help push out community read over it's next two challenge goals. It also means that the back-to-school sales are in full force. Below you will find a selection of some of the new books which recently arrived at the library.

Enjoy!

July 22, 2021 -Stretch Goals

This third week of July puts us only 9 days away from the Harry Potter Birthday Party and only 15 days away from the end of the Summer Reading Program. For those of you who don't follow us on FaceBook or Twitter, the community goal set way back in May of reading 15,000 books was reached on July 15th. The reward for reaching that goal was to offer one more summer concert. T.R. (Truly Remarkable) Loon will be providing the entertainment at that special concert on August 30th. Two more stretch goals have been set which will require you to really buckle down and read, read, read. If 17,500 books are read by Summer Reading Program participants by August 6th at 5 p.m. (when the program ends_. Free Kona Ice will be provided at the August 30th performance. If somehow the Summer Reading Program participants read 20,000 books by August 6th, Brian the Library Elf will shave his head. I don't know what motivates you to read, but I would have to admit that one of these stretch goals has me reading pretty much all the time. If these goals appeal to you, or even if they don't, below you will find some new book titles to add to your TBR (To Be Read) list. Enjoy!

July 15, 2021 - Flora and Fauna

Can you believe it is already the middle of July? Well, I am having a hard time believing it on the one hand. On the other hand, so much has been happening during this summer at the library that at times it feels as if it should / could be September. We have a mere three weeks (and a couple of days) left in the Summer Reading Program. At this writing we will be halfway through our Concerts on Market Street series. Time certainly does fly! Not only is the library's calendar of events whipping by at a remarkable speed, the flora and some fauna are rapidly progressing through their summer work as well. The early summer crickets have finished up. The dawn chorus is still going but we are quickly approaching the end of the breeding season for songbirds. Butterflies and moths are noticeably flitting across the landscape. And speaking of the landscape the fields and ditches are filling up with a plethora of weeds and wildflowers. Chicory and flocks, birdsfoot trefoil and hawkweed, white and yellow and red clover, trillium and bindweed cow parsnip and Queen Anne's lace, mullein and milkweed, and the list goes on and on. Everything is bursting with life in preparation for the upcoming season.The library grounds are filled with colorful flowers too. Spend a few moments in our gardens when you stop by to pick up something to read. Below are a few titles of books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

July 8, 2021 - 4th of July Recap

"Yes". The library was in the 4th of July parade. And "yes", we did hand out a whole lot of candy, but not as much as in previous years. The parade line-up was shorter, I believe, and the crowds lining the streets were somewhat smaller, I also believe. However, this year I was struck by how polite everyone was. I can't tell you how many "thank yous" we heard which was very nice to hear. And "Yes", Brian the Elf was walking with our "float"and he did indeed have a super soaker squirt gun and a supply of water. I guess you can imagine what he was doing. I tried to explain to him about wind direction and how his shooting kept blowing back on me. He told me it was just collateral damage. It was refreshing nonetheless especially while walking on a black-top road in the noonday sun. Now that the 4th of July is past, we move on to the Summer Concerts on Market Street which began this week and continue through July, And, we are only 23 days from the Harry Potter Birthday Party. Planning is well underway for the party which will be taking place outside this year around the grounds of "Hogwarts" (also known as the DeForest Area Public Library). Details of the myriad programs coming to you this summer are available at our website (www.deforestlibrary.org) and other social media. Below are some of the new summer titles that have arrived at the library lately. Enjoy!

July 1, 2021 - How Time Flies

How is it possible that we have already slipped into the month of July? My how time flies when you are reading and attending programs and participating in all sorts of Summer Reading Program activities! If you still haven't signed up for the Summer Reading Program, there is still plenty of time for you to read books, attend programs, and earn Dragon Dollars which can be spent in our store to purchase some pretty cool items, or donated to one of 5 charities. As of July 1st, we are 48 days into the Summer Reading Program (SRP) which started May 15th and ends August 6th. That's 84 days to earn dragon dollars and take part in some community and school-based challenges around the number of books read. We are just slightly past the mid-point of the program so there is still plenty of time to participate. If you'd like to learn more about the SRP, visit our website or ask at the circulation desk. July brings two big holidays for the library. The first is the 4th of July. This year, since there is a community parade, we will be in it. Last year, as you may or may not recall, we had our own parade with wagons around the library. The second big holiday is the Harry Potter Birthday Party on July 31sr. This year is will be held at various spots around the exterior of the building with a rain date of August 1st. We hope to see you at the parade and the party. Below are some books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

June 24, 2021 - Wisconsin Weather

What can I say? Wait a week and the weather in Wisconsin will do a complete about face. Last week we were basting in high temperatures and high humidities even while in the midst of a drought. Now the drought has been broken with more regular rainfalls and the crunchy brown lawns are beginning to green up. The rainfall, however, has been accompanied by low temperatures sweeping into the area from Canada. The weather has turned noticeably autumnal and looks to remain so for at least the beginning of this week. We did just pass the summer solstice, so of course things have cooled off. But the crickets are chirping, the tree frogs are singing, the dawn chorus is in full throat, and the plants are growing like crazy. Once you've done all the chores this invigorating time of year and weather has inspired you to do, you might considered sitting quietly and losing yourself in a good book. We have lots of good books ar the library. Admittedly some are better than others, but since reading material is so subject to ones' tastes and personal preferences, it's really hard to say how many good books we actually have. One person's "good" book is another's "ehh" book. That being said, I believe that at least one of you will find a "good" book in the titles listed below. Enjoy!

June 17, 2021 - Summer Reading Program Update

We are well into the month of June and a month and a couple of days into the Summer Reading Program. Since the Reading Program doesn't end until August, you still have oodles of time to join in, read and log books, log activities, and earn dragon dollars (which, as we all know, can be spent in our Summer Reading Program store or donated to one of 5 (or is it 6) designated charities). Each book you read and log gets us that much closer to achieving the community challenge of reading 15,000 books. As of today there are just under 8,800 books left to be read to meet that lofty goal. We need you to do your part! The publishers' summer reading lists are flowing in to the library with each delivery from the man in brown. This means that there are many new and interesting books for you to read.

Two important dates are coming up next week. Father's Day is this coming Sunday. Remember to do something nice for your dad. Perhaps using your dragon dollars, purchase something for him from the library store. Or, show him how to use the Libby app to download free books and audio books on his phone! (This will only cost you the time it takes to show him. The app and the books are free!). On that same date, June 20th at 10:31 p.m. the summer solstice will occur. I know everyone celebrates this day and usually I'm a glass-half-full kind of person, but all I can say about the summer solstice is "It's all downhill from here. The days start getting shorter and shorter. The nights start getting longer and longer. Sad." What do I do when I'm in this Eeyore-like mood? I read. Below you will find a sample of just some of the recently-arrived books at our library. Enjoy!

June 10, 2021 - Summer Arrived

Summer arrived in all it's hot, steamy glory this past weekend with temperatures hovering near ninety degrees (in the shade). School has ended the dawn chorus is full-throated in the extremely early hours of the morn. Plants are putting forth great efforts in foliage and blossom production. Trees and grasses are emitting prodigious amounts of pollen that wafts everywhere on those not-so-gentle-at-times breezes. The Summer Reading in well underway with many of you already signed up and logging books and activities in your Beanstack account (more information about the program and about downloading the Beanstack app is located here: https://www.deforestlibrary.org/reading-program ). As if more proof were needed that summer has indeed arrived, I cite three and possibly four of the titles listed below that have the word "summer" in their titles i.e., The Summer of Lost and Found, A Summer to Remember, and That Summer. I think you could argue (and I'd back your argument) that the non-fiction title, On Juneteenth refers to a day (June 19th) only two days away from the summer solstice so that in its own way, this too is a summer book. Below, along with these four "summer" titles you will find some other books that will make excellent summer reading even though their titles don't contain that season-indicating word. Join the Summer Reading Program and Enjoy!

June 3, 2021 - National Days

How did it get to be June already? We are halfway through the year. The summer solstice is only weeks away. Crops are planted. First crop hay has been cut and baled. Spring lambs, calves, and foals have been born and are frolicking and gamboling. And the Summer Reading Program is already a couple of weeks old (so why haven't you signed up yet?_ We haven't explored the national days and dates for upcoming months and days for a while so I thought I'd indulge my curiosity, while, I hope piquing yours. As everyone from Wisconsin knows, June is Dairy Month, but did you Know that it is also National Zoo and Aquarium Month, African-American Appreciation Month, LGBTQIA Pride Month, Adopt a Cat Month, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month as well as the seemingly contradictory National Candy Month. and many other "months" that I don't have room to mention. Today, June 3rd has few National Days to recommend it: National Egg Day, National Repeat Day ( I said, "It's National Repeat Day" so do something twice.) and National Chocolate Macaroons Day (which, I'm sure many of us wouldn't mind doing twice!). In case your reading this too late on the 3rd to celebrate any of the aforementioned days, June 4th has Cheese Day, Cognac Day, Doughnut Day, and Hug Your Cat Day (if you dare). As you're enjoying all these opportunities to celebrate, why not check out one of the recently arrived books below?

Enjoy!

May 27, 2021 - Summer Weather

The summer weather pattern certainly arrived over the weekend with heat, humidity, and a little bit of rain now and then. Since the official start of summer has yet to arrive and since it could be either Memorial Day or the summer solstice (It's your choice) neither of which we have gotten to yet on the calendar, the summer-like weather is do to retreat rather quickly by the middle of this week. Even if the temperatures retreat a bit the oat crops and hay fields are growing apace. Corn fields are planted in many fields along I 90 between here and Tomah and in many places the corn is starting to emerge. First crop hay has been cut and is drying in winnows in some fields (Why, I remember when we didn't cut first crop hay until Memorial Day weekend so this seems remarkably early to me, and so I am remarking upon it.) At the library, the Summer Reading Program, began on May 15th, so sign up now before you get overwhelmed by all the many things you want to do this summer. The summer books have begun to arrive from the publishers as well. While I don't think any of the titles listed below would qualify as "beach reads" which is a subgenre all its own, you could certainly take any of these books to the beach or anywhere outside ( or inside, they're not really fussy) and have a nice read. Enjoy!

May 20, 2021 - Early Summer

It's hard to believe we are already into the last couple of weeks of May. The weather has taken a decided turn towards (early) summer. The birds are singing, nesting, and starting to rear their young. The bees have started buzzing. Other pollinators have have appeared just as the early bloomers have burst forth in flower. Trees are throwing around pollen as if they would seed an entire forest. The air is soft with twilights lengthening well into the evenings. It is a little too early to be putting in your garden, or if you have for your garden to require much tending yet. Sure the grass needs mowing, but it will almost always need mowing until November. Take advantage of these longer evenings to sit on the porch -- before the mosquitoes arrive to carry us all off-- and read a good book. Below you will find some of the late spring books which were recently released by their publishers. Enjoy!

May 13, 2021 - Summer Reading Starts

It is almost the middle of May and the weather (until possibly this upcoming weekend) has not been behaving like spring has firmly established it's domination over the frostier months. But, in a mere two days from the publication date of this literary work, the Summer Reading Program shall have begun. On Saturday, May 15th you can register yourself, your children, your grandchildren, and encourage others to register themselves and join the summer reading program. There are badges to earn, challenges to meet, and Dragon Dollars to earn (details will be available on our website). There are a number of terrific prizes available for readers. Dragon Dollars to be earned to spend in our special store or to donate to one of 6 selected charities, and programs to participate in both virtually and (weather permitting) sometimes in person. Since the focus of this summer library program is to keep everyone reading and reading in volumes (pun intended) that would be more difficult if this traditional time for vacationing and just kicking back were not available, I would encourage you to peruse the list of new titles below and check them out. If you can't check them out right now, get them on your hold list so that when you do have the time in those lazy days of summer to unwind you have a book in hand, ready to be read. Enjoy!

May 6, 2021 - Countdown Begins

The countdown to the beginning of the Summer Reading Program continues. May 15th is only 9 days away. This year's Summer Reading Program promises community reading challenges to partake in, activities to engage in, and programs to attend (both virtually and in-person). Keep an eye on our website and Facebook (and other social media) page for more details. To get us all in the mood for the upcoming start of Summer Reading, the weather started out the month with some high temperatures in the mid-80s and windy weather more reminiscent of March coming in like a lion than the gentle warmth, the soft sun lit days, the long evenings, and the flower-scented air of May. Books from the publishers' spring book lists continue to arrive and have already started to turn towards those "beach" reads and "summer" reads which are almost there own genre or sub-genre. Bookriot defined it last year as " a certain type of book, something that will have mass appeal and isn't particularly intellectually stimulating." Blockbuster novels from major authors -- think Grisham, Patterson, etc.--tend to be released in May which makes them a perfect beach read. Titles in that genre are starting to arrive. Below you may not find any title that will become a compulsively readable book that is perfect for the beach -- or wherever you vacation-- but you will find some engaging titles. Enjoy!

April 29, 2021 - Spring

It seems like spring has finally established itself as the dominant season. Sure, there were a couple of freeze warnings last week, but the goldfinches have given up their winter clothes and are now wearing their golden yellow plumage. Motorcycles have been on the roads for weeks now, drop-top cars have also been dropping their tops -- at least on sunny days. The wearing of shorts is rampant in Wisconsin and the twilight is lingering until almost 8 o'clock at night. With all these signs of spring, can summer be far away? The answer to this rhetorical question is that summer officially starts in this area on June 20th which is about 55 days away. However, the start of the Summer Reading Program is a mere 17 days away. This early start to our Summer Reading Program gives everyone more opportunities to read and record what has been read, to participate in community challenges, and to win prizes and earn dragon dollars.With a mere 17 days before the start of the program, you might want to start getting your eyes in shape for competitive reading. Below are some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Check them out and read fast and read a lot, and most of all, enjoy!

April 22, 2021 - Crane Count

This past weekend, I participated in something that took a year off during the pandemic lock down. I took part in the Annual Midwest (Sandhill) Crane Count. Last year the crane count was called off -- though I could never understand why because it is an activity that can be done alone and takes place outside. Regardless of the reasons for last year's cancellation, I went out and did my own crane count in 2020. This year I did my "official" crane count. There really is nothing quite like being up and out by 5 o'clock in the morning and listening and watching the world come alive. Cranes tend to hang out in marshy areas so not only was there patchy frost on the grass, but there was mist rising of ponds and hovering over ditches and fields. The robins and the red-winged blackbirds compete to be the first birds singing as the eastern sky changes from deep blue to a pale blue that's almost white then lemon and peach until the red tones take over and orange smears the horizon. As light comes the bigger birds start in and geese and ducks join in and finally the cranes start yodeling. It is truly magical and available to all who care to venture out before dawn and sit quietly and wait. I heard many cranes and saw six. There were turkeys, a pair of eagles, ducks, geese, a lone deer, pheasants, killdeer, mourning doves, and the list goes on and on. If you can't get out into nature, you can study up on it by using some of the field guides available at the library. Below are some of the new books which recently arrived. Enjoy! and keep an eye out for sandhill cranes!

April 15 2021 - Jonquils, Hyacinths, and Tulips

There is nothing like a long stretch of cloudy days and rain to green up the world. The grass suddenly needs mowing. The trees have gone from hardly-budded-out-at-all to lacy fingers stretching towards the sky looking for sun. Jonquils, hyacinths, and tulips and other bulbed plants have sprung from the earth with flowers full-blown. Ornamental crab trees, dogwoods, and magnolias are covered with flowers. Other trees, with less obvious flowers such as your oak, maple, elm, and birch trees (to name just a few) are merrily throwing pollen into the air. Suddenly the law is filled with robins. Grackles, red-winged black birds, and crows are calling raucously at all hours of the day and into the night. Geese have their first crop of goslings paddling behind them in ponds. April showers have brought not May flowers, but April flowers as this fecund season takes root. It is the perfect season to get out and visit the library on foot or on bicycle or using whatever form of transport you choose. Books from the publishers' spring lists are arriving daily. Items that have been in storage since the height of the pandemic -- such as Busy Bags, Bags of Books, and Backpacks are finding their way back to their accustomed racks. Make the library your destination as you step out into spring in Wisconsin. Below are some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

April 8, 2021 - National Library Week

National Library Week started on Easter Sunday this year. April 4th was also National School Librarians Day. Tuesday of National Library Week is reserved to honor library workers with their special day. Wednesday is reserved to honor bookmobiles. The rest of the week days are not designated for any particular group or aspect of libraries. Personally, I believe library patrons deserve their own day. of celebration during National Library Week. Without the you, our loyal, library patrons, there would be no reason for libraries of any ilk to exist. So come in on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday of this 2021 National Library Week and celebrate yourself!

Spring has certainly arrived in our area. There are flocks of robins just bob,bob, bobbin' along on lawns everywhere. Songbirds are singing to their sweeties and starting to set up housekeeping. Tis the season. Love is in the air. Not only do we have song birds a singing, we have motorcycles a revving and convertibles -- what would be the verb for driving around with the top down on a car? It couldn't possibly be "converting", could it? And while it is true that many Wisconsinites start wearing shorts when the daytime highs get into the mid 30s, this past week has brought flocks of short-clad natives out into the world. With all these signs of spring, can the arrival of spring book titles be far behind? Absolutely not. Below you will find some of the titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

April 1, 2021 - April Fools' Day!

Happy April Fools' Day! Not only are we at the beginning of a new month and can finally say goodbye to a fickle and windy March, but we are only a few days away from the beginning of National Library Week. National Library Week seems to be a moveable feast. In 2018, it started on April 7th; in 2019 on April 8th; in 2020 on April 19th. This year it starts on April 4th which just happens to be Easter, another moveable feast. There are a number of celebratory events planned for the week. Please check our website and social media for details.

But lets, get back to April Fool's Day. Where did this custom of frivolity and pranking arise?

According to some historians it may date back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar (the new years starts with the spring equinox around April 1st) to the Gregorian (the new years starts January 1st). Those who were slow to adopt the January 1st date became the butt of jokes and were called April fools and had pranks played upon them. According to other historians April Fools Day can be linked to the Roman festival of Hilaria which was celebrated at the end of March. Followers of the cult of Cybele dressed up in disguises and mocked their fellow citizens and magistrates. This was said to be inspired by the Egyptian legend of Isis, Osiris and Seth. These pranking practices spread through Britain in the 1700s and in Scotland a two day event which started off with the hunting of the "gowk" -- the word for a cuckoo (bird) or fool-- which sent folks off on fake errands. Day two -- Tailie Day== involved pinning fake tails on people (i.e. "kick me" signs). Harmless pranking is the name of the game with harmless being the most important word. And now that you know all about today, below you will find some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. No fooling! Enjoy!

March 25, 2021 - Spring Started

Spring started this past Saturday, March 20th, at 4:37 a.m. I believe only the robins and my cats were awake to greet it. Of course once the cats are up and greeting things – the dawn, each other, their empty food dishes, the early birds—I, unfortunately, am not far behind. Perhaps it because I do not watch network television anymore and get my information from newspaper and weather websites, but the arrival of spring this year seemed singularly unheralded. If a co-worker hadn’t mentioned it to me Saturday morning, I would have been completely oblivious to spring’s arrival. I guess it really does pay to go to the library where information is all around you! The birds have been singing about the arrival of spring. The mini flock of cardinals, house finches, sparrows, chickadees, and juncos that have been visiting my porch rail for seeds, have started to drift away. They are able to find food in the wild closer to potential nesting sites. A few long-time porch-perchers seem to be bringing girl friends “home” to enjoy the seed buffet. Spring is indeed in the air. Just like the swallows return to Capistrano every March 19th, and the vultures return to Hinckley, Ohio every March 15th, so the book publishers have begun pushing out their spring list of titles. Below you will find some of the new titles that recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

March 18, 2021 - One-Year Anniversary

I warned you a couple of weeks ago that we were quickly approaching a number of one-year anniversary sates and that I would undoubtedly feel compelled to comment upon them. Well. Here we are. On Match 12th, the Governor declared a health emergency in response to Covid-19. On March 13th, an order was issued to close all schools on Wednesday, March 18th. On March 17th at 5 p.m., all mass gatherings pf 10 or more people were prohibited in the state. We closed the library doors at that time and started curbside service. Social distancing and facility capacity became phrases that were interjected into most if not all conversations. Wearing a mask hadn't yet become the norm. St. Patrick's Day had a very dystopian feel as Wisconsin began to shut down in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus. It is sobering to think that a year later, we are still wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and assessing building capacity as things start to open up. Mass gatherings have increased in size in reverse order of how they decreased in size a year ago. We look forward to offering in-person programming to large groups soon, but room size still constrains our ability to social distance attendees. Watch our website and social media to see when these opportunities become available. In the meantime, you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library listed below. Enjoy and stay well!

March 11, 2021 - Winter Reading Numbers

The Winter Reading Program ended mere weeks ago and already I have all the numbers for the 2020/2021 program. This year we had a slightly smaller group of participants – 123 compared to 139 last year. There were fewer competitions undertaken this year –83 compared to 94; fewer activities partaken in – 315 compared to 386; reviews written – 54 compared to 68 and fewer badges earned – 1,542 compared to 1,690. So all-in-all this year seems to show a decline that matches up with fewer participants. However, in one category (and I might argue the most important category), the number of books read this year’s participants read 7,942 books compared to 7,256 books last year. That’s 686 more books or nearly a 9.5% increase. There were some truly dedicated readers this winter! And before you ask, donations to the charities were as follows: The DeForest Area Public Library Endowment -- $293; DeForest Area Needs Network (D.A.N.N.) -- $163; Dane County Humane Society $155; and the Homeless Action Network DeForest (HAND) -- $111. That’s a total of $722 which I shall be donating to those groups in the very near future. Thanks to everyone for participating. Below you will find some new books which recently arrived at the library. I hope you enjoy them!

March 4, 2021 - A Year Ago

A year ago I had just gotten back from attending the Public Library Association's biennial national conference in Nashville with a friend and fellow library director. We sat in large rooms filled with people, we ate at normally-crowded restaurants, we listened to live music in a honky tonk bar where people were jammed in on top of each other. We did all this and thought nothing of it. I wouldn't see this friend until the Christmas holiday when we met in a very large, deserted venue and chatted from five yards apart (masked of course). When I got back from the national conference I went to Illinois to have lunch with my niece. That was the last time I have seen her in real life. As the virus ramped up and the number of people allowed to gather together declined the library started offering curbside service. I will leave this historical retrospective here with curbside service. Tune in next week for the next historical look back. In the meantime, you will find -- listed below-- some of the new books which recently arrived at the library.

While the library is open --except for periodic short closures for sanitizing -- curbside/foyer pickup is still an option as is our electronic locker. No matter how you choose to get your books, I hope you enjoy them!

February 25, 2021 - End of February

How can it be nearly the end of February already? And if it is nearly the end of February, that means it is nearly the end of the Winter Reading Program. And if it is nearly the end of the Winter Reading Program, that means you are running out of time to log the books you have read during the program. (It ends at 5 p.m. on February 26th) It also means that very soon after the end of the Winter Reading Program your opportunity to redeem the Dragon Dollars you have earned will end also (5 p.m. on February 28th). We hope you had fun participating and learning all about owls!

After this past weekend's snow fall, you might be thinking that an early spring is out of the question. If the ten-day weather forecast holds true, we should be having a thaw this week which will head us into the month of March with the feel of spring in the air. NCAA college basketball will get underway in the middle of March which is, unfortunately and predictably, when we can expect a nice big spring snow storm. The nice thing about snow is March is that it usually doesn't stay around long. With spring in the air and just around the corner, the publishing houses are also starting to crank up produation to get the spring lists of books out to libraries and book stores. Below you will find a few of the new titles that recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

February 18, 2021 - Holidays

February is a month rife with holidays. We passed Valentine's Day over the weekend and on this week's Tuesday, Mardi Gras ( also known as Shrove Tuesday) passed us by. This week's Monday also celebrated Presidents' Day -- which conflates Abraham Lincoln's birthday (February 12th) and George Washington's Birthday (February 22nd although he was actually born on February 11th but because of the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar (in 1752) his birthday got moved to the 22nd). And just to jam one more celebration on to February 15th, which is President's Day this year, it is also Susan B. Anthony Day. This day celebrates her birthday on this actual date in 1820. What a holiday rich first half of February we have. I would also note one more date to remember. On February 5th, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in Wisconsin. We sill begin hitting a number of one-year anniversary dates around Covid-19 as we progress through this year. Spring is coming (though though not quickly enough), daylight is returning, the cold snap is passing off, vaccinations are occurring, and the sun is shinning at least some of the time. Spring and life are beginning to stir and so is hope. If you've been hoping for some new books, your in luck. Below are some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

February 11, 2021 - The Days Lengthen

The days certainly have been getting longer. Why, we have gained nearly 25 minutes at the sunrise side of the day and over an hour and a half on the sunset side of things. All of that extra daylight is very much appreciated by most of us. I'm sure that I mentioned this previously. It is old weather lore that says, "As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens." I would have to say that this past weekend, this week to date, and the forecast until Tuesday, the 16th all would seem to confirm that lore. While this is perfect weather to stay in side and read, you might consider venturing over the library on February 14th to listen to some music from our mezzanine celebrating love as well as Mardi Gras which will be on Tuesday, the 16th -- when the weather is supposed to start getting back to more normal temperatures. At the keyboard will be our own, Nolan Veldey. I believe there may be also be cookies. Tuesday the 16th, is also the beginning of a three-book, Read Woke, series. The book being discussed will be "The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963". You can register to join the book discussion from the calendar on our website. I hope to see you there! While we all await the arrival of warmer temperatures, and eventually spring, I would urge you all to read, record your books in our Winter Reading Program, and earn Dragon Dollars for your own use or to give to our designated charities. Below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

February 4, 2021 - Booky the Badger

Farewell to January and hello to February. Time seems to be really flying as we head into a new month that brings us two, count them two, major holidays. I am, of course, speaking about Ground Hog Day -- which shall already have occurred by the time you read this-- and the Super Bowl. If the weather predictions hold for Tuesday, and at this writing sunrise on Tuesday is fewer than 24 hours away which improves the accuracy of the forecast many fold, then Booky the library's prognosticating Badger, will undoubtedly see his shadow which means six more weeks of winter. Looking closely at that weather forecast it looks like the upcoming week, including the weekend, will be frigid (would this be an arctic outbreak?). The nice thing about frigid weather is that it provides the perfect excuse to stay inside, with a hot beverage, possibly a pet (cat or dog--absolutely your choice, and your pets, I suppose), possibly a knit or crocheted throw draped over your lap (and under the pet), a fire crackling softly in the hearth (or on your computer screen), and --the most important ingredient of all-- a good book. Below you will find some of the new titles which recently arrived at your library. Enjoy!

January 28, 2021 - Data

Only a few more days, and Booky, our prognosticating badger, along with those weather-forecasting dilettante groundhogs that live in Pennsylvania and Sun Prairie, will be making their duration of winter forecasts. This means we will be at the beginning of the month of February which along with the two important holidays of Ground Hog Day and Valentine's Day is the beginning to the countdown of one-year anniversaries of events marking the arrival of Covid-19. We're not there yet, but we are getting close. Last year at this time, I was still blithely pulling together data for the annual report the library submits to the Department of Public Instruction which eventually ends up at the federal level at the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The data we will be reporting from the year 2020 is going to look a whole lot different from previous years (and future years, I hope!). The physical circulation of materials was greatly diminished as was the physical attendance at in-person programs. Digital use of materials and programs, however, was astounding. I'll keep you posted as the data comes together; I'm sure there will be data points that amuse as well as inform. With a winter weather advisory just finishing up over the past weekend and another one arriving on Monday evening, one would have to say that it's great weather for settling in with a good book. Below are some of the new titles that have recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

January 21, 2021 - Signs of Spring

The third week of January already which means we are well into our Winter Reading Program ( have you joined up yet?) and less than two weeks away from Ground Hogs' Day. With very few sunny days to it's credit, January has still managed to plod along under dreary skies to get us to these last ten days of the month which, by the way, are usually the coldest. The old weather lore, "As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens", is often right, but given the year so far, it's hard to tell if the weather will behave normally when most everything else isn't. About this time of year, as you long-time readers know, I begin looking for signs of spring or for at least winter's end. So here are a few to turn your thoughts towards warmer days. The chickadees have started singing their "phoebe" song which means, among other things, that they are starting to look for dates and are beginning to shop around for nest sites. Speaking of nests, eagles -- including the famous Decorah pair-- are nest building and pair bonding and well on the way to putting eggs in their nests. The area owls (for those of you who have signed up for the Winter Reading Program you would know that owls are our theme because we want everyone to give a hoot about reading) are have become rather quiet because they are most likely already sitting on eggs. Raptors have to bring chicks into the world very early in the year so the young have lots of time to not only fledge but learn to hunt successfully. My final sign is this: I have a garden every year on my porch, in pots. When the weather turns frosty, I drag in the pots and the live by the porch door and get watered every couple of weeks. Some plants live. Some die. This year my impatiens seeded themselves and one of them put forth a little red flower yesterday. One flower might not a spring make, but it certainly gladdens the heart. Below are some new books which may also gladden your hearts. Enjoy!

January 14, 2021 - Cloudy Days

Normally by this time of -- almost the mid-point of January-- I would be optimistically pointing out the lengthening of days and perhaps, begin the countdown to Ground Hogs Day where we would find out if there were six more weeks of winter in store for us. However, these first couple of week so January have been mostly cloudy and if not cloudy, then foggy. It is so very difficult to celebrate the return of more daylight when the street lights are coming on at three o'clock in the afternoon. Indeed, we have gained daylight. There earliest sunset during those dark, December days was at 4:29. At his writing, sunset is at 4:40 p.m. and sunrise has, finally, begun getting later. It is now at 7:31. We haven't seen a sunrise that early since Christmas Day. The good news is that even though we can't see it to be cheered by it, the days are getting longer and that no matter what February 2nd will roll around in just 19 days. And once we're in February you can almost see spring popping it's head up over the horizon. In the meantime, theses dark days lend themselves rather nicely to reading. Below you will find some of the new books that have recently arrived at your library. Enjoy!

January 7, 2021 - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Here we are a week into the new year already. My how time flies during the holidays. This week, finally, some new books have arrived at the library. That pesky pandemic has disrupted the publishing trade a bit. Books that were ordered at the beginning of summer are only just arriving. Publishing dates have been pushed back for many months in some cases. All of which makes having a steady stream of books coming into the library for your reading pleasure a challenge. A challenge we can't do anything about. The books will arrive when they arrive. However, if the year is beginning as it means to go on, then there is hope that there will be weekly deliveries of new books. If 2021, decides to imitate last year, it's hard to say what might have in store for us -- I'm only talking book-wise here. In the meantime, there are plenty of books below some of which might pique your interest. Enjoy!