Jan's Column 2022

I will end this year of 2022 -- since I am writing in that year and I assume you might be reading in that year as well -- by wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. In order to insure a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year, you may wish to engage in some activities generally believed to propitiate Dame Fortuna, Fate, what-you-will. Those activities usually involve eating certain foods which represent richness ( i.e. good fortune) – such as fatback, green and black eyed peas, rice ( which is what Southerners combine in various regional ways to make Hoppin’ John) or herring (for Scandinavians), and other things for other ethnic groups. There is also the belief that as the year starts, so it will continue. So one has to hope that the weather will be great (It’s supposed to be very mild! Think very early spring.) although pleasant weather or even moderate would be a fine way for the year to start and thus, to also continue throughout the year. One also needs to be careful of one’s interactions with others on that first day of the year. Remember, what happens at the beginning of the year continues throughout the year. So no verbal sparring with your friends and family. You could easily be setting yourself up for a difficult year. So pay close attention to all that happens on January 1st and be careful. And what, you ask, will I be doing on New Year’s Day? I shall be spending it eating Hoppin’ John, having my symbolic piece of herring on the front stoop (Do you think you actually have to swallow it, to ensure good fortune?) and avoiding “discussions” with friends and family members. Below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Check them out and enjoy the books and the New Year.

Looking at the calendar that hangs beside my desk, I see that what I am typing on my keyboard at this very moment is the antepenultimate column of the year 2022. My how time flies especially when we’re having fun. And we are having fun, aren’t we? The festivities – perhaps festivities is too strong a word—continue apace as we near the year’s end. Saturday – which would be tomorrow if you’re reading this on Friday, the 16th. There will be mini painting at noon in the Story Hour room on the main floor of the library. Even though takes place in the Children’s area, it is meant for older folks. I have it on good authority that fox and faux stained-glass ornaments will be offered for painting. At 1 p.m. you can learn how design and print 3-d items in the Workshop. On Sunday, at 2 p.m., Lakeside Brass will be playing the sounds of the season (probably from our mezzanine). The Friends of the Library are sponsoring this performance and providing cookies and cocoa. And on Monday, December 19th – drumroll, please! – the Winter Reading Program gets underway. Our theme this year is “Outfox winter. Read!” You may start recording the books you’ve read starting on the 19th. Details about the Winter Reading Program can be found on our website. Below are some of the most recent titles which have arrived at the library. Check them out! Record them for the Winter Reading Program. Enjoy!

It’s hard to believe we have only three—count them, three—Friday’s left in the year. It’s hard to believe that Santa will be at the DeForest Area Public Library tomorrow (Saturday, December 10th) at 10 a.m. I am so excited! Many, many children come to visit with the jolly fellow in the red suit. Be prepared. There will probably be a line. You will, however, be surrounded by books, so I’m sure you will be able to occupy yourself and the children you are accompanying with a good book. And why not checkout a big stack of books so you are well stocked when the Winter Reading Program begins.

The Winter Reading Program begins on December 19th. Sure, the Winter Reading Program goes from the 19th of December until March 4th which is, admittedly, months and months away. But, if you’re like me, things come up that get in the way of reading and suddenly the reading program is over and I’ve hardly read anything!. Once again this year, you will be able to earn Dragon Dollars are you outfox winter by reading. Once again, you will be able to exchange those dollars for prizes in our store and/or donate those dollars to a charity of my choice (DeForest Area Needs, Network, Dane County Humane Society, the DeForest Area Public Library Endowment, and the UW Madison’s Urban Canid Project.

Below are some of the books which recently arrived at the library. Ready? Set? Start reading! And most of all, enjoy!

t is hard to believe that we are a week past Thanksgiving already and have only just begun to creep into the month of December. While I enjoined the warm weather on Thanksgiving, and much prefer driving through rain rather than snow, it is difficult to get into the anticipatory mood for the big gift-giving holiday at the end of the month without a few snowflakes in the air and on the trees, and without mandatory window scraping of the car windows in the morning It does look like the weather is beginning to drift back towards more seasonal weather—so keep your scraper handy! We are in countdown mode for Santa’s visit at the library. The jolly gent will be at the library on Saturday, December 10th at 10 a.m. The Friends of the Library have a Holiday Books & More Sale in the Studio from now until year’s end. This is a great place to find a gift for a book-loving friend or family member. Below you will find some of the recent additions to the library’s collection. Enjoy!

This year, Thanksgiving was neither as early as it can be – November 22nd--, nor as late as it can be – November 28th. There are 30 days between Thanksgiving and the final, pre-Christmas, shopping day. In any given year you could have as many as 32 days or as few as 26 to take advantage of all those sales and of course the big, two sale days – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Except. It seems to me that now major retailers are declaring that every Friday is “black” Friday as are those using cyber sales. I am not alone in being able to report that prior to Halloween sales and stock being removed from stores, Christmas stock was flooding the shelves. Speaking of floods (note the very smooth segue there!) The Julabokaflod (the Christmas Book Flood), an Icelandic tradition that is gaining traction among book lovers, is underway. Publishers in Iceland released a “flood” of books leading up to Christmas to provide options for Yuletide book gifting. Having wander through Barnes & Noble over the weekend, I would say that U.S. publishers are also flooding the market from best sellers to birding books (with sound included). There are so many great books out there and it seems like every bestselling author has a new book, just in time for gift giving. But, you don’t have to buy books! You can borrow them from your public library and you can come and browse our stock on “Black Friday” because we will be open! We like to think of “Black Friday” as “Read (pronounced like the past-tense of that verb) Friday. You don’t have to go into the “red” to read your fill. Below you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is not the day before any large library event like, oh, say, a Haunted Library or Dinoday. It is however the day before the Friends of the DeForest Area Public Library’s Book Sale which will be taking place on Saturday, November 19th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be miniature painting and “Sculpting with Polymer Clay” in the Workshop on that same day. The next big thing might be a visit by that big guy in a red and white suit; but that won’t be until sometime in December which is …. Yikes! Only a couple of weeks away! The countdown to all the winter holidays has already started. It is less than a week until Thanksgiving which means it is precisely a week until Black Friday and only 10 days until Cyber Monday. All of which means it is – as of today, November 18th—36 days until the last day you can do your shopping for Christmas. That’s five weeks and a day. There is plenty of time left to get your shopping done and do a little reading. Below you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Check them out, sit back, and enjoy!

Today is a solemn day. A day which has commemorated the end of World War I for more than a hundred years. The commemoration has been expanded over the years to memorialize all those in the armed services as well as those who have died in service. It is a day to remember. This day has been called "Remembrance Day" and "Armistice Day" as well. It originally marked the armistice agreement that ended the first World War on November 11th, 1918. At the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, you might want to pause a moment and reflect on all those who have served.

Today is also the eve of "Dinoday" at the library. A feathered T-Rex, her handlers, and her friends will be roaming the library from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Saturday (that's tomorrow if you are reading this on Friday the 11th). There will be activities, contests (best dinosaur gear /costume and best dinosaur roar) and crafts. Plan on attending. It will be ginormous fun!

Now that night is falling so suddenly and creating long evenings that are perfect for reading, you may want to peruse the titles listed below and find the next book you'd like to read. Enjoy!

It seems like only last week that I was encouraging you all to come to the library’s first ever “Haunted Library” event. Thanks to everyone who came to both the outdoor Halloween Party in the morning and who dared to traverse the haunted basement of the library. Now, I shall remind you that since we are now officially in the month of November, we have also moved into “Dinovember” at the library. In a week and a day, we will be celebrating dinosaurs throughout the month by offering crafts and story times featuring dinosaurs. On November 12th, a good part of the day will be devoted to dinosaurs. Our star attraction will be a feathered T-Rex named Delilah. She will be interacting with family groups in the story hour room. There will be crafts and other activities for most ages. The dinosaur fun begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. Be sure to drop by!

The fall weather continues on apace. Some trees have managed to hang on to their leaves although the piles of leaves at the curbs seem to be getting deeper every day. The days are also getting noticeably shorter, which, as far as I’m concerned, creates nice long evenings for reading. Evenings will get even longer this weekend when Daylight Savings Time ends early Sunday morning. Below you will find some titles of books which recently arrived at the library. You may note that the word “Christmas” has crept into some of the new titles. That season will soon be upon us. In the meantime, relax with a good book. Enjoy!

Today, October 28th, is the eve of a new undertaking at the library. In collaboration with DeForest Parks & Rec, the DeForest High School Drama Program, and various student (and otherwise) volunteers, we will be attempting to bring you the first “Haunted Library”. This haunting shall run from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday the 29th. We hope you will join us! If you come to the library during those hours for “normal” library functions, be aware that there may be crowds waiting to descend into the “Haunted Library” and that the Market Street doors will not be in use for those three hours. The “Haunted Library” is intended for Teens and Adults. It is supposed to be at least startling if not downright scary. For the younger crowd there will be a Halloween Party from 10 a.m. to noon with storytimes at the Rocks and games and activities outside, weather permitting. Having a haunted-house type event in a library makes perfect sense. Authors put their hearts and souls into their works and those works endure, sometimes, long after the author has passed on. When you think about it, libraries are collections of the souls of authors that haunt us through the ages. There are a few libraries that purportedly have ghostly hauntings. The Willard Public Library in Evansville, Indiana is one such library. It is famous for the ghost of the Gray Lady. You can find 6 live streaming -- or should that be ghost streaming-- cameras at this site; https://www.willardghost.com/ . It is rather spooky looking at the library at night. One has the sense that anything could happen. Below you will find some non-spooky, non-scary books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

If you looked out your window around 8 a.m. on Monday morning, you might have noticed a few flakes falling from the sky. Yes. That four-letter word that starts with "s" (and ends with "w") has arrived in Wisconsin. And right on time too! The average first trace of snow is October 15th (Monday, in case you get as lost in time as I sometimes do, was the 17th). The first measurable snow, on average. is November 12th. By measurable, I'm guessing that means enough snow to track a cat in. The average date for the first inch of snow is November 25 which is right smack dab between the earliest and latest dates Thanksgiving can fall. It looks like a warming trend-- by the day you read this -- might be in the forecast. I heard robins and saw juncos over the weekend so birds further north of us are beginning to think it might be time to start staging to warmer, more southerly climes. As those of you who have read these words over the course of time know, I am a football fan. I follow the Badgers and the Packers with great interest and often a lot of yelling at the television. I don't even know what to say about this past weekend.Cold conditions should have favored both teams. "Should have" being the operative phrase here. I know there is always next week. But still. Enough said. There are plenty of books to read. Books by your favorite authors can be a little bit like watching your favorite team. Sometimes they astound and amaze you with their excellence. Other times they phone it in. And as always, there's always another book to read. Below, amongst these titles, you might find a new "team" to follow. Enjoy!

s we enter what will soon be the third week of October, the days and nights have turned decidedly colder. My porch plants have come inside and, based on the 10-day forecast, have found their final resting place – unless they decide to winter over. I went to a family baptism last Sunday over near LaCrosse. I would have to say that many of the trees are just gorgeous. Jack Frost has dipped his paintbrush in the neon oranges, reds, and yellows and painted some of the maples spectacularly. Some of the oaks and black tupelos as well turn various shades of red. Some trees, I hate to say it, just seem to be showing off especially when they’re surrounded by their still-green or yellow-leafed neighbors.

As the trees change the birds begin to migrate. Last week I hear red-winged black birds along the Yahara. These aren’t our red-winged black birds, these birds are from further north and have decided it is cold enough to start moving south. Migratory flocks are starting to form and build in number. The hummingbirds which only two weeks ago were still feeding from whatever flowers they could find, now have left the area. Those overnight frost and freezes have taken away their food source. The cranes are much more noticeable now. As fields are harvested, cranes are suddenly visible gleaning corn and other grains off of fields. While cranes will hang around here until their food source is covered by snow, some cranes are beginning to stage into our area and further south as they pack on the pounds to make that migratory flight. Cranes started showing up in the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area south of Valparaiso, Indiana last week. The Indiana DNR repots 2,069 cranes hanging out in that area. And now, for something completely different! Below you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. The fall book-flood has begun! Enjoy!

I take all responsibility. Last week I taunted the weather gods by noting we had yet to have any overnight lows that included that five-letter word that starts with “F”. We had a few mornings last week when there was frost on the rooftops but not cold enough to drag the porch plants inside. A week to the day later, the forecast for Friday night, has an overnight low of 29 degrees. Now that is that other, five-letter word that starts with “F”. It looks like we might get a freeze which would end the growing season – if it happens. I can’t say I would be sad to see some plants quit growing such as ragweed, dock, sorrel, and lambs quarters. Those few frost-flirting nights we had this past week have caused some trees to catch on “fire”. Some maples, ash, sumac are suddenly flaming red and orange. It is October, after all. And speaking of October, did you know the first week of the month is Mystery Series Week, National Carry a Tune Week, National Post Card Week, Customer Service Week and National Newspaper Week. There are now so many national days and dates that I can no longer regale you with some of the quirkier of those days and dates. There are just too many of them. But you could celebrate the ones listed above by coming into the library and reading a mystery (it must be in a series, but almost every book now written is either part of a series or soon to be a series), checking out a cd (so you can “carry a tune”), writing a post card while sitting in one of our comfy chairs, and then reading a newspaper. You can do all of these while smiling, because the first Friday in October is World Smile Day. Whether you’re smiling or not, below you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

One more day and we shall have entered the last quarter of the year, 2022. The past three-quarters of the year have passed at a steady pace with the seasons arriving about when you'd expect them to. The migratory birds showing up perhaps a little earlier than has been their wont in decades past due in some part to slightly warmer springs. We have entered the last week of September without hearing that weather word that starts with "f" in the forecast although this week's overnight lows are flirting with the mid-thirty-degree-temperature range. Why I remember, not too many years ago, when it was not that unusual to see that weather word that starts with "f" on the rooftops as the sun was rising in late August. Birds are beginning to flock up. Hummingbirds seem to be heading south and finally finding my still-blooming-like-gangbusters impatiens on my porch. The red-winged black birds aren't hanging around as individual families but have found large, migratory flocks in marshes and cornfields to join and practice their flying-in-large-groups maneuvers. My crops are still putting out flowers hoping to pollinate on more cherry tomato before the growing season comes. It seems like the whole natural world is holding it's collective breaths and waiting for the seasons to switch. The library world is waiting for the switch from summer beach books to more serious, literary works to appear. I'll let you decide which works are listed below. No judgement here! Enjoy!

In case you missed it, yesterday at 8:03 p.n. the Autumnal Equinox occurred. For all intents and purposes this means that the hours of night and day are equal or about 12 hours each. Having reached the Autumnal Equinox can the Winter Solstice be far away? Well, actually it is 90 days away. On December 21st we'll roll past the shortest day of the year, but as many of you regular readers of this column probably recall, by the time the Winter Solstice rolls around we've started adding back time at the end of the day (when, frankly, most of us notice it) although we continue losing time in the mornings well into the new year. These annual astronomical marks help us define the year. Right now the plants and animals are responding to the loss of daylight. Crops are finishing and turning the landscape into the yellows and greens of Packer country. Migratory birds have already flocked up and if they haven't already left, they are practicing flying in flock formations. Crickets are chirping away. Bees are swarming. Squirrels are storing away food. The whole world has that slightly hazy look that the angle of sunlight at this time of year casts. It is that golden time preceding the end of another growing season. I hope you are getting out and enjoying nature and as twilight comes sooner everyday, that you use this time to settle in with a good book. Below you will find many such books. Enjoy!

If you thought last weekend was miserable -- the Badgers lost, the Packers lost, and we got four inches of rain (according to my rain gauge) from a storm that stalled out over our part of the state for more than 36 hours--then I can almost guarantee that you will find this upcoming weekend (which starts tomorrow) much more enjoyable. I can’t promise that the Badgers will light up the scoreboard nor that the Packers will find a defense and offense to take the field, but if you stop by the library between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m on Saturday, good times will be in store for you. Our annual Harvest Festival is taking place during those hours. There will be crafts, old-fashioned games, food, a petting zoo of farm animals provided by FFA students, and balloon sculpting. The Friends of the DeForest Area Public Library are also having a book sale. So plan to stop by. Activities will be moved inside as much as possible if the weather proves contrary -- but, really. How could it? After this past weekend? I think enough will be enough. We hope to see you on Saturday! Did I mention there would be food? With the Friends book sale in the offing you might not feel the need to seek new titles to read in the list below. On the other hand, the books listed below are piping hot, just off the press. You decide! Enjoy!

Labor Day weekend has come and gone. Now we are well in to "National Library Card Sign Up" month. National Library Card Sign Up month provides an opportunity for all public libraries to remind parents, caregivers and students to get the school year off to the best possible start by signing up for a library card. A library card can be the first step on the path to academic achievement and lifelong learning. This year, Governor Evers not only promoted "National Library Card Sign-Up month by issuing a proclamation, he also established September 6 as "National Read a Book Day" throughout the state of Wisconsin. Sadly, we have already rolled past September 6th, but as stalwart library users, you all know that any day can be a "Read a Book Day" not matter what state or nation you happen to be reading in. My question for everyone I meet during this month is "What's in your wallet?" so I will ask you, Gentle Reader, that same question. "What's in your wallet (or on your key chain)? If you don't have a library card, now's the time to get one. If you do have a library, now's the time to show it proudly at some of our local business partners (checkout our website or on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) and receive a discount! Or come into the library and use your card to checkout some of the exciting new titles listed below. Enjoy!

It is hard to believe that we're already into September. As you all know, September is "National Library Card Sign up Month". This compels me to ask "What's in your wallet?" (or on your key chain). If you don't have a library card you are missing out on access to many, many things. The library is about much more than books. We have cake pans, audio books, dvds, video games, telescopes, a metal detector, geocaching equipment, a metal detector, and wi-fi hot spots just to name the first few things that leapt to my mind. If you already have a library card, this is the month to use it. This is also the month to show it with pride at certain, local businesses who will give you a discount. Check out which businesses are participating on our social media.

Entering the month of September also means that we are finally, truly, completely done with the Summer Reading Program. The final, fun event earned by all the participants has happened. And, I am sorry to report, all the donated dragon dollars have been tallied. Over the next few months I shall be converting those dragon dollars into US dollars and making donations to :The Dane County Humane Society in the amount of $1,111.; $387 to the DeForest Area Needs Network; $351 to the Friends of the Yahara Headwaters; and $753 to the DeForest Area Public Library's Endowment. Jumpin' Jimminy! That's a whole lot of charitable giving coming from our reading program participants. I really shall be looking to get a co-sponsor for converting these dollars going forward. Usually, at this point in this column, I would encourage you all to stay in shape for the Winter Reading Program by perusing and checking out some of the titles listed below. I'm not going to do that. I'll just say the titles are there. Enjoy!

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 808 people participated in the Summer Library Program and 645 of them 31,444 books were read. The books read convert to 2,578,408 pages. That’s almost 4,000 pages read by every participant!

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 (2 times 9” or) 23,205,672 inches—always show your work if you want to receive full credit. Then we take those inches and divide by 12 to give us 1,933,806 feet and then divide by 5,280 to give us 366.25 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 5 miles south of Crane Meadow National Wildlife Area, near Little Falls, Minnesota. If you headed south along 190/194 and then took I65 south you’d be a few miles south of Indianapolis, in Greenwood, 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!

Like all good things, the Summer Reading Program has come to an end. It finished up last Saturday, August 6th. All the books have been tallied, all the logged events, all the badges earned have been computed, all the activities completed have been counted, and all the participants duly noted. Wow!

What a remarkable Summer Reading Program it was. 808 people registered and 645 of those 808 were active readers. There were other ways to participate such as writing reviews, attending events, doing on-line activities and challenges. Those active readers / participants meet every reading challenge we put before them. They rose to the next, higher number, each time to earn rewards for all the readers. Through all their efforts we will be having a final end-of-summer-reading music event – a beach party to celebrates this summer’s “Oceans of Possibilities” theme, and frozen treats for everyone who was part of the Summer Reading Program (and followed directions and comes to the party on August 30th.

Here are the numbers for this year; 31,444 books were read. 357 events were logged. 5,070 activities were completed. 10,528 badges were earned. Tune in next week and I’ll tell you how these numbers compare to last year and how many miles all those pages laid end-to-end would result in. While you’re anxiously awaiting me doing math next week, there are some dandy new books, listed below, for you to read. Enjoy!

The 29th of July. All Harry Potter fans know what two days from this is. That is correct! It will be Harry Potter’s birthday. We have been celebrating Harry’s birthday (Yes. I do know that he is a fictional character; however, in the books, he does have a birthday. Which we are celebrating for the 20th time this year. This is the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter Birthday party at our library. If I’m doing the math correctly-- and I’m not saying that I am-- the first party we held was about four years after the publication of the first book in the series when Harry would have been 11. So Harry (I know he is a fictional character) would have been 15 years old when we started the parties. As I previously noted, we are 20 years into partying with Harry on his big day. That would make him 35 on this July 31st, My how time flies even when you are a wizard. This year we will be celebrating on Saturday, July 30th -- That’s tomorrow!. On Sunday we will be having a wizard rock concert featuring Tonks -- of Tonks on the Aurors. The party will be from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. It will be all around the library grounds (the weather is being handled by the Ministry of Magic and will be perfect for being outside). Tonks will be performing in the Community Room at 3 p.m. If there is any cake left over, we might be serving it then, but I wouldn’t count on it. If you want cake, come to the party on July 30th.


All this talk of birthday parties overshadows the rapidly approaching end of the Summer Reading Program. There is but one week left. It all ends on August 6th. The last I heard, we had 606 active readers, 798 registered readers (so you can still become “active” by adding a title to your account), 23,398 books have been read (so all the reading challenges have been met which means a beach party concert and ice cream for program participants. Yay, you! As you head into the final week, if you are looking for some books to inspire you to read quickly and add another title or two to the totals, cast your eyes further down the page. Below are some of the new books, recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

Suddenly we are at the penultimate Friday in the month of July and this month has five Fridays so it isn’t quite as late as it could be on the fourth Friday of the month. However, it does mean that we are only a week and a day for the library’s twentieth celebration of Harry Potter’s Birthday on Saturday, July 30th. And being a week away from the Harry Potter Birthday Party means we are just about two weeks away from the end of the Summer Reading Program. Now is the time to concentrate on getting those books read. Adults and children of all ages can still earn dragon dollars which can be used to purchase items in our store and which can be donated to one of four local charities – The DeForest Area Needs Network, the Dane County Humane Society, the DeForest Area Public Library’s Endowment Fund, and the due to our water-based theme, the Friends of the Yahara Headwaters. I will convert those dragon dollars into good, old, U.S. dollars and make the contribution to these worthy organizations. If you have been reading, but not recording the titles of the books you’ve been reading, now’s the time to get those titles into Beanstack – the library summer reading app—or get them written down and hand them in. To help you find something to spur your reading efforts on, below you will find some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

Congratulations to all the summer reading program participants! We rolled past the midpoint of the Summer Reading Program on June 28th. With three full weeks left, the first challenge grant has been met. That challenge grant, as you may or may not recall, was for community readers to read 15,000 books. As of July 11th, 16,243 books have been read. That means there will be a Beach Party on Market Street at the library on August 30th. Reading 15,000 more books (we are already 1,243 books towards that goal!) means readers can then unlock a badge that will get them a free ice cream treat at the party! “And how”, I hear you ask, “has this amazing feat be accomplished?” Well, I’ll tell you. 701 people have signed up for the summer reading program of those, 516 active readers have read those 16, 243 books. Participants have also attended and logged 195 events and written 128 reviews. If you are reading this on July 15th, there are 21 days left for you to read and record the books you’ve read. If you haven’t logged the books you’ve read yet – waiting for that big Ta-da at the end – now would be a good time to start logging. Below you might find some interesting titles which recently arrived at the library to spur you on to even greater quantities of reading. Enjoy!

Did we see you watching the Fourth of July parade? There certainly were a lot of folks yelling "We love the library" at us as we distributed candy and little shark gliders ( they go with the Summer Reading Program theme which is "Oceans of Possibilities" and include a QR code to take you all sorts of information about the program). This year the weather cooperated rather strangely. A line of thunderstorms (or at least heavy rain) marched towards DeForest as the parade got underway and held off pretty much until the parade was finished We were in the eighth position so had returned to the library and were deconstructing our lovely float complete with palm trees, fun beach inflatables, and two kiddy pools (one of which was occupied for the entire parade by the library elf. Was he shooting water at people from his watery perch? My lips are sealed but I do know that I was sometimes in the line of fire.) when the first few drops of rain began to fall. It is always great to see so many friends and families. Now that we're past the second big holiday of summer, we at the library will buckle down to put the finishing touches on the Harry Potter Birthday Party which will be on Saturday, July 30th. While you're waiting for this party, you might enjoy reading some of the fascinating new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

As I was driving to work around the 8th of June, I heard crickets chirping in the lawns. I was somewhat worried by this because it is well-known weather lore that it is six weeks from hearing crickets chirping to the first frost. Now, looking at a calendar that would put the first frost around, oh, July 20th. While this has been a crazy summer weather-wise with blistering heat waves followed by heavy rains followed by cool offs and then do it all over again. Even given all that, a frost in the middle of July hardly seems possible. So I did some digging around (librarians call this research) and discovered that the weather lore refers (at least in some cases) to fall crickets. Who knew there were fall crickets, right? Not only are there fall crickets, but there are also spring crickets as well. What I had been hearing were spring crickets. These crickets survive the winter in a juvenile form and as the weather warms, they mature and start chirping. They die off and the fall crickets, who started their post-winter life as eggs, are finally mature and chirping by the end of July or early August.. When the fall crickets start singing is when the countdown to the first frost occurs. I’ll keep you posted on the first frost warnings, but for now, there is still a whole lot of summer yet to come. There are still a whole lot of summer books to be read and enjoyed indoors or outdoors. Below you will find some of the new titles that have arrived recently. Enjoy!

On Tuesday on June 21st, we rolled past the Summer Solstice. While we have just arrived on the other side of the astronomical start of summer, based on the weather, we all know that summer has already been visiting and looks like it will be staying for awhile. We are still weeks away from the midpoint between the holidays that define the summer season. The halfway mark between Memorial Day and Labor Day -- at least this year-- is July 18th, so there is still plenty of summer left to enjoy. Plenty of summer left for gardens to bloom and crops to ripen. Just as astronomical summer doesn’t line up nicely with meteorological summer, neither does our Summer Reading Program line up with either of those determiners of the summer season. Our Summer Reading Program started on May 21st and shall end on August 6th. While we are still a few days away from the midpoint of the Summer Reading Program, the midpoint is drawing near. June 28th is the midpoint. What does this mean for you? Well, it means there is still lots of time to get with the program if you haven’t already and plenty of time to start logging the books you read and the events and activities you participate in. There is still loads of time to earn badges and dragon dollars which you can use to buy really cool stuff in our “store” or which you can donate to designated charities. To encourage your summer reading, you will find below some new titles of books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

The last day of school was two weeks ago today. While the Summer Reading Program began on May 21st, I would be the first to admit that this is a “soft” opening for the program. True, it does give people a little time to get in their reading groove, but students and school folks don’t begin to hit their stride until right about now. We have been keeping track of how many people are signed up, how many books have been read, etc. Last week we had a mere 577 people registered and 5,011 books read. As of Monday, June 13th, there are 605 registered and 393 actively reading (i.e. they have recorded a book read). The total number of books read was 6,227. There have been 1,251 activities recorded as having been done, 56 events logged by participants, and 92 books reviewed. We are way, way, way, ahead of last year’s numbers. I urge you to take advantage of the hot, humid weather that is forecast for this upcoming weekend stay safe and cool indoors and read (or sit outside in the shade and read (remember to stay hydrated!)). Below you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

We’ve certainly had our share of rainy weather lately. It seems like the last day of school rolled past us and all those children just waiting to get outside and play have been kept indoors by rain. The Atlantic Hurricane Season started on June 1st, so perhaps our local weather is having sympathetic showers and thunder storms. Even with a rainy weekend behind us and more rain in the forecast for during the week, I’m not complaining. I have plants in pots (porch pots and driveway pots) that I carry water to when it doesn’t rain. Since sticking those wee plants in the ground back in the middle of May, the rain has been nicely cooperative by falling gently on the potted plants. This rain has also ended the drought we were experiencing here in southern Wisconsin. We were in a moderate drought until all the rain came. As of May 31st we are still “abnormally dry”, we are no longer in a drought. So let it rain! And, as we all know, rainy days are just perfect for settling in with a good book – perhaps after baking something that makes the house smell wonderful (if you are so inclined) or opening something commercially baked. A nice cup of tea, a light refreshment, curling up with a cat and/or dog, and/or significant other, and a good book, and the dark skies and patter of rain make for perfect reading weather. To help you make the best of rainy days, you will find the title of some of the books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

Among other things, today, June 3rd is the last day of school, and if that doesn’t herald the start of summer more than the near-ninety-degree days we had this Memorial Day weekend and that three or four day stretch of highs in the 90s from the 10th through the 13th this May, then nothing will. We are most definitely in summer mode. The sounds of summer are abounding. Not only do we have those silly robins singing in the dark before the sun even begins to think about pulling itself over the horizon, but the whole dawn chorus is lustily vocalizing through a good park of the dawn and dusk (and let’s face it, daylight too) hours. Lawn mowers and weed-whackers are adding their notes to the summer symphony as are motorcycles and other smaller, less-mufflered vehicles. Frogs are croaking. Peepers are peeping. Bees are buzzing. The trees are soughing. The night hawks are blatting as they hunt bugs at dusk. Killdeer are piping. Music is spilling out of car and truck windows are folks cruise around town with their windows rolled down to enjoy the balmy breezes of early summer. The summer symphony is available in surround sound – simply open your house windows or step outside and listen. If it’s too hot or too rainy for soaking in all that summer has to offer. I have some new, summer titles, listed below, that you may like to peruse. Enjoy!

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how fast time flies by. Why it seems like only yesterday when we were anxiously awaiting Booky the Library Badger’s prognostication on Ground Hog’s Day and now here we are on the eve of the first holiday of summer. The Summer Reading Program is already underway. It started with a rather soft opening on May 21st. I know some of you have already signed up and have started to record the books you have read. Winter sports such as basketball and hockey are slowly working their way towards final playoffs – which must mean that summer isn’t far away. My porch pots (and driveway) vegetable garden plants got set out a week ago Sunday and went into the “ground” this past weekend. That’s two weeks earlier than the planting date I have used for years, i.e. Memorial Day. Sure, there was a touch of frost on the rooftops near the river one morning, but the growing season has definitely started. Last week’s dearth of new book titles was remedied at the end of this past week with the arrival of a few boxes of books. I have been reassured by our book jobber that more are definitely on the way. Rejoice! There will be new books to help you achieve great feats of reading this summer. Below are some of the new titles which arrived this past week at the library. Enjoy!

Today is Endangered Species Day. If you are an inveterate reader of new hardcover, or soft cover books or, let’s just use a broader term and go with paper-based books you might feel a bit endangered at this library this week. For reason known only to the book publishers, book jobbers, and book shipping companies we have no new books to write about this week. Gasp! I know! This hardly ever happens. But that won’t stop me from talking about books! No sirree! Staff has put together a list of book titles they have been reading and which they have liked. This list shall appear on Beanstack in this year’s Summer Reading Program section. Below are some of the titles our staff recommends to you. Enjoy!

I hope you are enjoying this Friday the 13th and are not suffering from triskaidekaphobia. If you care to use a rare term for this phobia, try “paraskavedekatriaphobia” or the even rarer “friggatriskaidekaphobia.”

All three terms describe the fear of the number 13. While 12 has always been considered a good, complete number – think the 12 days of Christmas, the 12 Apostles, the 12 months, the 12 signs of the zodiac—the number 13 has been considered an unlucky number. Possibly from the 13th guest at the Last Supper and Loki being the 13th guest at a dinner in Vahalla that upset the balance of the gods. Some point to that rueful day in October, 1307 when 100s of Knights Templar were arrested by King Phillip IV of France, the organizations treasurers ransacked, and many of the knights were executed. That’s a pretty bad Friday the 13th and may have given rise to the superstition around that day and date combination being extremely unlucky. I would have to say that this Friday the 13th is somewhat unlucky for you, dear reader. I only have 8 – count them 8—new books for you to contemplate adding to your wish lists. I will point out that eight is considered the luckiest number in China and in numerology is a highly desired number. Enjoy these few new titles this week and, if we’re lucky, there will be many more books to tell you about next week.

It is hard to believe with the run of below normal temperatures and the above normal cloudy, gray, dreary days we’ve been having that we are already at the end of the first week of May. May the month when all the showers we endured in April bring forth the lovely, fragrant, colorful, sun-dappled flowers of May. We are promised a warm up by the weather gurus. This warmup includes a temperature of 70 degrees on one day and mid-60s preceding and following. I am not impressed. I have been impressed by how many books are being published. The drought and dearth during the height of the pandemic is being made up for by the torrential floods of books being published now. We are well into the spring titles lists and are heading rapidly towards the summer reading publication lists. All this means there are many books for you to choose from at the library – a sampling of which you’ll find listed below. Here is a brief public service announcement: As of May 6th, there are 14 days before the Summer Reading Program starts. May 21st is the date when you can register for the program, start recording books, start taking challenges, and begin to earn badges and dragon dollars. More details will be available soon. In the meantime, below you will find some of recently-arrived book titles. Enjoy!

While the temperatures (after that one day that hit 80 degrees (or more according to the thermometer on my porch) have not been particularly spring like, the flora seems to be ignoring the chilly days and nights and just carrying on. The trees are budding out, the grass is growing, the flowers are peeping out of the ground and some have been so rash as to actually bloom. Birds are not only singing as they look for partners, many have begun building nests. Why some are even sitting on nests even as I write. Grouse and turkeys, blue jays and crows, pigeons and mourning doves are all about to beginning nesting (if they haven’t already started). May is the month – which is only a day away from today’s public day—is the month when all the songbirds settle down and start raising families. I hope we are done with the snow at least. I don’t think there is a sadder sight than a robin walking around in the snow looking puzzled as he lifts his tiny shoulders and sings “What the heck?” instead of his usual “Cheer up!” song. If you need some cheering up while waiting for spring to definitively arrive, stop by the library and check out some of these new titles. There’s lots to choose from in this latest batch of books. Enjoy!

Even though there was snow on the ground this past Monday morning and the robins were walking around in a daze singing “What’s up?” What’s up” instead of their usual “Cheer up!” song, the Winter Reading Program is truly over. All the numbers are in which I shall begin to reveal to you in the next sentence. This year we had 139 participants compared to the 123 in 2021. There were 2,736 badges earned compared to the 1,542 earned last year. This intrepid band of readers managed to plow through an astonishing 9,969 books. This is a 25.5 % increase over the 7,942 books read last year. That’s over 2000 more books read. And reading all those books earned lots and lots of dragon dollars many of which were turned in to support local charities (I donate U.S. dollars in the amount of dragon dollars our readers have put towards their choice of four charities). This year the DeForest Area Public Library Endowment was the big winner earning $361( compared to $293 last year) ; Dane County Humane Society received $282 ( compared to $155 last year); DeForest Area Needs Network got $135 and the National Eagle Center received $147 (our Winter theme featured eagles this year, hence this dragon dollar donation option). Thanks to all the participants for reading and donating. Now there are a few weeks for you to relax before you start training for the Summer Reading Program which isn’t that far away – even if there was snow on the ground this week! Below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

Last Saturday I took part in the Annual Midwest Crane Count. During the height of the pandemic the count wasn’t held. Last year it was held but my counting buddy wasn’t up to prolonged time in a confined area with a non-household member, so I did it myself. This year was the first time since 2019 that the crane count was “normal”. We left from my parking lot a little before 5 a.m. and drove to a new counting site location. So we could begin the 2-hour count at 5:30. It was at Paradise Marsh a DNR wildlife area which is up near Cambria. It was very, very, dark. We were on county “letter” roads almost the entire way. It was very dark. There are no street lights. Many roads lack midline striping and fog lines are fairly non-existent. The area was thick with deer in the dawn twilight. We missed the turn off to the DNR parking lot because it wasn’t mark and was on a pot-holed, gravel road. When we stopped the car to check out the site there were cranes unison calling behind us (4 pairs) and in front of us (2 pairs). It is my observation that cranes don’t activate until daylight is well-advanced. The red-patch on their heads is a solar panel, I contend, that needs a certain level of light to power-up the birds.

We tried exploring the area on foot but gave up quickly then circled the area in the car. Pairs of cranes, and families of threes flew across the road the largest grouping we saw was 18. This was after 7 15 a.m. We probably saw about 40 cranes and dodged about the same number of deer earlier in the morning. Wildlife abounds just a little ways out of town. Being awake as the rest of humanity sleeps and watching the rosy-fingered dawn spread across the sky while the birds waken and start singing is awesome in the true sense of the word. You too could become a crane counter. There’s always next year. In the meantime, below you will find some of the books which recently arrived at our library. Enjoy!

We will be celebrating our 20th year in this building on Saturday, April 9th. I thought I would give you some comparisons that I, at least, find interesting. In 2002, the library had 53,194 books in its collection. In 2021, the last year we have data for, we owned 61,784 books. The library had 2,798 audio items – including books-on-cassette, books-on-cd, and music cds. In 2022, the library owns 7,146 audio items—including digital audio books, books-on-cd, and music cds. In 2002, the library owned 6,381 video items – including VHS and DVD formats. In 2022, we own 12,591 video items made up of DVDs and BluRay formats, but no VHS. No kits or equipment were reported in 2002. In 2022, the library has 4,932 items in this category. During these past 20 years library collections weren’t the only things increasing. For example in 2002, a gallon of gas was (on average) $1.65 this past month in Wisconsin the average was $3.78. A gallon of milk went from $2.76 to $4.02 (on average nationwide). Eggs went from $1.03 a dozen to $2.25. But you know what hasn’t gone up in the past twenty years? How much the library charges for fines and copies. In 2001, fines were raised from 5 cents a day to 10 cents a day for most items and the cost for copies went from 10 cents apiece to 15 cents. That price has remained the same to this very day. Your public library is still quite the bargain. While you’re thinking about the past twenty years and how much (or how little) you have changed, you will find a list of the books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy! And stop by on the 9th from 10a.m. to 1p.m. to help us celebrate our 20 years in this remarkable building. (BTW, there shall be cake!).

Today is April Fools’ Day. It is a holiday celebrate in much of Europe, parts of the Middle East and the United States. There are many pranks associated with it including sending people on hunts for left-handed monkey wrenches. Ukraine has some interesting customs – and since it is so much in the news these days I thought I would tell you what Wikipedia has to say about them. April Fools' Day is widely celebrated in Odessa and has the special local name “Humorina” - in Ukrainian. This holiday arose in 1973. An April Fools’ prank is revealed by saying, (in Ukrainian) "April the First, I trust nobody" - to the recipient. The festival includes a large parade in the city center, concerts, street fairs,and performances. Festival participants dress up in a variety of costumes and walk around the city fooling around and pranking passersby. One of the traditions on April Fools' Day is to dress up the main city monument in funny clothes. Humorina even has its own logo — a cheerful sailor in a lifebelt. During the festival, special souvenirs bearing the logo are printed and sold everywhere. Since 2010, April Fools' Day celebrations include an International Clown Festival and both are celebrated as one. Breaking News!! New Flash!! James Patterson has announced he will write no more. He has hung up his pen, broken his pencils, and unplugged his laptop! But don’t despair. There are still many new books which recently arrived at the library. They are listed below. Enjoy!

The year 2002 was an interesting year for many reasons. Cast your mind back to those thrilling days of your when Windows XP was being shipped on computers. Napster was filing bankruptcy. Computers came with disk drives although flash drives were coming into common use I am leading off with this because 2002 was the year this library moved from the shopping plaza on Main Street (where North and South is now) to our current location. That move was occurring 20 years ago today and last week and back to the end of February. By 20 years ago today we had had our soft opening, had pretty much all the phones and computers working, had most of our collections mostly in place (although not mostly in order), and were welcoming you all to the beautiful new library. A lot has changed since then. We have filled out shelves and rearranged collections and brought in different furniture and some of the faces of library staff have changed as well. We plan on having our 20th Anniversary of the library being at this location on April 9th at an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hope to see you there! As much as some things change over the course of 20 years, some things remain the same or almost the same. I, for example, am still here. This column for example is still here. There is something to be said for persistence! Think of how many columns have been written over those 20 years. Say I missed a few weeks every year but even so, that number approaches 1,000. Think of how many books that were mentioned on average maybe a dozen so 12, 000 books. Does that seem possible? Check my math but I think that's right. In the meantime, below you will find some more books to add to that total. Enjoy!

While Spring doesn't officially arrive until this coming Sunday at 10:33 a.m., the signs that Spring has indeed arrived early--as predicted by Booky, the library's prognosticating Badger)-- abound. Robins that were appearing only in pairs or foursomes a couple of weeks ago are now flocked up in trees looking for berries while waiting for the warm weather and melting snow to bring earthworms to the surface. We have shifted to Daylight Savings Time which works great for me. My cats during the Standard Time portion of the year are trying to roust me out of bed anytime after 3 a.m. although I can usually "simmer" for a while (as my grandmother used to call that state of not being quite awake nor really asleep). Now I'm getting to sleep, actually sleep, until past 4 a.m. and I get to go to bed an hour "early". You can see how Daylight Savings Time works well for me. Along with the robins and other birds as harbingers of Spring, we also have motorcycles. I have spotted more than 12 over this past weekend alone. Our final indicator -- aside from the April like warmth we are having this week-- is that we are into the final basketball tournaments of the month. One news channel is calling for the possibility of a winter storm on Thursday night. I guess we'll have to wait and see if the Badgers have to slog their way through snow to get to their NCAA game in Milwaukee on Friday night. All the signs are pointing towards Spring having arrived. Oh, yeah. The Spring book titles are also arriving some of which are listed below. Enjoy!

Well, you know what they say about Wisconsin weather: "If you don't like it, wait five minutes." It certainly has been a topsy-turvy week weather-wise. Why wasn't it only Saturday that we had fifty-degree weather and rain during the day followed by some rip-roaring thunderstorms that night. This was followed a day later with a snow storm that started in the wee hours of the morning and came down with great vigor until 8 a.m. when it started to clear off. Is this the traditional March (weather) Madness that we all associate with basketball playoffs (both high school and collegiate)? I would say "yes". Is it the only March Madness snow storm for the season? I would say "We will have to wait and see." I would have to say, observing this snow storm on Monday morning that it is a very pretty snow. It has hung very nicely in the trees and covered the detritus that winter has strewn about on the ground. Of course, this snow-globe-winter-wonderland look won't last. By Tuesday, of this week it's supposed to be forty degrees which should get rid of most of this latest snow fall. If this roller coaster weather has had a negative effect on your normally cheery outlook. take a break by escaping into a book. Below are some of the newest titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

This past weekend, I made a very quick trip out to Kearney, Nebraska to see the start of the sandhill crane migration. Long-time readers of this column know that this is an annual pilgrimage for me. At least it was until 2019 when a blizzard intervened, and then there was 2020, and then there was 2021. Those two pandemic years didn't keep the cranes from migrating (I saw thousands of cranes standing on the sandbars of the Platte River on a live-streaming webcam.) they just kept me from joining up with the flack. Ah, but this year! The weather and the downturn in Covid cases put me on the road. On Valentine's Day a survey of the area had over 27,500 cranes in the area. By the time I got there on Friday, late afternoon, there were maybe four times as many. I also go before the tourist season really starts so the cranes hang out, gleaning the cornfields, very close to the road. A huge flock grabbed air and launched into the sky so close to my car that I could hear the wind through their wings. This awesome sight is a rite of spring for me. Not only are there cranes, meadowlarks are around singing and huge, migratory flocks of red-winged black birds dot the landscape. Spring is definitely right around the corner -- or about 600 miles due west of here. Below you will find some of the new spring titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy! and keep your eyes and ears tuned for the arrival of our avian harbingers of spring!

We are only a few days away from the end of February, and what an unsettled month it has been. A little bit of snow (very little actually; we are in a drought after all), warm-ups followed by overnight lows in below zero, our first ever snow squall weather alert, and sunny, fifty-degree weather a couple of days later. The end of February looks to be a bit of ice and a bit of snow and then on to March. March as we all know, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. By the time March 1st -- just in time for Mardi Gras-- the temperatures may be rising again. High School basketball tournaments start the 10th of March (girls followed by boys) and flow through the 19th right into the NCAA tournaments. Now those of us who have lived in Wisconsin for more than a few minutes know that there is always a major, wet, snow storm during this time period. This one is almost for sure the last snow storm of winter, because spring arrives on March 20th. All that being said, there are only a few more weeks of winter weather to be gotten through, and what better way to get through them than with a good book? Below you will find a listing of some of the recently-arrived books at the library. Check them out, and enjoy!

A bit of a cold snap followed by a bit of a warm-up followed by a bit of a cold snap and suddenly we are heading into the 3rd week of February. After Presidents’ Day on Monday, February 21st, we shall be done February holidays. We will also, probably, be past the time when sub-zero daylight high temperatures are possible. The days are getting noticeably longer. Since those darkest days of the year – way back in the middle of December when sunset was at 4:22 and sunrise at 7:18 we have leaped forward to sunrise at 6:51 and sunset at 5:33. We’re gaining a minute at sunrise and sunset everyday as we march forward to March and edge closer and closer to the astronomical first day of spring, also known as the spring equinox. We recently passed St. Valentine’s Day which is a time that some birds start seriously dating. The Great Horned Owl and Rock Pigeons have not only started dating, they have started picking out apartments and china patterns. The rest of the owls that hang around Wisconsin will join the Great Horned Owls in the last couple of weeks of March as will the mourning doves. Signs of spring are starting to pop up if you know where to look. Soon, it won’t matter where you look. For now, I’m sure we have a few more snow storms (or the threat of them) to get through. Until then, we have basketball and books to get us through. Below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

We passed the first February holiday last week with Booky the Badger predicting an early spring. This past Sunday, it certainly felt like Booky's prediction was right on target with temperatures (at least on my back porch) reaching a sultry 41 degrees. February has so many holidays. Groundhogs' Day, Valentine's Day, Lincoln and Washington's birthdays combined into President's Day, and the Super Bowl. As we get further into February, the days continue to get noticeably longer. Since the first of the year we've gained twenty minutes of daylight in the morning and a little over forty minutes in the evening. That extra hour of daylight is invigorating. Our avian friends are certainly feeling more vigorous. Song birds are starting to practice their pickup lines for once the dating season truly gets underway. Chickadees are starting to engage in aerial combat as they start eyeing potential nest and territory sites. Owls are hooting away defending nests and looking for dates. Life is starting to stir. These longer evenings and longer mornings aren't just good for one's attitude. Both of these periods of expanded light are ideal times to pick up a book and read! Below you will find some of the recently-arrived books at the library. Check them out and enjoy!

By the time you read this, Booky, our prognosticating Badger shall have us all know whether or not winter will entrench itself for a long, cold spell. By the time you read this we all may be smiling because winter is on its way out and we might be expecting an early spring. Speaking of an early spring, as I’m sure you all recall that not only is the Winter Reading Program underway, but that it will not end until spring (officially) arrives in the area on roundabout March 20th. That being said, and since we are just finishing up the month of January, that means you still have nearly two months in which to participate. And I would encourage you to sign up. So far we have 101 people actively participating in the reading program. That means reading and logging books, taking part in activities, writing reviews, earning badges, and taking part in competitions. Sure, the numbers look impressive. So far, 3,042 books have been rad, 590 have attended or partaken in activities, 21 reviews have been written, and 1,055 badges earned. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider it was a mere 101 individuals who achieved these. Think of how many more books could be read, reviews written, badges earned if you joined the Winter Reading Program and participated. Join today and see what numerical heights we can scale. And to help inspire you to read, below you will find some of the books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

It is hard to believe that a week from today we will not only be in the month of February, but also past that mid-winter holiday all of us weather-watchers look forward to (whether with hope, or dread, or, perhaps, trepidation). We shall roll past Ground Hogs Day next Wednesday. We usually trot out Booky our prognosticating badger on that day to challenge Punxsutawney Phil and Sun Prairie's Jimmy the Ground Hog. Our Booky has proved a remarkably accurate forecaster so you may want to watch our social media for his prediction. Unlike his fellow predictors of the remaining length of winter who get up at the crack of dawn, Books prefers to wake up gently, have his cup of coffee, read the newspaper, and then step outside to see what day might hold. Even if all three of these animal forecasters predict an extended winter season you can be sure of a couple of things. First, that no matter how long the winter weather persists, the Winter Reading Program will end on the first day of spring by March 20th. The second thing you can be sure of is that while the days are getting longer there is still prime reading time to be had in the evenings (and mornings too). And finally, there are plenty of new books for you to peruse, skim, and dig into. Below are some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

We are well into the third week of January and well into the Winter Reading Program. This third week of January seems to me – and admittedly I am running on memory and observation (and memory of observations)—to always be the coldest week of the year. It is always so heart-lifting to have the days get longer but there is an old weather adage that says “as the days lengthen, the cold strengthens”. This does seem to be the case in Wisconsin. And during these cold days of January, what better activity then to curl up with a good book? All those good books you read can be added to your Winter Reading Log and redeemed for dragon dollars to use in our store. If you don’t need any prize you and donate to one or some of the charities for which I am willing to convert dragon dollars to U.S. dollars and make that donation. Below you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy (and sign up for the Winter Reading Program, and record what your read!)!

Speaking of the Winter Reading Program, this Saturday – well before the first football kickoff of the divisional playoffs – we have a juvenile eagle and some raptor friends coming to the library. There will be two sessions. The first at 10 a.m. and the second at 11:30a.m. Since this program has limited space, we are offering it twice. This is your opportunity to meet some majestic raptors in person. Our friends from Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center will introduce you to a live bald eagle and a great gray owl, along with two other raptors. Registration is required due to limited space. 

What about those Packers, eh? Sure they clinched the top seed and a bye week but really. Losing to the Detroit Lions? That is just so wrong. Let me just say, in my humble opinion, that winning is a habit and every game is important and should be played to win. And that's all I have to say on that subject. Moving on, I'm sure you have all noticed because you are keen observers of the world, that the sunlight is returning.We get our coldest weather as the sun starts hanging in the sky longer. It is really noticeable, to me anyway, once one gets through with the holidays and gets back to a regular work routine. Back in December, on the 14th to be somewhat precise, sunset was at 4:30. From that date on, we started gaining light at the end of the day. Tomorrow, on the 15th the sun will set at 4:55. Sunrise too has begun to get earlier. After getting later and later until the 2nd of January (and for a few days afterwards) it was 7:33 a.m. Today it rises at 7:30 so we've gained three minutes on the front end of the day. All-in-all we're making good progress. Speaking of progress, are you making progress in adding books to your Winter Reading Record? Are you making progress in using Hoopla the library's new book/magaine/comics/movie/audioboo/music streaming service? If you need help with Hoopla we are here to help you! Give us a call or stop in. If you need books to read to help your progress in the Winter Reading Program, you will find some new titles listed below which may engaging your desire to read. Enjoy!

We are just finishing up the first week of January, 2022. I hope that you did all the things you needed to do to insure a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year and by that I mean eating black-eyed peas, corn, peas (which represent pennies, dollars, and gold); or pork or bacon (because they're fat and will bring a "fat" new year?); or eating 12 grapes quickly for good luck in each of the next 12 months; or pomegranates for abundance -- just think of all those juicy seeds!; or noodles for longevity (because they are long?); or rice because it is a staple (if you've got it, you won't starve?); honey and oranges because they are sweet and expensive?); or fish (herring on the front stoop if your Scandinavian) for abundance; or cabbage because it's green, looks like money, and in slang terms "cabbage" is money. If you haven't insured your good luck for the year yet, there is still probably time to correct things by eating properly but don't delay! Good luck is already coming your way since there is a Winter Reading Program underway for you to record what you read and earn prizes as well as attend fascinating programs on our theme "Soar with Reading" which is about eagles and other raptors. To help start you reading -- you did make that resolution, right? To read a book a day checked out from your public library or read through Overdrive or Hoopla/)-- a list of the books which recently arrived at the library are listed below. Enjoy!