February Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting five book discussions in February. The groups are open to the public and newcomers are encouraged to attend. Anyone interested should call the library at 382-3717 to learn more or to reserve a book. Zoom links are available on the Library’s website or you can email [email protected] to be added to any of the five groups’ email distribution lists. Funds for multiple copy sets were generously provided by Friends of Decorah Public Library.

For more information, contact Carmen Buss (Friday Book Group), Zach Row-Heyveld (Cookbook Group) or Kristin Torresdal (Happy Hour, History, and Speculative Fiction Book Groups) at 563-382-3717.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors

The Happy Hour Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Feb. 9 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Kawai Strong Washburn’s “Sharks in the Time of Saviors.” In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When sharks appear in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends. Nainoa’s family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods—a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But this supposed divine favor eventually begins to drive the family apart.

 

 

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking

Cookbook Book Group will meet on Thursday, February 10 at 7 p.m. to discuss Toni Tipton-Martin’s James Beard Award winning cookbook “Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking.” Cook along with pioneering figures in African American cuisine, from enslaved chefs to middle- and upper-class writers and entrepreneurs. With more than 100 stories and recipes, from classics such as Sweet Potato Biscuits, Seafood Gumbo, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Pecan Pie with Bourbon to lesser-known but even more decadent dishes like Bourbon & Apple Hot Toddies, Spoon Bread, and Baked Ham Glazed with Champagne, Jubilee presents techniques, ingredients, and dishes that show the roots of African American cooking—deeply beautiful, culturally diverse, fit for celebration.

 

Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I

The History Book Group will meet via Zoom Thurs. Feb. 17 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Charles Spencer’s “Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I.” On August 18, 1648, with no relief from the siege in sight, the royalist garrison holding Colchester Castle surrendered and Oliver Cromwell’s army ended the rule of Charles I of England. Yet still, the king refused to accept he had lost the war. As France and other allies mobilized in support of Charles, a tribunal was hastily gathered and a death sentence was passed. On January 30, 1649, the King of England was executed. This is the account of the fifty-nine regicides, the men who signed Charles I’s death warrant.

 

God Land

The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Fri. Feb. 18 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Lyz Lenz’s “God Land.” In the wake of the 2016 election, Lyz Lenz watched as her country and her marriage were torn apart by the competing forces of faith and politics. A mother of two, a Christian, and a lifelong resident of middle America, Lenz was bewildered by the pain and loss around her—what was happening to faith in the heartland? Part journalism, part memoir, “God Land” is a journey into the heart of a deeply divided America. Lenz visits places of worship across the heartland and speaks to the everyday people who often struggle to keep their churches afloat.

 

Far From the Light of Heaven

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Feb. 23 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Tade Thompson’s “Far From the Light of Heaven.” The colony ship “Ragtime” docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years to bring one thousand sleeping souls to a new home among the stars. But when first mate Michelle Campion rouses, she discovers some of the sleepers will never wake. Answering Campion’s distress call, investigator Rasheed Fin is tasked with finding out who is responsible for these deaths. Soon a sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel, one that will have repercussions for the entire system—from the scheming politicians of Lagos station, to the colony planet Bloodroot, and even to Earth itself.

 

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Black History Month Storytime

2/7
10 am

Join Decorah Public Library for a storytime with stretches, scarves, and shaker eggs.  This storytime will highlight books by Black creators.  A craft inspired by a contemporary Black children’s book illustrator will be available to participants afterwards.  Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

No registration required.  Sponsored by Friends of the Decorah Public Library

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This will be an active program with about 20 minutes of stories, stretches, and rhymes followed by time and space for unstructured play and caregiver socialization.  The Black History Month content will be age appropriate to toddlers and will involve highlighting Black creators, rather than talking explicitly about race.  (But if you’re looking for resources for such conversations we are happy to help.) We understand that in a multi-age setting that attention spans will vary and welcome you to participate at the level that feels appropriate. Covid-19 considerations: For this indoor storytime we will do rhymes, rhythms, and games instead of songs.  The Children’s Librarian will be wearing a mask and masks will be available for others that would prefer to wear one.  Please feel free to reach out to Rachael at [email protected] for any additional questions about accessibility, accommodations or logistics.

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2/22: Take-and-Make Tuesday: Gee’s Bend Inspired Paper Quilts

Take and make decorative image

Celebrate Black History month with a Take-and-Make. 

We provide the supplies for a project–you pick them up at the library and do the project at home. 

— :  Gee’s Bend inspired paper quilts

Please pick up materials at the library Tuesday 2/22 between 9 am and 7 pm. Supplies are limited. Register early to guarantee a space. Registration ends 2/14 at 3 pm.

Registration required please use form below to register.

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Paula Modersohn-Becker Birthday Party with Arthaus

Paula Modersohn-Becker Birthday Party with Arthaus
2/8: 3:30-5 pm at ArtHaus

Join ArtHaus to celebrate the 68th birthday of  Paula Modersohn-Becker, a German painter and one of the most important representatives of early expressionism. Enjoy cake with the artist (actor) as she tells about her life and create a piece of art inspired by her style.

Children of all ages.  Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.  Pre-registration required.  Sponsored by Friends of Decorah Public Library.

What to expect: During this program the artist (played by a community member) will meet participants, talk about her work, and answer questions.  We will then do a project inspired by her work and end by eating birthday cake.  Participants who prefer not to eat during this program are welcome to take their cake to-go.

This event requires registration. Please use form below to register.

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Dog Tales

Tuesdays
02/08, 02/22
4:30-5:30 pm

Independent readers are welcome to join us in reading to some adorable four-legged friends. Our visitors are certified therapy dogs (with their trainers), and are more than excited to see you.

What you can expect:  This drop-in program invites emerging readers to read with a certified therapy dog and their trainer.  Dogs and trainers will be available on a first come first serve basis in DPL’s children’s section.  Readers can select a book of their choice to read with a dog.  Participants can read a book with the dog…or more than one book if their aren’t other readers waiting.  It’s an opportunity to both practice skills and to have positive and affirming experiences with books and with the library.  Readers are “old enough” to participate when they can engage with a book independently and be safe and respectful with our animal visitors–we’re not necessarily looking for a specific level of phonic fluency.  Readers under 8 should be accompanied by an adult.  Please feel free to reach out to Rachael at [email protected] for any additional questions about accessibility, accommodations or logistics.

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Absolute Science: Bigger Bang Bubbles!

Saturday 3/5
11 am

This show will leave all ages feeling like a kid again. If you liked Absolute Science’s Big Bang Bubbles Show, you’ll LOVE Bigger Bang Bubbles!  It has smoke bubbles, helium bubbles, fire bubbles and MORE!  Watch our exciting, educational show that will take ordinary bubbles into the realm of extreme and learn the science behind it all! 

Appropriate for all age groups. Sponsored by the Friends of Decorah Public Library and the Marion E. Jerome Foundation. 

Registration is required and space is limited. Please use form below to register.

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2/15: Take-and-Make Tuesday: Alma Woodsey Thomas Inspired Art

Take and make decorative image

Celebrate Black History month with a Take-and-Make. 

We provide the supplies for a project–you pick them up at the library and do the project at home.

— :   Alma Woodsey Thomas inspired Art

Please pick up materials at the library Tuesday 2/15 between 9 am and 7 pm. Supplies are limited. Register early to guarantee a space. Registration ends 2/7 at 3 pm. 

Registration required please use form below to register.

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Enter the total number of people in your group attending or participating in this event

First and last name of person/s attending or participating in the event. Separate multiple names with a comma.

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Most Popular YA 2021

What did Decorah Public Library users read last year?  We’re sharing the three books with the highest circulation from our YA section.  Coming in at number 1 with 22 circulations since it arrived at Decorah Public Library in April is Angeline Boulley’s debut novel The Firekeeper’s Daughter. 

What else did we check-out?  Our 4th most popular book was–fun fact–a tie between TEN titles:  Clap when you land, Siege and storm, Six of crows, Legendborn, The Forest of stolen girls, A Pho love story, Elatsoe, A Court of mist and fury, A Court of thorns and roses, The Mermaid, the witch, and the sea, and Love is a revolution.  

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2022 Decorah Public Library Annual Report

Text only version below image. Click here for a downloadable pdf version.

Decorah Public Library Annual Report Jan 2022

Decorah Public Library Annual Report

Kristin Torresdal, Director

Board of Trustees:

Andrea Beckendorf, Ed Brooks, Bob Felde, Scott Fjelstul, Andrew Hageman, Shannon Horton Elliott Johnson, Cheryl Pellett, & Shanna Putnam Dibble

LIBRARY UPDATES

Staffing: DPL staff were hard at work this year finding new and inventive ways to meet community needs in an

ever-shifting environment. The library filled several vacant staff positions that are key to helping the organization better serve the community.

Programs: Our 2021 programs took us outdoors, indoors, online, and a mix of all the above as library staff responded to the ebbs and flows of the pandemic and direct feedback from library users.

Library staff offered weekly

take-and-make activities for kids and their caregivers, in-person, online, and hybrid book discussion groups for adults, and ongoing drop-in programs for children and families.

Building: We were able to reopen the building to the public this year after being closed for interior renovations and the pandemic. Library users have commented repeatedly about how good the building looks after the renovations. The library also began replacing all signage in the building to align with updated branding guidelines.

Technology: Thanks to a grant through the State Library, staff were able to install a videoconferencing platform in the library’s public meeting room that allows groups to participate in virtual and hybrid meetings.

Other: Library staff created a new marketing plan and rebranding effort to attract new and inactive library users.

UPDATE FROM THE CHILDREN’ S AND YOUNG ADULT DEPARTMENT

This year we collaborated with Decorah Public Schools, Winneshiek County Conservation, Decorah Parks and Recreation, Root to Rise Community Wellness, ArtHaus, HSAP, the Decorah Volunteer Firefighters, Crave Dance Studio, Brittany Todd Photography, Vesterheim, Absolute Science, the Mississippi River Museum, the International Owl Center, and others to offer distanced and in-person programs indoors, outdoors, and at home.

Some highlights include

  • Creating Take-and-Make projects for over 3,000 registered participants (that’s over twice as many as we did in 2020!)
  • Curating 3 Book Walks around Decorah with Parks and Recreation and Decorah Public Schools
  • Hosting over 150 Decorah middle schoolers on field trips to the library this spring
  • Field Trips on Foot in June and Biking Field trips this fall
  • Outdoor parties, storytimes and yoga at Phelps park, the Decorah Middle School playground, and the Decorah prairie’s butterfly garden
  • Reintroducing Dog Tales and welcoming a pack of Papillon puppies into the Dog Tales crew
  • Having a firetruck visit the library parking lot
  • Costume making at ArtHaus
  • Seeing over 300 of you at the Absolute Science Bubble Stations this fall
  • Co-hosting book clubs with the Decorah Home School Program and Decorah High School
  • Outreach storytimes at John Cline, Carrie Lee, Sunflower, and St. Ben’s
  • Seeing so many kids and grown-ups petting a corn snake during the Mississippi River Museum’s visit
  • Crafting after school on Thursdays throughout November & December

We couldn’t have done any of this without your interest, ideas, energy, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Our library
community amazes and inspires us. Thank you for being part of it!

STATISTICS

Library Staff and Population Served:

  • Library staff: 12 (10.48 FTE)
  • RSVP staff: 2 (1.4 FTE)
  • Library users: 6,778 (up 3.7% from last year)

Circulation:

  • 91,618 (total checkouts of all items, both physical and digital) (down just 11.5%, despite being closed to the public July-February and offering curbside only)

Interlibrary Loan:

  • We lent 731 items to other libraries and borrowed 859 items for our patrons

Large Print Collection:

  • 9,395 items were checked out 16,124 times to local patrons, care facilities, and over 120 libraries across the state.

Programming and Outreach:

  • 264 programs with 6,592 attendances (in person, hybrid, virtual, inside/outside/distanced) despite being closed to the public until late February, 2021.

Technology:

  • 981 wired internet sessions and 5455 wireless internet sessions
  • Usage of BRIDGES (free digital audio books and e-books) increased 15% over the year prior- on average 496 library users checked out nearly 2600 items per month

note: all statistics are from our official state reporting period, July 2020–June 2021

Community Services:

  • The Northeast Iowa Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for which DPL serves as host and fiscal agent has grown from 451 to more than 500 volunteers; these volunteers meet critical community needs at 70 nonprofit stations in a 3-county area (the majority in Winn. Co.). Volunteers served over 23,000 hours this year.
  • Certified Notary Public services available free of charge (Mon-Fri 8-5, by appointment)
  • Long Distance Learning test proctoring available free of charge
  • Local Public Access TV- the library runs the TV channel which assists local municipalities,  schools,  and nonprofits with publicizing  local events and broadcasting programming (i.e. City Council meetings and local church services)

Funding:

  • City of Decorah
  • Winneshiek County
  • Friends of Decorah Public Library
  • State Library of Iowa
  • Marion E. Jerome Foundation
  • Joey Headington Memorial
  • First United Methodist Church Trust
  • Individual donors

Looking Ahead

In 2022, Decorah Public Library is renewing its accreditation with the State Library of Iowa, launching a new strategic plan, rolling out new children’s and adult programs, and continuing to find new and innovative ways to serve library users.

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Preschool Skating Party with Parks and Rec

Preschool skating party inforgraphic
2/3
3:15-4:15

Join us at the ice rink for a storytime and skating party! We will a couple read stories about skating in the warming hut and then head outside for a skate.  Hot drinks and snacks will be provided outdoors.  Sponsored by Friends of Decorah Public Library.

Registration required by 1/28. Use the form below to register.

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