Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tax Forms Arriving

Heads up, Chippewa! 1040 EZs have just started to arrive. By the middle of the month, most of our federal forms should be here.

When you come into the library, take an immediate right and then a left. We keep the forms under the stairs. State forms haven't gotten here yet, but I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime, if you want tax forms, you can download and print them at these sites:

IRS Form and Instruction Search Page


Wisconsin Department of Revenue--Forms and Publications
--Note: 2011 forms are not uploaded yet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Climate Wisconsin

I got an email this morning from library board member and CESA-10 Media Specialist Jan Adams cluing me in to a great site highlighting the unique (and uniquely mercurial) climate of the Badger State.

Climate Wisconsin
has different sections exploring different types of weather and the impact that climate change has had on Wisconsin's climate. If one clicks on "Birkebeiner," for example, one learns that this famous ski race has been more and more difficult to hold as winters have become warmer, on average, and snow conditions have deteriorated accordingly. If one clicks on "Ice Fishing," one learns that Wisconsin lakes stay frozen for shorter periods than they once did, and the ice is nowhere near as thick as it once was.

The site would be a great resource for teachers exploring climate change with their students, especially if a teacher wanted to put a local spin on it.

If you know a teacher (or student), share the link, would you?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

UW Digital Collections

The University of Wisconsin System has some interesting and educational digital media collections that might make your face time with the Internet a lot more worthwhile. I was handed an information sheet about the collections some time back and, like so much, it kind of migrated to the bottom of my Deskpile. But just a little while ago, I got done taking a look at some of these collections and they are truly something of which we Wisconsinites can be proud.

I want to point out, before I give the links, that each one of these collections represents hundreds of thousands of work-hours put in by real people, mostly students and graduate assistants.

Main Alphabetical Index

The State of Wisconsin Collection

Subcollection: Our Area of the State

The History Collection

Be warned: some of the material in the collection is, by today's standards, wildly politically incorrect. Some of it hilariously so! Take a look at Elizabeth Hale Gilman's Things Girls Like to Do (1917). In that work we learn that girls like "dining-room and pantry work"! Tastes change, I guess.

The Mills Music Library--Sheetmusic, pictures, etc.

Enjoy and learn!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Closings



The Chippewa Falls Public Library will be closed for the Christmas holidays on:

>Thursday, December 23rd
>Friday, December 24th
>Saturday, December 25th

We'll be open until 1:30pm on December 31st (New Year's Eve) and closed New Year's Day. We'll also be closed January 3rd.

The staff of Chippewa Falls Public Library wishes everyone in our area the happiest holidays, and I'm sure that sentiment is shared by the Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Library.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chippewa Falls Public Library: AARP Schedule 2011

Below is the schedule of when the AARP Tax Assistance team will be here at the Chippewa Falls Public Library in 2011. It's sort of early now, so nothing is showing, but if you click "Look For More," it will pop you down to February, which is when the program starts.

This calendar will be published on the library's homepage in the near future, but for now, I'll park it here to make it "Google-able."


Friday, December 10, 2010

Letter From Carl Miller, Treasurer to the Friends of the Library

Dear Friend of the Library,

On Tuesday afternoon, I accompanied Children's Librarians Karen
and Colleen, and Library Director Darryl to Borders to select books
for our Give-A-Kid-A-Book drive...The three of them did the hard work of selecting books; I just carried the Friends checkbook. Later that day, Darryl delivered the Library's contribution of more than 200 books for kids of all ages to the Spirit of Christmas collection point.

Take a bow, member of the Friends of the Library. We kicked in about $566 of our funds to enable the Library to again have a successful campaign for kids of needy families...I hope the warm feeling of helping this worthy cause comes close to the one I had as I wrote out those checks at Borders.

A donation toward our GAKAB drive--anytime during the year--goes into the treasury earmarked specifically for this community program.

And, while I have your attention, I'd like to compare this year's GAKAB expenditure with the past couple years. In 2008 we bought $580 of books; our contribution was $540 of the total. And last year we bought $817, of which our share was about $688...

Carl, Friends Treasurer

Ed. Note: The Chippewa Falls Public Library would like to thank all who gave books and money to Give a Kid a Book in 2010. There is no gift one can give a child with more potential to improve her life than the gift of literacy. More than the simple ability to read, literacy in a larger and more important sense is the desire to read, which is what I personally hope such an effort produces in at least a few of the children who received books. Mark Twain said it best: "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over he who can't read them."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

FYI...

1. Herb Kohl's Regional Representative Coming December 20th

U.S. Senator Herb Kohl’s Regional Representative, Marjorie Bunce, will be in Chippewa Falls on Monday, Dec. 20th to meet with constituents from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Chippewa Falls Public Library, 105 W, Central Street, in the Large Meeting Room. No appointment is necessary.

"If you are having a problem with a federal program or agency, or have an opinion on an issue before Congress, please let me know by meeting with my Regional Representative, Marjorie Bunce,” Kohl said.

Ms. Bunce can also be contacted at Kohl’s regional office at 402 Graham Ave., Suite 206, in Eau Claire, WI 54701. The telephone number is (715) 832-8424.

2. Christmas Parade
The library's float in the Chippewa Falls Christmas Parade was well-received. I was given helpful tips along the way, as I played the role of driver. People instructed me to:
a) Wave
b) Smile bigger
c) Honk!
d) Put the truck I was driving in first and give it no gas,
e) Turn up the radio.

Next year, I will know from the get-go exactly what is expected of a float driver. That's assuming we put a float in the parade next year. Anyway, kudos to the library staff for giving their own time, money and creativity to come up with a design and make it a reality.

3. Give a Kid a Book

I just returned from Border's Books #138 in Eau Claire where I helped the Friends of the Library buy over 150 books to give away as part of Give A Kid a Book. Children's Librarian Colleen Crowley and Children's Library Assistant Karen Tregoning lent their expert hands, as well. The books we bought today, when added to the books and money donated here at the library, will mean that scores of kids in our area will be opening books as well as gifts on Christmas morning.

4. Remember Pearl Harbor

A few years ago, while hosting a monthly forum for World War Two veterans, I was told by one man in the audience that it pained him, as a veteran of the Battle of Wake Island, that Pearl Harbor and the sneak attack thereupon on December 7, 1941 were fading from public memory, especially since 9/11.

If you know a veteran of World War Two, thank him (or perhaps her) today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December: Safe Toys and Gifts Month



One Christmas morning in the early 1980s, I watched a kid named Kevin try to use a toy called a "Pogo Ball." It was essentially a very firm kickball attached to a platform upon which a child was expected to stand while holding part of the ball tightly between his feet. Then, said child was supposed to hop. This is all true. Picture here.

Anyway, I watched Kevin excitedly run out of his front screen door with it, put it upon the ground, get his feet on it as per the instructions (while leaning against a garbage can), hop once and then immediately land with some force face-first on his driveway. He went back inside far less excitedly than he ran out.

For those of us who have to buy Christmas gifts for children, it's nice to know there are resources out there to help us make decisions that will keep them from doing high speed face-plants on the sidewalk or "shooting their eye out."

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a veritable library of toy safety publications. Definitely worth a look for parents. Especially "Toy Safety Shopping Tips" and list of toy recalls.

The Federation of Public Interest Research Groups's Toy Safety Report 2010

Kidshealth.org--Choosing Safe Toys

World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH)--Their list of ten worst toys would be funny if the toys weren't real. My favorite: "Walkaroo II Aluminum Stilts."

American Academy of Pediatrics toy safety page.

Prevent Blindness America's site tells us more about buying eye-safe toys for children.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SAD Resources

It's getting colder. The sun takes its time in greeting us these days and it gets dark earlier in the evenings. Trees are becoming bare, the atmosphere is turning grayer and we're stuck inside a lot of the time. All of this can add up to the winter blues, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) by clinicians. Experts seem to think it has something to do with light levels dwindling in the winter months.

But, there's a lot one can do about it, apparently, and almost ten percent of the population has had to learn to deal with it every year, especially in places like Chippewa Falls. Below are some links that might shed some light--no pun intended--on SAD.

Mayo Clinic--"It's a Sad Time of Year"

National Alliance on Mental Illness--A fuller picture of the problem.

Mayo Clinic--Choosing a "light box," the preferred treatment.

About.com--Light on Winter Darkness

Eastern Illinois News-Gazette--SAD: Tips to help you get up when feeling down

Monday, November 15, 2010

Agclassroom.org & Wisagclassroom.org

Ever since I arrived in Wisconsin, one thing I have noted is the high profile agriculture has in this state as an industry and employer, much higher than anywhere I've ever visited or lived. What's more, there is a fascinating and admirable diversity to the agricultural production. I've read about dairy, malting barley, wheat and even ginseng being grown not terribly far from Chippewa. The ginseng thing just amazes me, for some reason. Did you know Wisconsin produces 95% of the ginseng grown in the U.S.?

All this is bringing me to some information we just got in the mail from the USDA. They have a really interesting online resource called Agclassroom, which is chocked full of information for students and teachers seeking to learn (and teach) more about agriculture in the United States. Lesson plans, virtual tours, government publications, all online and all free. There's even a profile for every state.

And, if you want to just concentrate on our great State of Wisconsin (America's leading producer of snap beans), try the Wisconsin-centric page of Agclassroom.

Take a look.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Interplanetary Travel, In Name Only


Today is my Saturday to work and a little while ago a young lady called and asked about something she'd recently heard. Apparently, NASA is launching a probe to Mars next year and is offering anyone on Earth the chance to immortalize themselves by sending their name to NASA, who will encode the information on a microchip which will be part of the lander's payload.

If there's something in you, as there is in me, that thinks the thought of sending your name to Mars is kind of cool, then just click the link above and submit your name. Spread the word, too. Chippewa Falls represent!

ADDENDA:

AND, if you'd like your picture or your name to fly on one of the last Shuttles to the International Space Station, check out https://faceinspace.nasa.gov. (Thanks: Carl Miller)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010-Reflection

Years ago, my father--a veteran--handed me a photocopy of a letter from a soldier serving in Vietnam. This soldier had ostensibly left behind a farewell to his family, he being somehow mystically confident that he would be killed in battle. The letter was so eloquent and patriotic and the story so "trite" that I, in my teenage cynicism, wrote the whole thing off as a pre-Internet right-wing "meme" of some kind.

Then, just the other day, I was flipping through the book Letters From Vietnam, a collection of letters home from soldiers serving there. There, on page 193, was the exact same letter my dad showed me years ago, word for word. Apparently, the story was true and my cynicism had been unfounded. The letter was written by Pfc. Hiram D. Strickland of Graham, North Carolina. It was found in his belongings after he was killed near Bong Son, Vietnam in 1966. The text of the letter is reproduced below and perfectly sums up, in my opinion, the spirit of Veterans' Day. The notes in brackets are those made by Bill Adler, editor of the book.

Dear Folks,

I'm writing this letter as my last one. You've probably already received word that I'm dead and that the government wishes to express its deepest regret.

Believe me, I didn't want to die, but I know it was my part of the job. I want my country to live for billions and billions of years to come.

I want it to stand as a light to all people oppressed and guide them to the same freedom we know. If we can stand and fight for freedom, then I think we have done the job God set down for us. It's up to every American to fight for the freedom we hold so dear. If we don't, the smells of free air could become dark and damp as in a prison cell.

We won't be able to look at ourselves in a mirror, much less at our sons and daughters, because we know we have failed our God, country, and our future generations.

I can hold my head high because I fought, whether it be in heaven or hell. Besides, the saying goes, "One more GI from Vietnam, St. Peter; I've served my time in hell."

I fought for Sandy, Nell, Gale [his sisters], Mom, and Dad. But when the twins and Sandy's kids get old enough, they'll probably have to fight, too. Tell them to go proudly and without fear of death because it is worth keeping the land free. I remember a story from Mr. Williams' [Thomas Williams, a teacher at Strickland's high school] English classes when I was a freshman that said, "The cowards die a thousand times, the brave die but once.

Don't mourn me, Mother, for I'm happy I died fighting my country's enemies, and I will live forever in people's minds. I've done what I've always dreamed of. Don't mourn me, for I died a soldier of the United States of America. God bless you all and take care.

I'll be seeing you in heaven.

Your loving son and brother,
Butch

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Press Release: Give a Kid a Book 2010

This is the press release I sent out just a little while ago. I hope my thousands of loyal readers will feel free to forward the information to whomever they feel might be willing to take part.

Chippewa Falls Public Library Announces “Give A Kid A Book” 2010

Chippewa Falls--November 9, 2010--The annual book donation drive sponsored by The Chippewa Falls Public Library in conjunction with The Spirit of Christmas of Chippewa County and the Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library is back for the 2010 holidays.

“Give A Kid A Book,” as the effort is called, gives the public the opportunity to give the gift of reading to the children and families served by The Spirit of Christmas of Chippewa County, a gift-giving program for low-income families in and around Chippewa County.

Sandy Harberts of the Spirit of Christmas of Chippewa County says that the organization makes it a point to include books in every bag of gifts they put together and that donations of books in the past have been very helpful to their efforts.

Until December 3rd, the Chippewa Falls Public Library will be a drop-off point for new books and donations of money meant to purchase new books. Checks should be made out to “Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library” with the words “Give a Kid a Book” in the memo line. Cash should be placed in an envelope with those same words on the outside.

"It might not be obvious to make sure books are included in a bundle of Christmas presents for children or teens," says Darryl Eschete, Director of the Chippewa Falls Public Library. "Toys or electronics usually come to mind first. But books serve children in important ways that other gifts simply can’t.”

“I think it’s one of the nicest things the library could do,” says Carl Miller, Treasurer of the Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library. “A kid can’t have too many books.”

Those wishing to mail donations should send the donations to:

Chippewa Falls Public Library
ATTN: Carl Miller
105 W. Central St.
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729

###

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An Email I Received Today...

Dear Chippewa Falls Public Library,

Greetings from Wisconsin People & Ideas, the magazine of Wisconsin thought and culture. As you might know, our annual poetry and short story contests are in full swing. These two contests are a great way for previously unpublished writers to get into print, participate in the Wisconsin Book Festival, and win some cash, too. I would really appreciate it if you could help spread the word about both of these contests or give them some form of coverage in any capacity you see fit. Whatever you can do is great. Thanks. Here’s a blurb with link below and I’m including a PDF of the contest flyer as well:

THE 2011 WISCONSIN PEOPLE & IDEAS / WISCONSIN BOOK FESTIVAL SHORT STORY AND POETRY CONTESTS
Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine regularly publishes some of the best poetry and fiction from around the state, and now it's your chance to become a part of Wisconsin's new literary canon. Enter your poems and short stories in our annual contests, which are open to all Wisconsin residents and students until December 15, and you could win up to $500 and other prizes along with publication in Wisconsin People & Ideas and a reading at the 2011 Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison. For more information and complete contest guidelines, visit Wisconsin People & Ideas online at wisconsinacademy.org/magazine.

The direct link to the contest page is here if you plan on posting online:

http://wisconsinacademy.org/magazine/index.php?category_id=3755


Thanks again for helping to support Wisconsin writers and poets.

Best,

Liza Burkin
Editorial Assistant
Wisconsin People & Ideas
The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
Mobile:
Office: 608.263.1692 x21
Web: wisconsinacademy.org/magazine

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day 2010

Where Do I Vote?

Quick tip:

If you click the link above, it will tell you where your polling place is. You just enter your address. It's pretty handy, and we've been using it pretty steadily down here at the library. Check it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blow, Blow Thy Winter Wind!

I've been told that this has been an unusually warm October, and I'm glad of it. I say that, of course, because our heating system is still in the process of being replaced. However, October is winding down and the chill is starting to really set in and the heat isn't quite done, though Bartingale Mechanical and Roshell Electric have been bent to the task.

So, I have some tips for people coming in to use the library:

1. Wear a sweater or sweat shirt--It's cool in here and we have big windows and high ceilings, which makes the lack of heating on a cold day even more apparent. If you come spend some time with us, bundle up, just a little.

2. Bring a warm drink with a lid--I say "with a lid" because accidents happen. Be kind enough not to drink your warm beverage while sitting at a computer, please. Hot cocoa makes a keyboard very sticky.

3. Be patient--Progress is being made quickly and the process has been expedited as much as possible. It will be as warm as the collective heart of Chippewa Falls in here before too long, I promise.

Let us take a cue from Ms. Emily Dickinson and be upbeat as winter approaches (though not begrudge its leaving):

Winter is good -- his Hoar Delights
Italic flavor yield
To Intellects inebriate
With Summer, or the World

Generic as a Quarry
And hearty -- as a Rose --
Invited with Asperity
But welcome when he goes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Politics...Everywhere?

Just recently, I signed up for satellite TV and, as embarrassing as it is to admit, I watch a little television on my lunch breaks. I notice lately that we are in full-tilt politics season and ads for candidates are literally one after the other, and increasingly obnoxious and negative. Public, visible politicking is all part of living in a democratic society. Politicians want to reach people.

A little while ago, a gentlewoman came into the library and seemed quite annoyed that I hadn't allowed a flyer for her organization to hang on one of our bulletin boards in the lobby. When I explained that I had researched her organization at the website of the Center for Responsive Politics and wasn't comfortable with the close ties it seemed to have with one of the major political parties (and other groups which backed it), she displayed a bit of anger, insisting that it was NOT affiliated with a party in any way. On her way out the door, she warned me that libraries will be in trouble when the political party opposing the one she just told me her organization WASN'T affiliated with came back into power. I thought it was a telling statement.

One thing that I like about being a librarian is that, though politics are sometimes involved in running a library, the job isn't--or shouldn't be--overtly political. Libraries, despite the occasional activist-librarian who insists otherwise, should not be sounding boards for political causes or the groups espousing them, regardless of whether they see libraries as an important social pillar or a drag on the public pocketbook.

The point I think I'm trying to make is that this library has policies in place that allow the library user to know with some confidence that the focus of our mission here is educational and cultural and that anything political--ANYTHING--is held suspect and taken on a case-by-case basis with some thought. Take, for instance, our meeting room policy in regards to who gets to use the rooms. One of the "restrictions on usage" says we'll disallow "political campaigns, although bi-partisan political forums are permitted." I, as your library director, apply this standard to our public notice space, too.

When an organization has demonstrable ties to a political party and makes efforts to be more visible during campaign season or engage in campaigning, even of a surreptitious sort, I make the judgment call that they are part of a political campaign and thus will not be allowed to meet here or display their literature, ESPECIALLY when they aren't forthcoming about who and what they are, who funds them and what they do with their money.

It isn't personal or a reflection of my politics as a director or those of the library board. It's common sense. And good politics.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Student Poetry Contest 2011

The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets is sponsoring a poetry contest for students in grades 6-12.

There are three divisions, roughly coinciding with middle school, junior high and high school grade levels, and there are cash prizes in each division. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2011. Click here for the rules and how to enter. Apparently the rules haven't changed since the 2010 contest.

Take a look and be sure to let a poetic student in your life know!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chippewa Valley Book Festival

This coming Tuesday, October 19, at 6:30 p.m, local author Jerry Polling will be here at the Chippewa Falls Public Library to discuss writing and the concept of "Rising and Falling Action."

Poling, who works for the University of Wisconsin at Stout, is the author of A Summer Up North, which chronicles the time legendary baseball player Hank Aaron spent playing minor-league baseball for the Eau Claire Bears. He also wrote After They Were Packers: The Super Bowl XXXI Champs & Other Green Bay Legends, a look at the lives of some professional football players after retirement.

I hear very good things about Mr. Poling's books from our resident baseball expert Joe Niese, and I hope you'll join me Tuesday night in welcoming Mr. Poling to the Chippewa Falls Public Library. I myself plan on giving him my most rapt attention.

And please, email this to a friend or two who might be interested. I'd love to see a proper welcome for this local man of letters.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Falls: No Laughing Matter

Many people love pratfalls and see clumsiness as an essential part of the classic comedic sensibility. Witness Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin stumbling and bumbling through scenes or, more recently, the work of physical comedians like Chevy Chase or Chris Farley.

But as tempted as we are to laugh at the idea of people falling down, it is a problem. As posted on this blog previously, Chief Tom Larson was alarmed to recently find out that Chippewa County leads the nation in fall-related hospitalizations per capita. Just this morning, he told me that 20% of the paramedic calls that the Chippewa Falls Fire Department goes out each year on are for falls.

This is a problem that is especially prevalent among seniors. Some facts (courtesy of the Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership):


>Almost 1/3 of all adults over the age of 65 fall each year
>1% of falls result in hip fractures
>25% of adults who break a hip are dead within six months
>25% of adults with hip fractures require long-term care at a cost to Medicare of $3.1 billion per year
>Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries


And the fact is that the majority of falls are preventable. Simple things like decent lighting, picking up clutter and making sure the carpet on the stairs is tacked down can save you a doctor visit...or the life of a loved one.

Below are some links to some documents I scanned today that explain the problem and some things that can be done to help.

Facts on Falls for Seniors

Fall Prevention Brochure

Monday, October 4, 2010

Food for Fines Follow Through



"The charity that is a trifle to us can be precious to others."--Homer


Above you see just a portion of the food collected here at the library during the Food for Fines program in September. Just a while ago, I delivered said food to the Salvation Army Food Pantry at 521 N. Bridge Street here in Chippewa Falls. According to pantry coordinator Sally Hegg, the service sees about 30 people a day come through and it has been tough lately keeping food on the shelves.

Donations are always welcome, according to Ms. Hegg, and donations and contributions are tax deductible. The pantry's workers will be glad to give those who donate a receipt if they want one. Those who use the service must verify income & need. For more information, email Sally or call her at 715-726-9506 ext. 3.

The library will do Food for Fines again in the future and I urge you to watch this space for information on the upcoming "Give a Kid a Book" program, a coordinated effort of the Chippewa Falls Public Library, the Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library and The Spirit of Christmas of Chippewa County. During the Christmas season, we cooperate to include donated reading materials in gift packages put together for needy local families. The library will make donation boxes available for those patrons who want to make sure Santa includes a few new children's books under the tree.


For those who gave, THANK YOU! And we hope all our patrons continue to seek out opportunities to help local charities.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month



It's October, and anyone who is female and/or has a mother, sister, wife, girlfriend or fond female acquaintance is asked by activists, survivors and health professionals to spend some time this month thinking more about breast cancer and its prevention. Breast cancer is the second deadliest cancer to which American women succumb (lung cancer is first), but is thought to be more detectable far earlier and, when it is detected, is more vanquishable than many others.

Our society has a strange relationship with women's bodies. I did a Google image search for "woman silhouette" in the hopes of finding something suitable for this blog. I found the one you see above, but had to wade through about 200 times as many silhouettes which looked like they came off the mud flap of a benighted interstate trucker. In broader terms, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time, perhaps, for people (especially us men) to think about women's bodies more in terms of HEALTH and HUMANITY rather than LOOKS which, judging from the magazine covers in the checkout line, gets unfair emphasis.

Anyway, here are some good links for breast cancer self-education:

Breast Self-Exam (BSE)--Has saved more lives than we might suspect. Cancer detection often starts with mirrors and fingertips.

Susan G. Komen Foundation

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Centers for Disease Control: Breast Cancer

Mayo Clinic Breast Health Information Page

What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer (National Cancer Institute)

National Library of Medicine: Breast Cancer Information

American Cancer Society: Men Get Breast Cancer, Too

By the way, those who are survivors of breast cancer, know someone with breast cancer, lost someone to breast cancer or who simply support breast cancer research are encouraged by the Susan G. Komen Foundation to wear pink ribbons of solidarity and to donate to breast cancer research.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

AARP Donation



Above you see me accepting a check for $500.00 from Bruce Miller of AARP on behalf of the Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library. Mr. Miller says AARP appreciates the library making available the room to help people with their taxes and decided to show their appreciation with a donation. We, in turn, appreciate AARP making such an invaluable service available to the public and doing it here. We look forward to them being here this tax season.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fire Prevention or, Preventing Chippewa Falls



Above you see Chippewa Falls' esteemed Fire Chief, Tom Larson, as he installs "Pluggie" the fire prevention robot/hydrant on our Fire Prevention Week display, which we'll leave up through the entire month of October. The display features safety information brochures on topics of all sorts, such as preventing fires, being safe at Halloween and preventing falls.

An interesting fact he relayed to me as we worked this morning: Wisconsin leads the country in fall-related injuries and deaths. All that ice, I said. And Chippewa County, according to Chief Larson, leads Wisconsin. So I urge anyone reading this, especially if they are in the brittle-bone years, to come by and take a look at the display and take a brochure.

Safety and Fire Prevention Links

National Fire Protection Association: Prevention Week Website

Firesafety.gov--provided by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Consumer Product Safety Commission
and the U.S. Fire Administration.

For Kids: Sparky the Fire Dog


The Center for Disease Control: Preventing Falls Among Seniors

Familydoctor.org's "Falls: How to Lower Your Risk"

And remember: if your home doesn't have a smoke detector, get one. Chippewa Falls Fire and Emergency Services will give qualified applicants one for free, if they call and ask. Try 715-723-5710. Tell them you read it here. And, with furnace season coming on, a carbon monoxide detector is another thing that could save your life. Just a reminder.

Be safe!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Go Sew: Quilt to the Hilt



Okay. I'm posting this kind of late in the game because, frankly, the displays shift around so often and the differences are so subtle that, from a distance, it's hard to tell the change between one and the other. Then, just the other day, I was walking through the "lounge" (where we keep the magazines) and saw that the display case in there had been filled with the cutest quilts, dolls and blankets...

"Hey!" I said to one of my elite library employees, "When did this get here?"

"Oh, about three weeks ago."

WHOOPS!

Well, it turns out that September is National Sewing Month and Jeannette Miller of the Western Wisconsin Chapter of the American Sewing Guild came by and put together a simply lovely display here at the Chippewa Falls Public Library.

You know, there's something to be said for sewing. Of all the so-called "traditional skills" one can learn or hobbies one can take up, it's one that really comes in handy. In fact, it may be the handiest hobby I can imagine. It isn't limited by season or space or law, like gardening or hunting or winter sports, and there's no risk of falling overboard and drowning, like with fishing. And model railroads are super cool, but you can't wear one to work.

But I digress.

So come by and check out the display and, if you feel inspired, check out one of our hundreds of sewing books. And if you're interested in finding out more about local sewing groups, contact Ms. Miller at 715-720-9458. She may be able to "needle" you into taking up a new hobby.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Watt's Up?


The device you see pictured above is a watt-usage meter provided to the Chippewa Falls Public Library by the folks at Xcel Energy. Patty Darley, the coordinator of Xcel Energy's conservation education projects, dropped them off to us last Thursday and they are now ready to be checked out. These are in addition to the "Kill A Watt" meters provided to us earlier in the year by CESA-10.



These "Power Check Meters," as they are called, allow one to plug an appliance into them to see just what the "draw" of that appliance is. Then, one can plug the meter into a computer and see a readout of roughly how much it costs one to run that appliance each month. In times like these, every dime counts and it's nice to be able to arm oneself with the knowledge necessary to save as many dimes as possible.

Just come to the circulation desk and ask for one, if you're interested. They check out for seven days (just like our AV equipment) and come in their own carrying cases.

Friday, September 17, 2010

U.S. Constitution & Citizenship Day


It was 223 years ago today that the U.S. Constitution was signed and began its first trip around what was to eventually become the United States of America for ratification in each state's assembly.

I'm a bit of a zealot when it comes to the subject, so I hope the reader will indulge me a moment...

The Constitution is a unique document historically, politically and intellectually, as it made workable law out of over two thousand years' worth of philosophically abstract and disparate ideas about citizen/subject self-rule, democracy and republicanism in the strictest sense of the word. The very idea that all citizens, regardless of wealth, property or social standing had certain rights that were not subject to the whims of a ruling or royal class (chattel slavery notwithstanding) without some sort of public process was, quite literally, revolutionary. If one ever gets the chance, it's interesting to really sit and read it. It's online here.

This is also the day when we are encouraged to strengthen the muscles of our citizenship by learning as much as we can about our country or reminding ourselves of what we may have forgotten.

Here are some helpful links:

Chippewa Falls Public Library Catalogue Search: Citizenship

Serve.gov--Serving one's country doesn't have to be done in fatigues. Serve.gov is the government's page cataloguing service opportunities for Americans of all ages.


Could You Become A Citizen?--
Suppose you just got "off the boat." Could you pass the test?


Center for Civic Education Glossary


Glossary of Congressional and Legislative Terms--A bit more advanced than the above. Defines all those words they so casually throw around on "Meet the Press."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Library Display



In the upstairs display case (the one right at the top of the stairs) here at the Chippewa Falls Public Library, we're featuring some fascinating items on loan from Mr. Eric Jensen, of Jensen Player Piano of Eau Claire. The Jensen family--former owners of C&D Player Piano of Chippewa Falls--has a long and fascinating history of building and repairing pianos and is sharing some of that history with us. The display will be up until the end of September. Stop by and see it, if you get the chance.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Great Library Story

Christine Byerly, esteemed Director of the Frederic Public Library, tells this great story:

"Wednesday morning we received a call from Delta Airlines in Georgia. Agent Susana said they had found a carry-on duffel bag with no identification in it, except for a library book with the Frederic Public Library stamp! She must have traced our address to find a telephone number and contact us in order to unite the lost luggage with its owner. We took it from there - looked up the book, called the Ladysmith patron, and she was delighted to learn the bag had been found, since her carry-on held all her traveling essentials. This is yet another example of how important libraries are to our everyday lives! BTW, in yet another kind gesture, we waived the 10-cent overdue fine on our book and renewed it for the patron.

"Wave the banner, go forth, fellow colleagues in libraryland,
Chris"


I just wanted to share. This is the kind of thing libraries do all the time, and we don't blow our own horns enough.

Now you know.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Food for Fines/Library Card Sign Up Month



All during the month of September, we'll waive the fines patrons owe the library provided they bring in food items for local food banks. In economically unsteady times like this, there is always a surprising number of people in any community who have a tough time making ends meet all the way around...including at the dinner table.

Here's how it works...patrons bringing in non-taxable food items will be credited at a rate of $1.00 per item up to a maximum of $5.00 worth of fines. Food items cannot used for partial payment of lost or damaged items or to pay fines owed to other MORE libraries. Patrons can also take care of card replacement fees this way. What better way to pay a debt?

Speaking of cards, September is Library Card Sign-Up Month. If you don't yet have one (or know someone who doesn't have one), now's the time to come and get one or talk someone else into it. To help convince you, maybe, here is a list of some of the 52 things you can do with a library card, courtesy of the American Library Association:


  • Research new job opportunities

  • Pick up voter registration information

  • Pick up a DVD

  • Prepare your resume

  • Pick up tax forms

  • Connect with other people in the community

  • Find a quiet spot, curl up with a book and enjoy

  • Read a newspaper from another country

  • Download a book



So...what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Having Your Say...Broadband Survey

LinkWISCONSIN is trying to find out how broadband availability is coming along throughout the state and if there is a need for more service--or perhaps a public provider.

Take This Survey

LinkWISCONSIN is a service helping Wisconsin map and plan its broadband network, which should improve Internet service all over the state. Do your part! Take the survey!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

But look! Up High! On yonder wall...



Just recently, thanks to the efforts of the Gates Foundation and the Indianhead Federated Library System, we were able to purchase some computer/media equipment with grant money. Included in that is a flat-screen LCD display that we've mounted up on the wall near the check out desk. At the moment, its dedicated use is announcements, but could be used for multimedia presentations of all sorts. You can see it in the picture above...

We've also received a new projector, which the public can use provided the presentations are in our meeting room. Also, we have a new Lenova "Think Center," which is currently being made ready for patron consumption.

So the next time you're in the library, look up. You may find out something you wanted to know.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Under the Glorious Starry Firmament: Links for Campers

We're just getting into that time of year in which it isn't too miserably hot nor too frigidly cold to go camping. Not to mention the fact that Labor Day is coming up and that camping--once one has the proper equipment--isn't dreadfully expensive as a quick getaway, either.



One of the most beautiful things about living in this part of the country is the number of parks, campgrounds and trails that are available to outdoors types...more than I bet many Wisconsinites realize or appreciate. Below are some links that hopefully will inspire the reader to think about spending some time under what John Muir called "the roof of the glorious starry firmament" with friends or family. Or, for the truly rugged, maybe even alone.

Where to Go

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Camping Page--A pretty comprehensive guide to the many beautiful parks, trails and forests of the Badger State.

U.S. National Parks in Wisconsin

Camping Site of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism--Hosted by Dr. Miles Feldspar.

Wisconsin Campgrounds--A listing of privately owned campgrounds in Wisconsin, made available by the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners.

What to Bring

About.com's Camping Gear Checklist--Put together by David Sweet, an experienced camper and sometimes employee of the National Park Service.

GORP.com's guide to what to to bring for whatever type of camping is being done. Customizable lists depending on time of year, activity, etc.

Eating Well

Lovetheoutdoors has recipes, equipment, techniques and tips to help satisfy a camper's hunger, even when hundreds of miles from a kitchen.

Bass Pro Shop's guide to outdoor cookery. Fun site to read.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Time Management, Organization and You (and ME!)

My office is a fright. Some days it looks as though a door blew open in a derecho and a strong wind came in and placed things, large and small, around my desk at random. In library school, they made us read a paper arguing that--research showed this!--that messy people use "unconscious organizational schemas" and that they, when timed, have no more trouble finding things than neat freaks. My life doesn't bear this out, I assure you. Start a timer and ask me to find my cell phone charger. There had better be a darn good battery in that stopwatch.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm not the only one who could use some help with organization and time management issues, so here are some links that might help anyone who has to go home three times to get things they forgot before they make it a mile.

Websites

Zen Habits--Zen and organization have become linked in popular consciousness, and this is a website that, from what I've read, really puts things in perspective. Well-written and enjoyable.

Time Management Guide--Links to tips and ideas to help you manage your "time, stress and energy level."

Timemanagement.com--Includes freeware and weekly email ideas.

ADD Coach: Time Management--Even if you DON'T have ADD or ADHD, the coping techniques that folks with ADD use to manage their time and surroundings might be useful.

Books

Using what we librarian-types call a "citation index," these are the three books most commonly cited when people write about getting organized and managing time:

1) Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey--Which quadrant do you live your life in? Urgent/Important? Not urgent/Unimportant? Why? This seems to be the Bible, Koran and Bhagavad Gita of getting one's life in order.

2) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen--Jacket blurb: "Overcome feelings of confusion, anxiety, and being overwhelmed." Dibs!

3) Organizing From the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life by Julie Morgenstern--Highly recommended, cited frequently.

4) Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy--Seems to be more for the business/government world, but still highly cited.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Add-A-Piece Puzzle # 1...Completed!

Well, thanks to the esteemed Ms. Carrie Spaeth of Chippewa Falls, our first Add-A-Piece Puzzle Project has been completed. See the picture below. It is a lovely bright-hued picture of sunflowers and her diligence in completing it is admirable. She took a little time several times a week just to snap a few pieces into place.



I hear most of the second one has been done by Ms. Spaeth, as well. Well, don't let her hog the whole thing! Come on in and do your part on the Add-A-Piece Puzzle Project; it's a good way to relax and feel a little bit accomplished without having to go crazy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Sale 2010

Well, the numbers are in on this year's book sale, held last week during "Crazy Days." According to Friends of the Chippewa Falls Library treasurer Carl Miller, the Friends cleared just over $1850.00. This is down a bit from past years, but, still, not bad! And, the Junior Friends of the Library did brisk business with their bake sale, too, though I'm not sure just HOW brisk.

The Friends of the Library uses the money to support our efforts here at the Chippewa Falls Public Library, paying for things like speaker's fees, new equipment and possible minor improvements. If you like the idea of helping the library out in a real way that isn't terribly taxing on your time, consider joining. You can pick up a membership packet at the libray. And, it's a 501(c)3 organization, so donations to the Friends are tax-deductible.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, some pictures from the sale:


ABOVE: Library/City Hall/Police Department/snow plow driver/busiest-man-in-the-downtown-area Randy Bilderback pulls up with yet another load of sale books.

ABOVE: Junior Friends of the library show the come-hither looks that equal sales.

ABOVE: Library Board President Robert Hoekstra and Friends of the Library Member Gordon Kauffman sort and stack sale books.

ABOVE: "Better Books" wait to be sold in climate-controlled conditions.

See you next year!



Friday, July 16, 2010

Book and Bake Sale July 21st & 22nd

The Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library will be holding their annual book sale on Wednesday, July 21st and Thursday, July 22nd at the public library in downtown Chippewa Falls. The sale, held annually during Krazee Daze, will run from 7to 3pm on Wednesday and 10am to 2pm on Thursday.

The proceeds from the book sale will benefit the Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library, a non-profit group dedicated to raising money to support library programs and special projects.

“We have some really good buys for people who want lightly-used books of all kinds,” says Friends of the Library member and book sale veteran Mary Ann King. “We really appreciate when people come and buy the books and the money we get from these sales helps [The Friends] help the library provide what perhaps the budget doesn’t allow.”

This year, the staff of the library is also having a bake sale, the proceeds of which will go towards making improvements in the library’s Young Adult section.

“The Young Adult section has had the same furniture since 1969,” says library paraprofessional and bake sale organizer Sue Rada. “We want to improve the section a little so that the teens in town to feel more comfortable and have a sense of ownership.”

Both books and baked goods will sell for between 50 cents and five dollars.
For more information, contact library director Darryl Eschete at 715-723-1146 ext. 111 or email him at deschete@mycfpl.org

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Office Politics: Some Links for Success

A good many people tend to put their careers on the back burner a little bit during the summer and let other priorities come to the fore in the hot months. But there is still plenty of office politics to be had--and there is still the occasional company picnic or party to attend to. At the very least, one can use the relative "down time" that many workplaces have in the summertime to brush up on just what is smart and not-so-smart, interpersonally, while on the clock.

How to Get Along With Your Boss--Surprise! It involves being pleasant and empathetic...not just hard-working.

How to Deal With Unpleasant Co-Workers--A great article from eHow.com...on just how you can handle that coworker who makes your job a little less pleasant.

The Five Difficult People You Meet at Work--Work with a snarky gossip? Someone who talks too much? Someone with a bad attitude? Here's a link that will help you deal with it.

Holiday Office Party Do's and Don'ts--You might think you can "let it all hang out" at the company picnic. But be careful! You may be playing with fire...and I don't mean the barbecue pit.

MORE Catalog Search: "Office Politics"--Take a look at what the MORE system has to offer on the subject!

So remember: a lot of how pleasant one's work experience is depends on one being smart enough to MAKE it pleasant. And a lot of the misery in our work experiences, if misery be there, is due to our NOT being smart enough to make it pleasant. Being armed with a little knowledge can make life a lot easier at work...and everywhere else.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Area Code

Well, this isn't exactly library-related, but it is pretty important information that I thought we'd pass along.

Effective July 17, 2010, we're all going to have to dial both the area code and number (ten digit dialing) to reach people living in Northern Wisconsin. Those of us who have to get new phone numbers will be getting the area code 534, which will pretty much exist in the same region that 715 does now. It's called "area code relief".

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has some more information on this. Try this site for more information.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Library Closed Monday & Fireworks Safety

Quick note: the Chippewa Falls Public Library will be closed Monday in honor of Independence Day.

With that out of the way, I'd like to urge you to urge anyone you know who is the fireworks type to exercise caution; it's a short and sudden trip from gleeful teen to amputee.

The video below (from the Associated Press) shows us just how important it is to keep mannequins and melons away from explosives if we want to enjoy a safe holiday.



No, really. Be careful with that.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From Chippewa to Panama



How did a native Chippawean ever end up living in the jungles of Panama studying snakes? Come to the library on Thursday, July 8th at 6pm to hear the story of Julie Ray, Ph.D.

Dr. Ray is a native of Chippewa Falls who graduated from Chi Hi in 1996 near the top of her class. She began an undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point to study insects, but quickly had to switch fields when she lost a significant portion of her sight.

Now legally blind, Dr. Ray has surprised everyone by completing a Bachelor's degree, Masters, and PhD, specializing in the study of snakes. She conducted her PhD research in the jungles of central Panama and fell in love with the tropical cloud forest and all of its inhabitants. Dr. Ray has worked closely with the local people since arriving in Panama nearly four years ago. She worked to develop La MICA Biological Station, a place where students, researchers, and general tourists could come to learn about and help protect the local environment, culture, and history.

Panama seems like a long way, but there are many more connections than just Julie. Come to the library next Thursday evening to hear about Julie’s adventures and see some amazing photographs!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bat APB



The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bat Program is asking us all to keep an eye out for large groups of bats. Apparently, they're trying to keep tabs on the spread and extent of "white-nose syndrome," a devastating pteropine disorder that affects the types of bats which hibernate.

It's important to keep bat populations healthy, according to the USDA, as they keep the numbers of pestilent and bothersome insects down while having next to no negative environmental impact. A better bet than pesticides all around.

If you know of any large colonies of bats, please contact WI DNR at (608) 266-5216 or email them at DNRbats@wisconsin.gov so they can keep this useful--if maligned--little animal doing its job in the biosphere.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chippewa Valley Baseball @ the Library



Our resident denizen of the dusty diamond, Reference Librarian Joe Niese, has put together an interesting display here at the library. Joe, a self-proclaimed baseball fanatic, has gathered some uniforms, pictures and books highlighting the proud history of baseball in the Chippewa Valley and in Wisconsin.

Locals donated the artifacts for the display.

Joe has authored several articles on baseball for local publications. A few:

Volume One Magazine, February 2009

Chippewa Herald, June 2009

Chippewa Herald, May 2009

"It's kind of an interesting mix of national history, local history and sports," says Joe of the display. "Baseball, after all, superseded the history of the City of Chippewa Falls by two years; baseball got here in 1867, and the Village of Chippewa became Chippewa Falls in 1869."

The display will be in the lounge area of the library until August.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More About Summer Reading



Just today, I asked Ms. Colleen Crowley, our Children's Librarian, exactly what a child gets for enrolling in the summer reading program. Turns out they get quite a bit.

She emailed me thus:

"When children register in the summer reading program they will receive a bookmark, an age-based reading record to track their reading time, and an activity booklet. Independent readers will be awarded prizes throughout their reading journey and upon completion will receive a book, a fine waiving coupon, and a ticket for a random drawing of a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.

"If children want to continue reading they may also receive a new incentive sheet that will, upon completion, entitle them to receive a [free] bowl of pasta at Noodles & Co. Children who finish the reading record activities in the 'Wee Readers' program will receive an envelope with prizes, a state park pass and a book."

Not to mention the satisfaction of having spent at least a little time this summer with the written word.

Come to the library and enroll your little one(s) in the program, especially if you already make reading to or with them a common practice. Let your child be rewarded for reading on as many levels as possible and, please, let us help.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summertime Home Improvement Information



This is the time of year when all good homeowners start looking around to see what might be done to improve the homestead to ready it for the next house-pounding winter season. Or, they may just want to win the "cute off" they are having with the householders down the street who dare to have eye-catching planters in the front yard. Either way, there is plenty of good information and many good ideas on the Internet for the house proud.

Five Summer Home Improvement Projects

This Old House: Installing a Picket Fence

The Learning Channel: How to Paint a House

About.com: Pick an Exterior Color

How to Pour a Concrete Driveway (Or Walk)

Better Homes and Gardens: Landscaping Projects

National Forestry Service: How to Prune a Tree

How to Correctly Mow Your Lawn: For Dummies

And don't forget the large and useful collection of home improvement, design and landscaping books available at the Chippewa Falls Public Library. Just look it up in MORE!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Clowning Around



Ozseeker the clown spent some time making balloon animals with the children of the Chippewa Falls Public Library today, and it was my pleasure to catch her in action.

Over 70 children signed up for the "Make a Splash" summer reading program on the first day, children's librarian Colleen Crowley tells me, and we could not be more pleased at the response. If you haven't signed your little one up yet, find an excuse to come down and do that.

Summertime Reading: It's All Yours!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Library Advocacy and YOU

Having an impact on Wisconsin libraries is pretty easy. Every time you walk through our front doors and visit the Chippewa Falls Public Library, you make an impact. Every time you check out a book, DVD or CD, you make an impact. Every time you log in and check your Facebook page here, you have an impact.

How so? Well, each year the libraries of the Badger State have to report statistics to the Department of Public Instruction. The level of library usage in relation to all sorts of social measures has an impact on the kinds and amounts of money—federal and otherwise-- Wisconsin libraries may be eligible to receive.

So when you come down and check out a few books and check your email (after passing through our people counter), you do yourself a favor first and foremost, but you also give back to the library with your very presence!

So now that school is out and some of the pressure is off, don’t forget about us. We need you and like to think you need us.

By the way, June 29 is Library Advocacy day, and if everyone within electronic earshot of this message took that day to write an email or make a phone call to a legislator on behalf of Wisconsin’s libraries, it could make a real difference. If you like what your local library or library system is doing, let a person with some power know it.

Wisconsin's U.S. Senators

Wisconsin's Representatives in the U.S. Congress

Contact Information for Wisconsin State Senators

Contact Information for Wisconsin State Assemblymen

Library Advocacy: It's All Yours!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Hours Begin Today

If you come by this evening after 5:30 PM, you'll find the doors locked and the lights low. Today is the day summer hours start.

Here in Chippewa Falls, I've been told, the summer evenings are magic. The breezes blow cool and sweet-smelling and the children play late into the evening twilight, making memories and burning calories like only children can. And, besides that, demand for library services has traditionally gone down when the school year ends. It is something of a frugal measure to be open less during a time of year when reading and studying might be moved to a burner a little further back on the stove.

Of course, there is no better way to spend a summer evening than with a book, so we will continue to be open until 8:00 PM two nights a week for those readers so dedicated that not even summer boat rides and strolls beneath the moon will tear them away for one second from The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Summer hours are as follows:

Monday----10am-8pm
Tuesday---10am-5:30pm
Wednesday-10am-5:30pm
Thursday--10am-8pm
Friday----10am-5:30pm
Saturday--10am-12:30pm
Sunday----CLOSED

Don't be a stranger!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Oil Spill & Me

Yesterday, I was surprised by an interview request from my fellow Chippewa Falls Citizen's Fire Academy graduate, Trent Artus, a reporter for WQOW in Eau Claire. Here's the video:



It was honor to be asked, and I was glad to offer what I could.

Here are some oil spill links, for the curious:

The Houma Courier--My hometown paper; front-line reports.

The EPA Oil Spill Page

The White House Oil Spill Page

What Does BP Have To Say?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Make a Splash! Read!



Above we see Ms. Colleen Crowley of the Chippewa Falls Public Library (looking for all the world like an extra in a Woody Allen movie) as she reads to the children of St. Charles Primary School last week.

Ms. Crowley was out to push the theme of the 2010 children's summer reading program, "Make a Splash! Read!"

Summer Road Travel Links

Summer vacation time will soon be upon us, and the roads will be full of people going here and there. If you choose to be one of them, here is a series of useful links I've found for people making long drives:

Pre-Travel Auto Checklist

Top Ten Summer Travel Tips

Summer Road Trip First Aid

RoadTrip America: 70 Rules of Defensive Driving

Must Have Road Safety Products

Remember: long trips take preparation if everyone is to stay happy and safe, but the payoff is EXPERIENCE.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Events 2010

So it's my first summer in Chippewa, and there's a lot going on. First, library hours change after Memorial Day weekend.




The schedule of hours will look like this:

Sunday Closed
Monday 10 am - 8 pm
Tuesday 10 am - 5:30 pm
Wednesday 10 am - 5:30 pm
Thursday 10am - 8 pm
Friday 10am - 5:30 pm
Saturday 10 am - 1 pm


If you're planning to slip in and see us in the warmer months, take note!

Also, take a look at the schedule and calendar for the summer reading program. The theme for this year's program is water, so the adult reading program is "Water Your Mind," the teen's program is "Make Waves," and the children's program is titled "Make a Splash-Read." So if you want to get wet this summer, stop by the library. On your way to the Irvine Park Pool, that is.

People tell me the at Wisconsinites hold summer very dear, and we'll do our best to give them something they can cherish and look forward to the best we can.

Summertime at the Library: It's All Yours!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Chippewa Falls Public Library: Deaf Accessible



The Chippewa Falls Public Library has filled the circulation clerk position that closed on May 7th. I'm very excited to say that Ms. Diane Bergeron, pictured above in action, is our new full-time circulation clerk. But I don't post this because I'm playing favorites. I want everyone to know because Ms. Bergeron is a fully-trained American sign language interpreter with years of experience communicating with the hearing-impaired. Above, she translates the first lines of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" to Ms. Sue Rada.

Aside from all that, she has worked with us for quite some time in our circulation department as an adult page and knows the job thoroughly.

So, if you know someone who is deaf or hearing impaired and looking to use the library, let them know.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

AARP: Cha-Ching for Chippewa!

I just got some interesting figures. This year, the AARP Tax Aide Program got $193,310.00 in refunds for about 400 people who came and got help at the Chippewa Falls Public Library. True, not everyone who came got a refund, as many people were simply filing for the Homestead Credit and some ended up PAYING, but the overall net result was a "refund" of almost 200 thousand dollars for the people of Chippewa Falls. Not bad!

We've already started organizing next year's efforts and are coordinating with AARP to make sure everything runs as smoothly in 2011 as it did this year.

We hope that anyone who took part will do so again and might look into volunteering or telling a friend about the program.

Once again:

People helped--393
Total refunds--$193,310.00

Monday, May 3, 2010

Citizen's Fire Academy 2010



Ever tried turning a hose on or off while wearing a Tyvek chemical suit? How about crawling around in pitch-black darkness trying to locate a child in a smoke-filled house? Can you imagine keeping your balance in a raft while pulling dead weight out of a rushing river during spring thaw?

Well, I couldn't either until I signed up for the Citizen's Fire Academy. In this six-week course, citizens are taught to appreciate the challenge that is the daily work-life of your average firefighter, even in a picturesque little hamlet like Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. So far, we've learned how to use air tanks, how to don various types of protective gear, and what the fire inspector looks for when he tours a home or business.

The photo above was taken last Monday night at the South Side Fire Station after we had just gotten done struggling with a leaking valve, meant to simulate an ongoing chemical spill. I tell you, when you see it on the news, it doesn't dawn on you the trouble involved in cleaning up stuff like that. Just getting DRESSED to do it is a production. I am the guy all the way to the left, by the way.

In the course of the class, participants also get to go on "ride alongs" to actual emergencies to see firsthand the calm and élan with which our firefighters and EMTs conduct themselves in the line of duty.

For information on next year's Citizen's Fire Academy, contact the fire department at 715-723-5710. It's an eye opener.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Unclaimed Property--May 6th

Ever wonder if somebody out there owes you something and you don't even know it? Well, there's a way to find out, and you can do it at the library.

Wisconsin State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass will be here at the Chippewa Falls Public Library on May 6th, 2010 from 10:00am-11:30am. She's asked us to be a host site for her Unclaimed Property Outreach Tour. The State of Wisconsin has a nifty database that compiles the names and addresses of people to whom money is owed (from estates, settlements, etc.), who owes them and how much they are owed. You can claim your money right on site and help them clear this database, which is pretty sizable, from what I understand.

In Chippewa County alone, there are more than 4,000 accounts worth nearly $2 million.

The kind folks of the Wisconsin Treasury Department will be set up in the LARGE MEETING ROOM right off the entrance hall, and participation is absolutely free, even if you don't have anything in the database. Tell a friend! Maybe you'll BOTH get paid.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Floats the Banner, Lighted Well

Just today, I got the last of three checks donated to the Chippewa Falls Public Library by local veterans' groups helping us to offset the installation of a spotlight on the front of the building. The light shines up on our American flag, enabling us to leave it up 'round the clock.

I have always maintained that libraries, more than any other institution in an open society, symbolize freedom, so it is fitting and just that the flag fly in front of the building all the time.

The three groups that donated to the flag-lighting were AmVets Post 32, American Legion Post 77 and VFW Post 1038. The complete cost of the project was $636.00, and $500.00 of this will be paid for with donated money. Roshell Electric did the work in a very timely and professional manner, and I am personally very pleased with the results, as several people have told me they are, as well.

To see the flag up at night as I walked by the other night on the way home from downtown brought to mind part of a poem I once heard in Boy Scouts:

"Years have passed, but still in glory
With a pride we love to see,
Laureled with a nation's glory
Waves the emblem of the free;
From the rugged pines of Northland
To the deep'ning everglade,
In the sunny heart of Southland
Floats the banner Betsy made."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Scrabbling To Keep Up--2010



Well, the other night your intrepid library director was invited to participate in the Chippewa Valley Literacy Volunteers' Scrabble tournament.

The team was made up of me, Carol Peterson of Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library, Library Board members Connie Russel, Linda Nebelsiek and Robert Hoekstra as well as Mary Ann King of the Chippewa County Board. The table was sponsored by the Friends of the Library, and we were given $50.00 by an anonymous donor to buy more tiles as we needed them. A formidable team, I'd say.

Well, cutting right to the chase, we didn't win. Unless you don't look up what I'm writing to confirm this, in which case we dominated the room like Sonny Liston in a bad mood.

All in all, it was a good time for a good cause and Ms. Nebelsiek even went home with a south-of-the-border themed prize bucket full of tortillas and maragarita mix after she won a drawing. So, we felt consolated.

Our "word waitress," Libby, kept the ball rolling even at those times in which we became sidetracked, which wasn't hard as we were fed free pizza until we were full. Or, at least, I was.

And I couldn't help but feel that someone coming over to our table to thank us for letting the literacy volunteers use the library as a place to tutor--as if we'd ever refuse such an endeavor--was a real touch of class.

This is the kind of thing I like, and I'm glad we did it. The picture above, by the way, is an actual image from the tournament.