Director’s Page

July 28, 2022: Part Two

OK. I am on desk from 1PM-3PM. Here’s a pro tip: never expect to get any non-desk work done during desk time. Even if there is a slow afternoon you’ll have circ’ duties interrupt you.

I’m almost out of my afternoon coffee. I’ll hold off until 3PM for a refill.

Let’s see, what’s new, what’s new? I’ve mostly listened to audiobooks, but have read a couple novels. I am now reading another of Victor Gischler’s A RUMOR OF KINGS. I most appreciate Gischler’s crime novels and have also read his fantasy and comics. Gischler is more slashy swords and deadly magic. No dragons.

July 28, 2022

Another excellent Summer Reading Program thanks to the planning and hard work of the library staff.

Other library news: I’m going to make an instant coffee now. And drink it. I will then get back to today’s agenda of compiling some circulation statistics, weeding the collection, compiling and recording invoices, and I have some desk duty this afternoon. Nuts, I also need to prep more for RFID stuff.

July 20, 2022

I have a quiet moment here at the Circulation Desk, so here is a little note. READ.

July 18, 2022

Today is Monday and the start of Week Five of the Summer Reading Program. Wait, maybe it is Week Six. I’m not sure.

We’ve been nice and busy this summer. Our foot traffic is up – although with three entry doors we don’t now have an accurate way to count people – and our circulation is getting closer to normal. June’s circulation numbers were 86.5% of 2019’s and 84.5% of 2018.

June 9, 2022

Our Summer Reading Program has begun and I am glad to say the library has been busy this week. Our in-person programming is scheduled for Wallace Park, Commons Park, and the library. I am now working the evening shift and I have a brief window of time to say: Have you heard about those new corduroy pillows? They’re making headlines.

April 21, 2020

As I type this 7th and 8th grade students from Lake Mills Middle School are scouring the library for clues to unlock an escape room box. Scouting looks like the wrong spelling to me. But, I checked and it seems to work. Please leave a comment below if you disagree. Just kidding. No comments allowed.

The library continues researching a building expansion. We are putting together a formal request for proposal (RFP) for services of a structural engineer to give us cost estimates that may be presented as part of a election referendum.

I’ll be going out to the StoryWalk in Wallace Park this afternoon to try and remove some stuck fasteners on the StoryWalk signs. I’ve been out to the Park a couple times but always in cold weather and with limited time. I also need to get a screw extractor bit to dig into a stripped screw head. It’s a live and learn process with the StoryWalk. One problem was user error on my part. I installed the signs with a 180° rotation thinking that would make it easier to change out the story panels. The rotation does make panel changes easier, but also means that water hitting the face of the signs does not drain. The water collects in the base of the sign and freezes and gets kind of gross. I also over-torqued a few fasteners – a bad habit of mine for the past 40+ years.

I finished the first five of Glen Erik Hamilton’s Van Shaw novels. His sixth Shaw novel came out last year. Right now I am listening to another Jon Cleary mystery set in 1980’s Australia. The Scobie Malone novel Murder Song has a former police cadet has held a grudge for the last 20 years and is murdering his former academy classmates with shots from a .243 Tikka rifle. I used to have a .243 Ruger. I suppose that was a model 77. I never had much opportunity to target shoot with it and I don’t hunt. I also just – JUST NOW – discovered that the Scobie Malone novels started in 1968.

Related to rifles is a copy of This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed by Chalres E. Cobb that I have at home. Cobb was a student organizer in Mississippi during the late ’50s or early ’60s. He traces the parallel histories of self-defense and nonviolence in the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 60s. I need to get back to reading the book, finish it, and return it to the library.

March 18, 2022

I missed a February update. C’est la vie.

I’m on the third novel by Glen Erik Hamilton (website and Cafe catalog). Hamilton’s Van Shaw series is set in Seattle and begins with Army Ranger Van Shaw returning after a ten-year-absence to assist is deathly ill grandfather. His grandfather was shot and subsequently dies in the hospital. Van has no interest in investigation or revenge but Hamilton set’s Shaw up to resolve everything. The series has been fun so far. Shaw’s grandfather was a professional thief and taught the trade to Van until Van left town at 18 to join the Army. There are some standard mystery elements: former commando Van who knows “stuff”, Van needs excitement, Van has a couple handy friends including a police detective, old crooks, and a elderly neighbor.

One thing I enjoy about the novels is that Van is not a professional or amateur P.I. He is happy and willing to give his problems to police,  he just wants to earn a living and get established in civilian life. Hamilton does not allow this, of course, he puts Van in a corner and he has to sleuth and sometimes punch his way out.

January 25, 2022

Have you heard about those new corduroy pillows? They’ve been making headlines.

January 24, 2022

What’s shakin’, bacon? COVID fatigue? Winter weather doldrums? Well, you can always check-out some snowshoes from neighboring libraries. LD Fargo would also offer items like snowshoes and kayaks if WE HAD ANY ROOM TO STORE THEM. But, we have no room. Our building is too small. Fortunately for you the Library Board is actively researching and investigating a building expansion. We just finished a community survey with over 500 responses – which is a quite excellent response rate – and will be receiving the final data analysis and report from our contractor, WiLS. I will post the information once we get the final presentation and data package.

Anyway Let’s put aside library building talk and focus on the book I am listening to. I spent a semester of college in Australia in 1992. Like most semester abroad students I may have taken the experience a bit too seriously. An after effect of that experience is that I tend to really enjoy some Australian set fiction. Jane Harper’s novels have been very well done and make great use the geography. Two other authors I’ve enjoyed are Peter Temple and Garry Disher.

EDIT: [had wrong title and author posted: BABYLON SOUTH by Jon Cleary] on Hoopla Digital. PAST is set in the mid-’90s when a body that looks to be the long missing (20 years) Australian chief of intelligence. The missing and presumed dead man was married to a woman 25 years younger who is now owner of a national media conglomerate. The cops start re-investigating the missing man case and things happen.

What I enjoyed about the novel was the look at mid-’90s culture and politics. Plenty of embedded racism and sexism. Lingering fears of communism. Clear class differences between the working cops and the uber-wealthy they are interviewing. Plus the dysfunctional family relationships and betrayals that Hamilton teases out.

December 17, 2021

  • Update! I did not realize it was over a month since I wrote an update. More and more I feel like Jim Anchower, because it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya.
  • Our online community survey will be closing at the end of today. We have had a strong response so far with about 500 completed surveys. Our service area is 10,000 people. I was going to look up the breakdown of population by age to see how many people are over 18. But, I so rarely check the website that I always get lost. Anyway, 23% of the population is under 18-years-old. So, we’ll be getting a 6% response rate on the surveys.
  • The library will be closed December 23, 24, 25 and 31. Also closed January 1st – which you knew already.

November 10, 2021

Greeting and salutations. Today is Wednesday and I have been busy. We are working on a community survey about the library’s plans to expand the library building to the north. The survey should be ready next week. The online form will be available for two or three weeks and results could be ready in late December.

Our flat roof was repaired. Much of the sloped roof drains right onto the flat roof and if the two drains get clogged we end up with a bathtub. The water will then start leaking through the skylight over the Young Adult area. The roofer did some repairs to the surface and flashing and ran some heat cable by the drains because the roof will often be covered in ice during the winter.

That’s it. Not much else to say.

September 30, 2021

Dig it: I’m remembering to post an update before the month is out. Too bad I cannot get the dang homepage updates to work correctly.

Tomorrow our StoryWalk in Wallace Park officially opens. The Children’s Staff of Becca and Brianna did a lot of work in planning, organizing, and securing funding for the StoryWalk. A StoryWalk – for those of you new to the idea – is

a way for children and adults to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Pages from a children’s book are attached to signposts, which are installed along an outdoor path. As you walk down the path, you are directed to the next page in the story.  StoryWalks® combine the benefits of physical activity, time outdoors, literacy, and family time!

The Parks Department and library staff selected Wallace Park as the best location and we’ve installed 24 4″x4″ wooden posts with powder-coated aluminum frames to hold the book pages. I finished installing all the sign holders this morning and the book pages were put in place this afternoon.  The path begins by the Wallace Park playground – a playground funded by the Lake Mills Rotary Club and featuring a big sign that thanks the Club and MISSPELLS MY NAME. (It’s okay, it’s okay. I’m use to it.) – and winds North through the park’s wooded section and around to the East and South by the soccer and ball fields.

Other news:

  1. The bird is still the word.
  2. We are working with WILS to write and distribute a community wide survey about the library building’s current limitations and the possibility of a building expansion. The survey should be available in October or early Novemeber. WILS is skilled at survey writing and analysis so I look forward to this project.
    1. Fun fact: WILS helped us with our last strategic plan and when I would spoke to the staffer on the phone I could sometimes hear his pet bird loudly proclaiming it’s avian presence.
  3. Part of our building needs assessment included a list of needed repairs and updates. A few of those work tasks are still being scheduled and we will have some updated electric and masonry work done this Autumn.
  4. This is Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week is organized by the American Library Association and described as “the annual celebration of the freedom to read.” I think of the Week as an opportunity to promote the freedom to read and to publicize that censorship and book banning are always a threat.
  5. Recent audiobooks I have enjoyed:
    1. The Mystery Man series of novels by Colin Bateman.  A humorous series set in modern-day Belfast about the highly-neurotic and narcissistic owner of a mystery bookshop who also works as a private eye.
    2. The Max and Angela series of novels by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr. Extremely over-the-top crime novels. Humorus, violent, profane.
    3. Traitor’s Doom by John Creasey. Creasey is a name I recognized but knew nothing about. Creasey wrote A LOT of novels from the 1930s to the 1970s. Traitor’s was published in 1942 and features Dr. Palfrey as a physician and newly minted spy. Traitor’s is set in a imaginary neutral country during WWII that seems to be an amalgam of Corsica, the Basque region, Gibraltar, and Monaco.

August 26, 2021

What’s the word, flapping bird?

Good news, our library hours are expanding with a new closing time starting on September 7th. Monday through Thursday we will be open 9AM-8PM. Friday and Saturday hours stay the same at 9AM-5PM and 9am-1PM, respectively. Since the pandemic began in March, 2020 the latest we’ve been open is 7PM. These are now our new, regular hours. We used to run 9AM-9PM four days a week with a full day on Saturday. Staffing those long hours has always been a chore for a small library.We always strive to have two staff members in the building at a time and that schedule strains staff and services.

I’ve always held a fair amount of pride in providing service 64 hours of service a week. I analyzed our circulation statistics and they show – as staff knew from observation and experience – that we have very few checkouts from 8PM-9PM (or even 7PM-8PM) on weeknights and that most Saturday circulation happens the first half of the day. Comparably sized libraries have the same circulation as Lake Mills but are open fewer hours each week.

Anyhoo. I started reading Ruth Downie’s series of mystery novels set in Roman times in Britain. She has a French physician working for the Roman Army legions in Britain and solving murders. Fun stuff and a great look at how life and society were organized at the time. I’ve also enjoyed Steven Saylor’s (no relation) Roman mystery novels set in Rome. Saylor (no relation) has his protagonist, Gordianus the Finder, working among the rich and powerful. Downie’s guy, Ruso, working in the backwater provinces among the locals and and a few expatriate Romans.

One Downie novel does cover a topic that Saylor (no relation) covered in one of his novels: slaves were legally required to undergo torture for their court testimony to be valid. Yeesh. Libby has four of her novels on audio.

July 21, 2021

Notice how I just keeping adding to these entries? How I never group and archive older updates in a separate section? How this page just grows longer, and longer, and longer? Well, get used to it.

We will return to our permanent Library hours on September 7th. We are adjusting our hours to close one-hour earlier during weeknights and close at 1PM on Saturdays. New hours are 9AM-8PM Monday-Thursday, 9AM-5PM Fridays, 9AM-1PM Saturdays.

We’ve always had a small staff and staying open for 64 hours a week has never been easy. We have to schedule vacations and training and meetings into our desk schedule and always keep a minimum of two people in the building. Staff often come in sick to ensure we can stay open. Our limited pandemic hours provided an ideal time to re-evaluate our operating hours and make an adjustment. The Library Board looked at our hourly circulation numbers, operating hours of comparably sized libraries, and the hours of other libraries within Jefferson County.

What else… What else… I listened to another Max Allan Collins novel. SKIM DEEP features the longtime thief Nolan. Nolan is retired from crime and running a restaurant/club in the Quad Cities. He decides to marry his much younger girlfriend and they head to Vegas. Nolan is recognized, people think he is casing a casino, and trouble ensues. Meanwhile, the subplot of a man casing Nolan’s empty house in preparation for assassinating Nolan slowly burns in the background. Collins is a nut for movies and old crime novels, TV shows and films (modern films, too). He has a weekly blog update that is fun to read.

I downloaded the audiobook of SKIM DEEP from Hoopla. Hoopla checkouts are limited to four items a month but items are instantly available. I often hit my monthly checkout limit unless I select a super long audiobook that takes a while to finish.

June 30, 2021: Part Two

Nuts. I forgot about the upcoming Garden Tour on July 17th, 9AM-2PM. The Friends have put together another garden tour with five locations in Lake Mills. They are also raffling off a quilt made by local artist Wendy Butler Berns. FYI, Berns is a big fricking deal. The Library Board President was in an airport a few years ago and mentioned to a stranger he was from Lake Mills, WI. The stranger responded “Do you know Wendy Butler Berns?!”

June 30, 2021

The library has expanded hours again with a 9AM opening time. I’ve been reading The Biker Trials by Paul Cherry about the Montreal biker war and subsequent prosecutions in the ’90s and early ’00s. Interesting stuff but if your not already familiar some of the crimes and people you will likely be a bit confused. Cherry jumps around in time as he writes about each person involved. Basically. motorcycle gangs in Montreal were taking over the drug trade. The Hell’s Angels and Rock Machine gangs, and their affiliated, feeder gangs, started killing each other the drug business.

Rock Machine would be a good name for a rock band.

June 9, 2021

What’s happening, Dudesters and Dudettes? Here in LibraryLand we have re-opened the Children’s Section in the lower level. Earlier this morning a young girl said, “Yay!” when informed of this news. Next week we will move our service point back to our regular desk, shut down our window service, and re-open the Library’s front doors.

Summer Reading Programming is staying online. We had to make our programming decision back in the pandemic dark days of December and January and decided on virtual programming. We are unable to switch over to in-person programming. You can sign up for both children’s, teen’s, and adult’s Summer Reading Program using the Beanstack website or app at

I’ve still been listening to a lot of audiobooks more than I’ve been reading. During the lockdowns I was unable to focus on print books. Now that summer is here I’m trying to spend more time outside. I listen to a lot of audiobooks when walking to and from work and walking the dog. I checked out Mystery Man from Hoopla a few weeks ago. Colin Bateman has written a fair amount of comedic crime books over the past 25+ years, but I’d not read any of them for 20 years. I ended up enjoying Mystery Man quite a bit featuring the owner of a Belfast bookstore specializing in crime fiction. A neighboring shop with a private investigator suddenly goes dark and the bookshop owner starts taking on some of the cases.

Interesting Fact: my dog is gross.

May 13, 2021

Another intermittent update from the Director: We’re here. We’re always here. We won’t go away. Come visit.

April 4, 2021

The library re-opens on April 5. The Wisconsin Supreme Court quashed the Governor’s COVID emergency order. Because there are no County of City orders requiring masks the library cannot require masks.

In consideration of the health and safety of others we request and recommend you wear a mask when in the library.

March 18, 2021

What’s shakin’, Bacon? Time flies when your pandemicking.

The library will re-open to the public – with the pandemic operating hours – on Monday, April 5th.

The case activity level for Jefferson County has been consistently dropping since February. The Library Board and staff do not want to enter an open-close-open-close cycle caused by fluctuating COVID case numbers. We’ve waited to ensure the numbers stay low. Because of staff restrictions, some interior reorganization, and LMASD’s Spring Break we decided to wait until April to re-open.

This is excellent news because re-opening means the COVID causes have dropped, people are practicing safe hygiene, and you can now browse the library shelves. Speaking of library shelves, we’ve compacted our adult nonfiction quite a bit by weeding out rarely and never used and outdated items. The DVD section has been moved onto the regular shelving and I am putting the DVD spinner racks into storage. I’m waiting to hear back from a vendor on buying some media shelves to replace the flat shelves the DVDs now sit on.

What else…? What else…? Oh, yeah, books. My concentration has suffered over the past 12 months and I’ve listened to many more books than I have read. A recent audiobook I downloaded from Hoopla is Appel: a Canadian in the French Foreign Legion by Joel Adam Struthers. Struthers was a reservist in the Canadian Army and wanted greater adventure. His father was a pilot for the Canadian Air Force and the family lived around the world and he already knew some French. Struthers joins up, makes it through an extended selection process, runs A LOT, does lots of training courses, and does a few rotations in Africa. A very interesting read about an organization with a long and famous history.


January 29, 2021

  1. Belated Happy New Year!
  2. Why the heck did I post those three photos last month? Well, I was in the middle of that weird holiday week between Christmas and New Year. And my hair looked glorious.
  3. The library is still limited to window-only service. We have many take home craft bags for children and teens. There are ready-to-checkout book bundles for children and adults. The bundles are themed and you can ask at the window for available bundles.
  4. Place holds on the online catalog,, or give us a call at 920.648.2166.
  5. Don’t forget we have two, TWO!, ebook resources. Libby and Hoopla.

December 28, 2020

Enjoy an audiobook.

Can you dig it?

December 14, 2020

Yep, the inside of the library is still closed to the public. We have been that way since October 5th and the COVID numbers are still awful. At leas the latest two-week average has dropped below Critically High into Very high. The average for November 25 to December 8 was 905.8. The previous round had been 1,062.9. The case rate for Jefferson County is in a nice decline. But, you kn ow all this already.

I recently listened to two of Adrian McKinty’s novels featuring Northern Ireland police investigator Sean Duffy and set in the later 1980s. McKinty’s focus is on the police procedural aspect of the story while incorporating many well know events and people of The Troubles.

October 23, 2020

Here’s the word: Pandemic. Jefferson County started hitting high numbers of COVID-19 cases at the end of September and on October 5th the County Health Department issued a health alert on October 5 and we scaled back library services on the same day. We are still limiting service to window service. Wait, let me hyphenate that: window-service. Does that look better? More readable?

To determine our re-opening we are tracking the 14-day average for case activity posted by the WI DHS, “Case activity is a combination of burden and trajectory.” The Library Board decided to postpone expanding service until the case activity level decreases to reach the High level we were at in mid-September.  That High rating in September was 320 cases and, unfortunately, Jefferson County is at 758,2. Yowza!

On the bright side: Hoopla has a ton of eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, music and television shows available through your library card. Hoopla’s payment model is a bit different than other online services and we have to limit each library customer to four checkouts a month. A great advantage of Hoopla is immediate checkouts. Hoopla charges the library for each checkout – prices depend on the item – but the customer never sees those costs. We have the four item limit because many libraries have implemented the service and blew through months worth of their budget after customers watched one or two movies every day.

For eAudiobooks I’ve been listening to The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney. (Named Spook’s Apprentice in the UK but the name was changed because of the racist use of ‘spook’ in the U.S.) This is a Young Adult series of books following Tom who apprentices to John “The Spook” Gregory who rids their County of ghosts, boggarts, witches and other followers of The Dark. The series is aimed at younger teens and the violence has ramped up with each successive book. That violence is kinda weird compared to the chaste and platonic relationship between Tom and Alice. Alice was raised for a time by her witch relatives but now stays with The Spook and Tom. Delaney focuses on Tom – with Tom narrating the series – but the interior thoughts of Tom never touch romantic love or lust. Tom never just spends the afternoon messing around and avoiding work either. The lack of loafing is a more believable since Tom is fighting witches who are trying to murder him.

September 10, 2020

The pandemic continues and now it’s raining. So it goes.

Good thing the library has several online programs planned for this Fall. Here is the child listings and here is the adult listings.  Of course the information on these links will change over time. So, if you’re reading this in 2022 I have no idea what will be there, but you gotta figure the pandemic will be over by then. I mean to say this pandemic should be over.

Anyhoo. What’s the word Mr Bird? The word is audiobooks. I started listening to T. Jefferson Parker’s work again. Parker ended his Charlie Hood series a few years ago and I drifted off. I really enjoyed the Hood books and was kinda bummed Parker ended the series. Although, in retrospect, the Hood stories were played out. But, Parker’s Roland Ford books have been pretty decent and I recently heard Room of White Fire and The Last Good Guy.  Each novel requires some suspension of disbelief but Parker loves to write about Southern California and his characters are always very well done.

Hey, let;s try some touch typing. Going pretty good so far. I’ll trying looking away now. OK I think it’s going ok. Il\’ll keep typing to tru it out. And now I will look. Yep. Not too bad. Plus one for Librrary Director.

August 21, 2020.

Dang. Overdue once again. I feel like Jim Anchower, “Been a long time since I rapped at ya.” The pandemic continues to march on like time itself. That is why the library has been closed since Wednesday, August 19th: a positive COVID case shut us down. We will re-open Monday August 24th.  Lake Mills has been fairly fortunate since March but Jefferson County cases are now on the rise. There was a news report about a Lake Mills resident’s release hospital release after a 66 day hospital stay.

When library staff and the Library Board discussed re-opening our plan included what to do when a positive COVID case effected us. We are now towards the end of our 72-hour planned closure but, because of the big backlog of returns we will stay closed this Saturday for library staff to catch up.

Anyhoo. I’ve been listening to way more audiobooks than reading. A bit ago I read a recent reprint of NADA by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Manchette was French and made a living translating English language novels into French. So I have no idea why Manchette wrote his novels in French and those novels were translated by other people. Manchette wrote in the 1970s and this crime thriller of French revolutionaries kidnapping the U.S. Ambassador has some really neat period details: multiple competing political parties and revolutionary groups, cars, police work, cultural differences, so on, so forth.

June 24, 2020

We have set July 1st for limited re-opening to the public. Unless something else happens. I mean, I don’t want to be a downer man, but, c’mon. Before we open we’ll need plexiglass barriers installed at the new service desk area and nothing is in place yet.

  • The meeting room and Children’s Area will be closed.
  • We’ve moved out most seating and have no study or working space.
  • All the newest and latest children’s materials will be moved into the magazine room on the main floor.
  • All circulation functions will stay by the back door so that we can continue curbside service service.
  • Masks are required.
  • Keep six feet apart.
  • Bring your own coffee.
  • Keep your panic down, we’re doing alright.

May 28, 2020

The library has had curbside pickup for about three weeks now. Give us a call at 920-648-2166 to arrange a pick-up time. Place holds at the library catalog at or call us and staff will place a hold for you.

Meanwhile I’ve been trying out Hoopla during our trial period. For years I’ve promoted the Wisconsin Digital Library for eBooks and electronic audiobooks. But, the Digital Library always has backlogs on popular titles. The libraries of the Bridges Library System voted to try out Hoopla as a second option for electronic content. The vendor for the Wisconsin Digital Library is Overdrive. Overdrive charges libraries a purchase price each title and allows one customer for each electronic copy. Hoopla charges for each checkout with unlimited usage. With Overdrive you can set your budget and buy accordingly. With Hoopla you set your budget and guess about popularity of the service.

Anyhoo. Hoopla has a very nice music selection and I’ve listened to several albums that are not available through the library system. I also started listening to the Hunger Games prequel about President Snow entitled the Ballad of Songbirds and Sankes which seems to have mixed reviews. I’ve enjoyed it so far. Snow is in his last year at high school in the Capitol and ten years after the civil war ended. His formerly rich family is just skating by and faking wealth.

Snow, of course, gets involved with the Hunger Games which are in their seventh year or so and quite a bit different than the elaborate versions of the first novels. Snow is a schemer, liar, fake, and manipulator. Snow has acted all those ways to survive during the war and make his way through school with his high society classmates. The novel seems to be having Snow succeed using those methods and learning that absolute power is the way of life.

April 28, 2020.

Well… scratch those plans. I am now thinking the library will re-open on May 27th when the latest Safer At Home order expires. The library is starting curbside service on Friday, May 1st. Read the notice off the home page. We are limiting everyone to only two books because we are only able to pull items from our shelves and I don’t want to run out of stock.

Anyhoo. Life keeps moving and books keep sitting around waiting for me to read them. I finished Adrian McKinty’s The Dead Yard. I decided that this calendar year I would only read the books I already own. So far I’ve been successful at this except for a couple library books. Audiobooks are excluded from this effort because I own zero audiobooks.

How many times I day do I mistype library? Lirbrary. Libry. Libary. Libraryu. LIbary.

March 16, 2020

The library will probably open on April 6 when the Lake Mills Area School District plans to reopen. All library due dates have been reset to May 1.

Anyhoo, with the librayr shut down I recommend you check out the Wisconsin Digital Library and Flipster magazine service. I’ve listened to a lot of electronic audiobooks over the past ten years using the Digital Library. When browsing the Digital Library make sure you are signed in because you will then see extra titles and copes owned by our library system.

March 15, 2020

The library is closed until further notice and effective immediately. Wash your hands. Stay home if you are sick. Cover your coughs.

March 13, 2020

Design Workshops – was calling them Charrettes below – are completed and some fancy drawings produced by community participants and the architects are viewable online. REMEMBER: the renderings are just ideas. They are examples of ways to fulfill the library’s space needs with ideas about how to add on to the existing structures built in 1902 and 1965. There are no plans to start bulldozing neighbors, punching holes in walls, writing checks to construction companies, or posing for photos with chrome plated shovels.

COVID-19 news: we are still open. All children’s toys have been pulled from the Children’s Area. Public service areas are being regularly cleaned. We may cancel all events and programs. We did cancel the LEGO Club event for March 16 because all those small LEGOs are way too difficult to try and clean. Wait a minute, can LEGOs be microwaved? WOuld we be able to steam them that way? Not that we have a big, honking microwave oven but I am now curious.

February 15, 2020

The library has a couple design charrettes coming up in a couple weeks on March 7 and 9. “Charrette” is a fancy word for “Drop-in during the day, tell us what building design features you like, tell us what to skip, drink our coffee, argue with the architects, vote for your favorite building design, ask why didn’t the Library Director get donuts.” The design charrette/workshop is pretty neat because the architects hang out all day, talk to people, and constantly draw and revise different building designs. Should be a groovy time, bro-ski.

Onto other topics: coffee. My brother bought me a fancy schmancy plastic coffee press. If you look online there are plenty of coffee weirdos with plenty of different tips and methods to use the press. I’ve just been following whatever the manual says.

Other topics: of the recent books I have read or listened to the best has been The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson. I’ve enjoyed Davidson’s work over the years and he has written some horror novels under the name Nick Cutter {and wouldn’t you know I just – JUST – discovered he writes under the name Patrick Lestewka. Nuts). Ghost Club is told as flashback by a current day brain surgeon who spent a summer as a 13-year-old hanging out with a weird uncle and a couple new kids to his neighborhood. Davidson does nice work but I won’t try to write any fancy book review.

January 30, 2020

I’d like to point out that none of our lights are burned out. I am happy about this.

January 16, 2020

The library is doing a Building Needs Assessment. The assessment is important so I capitalized the whole phrase. Our goal is for the library to continue to be relevant and important to the community. The library building is integral to the services library provides. Is the current building allowing us to continue to evolve and improve? We would not leave this building but what can we do to improve or expand the building?

Part of the assessment is holding focus groups and stakeholder meetings with members of the community. Our facilitator will work with the groups to identify needs and wants. If you want to help us out give a call to 648-2166 or email me at Let me know by January 24.

December 19, 2019

The parking lot was completed and I forgot to update this page. Months of my whining about the never-completed parking lot and then, after all that, and I don’t immediately post an update here.

Well, the parking is completed and it is FANTASTIC. Many library customers have said as much to me. We also have a new book drop – which has already been backed into – and new exterior lights will soon be working. The Holiday Season Doldrums have arrived. The budget year is ending, foot traffic drops off and Library Director tries to complete all the boring tasks he has been putting off for a while. Not this webpage though! This is of prime importance. This page is not at all an over indulgent opportunity for Library Director to ramble. No sir! In fact here are two photos of Rock Lake to prove it.

And here is a photo of me with some Boy Scouts after a weekend outside Black River Falls. The temperature that morning was -11°. The smile is from my pride of having never lost my patience all weekend.

November 4, 2019

Asphalt? Well… let’s ponder on what Ray Davies has to say on the topic.

Yesterday evening I finished reading The Dry by Jane Harper. That is an excellent book. An man living in Melbourne travels the three hours back to his hometown for a funeral. The man’s high school friend apparently murdered his wife, young son, and himself. Complicating the situation is that the Melbourne man and his father were chased from town twenty years ago when Melbourne Man was a teenager and the town thought he murdered a local girl.

October 31, 2019

Nuts. It snowed last night. No asphalt today.

In other news: I finished the audio version of Max Hastings’s Vietnam: an epic tragedy, 1945-1975. That was a good listen but I think Hasting’s let Nixon off the hook for Nixon’s sabotage of peace negotiations to win the election in 1968. Plenty of people don’t like to compare Vietnam to Afghanistan or Iraq but there are PLENTY of parallels and all the people involved when those latter wars began should have known better since they were all around in the ’60s and many of them were in government then.

Anyhoo. Give the book a try if you want to get yourself worked up. I think Hastings does a fine job writing about the many sides and opinions of how the war and the politics were run and pursued.

October 30, 2019

No, the parking lot is not complete. A couple weeks ago I posted on the library’s Facebook page that paving was coming soon. The pavement did not arrive. And then portions of the initial concrete work had to be torn out and redone. The concrete requires seven days to cure at current temperatures so that set back any asphalt paving work. We are also live at the whim of the weather and the paving contractors. The paving companies are all finishing up work before winter and the City works with a company that has jobs across the state. The current hope is for paving to be done tomorrow, Thursday, October 31, but that’s a “cross your fingers and your toes” date.

Anyhoo. We’ve had some neat programs lately and more are planned. Keep track on the web page events calendar or on Facebook. I myself just want a another coffee right now. But, it’s 10:45AM AM and I’ll leave for lunch at 12PM. I don’t like to guzzle coffee and I also don’t like having it sit cold over lunch. I am fortunate to have such minor dilemmas.

October 1, 2019

Well, the new parking lot construction started two or three weeks ago. This makes me very happy and means I have nothing to gripe about. Except for the rain which delays construction. The back lot has been cleared, filled, leveled and compacted. Earlier today the cement crews put in the frames for pouring the new concrete sidewalks. A shallow, concrete drainage trough will run the length of driveway. Once those concrete features are set we will await the asphalt contractor to lay the driving surface.

Coming up next are interviews with architectural firms who sent in quotes on a library needs assessment. The trick is scheduling meeting times for the architectural firms and the three people on the interview committee. The needs assessment will look at the library building, library services, and community growth and needs.

What else? What else? Let me think… I’ve been drinking French press coffee lately. The Keurig machine is so wonderfully convenient but the coffee is never all that great. The K-pods get expensive and are just one more piece of garbage.

August 29, 2019

No more fines on Children’s Materials effective August 19, 2019. We are deleting old overdue fines for children’s materials. Why?

  1. Literacy is freaking important. Children’s literacy is vital to academic success.
  2. People with big fines won’t use the library. We block library access if fines total $10 and above.
  3. People with small fines sometimes don’t use the library. People get embarrassed. People don’t have cash. Some people barely make rent.
  4. Overdue fines don’t encourage returning items on time. Study after study has shown return rates don’t change much when a library removes fines.

What else? I don’t know. My dog stinks again. She always wants to sunbathe on the asphalt driveway and she sort of smells like rotting fish.

August 19, 2019

Continuing the theme of “Dang it, I gotta update this page” is this video of Rock Lake shortly after sunset.

I usually get more reading during summer vacations than I did this summer. One vacation to Montana and Yellowstone National Park was a lot of busy days. The other vacation to Kansas included a fair amount of napping. I did recently finish The Killing Joke by Gary Phillips and Christa Faust. I have been a fan of Faust’s work for quite a few years. Killing Joke is at least her second collaboration with fellow crime novelist Phillips.

The previous Phillips and Faust was a comic book novel, Peepland, set in 1980s Time Square. Killing Joke is itself a Batman novel based off a comic book novel from the 1980s. The Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum and Batman is looking for him and a few other crooks. Phillips and Faust wrote a smooth flowing, quickly devoured book. Well… quickly devoured if you’re not as distracted by family, TV shows, other books, exercise, and the dang dog.

July 1, 2019

Nuts. I forgot about this page again. Well the Summer Reading Program is in full swing with 473 children registered. The Adult Summer Reading Program gives you a chance at prize drawings.

I’ve posting on the library’s Instagram account because it is so easy to do off a mobile phone. If there a hip way to talk about that topic? I’ve been on the ‘gram. Or, I’m going to insta’ this shot! Or maybe I’m so insta’ it hurts my ‘gram, yo. Photographs of sunsets always prove popular. I don’t know why.

May 8, 2019

You can now use our photocopier as a fax machine to transmit and receive. I could write “send” but “transmit” sounds fancier.  People do still use faxes and Library Staff get fairly regular requests for the service. Now I need to mention these details things on all the social media places.

I’ve been reading a book about the Vietnam War the past couple weeks, We Few by Nick Brockhausen. It differs from the usual war memoir style with a young recruit in training, young soldier is gung-ho and sent overseas, young soldier has first time in the field, young soldier sees combat and is horrified into an old soldier, old soldier is cynical and ready to head home, old soldier is home and discombobulated. Brockhausen writes about drunken shenanigans and pranks more than combat. Brockhausen was part of MACV/SOG which was a super-duper secret commando and reconnaissance outfit that was often sent into Laos and Cambodia. SOG carried out incredibly dangerous missions and Brockhausen and Friends would drink and cause mayhem when out of the field. Why worry about getting in trouble or advancing your career when you have colleagues who jumped off a helicopter and disappeared forever? An interesting part of the book is how the social dynamics of that commando unit – a meritocracy – fit within the strict hierarchy of the Army.

What else? What else? Nothing much comes to mind. I need to book a company to get the carpets cleaned. I have a couple bids and they differ by about $1,500. Yeah, one thousand and five hundred smackers.

April 24, 2019

Well… let’s see. What’s the word? Bird. Surfin’ Bird.

Beyond that:

  • The front concrete steps are scheduled for replacement on May 13.
  • A new back parking lot is planned for July. Of 2019.
  • The LMASD Spring Art Show is coming up and the reception is scheduled for May 23. The reception will include cake and awards. I’m not sure whose turn it is to get the cake. The Library and the art teachers have been trading that back and forth. I’m always worried about running out of cake and oftentimes over-order cake. Back when I used to regularly eat dessert that was fine because a bunch of leftovers would end up staying here and I’d eat it.
  • A few months ago I was at Rotary eating my usual fourth or fifth dessert and I decided maybe I should cut back a bit. But, I knew if I cut back and I would backslide, so I just cut out desserts entirely. Doing so was surprisingly easy.
  • I found three CDs by The Call within the library catalog and ordered them over. I was listening to one of those albums, Let The Day Begin, and after I recognized every single tune I realized my brother or I bought this on vinyl. Heck, I may have the LP somewhere in my basement.

March 23, 2019

Sure, there is always something going on at the library but that doesn’t mean I update this page as often as those happenings happen.

Here is an update. We should be posting a request for proposals for a Building Needs Assessment. As the community has grown the library has endeavored to keep pace. Our last building expansion was in 1965. Our interior renovation in 2013 updated our data cabling, and circulation desk but the rest of the work only rearranged the building layout. We are still limited by a100+ year old design. A needs assessment will be done by a consultant to tell us how the community rates our library services and what we are expected to provide. The study will give recommendations on what the library should be pursue for library services and if we should look to expand.

I wonder if we’ll ever get that parking lot in back.

January 30, 2019

The polar vortex is moving through Wisconsin at this moment and most staff were unable to come to work. We will close at 6PM because I don’t want to stay here for the full 13 hours of 8AM to 9PM.

The good thing about the cold weather is that even though everything will warm up to 39 on Saturday the ground should stay nice and frozen for The Knickerbocker Ice Festival over the weekend. I would enter the IdiderDAD competition on Saturday but I will be working in the library. My children are teenagers and, therefore, quite large. I won a couple races three years ago when the children were a bit smaller but one of the plastic pulling sleds still broke. I think my wife and I are going out for drinks that night.

Book recommendations? Sure. I’ve recently read or listened to some older novels you can call “classic”. Those are Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Rascal by Sterling North, My Antonia by Willa Cather, Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Here are my comments

  1. Tarzan was pretty fun but time has not been too kind to the book. The racism was unsurprising and lighter than expected. The author’s eugenics theories were a surprise.
  2. Rascal was a year in the life of a ten-year-old boy and his new pet raccoon. Fun stories by a lonely boy whose mother passed away a few years before.
  3. My Antonia was boring. Nothing much happened in the story and I bailed out after trying and trying to finish the book.
  4. Wind in the Willows was narrated by Terry Jones from Monty Python. The book was funny and I am certain I never finished the story when I was a child.
  5. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a famed Southern Gothic novel. I suppose it is not as famed as a “nothing much happens outside a house fire” novel.

December 5, 2018

The year is winding down. The City’s budget year matches the calendar year so we have closed out all our ordering. Most books are purchased through Baker and Taylor (B&T) which wholesales to many libraries and book stores. B&T offers a Automatically Yours program where libraries sign up for automatic shipments of any new novels by popular authors. That way we never miss ordering a popular writer’s new novel. We receive monthly updates, print the updates, and post them by the library’s New Books section.

Another thing that gets posted is Santa.

I jogged in the Run Turkey Run event in Watertown on Thanksgiving morning. I decided to pose on the podium before the race. That way the photographer was able to get a good photo before I was mobbed by my admirers.

Run Turkey Run had a bunch of coffee for runners. They also have muffins. They ran out of coffee and people, like me, were standing in line at the Bunn coffee makers. They also started to run out of muffins. But, I was okay because I ate six muffins.

November 15, 2018

I about to write my monthly Director’s Report for the Library Board. Let me know if you want anything added. I have to know by 2PM, November 15. Time machines not allowed.

November 8, 2018

I am at the Circulation Desk. Four children are down in the Children’s Area playing online computer games on their laptops. There is very loud laughter and giggling.

October 30, 2018

Children and Young Adult library staff – all two of them – did a fantastic job planning, preparing, and hosting two days of celebration for the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter novel. On October 25th we hosted five sessions of a Potter themed escape room with a total of 40 children. October 26th was four hours of a drop-in Potter festival. 113 children and plenty of parents came on Friday and each person stayed about two hours. Here are some photos and I hope the formatting is not all messed up.

Table top Quidditch.


Craft table.

Platform 9 3/4.

Spraying new wands.

New wands ready for painting.





















October 3, 2018

What’s the word? Bird. Bird is the word.

Here is some general news organized into a handy, bulleted list suitable for printing:

  • Our conversion to LED lighting in the library has been taking forever. We solicited quotes in September and a member of WPPI is now analyzing the quotes for us. Hopefully this can be done in November.
  • Our Green Bay Packers program on September 27 went well with about 28 people attending.
  • Our Harry Potter programs on October 25 and 26 are looking to be very, very neat. Brianna and Becca have been doing a lot of planning and work in preparation. Prior planning prevents poor performance.
  • Proper Post Participation Pulls Pork Pies.
  • Baby And Me story times will be every Tuesday @ 10AM during October.
  • For the past year or so I always use the @ symbol when listing times on social media. The symbol has become acceptable and saves an extra space (or two when typed @10am) in tight space.
  • All the rain fall over the past three months has altered and slowed the road construction schedule. That means the schedule for our front step replacement and parking lot expansion have also been altered. I now make cynical jokes that we hope to have the work completed by November, 2020. The project will not take that long of course.
  • I bought a couple new camping knives. This is not library news but I might as well share.
  • I’ve been reading a Michelle Gagnon novel and enjoying it quite a bit. The title is Bone Yard and is a serial killer novel set among the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Yeah, serial killer plots have been done to death but I’ve really enjoyed this one. I also enjoyed listening to the audio version of a young adult trilogy Gagnon wrote.
  • That is all.

September 13, 2018

The library should be moving forward for having a building needs assessment done in 2019. A study will determine if we should move forward with planning for a building expansion. The library was built in 1902 and is in very good shape but we have been outgrowing our space. The library’s space constraints will become more obvious as the community continues to grow. Here is a dog from Saturday’s Read to Dogs. I did not read to the dog.

August 22, 2018

The Summer Reading Program went very well. The Library’s concrete steps are not yet replaced. The Library’s back parking lot should still be on schedule. I broke two ribs and have not been cycling, swimming, walking, running, lifting or assembling the new tables for Library Hall. Here is a stock photo I found. I added the “woof”.

We are regularly posting information and event announcements on the Facebook, the Instagram and the Twitter.

July 6, 2018

It is 3:19PM and all is well. Here are some summer photos. Hopefully the formatting will work out. I don’t know how to get the site to arrange photos like I want. Getting the photos to open into the large version was enough trouble.

Book recommendations: I read Anthony Neil Smith’s latest novel The Cyclist. A good book and Smith keeps the story moving. The Cyclist has a obsessive cyclist emptying his bank account and traveling to Scotland to meet his online flirtation. Things do not go well for the fella. Lets just say that Smith has written a few torture scenes in his other books.





















June 25, 2018

Nuts, it’s late June already. I need to update more often. Here is a book recommendation: You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. Abbott’s last few novels have been crime novels focusing on teenage girls. Abbott has mined the topic of teens with protagonists who misconstrue the actions of others and lie to themselves about their own actions and needs. You Will Know Me is told by the mother of a high-performing, 16-year-old, female gymnast who is training to be able to compete at the highest level. When a young man and gymnast team performer is killed in a hit-and-run the mom is left wondering how her husband and daughter might be involved.

Here are are two photos. One from the Town and Country Days parade.

Rock Lake sunset.

May 31, 2018

Summer Reading Program (SRP) registration begins tomorrow. We have online registration and a simple paper sheet to track reading progress. SRP is a big deal for libraries and children.

The Library Parking Lot Project (LPLP) will happen in autumn. The paving contractor and City street crews will be busy all summer working on pulverizing and grinding streets, laying pavement, fixing the manholes, repairing lead water lateral work, replacing water mains, replacing sewer mains, painting lines, digging ditches, decorating trees, and lassoing the moon. So, the LPLP has to wait.

Here is a book I gave up on, The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe. To me it was a run of the mill Rich People Are In Trouble novel. Mixed in with kidnapping, oil business, African oligarchs and revolutionaries, and kidnapping for ransom.

May 25, 2018

The Summer Reading Program is almost set to start. Brianna and Becca have been getting everything ready and are finishing their final organization. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on getting quotes to replace all our fluorescent lights with LED bulbs. I’ve also been working on preparing a request for proposal on a needs assessment for the library.

We have continually discussed expanding the library into the vacant lot to the North. A needs assessment will guide us in deciding whether a expansion is needed by the community. I think the need is clear but we need someone to assess all the different factors and give us an expert opinion. A needs assessment will look at

  • the current building’s square footage, condition, capabilities, and adaptability.
  • current and expected technology needs.
  • community population and future growth.
  • Community needs and demographics.
  • lack of couches for the Library Director to recline upon.
  • ease of access for customers.
  • standards of service.

So, what else is new? Well, at this very moment (10:52AM on Friday, May 25, 2018) there are three very giggly children in the Children’s Area. Oh, well, not the one kid who just collided with someone. Give it a minute or two and he’ll be fine. -Wait, I was wrong, it took 30 seconds to recover.

I just heard a western by Richard S. Wheeler, Montana Hitch. If you are ever looking for a novel with lots of character development then check out a Wheeler novel. I’ve read a few of his and most of his westerns do not follow the genre’s usual formula. This one does follow some of those western characteristics with cattle ranchers and rustlers but it is far beyond any formulaic crud.

May 23, 2018

What do you call a dog underwater? Nothing, He cannot hear you.

April 26, 2018

The plan to expand and resurface the library’s parking lot is still a go. The land needs to be graded and paved. The City will do the grading but bid requests for pavement and concrete are still being prepared.

I just finished listening to Skin by Mo Hayder. Skin is the third book I’ve read that has English Police Inspector Ryan Caffery. Hayder is very good at having several characters who pursue separate story lines as they also interact with each other and those story lines overlap. But, unlike many novels where different story lines meet together at a story’s climax, Hayder has those many connection miss. Characters know things and act in ways that would solve serious personal and legal issues, yet know one knows this. Hayder gives us a bigger emotional, tragic oomph when a criminal goes free, a cop misses a clue, or a victim dies alone because of those missed personal connections. Here is another dog photo.

April 13, 2018

Today is Friday. This weekend’s forecast is for snow. The library will be open, warm and dry from 9AM-5PM. After 5PM you’re on your own.

How about a book? I finally got around to reading Tana French’s In The Woods. Woods is set in Ireland with a policeman who survived a childhood abduction that left his two best friends missing and presumed murdered. The copper was 11-years-old at the time and retains no memory of the abduction and almost no memory of his life before the abduction. His childhood trauma is a secret to everyone but his partner. When a teenage girl is murdered near the copper’s childhood neighborhood he is called to investigate.

Clues at the new murder scene may connect the modern crime with the cop’s abduction from 20 years ago. The cop has to try and investigate both cases while keeping his secret safe and face the trauma that left him with no past.  French does a masterful job of leading us through the cop’s life as he recalls what he can, follows bad leads, and realizes how much of the memory he retains is faulty and the events misunderstood.

April 5, 2018

To stay relevant social media must be regularly updated. Use pictures to attract viewers. Use hashtags to encourage interaction with your audience. #mydogisnosey

March 26, 2018 Part Two.

And another thing. We have hired a new Children’s Librarian. She will start April 9 and will undoubtedly be spending a ton of time preparing for the Summer Reading Program. I AM NOT A ROBOT!

March 26, 2018

What’s new? Well, I found out Magnus Robot Fighter is available through the Cafe catalog. I am not a robot!

March 14, 2018

Nuts! I forgot all about updating the Director’s Page. I have been working to promote the library on the fancy shmancy Instagram Computer Box Picture Show. The Library also has a Twitter account but I’m not as good at keeping that account active.

We have been without a Children’s Specialist since January 1st when we shuffled staff after a resignation. I and the City’s Human Resources boss interviewed three candidates today and interview two more tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll fill the job soon. We had some excellent – excellent – candidates.

How about a book recommendation? Let me check my notes… oh, yeah. I read the last two books in John MCFetridge’s Eddie Dougherty series. I really enjoy those books. Doughtery is a Police Constable in Montreal in the 1970s. He really wants to advance in rank and be a detective but cannot seem to get anywhere even though he often helps out the detective bureau. The City of Montreal is often split along different lines in each novel. War protestors versus the government. Developers versus home owners. Young people versus old people. And, most importantly, English versus French. The English-French divide only grows more as the political separatist movement grows in power. Great writing and fantastic use of setting.

January 18, 2018

This is the first post of 2018 on the Director’s Page. Expect a year of excitement! A year of adventure! A year of library news and book recommendations!

Book recommendation: I listened to Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes.That was a darn good novel and a masterful narration by Bronson Pinchot. I admit to being biased against Pinchot because I really disliked the TV show Perfect Strangers but Pinchot was fantastic. Matterhorn primarily follows Marine Second Lieutenant Mellas during his first two months of combat near the DMZ in South Vietnam in 1969. A great portrait of the Marine characters who are fighting the enemy and daily terror and also suffering the jungle, incompetent and drunken Battalion officers, racial strife, lack of food and sleep, and terror.

Exciting photos: Rats! I do reader tutoring at Lake Mills Middle School. The student brought along the classroom rat from 8th grade science.

Also seen at Lake Mills Middle School.

Winter sunset on Rock Lake.

December 15, 2017

The library’s elevator is being modernized starting December 18. The work will last from three to four weeks.

Our  elevator is driven up and down by a hydraulically powered piston. The piston’s shaft sinks 30 feet or so into the ground. Both the piston and shaft will be replaced. The new piston is carried inside the building in sections and then welded together. The electronic components are also being replaced. Maybe the electronics update will stop the elevator doors from randomly opening.

Our elevator car will not only remain tiny but will get slightly smaller. New wall panels and a new control panel will be overlaid on the old, cracked, dingy looking 1981-style walls. We’ll also have new LED lighting in the ceiling. I am hoping for a fancy escape hatch at the top of the elevator car, like in the movies.

Part of the project also includes entirely replacing our fire detection and alarm system. New alarms are required for part of the project and we are updating the whole shebang.

How about a book recommendation? The Castle of Kings by Oliver Potzsch was fairly decent. First published in German in 2013. The novel follows a few characters through the peasant revolt of 1524-1525 in Germany.

December 5, 2017

What’s shakin’, Bacon? The Supermoon.


October 20, 2017

I uploaded some library policy documents to the web page. I think one of the best reasons to have these policies online is so other libraries can evaluate their policies in comparison to other institutions. I am not sure who else reads policies.

Here is a picture of a double coffee day.

October 9, 2017

News, news, news. What’s the news? The Library just celebrated 115 year of service on October 7. We had cake, coffee and juice. I even had half-and-half for the coffee. You missed out, man, you should have come over because we had A LOT of cake. After running out of cake before I always buy too much.

How about a book recommendation? Try out Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat by Andrez Bergen. A warning: there are no anthropomorphic goats in this novel. It took me several pages to deal with my goat disappointment but I ended up enjoying this SciFi novel. Floyd Maquina lives in a future version of Melbourne, Australia that is the last city on earth after a worldwide plague and civil discord. He is tasked with hunting down Deviants that the government deems a threat. The novel is a mix between Blade Runner and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

September 7, 2017

The library has received five additional WiFi hotspots for checkout.  We bought this through a grant with the Bridges Library System. Once I get them labeled they will go out for checkout.

“Hey, Library Dude, read any books?”

“Well, not as many as I should be. But I listened to City of Thieves by David Benioff. That was good. A teenager in wartime Stalingrad has to find some eggs for an Army Colonel or he’ll be executed for looting a dead German. The novel has lots of great insults.

I also read Anthony Neil Smith’s latest novel, Castle Danger: woman on ice. That was a good one but the publisher is only doing e-book editions for now. The title is also not currently available through the Wisconsin Digital Library. Therefore, I cannot point you to a library copy, but we do have his other books.”

August 30, 2017

Building news. The Library Annex will likely be demolished in late September. The dates depend on the winning bidder. Bidding is underway for updating our elevator system. That will be a bigger project and the elevator will be out of service for a week or two.

Books: A while ago I read Black Rock by John McFetridge and enjoyed it quite a bit. Set in 1970 Montreal “English” Constable Eddie Dougherty is helping investigate a serial killer while the city undergoes a bombing spree from Quebec separatists. Dougherty is a native English speaker in majority French Quebec and is a bit of an outsider from the mainstream culture in and outside the police department. No other libraries had other books in the Dougherty series so I ordered A Little More Free and One Or the Other.

July 20, 2017

Have you heard about those new corduroy pillows? They’ve been making headlines.

July 17, 2017

The Library Annex will be demolished later this year. I removed a leaded glass window last week. The removal took a while. Here are some photos. The current plan is to display the window in the library. Maybe by framing and hanging the window. We’re not sure yet.



June 27, 2017

Summer Reading Program is in full swing. This year the youth staff have changed up programs a bit to have more activities for toddler aged children. We’ve also further streamlined the sign-up and weekly check-in process.

June 1, 2017

Signup for out Summer Reading Program is now open. Registration is online only. Those paper registrations we use to do were a major pain. We had to organize the papers and then count up all the stats for number of people, age, school year, etc.

Books, books, books. I listened to the audio of Reed Farrell Coleman’s novel Where It Hurts. I enjoyed the book. Gus Murphy’s 20-year-old son died of a sudden heart attack two years and Murphy’s life and marriage fell apart. Three years ago Gus retired from his police job in Long Island and now lives in a ratty hotel by the Long Island MacArthur Airport while working there as a shuttle driver. A no-goodnick from his police days shows up at the hotel asking for help in finding out who murdered the no-goodnick’s dead son. Gus is not interested but ends up helping anyway.

Music. The library system has two albums by Mac Demarco. I enjoy some of his tunes. Here is one. Embedding the video did not work and I don’t want to mess with it now.


May 22, 2017

Today is Monday. Here are photos from the Lake Mills Area School District Art Show.

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May 12, 2017

We regularly post library news and information on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I am not messing with that SnapChat stuff. Here are some flowers.


May 3, 2017

“Hey, Library Director, what’s shakin’ with the bacon?” I have no idea what you are talking about. How about a book recommendation instead?

Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely. Chandler’s fame as a writer of detective novels was well earned. Published in 1940 Farewell, My Lovely featurs private dick Philip Marlowe. Marlowe is in downtown Los Angeles looking for a missing person when he witnesses a giant-sized man throuw another man through the doorway of a dance club. That chance meeting starts Marlowe on a winding adventure involving several beatings, murder, Los Angeles mobsters, rich people, dirty cops, and Marlowe’s own search for justice.

March 23, 2017

The Director’s Page is an important way to communicate vital and breaking news to the public. FLASH: The library will be buying a Keurig instead of using a drip coffee maker for public events. Hurray for coffee!

Also, We have a WiFi hotspot that we will start to check-out to the public once I type up some directions to fit into the case.


February 10, 2017

You know what they say in Australia? פ,pɐʎ’ Wɐʇǝ˙

January 26, 2017

Unlike some library directors I update my library’s Director’s page. Hmm. Let’s see… Have you heard about those new corduroy pillows? They’ve been making headlines.

January 4, 2017

How about a new novel for the new year? I enjoyed Ridgerunenrs by Rusty Barnes. I describe the book as “short rural noir”.  Matt Rider is a part-time Game warden in eastern Pennsylvania and shot on duty trying to catch poachers. The poachers are well know no-goodnicks from a criminally minded family. Other family members start going after Rider demanding the money they think Rider found and kept. Ridgerunners is only 146 pages and Barnes uses every word to tell the story in spare language.

What else is going on? Let’s see. We are going to institute a ‘lucky day” collection at the library. We will buy extra copies of high demand items that will not be holdable. That means those items will not full holds/requests but will instead go straight onto the shelf for first come, first served demand.

December 5, 2016

Wait. What? I still have a Director’s Page?!

How about this for news: the staff has developed a marketing plan to better promote library services to the public. We are going to be using different digital platforms like Twitter and Instagram to reach current and potential customers. Library staff also discussed programming goals for 2017. This winter we are going to start promoting the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten mobile application developed by our library system. Bridges Library System developed a mobile app to promote the importance of early literacy for newborns. The goal is for parents to read 1,000 books to their children before the child enters kindergarten. The 1,000 Books app helps parents to track how much reading they completed.

Here is a book recommendation: Stark House Press’s reprints of Dan J. Marlowe’s novels The Name of the Game is Death and One Endless Hour. Stark House publishes new and old crime novels and has been reprinting older authors in double book volumes. Marlowe was a paperback writing star in the 1960s and 1970s. Name of the Game was Marlowe’s career making hit from 1962. Both novels feature the same career criminal. Game has the protagonist trying to find his missing bank robbery partner who is feared dead. One has the protagonist escaping prison and trying to rob another bank in Pennsylvania.

October 31, 2016

Lake Mills Area School District Fall Art Show begins tomorrow, November 1. The library is happy to host these art shows. Display units and will be up through November 21.

“Hey, Library Director, got any recommendations?” Yeah, I suppose. How about an audio version of a Star Wars novel? I enjoy the audio versions because the narrators are usually pretty good and there are plenty of sound effects like a radio drama. Try out the downloadable books available at

September 12, 2016

“Hey, Library Director. Anything new going on?”

Well, yeah. I took a while to awaken from the August doldrums. More importantly, there is a cheese pizza tasting event for teens on October 27 at 1PM. We’ll have samples from several area pizzerias and watch a movie.

August 8, 2016

Congratulations and thank you to all the library staff who worked hard for planning, preparing, and running the Summer Reading Program. I wish I could think of a “p” word to use instead of “running”. That would make for some nice alliteration.

“Hey, Library Director, read anything neat lately?”  Well, yeah, I’m glad you asked.  I heard the audio version of Donald Westlake’s 361. 361 came out in 1962 and was reprinted as a paperback in 2005 by Hard Case Crime. The plot is about a recently discharged U.S. Air Force Airman who meets his father in New York City. The father, a small town attorney from Binghampton is shot dead and the Airman loses an eye and spends a month in the hospital. The Airman starts investigating and going for revenge. He is an amateur driven by anger and he and his older brother end up fighting with and against aging mobsters.

I’ve never read a bad Westlake novel. He once wrote that one or two of his Parker novels (done under the name Richard Stark) were not so good but I liked’em fine. Westlake really knew how to drive an novel along and pace things to keep the reader interested. He touches of detail and insight into character and human behavior were always insghtful. Insiughtful. Insgihtful. Dang it. Insightful.

July 25, 2016

I was on vacation with at Boy Scout camp last week. I finished several novels: Rough Riders by Charlie Stella, Shadow War by Sean McFate, Gestapo Mars by Victor Gischler, Don’t Let Go by Michelle Gagnon. I read one nonfiction book, Into The Valley by John Hersey.

Rough Riders is one of Stella’s typically brilliant novels. Set during a North Dakota winter with transplanted bad guys in the Witness Protection program dealing drugs and murder. A Minot, ND police detective is left figuring out what is going on and a NYC transplant is after one of the Witness Protection killers.

Shadow War follows a military contractor hired to sneak into Ukraine, rescue a oligarch on the run, and prove that Russian special forces are operating in the country. The novel covers some disturbing aspects of geopolitics where money and power rule the day and mercenaries are hired when the rich think governments act too slowly.

Gestapo Mars is set a thousand years in the future where the Third Reich is still in charge. Super secret Agent Carter Sloan is woken after 200+ years of stasis and put back to work. Gischler did this as a pulp science fiction homage but I’m not sure why he chose nazis. Maybe that was a 1950s thing. Gischler is all talent and skill though, so things work out.

Don’t Let Go is the final novel of the Don’t Turn Around trilogy of teenage street kids fighting against a conspiracy that kidnaps teens and experiments on them to find a cure for a killer disease. There is plenty of smoochy-smoochy teenage stuff which I did not like.

Into the Valley is a 1989 reprint of Hersey’s slim book from 1943. Hersey worked as a reporter for Time-Life and traveled with a Marine heavy weapons company into a fight on Guadalcanal. The battle was fairly brief and the Marine company had to withdraw after getting ambushed. Hersey detailed the stress and physical obstacles of the jungle covered mountains.

July 13, 2016

Last night we held an Adult Coloring party with 10 enthusiastic participants. Also last night, the Library Director went for a swim in Rock Lake and was the fastest swimmer in the lake. The Library Director was also the only swimmer in Rock Lake at that time.

On July 19th at 6:30PM we are hosting Matthew Blessing from the Wisconsin Historical Society who will talk about how John Muir’s Wisconsin boyhood impacted his later career as a famed naturalist.  Also on July 19th, the Library Director will be at Boy Scout Camp near Rice Lake, WI, plotting his escape from the Scouts so he can go read in peace.

July 9, 2016

Today is Saturday, July 9, 2016. The temperature outside is 78° and the skies are clear and sunny with a 6MPH breeze. The library has not been very busy today.

May 25, 2016

Today is Wednesday. I just posted the library’s strategic plan to the website. Maybe I can direct traffic to strategic plan using the Buzzfeed method.

  • “L.D. Fargo Library just posted their strategic plan. You won’t believe #3!”
  • “Read this letter by a Library Board President. You’re jaw will drop!”
  • “You won’t believe what they said about programming to teens. You have to see this!”
  • “It’s official! Someone leaked the library’s strategic plan and you’ll be amazed at the font they used!”

May 9, 2016

The importance of weeding. Libraries have limited shelf space. To add new material we have to remove old materials. Libraries usually refer to this as “weeding”, you remove the old dying material to give room for new growth. Weeding should be done throughout the year with library staff focusing on one section at a time. Over the past couple months I have been focusing on the entire adult nonfiction collection with the goal of removing enough material to compact the nonfiction so that we can expand the adult fiction section. Adult fiction is one of the library’s most popular sections but is crammed into too small an area.

Weeding is done using several criteria including: physical condition, customer demand, currency, circulation (AKA circ’, the number of times an item is checked out) and relevant information. Books with crumbling pages and layered dust don’t need to remain. Outdated information should be removed. We are not archive or research library and cannot retain archaic but interested items.

Weeding nonfiction can be difficult. Some books are easy to weed. Older medical books need to be pulled because of outdated information. Resume and job search books should include the latest information on internet sources and guides. Multi-volume print encyclopedias are rarely used versus online resources. But, there are several items of local or regional importance that never circ’ but should remain because they are not available in other libraries. Should old poetry books go? Maybe library patrons are using a compilation of American poetry for a quick read or photocopy of a two stanza poem?

When items are withdrawn from the collection we stamp the book WITHDRAWN or DISCARD and give saleable items to the Friends of the Library for re-sale.

May, 2016

We always have new things going on here at the library. Saturday, May 21st is Read With Dogs in the Children’s Area from 10AM-11AM. I really like dogs. I would read at home to my dog but she is not a trained therapy dog – like the animals that visit the library – and my dog would likely ignore me.

I listen to audiobooks when I walk the dog. I just finished listening to the classic Dashiell Hammett novel, Red Harvest. I first read the novel when I was in high school. Listening to the audio version was fun but I was getting a few characters confused. That “character confusion” happens with me and audiobooks. I checked out a hardcover copy of Red Harvest so I oould read the second half of the story. Since I already finished the audio version I may just send the hardcover back.

I have another hardcover at home, Nemesis: one man and the battle for Rio. I got interested in Brazilian true crime stories after watching the DVD City of God. City of God had some very gruesome scenes and focused on the crime lords and violent police who worked in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (slums). Nemesis is about a favela resident who ended up the crime lord of his 100,000 person community and was Brazil’s most wanted man.

April, 2016

Congratulations on reaching the Director’s Page. The first person to tell me they actually read this page gets a free coffee. Don’t get too excited, all I have is Starbucks VIA instant coffee. That Starbucks stuff is thick and darn near sludgy. I like the coffee, but I’m not sure it is for everyone.

In other news, I recommend Lemony Snicket’s recently completed All the Wrong Questions series. All the Wrong Question is a four novel series featuring a 13-year-old Lemony Snicket solving mystery cases in the mostly abandoned city of Stain’d-by-the-Sea.

March, 2016

The library is closed Friday, March 25, 2016. We re-open Saturday, March 26.

Did you hear about those new corduroy pillows? They’re making headlines.

March, 2016

Lake Mills library users checked out 556 electronic books, audiobooks, and periodicals in February. We checked out 7,912 physical items (books, DVDs, magazines, etc.) in February.

I am listening to Joe R. Lansadale’s novel Edge of Dark Water. I download all my audiobooks from the WPLC website and listen to the books on my cell phone.

February, 2016

Due dates are changing on March 1st. To align with other libraries within the Bridges Library System our longest loan period will change to 21 days from 28 days. This change includes all books and audio-books except New Adult Books.

February, 2016

Welcome to the L.D. Fargo Public Library. You are reading the words of the 2016 Knickerbocker Ice Festival Ice-Cream Eating Champion.


February, 2016

The Friends of the Library won the 2016 Knickerbocker Trivia Contest! Pictured below is the traveling trophy.

Knickerbocker Ice Festival Trivia Contest Trophy 2016

February, 2016

We have two mid-day sessions on learning the benefits of meditation. February 22 and 29 at 12:30PM. These are 20 minute classes led by local expert Susan Trier.

The Knickerbocker Ice Festival is February 5-7. Last year the Friends of the L.D. Fargo Public Library won the annual trivia contest. The Friends team returns February 5 to defend the title.

January, 2016

The new year brings new online resources through our new membership in the new Bridges Library System. The newest news of new resources is online access to Rosetta Stone. Key in your library card number to the new Rosetta Stone link and start new learning with some new French. Or new Spanish. Or new German. New Pashto? How about some new Swedish and you can understand the Swedish Chef without using the online translator.

December, 2015

Jefferson and Waukesha Counties have begun the Bridges Library System with a computer conversion to the new Polaris software system. The software conversion involves merging two databases with millions of patron and item (books, DVDs, everything) records. This conversion requires the computer system to be down until December 10. Yes, this is annoying, you can call me at 920-648-2166 to complain.

November, 2015

The public libraries in Jefferson County will be switching from trio to Waukesha County’s CAFE library automation system beginning on December 1.

The migration process is planned for Dec. 1 through 9 during which time the automation system will be “down” and unavailable. When the system is “down” you will not be able to login to your account, view the online catalog from home or inside the library, renew materials, pay fines/fees, or place holds.

You will be able to visit the library during this time, check out all types of material, check out e-materials, use the library’s website and Internet access, and keep your position in previous holds queues.

To accomplish this change as smoothly as possible, no holds will be allowed beginning November 23, 2015.

We appreciate your patience while we take the steps necessary to make this improvement. The shared catalog will grow to 2.3 million items and will offer many new features to enhance your library experience!

October 5, 2015

A huge thank you and congratulations to Carolyn Wey, Brianna Adams and Marilyn Sieb for planning and implementing another successful Summer Reading Program. Libraries are always at the forefront of emerging and childhood literacy and our popular Summer Reading Program is key to that work.

June, 2015

Welcome to the library’s new homepage (June, 2015). The new design offers easier and more frequent updates for library news and programs.

Beginning in 2016 all Jefferson County libraries, including the L.D. Fargo Library, will withdraw from Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System (MWFLS) and merge with Waukesha County Federated Library System (WCFLS). The merger with WCFLS will provide a larger catalog for our customers and new online services including online courses through Gale Courses.

The staff and I do our best to provide service to the public and I encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns about library services and the library collection.