Friday, June 14, 2024

2024 Scavenger Games



Each year public libraries submit an Annual Report to the state detailing our finances, both income and expenditures, staffing, and programming. The state uses that data for various reasons most importantly related to funding and accountability.

This week’s summer programming kicked off and giving us plenty to report come January. Monday alone, we saw 301 patrons at signing up for the SRP and attending the three programs for that day. I was so drained that I picked up a pizza on the way home, thank you Genoa, and ate it while watching Netflix. To put that in perspective, I watch focus on one show at a time. While I have slipped in two seasons each of The Witcher and Bridgerton, The Crown has been that show for at least four years. I simply do not watch television.

It was a wonderful day.

This summer the East Troy Chamber of Commerce is organizing the 2024 Scavenger Games and the ETLPL is taking part. More complete details are available on the Chamber’s website, but in a nutshell teams will be completing a series of challenges at various locations around the Village. The winning team receives $1,000. The games will run on three different dates: June 15th, August 17th , and October 19th. If you prioritize the Puzzle Practice at the library this Saturday, there will be other opportunities.

Miss Maria is working on our task. It will involve logic puzzles and basic knowledge of library organization. My focus is on my costume: total old school librarian which means I have to finally master the bun and can’t cut my hair until the last game is over. Perhaps it’s good that I actually need reading glasses so that’s already covered. I have my cardigan picked out as well.

Last week’s article listed all of the programs for what was the upcoming week. Doing so took up the half my minimum word count. This week, I will omit specifics for those that repeat every week (Choose Your Own Book Club, Bedtime Storytime, Lego Club, Preschool Play Group, Teens & Tweens, Friday Storytime) and highlight the two that change.

Saturday, June 15th beginning at 10:00 – Puzzle Practice: This is technically related to the puzzle competition later this summer, but also just an opportunity for groups of puzzle lovers to put one together without taking up their own table space.

Monday, June 17th at 1:30 – Snake Discovery

Reading Now: One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by BJ Novak

Listening to Now: Beware the Past by Joy Ellis ( DCI Matt Ballard #1)

Friday, June 7, 2024

SRP Sign Up and New Programing Begins



The first day of Summer Reading Program families were so excited to sign up and beat next week’s rush, they braved the rain and came pouring in. Actually, we had more adults sign up than children 18 to 14, but that will change. Remember this was only the first week, sign up continues well into the summer.

We have 30 prizes this year thanks to the annual monetary donation from the Friends of the East Troy Lions Public Library and prize donations from three library families. Little Prairie Primary students have had a lot to say about them during their end of the year visits. Walkie Talkies and the kayaking Barbie are definitely favorites. Personally, I’d go for the Twister that attaches to a hose or the wagon that folds up for easy storage in a car.

Thank you to everyone who baked for, set up, ran, or stopped by the Friends’ Books & Bites sale on May 25th. They nearly doubled last year’s sales and raised just shy of $700. While all was going on outside, I gave the storage room used for book donations a major re-organizing and purging. The room looks positively spacious. While we seek out book donations in the months leading up to the sale, there is now a full shelf dedication to incoming donations. Feel free to drop them off at anytime.

This will be Miss Maria’s first summer with us. Thankfully she has many years of experience through the Alice Baker Memorial Library and is fully prepared to sleep in September. Many of the programs below were added due to her willingness to give her all to summer at the library.

Coming up this week at the library.

Saturday, June 8th at 10:00 – IT with Lori and (Sometimes) Wade

Saturday, June 8th at 10:30 – Preschool Storytime

Saturday, June 8th at 11:00 – Nancy O’Connell Memorial Dedication

Monday, June 10th at 10:00 – Yarn & Stitch

Monday, June 10th at 1:30 – Zack Percell of TNZ Magic

Monday, June 10th at 3:00 – Choose Your Own Adventure Book Club for Ages 9-13

Tuesday, June 11th at 1:00 – Adult Book Club: Lessons in Chemistry

Tuesday, June 11th at 3:15 – Library Board Meeting

Tuesday, June 11th at 6:30 – Bedtime Storytime

Wednesday, June 12th at 3:00 – Lego Club

Thursday, June 13th at 10:00 – Preschool Play Group

Thursday, June 13th at 3:00 – Teens & Tweens: Create a Painted Glass Votive Candle Holder

Friday, June 14th at 11:00 – Preschool Storytime with Craft

Friday, June 14th at 12:30 – Books, Crafts & a Dog: Sydney the therapy dog is back

Friday, June 14th at 1:30 – Adult Book Club: Lessons in Chemistry

 Reading Now: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (for book club), Minx by Julia Quinn (Splendid Trilogy Book 3 - her first series)

Listening to Now: Darkness on the Fens by Joy Ellis (DI Nikki Galena book 10)

Friday, May 31, 2024

Summer Schedule Changes & Saturday Programs



We are on the cusp of June. As I enter my third summer posting teaching, I have finally begun to shift my thinking and realize I won’t looking for projects and activities to fill the time until school starts up again. The library’s summer schedule fills it for me. And never before has it been so full.

Six weeks ago, this article contained a preview of programming for Mondays and mentioned the Adult Book Club (June’s book is Lessons in Chemistry by the way). Those are standard programs. We have several new programs planned and a few schedule changes beginning Saturday, June 1st.

Let’s start with Saturday programs. Miss Anna will be working the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month. On her Saturdays we will open the Lower Level to groups who would like to work on puzzles. While this is open to all, we have an ulterior motive. The Prairie Lakes Library System, which ETLPL is a member of, is sponsoring a puzzle competition this fall. No word on the actual rules yet as far as number of pieces or time allotted. It will have three levels of competition: individual library, county, and system. That means East Troy can have a team that would compete against teams from other Walworth County libraries. The winner of that competition will compete against winners from Racine and Rock Counties.

In order to prepare our team(s) for competition, 500-piece puzzles will be available on Miss Anna’s Saturdays for practice (or just family fun). Once the official rules are adopted, we will announce an official competition date for ETLPL’s representative team at the county level. For now we’ll pull puzzles from the permanent puzzle swap. New, identical puzzles will be purchased for the competition.

Miss Maria will be working the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month. She will be offering a repeat of her Friday storytime without the craft for families who are unable to make it during the traditional work week. The Saturday storytime will begin at 10:30 and run approximately 30 minutes. Also new for families with young children is a 6:30 Tuesday Bedtime Storytime. All participants are welcome to attend in the PJs.

Schedule changes will go into effect this coming week for Preschool Playgroup (Thursday morning), Teens & Tweens (Thursday afternoon), and Lego Club (Wednesday afternoon). To keep it all straight, we have a summer calendar available at the library or online under the Activities and Events tab.

The 2nd Saturday storytime will be held on the main level of the library in June as that is also the day of Nancy’s Dedication ceremony. Remember that will start at 11:15 by the flagpole before moving inside to the storytime area.

Reading Now: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (June Adult Book Club Selection), Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn (pre-Bridgerton)

Listening to Now: Fire on the Fens by Joy Ellis (DCI Nikki Galena #9)

Friday, May 24, 2024

Memorial Day and Wisconsin Reads



This week I’m going to switch gears quite a bit. It’s rare that I focus on new books in the library, but the timing on two of them have me convinced this is the week to do so. Therefore, this article will be a mix of Memorial Day and local author titles or series.

It would be all Wisconsin if not for one of the military titles: This Troubled Ground by Les Carroll. Carroll served in the Air Force and National Guard for twenty-eight years including two tours of Afghanistan and on tour at the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center. The opening chapter, which takes place at Dover Air Force Base where he witnessed the dignified transfer of fallen service members to their families. It doesn’t get any easier after as he works to describe his experiences at Dover and on the battlefield.

The second Memorial Day inspired choice is written by a Wisconsin author. Tailspin by John Armbruster was recommended by this year’s speaker at East Troy’s observance. I’m afraid I didn’t catch his name, but he made the recommendation as the book will be a focal point in his speech. The book is about Wisconsin veteran, tail gunner Gene Moran, whose plane was shot during WWII. Gene fell four miles without a parachute, was captured by the Germans and survived eighteen months as a prisoner of war.

Continuing with biographies, Wisconsin writer Catherine Young writes about her childhood spent in Pennsylvania in Black Diamonds: A Childhood Colored by Coal. Young’s focus is actually the environmental history of her section of Pennsylvania and the changes from fueling America’s industrial revolution.

On a lighter note, if fictional murders are considered light, Sue Berg’s Driftless series has Detective Jim Higgins solving mysteries in the LaCrosse area. The series began with Driftless Gold which mixes Civil War history with modern day bodies discovery. The fifth book, Driftless Insurrection, was released last month. While it also pulls in Wisconsin history this time Sauk warrior Black Hawk, the three books in between stay in current times. Recommending these books has given me and patrons a break from Joy Ellis and has been well received.

In the hopes this is being read on Friday, I will end with a plug for the Friends of the ETLPL’s Books & Bites sale. This is the one time each year that all the books, DVDs and audiobooks in our storage room are on display at the same time. In addition, the Friends have some mighty good bakers to help keep bargain hunter’s blood sugar up and hats, scarves and book marks made by the Yarn & Stitch group will also be on sale. The sale runs Saturday, May 25th 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Reading Now: The Trees by Percival Everett

Listening to Now: Buried on the Fens by Joy Ellis (DI Nikki Galena #7)

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Miss Nancy's Dedication Ceremony and Open House



On September 18, 2023 the East Troy community and the East Troy Lions Public Library in particular suffered a great loss. That is the day children’s librarian Nancy O’Connell passed away. At the library we felt the loss of Nancy’s guidance and roots. I called her the consummate hostess. Nancy knew everyone’s name, made them welcome, and stopped anything she was doing to provide excellent service to patrons.

Judging by the attendance at her service, tears there and at the library, and flood of donations, the community appreciated that dedication. Thanks to the family’s request for donations to the library in lieu of flowers, the ETLPL and the Friends of the ETLPL received a total of $5,928. The majority of those funds were spent on a bronze bench/statue and landscaping that will surround it under our flagpole. The children’s programming area in our Lower Level will also be dedicated to her. For that reason, additional funds were used to give the lower level its recent facelift: paint and additional shelving.

Putting all of the pieces together has taken quite some time; however, we are finally at the place to arrange for a dedication ceremony and celebrate our friend.

That celebration will be on June 8th beginning at 11:00. Speeches regarding the dedication will begin at 11:15 first from me, Director Bartoli, followed by Nancy’s daughter Jenny. Her sons will also be present until 1:00.

Preparing the Lower Level was definitely an example of when it takes a Village (of East Troy) all of whom need to be thanked beginning with all the patrons, family and friends who made donation in Nancy’s name. The Friends of the ETLPL who added their donations and pledged their own funds to replace furniture (fingers crossed this will arrive before June 8th. Friends member Mike Zei who doesn’t attend meetings but thankfully does read the minutes. Mike volunteered his time and that of his family, Marge and Jeff Fornear, to do the painting.  

The East Troy Lions Club made an unrelated donation last fall, but deserve thanks in this article as part of that donation went to shelves and will be used for an area rug once we have furniture to match. Jim Gitz and Cole Marcinkevic gave their time to help with the shelf madness. Employees of the Village’s DPW provided muscle and mounted the shelves for safety’s sake. Martin’s Hardware gave us a deal on the paint.

Daniel K, a 2nd grade patron, assembled an 814-piece Lego flower arrangement in Nancy’s honor that will be displayed in our Lego area. Scott Iloncaie of Dynamic Awards, who never wants to see another Lego, made certain the flower arrangement will remain intact and created a shadow box in which to display it as well as dedication plaques. Outside, Benchmark donated paving stones and labor for the bench and landscaping around it.

Summer programming kicks off Monday, June 10th, so we wanted to take a day of remembrance before the chaos begins.

 Reading Now: Dona Barbara by Romulo Gallegos (Fingers crossed the last week. Made it past the slow start in about four weeks and read 200 pages this week; 200 to go.)

Listening to now: Captive on the Fens by Joy Ellis (Book #6 in the DI Nikki Galena series)

Friday, May 10, 2024

Meeting of the Tri-Troy Boards



Many moons ago when I was a simple high school English teacher and ETCSD librarian, I held the school district’s seat on the Library Board of Trustees. Enough moons that I served under three different directors: Jackie Gotz (who now serves on the board), Alison Senkevitch, and Jeff Gartman. Each of those directors made efforts toward a new library building.

During Alison’s tenure, the Board sat through months of interviews of architects before selecting one to conduct a Needs Assessment the results of which I had removed from our website during the redesign in February. At this point so much time has passed, it’s out of date. At the time, we were looking to incorporate a community center and senior living facility. A steering committee was formed and meetings were held.

Many meetings. Until finally Martha Bressler and Lloyd Sineni left the committee and just formed a community center on their own in 2019. Additional meetings followed regarding both the senior living facility and expanded library.

Talk around the library switched gears and focused on created a joint library. Currently, the East Troy Lions Public Library is an asset of the Village of East Troy. Residents of the Village pay library taxes to the Village that directly support us. Communities such as the Towns of East Troy and Troy which do not contain a public library also collect library tax. However, those monies are paid to the county and is then distributed to the libraries their citizens use. A joint library would see those tax dollars paid directly to a specific library.

About two weeks ago I attended a meeting of the Tri-Troy Boards, Village of East Troy, Town of East Troy, and Town of Troy. One of the main topics of discussion was the joint library. Those earlier talks actually resulted in an agreement to make a library one of the services the three communities jointly supported. Director Gartman resigned believing the agreement would be signed in time for the 2023 budgeting cycle.

Then the shoe dropped. Since the money would no longer be part of county taxes for the Towns, it would transfer to being part of their tax levy, a situation that would require a referendum. Taxes wouldn’t really increase as they were only shifting recipients; however, the majority of voters weren’t likely to understand that as most people don’t study library funding.

Since the shoe fell, the library and the Tri-Troy Boards have been working with Walworth County Administrator Mark Luberda to find a solution. Luberda’s advise was a slight change in the wording of Wisconsin statues that directly address public libraries. That wording would label the library taxes collected by the Towns a “transfer of services” or something to that effect meaning it wouldn’t impact the levy. He gave a status report and I presented the community survey results so each Board would know what their communities had to say.

Meetings and work will continue for at least a year before we can expect results as it involves a lot of politicians. The State Assembly won’t meet again until January. In the meanwhile, know we are looking towards a name change.

Reading now: Dona Barbara by Romulo Gallegos (Back to it from the PBS list. I'll try to actually finish it this time.)

Listening to now: Besieged by Kevin Hearne (Book 9 in the Iron Druid Chronicles)

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

School Connections



Today’s lead is a library program next week. The FFA will be helping us with the One Seed, One Wisconsin program again this year. The program is running for the second year. Last year it kicked off with the Wisconsin 55 tomato. This year the seed is for Pride of Wisconsin melons. On Wednesday, May 8th, right around the corner, at 5:30 the FFA will begin helping people plant seeds. All materials will be supplied.

Timing for the program was determined by two factors. I’m told that melons should be started later than tomatoes as they don’t do as well indoors. This way we’ll start them later so that outside gardening will be an option sooner. The other factor was the FFA flower sale which runs this weekend. I’ll be over there before this article arrives in the library mailbox. Miss Nancy used to plant nearly 100 geraniums along her front porch every year. I’ll be picking up some for outside the library to plant in her memory.

Any seeds remaining after the program will be handed out at the circulation desk in the days following the program.

One of the big surprises revealed by the Community Survey was in the priority for changes to library services question which listed increase coordination with local schools as the #1. This was surprising given that for the past two years, librarians from the East Troy Lions Public Library have been the librarians for the East Troy Community Schools. Anna and I are in and out of school buildings on a regular basis providing services in the form of storytime, library instruction, Battle of the Books, and class field trips to the public library. Last year ETLPL formed a partnership with the FFA to provide an outlet for them to deliver programs to the community, hosted a room during CoOperation Learn at Little Prairie Primary, and participated in the PTO’s End of Year Bash.

This is the one area in which the timing of the survey and our plans don’t align as Anna and I just resigned our position with the school district. We were simply spread too thin. In our letter we did vow to continue providing/supporting all but the daily classes and material purchases. Once they have a new school librarian in place, we will reach out and discuss how the two institutions can continue to partner. In the meanwhile, this week we were at this year’s CoOperation Learn and next weekend we will be at the End of Year Bash.

As always, we are open to suggestions on what else to add.

Reading Now: The Book Of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate (Book Club)

Listening to Now: Beseiged by Kevin Hearne (Book 9 of the Iron Druid Chronicles)

2024 Scavenger Games

  6-14-2024 Each year public libraries submit an Annual Report to the state detailing our finances, both income and expenditures, staffing...