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Column

Matilda’s tummy tuck

If you’re wondering what’s with the dirt around the foundation of Gibson Memorial Library, just think of it as flood insurance. Last summer over Labor Day weekend, we had several inches of rain in the Creston area. Enough so that our staff offices took in about two inches of water under the foundation, which, as you can imagine, left a terrible mess in its wake. 

After inspecting certain low areas around the foundation, Creston Public Works Director Kevin Kruse suggested it would be possible to raise their elevation and better prevent water from accumulating around the building. Last week, Kevin and T.J. Parsons led a crew of city employees who filled several tons of dirt around the library, and in short order at that. Thank you gentlemen, on behalf of the library staff, board, friends and patrons. Thanks also to our city administrators who, in my experience, are quick to protect your investments in city facilities. The public works department has plenty on its agenda these days, so again, I say thanks on behalf of Matilda’s vassals. 

Check out our new catalog. It’s part of our new circulation software package, Apollo by Biblionix, which includes a number of interesting features and functionalities that we’ll be implementing over the coming weeks. For instance, it won’t be long before you can text us with a question — any question — or renew your library items via text message. Of course, you’ll always be welcome to call and let us know when you need more time with your items. We love to hear your voice.

Some bigger libraries have installed self-check machines. I can say, with certainty, we will never have them at Gibson Memorial Library. They are expensive, in my experience they readily malfunction or need repair and above all, it would deprive us of what we love the most about serving the good people of the Creston area – meaningful human interactions. At the very least, we like to know your reading preferences, but we truly enjoy visiting with everyone who enters our door, so please don’t expect us to adopt all the latest customer service technology. 

Master Gardener Val DeJoode will lead a seminar 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, on tomato gardening. If you have been around tomato gardeners, you know they have all kinds of ideas about how to produce prolific and tasty sun-ripened fruit – Epsom salts, egg shells, be sure to water (but don’t overwater), determinate or indeterminate, stakes or cages; I suspect you have your own to add to the list. I am waiting until I hear Master Gardener Val’s advice before I choose and plant mine this year. 

Another exciting programming note: Greenfield native Gary Porter will be at the library 6 p.m,. Monday, June 17, to read from his memoir, “Town Kid.” I have very much enjoyed meeting Gary and his charming wife, Melissa, who now live in Minnesota but regularly make trips back home to Iowa. “Town Kid” has been a popular item since we added it to the library’s collection, and Gary is an outstanding storyteller whom you won’t want to miss. 

There was a time when I knew absolutely nothing about children’s literature. But with guidance from Sue Teutsch, our assistant director and children’s librarian, I’ve been able to select fun and meaningful bedtime reading materials for our daughter, Reba. Reba likes many Disney characters, especially Minnie Mouse, but we’re expanding our horizons. These days, when I ask her what books she wants me to bring home from the library, Reba says “Pete the Cat.” Pete is a bland looking fellow, but his message is great and very teachable: trying hard is what matters the most, be friendly, you can’t always win, everyone has something to contribute, differences don’t have to be scary and give second chances. I like that. 

Summer reading is almost here, and in my next column, I’ll tout our programs and activities for all ages. Dino O’Dell is back, along with the Blank Park Zoo and Jester Puppets, among others. We have some new shows and activities this year, so stayed tuned for that. Sue Teutsch and Young Adult Librarian Donna Walsh will soon visit area schools to promote our events and activities, so you can coordinate your summer schedule accordingly. Want your kids to succeed? READ! 

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