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News & Notes. The latest from New Ulm Public Library
January 2023
Direct from the Director

Wow, I cannot believe we’ve reached the end of 2022! It has been a busy, productive year at the library. We’ve added staff, continued to add services after the pandemic, and completed several building projects. And we’re looking forward to another great year in 2023.
This year we welcomed several new staff members, including Assistant Library Director Meggin Kitterman, who joined us from the Pima County Library in Tucson, Arizona. Meggin has over 15 years of public library experience, including leading a branch library. She oversees the New Ulm Public Library’s service desk and staff, as well as manages our fiction collections for adults. We’re so glad to have her on our team!
One of the first projects Meggin tackled at New Ulm Public Library was an inventory of our full collection. The library currently owns approximately 72,000 items - that is a lot of scanning! Meggin was able to break it down into manageable sections and coordinate staff efforts in order to complete the full library collection – quite a feat!
All of this scanning and inventorying served a very important purpose: the library will be moving to a new integrated library system (ILS) in March of 2023 and we wanted to make sure our records are as accurate as possible ahead of that move. The ILS is integral to library services; it is the software we use to check items in and out, manage patron accounts, search our catalog for requested items, and more. We’re looking forward to using the new system and all it can offer for us and our patrons.
We also were able to hold our first fully in-person Summer Reading Program, “An Ocean of Possibilities,” since the pandemic started. Youth Services Librarian Kathryn Tatnall kept children and teens busy with a full schedule of activities, including visits from pirates, storytimes, STEAM projects, a concert in the park, and more. Library staff were also pleased to see that participants made plenty of time to fill up their reading records, too!
During 2022 we completed several building projects, including replacing the carpet in the children’s room, updating the landscaping around the children’s building, power and window washing both library buildings, and replacing the skylight and roof on the main building. We invite you to visit our refreshed space soon.
The Friends of the Library group held their first used book sale since the pandemic in November of 2022. Library patrons donated used books to the Friends ahead of the sale. We were so pleased to be able to offer this event again! The Friends is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) community organization that believes in the importance of the library and its services for people of all ages. The Friends contribute additional funding to the library for programs, collections, online and print resources, staff continuing education and more.  

As I look back at our year, I’m amazed at the wonderful things we were able to accomplish and I’m looking forward to continuing to offer fantastic library services to the New Ulm community. We hope to see you soon!

April Ide, Library Director
Youth Programs
New Ulm Public Library will present a Special Storytime for toddlers and pre-school age children on Friday, January 6 at 10 a.m. Join us for a storytime and a special craft that goes along with our storytime theme. Children and their caregivers are welcome. No registration is required.
Join us on Friday, January 13 at 2 p.m. for a No School Afternoon Movie! We'll watch "Lightyear" and enjoy popcorn. Please bring your own water bottles. The movie is rated PG and has a 108 minute running time. Movie screenings at the library are free and open to the public and are sponsored by the Optimist Club of New Ulm. 
Check out these other great January youth programs: *Registration required. Visit and choose Library Events or call 507-359-8331 to register or for more information on any of these library programs.
Adult Programs
New Ulm Public Library’s Memoir Writing Group will meet on Monday, January 9 at 10 a.m. This month Minnesota author Forrest W. Peterson will discuss post World War II literature that has shaped America and will lead a Memoir Writing Workshop for the group. This free program is made possible by a grant provided by the Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative and funded with money from Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
This year's Adult Winter Reading Program begins on Thursday, January 5 and runs through the end of February. Read books in broad categories to stack snowballs and make a snowman. Each snowman you build (up to five total) lets you enter your name for a drawing of three Chamber Bucks prizes. You also can claim a free book for completing at least one snowman and showing your tracking sheet to staff at the library's service desk. Tracking sheets and registration for the program are at the service desk any time during the program.
Check out these other great January adult programs:    Don't forget to check out our January book group meetings:
  • Lit Wits Book Group, Tuesday, January 3 at 6:30 p.m.
    • Date changed due to holiday on January 2
    • Reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Poetry Reading Group, Monday, January 9 at 6:30 p.m.
    • Bring one or two poems to share.
  • History Book Group, Tuesday, January 17 at 12 p.m. at City Center apartments common room
    • Reading The Destiny of the Republic by Candace Millard
  • Mystery Book Group, Tuesday, January 30 at 6:30 p.m.
    • Reading The Thomas Berryman Number by James Patterson
Copies of the book group selections are available at the library's service desk.

For more information on any of these programs, call the library at 507-359-8331 or visit our online calendar.
January library closures. The library will be closed on Monday January 2 for New Year's Day observed. The library will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10 due to staff training. The library will be closed on Monday, January 16 for Martin Luther King Junior Day. The library will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24 due to staff training.
Staff Recommendations
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Searle
This story begins with Katy mourning the death of her mother and questioning the choices she has made thus far in her life, including her marriage to her husband, Eric. Due to grief and her disillusionment with her current life, Katy decides to take the trip to Italy that she and her mother had planned together, alone. I must admit that there were times that I thought of not continuing with this story. Katy seemed overly attached to her mother and didn’t seem to be living her life without making choices her mom would make. However, while on her trip to Positano, Italy (a trip her mother had taken when she was Katy’s age), Katy experiences some type of “time travel” and meets Carol, her mother, 30 years in the past. It was interesting to see how Carol did not always fit the role that Katy had expected of her. During this trip, Katy realizes that she has to live her own life and make her own choices in order to appreciate the life she has. As Katy is making these realizations, the story becomes more “real” and heartwarming. One of the best aspects of this book is the realistic descriptions of the beautiful setting of Positano including the restaurants, the amazing food, and the ever-changing sea. - Pam
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
This book is written from the perspective of a 5th grade girl with Asperger’s who has lost her mom to cancer and also loses her older brother, who seemed to be the only person who “got her,” in a school shooting. The book is a story of her life as she tries to navigate through all of this with her disability. Lucky for her, she has a school counselor who works with her on developing empathy and helping her to understand the world around her. She also meets a 1st grade boy named Michael, who also lost his mother in the school shooting. This is a heartwarming story about their friendship and how they learn to understand each other, and in the end how they all work together to help bring some closure to their community. - Geri
Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon
I’m a little late to the Cash Blackbear mystery series party…but I’m so glad I finally discovered it! Cash is a 19-year-old, pool-playing, beer-drinking, foster care-surviving member of the White Earth Nation. She does farm labor to get by, but her mentor, Sheriff Wheaton, sees greater things for this smart cookie. Seeking information about a murder, he taps her unusual ability to conjure dreams and visions, as well as her sharp ears, good sense and familiarity with the farm laborers who treat her as an equal. Set in 1970 along the Red River near Fargo-Moorhead, the author deftly evokes this Vietnam Conflict time period and aptly captures the locale of the flat and fertile farm lands surrounding the river valley. I’m on to the second Cash Blackbear book by this Minnesota author! - Sue U.
I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Jennette McCurdy got her start as a child actor, starring on Nickelodeon’s iCarly when she was a preteen. It was never her dream to become an actor; it was something her mother wanted for her. In this memoir McCurdy details her difficult relationship with her abusive mother, which was complicated by her mother’s long battle with cancer. McCurdy skillfully illustrates how her close relationship with her mother made it difficult to recognize the abuse she was receiving and how it has had life-long repercussions for her mental and physical health. This is a tough read, but worth it. - April
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb
Ray McMillian is an aspiring young musician with a desire to become the world’s greatest violinist by winning the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition. Torn between his music and the pull of his mother to stay home to help support his family, he decides to pursue his dream. His grandmother, the only supportive family member, gives him his grandfather’s old violin. After getting the instrument repaired and cleaned he discovers it is a beautiful Stradivarius worth millions of dollars. Word spreads quickly about the priceless violin, and it is stolen for ransom. Author Slocumb takes you on Ray’s journey of working to be accepted as a Black classical musician in a white person’s world, and of his search for the thief and whereabouts of his beloved violin, which results in an unexpected twist. - Sue O.

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