—by Kolleen Taylor

It’s been a long time since we’ve had such a long stretch of cold. My heating and electrical bills are reminding me that I have been lucky to have had so few bills like those this winter, and I’m sure most of you are experiencing the same feeling. So like many of you, I’m turning the thermostat down a bit more, reducing purchases, and watching my pennies a little closer, as it doesn’t seem the weather is improving much any time soon.

Using the library more is one of the ways to save money! If you go to our website, (www.storycity.lib.ia.us), you will find a simple little calculator widget on it that gives you an idea how much you can save by using the library. For example, if you check out 4 adult books to read, 1 audio book, and 1 magazine in a month, that savings is over $100 instead of purchasing them. If you start adding in music CD’s, puppets, attend programming, and computer use, you will easily see a savings of several hundred dollars per month. Those families with young children, who enjoy reading nightly, and are able to attend the library programs, can find savings even higher, as they rotate books from our collections, check out movies, and use computers.

The library does have something here for almost everyone. From music to movies, down-loadable books and audio books, read-along books, puzzles, puppets, and even games, it is somewhere inside our walls. The library maintains a warm, safe and friendly environment, and we try to assist those who need help when they come to the library. It doesn’t matter if it is your first visit or you have spent hundreds of hours a year in the library, don’t hesitate to ask if you need a recommendation, or can’t locate a book you know should be here.

With the Olympics in full swing this week and next, it is exciting to view the athletes that are working so hard to represent their countries. With the strong Norwegian connections to Story City, it has been very fun to see how well the Norwegian teams are doing, and makes me wonder how many participants have a connection to us here.

One of our book displays has been titles which involve the sports or people involved with the Olympics, and it was a bit of surprise to realize how few of our athletes have books written about them. I mentioned last week that we had a display, but then was a little surprised at how little there really is, but we have pulled them out to make it easier to locate t hem. I guess most of our athletes are busier training than writing….and it shows on our shelves, and in the bookstores.

But we have displays on other topics. Our Staff Picks shelf is getting more attention, since we moved it to be more visible in the library. Those are books our library staff have read and think they merit a recommendation to our other readers. We also have an exhibit on Iraq, in preparation for the upcoming presentation by Miyoko Hikiji, who is an Iowa author who wrote "All I Could Be". This book tells about her experiences as a Woman Warrior in Iraq. Mark your calendar for Thursday, February 27 at 6:30 for this very special presentation.

So if you ever come to the library and can’t find what we have mentioned in this column, don’t hesitate to ask! We always have our newest fiction and non-fiction books that are rotated every month, and often have a shelf of endangered books to choose from. To us it might seem easy to find, but when you ask us to help us, it is a good chance to check our organizational system. If we have trouble locating an item, it tells us we have work to do. So test us, and let us help you!