—by Kolleen Taylor

As we watch the news reports talking about the slow-down in the retail world blamed on the weather, we feel a little better about the slowdown we’ve experienced this winter also. It isn’t mind boggling, and it is totally understandable, especially on a day when I’m writing my column from home, snowed in for a spell until roads and driveways are plowed.

Our winter months are typically not peak months for library use, so this is the time of year we work on larger projects….we work on summer reading, we evaluate our books, we look for gaps in our collection, and we pump up our material purchases so we have the materials needed for spring and summer. It takes time to do all these things, and there is virtually no time to do any of this from May through August, so most of these tasks try to be completed by the end of April.

This is also the time of year when the award book lists are released, so we’ve had a heavy influx of the Iowa Teen Award, the Goldfinch, and the Children’s Choice award books into the library. We try to insure we have these books in our library so that parents and teachers can access these easily. I think everyone enjoys seeing these books arrive, and our staff tries to anticipate the books that will make these lists, already having them in our library. It’s impossible to do, so when the award books are announced, there is a heavy demand by librarians in both the public library and the schools to get these ordered and into the hands of our patrons.

So these are now out! Be sure to check out the newest displays as these have all rotated into these coveted places of honor on our shelves. If you don’t know where to look, be sure to ask, as all the staff will be able to point out the new labels for the 2014-2015 books that earned these awards.

We know that everyone is thinking spring….but we have to be thinking summer! The Summer Reading program generates the highest volume of books read, programs attended, and people using the library, so it takes time to get everything ready. Special programs have already been scheduled, and the crafts and activities are being planned. There are three different themes for children, young adults and adults, so supplies, crafts and book lists are being developed so everything can be ordered and on hand by the time most are talking about summer vacation. This summer the theme revolves around the science, math and physics fields with fascinating activities and projects already in the works. I’m lucky to have a creative staff who are constantly watching for ideas that can enhance the creativity and imagination to bridge that interest to a love of reading and learning!

These programs range from the talents of local experts to entertainers, scientists and magicians from around the Midwest. We give thanks every year for the support of our Library Foundation, the Story City Kiwanis Club, and the Library Board who help us fund the programming that reaches beyond our budget. We are hoping this will be an extra special year, as we begin to celebrate the 20th year of the Bertha Bartlett Public Library at 503 Broad Street Location. We hope you will be celebrating with us also!