—by Kolleen Taylor

During the month of November, we have initiated a "Food for Fines" drive, which allows those who have incurred fines on their library materials, to bring in food in exchange for fine forgiveness. Our largest focus is to try to have long lost items returned, with the fines exchanged for food items. We set a pretty loose guideline: A canned good equals $1.00 in fines, a dry boxed item equals $2.00 in fines, peanut butter equals $3.00 in fines. You can also write a check to Loaves and Fishes and leave it at the library for inclusion and we will deliver that when other items are delivered.

All staples brought into the library need to be brought to the circulation desk and then we put the items on our display. All the items need to be within the sale by date. At the close of November, all items will be taken to the Loaves and Fishes food pantry here in Story City. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to call the library at 733-2685 and we will try to help you. Our intent is to have some type of contribution that will instill a sense of pride, and perhaps encourage some of our patrons to look harder for items that have been misplaced. The Food for Fines promotion will end on November 30.

As many know, the library closes for a limited number of holidays during the year, but with Thanksgiving nearly upon us, we want to remind you of our schedule. Libraries around the state have a discussion on opening or closing on the days around the holidays, and there are a lot of commonalities and a lot of differences. So if you are a regular library user, our holiday schedule is here.

It’s no big surprise that we are closed on Thanksgiving Day. We close at 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which is our normal closing time. But we will be open at 10 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and again on Saturday and Sunday here in Story City. In Gilbert, where the library is only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, we will be closed both Thursday and Saturday.

Christmas this year falls on Wednesday. Christmas Eve is usually one of the quietest days of the year, and for many years, we closed at noon on Christmas eve. Several years ago, the board decided we should not even open on Christmas eve, based on use. So we are closed now both on December 24 and 25, but will open at our normal time on Thursday, December 26, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

We are also closed on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2014. We will be closing early on New Year’s Eve at 5 p.m. We would normally be open until 8 p.m. on a Tuesday, so this gives staff time to make it to their destinations before the close of the New Year!

Thanksgiving week, the Roland-Story schools will be closing at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, and the students will be out of classes also on Thursday and Friday of that week. Christmas break at Roland-Story school begins with an early dismissal on Friday, December 20, and they will go back to classes on Monday, January 6, 2014. During these breaks, we usually tend to see more students in the library, and as college classes break also, we sometimes see these students also using our library as they work on projects or graduate thesis’ due after school resumes.

Holidays impact the way the library is used, but it isn’t a bad change. We tend to stop our regular programming schedule during the Christmas holiday break, but often offer special activities, from board gaming days to massive puzzle projects in-house at the library.

So as you make your plans for the upcoming holidays, be sure to mark these dates down if you are likely to be impacted by library closings or need time to work on special projects. And remember, our drop box is always open to return items to the library, even when we are closed.