The Roland Public Library has received a grant from the United Way of Story County to fund all of its paid programming for 2017.

“We have some programming that is free — like cheerleaders and firefighters come in and have programs with the kids,” said Sarah Almond, the program director at the RPL. “But some of our programs are things we have to pay for.”

So Almond set out to apply for the UWSC grant in the amount of $2,160. “We tried to be as specific as possible about what our expenses would be,” she said.

“We have so many things going on at the library,” she said. “This takes a big burden off how we’re going to pay for it.”

The library offers a large variety of programs. This spring, summer and fall, the library will host a LEGO robotics program through Sylvan Learning Center. The Grout Museum and the Science Center of Iowa will be featured this summer.

This summer, there will also be programs to appeal to both kids and adults. Terry Fisk will present a program on UFOs, and Jester Puppets will do a presentation.

“We want to be able to attract authors and other cultural things for adults,” Almond said. “Terry Fisk was very popular last time he was here and presented his ghost program.”

Next fall, there will be a Humanities Iowa program. Kevin Coble, a professional jouster, will present a program titled “Age of Chivalry.” And SOAR (Saving Our Avian Resources) will offer a program about raptor rescue and rehabilitation.

The UWSC also helped with money for incentives and supplies for the library’s summer reading program.

One-room school program

One of the programs the United Way grant will fund is the upcoming “A Day in a One-Room School” by Sarah Uthoff, an expert on Laura Ingalls Wilder.

That program will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 8. The event is free and open to the public.

Participants can “travel back to 1900 to experience a typical day in a one-room school just like Laura Ingalls Wilder,” Almond said. “Anyone who attended a one-room school, who loves the Little House books or simply loves history is welcome to attend.”

Uthoff is the director of the public library in Oxford, Iowa, and is also the reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

An active Wilder researcher, Uthoff is president of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. She runs the listserv for the Country School Association of America. Uthoff is also foodways resource chair for the Midwest Open Air Museum’s Coordinating Council, which is an organization with the goal of furthering the interchange of materials, information and ideas within the history field.

“It all started a long time ago in a little white house made of boards that I discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books,” Uthoff wrote on her Trundlebed Tales website regarding her interest in Wilder. “Before anyone knew what was happening, I was ‘playing Laura,’ visiting the Laura sites, and learning how to do the things Laura did around her family farm. In the words of my cousin, ‘Laura took over her life and everybody’s who knew her.’”

When Uthoff grew up, she got her degree in history education from the University of Iowa. From there, she became actively involved with living history and historic foodways, which studies the social, cultural and economic practices of producing and consuming food.

One of the many programs Uthoff offers is on the subject of one-room schools, which were the main source of public education in Ingalls’ time.

“One-room schools were once the main form of education in the United States and this program helps you learn more about what it was like to attend one,” Uthoff said. “… Learn what happened to one-room schools after that and the roles one-room schools play in American culture today.”

For more information, contact the library at (515) 388-4086. Roland Public Library is located at 221 N. Main St. in Roland, two blocks north of the stop sign on E-18.

This program has been funded by Humanities Iowa, a private, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. A cultural resource for Iowans since 1971, Humanities Iowa brings humanities programs into the heart of Iowa communities. This program is also made possible to our community through a generous donation from the United Way of Story County, sponsoring all of the Roland Public Library’s 2017 paid programming.