Bertha Bartlett Public Library news

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

—by Kolleen Taylor

Halloween week is here, with a week of fun activities and excitement for young and old alike. Even the library will be giving away a non-edible treat on Thursday evening, so we hope that our “Trick or Treating” children will stop in and see us….we love seeing the many costumes created by our families to make this a fun holiday!

We typically have a parade of costumes during the morning pre-school story-time each year, and it is a fun time to be at the library! At this young age, the expectations are so innocent, and it is just a delightful event for those who happen to be sitting in the library between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. The staff sometimes also gets innovative, dressing for this holiday in an unpredictable way. You never know what you will find in the library, that is for sure!

I just returned from a 3 day trip to Cedar Rapids where I joined hundreds of other Iowa librarians with training, meetings and time with vendors. We went with a mission, a list of people to see, things to evaluate, and a very narrow time frame to get it all done! But the time spent was well worth it, and we are hoping there will be some good outcomes.

During the days we were in Cedar Rapids, we had a tour of the new Cedar Rapids library. I had also toured the Ames library recently. Both of these new libraries have some common architectural design….they seem to be very modern, with lots of glass, high ceilings and geometric design. Most increase the square footage drastically, but don’t increase the space much for additional materials that can be checked out. Most have expanded community spaces, such as children’s programming areas, teen hang-outs, computer spaces, meeting rooms, coffee corners and in Cedar Rapids, they even created a theatre style/classroom space.

The need for space to “do” things, whether it is a creative “Makerspace” area, or a quiet area to read and relax, is becoming a priority in most communities. Even here at Bertha Bartlett, we recognize that when we have our special programs, we have outgrown our meeting room area, which seats 40-45 adults. We have programs that involve around a hundred children in addition to their parents, so the flexibility of our space is critical. Some of the projects and programs we have in store for our youth emphasize that need for “convertible” space, with portable devices and flexible room arrangements. It’s something we’ll be talking more about in the future, how to use our space to the best advantage of our patrons.

We were thrilled to hear the author Thomas Maltman speak on Friday during our final luncheon. The author of the 2014 All Iowa Reads book “Little Wolves”, his presentation was outstanding. As one who was not overly zealous about his book, after listening to his reasons for the book, I decided I need to look at this one again. Sometimes that is what happens…insight gives more meaning to the reason for the writing. This was one of those. “My Name is Mary Sutter”, by Robin Oliveira, is the 2015 All Iowa Reads selection, and was announced at the conclusion of his presentation and the close of the 2014 Iowa Library Association Conference.

So for one more year, I have a chance to incorporate some of the ideas, concepts and materials into the library here in Story City. This once-a-year meeting packs a lot into a few short days, and I doubt I’ll have it all in place before this date rolls around again next year!