Story City library stayed open during snowy weather

Kolleen Taylor BBPL Director

Like many in our community, we have had to postpone meetings, cancel events, and feel frustrated at the many things that have to be re-done to accommodate closings, early dismissals and hazardous driving conditions. But as I traveled between Story City and Gilbert last week, I was quickly reminded just how dangerous roads can get…. sometimes with no warning, and how very cautious we all have to be to watch out for ice on the roads, white-out conditions, and other drivers.

I’m not too young nor too old to not remember the days when snow drifted as high as roof tops, and roads had to be opened with enormous snow chiselers and blowers that could get the snow far away from the drifts on the sides of the roads. We have had fewer days like this in the past twenty years than what I recall from my childhood, and the number of actual snow days from school closing has been minimal over the past few years. But the rain, and wintry mix, and freezing rain frightens me more than any amount of snow, and keeps me off the road.

Road conditions change so quickly, we often find ourselves calling ahead, checking with patrons who come into the library, and calling ahead to find out what conditions are like in other areas where we need to go. This is the best early warning system we have, and I am grateful that our patrons are quick to give us conditions outside the city of Story City. We have shifted plans, changed routes and closed the library in Gilbert multiple times in the last few weeks based on patron knowledge, and others who help keep us all informed.

But we have been able to keep the Story City library open throughout the challenging weather. We are blessed to have a faithful group of employees who recognize the importance of the library staying open, and feel safe traveling within the city itself. We are aware that people count on us so if they need to do homework, apply for jobs, print out paperwork or just need more books and movies on hand, we will most likely be ready to serve.

Offering special programs during the winter has been very challenging in the past, so we learned years ago to limit the number of special events. But we received such an exciting call this last week from Angie Schnurstein, offering a titillating opportunity to bring real Moon Rocks to Story City. We just couldn’t pass this up as we are planning our summer reading program around the astronomy theme “A Universe of Books”! We have been watching for opportunities to bring different types of Astronomy exhibits to the library this summer, and we hope to invite back Mrs. Swenson later in the summer for the children’s programs. Our theme of course involves the stars and moon…what could be more fitting! This special program will be held on Saturday morning, March 9 at 10 a.m. with Moon Rocks available to see and hold, contained in special protective cases. An opportunity for photos to be taken with the rocks will make this a family friendly event.

On loan from the Johnson Space Center, this program is thanks to Virginia Swenson, a DMACC West Campus mathematics teacher who is a certified moon rock handler. Her daughter is Ms. Schnurstein, who was able to make arrangements here and also at the Roland Story Middle School students, where they will have a chance to see these at the school on Friday, March 8th. Through their efforts and the training Ms. Swenson has attained, we will have a chance to step into another whole world and experience a site that enthralled astronauts almost 50 years ago when they first stepped onto the moons surface.

So mark your calendar for the “Moon Rock” program. We know this will be out of this world!