Stories from Siouxland Libraries



You really should meet Lynda

Paul Schipper has a thing for Lynda.

That's, the online education company that offers thousands of video courses in software, creative and business skills.

Schipper shared his feelings on Siouxland Libraries' Facebook page: "Did you know that if you have a library card, you can set up a account and learn dozens of subjects?" At home, on your own schedule.

"Really awesome thing to give to career-minded people and hobbyists wanting to advance themselves," he added.

And a date with is free with your Siouxland Libraries card. Check it out! A final thought from Schipper: "If you're excited about learning and improving yourself, get together with Lynda!"

Where to go when you need to know? The library!

Total retirement wasn't going to work for Priscilla Jorve, "I've got to have some purpose." So she signed on as a volunteer with Good Earth State Park at Blood Run. She greets visitors and answers questions.

"It's my duty to be knowledgeable," Jorve explains.

For her, the best place to gather facts is Siouxland libraries Prairie West Branch. She's borrowed books about Native American crafts, legends, traditions and more. She'll tell you that while "Blood Run" suggests a great battle, European explorers gave the creek that name because iron colored the water red.

Jorve also wanted to know more about the area's flowers and trees. Really, she says, "When I want to know more about any subject, I just know the library can help me"

Siouxland Libraries: Good for your mental health!

Laura Mullen cuts to the chase. "When my children (now 18 and 14) were little, the library saved my sanity.

"I raised them in the library." The three went to storytimes, puppet and magic shows. "We did everything at every branch."

These days, Siouxland Libraries continues to enhance the family's mental health.

Laura checks out audiobooks for a cross-country trip.

A school research assignment for her son or daughter? "Ronning is the first place we go!"

Following recent surgery to repair her husband's torn retina, Laura says, "He couldn't move, couldn't exercise, couldn't read. All he could do was listen."

She downloaded Russian history audiobooks with her library card. "If not for the library," Laura reflects, "he'd have gone bonkers!"

Library inspires imagination, awakens artistry

Ed Baatz and his wive moved to Sioux Falls in 2008. Art classes at the Center for Active Generations led to painting, then woodcarving and woodburning for the retired Iowa farmer.

Early this summer, as he left the Ronning Branch, a book display caught his eye: Carving Tree Bark - Releasing Whimsical Houses & Woodspirits from Found Wood. The wedge of tree bark in his basement! Batz thought, "I'm going to try that!" He did an about-face to check out the book.

The piece, which conjures tales by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Brothers Grimm, adorns a wall at Ronning. "I'm thinking about calling it 'Billy Goat Condos,'" Baatz smiles.

One thing's for sure, says the former farmer, "I'm hooked on art!"

Siouxland Libraries card: a bargain at any price

Nine years ago, the Pattersons, then a family of four, moved from Sioux Falls to Harrisburg.

"It wasn't long," says Sara, who describes herself as a compulsive reader, "until I realized my [Siouxland Libraries] card didn't work anymore."

As the family increased with the addition of Caleb, 4, and Lydia, 3, the Harrisburg Library check-out limit of 10 wasn't enough to meet the demands of four kids, and "I needed stuff for me!"

Comparing the cost of downloading books to her Kindle to Siouxland Libraries' $63 annual non-resident fee, Sara concluded, "A library card is a better deal!"

And -- she can check out up to 50 items.

New first editions at the Downtown Library

Author/illustrator Katherine Britton has donated "Mrlen's New Baby Sister" and "Angel and the Cat" to the Downtown Library. (Stop by the Children's Department for a delightful read!)

Her mom photocopied the books for distribution and archived the originals. It'll be fun to show them off when the 8-year-old achieves her career goal of becoming a widely published author.

Is it hard to come up with characters? "No," Katherine shrugs, "I just think them up." She named Angel (a mouse) in the second book, "for my bestest friend."

A regular library visitor, the young author has other books in mind: "Corbin and the Watermelon," "Mrlen Goes to the Fair" and "Today I'm going to try to finish 'The Three Little Hamsters and the Big, Bad Dog.'"

Questions -- and answers

Andy Patterson is president/CEO of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

The organization he heads gave Siouxland Libraries a $50,000 City Blossom grant to help funds its Family Place Library.

The Downtown Library, 200 North Dakota Ave.

The grant was awarded in 2015.

Because, Patterson says, quality early learning programs like Family Place Library improve the lives of children -- and workforce development.

Kids start school ready to learn, which leads to academic success and more educated workers. "We're excited the library is working so hard to be a resource and connector for our community," he says. "Partnerships are important."

Agreed! No one organization can do everything. There is power in working together.

Building community through art

Invited to display his watercolors at the Downtown Library (July 1-August 31), Jim Heroux says, "I jumped at the chance!"

After all, as actors need a stage, writers seek readers and musicians perform, "Artists always like to get their work out to be seen."

A member of Sioux Falls' Eastbank Art Gallery at 8th and Railroad, Heroux is an advocate for original art. "It's unique," he says, "usually one of a kind."

"It's important for the community to get to know local artists," says the retired architect. That introduction is best provided by art displays in public places.

Places like Siouxland libraries. "It's one more way the library is a community builder," Heroux says smiling.

A-plus for 'new' Caille Branch Library

Jill Rallis, sons Alex, 9, and Robby, 5, are regulars at Siouxland Libraries' newly remodeled Caille Branch.

Jill: "I've been going to Caille since it opened." (1988).

Alex: "I like it."

Jill (reflecting on changes announced before renovation began): "My family was concerned about taking away the train in the children's area ..."

Robby: "How could they even lift it?!"

Jill: "I didn't really like the carpet and paint samples. Bright is not my favorite." But when she saw the new interior, "It really works!"

Some things are much the same ...

Alex: "I like the computers ... things about the human body and jigsaw puzzles."

Robby: Nods agreement at "jigsaw puzzles."

And the staff and programs at Caille? Jill, Alex, Robby: "We love them!"

Oak View Branch: A home away from home

When he was a youngster in Sudan, Yousef Konda dreamed of coming to the United States. Years later, as a refugee from that war-torn country, he did.

From first grade through high school, language learning had been part of his curriculum. "My first language is Nubian," Konda explains. "No. 2 is Arabic and No. 3, English." Here in Sioux Falls, that led to a career as an inrerpreter and occasional translator.

In his spare time, Konda often heads to the Oak View Branch Library to study, read or watch videos. "It's comfortable, smaller, people know who you are," he says. And the staff is "very knowledgeable."

"It's easy to get help from the ladies who work here." He pauses, then smiles, "They're a good team!"