Stories from Siouxland Libraries



Reading daily builds a foundation for learning

"I was hesitant," admits Laura Williams, about the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. "I thought keeping track of the titles would be a hassle."

So why did she go ahead and sign up Ericka, then 2?

Laura knows that reading with children from birth helps them develop learning skills.

Now 3, Ericka is working on her third 1,000 Books! At 6 months, sister Kennedy is in the 700s.

The girls collect small prizes for every 100 books, which accumulate quickly when reading five to seven at a sitting. And there's this: Every reading of the same book (children love repetition) counts toward the 1,000.

A champion of the 1,000 Books program, Laura has two words for other parents of preschoolers: "Try it!"

Library research assures artistic accuracy

What do bronze and battle fatigues have in common? Darwin Wolf.

Perhaps the best known sculpture by the Sioux Falls artist is that of South Dakota's first U.S. senator R.F. Pettigrew. It marks an entrance to Falls Park.

But 782 miles due west in Hot Springs, at the Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veterans Home, is another. It honors the Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient for whom the home is named.

Wolf's research at Siouxland Libraries assures the authenticity of his works from garb to gear -- and more. The expression on the sculpture's face, for example. "What Fitzmaurice was looking at (on the Khe Sanh battlefield) is what I was looking for in the library."

From books to bronze.

Helping customers keep their reading resolutions

First, the Hardy Boys series. Then John Holter graduated to Robert Ludlum.

These days, historical fiction -- "especially Steve Berry" -- wins acclaim from the University of South Dakota development officer, a former U.S. Army National Guard member. Holter awards bonus "likes" to Berry for separating fact from fiction at the end of each book.

"I'm a streaky reader," Holter explains. "I've read three-forths of All the Light We Cannot See and haven't picked it up in a month. But when I do, I'll likely finish it in one sitting."

So, no surprise, "I love getting automatic renewals by text."

He reflects, "The only New Year's resolution I ever kept was to read a book a month."

Siouxland Libraries is privileged to help!

Library resources help hosts welcome foreign visitor

Kristi Desaulniers considers hers an international family.

Her husband comes from Canada, Daughter Aida, 12, from Guatemala, and while their son's birthplace is the United States, the Desaulniers have hosted exchange students ("family") from Thailand, Germany, Morocco, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Honduras and Pakistan.

Learning about students' home countries and cuisine is a must for making them feel at home. The first stop on that quest? Siouxland Libraries Ronning Branch!

And Aida? "My mom gets the books, and then I read them," she says.

"We want our exchange students to have a home away from home," says Kristi, who taught in England and Switzerland.

That exchange, she adds, is a full circle. "We help the students learn about our country and they help us understand the world."

Spelling bees aren't just for kids

Robyn Anderson won Siouxland LIbraries' 2016 Adult Spelling Bee with her daughter looking on.

"It was embarrassing," Stephanie Bents confesses. Wha-a-at?! "I was happy for her," she explains, "but I work at the Downtown Library and to have your own mom win...."

Which she did -- fair and square. "Spelling," Robyn says, "has always been my forte." It took a couple hours that night to narrow the field of 35 to 40 to one. When mom won, Stephanie says, the crowd erupted, "Rob-yn! Rob-yn!"

"It's good for the ego," Robyn smiles. As for the 2017 Spelling Bee (October 6, at Icon Lounge), she shrugs, "I proved myself. I don't have to enter again."

It could be your turn this year! Register here to compete.

On the road and in the sky

The current title of Dzenan Berberovic's life story? Not Home Alone, but Away from Home.

A representative of the University of South Dakota Foundation, he's traveled 118,000 miles by plane and another 50,000 miles or so by car in support of USD. Since January 2017!

Berberovic spends much of that in-flight, on-the-road time reading -- with his ears. His Siouxland LIbraries card brings access to audio books on CD, RB Digital and CloudLibrary. For Free.

Always on the go, he says, "Listening to books is the one constant in a travel day."

There's more: "If you're looking to accomplish something or need a spark of motivation," he says, "you can often find that in a book."

In short: "I recommend Siouxland Libraries heartily!"

No card? Get a guest pass

Rachel Johannsen is a May graduate of the University of South Dakota. She spent most of the summer as a naturalist intern at Good Earth State Park. Now she's backpacking through Europe. Come September, she'll begin 10 months with AmeriCorps.

She hasn't really had time to get a library card, though her parents live near Siouxland Libraries Prairie West Branch.

Still, when she needed to print pages of information for her foreign adventure, where did Johannsen go? Yup! To Prairie West, where she got a guest pass to print (10 cents per page).

"I was surprised how high-tech things are now," she says. And delighted by the help from staff there.

There's every chance, Johannsen smiles, she'll soon be a library card-holder.

Borrowing -- and giving back

Alicia Ostman quickly lists the benefits of a book club:
* "You read things you'd never have picked up on your own."
* "It's an opportunity to walk in someone else's shoes."
* "Even if you're not crazy about a book, the discussion helps see things in a different way."
* "You establish a personal connection with other members."

Her Welcome Women's Book Club often uses Siouxland Libraries' Book Club to Go bags. "We don't have to buy the book or coordinate sharing. It's awesome!"

To show their appreciation, Ostman's book club annually donates 12 copies of a book to fill a bag for other groups. "It expands the collection for everyone," she says, adding with a smile, "It's also a feel-good thing."

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"