Library, Library Story, News

A Library Story: a Family of Readers

Diane Jolin

Retired Title 1 Reading Teacher, K-8

Literacy has always been important to me. That is one of the reasons I became a reading teacher. I would tell my students that to become good readers they would have to read. The more they read, the better readers they would become.

I grew up with parents who loved to read. My father read just about every book I brought home, even some of my college textbooks.  We always had books around and at times my mother would have to tell us to quit reading and do our chores. We checked out books from our school library because we did not have access to a city library. We also received books as gifts. To me, reading is a necessity in my life. I do a lot of reading for pleasure.

In my own family both my daughters are readers. In our town we have a public library, a bookmobile, and a school library where they could check out books. As a reading teacher I was always encouraging them to take advantage of these opportunities.

My grandchildren love going to their local libraries. They check out a box of books and videos to take home every time.  My oldest grandchildren went on date days with their other grandfather. On rainy days they would hang out at their local library.  My youngest grandchildren enjoy their trips to the library with their mother.  Having their own library card was exciting and my youngest grandson couldn’t wait until he was 6 to get his card like his older brother. Their library has an afterschool program they attend once a week during the school year. When they check out books at the public library they receive a printout stating what it would have cost them to purchase all the materials they had checked out. By the first week in September their cost would have been $1,600.

Libraries are so important. The economic and educational advantage they have for all families is priceless. Everyone has the opportunity to use these resources no matter who they are. Every library contributes to the quality of life in the community.



Library Story

A Library Story: Read Until You See the Movie



Barb Laraway

My family has always loved to read books. My children went to the library for Children’s Hour every time it was offered. I am not sure of the days(s) but I think that event was on Saturday afternoon. To this day, they are readers of books. They like the feel of a book in their hands and my grandchildren are readers too. The enjoyment of reading is a wonderful feeling.  I hope everyone spreads the word that reading is important to all of us and as a college professor said in an English class “read until you see the movie”. This is not to say to wait until a movie is released on a particular book but to read until a person understands why the book was written and the impact a book can have on society or just one person.


Library Story

A Library Story: The Librarian and a Neighborhood Kid

John Grabinger is the state senator from District 12, Jamestown, ND

This is a story about the impact of the library on my own education from my high school days at Jamestown High School.  I was tasked with the requirement to provide a term paper for Sociology class. I was not the best at studies, or reading for that matter, and certainly not one to frequent the library

I reluctantly decided I needed some help with the project. I turned to the one person I knew could point me in the right direction. I made my way to Alfred Dickey Library and approached the same lady, Mrs. Glenney,  that had shoosed (quieted) me quite a few times.                                                                                  

She actually steered me in the right direction and kind of coerced me into getting all of the writing I needed to get the paper completed. I still don’t know why she was concerned enough to assist me, but how fortunate I was that she served as our librarian and went above and beyond what I expected to help a neighborhood kid get through his class with a passing grade. She was certainly a great lady. 

Library Story

A Library Story: From Sparta to Jamestown via Libraries

Jill Shaffer is an Ecologist for the USGS, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, ND

Libraries are the dynamic testament to a community’s need for intellectual stimulation and sense of community.  I can’t imagine a thriving community without a library.  My own library story begins at the Sparta Free Library in small town Sparta, Wisconsin.  It was built with funds by Andrew Carnegie in an impressive neoclassical revival style of architecture and was the site chosen by my senior class for our class photo.  I have fond memories of the beautifully illustrated set of Beatrix Potter books, and I avidly devoured every Walter Farley book in The Black Stallion series, igniting a love for horses and riding that will never diminish.

As an adult and parent, I have found the Alfred Dickey Public Library to be a resource that I continually draw upon, both personally and as my son, Dillon, progresses through the stages of child development.  For an economically minded parent, the library can’t be beat for the breadth of resources.  A modern library is so much more than books.  The Alfred Dickey Public Library provides movies, both of an entertaining and an educational nature.  When  Dillon was in elementary school, we visited weekly to pick out not just Bob the Builder and Dora movies, but also movies in the Bill Nye the Science guy series, and movies on machines, and rocks, and so many other topics fascinating to a young child.  We picked out books-on-tape for long rides back to Wisconsin.  Dillon participated in the summer reading program.  He used the computers.  And it was all free!  What a bargain!  As a Cub Scout leader, the wonderful librarians helped me with many a Cub Scout program, hosting meetings and helping to locate resources for scout topics.

Now that Dillon is in middle school, I am very appreciative that the Library is so conveniently located for those times when he needs to wait after school until I can pick him up. What better place than a library – where he is exposed to limitless new ideas!  He just recently attended a program on building his own computer—boy, did that get him excited!  The large number of other children that frequent the library for the same purposes serves as just one reminder of why the community will benefit from the expansion of our library.  To say it is an investment in our future is trite, but sometimes trite statements ring with the truth!

As an adult who has served on several boards focused on youth and education, I so appreciate the benefits of the Library in serving children and families of all socioeconomic levels.  For a child who comes from a family that can’t afford books, or that doesn’t appreciate the power of books, the Library can fill a gap that might not otherwise be available to that child.  The Library also provides safe access to computers and the Internet, thus again, helping to level an unbalanced socioeconomic playing field in the community.  To me, this is one of the most important societal values that a library provides to a community.

And then there is the library that I draw upon — just for me.  While going through a particularly stressful period a few years back, I turned to the Alfred Dickey Public Library for some daily diversion and chanced upon several authors that continue to delight me to this day.  I am a regular patron of the Inter Library Loan System.  I can read in a magazine about a new book on some esoteric subject and have it on order down at the library within a few hours.  I still like the feel of a book in my hand, but I have on occasion utilized their e-reader capabilities, and find the audio books indispensable for long trips.   A community without a dynamic library would be an intellectually depauperate place to live—I hope I never have to live in such a community!  I think I’m going to suggest that Bill Kennedy start a Love your Library week!!

*United States Geological Survey

Library Story

A Library Story: Library as a Safe Accepting Place

           Jay Nitschke is a retired secondary Spanish teacher, drama director, and a current library board member

When I was a young child, there were many problems in my family. At times the situation was very difficult. As both of my parents believed in reading, they would always let me go to the library. So often I used the library as a safe accepting place. I always was welcomed by the workers, could sit and read and just enjoy the sights, smells of the library and relax. It was a home without turmoil.                                          

Libraries support the parent’s essential role of literacy development in their children by hosting reading times for both the children and parents to attend.  In fact you could say they help create readers by providing young children with fun programs about stories before they can read. The library is a leader in keeping pace with the changing economy, social, and technological aspects of the community.  It deepens engagement with the community in many forms from technology to education to social services.                                                                                                                   

The library reaches out to all segments of the population. The library provides not just information but also experiences, hosting programs in collaboration with community partners. The library augments local economic development by providing access to educational and training opportunities such as resume writing and job hunting on the public computers.                                                                                             

The library provides social spaces that allow patrons to meet new people and form friendships they may not have had the opportunity to make elsewhere. 


Library Story

A Library Story: Library in My Life

Sue Anderson is a current Library Board member and Professor Emeritus in Teacher Education at the University of Jamestown.

          In the summer when my mother was working full time, my day always included about a half mile walk to the library where I could choose books to read for the Summer Reading Contest. I was engrossed in the books and the characters became my friends. Once I began an author I tried to read all of their published works. I was very loyal and even if I didn’t love a story, I completed the entire book cover to cover, in fear of missing something important.

            We filled out index cards upon completion of the book. We were asked to summarize the plot, choose our favorite character, and explain why we loved or hated the book. The librarians were wonderful surrogate mothers and always helped guide me to new conquests. My friends at the library were mostly elderly people who came to socialize and read the paper. They often struck up conversations with me and their stories were often as interesting as the ones I read in books.

            I loved the thought of jumping from section to section in the library as though I was seeing the world. For some of my friends, books and movies were their only means of travel. As I grew older, the library hosted Girl Scout, 4H and Homemaker groups as well. My drama groups, musical groups and dance groups performed for children and parents in the open artistic spaces with excellent lighting. It was very exciting to be welcomed and received so warmly by the community.

            A few years ago I interviewed a student for a scholarship who told us she could not pick a favorite genre or character because she was only through the “H” section of her school library. She was much more methodical than I but our end result is similar. I see myself visiting libraries for the rest of my life.




Library Story

A Library Story: Library, Home Schooling, Self-Publishing

Rebecca Nyberg, Homeschool Mom

      I began using the children’s library on a weekly basis when my oldest children were three and five years old. All of my children became avid readers, and most of them were reading by age five. My local library made homeschooling my five children much easier because I was able to find a multitude of books to interest all of them. Once a child loves books, all of education opens up to them and they are able to learn rapidly. I am thankful to my library for providing these books for us, and for ordering books that I could not afford to purchase myself.

Several of my children love to write, and as part of our homeschool curriculum they write their own stories. Steven has a strong desire to publish his work. He completed a rough draft of a comic book. My local librarian, Jennifer, offered to help us self-publish it. She took an interest in Stephen’s book Chet Chetterson’s Adventures, and her enthusiasm propelled us toward completing our immense project of rewriting and self-publishing a book. She brought books into the library on how to draw comics, as well as current examples of comic book stories. Once we had created the comic book, Jennifer helped to organize a book-signing event and publicity in the newspaper. I am amazed and thankful for all her help. This experience has helped my son go deeper into the creative process and gain a new appreciation for his education as a means to get where he is going in life.


Library Story

A Library Story: Respect for Elders

Respect for Elders, a class at the library led by Rebecca Nyberg

Audio Recording of Rebecca’s Story

Rebecca’s Lesson Plan

I am an only child raised with a healthy respect and awe for my elders.

My story begins about ten years ago when my husband’s parents needed help.

First staying with them when they were hospitalized, rides to appointments.

Calling the ambulance when Art fell, walking through mourning with Eva. Now Eva living with us, failing due to diet/poor decisions. Recovered, but dementia so lost independence : car, apartment, control over personal decisions, medications.  Hard decisions show love.

Care: I help her recover her health (exercise, nutrition/vitamins, hydration) and reintroduce her life: music (key for dementia), cross-stich, Bible reading and Church.

 Leaving the house can be stressful, incontinence, or healthful stimulation. In home care can be stressful because personal things are invaded by a professional stranger. You can learn to bathe, supervise Rx, evaluate health, provide physical and mental stimulation

Purpose: I am seeking with her, trying to find her purpose, meaningful life, interesting activities (what they have always done), and be her friend. I give her my time listen, visit.

I earn the right to be heard. I make few demands without time spent before hand.

 Comfort security, hold hand in strange place & stairs, eyes adjust sun-dark building.

 Compassion: I try to answer her questions and anticipate unasked questions

 I sometimes use “therapeutic fibbing”  Credit Shar Elhard nurse, memory care, Edgewood. Make them feel needed, remember we do because we love.

Interview was basis for this talk, thanks Shar. After interview I reflected on her wisdom and listened to Eva talk, understanding dawned.

 Respect: I give her respect while I check her independence.

 Not a child, stupid, dementia is memory, and hearing loss is function.

Loss of private decisions will eventually be complete. Hard to convince them of your respect.

 Father in law said “I am no good because I can’t work” Fiddle repairs, pride & busy

Eva “I am just in the way” means nothing to do, bored, meaning, purpose. 

 Loving your elderly parent can be a delightful experience.  You will have your family history memorized!

 I know this works, because I saw myself fail. 

 Got legitimately busy with my children’s needs, high school graduation, CAP, Library activities, spring farm work.

 Meals consistent, provided things for her to do alone, checked Rx, but I no longer sat with her in the afternoons and chatted, looked at the clouds, talked about the past and future, answered heart-questions, assured her of my love and support, so our relationship suffered, she got angry when I invaded her privacy and took authority. 

 Anger – tough, why are they angry???  Hurts!

Fear of loosing freedom (memory, motor function) so lie to protect self,

 Fear of being a victim, lack of strength, agility, can’t see threats coming

 Paranoia – fear of strangers, lack of understanding of new situations, memory loss causes panic


Fear results in isolation to protect self, anger progresses in isolation

 Family in denial, don’t want to admit parent growing old, refuse to accept concern from others. 

Be on the lookout, drive behind parent, ask friends/family/landlord/Dr for observations.  Read Dr reports, go to appointments.

 Your elderly parents might not be able to tell you what they need

         Purpose, a meaningful life

         Answers, what they need to hear

         Care, with love and respect

         Companionship, enjoying what they have always done

         Compassion, take time to listen

 They raised you, now you keep them from falling.




Library Story

A Library Story: Library and Family Care

    Library and Family Care

      There comes a time when all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can never fix Humpty  Dumpty again. My brother Donald, at the age of 77, had come to that point after a number of medical diagnoses had chipped away at his robust health.  The final diagnosis was male breast cancer. He gave up his beloved Volvo, his apartment and his independence and moved into a nursing home in Normal, Illinois. Soon he was too frail for more surgeries. Powerful prescriptions had lost the power to heal him. Donald was face to face with a point of no return. I brought him to Jamestown. It was now time for me to help him prepare his last life and death decisions. We had not grown up together. We were a family of five children born during and shortly after the depression, growing up separately in foster care and in children’s homes.                                                                                                                                                            In these last years he was no longer my mentor. I was his mentor and I was his friend. Most of all, I was his sister. In October, 2015 the Friends of the James River Library System kicked off a series of programs aimed at helping the public understand how to prepare for the final days of life. I attended each of these programs and at the end of each session felt more prepared to help my brother and myself.                                                                                                                                     During the second session led by Mike Williams, owner and funeral director at Williams-Lisko Funeral Home, I learned that the University of North Dakota Medical School had a deeded body program where my brother could donate his body after death to the study of medical students. This had been Donald’s long time wish even in his young and healthy days. Donald passed on June 11, 2016.  Thanks to the James River Valley Library System I had in short order learned to navigate the paths to making final preparations. I can now take comfort in knowing he was able to complete a final wish and I have gained knowledge in making my own preparations.

Laura Miller



Library Story

A Library Story: The Library, Just Walk in the Door

My first memory of books was being read to by both my mother and grandmother. What a wonderful way to be able to bond with a child, the stories took us wherever we wanted to go.

Later, as I was able to read on my own the best place to go was the library. It was two train cars put together to give the City of Forman, North Dakota their first library. What a wonderful place to spend a cold afternoon, looking at picture books and learning about the world.

My love of books is what made me become a teacher. If you can read you can do anything, and having a library close by is a great way to get books in the hands of children.  Teaching in a county school 30 miles from Jamestown was made easier with the help of the Bookmobile. The Bookmobile and its staff brought us anything in the reading area that we asked for and much more. County schools don’t always have the money for a large selection of books and the Bookmobile made it possible for our students to have whatever they needed.

People who haven’t been to the library or used the Bookmobile are missing a great opportunity. They have computers for our use, amazing programs for children and adults, and help from an amazing staff. You just have to walk in the door.

Charlotte Freeberg, Teacher