Library Story

A Library Story: Community Quality

Dr. Jo-Ida C. Hansen

Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Like many people, I am sure, who grew up in Jamestown, I have fond memories of the Alfred Dickey Free Public Library.  My parents, Gordon H. & Charlotte H. Hansen, who owned the Jamestown Sun were seriously avid readers.  I have no doubt that they made sure I had a library card at a very young age.  I do remember trips, as a kid, to the library to pick out a stack of books to borrow.  I think a limit was imposed on how many volumes each library card holder could take home – and I always had an armful that maxed out the allotted number.  The due date was in 14 days, and I rarely had to ask for a renewal.

When high school rolled around, we had papers to write and the library became a mix of scholarly research and youthful socialization (conducted in whispered tones).  Those were the good old days when the high school was in the center of town and a short walk from the library.  For those of us who loved having such easy access to so many books, the memory of the musty smell of old book pages often invokes positive recollections.

I live in Minneapolis-St Paul now, but I frequent Alfred Dickey a couple of times a year, when visiting Jamestown, to use the free Wi-Fi service.  I still feel obliged to speak in low tones even though the culture clearly has changed.  People are meeting to play chess, others are engaged in another favorite activity of mine – working on a puzzle.  Children are arriving with their “trailing adults” to engage in various activities.

The quality of a community – the livability index – is judged on many dimensions – quality of schools and health care, affordable housing, income, vibrancy of the downtown and retail, employment, manufacturing, recreational facilities, engagement in the arts, and so on.  The availability of an historic library that strives to embrace the latest technology and to open doors of learning to the entire community (and surrounding area) is another important indicator of the livability of Jamestown.

As one whose formative years benefited greatly from the Alfred Dickey Library, I am pleased to be able to support the Centennial Initiative and reassured to know that the community of Jamestown continues to support the library.


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: Library and Dumpsters

Jim Nyland is a teacher, counselor, tech coordinator, high school assistant principle and a JRVLS board member.

It started with a dumpster.  Well, actually, it started in a dumpster, but more on that in a minute.

My start in the world of literature was not an encouraging one.  I grew up in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. I don’t recall a single book ever entering our home, with the exception of the children’s books smuggled in by Dot, a wonderful Southern woman who, with her boyfriend, rented a room upstairs at our home.  Dot secured cheaper rent by agreeing to babysit us while my parents worked and she loved to read to us aloud before tucking us in to bed.  To this day, I cannot think of Pinocchio without “hearing” it recited in my head in a gentle Georgia drawl.

While I enjoyed the library at Northrup Elementary School, there was nothing in my upbringing or back ground that would lead one to believe I would grow up to be anything other than apathetic to reading. Which brings us back to the dumpster.

I grew up terribly bored and often explored on my Schwinn banana seat bike, frantically searching for something to break the monotony.   I was a regular male child with lots of time on my hands and a limited sense of appropriate behavior or hygiene, I was attracted to the only thing that seemed even half interesting – garbage, and not just any garbage, business garbage.  The stuff stores threw out.

My future life as a flea market and yard sale picker was forged digging through the trash at all of the downtown businesses.  My room was filled with half reams of unused carbon paper, miscellaneous office supplies, and bizarre combinations of shelving, all acquired through dumpster diving.  If you came across me, feet waving in the air, half submerged, you knew I had found something really good.  Each trip I would expand my range, a dumpster at a time, until I was hitting nearly all of them.  And then, one day, I opened the lid for the first time on the dumpster behind Ekren Drug.  And my life changed.

I still have dreams about it as a grown man.  The lid slams noisily back, and there, covering the bottom of the dumpster, are boxes and boxes of books and magazines.   Ekren Drug was the closest thing to a book store in my hometown.  It had an entire wall tucked in the back covered with book shelves and every month, the proprietor would, basically, weed, pulling books and magazines that had not sold, ripping off the covers, tossing neatly packed boxes of them into their dumpster.

All free.  All for me.

The sight of them made my heart jump. I took as many as I could carry home.

I began to read.

It was a mixed bag of car and hunting magazines, dime store detective novels, racy romances, and pulp sci-fi, and I gobbled it all up.  I was intellectually ravenous. Then month after month I went back for more, and I continued to go back until, for reasons I never understood, the books simply stopped appearing.  My stash had run dry.  So I was left with a dilemma – finding this supply of books opened up my mind and made my love of reading blossom, but now my source of reading material was gone.  What to do?

Which brings me to the Pennington County Library.

I had always been well aware of the Pennington County Library.  Up until that point, I just never had had a reason to go there.  It was just a large, one story building with a decidedly 70’s look to it that I passed as I perused nearby dumpsters.   So one day, sometime after my book supply had run out and while I was feeling particularly mentally starved, I went in, and was instantly overwhelmed.  Stacks and stacks of books.  Thousands of them.  It was almost intimidating.  Just the smell made my head swirl just a bit.

I was in awe.  Over the rest of my life in Thief River Falls, the Pennington County Library was practically my second home.  I would stay there until closing, reading, and often simply walking the aisles, taking it all in.  I went on to become a librarian largely because of that place and although my path was a little unorthodox, it did teach me something about literature and the discovery of the love of reading.  How you were raised and what you read early on is nowhere near as important as getting literature into people’s hands and letting them find their love for reading.  I try very hard to follow that today as an elementary librarian, and I continue to believe the lifetime love of reading can start anywhere.

Even in a dumpster.

Adult Programming

Advance Directive Planning

Friends of the  James River Valley Library System held the first in a series of programs on planning for end of life on October 8th. The initial class was taught by Tracy Johnk from Jamestown Regional Medical Center and Gary Riffe, retired administrator from Hi-Acres, now Eventide. They brought a wealth of knowledge on how to prepare for the final days of life. They offered advice on the important discussions that need to take place for treatment and end of life wishes, the importance of a Long Term Care Policy, living wills and appointment of an agent.

Thanks to Tracy and Gary! And thanks to library staff for set up assistance. More classes to come. Watch for “How to E-Mail” in November, presented by computer guru Justin Batz.

Instructors Gary Riffe and Tracy Johnk with the class.


The New Library and Taxes

Jamestown Public School 1% Sales Tax to End December, 2014. 

One of the most frequently asked questions about the new library is whether it will raise property taxes. The answer is no. The new library will be paid for through a 1/4% county wide sales tax.

Today’s Jamestown Sun article announces the end of the 1% school sales tax and 21 mill property tax. This sales tax and property tax levy, have paid for the $25,000,000 in debt used to construct the new high school and remodel of the middle school.

The result of the school property tax being retired is a reduction of approximately $95 in property taxes for a $100,000 home in the school district according to the Sun article. The retirement of the sales tax will result in a saving of approximately $135 to the average family according to the state tax office.

The new library will add $33.75 a year in sales tax to the average county family.  This will pay for the estimated $9,000,000 renovation of Alfred Dickey and construction of the addition.

In 2015 the average Stutsman County family will see a net tax reduction.

School Sales Tax To End Ahead of Schedule