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: 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

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.


Joe Rector, library director, (on the right) and Bill Kennedy, (on the left) development director and writer of this post, were talking about how to communicate the library plan. I asked him why he became a teacher and eventually a library director. He sat back in his chair and looked around his neat but very crowded office, full of books that no longer fit on the library floor.

“I wasn’t a good reader. My 1st grade teacher sent me to 2nd grade with deep reservations. I remember going to the school library and seeing a book called Black Hawk, Young Sauk Warrior, by Cathrine Cleven, one of the Childhood of Famous Americans Series,a 3rd or 4th grade level book.

Clevin Black Hawk 001

I took it home and read it that night. I just made up my mind I was going to read it, sounded out the words. Finished it. I read most of the books in that series. At the beginning of the year, I was a non-reader. By the end of the year, I was at the top of my class in reading.” Joe’s final words were, with a big smile on his face, “A real tribute to the library.” Joe grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he read most of the baseball books in the juvenile section of Willard Public Library.

I sat back in my chair with a bigger smile. “This is weird. My mom took me to the downtown library in Peoria, Illinois. The kids’ books were arranged by shelf, 1st grade on the bottom, up to 8th grade on the top shelf. I was in third grade and took a book out. Mom smiled. It was from the 4th grade shelf, the one I could reach. I took it home and read it that night. From then on, we went to the library every week. She took out 3-4 books; I took out the limit, 8.”

“Ok, what was the book?” Joe asked.

Chief Black Hawk, by Frank L. Beals, one of the American Adventure Series.”

Beals Black Hawk

We high-fived, knuckle-bumped and smiled.  Co-incidence? Yes.

Important? Yes.

It illustrates how one library, one book, or two, can make a difference.

Bill Kennedy

Library Story

A Library Story: One Book, or Two, Makes a Difference

Adult Programming


Dan Buchanan 16x9



6:00 pm TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2016

What species come to Jamestown in the spring? How long will they stay? Is that a crow or a starling on the top my garage? How can I attract birds? What tools do I need? field guides, binoculars, spotting scopes. What plantings attract birds?  Dan will answer these questions and he will have lists from the Birding Drives Dakota website, Christmas bird counts, URLs for other sites to learn about birds, including the ND listserv. He will  have magazines that offer help to attract birds, such as Birds & Blooms.

Over the years Dan has mastered the art and science of birdwatching by watching out his kitchen window and travelling around the country looking for as many species as he can to put in his bird diary.

The library has author Jan Dunlap’s series The Bob White Birder Murder Mystery Series that feature that famous bird detective, Bob White.

Dan’s class will be held in the lower level conference room at Alfred Dickey Library, 105 3rd St. SE, Jamestown, ND, 58401

Register Here for Birding Class

Adult Programming, Libraries, Library




6:00 pm TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2015

Mike Williams Photo

Michael R. Williams will speak on pre-planning funeral options, cremation, body donation, and deaths occurring out-of-state.  He will also discuss legal right to disposition and where ashes may or may not be interred.   He will also share his experiences of funeral celebrations and changing attitudes toward the traditional funeral rite.  Mike is a local funeral director and owner of Williams-Lisko Funeral Chapel of Jamestown and Edgeley.

Adult Program classes are held in the lower level Alfred Dickey Library conference room.

REGISTER HERE:!sign-up/nodfz

Adult Programming, Library

Read Local at the University of Jamestown, October 20, 2015



The University of Jamestown hosted a Read Local event in the Sheldon-Unruh lobby at the University of Jamestown on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:00 pm.  Read Local authors Bruce Berg, Keith Norman, Bill Kennedy, Laurel Woiwode, and Nancy Kuykendall were joined by UJ professors Larry Woiwode and Glauco Ortolano and read from published work and work in progress. The readings ranged from poetry, memoirs, local history and adult novels.

Read Local is an initiative that focus’s attention on local authors, books, literacy  in the community, and reinforces the importance of learning among all age groups.

Thanks to the English Deprtment Chair, David Godfrey, Dr. Badal’s assistant, Erin Klein and the rest of the UJ staff that helped make the evening rewarding to the authors and the fans of literature and learning that attended.

More readings will be scheduled in the spring.

Glauco Ortolano reads from his collection of poems.   L-R Larry Woiwode, Laurel Woiwode Pfau, Glauco, Keith Norman, Nancy Kuykendall, Bill Kennedy, out of the photo to Bill’s left is Bruce Berg.

Author Table. Larry Woiwode, Laurel Woiwode Pfau, Glauco Ortolano, Keith Norman, Nancy Kuykendall, Bill Kennedy. Bruce Berg cut off.

Audience 10.20.15

Libraries, Library, Summer Adult Programs

Summer Adult Programming

New Adult Programming starts in earnest next week.  Go to the Friends Of The James River Library web site to register for a class.  Registration

Dina Laskowski teaches Memoir Writing, A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Worlds

Dina Laskowski teaches Memoir Writing, A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Worlds


Rob Keller Talks About Balance Between Digital and Traditional Marketing

Broadcast Image

Kyle Dean talks about Careers in Broadcast.

Libraries, Library

Tourism’s Summer Jamestown Calendar

For a quick look at all the great activities scheduled for the Library, and in Jamestown, this summer, take a look at Tourism’s Jamestown Calendar

 Adult programs to learn something new and great kids programs to  to keep them reading all summer.                       

Dina Laskowski teaches Memoir Writing, A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Worlds

Dina Laskowski teaches Memoir Writing, A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Worlds

Aaron & Ryon Love Reading In The Summer

Aaron & Ryon Love to Read During  The Summer