Stories from Siouxland Libraries



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"

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.'"