5 Stars for New Mystery Series Joining our Collection

Crossing the Line is the second in the series, “A Paris Homicide Mystery.” I liked it so much I immediately bought the first book, The 7th Woman, and am now hooked, eager for #3, The City of Blood, due out in January 2015. I’ve ordered all three books for our library and am sure our mystery readers will want more of Molay’s work.

Anne Trager does a marvelous job translating from the French, and Molay is a master of his craft. It’s no wonder that The 7th Woman won France’s “Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year” award and is an international best seller.

Chief of Police Nico Sirsky is a wonderfully sympathetic hero who cares about the people he supervises, the victims of the crimes he investigates, his teenage son, his ex-wife, and the new woman in his life. The other characters also feel multi-faceted and interesting, and we care about their relationships and the problems they face, personally and professionally.

Molay’s suspenseful plots take us out into Paris and behind the scenes with the French police, where the details of police procedure and the coroner’s office are both similar to and very different from those we read about in the U.S. or England. The combination of complex characters, intriguing details, good plotting, and suspense make Molay’s series a sure-fire winner.

5 Stars for George Hagen’s “Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle”


George Hagen’s Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle (Random House Children’s Books, 2014) is a MUST HAVE for public libraries. Some reviewers compare it to the Harry Potter books, and It IS one of those rare books kids and teens will enjoy reading on their own and adults will enjoy reading to their younger children or for themselves – it’s that well written.

But this fantasy for young readers isn’t another story about magicians. It’s a quest, with an 11-year-old hero, Gabriel, the clever raven Palladin, and Gabriel’s friends Abby, Somes, and Pamela using their wits and risking their lives to rescue Gabriel’s father and perhaps the entire world from the power-mad villain, Corax. I’m buying it for our library because I know our young patrons and their parents will love the kids, the story, and the way Hagen weaves in themes about courage, hope, greed, generosity, and friendship in this delightful adventure.

Good Reads at the Library … and GREAT internet tools!

The NLC helps librarians learn new internet skills through its Nebraska Learns 2.0 program at http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/nelearns/.

July’s lesson introduced us to Mozilla’s excellent new Webmaker tools for learning more about how to use the internet — safely and creatively. That’s how I learned to create short videos with music and added text and so on — click on this link to see the video about good reads at our library:


I highly recommend Mozilla’s new tools. To find out about them, go to https://webmaker.org/tools and also check out https://webmaker.org/en-US/resources . These are GREAT learning tools for kids, teens, and adults.

Libri Books On Display through the summer

The Libri books are still on display — but, happily, kids are checking the books out, so the display is never complete these days. Click the link below to see photos of the books on display.


The Libri books include books for all ages, from preschool through teens, on a variety of subjects, both fiction and nonfiction. We’re very pleased to have them, thanks to the Libri Foundation’s Children’s Book Grant.


July 2 Discovery: Story, Scavenger Hunt, Towers, Play, Prizes, and ICE CREAM

42 kids, 9 Teen Volunteers, and 4 Adult Volunteers attended the final Special Wednesday Program for this year’s Summer Reading — and everyone had a great time.

First Maria read the story about Albert Einstein, On a Beam of Light. Then groups of kids followed their group map around the Village center, hunting for things on their scavenger hunt list. Their final stop was the Caboose Playground Park, where they found the last items on their list and then enjoyed free play, tower building, and all the ice cream they could eat. Then it was back to the library for their bag of final prizes. Click the link below to see the photos.



Summer Reading Scavenger Hunt and Party Tomorrow July 2 at 1 p.m.

Tomorrow is our final Summer Reading Special Wednesday Program, “The Fun of Discovery.” The scavenger hunt will start at the Senior Center, wind around the center of the village, and end in the Union Pacific Caboose Park. There we’ll have games, tower-building, and free play, plus an ice cream treat, and kids and teen volunteers will get their final prize bags.

Summer Reading Fun June 18 and 25

52 kids, 8 Teen Volunteers, and 4 Adult Volunteers attended the June 18 Wednesday program on light. ELS Director Gail Formanack was our special guest. Everyone especially enjoyed listening to her read two books, one about the eye and the other about a girl who needed glasses.

UNL’s Jan Hygnstrom and Erin Bauer presented a program on pollinators on Wednesday June 25. They began with a short videoand discussion of the insects and bats that are pollinators and how pollination occurs. Then they led the kids on survey of pollinators in the Valparaiso park, checking out the differences in grassy areas, treed areas, and flower beds. 41 kids, 8 Teen Volunteers, and 4  Adult Volunteers attended.

Click here to view photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/58314572@N02/sets/72157645640238145/


Libri Grant Open House Week at the Valparaiso Public Library

Everyone is invited to The Libri Grant Open House Week at the Valparaiso Public Library, Saturday June 21 through Saturday June 28. Mark the dates on your calendar and bring the whole family in for a visit.

Libri Grant Open House Week celebrates the 80 new children’s and young readers’ books now available for checkout, thanks to The Libri Foundation’s “BOOKS FOR CHILDREN” Grant award to the library this spring. Of the total $1402.93 value, the Valparaiso Woman’s Club contributed $350. Bill Strawbridge and Meg Wallhagen contributed another $350, specifically for children’s books on math and science. Our thanks to these organizations and individuals for their generous support.

You’ll find the books on display near the librarian’s desk. They are high quality books, in every sense. They’ve received glowing reviews and have won such prestigious awards as the Children’s Choice Book Award, the Newbery Medal, and the Caldecott Medal. The books span a variety of fiction and non-fiction topics and genres and are fairly evenly divided in terms of reading levels, from preschool through junior high. We look forward to lending them to our young readers — and to their parents to read with them.

Library summer hours are Tuesdays 3:00 to 8:00 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays 1:00 to 8:00 p.m., and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. till noon. Library accounts are free. Books, DVDs, and audio books are available for checkout. We have patron computers available for adults and children over age 6, and we recently added computer tablets for children under age 6 to use while in the library.

MOVIE at the Library this Saturday morning June 21

Back by popular demand: MOVIE TIME at the library this Saturday morning, 10 a.m., June 21.

SPREAD THE WORD!!  Kids, Teens, and Parents welcome. Kids under age 6 should come with a parent or older sibling.

We’ll have popcorn and lemonade and a lot of fun. The kids at Summer Reading this week will pick the movie (or movies) we’ll watch. Possibilities are:

  • Monsters University
  • Frozen
  • The Nut Job
  • The Croods

Summer Reading is off to a GREAT start!

Sixty-eight kids and 13 Teen Leaders have signed up for Summer Reading this year. In addition, a half dozen adult volunteers are helping out – and our wonderful new intern, Sara Martin, is doing a wonderful job with the preschoolers.

We all meet on Wednesday afternoons at 1:00 at the Senior Center. The preschoolers go with Sara and their teen and adult volunteers to the Library for their special program. The rest of us stay at the Senior Center for our activities, and groups of kids take turns going to the library with their Teen Leaders to check books in and out.

On May 28, 47 kids, 12 teens, and 3 adult volunteers participated. The gradeshoolers’ program science theme was Simple Machines – the incline, wedge, screw, wheel and axel, pulley, and lever. The kids especially enjoyed learning from Greg Bouc and Dean Cadwallader, who demonstrated and let kids try their hands with the real thing. Greg even had one lever so strong it could lift a bobcat. Kids also enjoyed experimenting with paddle wheel boats, and so did the preschoolers, who had been busy with Sink and Float. (Click here for photos)

On June 4, there were 56 kids, 12 teens, and 5 adults for the program on Flight. Two special guests led the program. Sally Gaines McKee, from the Nature Center at Lincoln’s Pioneer Park, brought a variety of exhibits – bird skulls, wing bones (like mammalian scapula), wings, feathers – and everyone’s favorite, a live screech owl which lives at the Nature Center because it is a rescue which cannot be released back into the wild. After the owl’s appearance, the preschoolers adjourned to the library to learn about color.

Adam Sutton, Environmental Education Assistant from the Lower Platte South NRD, Adam gave each of the gradeschoolers a peacock feather, packets of wildflower seed tapes, and temporary tattoos, and kept them interested with questions and answers about flight. This is the third year Adam has developed a Summer Reading special program for us and we sincerely appreciate his help. (Click here for photos)

On June 11, we had 42 kids, 10 teens, and 4 adults (quite a few kids were at Vacation Bible School that day). Preschoolers investigated the 5 senses, while the gradeschoolers’ program was on Sound. They learned about sound waves, vibration, frequency, pitch, and how the ear works, and they experimented with sounds from squeaking balloons, bottles filled with different amounts of water, and water whistles. They also made “phones” out of sets of tin cans and sets of paper cups and compared how well each type worked (the paper cups worked best). (Click here for photos)