Sep 042015

The Library would like to extend a big Thank You to everyone who donated money for the purchase of new children’s books for the Broadwater Public Library, as well as the Starr Diner and the Broadwater Country store which helped by putting these jars on their counters. Over $230 was raised for this purpose, and purchase a total of 54 books!

One of these books is a brand new copy of a 2015 release of a Dr. Seuss book that was recently found by its publisher, What Pet Should I Get? Dr. Seuss’ books are best enjoyed when read aloud, so we are having a storytime to read this book on Friday, September 4th at 4:30 p.m. Children, their parents, and anyone who remembers how they enjoyed Dr. Seuss as children is welcome to attend.

We have many other children books, for all age groups from toddlers through teens.

By request of the children, we have gotten 7 new arithmetic books. The children found that materials designed to teach basic math skills were deficient in the Library’s collection.

Aug 312015

A storytime for everyone will be held on Friday, September 4th at 4:30 p.m. It will start after the school buses from both Bridgeport and Leyton arrive in Broadwater.


The Broadwater Public Library has gotten a new book by Dr. Seuss, just published in 2015, available for the first time. Dr. Seuss has been a beloved author of children’s books read by generations of children. This is one that you haven’t seen before.

We will be holding a storytime for children of all ages and their parents.


Aug 042015

Barbed Wire: The Fence that Changed the West by Joanne S. Liu

ISBN 978-0-87842-557-0

Copyright 2009 Mountain Press Publishing Company

This is a history book of just how it was that a simple product made of steel managed to change history in a twist of the wire, over a period of decades.

In times preceding the advent of barbed wire, farmers in the eastern part of the country made fences of stone and of wood to mark the boundaries of their fields, as well as keep livestock, wild animals, and other people off of their fields, to protect their growing produce from damage, theft, and loss.

When the westward expansion began in the 1840s, increased in the 1850s with the 1851“Go West, Young Man” saying attributed to John L. Soule, combined with Manifest Destiny, it became impractical to farm land which could be homesteaded. One could not keep his own, nor his neighbors’ cattle or wild horses out of his oats, hay, corn, or vegetables. Hence, many homesteads which began with high hopes and expectations were abandoned after a few years when they could not make a living on their land.

There were large cattlemen, who for the most part ran their branded cattle on wild grasses, according to season and water availability, between Texas and Saskatchewan, New Mexico to Manitoba, Missouri to Alberta. The cowboys of the old west branded their livestock, and kept watch on the herds as they roamed the plains. The Native Americans too, used these wide-open spaces to hunt wild game, and follow their game wherever the herds went. The cattlemen, cowboys, and Natives were in competition. However, large-scale wars seldom broke out between these groups.

Westward settlement became even more popular in the aftermath of the US Civil War, ending in 1865. With nothing left of their homes and farms, many took advantage of the Homestead Act, and sought to make new lives in the west. Open range was the rule of the land, and “fence out” was the rule, as opposed to the eastern “herd law” and “fence in” rule. That is a matter of variation in State Laws regarding agriculture and livestock to this day.

However, when the settlers – farmers – came along, it all changed. Some of the early farmers, especially those who could afford it, had fencing materials shipped in from the east on the railroad. The less affluent tried digging trenches around their fields. Either way, this was a very expensive proposition. The book says that an 1940 publication claimed it took $1.70 worth of fencing to prevent the loss of $2.40 worth of crops. It cost $640 to put a fence around a 160 acre parcel of land. They needed a cheaper. effective form of fences to put up in the Great Plains, where there are too few trees to make wooden fences, and where rocks and stones are not nearly as plentiful as they are in the east near the Appalachian or Ozark Mountains. It also did not go over well with the cattlemen, cowboys, or Natives. Organized parties would take down or punch holes in the fences or fill in the trenches. They did not take kindly to this. Hence, many skirmishes broke out among cattlemen, farmers, cowboys, and natives.

The aftermath of the Civil War left the western cattlemen in turmoil too. As many of the cowboys left the ranches to join the war – on either side, the cattle were untended. After the war, herds roamed everywhere, many of which were unbranded. This led to people trying to get those unbranded – hence unclaimed – cattle for themselves. This was considered cattle rustling, as many of the cattlemen – large and small, claimed the cattle were theirs.

Smooth-wire fencing has been available since the 1830s. However, it lacked effectiveness. In the late 1860s and early 1870s, several people and corporations developed twisted wire, usually with barbs of their own types. They each patented their own “twist of the wire”, but patent law was not as good as it is now. The legal battles over barbed wire patents had the effect of making patent law more effective, and the operation of the patent office being effective at protecting patents. This enhanced protection of intellectual property – including inventions, processes, and operations, greatly helped the industrial revolution and the manufacture of better and better things to enhance all of our lives.

Of course, violations of patent or “pirate” imitations of the patented item are not a new phenomenon. During the late 1870s-1890s, “moonshine wire” was manufactured and sold in great quantities, and the buyers of such counterfeit products were liable as well. Hence, all sellers of barbed wire came under suspicion by the farmers and ranchers in the west. This led to what was called the “Free Wire Movement”, countered by those interested in defending their patents.

Nonetheless, putting up barbed wire angered both the cattlemen and the Natives. It also led to the deaths of millions of cattle during harsh winters. It has to do with the way that cattle put their back to the wind or incoming blizzard, and slowly move away from it – usually they would drift south. When the cattle would encounter a fence, they could no longer move, and died along the fence. This became a horrible crisis during the brutal winter of 1885. Later, it was discovered that building drift fences shelters in areas where the cattle would congregate during blizzards would save their lives. I’d always wondered why there were shelters on the same corner of pastures, mile after mile – but which corner varies among wide areas. This is my answer to that puzzle.

Cattlemen, cowboys, and Natives were even more displeased with this more effective fencing – which they called “the devil’s rope”. Fence cutting became more common, but the farmers did not just take it lying down. They’d put up new fence, certainly, especially with this new barbed wire being much less expensive than other fencing, but also used patrols to guard their fences.

Also during the 1880s, as prime farmland homesteads became more difficult to get, people would just lay claims to land. Certainly, many of these fences were cut by the cattlemen and natives. Fence cutting had become a felony while putting up an illegal fence was a misdemeanor. Gone unchallenged, after a period of years, the land enclosed by the illegal fence would become legally the property of the person so laying the claim. This is the legal philosophy of adverse possession. False claims – of someone using a fictitious name to gain a parcel of land, or a cattleman having everyone in his employ file a claim to a homestead under the agreement that the homestead would be turned over to the cattleman, were very common. To allow the title of the land to be salable, adverse possession laws had to be used here too.

So many cattle died in the winter of 1885, and demand for meat was so high, and the price went up after the death of an estimated 200,000 cattle, that there was a movement to get rid of barbed wire in the late 1880s. However, farmers resisted this. The problems with the cattle deaths were abated, the price of barbed wire, and the designs improved, and the demand returned higher than ever.

This was also the cause of the decline, and the demise of the cattle trails, once predominant in the Old West. Instead, cattlemen fenced in their huge, large, and modest spreads. To ensure enough food, they began farming grain and hay as cattle feed, or paying neighboring farmers to raise their cattle feed in fenced fields. The cattle faired better in these confined spaces, where they could be better protected from hazards of the wild. Shipping the cattle to market by railroad to large slaughterhouses in Kansas City, Chicago, and other areas was faster, cheaper, and safer than having a long cattle drive to get them to market.

As cattlemen too, adopted the practice of fencing in and claiming their land – marking the demise of the Open Range philosophy throughout the west, the Natives found their traditional ways of life following herds of buffalo and other animals destroyed. Instead, they found themselves signing treaties assigning them parcels of reservation land. The Cherokee Outlet – now the panhandle of Oklahoma, had a lot of cattle driven over it to rail heads. They began charging tolls for cattle to cross their land.

Hence, it was barbed wire that played a big part in turning the United States from a small area of populated territory with wide-expanses of land with only a few Native Americans on it into being fully claimed, populated. This change brought its new set of problems, which are not yet settled.

May 222015

The Library has purchased, and generous donors within the community, anonymously, and from outside the community have given us a number of new items. I would like to thank all of the donors, but I cannot list them all here.

We have over 80 new movies, mainly on DVD but a couple of new-to-the-library movies on VHS.

We have a number of new children’s books, which we got from the Nebraska Library Commission and some which the Library purchased. Some of these are for the children’s summer reading program, and feature super heroes.

We have a number of new books for adults! A local donor has donated the library a number of Christian books. Another local donor has given the library a number of mysteries and westerns! Included are a number of books by William Johnstone, several by Louis L’Amour which the Library did not have in its collection, and a new printing of a classic by Zane Grey, which the Library did not have. We have new mysteries, including mysteries involving apple orchards, knitting mysteries.

We have several new inspirational mysteries, especially featuring Amish settings, by popular authors such as Wanda Brunstetter and Sarah Price.

The Library has several new non-fiction books, including about current events, such as Michael Moore’s Dude, Where’s My Country? and That Used to Be Us by Thomas Friedman in large type. A professional book reviewer has given us Mashi by Robert K. Fitts, about Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese Major League Baseball Player.

We were given a copy of The Hope We Seek by Rich Shapiro and the accompanying music CD, “Songs from the Big Wheel” by Rich Shapiro and Marissa Nadler. This is a brand-new book and CD.

Please come by and look around at these new items, and the thousands of items we already had in the collection.

Mar 312015

A group of interested Broadwater citizens are trying to raise funds for more children’s books through the Libri Foundation. Matching funds for this grant cannot come from Library funds: They must come from interested people, such as you. They offer a 2-for-one grant for children’s books. Look around town for donation jars for this cause.

The Library also received 8 new children’s books from the Western Library System when the librarian went to a free WLS seminar about children’s summer reading. Watch for more information about summer reading programs.

Oct 232014

I’m back from a vacation.

I brought back with me several books, including a new book Short Stories Galore by Daniel Hoyt Daniels, donated and autographed by the author. This book has a wealth of stories which will be used in adult storytimes this winter. The stories range from homey, to mysteries, to romance, to horror – and often have surprise endings which I could not anticipate until the last couple of paragraphs in the story!

The Broadwater Public Library was donated several books from the Ponca City, Oklahoma library. There are several books of library programs. We cannot wait to implement some of these programs for children, teens, adults, and all ages this winter.

A different sort of Halloween program is planned. I am looking for teens and adults to volunteer either to help in the Library with the program, to dress as zombies, and a member of the fire department or someone working in other emergency services to give a short talk about disaster preparedness.

(Shhhhh! Don’t tell the kids!) The Halloween program, involving reading a story adapted from Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Tales from the Crematory will be interrupted by the Zombie Apocalypse, including someone having a (fake, of course) injury from a zombie. The children, volunteers, and I will have to deal with this “Halloween Disaster” using the materials available in the Library – including the Internet, library catalog, telephone, periodicals, videos, books, including the CDC comic book Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic. In a short time, we will find out what sorts of supplies we should have on hand, where such supplies are kept, such as a first aid kit, how to keep ourselves safe, about getting help from the Broadwater Fire Department, to bring us food and drinks (e.g., cookies and punch), and can tell us a bit about getting further training from the Red Cross or other organizations. This information could come in handy in case of a more likely occurrence such as a blizzard, tornado, fire, flood, extended power outage, injury, or something happens before a Zombie Apocalypse.

An alternative program of reading Trixie the Halloween Fairy by Daisy Meadows and coloring will be offered for young children or anyone who becomes too scared of the Zombies.

Aug 312014

This book has been recently added to the Broadwater Public Library collection, upon request. I have read it, and have found it to be a delightful children’s book, that tells a fun story while showing their child-readers where their food comes from.

The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's KitchenThe Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen by Diana Prichard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun book that shows kids where there food comes from – milk comes from the cow, eggs come from chickens. I don’t know how well it would work to keep 3 chickens in the refrigerator though.

One thing I especially liked is that it showed a *father* cooking breakfast with and for his *son*. Mother was neither mentioned nor present. It is illustrative that men also parent their children, can provide meals, and cooking is not just for girls and women.

Aug 172014

The ALA Webinar ” New Adult Fiction – a new genre”, viewed by members of the Library Board and staff on August 5th was quite informative. We decided to include several new titles of New Adult fiction in our collection, and identified some items we already had as being in that genre.

What is “New Adult Fiction”, you might ask? These are books designed to be especially relevant to the lives of people 18-30, who have recently reached adulthood and face choices and situations which they did not have as teens. They have main characters between the ages of 18-25. All sub-genres are represented, including Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, and Western.

Yes, Western! On our shelves is a copy of The Last King of Texas by Rick Riordan. Rick Riordan mostly writes young adult fantasy novels featuring past civilizations, and has written this western novel as well for “New Adults”.

Other books currently in the library include Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz and Antiphony by Chris Katsaropoulos. and The Last Heir by Shannon McDermott. More will be arriving soon!


While New Adult Fiction is especially designed to be read by those between 18-30, they are enjoyed by younger teens as well as adults over 30.

Jun 012014

Broadwater Public Library now has its own T-shirts!


These 100% cotton t-shirts are now available for $10. They are available at the Broadwater Public Library. There is one on display at the Starr Street Diner.


Show your support while supporting and advertising the library. All profits will support the Broadwater Public Library.


Get yours in time for Broadwater Days, to raise awareness of the Library for out-of-town guests who will wish to use it to find things about Broadwater history, and the history of the area pioneers, their own family members, or of the Village itself.


Note: Purchase of these t-shirts was done by an individual, not by the Library Board or the official Friends of the Library organization.

Apr 082014

With the end-of-support for WindowsXP, we were left with a decision: To replace the computers so they would run Windows 7 or 8, purchase ongoing support for Windows. Upgrading the computers so they would run Windows 7 or 8 would be even more expensive than buying new ones. Continue running WindowsXP, knowing that vulnerabilities and exploits will be found in the operating system, which criminals can use to misuse our internet connection and patron information.

Another option was to go with a different, free, Open Source operating system, with support. We decided to try that first, as it is a free option. If it didn’t work, we could return to one of the more expensive options. We selected the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint, which is the easiest to use.

I put it on one computer for the uses that most patrons have for a computer – accessing the internet, along with some educational software, games, as well as compatible programs for word processors, spreadsheets, presentation software. I encouraged as many patrons as possible to try out the new software. People loved it and said that it worked as well – or sometimes commented that it was noticeably faster or worked better than WindowsXP. They said that the look and feel of the desktop and menus was different, but it was easy to use. A child who tried it no longer wanted to check out a movie, but rather play the educational games then go to the park. One of the more interesting “games” allows you to explore the known solar system! It’s not win-or-lose, but just interesting if you like astronomy.

I have Linux on all of the desktop computers used by patrons. The laptop, running Windows Vista is still supported under Vista by Microsoft, so there are no plans to change that at the present time.

Come in to look at this new operating system and try it, as well as the other games and software available.

If you really need to use Windows, that is available too. Vista is still runnning on the laptop, and we can still access all of WindowsXP on the desktop computers.