Happy Thanksgiving!

As a reminder, the library will be CLOSED on Thursday and Friday due to Thanksgiving.
This means that there will no After School program this week. I will see After School students again on Thursday, November 29th.

Fun Facts:
1. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle.
2. About 20% of all cranberries that are consumed in the U.S. per year are eaten on Thanksgiving.
3. The Macy’s Day Parade, when it started in 1924, had live animals from the Central Park Zoo instead of balloons! (Check out our children’s nonfiction book Balloons over Broadway for the story of how balloons were introduced to the parade!)

AfterSchool Halloween Spirit!

On Thursdays, Valley Public Library offers activities for all area elementary children (under age 8 with supervision), in partnership with Twin Rivers YMCA. Beginning right after school, the afternoon includes a snack, homework time, programs/activities and unstructured time for reading and play. Formal programming ends before 6 p.m.

Last week, we played pin the spider on the web, along with other carnival-like games, and we had the option to make a cute pumpkin craft.

This coming week, the Halloween spirit will continue with more games, including Wrap the Mummy (with toilet paper) and Feed the Ghost (a tossing game), as well as a mummy craft! Come and check it out!

Story Time, Oct. 20th: Leaf it to me!

Third Saturday Story Time is back! On this long weekend, bring your little ones to the library on Saturday, Oct. 20th at 10:30 for stories, songs, a craft, and a snack; just leaf it to me! We’ll explore more about leafs and this fall season in a fun and educational manner.

Other things to do at the library with kids: Coloring, games, puzzles, Legos, puppets, microscopes, yarn crafts, and books!
Make a day of it!

Q. Why can’t you trust an artist?

A. Because they are shady… and a little sketchy… and they’ll try to frame you!

We have a plethora of magazines in our baskets (that are free to take!), so I am going to challenge our after-school kiddos to finish the picture on Thursday:

I’ve cut out interesting pictures, and, in addition to our regular activities, the students will be challenged to draw the rest of the scene. We’ll see how sketchy they really are!

Thursday AfterSchool is offered in partnership with Twin Rivers YMCA and is open to all area elementary school children (under age 8 with supervision). Beginning right after school, the afternoon includes a snack, homework time, programs/activities and unstructured time for reading and play. Formal programming ends before 6 p.m.

September 6, 2018 Valley Public Library Board of Trustees Minutes

[draft minutes]

Call to Order:  President Cole Buffington called the September 6, 2018 Board Meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

Pledge of Allegiance:  The pledge of allegiance was recited.

Roll Call:  Trustees answering roll call:  Bernie Smith, Cole Buffington, Joan Swahn, Kyle Held, Teresa Mejstrik.  Library Director Garren Hochstetler was in attendance.

Proof of Posting / Open Meetings Act Poster:  The meeting was held in accordance with the Nebraska Open Meetings Law, with meeting notice posted in the post office, City Hall, and the library bulletin board.  Continuously updated copies of the agenda were maintained on the library’s bulletin board and the library’s website.  President Cole Buffington pointed out the Open Meetings Act poster on the wall of the meeting room.

Approval of Agenda:  Motion to approve by B. Smith, second by K. Held.  Yeas:  Smith, Swahn, Held, Buffington, Mejstrik.  Nays:  None.  Motion carried 5-0.  There were no consent agenda items which required approval.

Recognition of Visitors/Correspondence:  Gerri Nordell, Secretary of Friends of the Library was recognized.  Also in attendance were Jim Musson and Teresa Samson – Library Board candidates.

Public Comment:  President C. Buffington asked for public comment.  None was given.

Approval of Prior Meeting’s Minutes:  Motion to approve the minutes as presented was made by K. Held, second by T. Mejstrik.  Yeas:  Smith, Held, Buffington, Mejstrik and Swahn.  Nays:  None.  Motion carried 5-0.


Board President:  No official report.

Library Director:  G. Hochstetler handed out a written document of the Librarian’s Report which he went over verbally and answered questions from the Board.  He announced that budget had been approved by the City, including requests for additional funds for books and special programs.  A presentation was also made by Sydney Groh regarding the Summer Reading Program.  Both electronic documents are attached.

Friends of the Library:  Gerri Nordell read the minutes from the last Friends meeting.  An electronic copy is attached.

Foundation:  No representatives were present.

Old Business


New Business

Library Director, Garren Hochstetler had advised the Library Board in an email dated August 22, 2018 that he had accepted a position focused on youth services with a Lincoln Library.  His pending open position was then posted in various publications that presented four qualified candidates.  A hiring committee consisting of Bernie Smith, Teresa Mejstrik, and Garren Hochstetler conducted interviews and selected two of the best qualified.  The committee presented their findings to the Board and Teresa Mejstrik made the following motion: The committee will offer the Library Director position to Samantha “Sami” Voshell at an salary of $17.00 / hour (negotiable to $18.00).  Additionally, empower the committee to offer the position to the second candidate should the first candidate decline.  Motion was seconded by Kyle Held.  Yeas:  Smith, Held, Buffington, Mejstrik, and Swahn.  Nays:  None.  Motion carried 5-0.

Current policy requires parental permission each time a minor wants to check out a movie.   Librarian Garren asked for a revision to the policy that would allow parents a one-time permission approval much like the current computer policy.  The permission would be noted on the account, and would stay in place until the parent requested it be removed.  Kyle Held made the motion that the policy should be revised to allow guardians a one-time approval for minors to check out movies that could be modified at the parent’s request.  Teresa Mejstrik seconded the motion.  Yeas:  Smith, Held, Buffington, Mejstrik, and Swahn.  Nays:  None.  Motion carried 5-0.

Joan Swahn’s four year Board position is up the month of September and she is not requesting an extension of her term.  With that in mind, Director Garren had posted the opening.  Two candidates emerged and attended the meeting – Jim Musson and Teresa Samson.  Board Member Bernie Smith stated that she would be moving out of the city limits, and would also soon be submitting her resignation.  With two open positions, Teresa Mejstrik made the motion to nominate both candidates to the Board.  Cole Buffington seconded the motion.  Yeas:  Smith, Held, Buffington, Mejstrik, and Swahn.  Nays:  None.  Motion carried 5-0.  The City Council will be need to approve the nominations.  Joan and Bernie are to submit their official resignations.

Library Director Garren requested consideration by the Board to allow the Director permission to open the library for special events outside of regular open hours.  There are occasions when staying open later, or opening early would be beneficial, but currently requires Board approval.  Much discussion ensued with varying opinions.  Cole Buffington made the motion to Table the request for discussion with the new Director.  Kyle Held seconded the motion.  Yeas:  Smith, Held, Buffington, Mejstrik, and Swahn.  Nays:  None.  Motion carried 5-0.

Comments and Announcements by Board Members:

Cole commended Garren on the good job he did preparing the budget for the City Council.

Bernie Smith commented that Garren had been a joy to work with.  The Board agreed and joined in voicing their appreciation of his contributions.  He will be greatly missed.

Meeting Adjournment was announced by President Cole Buffington at 7:30 p.m.  Next meeting will be Thursday, November 8th at 6:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Joan Swahn, Secretary


Back in our school routine!

We are on our third week back to school, ladies and gentlemen! Time flies! THURSDAY AfterSchool is back in full swing. As a reminder, Thursday AfterSchool is offered in partnership with Twin Rivers YMCA and is open to all area elementary school children (under age 8 with supervision). Beginning right after school, the afternoon includes a snack, homework time, programs/activities and unstructured time for reading and play. Formal programming ends before 6 p.m. We have had fun exploring what the library has to offer these past couple of weeks, and I have received feedback from the students about what programs they would like to have again. One popular idea was making fortune tellers (cootie catchers), so we will be doing that tomorrow, September 10th.

Library Director Position Open

[Applications currently closed, due to receiving enough to probably find our new Director among them already. Thank you!]

Valley Public Library in Valley, Nebraska is taking applications for the position of Library Director.

This is a three quarter-time position (30-35 hours per week) with benefits. Our open hours are MWF 10a-5p, TR 3p-8p, and Sat 10a-2p. This position requires working 4-5 days per week, including applicable evenings and Saturdays, depending on scheduling details.

Starting wage between $12 and $18 depending on qualifications.

There are no strict educational or work experience requirements for this position, but these would all be positive factors:

  • Public service and/or team leadership experience in a library.
  • Library education, including in-progress education.
  • Public service and/or team leadership experience outside of libraries.


  • Staff management for the three other library workers, including scheduling.
  • Setting day-to-day operational procedures and policies, within library board policy.
  • Reporting to and advising the library board on matters like suggested policy changes.
  • Financial management of the library as the head of a City department, so direct involvement in purchases for the library but not areas like payroll.
  • Collection development for all materials, except youth materials if you delegate this to the youth services librarian.
  • Cataloging and technical services for new materials, except as delegated to the assistant librarian.
  • Library promotion through a monthly newsletter, social media posts, news releases to the county newspaper, etc.
  • Setting up adult programming. Supporting the youth services librarian with youth programming.
  • Setting up displays and general tidying of the library as a physical space. Outside cleaners take care of typical custodial work.
  • Direct public service to patrons of all ages, since the director’s desk is part of the circulation desk and you’ll likely be working alone a couple of days per week. This includes basic assistance with public computers, Wi-Fi access, and OverDrive.
  • Other duties, as assigned by Library Board, Mayor, or City Council.


  • Strong English communication skills to assist patrons who may have difficulty expressing themselves in person and on the telephone.
  • Emotional intelligence and ability to cope with situations such as when patrons having a difficult time emotionally, are in conflict with other patrons, or are living with a mental illness.
  • Reaching for books about two feet away from the inside of the circulation desk counter and handling them during check-out/check-in.
  • User-level computer skills, e.g: document management, file transfer, email, and spreadsheets.

Send resume and cover letter to valleypubliclibrary@gmail.com. Position open until filled, though we are trying to fill it by September 24th. Applications received by the August 31st will be looked at first. Call the current director, Garren Hochstetler, at (402) 359-9924 for more details.