Saturday, March 29, 2014

Drop everything and read!

There's nothing better than snuggling up with a good book, and on Saturday, April 12, you won't even have to leave the library to do it.

As a kick-off for National Library Week, the Augusta Public Library will celebrate Drop Everything and Read Day by building a giant sheet-and-pillow fort. Children of all ages will be welcome to come, curl up, and read. They can also listen to library staff and volunteers share passages from their favorite books.

Drop Everything and Read Day offers an excellent opportunity for students needing community service hours as well as for anyone else who would like to volunteer at the library. Volunteers are needed from 5:00-6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 11, to help set up the fort. Guest readers are also needed throughout the day on Saturday.

If you'd like to help out but don't have a lot of time, the library also needs people to lend it clean sheets, pillows, light blankets, and see-through fabrics (such as tulle) for the fort. These items can be dropped off at the library beginning Monday, April 7, and picked up on Monday, April 14.

Please let the library know ahead of time which items you intend to bring so that each item can be returned to its proper owner.

If you would like more information about Drop Everything and Read Day, would like to volunteer, or have fort-building items to lend, please contact Samma Johnson at or call the library at (715) 286-2070.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring break at the library!

Hordes of children descended on the library on March 21 (well, maybe not hordes, but 31 kiddos made for quite a crowd). Most were on their second day of spring break from Augusta Elementary School, and they were ready for some entertainment.

They found it. The Family Storytime, led by intern Matthew Knutson, featured an energizer, a game, and, of course, a story. The children then watched a movie, complete with bags of popcorn.

Intern Matthew Knutson kicks off the library Storytime with an energizer.
Matthew reads "The Snow Queen."
Children listen attentively as Matthew reads.

Bags of popcorn at the ready, children prepare to watch the movie.
Spending your spring break at the library? Being surrounded by books when you don't HAVE to be? Maybe some of the kids had thought this notion was crazy. Given how much fun they had, though...not anymore.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


By March 21, the kiddies who go to school in Augusta will be well into their spring break, and parents might already be struggling to find ways to entertain them. Never fear--the Augusta Library is here to help!

The library will be bidding farewell to winter by hosting a Storytime starting at 1:00 p.m. on March 21, complete with the showing of a recently released winter-themed Disney movie.

The Storytime and movie are free and open to the public. Children should be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Please contact the library at or call (715) 286-2070 if you would like more information about this or other library events.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Book Club Selection: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller


Very few members of the Augusta Library Book Club seemed to have been looking forward to a sojourn in the post-apocalyptic world of Peter Heller's The Dog Stars. As the discussion on March 12 revealed, however, most were pleasantly surprised by how much they liked the book. While "enjoyed" might not be the right verb for a book that takes place in a future decimated by disease and climate change, many Book Club members were engaged by the characters, the insights into human nature, and the poetry of Heller's language.

A few didn't like the book's first section, which they found frustratingly slow. Even so, most found that the pace picked up significantly in the second half. As one member put it, "The book unfolded."

Slow or not, The Dog Stars provoked a series of lively discussions. Among them were the members' own memories of "duck and cover" childhoods spent beneath the threat of nuclear war; whether all people would be capable of killing as readily as the protagonists do; parallels with other literature, especially Riders of the Purple Sage; and how the text's lack of punctuation in the dialogue affected the narrative. (A few members were initially irritated by the punctuation issue, but the general consensus was that it captured the disjointed world of the story using a stream of consciousness effect. One even pointed out similarities to Hemingway's style.)

Most Book Club members especially liked the note of hope at the end, and there were some enthusiastic conjectures about the fate of the protagonists as well as the entire human race.

While The Dog Stars wasn't a book that most members would have opted to read on their own, most indicated that its poetic and thought-provoking nature made them glad that they did.

The April Book Club selection is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Copies have already been ordered for current members. Anyone wishing to join the Book Club for the first time can still order their own copies, though. They can either use the MORE website, call the library, or speak to a staff member about obtaining a copy.

The next Book Club meeting will be at the library on Wednesday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Sabers, Sonics, and Wands --Oh My!: Teen Tech Week at AMPL

Hi all! Samma here, to tell you about a fun little program we had on Thursday, March 13th for Teen Tech Week.

Teen Tech Week is an ALA affiliated annual event where libraries showcase their non-print resources and services for our patrons. The theme for the 2014 event was "DIY @ Your Library" --and how better to "do-it-yourself" than to get your hands a little dirty?

We got our inspiration from this blog-post by Doodle-Craft which I found on Pinterest while brainstorm ideas for our program. The great thing about this, was that while it was a teen program, our younger kids didn't have too much trouble with the projects and caught on pretty fast on to make the best end-product.

Our project was fairly simple after following Doodle-Craft's example. We started with FIMO clay, BIC stick pens (the white, hard-plastic kind with a removable ink-well), and a few clay tools which the boys used to personalize their finished products. One difference from the tutorial and the way most of us did ours, was that we put the pen cap onto the end of the pen for the length --because I just know I'm going to lose a lose cap if I can't put it on the end of the pen! I think it's worked out really well.

 We found we had a lot more success with the FIMO soft and the FIMO Element (the silver color). The "Classic" style was hard to warm up in our hands to get it soft, and crumbled a lot when we tried to roll it around. But that didn't stop Justin from trying his best to get that green light saber! Once the Classic became more malleable, he did succeed in getting that pen covered! One thing for certain though: a little bit of the clay will go a LONG way!

 After he was done with his light saber, Cole (a HUGE Star Wars fan!) made a few of the Star Wars battle ships.

When we were all finished, we popped the pens (and models) into the oven for about 15 minutes at 200 degrees on the library's toaster oven. We used a lower temperature so we didn't take the chance of melting the pens. If you try this at home, different pens might have different melting points (as I found out during my test run of the project! Yikes!) so remember to adjust your temperature and times accordingly. If you're using the FIMO as a regular modeling clay, follow it's package instructions.

And here's a shot of our finished products after they came out of the oven --still warm! --including Isiah's "caramel and chocolate" bits he made with some of our left over FIMO. When they were cooled, we put the ink back into the pens --and they were good to go! Isiah decided to go with the removable-cap version, while the rest of us decided to go with caps-on. I think all of them look great! Either way, the best part about this project is that: we don't lose all our hard work just because our ink ran out! We can just replace with the ink from another BIC pen!
The boys all had a lot of fun with this project. One thing we would have done a little differently though was to have a LOT more FIMO and pens on hand! I think we all would have made a few more if our supply had been a little bigger.

If you'd like to test out the pens, there is a purple light saber and the sonic screw driver pictured above in the pen cup at the library! Want to try it yourself? Click on the blog post link for Doodle-Craft above for a more in-depth tutorial --as well as other fun geekery crafts! And if you're looking for more inspiration to get your kids craft, check our Pinterest page where I am regularly pinning lots of fun craft ideas for all ages and skill levels.

Happy Reading (and crafting!),

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It's for the birds!


If you love hummingbirds, flowers, and/or the thought that someday the temperature will be above zero on a consistent basis, you'll enjoy the Gardening for Hummingbirds presentation on Saturday, March 8, in the library from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Kathi and Michael Rock will teach participants about the most effective ways to use annual and perennial flowers to attract hummingbirds to their gardens.

As a bonus to the green-thumbed, there will even be free seeds and bulbs!

You can visit the Rocks' website at for more information about hummingbirds.

Please contact the library at (715) 286-2070 or e-mail if you would like more information.