Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Puppets at the Library!

What's better than a good story? A good story told with puppets!

You can come experience Corcoran Puppets' re-telling of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" at the library on Wednesday, July 2, at 2:00 p.m.

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. (Please note that parents or guardians must accompany small children.)

Please contact Cassie at or call us at (715) 286-2070 if you would like more information.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Great Day for Falconry!

Today at the library, we had three very special guests! My friend Chris Karraker and his wife MaryJo, as well Chris's Red-tailed Hawk, Mjolnir. I invited them to the library when I last saw them in April, to help me kick off our teen Summer Reading Program ("Spark a Reaction") --and Chris was really excited to come in and help me out!

Not everyone is pictured here, but we had a great turn out!

We also used today's programs a great way to use our new Reading Garden area. It was a good spot to get outside; and the weather was just right --not too windy, not too hot or cold, and just the right amount of overcast so that we weren't getting too much sun. The only issue we had with it being such a nice day was the amount of motorcycles and ATV's taking advantage of the nice weather, so it was a little noisy at times.

Chris, showing us his copy of My Side of the Mountain.

Chris started out by explaining how he first learned about Falconry, which is one of the oldest sports in the world. Falconry originated in about 2000 BC, in the Mesopotamia region. Chris learned of the sport when he was about 12, when he read Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain, and his interest was peaked! It wasn't until much later though that he began to seriously contemplate the undertaking of the sport. In order to become a falconer, you must find a Sponsor, pass a 105-question exam, and register with a few wildlife bodies, such as the DNR. Since Chris hunts in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, he is registered in both states.

After explaining some of the basics of what it takes to become a falconer, Chris walked us through the story of capturing his first bird --whom we would momentarily meet. Falconers can only catch immature birds, for several reasons, one of which being that they are not yet part of the breeding population. Chris showed us one of the traps, which would contain mice or gerbils. The bird will, when approaching, hopefully get caught in one of the thin wires --that, while probably annoying, won't actually hurt the bird. As an apprentice falconer, Chris is allowed to have one bird; either a Red-tailed Hawk or an American Kestrel. Once he moves on to a General Practioner level, there are other varieties that he will be able to work with. While teaching us about the traps, Chris was sure to remind us that --unless you are properly licensed, capturing wild birds of prey (and most animals!) is extremely illegal, so don't try this at home without proper permits!
Chris showed us one of the wire-built traps, and how it works to catch birds.

Mjolnir is out of the Giant Hood!

Chris then took Mjolnir out of his "Giant Hood", the large brown box that he travels in. Chris also had him in his regular hood, so that he wouldn't be startled by the crowd when he took him out. Normally, he wouldn't wear the hood in the box. He also explained how after first capturing Mjolnir, he put on some essential equipment like several bands and a bell. Mjolnir also wears a backback, on which clips a tracker so if he were to ever get lost, Chris would hopefully be able to find him --something that Chris had to put to good use on Christmas Eve when Mjolnir decided to cozy down into a hollowed out tree with his prey!

Chris invited several of the audience members to pet Mjolnir, who stayed nice and calm with his hood on. When asked if he could release him to see him in flight, Chris explained that because Mjolnir was molting, that he was keeping his weight on the heavy side --which makes birds tend to be a little on the lazy side, so it wasn't a good idea to try and fly him. He may not come back if his belly is full!

Chris told us a little about hunting with birds; Mjolnir tends to go after primarily squirrels and rabbits. He looks forward to hunting with him for another season before he releases him next spring. Falconry is actually very good for birds, because it ensures that a bird will reach adulthood and enter into a future breeding population, should the bird be released later. Some Falconers continue to use the same bird for many years --one Falconer used his bird for 28 seasons!

Later on, Brody asked "Where are his eyes", so Chris took it as the chance to take off the hood! Mjolnir didn't seem too surprised about the large group that he was in front of --and he's a photogenic little bird! He did get a little antsy later on, and Chris put the hood back on him for more closer photos with some of the kids afterwards. A few lucky people that strayed behind to chat with Chris and MaryJo got to hold Mjolnir --a totally unexpected treat!

Totally unexpected! Chris offered to let me hold Mjolnir! It was pretty awesome --not sure how I can top it in the future!

 These pictures and others are posted on the Facebook page! A HUGE thank you goes out to Chris and MaryJo for coming all the way out to us today. The program was great and I think everyone learned a little something new! We hope to have them back in the future!

If you're curious about Falconry yourself, Chris highly recommended reading My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George; the book that got him interested in the sport. In Wisconsin, you can pursue becoming a falconer at 14, and he had other titles he might recommend to a beginning falconer to study such as The Falconer Apprentice by William C. Oakes. If you have any questions for Chris, feel free to contact me at or drop into the library and I'll pass the questions along!

Shayla looks really jealous of her older brother! But the whole family had a lot of fun chatting with Chris and MaryJo after the program --and you can tell that Miah felt his LONG wait for the program was well worth it!

Mjolnir wasn't sure how he felt about being passed around and Brody and Kelly got a face-first experience of how powerful those wings can really be!

But, Once he calmed down and adjusted a bit, Brody got a great photo too!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Club: Dear Life by Alice Munro

For May, the book club read Alice Munro's memoir style short-stories, anthologized in Dear Life. While I didn't sit in on the conversation personally, everyone seemed to walk away from it having had a decent conversation --but apparently no one liked it!

Duke A. said, after I asked whether it was a hit-or-miss, "No one really liked it, but Ruth and I liked the style." He also noted that no one was a big fan of the short story genre as a whole. Other members noted that it was hard to get into, even as an audiobook.

Hopefully June's book, Louise Erdrich's The Round House, will resonate better. If you're interested in checking out the book club, they meet the 2nd Wednesday of the month, in the library! You can order the books yourself through the MORE catalog or by calling the library during our regular opening hours. If you're interested in becoming a regular member, ask about being added to our member list, and we'll put the books on hold for you in advance!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer is Finally Here!

...Or, at least it's really starting to feel and look like it around the library!

Hello! My name is Stanley!

Fizz! Boom! READ!

Even Beaker and Professor Honeydew are hanging out with us this summer!

Teen's can "Spark a Reaction" this summer with their own programing planned!

A "Steampunk" feel is all over the place! Like the art? You can print your own coloring pages!

While we're putting the finishing touches on the summer decor, we'd like to take a moment to remind you about all of the stuff happening this month!

First, Summer Reading Logs are on their way! They'll be available at the front desk on Monday, June 9th for both Youth (11-and-under), as well as the teens (12-18). Youth should fill out at LEAST 6 in order to receive their free book while Teens should fill out 8! For the adults, Carnival Cards are available already; for every returned card you'll be entered in a drawing for a fabulous (as yet, unknown) gift --and as always, a book! Final logs and cards must be turned in by August 9th for counting, please!

Secondly, we are currently taking book donations for our book sale in July! We will take used books, so long as they are in readable/sell-able condition. We will NOT take Reader's Digest Condensed books though --they are the only books we will not accept (however we can probably suggest some really cool book crafts if you're interested!). Donations can be dropped off at the library during our regular open hours. If you have a particularly large donation (more than 3 boxes), please call us.

Lastly, there is a Friends of the Library meeting on Tuesday, June 10th at 6 PM. If you've been thinking about getting involved at the library or within the community, Friends is a GREAT way to do so --and as a bonus: Friends of the Library no longer requires yearly dues as part of membership! Stop by and learn how you can help us out!

As for the rest of the summer, it is JAM PACKED! Our first program of the summer will be June 14th when Chris Karraker stops into teach us a little bit about one of his favorite hobbies --Falconry! Then on June 17th, the Reptile Lady from Nature Connection will be in to teach us about animals with "scaly skin".

Youth programs will take place on the following dates:

And as for the teens:

Our final, off-site programs are as follows:

Summer Reading Program Party @ Lake Eau Claire, Friday, August 15th
9:30 AM. Special Guest, science magician Merlin Kadin!
Open to all ages! Prizes and awards for youth, teens, and adults will be announced at this event, but you do not need to present to receive!

Binocular Stargazing, Thursday, August 14th.
Location still to be announced, but the fun will begin at dusk! Staff is currently planning to be on-site at about 8:30 (after the movie that night). Participants are asked to bring their own binoculars as our supply to lend will be limited. We will be doing a special drawing for attendees to win a free pair of binoculars --must be present to win!

Popcorn and Movie will start on THURSDAYS this year, July 10th with a movie starring our favorite blocks of plastic by the same name! Some other titles are still pending for this summer, so stay tuned!

So, WOW --that is a lot of stuff and I know for a fact that I missed some things, so be sure to keep an eye on the PowerPoint TV or pick up one of our Summer Events brochures at the front desk. You can also keep tabs on what's happening at our Facebook page!

This summer is going to be awesome and I can't wait to get started!

Happy Summer Reading!,

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Welcome Maji!

We'd like to introduce you to Maji, our newest employee! He's obviously super excited to be working at the library as our new aide.

Fun fact: Maji is only the 2nd male employee that the Augusta Library has had in it's 103 year history! Other than maybe a few husbands volunteering time to help their wives in the early days of the library, our last male employee was with us for a year in 2006!

Fun Fact #2: The library has only had roughly 27 employees in it's entire history --with the most employee change happening within the last 10 years or so. How's that sound for job security?

And while Maji is excited to be working here, we're also really excited to have him here. Be sure to introduce yourself when you stop in, or at least say hello!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Scaly Skins at the Library

The library's about to get a whole lot more exciting--in a good way or a bad way, depending on your perspective--when Amanda Sandford, "The Reptile Lady," visits on June 17 at 1:00 p.m.

She'll bring children the opportunity to see, touch, and learn about various reptiles as part of her "Scaly Skins" program.

This event is free and open to the public, although the library asks that young children be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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