December Recap @ The Playground

On December 14th at our Makerspace Monday event was such a chocolatey delight as we snuggled by the fireplace sipping on a cup of hot cocoa, with guest Ms. Jodi. Our fingers were getting messy as we brushed on glue, and like magic, created twine ornaments! We were so busy, creating three different and adorable ornaments at our Ornament Workshop!

Next, on December 19th for our STEM and Stories Saturday we had a very special, storytime and song, with featured guest Emily Tinsman, Miss Iowa 2019-2020. She was beautiful, wearing her sparkly crown!

In the coming year, the fun has just begun! On January 11th for Makerspace Monday Event, we will be taking a trip to a tropical oasis when we blend, coconut into a sugar scrub and whipped cream soufflé, this is going to be a vacation in a bottle! On January 16th for STEM and Stories Saturday, I can’t wait to meet our heroes from the Heinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport. It is going to be such a furry of a good time!

Coming up in January @ the Playground

Makerspace Monday Virtual Event
Date and Time: January 11th 6:30 p.m.
Activity: Escaping to a tropical oasis – Coconut Sugar Scrub and Body Soufflé
Register Here

STEM and Stories Saturday Virtual Event
Date and Time: January 16th 10:00 a.m.
Activity: Featured Guest from Heniz57 and be ready for a tail wagging surprise!
Register Here

“NEW” Braille Babies
Date and Time: January 16th 11:00 a.m.
Activity: Activities, Games and More! Making Connections Together!
Ages: 0 to 4 years’ old
Information and Registration Here

Adult Winter Reading Program Starting January 4, 2021!

Start the New Year with a fun challenge!  The Adult Winter Reading Challenge will begin on January 4, 2021.  Go to to register.  If you read 7500 minutes between January 4 – February 28, 2021, you will be entered to win a Winter Reading Themed Gift Basket.  You can log your minutes right from that website! Please call Leslie at 515.452.1329 with any questions.

Here are the top fiction books downloaded from BARD this month that might help get you started.

The return by Nicholas Sparks DB100846

Thick as thieves by Sandra Brown DB100485

Hush by James Patterson and Candice Fox DB99916

The coast-to-coast murders by James Patterson and J.D. Barker DB100857

Choppy Water by Stuart Woods DB100390

The silent wife by Karen Slaughter DB100185

Half Moon Bay by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman DB100241

Cajun justice by James Patterson and Tucker Axum DB100128

Fair warning by Michael Connelly and Peter Giles DB99807

The book of two ways by Jodi Picoult DB100856

The midwife murders by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo DB100127

Our Old Time Radio Show Collections and Special Christmas Episodes

Ever since the Library added cassette books to their collection, old time radio shows have been a part of that collection. The radio shows were a relatively easy way to help the collection grow. The early cassette radio show collection generally had one cassette (one hour) per show title. So naturally, we were worried about this collection when we switched from cassette to digital format. We didn’t want to lose these great collections.  We also wanted to take advantage of the digital format to make listening to these shows more enjoyable. The digital format allows us to add information and organize the shows.  It has become a special project for Audio Librarian Karen to convert these radio shows. With hundreds and hundreds of titles available and tens of thousands of episodes, she’ll be occupied for quite some time.

To check out the radio shows the library has available:

  • Go to our Online Catalog
  • Use Advanced Search and select Series in the drop down menu
  • Search for Radio Shows

Christmas Mysteries and Suspense Programs: an Old Time Radio Show Collection   DBC19884

Crime doesn’t pay attention to the calendar. Mysteries, murder and mayhem can happen at any time – including at Christmas time! Old time radio shows would sometimes recognize the calendar and present special episodes around December 25th.  If the show was a mystery or suspense program, that meant a very special episode indeed. Combining the happy season of Christmas with wrong-doing required a light touch.   Some programs used the famous Charles Dickens story The Christmas Carol and its’ three ghosts as the basis for their story. Others were inspired by the story of the Nativity. There are tales of ex-cons going straight and good men going bad. Of course, there are also bad people doing bad things.  With all this detecting going on, you would think someone could solve the mystery of the red-suited intruder who leaves presents everywhere he goes!  There are 29 different shows in this collection with 61 episodes (some shows have more than one Christmas episode). If you like dramatized stories set a Christmas – but with a touch of mystery – this is the collection for you!

Reminder:  the Library will be closed on December 24th and 25th
Happy Holidays!

Library Chat Podcast: December 2020

December’s Library Chat focuses on one of our favorite topics – food. Library staff discusses all types of books that have to do with food, from recipe collections to mysteries. They also discuss an episode from the podcast The Sporkful which is hosted by Dan Pashman of Cooking Channel’s You’re Eating It WrongThe Sporkful episode discussed is called “LeVar Burton Even Reads Recipes Dramatically“.

Check out the book list below highlighting the books we discussed during the podcast.

Library Chat:  December 2020 Book List

Some Non-Fiction Titles:

I’m Just Here for the Food:  food + heat = cooking by Alton Brown  DB60619

Cravings by Chrissy Teigen  Bridges

The Best American Food Writing 2019  DB97578

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: mastering the elements of good cooking by Samin Nosrat  Bridges

Memories Cookbook:  collection of recipes used in the Iowa Department for the Blind Orientation Center  BRD20286

Some Mystery Titles:

Agatha Raisin Mystery Series by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, Book 1  DB38163

Goldy Bear Mystery Series by Diane Mott Davidson
Catering to Nobody, Book 1  DB68789

Pennsylvania-Dutch Mystery Series with Recipes by Tamar Myers
Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth, Book 1  DB49800

Hannah Swenson Mysteries by Joanne Fluke
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Book 1  DB54603

Also check out the library’s monthly Library News podcast and Braille Bits podcast.  Check out the library’s Podcast Page for information on all the library’s podcasts and episodes.

New Youth Program Starting This January – Braille Babies

Time to celebrate, we are introduciBunny with a bookng a brand new program created by your youth library, Braille Babies!  Your child will gain incredible learning opportunities designed just for them. Simply by signing up your child, they will receive, a free braille book, access to monthly resources filled with helping tools designed to stretch and explore new experiences at the turn and touch of each page.


Braille Babies

For Ages: 0-4 years’ old

Design of the Program

  • Teaching children the importance of exploring touch, textures and tactiles
  • Elaborate on a multi-sensory approach to reading readiness
  • Time to play!
  • Beginning Braille Skills Are Explored
  • Monthly Braille Activities Provided
  • Parent Resources
  • Monthly Parent Sessions
  • Personalized Activity Box received at sign up!

Please join us, for our VERY FIRST Braille Babies Virtual Event  on January 16th at 11:00am

Register for Braille Babies

If you have any questions please contact Denise Bean, Youth Services Librarian at, (515)452-1338

Book Reviews From Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena, a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team. Let us know if you would like any titles added to your book list or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page.

Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush  DB71205  BR21557
Laura Bush grew up an only child in Texas.  As an only child, she loved reading and later became a teacher and a librarian.  Two things that affected her growing up years were:  At the age of 17, she was driving with a friend and hit and killed one of her close friends, a boy driving from another direction. The other thing was the shooting President John F. Kennedy in Texas. Laura met George Bush and they were engaged after six weeks. George was very interested in politics and Laura was not, but she helped him campaign as he ran for congress, then governor of Texas and finally President of the United States. The Bush family was left in limbo after the 2000, presidential election when the state of Florida’s election process was in question, and the Supreme Court finally had to rule that the manual Florida recount had violated the Constitution. The event of September 11, 2001 happened during her husband’s presidency.  President Bush was flown all of the country during September 11, to make sure he was safe. At the end of the day, Sept 11, the secret service wanted the president to stay away from Washington, D.C., but he insisted that they return to White House to make sure his family was safe.  Then came the anthrax mail scare and mail all over the country was held up and examined.   Mrs. Bush candidly speaks about her marriage, her relationship to the Bushes and the birth of her twin daughters.  She inserts numerous tidbits of history in speaking of their days in the White House. She talks frankly about the White House events, her numerous trips and meeting various people.  This is an eye-opening book about Laura’s life and living in the White House.

The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream by Sampson Davis  DB54458
Three young men growing up in Newark, New Jersey made a pact in high school to support each other and stick together and go on to college together.
The young men include:  George Jenkins who always wanted to be a dentist. He was encouraged at an early age to go to college.  George had the most stable environment of the three.  Sampson Davis who at an early age realized his mother could not read.  Her own mother had died when she was seven, so his mother helped to take care of her brothers and sisters and then married at fifteen. Sampson’s mother encouraged him to go to school and get good grades. Rameck Hunt whose parents were addicted to drugs was raised by his beloved grandmother. Their home town of Newark was a place with drugs, shootings and other illegal activity.  Only one of the three managed to stay out of trouble growing up. All three young men agreed to go to Seaton Hall together to become doctors.  I think that at times they believed it would never happen and it was just a whim.  While going to college wasn’t easy all three achieved high grades. There were many pitfalls along the way, including money issues, things they weren’t prepared for, but all three of them made it and became doctors returning to the area where they grew up to practice. They founded a foundation to encourage students to make goals and realize them and were also in demand as motivational speakers. This is an uplifting read and could be used as motivation for students.

Desert Heat by J. A. Jance (First in series of Joanna Brady Mysteries)  DB81543  BRC00696
Joanna Brady finds her husband, Andrew Brady, a deputy sheriff for Cochise Co Arizona, shot and near death in a wash on her tenth anniversary.  Things just don’t add up, his truck is locked and his gun is found under the truck.  The sheriff’s department seems to think Andy attempted to commit suicide.  Then there is the unexplained large amount of money deposited in the Brady’s checking account by Andy with an unknown young woman.  Joanna continues to believe Andy is innocent while several others believe that the money came from the sale of drugs.  Joanna is out to clear the name of her husband and soon becomes involved with a woman who thinks she knows the truth of who killed Andy. This is a good, clean mystery series with interesting characters and relationships.