January 22, 2018

Book Club Chat

The Bremen Readers joined with the Bremen Questers on January 17 to discuss Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

The mystery features Hercule Poirot, a retired Belgian police officer known for his short stature and long, curly moustache. The brilliant Poirot is Christie’s most famous detective, and the novel is basically written from his perspective.

Poirot must travel to London and books a compartment on the Simplon-Orient Express. Not long after boarding, Poirot is approached by an American, Samuel Ratchett, who believes his life is in danger and wishes to hire the detective. Poirot refuses and tells the American, “…I do not like you face, M. Ratchett.” By the next evening, Ratchett has been murdered. The charred remnant of a note saying “--member little Daisy Armstrong” is discovered in the murdered man’s room. As the detective digs into the mystery, he discovers everyone in the first-class coach had a connection to Ratchett. 

The thirteen attending members gave Agatha Chistie’s mystery a 3.79 out of 5 rating overall. Most agreed that it had a slow beginning but once past that, the book was thoroughly enjoyable. Almost all finished the book just to see how it would end. One member did cheat and watch the newly released movie instead J. The surprise ending made the Murder on the Orient Express a win with these two groups.

December 22, 2017

Book Club Chat

Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright

December’s book for The Bremen Readers was Christmas Jars, by Jason F. Wright. The book follows a reporter, Holly Jensen, on a quest to find the origin of the Christmas Jars.

When Holly’s apartment is robbed on a bleak Christmas Eve, someone leaves a jar full of money. The anonymous jar has the label: “Christmas Jar.” This act of kindness leads Holly down a path that eventually leads her to the remarkable story of the beginning of the jars. It also brings her joy, sadness, and of course, answers.

The Readers rated this book a 3.25 out of 5. It was a quick, but happy read for the Holidays. They felt that it was wrapped up a bit too neatly in the end, but it had an inspiring message that left all wanting to do more for those in need.

December 8, 2017

I Have a Confession to Make

By Brenda Anderson, Children's Librarian

I have a confession to make. I used to pull books off the library shelf and then cram them back on the shelf willy-nilly. Sometimes not even in the general area I had found the book in the first place. In my defense, I wasn’t aware each book had a specific place on a library shelf, its own address, a place it calls home. In the library world this address is referred to as a call number. It’s the letters and sometimes numbers on the spine sticker of the book.

When a book is put back on the shelf somewhere it doesn’t belong, that book is lost. It will be missing when someone else wants it because the book isn’t in its spot. The book longs to be in the spot where it calls home. So please don’t put library books back on the shelf . It’s all right to leave a book next to the shelf instead of trying to put it away. We’ll make sure the book gets back home where it belongs. And that concludes the public service announcement of this blog post.

Speaking of the address of a book, the children’s department has been trying to make it easier to find where a book is located. The picture books about particular Holiday, Season, or Concept such as the Alphabet, Counting, Colors and so forth are grouped together in their own section. No more searching the entire collection for the books about a certain character, say Curious George. These are now on the shelf under “Cur” instead of the first three letters of the author’s last name. This means that all the Curious George books are located together instead of four different places under four different authors.

We plan to use shelf labels with pictures as well as the name of the topic or book character written out. These will be like street signs to direct you to the address you seek. The holidays, seasons, concepts, book characters, series name of the chapter books as well as the topics in the non-fiction area will be marked with shelf labels that stand up like a book. I think we should make a map of where items are now located. This would be helpful to not only the patrons but also to us librarians who automatically go to where the book used to be.

I also would love to have signs above the aisles marked like a grocery store stating what is located on the shelves in that area. Why not? We already have shopping carts. I welcome any feedback or suggestions. Our goal is to make the books easier to find and check out. But please don’t try to put them back on the shelf.

November 22, 2017

Giving Thanks

The staff of Bremen Public Library took some time to reflect on what they appreciate most about working at the library. Each staff member shared his or her thoughts below. 

What are you grateful for today?

Kyle Burkett

I am thankful that when I go to work, I’m going to a hub for all of the world’s aggregated knowledge. I am surrounded by incredible works of art and literature and music, and information about millions of different subjects is, quite literally, at my fingertips.  I am thankful that I get to work for an organization whose mission I am passionate about, and that I get to work with other people who are dedicated to that mission as well.  Most of all, I am thankful that the work we do at the library has a real, tangible effect on people’s lives—and that we can see, firsthand, how they are better for the work that we do. 

Lisa Bixel

Timeless Classics
Helpful Coworkers
Artistic Webpages
Never Ending Books
Kind Words
Faithful Patrons
Unique Staff

Chris Scandling

Although a native Hoosier, I’d been living in Las Vegas for several years when dreaded news arrived via a simple phone call. My mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and a planned brief visit to Indiana turned in to an indefinite stay. It was during this time that a permanent return to my native home was contemplated, and Bremen Public Library played a considerable role in making that happen. An offering of this job not only meant being closer for family purposes, it brought me, career wise, back in to the library fold.

A previous earlier stop on my career path, it’s been like putting on a pair of comfortable slippers. I’d thoroughly enjoyed the work before, and absolutely adore it now. This is largely in part to such an amazing community to be a part of. From patrons who I’ve become so invested with, staff that brings wisdom, laughs and a sharing of occupational passion, and the joy in contributing to all our library represents in this area. I am thankful that my mom is doing so much better these days. I am thankful to you, Bremen, for embracing me as one of your own.

Brenda Anderson

I feel blessed to work in such a great community. Bremen is not where I grew up and I did not have any ties here when I started work at the Bremen Public Library eighteen years ago. The friendly hometown atmosphere has been a great place to meet people. I’ve crossed paths with some wonderful people here who inspire me to be a better person. I’ve seen such kindness when tragedy has struck in the community and people have stepped up to try to lessen the burden of someone else or just let them know they are not alone or forgotten. I’m thankful for all of you.

Violet Gunter

I am thankful for all the kids, who come through and use our imagination station. I love listening to them have fun and be silly. Some of my top favorite things that I have heard are, a "customer" who wanted an apple pie without apples, a little girl who could not take her pet shark on the plane with her, because it would make the plane smelly, and a boy who was playing house with some girls and then proceeded to claim that he was a millionaire and that he could do whatever he wanted and that they have to listen to him. Thank you to all the children, who have unknowingly made me smile and even laugh out loud. 

Cindy Hartman

I am thankful for the parents and children who take part in our weekly Preschool Story Hour and weekly Wiggle Worms Family Story Times. I think that I sometimes get as much enjoyment out of the sessions as the children do! It brings a smile to my face when a child really gets into a song we are singing or playing for an activity and they put their whole body into it. When a little one is wiggling with excitement waiting for their turn to get a shaker egg, it is a blessing that we get to provide these children with this opportunity in our community. When a child really enjoys a book that we are reading and asks to take it home with them, it is a blessing for my soul. When the preschoolers call out for another puppet show, this, too, is something that I am thankful for. Each week I get to do something that I love doing and am thankful I get to make a difference in a child's life here at Bremen Public Library.

Holly Heller

I am thankful how our library serves as a community hub for people from so many different backgrounds. We have people learning to play the Chinese tile game, Mahjong. We have homeschool students who use the library as their classroom. We have people working on their resumes at our public computers. We have people using our copy and fax service for a variety personal and business reasons. We have college students seeking a quiet place to study and plug in their laptops. We have families in crisis who use our space for scheduled visitations. We have school-age kids playing chess, checkers, LEGOs, and the Wii. We have parents of infants, toddlers and preschoolers who value early literacy and introduce their children to the library at young ages. We have people researching their family genealogy. We have artists in bloom who learn to paint at our monthly Create-UR-Canvas event. We have movie buffs who stay up to date on the latest DVDs from our collection. And, of course, last but not least, we have our avid readers who visit the library regularly to restock their supply of reading material. I am thankful for each and every patron, and for being able to work in a place that meets each of their needs in a comfortable, safe, friendly and accepting environment.

Melissa Nunez

Working at the library has been such a season of joy. The three things in my life that I'm passionate about are my faith, my grandchildren and my books and I cannot remember a time in my life that I did not have a love of reading. But the joy I find within the walls of our library has very little to do with the written word. I am thankful, grateful and blessed in the relationships I’ve formed with the people of this community. It has been such a blessing to pause for a chat about the weather; to see the excitement  in a patron’s eyes when a favorite author is placed in their hands; to give a smile and receive one in return; to offer an ear when someone clearly needs to talk. I’m am grateful for our community.

Terrie Bickel

I have been at BPL now for almost 19 years. I have met many wonderful people, both in the community, and on the job. I am grateful for each and every one of them, as they have made my world a happier place. I have gotten to read 1000 Books Before Kindergarten to each of my children, act in numerous Tea Parties, hang my art work, play Monopoly, and even play football! How could I not be grateful for this place?

November 17, 2017

Book Club Chat

By Terrie Bickel, Leader of the Bremen Readers Book Club

The Bremen Readers met November 15 to discuss The Blue Bottle Club by Penelope J. Stokes. This inspirational book tells the story of four friends and how grace came to play in each of their lives.

The book begins with a reporter, Brenden Delaney, who is doing a small story about an historic home that is being torn down. After she is given a blue bottle that was found in the attic before demolition, she discovers four papers inside the bottle. Upon further investigation, she finds that the papers are actually dreams, written down by four teenage friends on a Christmas day in 1929. The dreams describe what each girl hopes the future holds for her. When Brenden reads these papers, she sets out on a mission to see if the girls are still alive these 65 years later, and if so, how have their lives turned out. The book follows the reporter on this quest to find four old friends, as well as herself.

The Readers rated this book a 3.88 out of 5. They liked how each friend’s story was revealed, as well as the grace each girl discovered along the way.  It is an uplifting and enjoyable story that teaches us “The dream itself is the gift, not necessarily the fulfillment.”

November 3, 2017

Christmas is Coming!

By Lisa Bixel, Bremen Public Library Adult Assistant

The calendar may show the end of October but the new arrivals at the Bremen Public Library indicate that December is not far behind. The Christmas inventory is rolling in! Books by your favorite authors are quickly making their way to the shelves. Looking for holiday reads, music or DVDs? Look no further! 

Some of my past favorites include, A Dog Named Christmas by Gregory Kincaid, The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans, A Choice To Cherish by Alan Maki, Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber, Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. 

A Dog Named Christmas, which was made into a Hallmark Movie, chronicles the life of a developmentally challenged boy named Todd and his dog as he sets out to convince his family the importance of caring for animals in need by participating in a local shelter’s inaugural “Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program.” George McCray, Todd’s father, is opposed to the idea because of his experiences with the love and loss of his past canines and does not want Todd to go through what he experienced. Todd’s mother, Mary Ann, knows how deep George’s wounds are but feels that bringing a dog into their home could promote the gift of healing.

The Christmas List is inspired by Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Business Executive, James Kier, who causes misery and suffering wherever he goes, gets the scare of his life when an identity mix-up causes him to read his own obituary and sees the realization of what his friends, family and colleagues really think of him. This book has you digging deep to think about your impact on others.
A Choice to Cherish will tug at your heartstrings and have you evaluating your choices in this life!  How well do you know the people in your life? This story  tells the tale of Alan and his dying grandfather, George. It’s Christmas in Montana, and Alan cuts down and decorates a Christmas tree for himself and his grandfather.  As his present, Alan may choose one of eight keepsakes of his grandfathers. Yet before he can choose, he must read a story George wrote about each keepsake. Through these stories, Alan learns the secrets of his grandfather's life. A short read about love and reconciliation that will forever stay in your heart!

Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle is a light and uplifting story about Emily Merkle, or Mrs. Miracle as she is fondly known, and her magical ways to ensure a Merry Christmas for all in the toy department of the financially troubled Finley’s Department Store. Just when it seemed Christmas might not come at all this year, Finley's favorite employee proves they don't call her Mrs. Miracle for nothing!

Get your tissues out for The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere. Two couples will find their lives turned upside down and transformed in VanLiere’s debut novel. Robert Layton, who specializes in bankruptcy law, is very ambitious and wants to climb the company ladder. His life is turned upside down when his wife, Kate, tells her absentee husband that she wants a divorce right before Christmas. Meanwhile, another family is facing tragedy as Maggie Andrews is diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  Maggie’s son sets out to  buy a pair of shoes for his mother as a going-away present. When Robert and Maggie’s son cross paths in the department store, both of their lives are transformed forever.

On a lighter note, the Christmas classic, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever will have you laughing whole-heartedly, as you fall  in love with the hilarious Herdman siblings! The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the three wise men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids. Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman are a mean bunch! They set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolshed, blackmailed Wanda Pierce to get her charm bracelet, and smacked Alice Wendelken across the head. Everyone is in disbelief when the Herdmans show up at church for the free snacks and suddenly take over the Christmas pageant. This group of siblings set out to make life miserable for everyone but in the end the transformation of the Christmas Story is one the reader will never forget. This year’s pageant is definitely like no other, but maybe that’s exactly what makes it so special.

Christmas is a season of great joy, healing and renewed strength! Reading soothes the soul! Happy Reading!

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. 
~Henry David Thoreau

October 25, 2017

Book Club Chat

By Terrie Bickel, Leader of the Bremen Readers

The Bremen Readers' latest discussion was about The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards. The book follows two families whose lives are intertwined by the same secret, a secret that began with the birth of a child.

It is 1964 and Dr. David Henry is a happily married man whose wife, Norah is pregnant with their first child. As she goes into labor, they drive through the snow to Henry’s clinic. There they are joined by Caroline Gill, Dr. Henry’s nurse. Norah gives birth to a healthy baby boy, and then his twin sister. When Dr. Henry realizes his daughter has Down’s Syndrome, he gives the baby to Nurse Gill and instructs her to take the baby to an institution. He then tells Norah that their daughter was stillborn. When Nurse Gill gets to the institution, she realizes that she cannot leave the infant there, and instead raises her as her own.

Edwards leads us through the lives of these two families, one of which unravels as the book progresses. The story made for an interesting book discussion as the Readers were both saddened by the demise of Dr. Henry’s immediate family, and uplifted by the turnout of his daughter. While no one agreed with Dr. Henry’s decision, all could understand how such a thing could happen, particularly in the 1960s. And of course, had Dr. Henry not given his infant up, there would be no book. The book did have a pleasing ending, which helped make up for its often sad storyline. The Readers ended up giving The Memory Keeper’s Daughter a rating of 3.125.