Story Time Concert with Chione!


Join us outside at the library on Monday, June 11th at 7 pm for a special performance!  Chione will present a Story Time Concert featuring classic children’s tales alongside music of a woodwind quintet. This family-focused program will introduce the audience to the instruments of the flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon in an exciting, up-close and personal environment with a few hands-on activities for children. This program is presented in cooperation with a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and in partnership with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra. (In case of rain, this event will take place at the Houston Community Center.)  Questions?  Call the Houston Public Library at 896-READ!


READING TAKES YOU EVERYWHERE is our theme this year for Summer Reading at the Houston Public Library, so make sure to check out our list of special events running from the beginning of June through the end of August.  We’ll be traveling around the world this summer, learning about other cultures and places!  All events take place in the library or outside in the library’s greenspace, unless otherwise indicated.  In case of inclement weather, some outside events will take place over at the Houston Community Center. Give us a call at 896-READ when in doubt.


Monday, June 11 from 7 to 8 pm:  CHIONE QUARTET!

The woodwind quartet, Chione, will be here to present an hour-long concert featuring classic children stories, thanks to a partnership between the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Mankato Symphony Orchestra.  This family-focused program will introduce audiences to the instruments of the flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon in an up-close and personal environment with hands-on arts activities for children.  This program was funded in part with money from Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.


Monday, June 18th from 7 to 8 pm: GLOBAL GAMES with Mr. Fun!

Learn about the fun side of world cultures as we are introduced to a variety of toys and games from different countries and get to try our hands at playing them.  Global Games helps kids develop skills and build self-esteem while gaining new respect for world cultures.   This program was funded in part with money from Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.


Monday, June 25th from 7 to 8 pm:  THE MAGIC OF CELTIC MUSIC with Laura MacKenzie!

Enjoy an evening of Celtic music and instruments from a number of areas including Ireland and Scotland, regions of France, Northern Spain, Wales, and Nova Scotia.  Laura MacKenzie will perform traditional music on a fascinating array of wind-powered instruments, from wood and tin whistles, various types of bagpipes, concertina, gemshorn, and voice.   This program was funded in part with money from Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.


Monday, July 9th from 7 to 8 pm:  AFRICAN DRUMMING with Sosthenes Kwesi Nunyapke!

Stop by for an exciting evening focused on the drum, perhaps the oldest instrument in the world as well as one of the earliest forms of communication.  In this presentation/class, kids will learn about a variety of drums ranging from the kenkeni and the sangba, to the the dun dun and the djembe.  With as many as 40 drums available, we’ll all have a hands-on lesson in traditional African drumming which will resonate with participants for years to come.   This program was funded in part with money from Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.


Monday, July 16th  from 7 to 8 pm:  PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER SLIDESHOW on the Central African Republic!

What’s it like to live and work as a Peace Corp volunteer in a very different part of the world?  Find out as former Peace Corps Volunteer Liz Gibson-Gasset shares a slideshow and stories about her life-changing years of service in the Central African Republic.


Monday, July 23rd  from 7 to 8 pm:  DYI TRAVEL-THEMED TREASURE BOXES

We’ve got old maps, boxes of all sizes, scissors, and glue.  Stop by and make a travel-themed treasure box to keep souvenirs or other precious things in!


Monday, July 30th from 7 to 8 pm:  FABULOUS FRANCE with Christian Gasset!

Discover the charm of small-town life in southern France with Christian Gasset, who was born and raised in the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains near the Spanish border.



Come and listen to Minnesota kids, ages 9-16, talk about their adventures living abroad on an Exchange Families International Exchange!  Based on personal experiences in France, Germany, and Spain, these students will share their incredible international adventures and discuss how easy it is to learn a foreign language through immersion!


Wednesday, August 8th from  1 to 2 pm:   MUSIC OF THE CONGO with Siama !

Transport yourself to the dance floors of East Africa, as we listen to traditional Congolese music layered with familiar elements from the blues, reggae, and calypso,  all written and performed by Siama and Dallas Johnson.  This program was funded in part with money from Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.


Monday, August 13th from 7 to 8 pm:  INCREDIBLE INDIA with Kim Hammer of SUTRA global imports

Experience the wonder of India through stories and photographs with Kim Hammer, world traveler and owner of SUTRA global imports in Dakota, MN.


Monday, August 20th from 7 to 8 pm:  TRAVEL TO  THAILAND with Ashley Dress!

What’s it like to live and work as a Peace Corps volunteer in a very different part of the world?  Find out as former Peace Corps Volunteer Ashley Dress, now the director of the Caledonia Public Library, shares a slideshow and stories about her life-changing years of service in Thailand.


Saturday, August 25th from 10 to 11 am:  STORYTIME WITH THE APOLLO MUSIC FESTIVAL

We host storytime at the library every Saturday morning from 10-11 am all year round, but we only have professional musicians and their instruments as our guests once a year  — when the Apollo Music Festival is in town!  Stop by for an informal and fun way to introduce your kids to the world of classical music.  You’ll be glad you did!

This year’s Summer Reading Program is sponsored by the Friends of the Houston Public Library,a grant from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, SELCO Legacy grants, the Apollo Music Festival,Sub-Zero Pizza and Ice Cream, memorials in honor of Teresa & Banjo Erickson and Illa Sweet,and a generous donation from Jayne & Jim Gilmer.  



2018 SUMMER READING PROGRAM: Reading Takes You Everywhere!

Reading is a fun, easy, and (if you use the library!) free way for all of us to visit other cultures and countries without leaving the comfort of our own homes.   It is also a way to travel back into the past or voyage way into the distant future.  Through reading, we can explore, discover, and experience different people, places, times, and things, whether real or imaginary.  We hope that you and your children come along for the journey this summer at the Houston Public Library as “Reading Takes Us Everywhere!”


Every Monday this summer, we’ll be hosting special events showcasing other places, cultures, and traditions.   You can pick up a list of events at the library or check out our Facebook page and/or website for more information.  We are NOT doing reading logs this year, but will instead offer weekly challenges for kids that may be turned in anytime during the summer to be entered into 13 weekly drawings for Barnes & Noble gift certificates.  Kids can do one weekly challenge, a few, all thirteen, or none at all!  It’s their choice!


In addition, every time kids stop by the library and check out books, they can enter a drawing to win one of four ice cream cones given away each week this summer, thanks to the generosity of Sub-Zero Pizza and Ice Cream.  Finally, kids can pick up a passport here at the library at the beginning of summer.  They’ll get a travel-themed stamp in it for every library event they attend, for every weekly challenge they turn in, or simply for checking out books.  Each kid who earns 20 stamps or more by Friday, August 31st can pick out a free book to take home.


The Houston Public Library’s 2018 Summer Reading Program, which runs from Monday, June 4th through Friday, August 31st, is sponsored by the Friends of the Houston Public Library, Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, SELCO’s Legacy Grant Program, Sub-Zero Pizza & Ice Cream, memorials in honor of Teresa & Banjo Erickson and Illa Sweet, and a generous donation from Jayne & Jim Gilmer.  It is open to all children, preschool through young adult, with games, prizes, drawings, story hours, and more.  Remember:  kids who read (or are read to) over the summer keep their brains active, entering school in the fall ready to learn and succeed.  We hope that your family will take advantage of the free materials and services provided by your local libraries over the course of this coming summer.


If you or your child would like a library card, please stop by during our regular hours of operation with your current Minnesota’s Driver’s License.  Now that we are fully automated and part of the online SELCO system, we require this piece of current photo identification from a child’s mother, father, or legal guardian to issue a library card.  By providing this information, you accept responsibility for any overdue fines, damage charges, or replacement costs that your child may incur.    Please call 507-896-READ or stop by the library at 202 East Cedar if you have any questions!



Library CLOSED on Memorial Day!

The Houston Public Library will be closed on Monday, May 28th in observance of Memorial Day.  Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone.  We’ll see you during our regular hours of operation on Tuesday!

Beans for Bags! Vote for us at the LaCrosse Co-op!

Those of you who shop at the People’s Co-op in LaCrosse, please make sure to take your own bags with you every time you stop in, so you can participate in their Beans For Bags program:  for every reusable grocery bag you use, you are given a bean which allows you to vote to support a community program of your choice.  The Friends of the Houston Public Library are an option for the next few months or so.  We receive five cents for every bean you put in our jar!  All money received goes to support our library collection or library programming.  Questions?  Call the library at 896-READ!


Upcoming Storytimes!

Here’s a list of upcoming themes for our Saturday Morning Storytimes, which run from 10 to 11 am every week.  Join us for stories, crafts, science experiments, games, songs, and a baby animal every once in a while!

Saturday, March 31st:  Mud Storytime

Saturday, April 7th:  April Showers Storytime

Saturday, April 14th:  All About Wind Storytime

Saturday, April 21st:  Earth Day Storytime

Saturday, April 28th:  All About Ants Storytime

Saturday, May 5th:  Flower Power Storytime

Saturday, May 12th:  Mother’s Day Storytime

Spring Booksale!

Weather permitting, the Friends of the Houston Public Library will be hosting their annual Spring Booksale on Saturday, April 28th from 8 am to noon, in conjunction with the city-wide garage sale!  As usual, it’s a Take-What-You-Want, Pay-What-You-Want sale, with all proceeds going to support the purchase of new books and dvds for the library.  Questions?  Call us at 896-READ!

New Computers/Printers!

Thanks to grants from the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation and the Money Creek/Houston Snowriders, the library was able to purchase new computers, printers, headphones, etc!  The tech team from SELCO was down bright and early this morning for installation  —  and everything is up, running, and ready for use by our patrons.  So exciting!

Owl StoryWalk

Thanks to beautiful weather during the 16th Annual International Festival of Owls last weekend, we had another wonderful Owl StoryWalk around town on Saturday, March 3rd.  This year, our owl storywalk featured the book, “The Barn Owls,” by Tony Johnston, with pages posted in the windows of businesses in our commercial district.  We so appreciate all those who allowed us to use their space for this fun event!

Winners of our Valentine’s Day Quilt & Baskets Raffle

On Wednesday, February 14th at 7 pm, the Friends of the Library held their 2nd Annual Quilt & Basket Raffle, raising over $1500 to support our upcoming 2018 Summer Reading Program! Our thanks go out to everyone who participated, whether you made a basket or purchased a ticket. We are so lucky to have such wonderful community support.

Here is a list of the individuals who won baskets:
1. Showtime Basket: Bekki Rohweder
2. Peter Rabbit Basket: Kayla Coil
3. All Things Owl Basket: Kari Charboneau
4. Road Trip Basket: Amy Kulas
5. Serve It Up Basket: Sarah Erdmann
6. Candy & Flowers Basket: Twyla Peterson
7. Stone Soup Basket: Kristi Frickson
8. Today I Made A Difference Basket: Steve Kanz
9. Gratitude Basket: Jenna Niena
10. American Girl Doll: Mary Ihrke
11. American Girl Horse: Sandy Erickson
12: Coloring Is Not Just For Kids Basket: Eileen Hegland
13. Backyard Birding Basket: Beth Peterson-Lee
14. Tea Time Basket: Jill Doll
15. Hearth & Home Basket: Ron Evenson
16. Mitford Snowman Basket: Jean Carlson
17. Needlework Basket: Jean Carlson
18. Cat Lovers Basket: Sue Fletcher
19. Winter Survival Basket: Barb Swenson

The winner of the beautiful hand-made quilt is Kate Evenson!

A special thanks goes out to Friend of the Library, Janelle Kelleher, for making and donating the quilt once again this year AND to Thrivent Financial For Lutherans for providing the seed money for this fundraising project through their mini-grant program.