If you stop by, walk by, or drive by the Houston Public Library anytime soon, you’ll notice we are coming to the end of a little exterior renovation project. Over the few years, we’ve experienced some periodic interior water damage due to the deteriorating brick and mortar on the south and east sides of the building, a situation aggrevated by a lack of an overhanging roof protecting those walls. As a result, we’ve long been planning to strip, insulate, add in a moisture barrier, put up siding, and extend the roof-line! The Library Board has been putting aside funds out of our operational budget for the past six years for this project — and our Friends’ group contributed as well. Back in February, Caledonia Lumber officially got started on the rehab, finishing up a few weeks later.  This past weekend, thanks to some beautiful weather and a hard-working volunteer, our outside storage shed and metal doors on the south and west sides all got a fresh coat of paint.  We still have an overhead panel to paint brown on the west side and we’d like to get another sign with our hours of operation posted on the east side, but the bulk of the work is finally completed, whew!.  With kids at storytime planting our Community Container Gardens early in May, we’ll bring this project to an end just in time to focus our energies on our 2017 Summer Reading Program. 




Wonder what we are going to be up to at our Saturday Morning Storytimes in the near future?  Here’s a list!  Our children’s storytimes are gear for kids 0-8, but all ages are welcome to attend.

Saturday, May 13th:  Gardening

Saturday, May 20th:  Guinea Pigs

Saturday, May 27th:  Families

Saturday, June 3rd:  Underground Adventures

Saturday, June 10th:  Surprise!

Saturday, June 17th:  Father’s Day

Saturday, June 24th;  Move to the Music!

Farm Equipment of Yesteryear with Doug Ohman

Step back in time to when the family farm was one of the cornerstones of American agriculture. On Monday, April 10th at 7 pm at the Houston Public Library, author and photographer Doug Ohman will take you on a visual tour of older farming equipment that has become obsolete in the modern age. His pictures and stories will be enjoyed by all those who remember their youth growing up in rural America. Doug Ohman is a popular speaker, storyteller, and photographer with strong roots in Minnesota. His popular Minnesota Byways series of six books contains images of Minnesota’s natural beauty and its rich history. His work has been widely published in magazine and calendars as well. Doug tells the stories behind his pictures with humor and insight, making the photos come to life for his audience. He also tells the story of how he combined his passion for history and his love of photography into a successful career. This event was made possible through the SELCO Winter Author Tour, funded in part by the MInnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

StoryWalk: Owl Moon

In celebration of the 15th Annual International Festival of Owls on March 3rd through 5th, the Houston Public Library is hosting our 2nd official StoryWalk, this time featuring “Owl Moon” written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr.

What in the world is a StoryWalk? Well, imagine you and your kids are walking around downtown Houston and all along the way you keep coming across pages from a children’s picture book mounted in the windows of local businesses.  Before you know it, you’re reading a story as you go!  The concept of a StoryWalk was developed in 2007 by Anne Ferguson of Montpellier, Vermont, with the goal of “combining three critical elements for overall family health:  early literacy learning, family engagement outdoors, and physical activity.”

Our StoryWalk begins on the front door of the Houston Public Library, crosses over Sherman Street to the International Owl Center, heads around the corner and over to Maple Street, turns onto Grant, then finishes back up on Cedar Street — so basically a trip around Houston’s busiest commercial block.  As the pages of “Owl Moon” are prominently displayed in front windows and doors and are clearly visible from the sidewalk, you can go about your own StoryWalk at any time of day or night!

Have fun on your StoryWalk– and don’t forget to support Houston’s local businesses that are making this event possible. Questions?  Call the library at 507-896-READ!

STARLAB Planetarium and Eclipse Viewing Party!

August is a long way away, but we want everyone to get this great Summer Reading event on their calendar now: on Monday, August 7th at 2 pm over at the Houston Community Center, the library will be hosting STARLAB, an inflatable planetarium which showcases 3,000 stars of different colors and sizes, as well as the constellations. Whether it’s telling the stories behind the stars or focusing on the stars of the seasons, this program is great for all ages. You’ll want to be one of the lucky 60 kids who participate, as we’ll also be learning all about the August 21st Eclipse Viewing Party the library will also be hosting out in our greenspace, complete with free eclipse glasses! More info later. This event is made possible by the Space Science Institute and funds from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Fund’s Vetted Program

Upcoming Storytimes

Here’s a list of upcoming themes for Saturday Morning Storytimes at the Houston Public Library.   We meet from 10 to 11 am in our children’s room.

Saturday, February 11th:  Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 18th:  Robots

Saturday, February 25th:  Dinosaurs

Saturday, March 4th:  Owls

Little Free Library Project!

Thanks to a partnership between the five Houston County Public Libraries and a SELCO Legacy grant through the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, 25 Little Free Libraries will be installed this spring throughout Houston County!  Five of them will be located within the city of Houston at the following high-traffic public sites:  Bluffview Community Ballfield, Houston City Park, Houston Elementary School, Houston Nature Center, and the greenspace of the Houston Public Library.

In addition, local artists from HARC (Houston Arts Resource Council) will be decorating the exteriors of each library to march up with their permanent homes.  The Little Free Libraries will be stocked by our Friends of the Library group with donated materials and withdrawn library books.  This project, which encourages people of all ages to “take a book or leave a book,” ties back to our upcoming 2017 Summer Reading Program, entitled “Build A Better World!”  Questions?  Call the library at 896-READ.

Valentine’s Day Quilt and Baskets Raffle!

At 7 pm on Tuesday, February 14th, the Friends of the Library will be hosting a quilt and basket raffle to support our upcoming 2017 Summer Reading Program.  Tickets for the quilt are $2 each; tickets for each of the 13 different baskets are $1 each.  You need not be present to win, but we’ll be serving lemonade and cookies, just in case you feel like stopping by for the fun.   Questions?  Call the library at 896-READ.


Here’s a list of upcoming storytime themes for this fall!  Storytime at the library is from 10 to 11 am every Saturday.
Saturday, October 15:  Spooktacular Storytime
Saturday, October 22:  Creepy Crawly Critters
Saturday, October 29:  Halloween
Saturday, November 5:  Election Day
Saturday, November 12:  Sweater Weather
Saturday, November  19:  Thanksgiving
Saturday, November  26:  Winter is Coming