2019 Summer Reading Events!

Join us as we blast off to outer space this summer, learning about the moon, the stars, and everything else out of this world during our 2019 Summer Reading Program, “A Universe of Stories!” Here is a list of our special events, all of which take place in the library or outside in the library’s greenspace, unless otherwise indicated.  In case of inclement weather, some outside programs will take place over at the Houston Community Center. Give us a call at 896-READ when in doubt. 

Monday, June 17 from 7 to 8 pm:  LAUNCHES AND LIGHT!

Create a rocket out of clay, paper fins, and straw, then adjust the angle, power, and mass of the straw launcher to send it perfectly into space!  Kids will also explore various types of light through demonstrations and hands-on stations, thanks to Peter Johnson, STEM specialist from Pine Island.

Monday, June 24th from 7 to 8 pm: SCULPTING THE UNIVERSE at the Houston Community Center!

Get ready for a creative workshop run by artist Jen Anfinson!  Kids and their families will make a sculpture of the universe using clay, wire, and other found objects.  Class is limited to 20 families, so call the library to sign up early! This event takes place at the Houston Community Center. This event was paid for with funds from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund through a SELCO Legacy grant.

Monday, July 1st from 7 to 8 pm:  JUGGLING!

Clean enough for kids, smart enough for adults, and edgy enough for teens and young adults  —  come watch Jason Huneke juggle the planets, manipulate a comet of fire, and entertain us with other out-of-this-world experiences. This event was paid for with funds from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund through a SELCO Legacy grant.

Monday, July 8th from 7 to 8 pm:  THE WONDERWEAVERS!

3-2-1-Blast off!  Imagine supersonic stories. . . intergalactic magic. . . out of this world adventures.   Join in the fun as the WonderWeavers Storytellers share stories of the quest to make space travel a reality.  Everyone will become an astronaut and time warp through outer space.  Meet unusual aliens and space creatures as well, as we voyage to the moon and beyond! This event was paid for with funds from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund through a SELCO Legacy grant.

Monday, July 15th  from 7 to 8 pm:  STAR WARS YOGAQUEST at the Houston Community Center!

A unique blend of yoga and fan-fiction storytelling, the YogaQuest class is unlike any other class you’ve ever experienced. Our “Star Wars Quest” will be guided by a narrator and a certified yoga instructor.  Kids will embark on an epic, if often ridiculous, journey, moving through this popular space-themed movie by following a yoga routine designed to improve strength, balance, and flexibility.  This class takes place over at the Houston Community Center.  (Please note:  Kids going into 2nd grade and under MUST be accompanied by a participating adult!) This event was paid for with funds from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund through a SELCO Legacy grant.

Monday, July 22nd  from 7 to 8 pm:  OUTER SPACE BUTTON-MAKING CLASS!

The sky is the limit when it comes to button making.  We’ll have the button making machine and lots of old books on the stars and planets.  You bring your imagination and any other photo/picture you’d like to turn into a (2 inch diameter) button to wear.

Monday, July 29th from 7 to 8 pm:  VOYAGE TO THE STARS!

Ever wonder exactly what you can see in the night sky with a little help from a telescope?  Thanks to a local astronomy enthusiast, Tom Diana, we’ll be checking out some amazing photos of the stars and constellations —  taken right here, in his own backyard, just outside of the city of Houston!

Monday, August 5th from 7 to 8 pm:  DIY SPACE-THEMED TREASURE BOXES!

We’ve got old books on the planets and constellations, boxes of all sizes, scissors, and glue.  Stop by and make a space-themed treasure box to keep souvenirs or other precious things in! 

Monday, August 12th from  7 to 8 pm :  DRONES at the Houston Bandshell!

Meet us over at the bandshell to learn how a drone works and what people do with them  —  then watch as local photographer and drone owner Craig Stanislowski launches one off (at a respectable distance!) to film us all from above!  

Monday, August 19th from 1 to 2 pm and 2:30 to 3:30 pm:  STARLAB at the Houston Elementary School gym!

The STARLAB program features an inflatable planetarium showcasing 3,000 stars of different colors and sizes, as well as the constellations.  We’ll be learning the stories behind the stars and about the stars of the seasons.  Please note that STARLAB’s planetarium can hold no more than 60 kids, so we’ll be hosting two back-to back sessions, one starting at 1 pm and another at 2:30 pm.  This event will take place at the Houston Elementary School gym. This event was paid for with funds from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund through a SELCO Legacy grant.

Saturday, August 24th from 10 to 11 am:  STORYTIME WITH STARS FROM 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 guest stars (get the space joke?) 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!

Monday, August 26th from 4 to 8 pm:  ROCKET BOUNCE HOUSE!

On average, the moon is approximately 238,885 miles away from planet Earth.  As a community this summer, let’s try to read our way there by logging in 238,885 minutes of reading over June, July, and August!  Our reward for arriving at our destination in space?  How about an end-of-the-summer party featuring a Rocket Bounce House? Get ready to blast off in search of fun.

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

2019 Summer Reading Program!

Your child/children are invited to participate in the Houston Public Library’s 2019 Summer Reading ProgramOur theme this year is “A UNIVERSE OF STORIES!”

The stars are fascinating:  unknowable and mysterious, they seem so far away —  and yet you feel you could reach out and touch them.  They’ve always been the perfect inspiration for both the dreamers among us and the more practically-minded scientists.  Tap into all that wonder this summer with projects, games, books, STEAM programs (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) and more at the library — all celebrating outer space in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing.  We hope that you and your kids come along for the ride as together we explore “A Universe of Stories!”

Every Monday, we’ll be hosting special events, focusing on the stars, the planets, space, and science. All events are posted on our Facebook page and a list is available at the library as well. We are NOT doing individual reading logs again this year, but will instead offer weekly challenges for kids that may be turned in anytime during the summer to be entered into weekly drawings for $10 Barnes & Noble gift certificates.  We’ll also be hosting a Community Read Contest for both kids and adults to see if together we can read 238,855 minutes over the course of June, July, and August  —  the average distance in miles from the Earth to the moon!  The prize for succeeding?  A party featuring a Rocket Bounce House!

Our Summer Reading Program 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.   For the record, as of the beginning of 2019,  the Houston Public Library no longer charges overdue fees on children’s books and audio books, from board books all the way up to Young Adult materials! Questions about Summer Reading or any other library program? Give us a call at 896-READ!

When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Stories of Refugees in America.

Join us at the Houston Public Library at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 16th for documentary artists, James A. Bowey, who will share stories and photographs from “When Home Won’t Let You Stay,” his traveling exhibition about refugees in Minnesota. This compelling talk remind us all that empathy is an essential mindset for contemporary education, business, and democracy. This program was made possible by a SELCO Legacy grant through the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

The Barns of Minnesota with Doug Ohman

Enjoy a rural journey exploring the greatest of all rural icons, the barn. Freelance photographer, author, and public speaker Doug Ohman tells the story of Minnesota from the early days of statehood through the era of agribusiness. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back to the farm as Doug examines the importance of our rural roots. Ohman has degrees in both geography and history from the University of Minnesota. His work can be viewed at www.pioneerphotography.com. Questions about this or any other library program/ Give us a call at 896-READ!

Whoooo’s Ready for an Owl StoryWalk?

In celebration of the 17th Annual International Festival of Owls, the Houston Public Library is hosting our third owl-themed StoryWalk, this time featuring “White Owl, Barn Owl” written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by John Michael Foreman. 

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 to Grant Street and comes back to Cedar Street– so basically a trip around Houston’s busiest commercial block.  As the pages of “White Owl, Barn Owl” are prominently displayed in front windows/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, dress appropriately, and don’t forget to support Houston’s local businesses that are making this event possible.   Questions?  Call the library at 507-896-READ!

Introduction:  Houston Public Library  —  202 East Cedar

Pages 1-2:  International Owl Center  —  126 East Cedar

Pages 3-4:  Bremer Bank  —  108 East Cedar

Pages 5-6:  Snow’s Beauty Salon  —  134 South Grant

Page 7-8:  United States Post Office  —  127 South Grant

Page 9-10:  American Legion Club  —  121 South Grant

Page 11-12:  H&R Block  —  109 South Grant

Page 13-14:  Cox True Value Hardware  —  101 South Grant

Page 15-16: Carlson Coffee Roasting & Mini-Doughnut Lab  —  101 West Cedar

Page 17-18:  Barista’s Coffee House  —  110 North Grant

Page 19-20:  Mound Prairie Mutual Insurance  —  115 East Cedar

Page 21-22:  Root River Market Cooperative  —  119 East Cedar

Page 23-24:  JT’s Corner Bar & Grill  —  125 East Cedar



Valentine’s Day Quilt & Basket Raffle!

Congratulations to the winners of the Friends of the Library’s 3rd Annual Quilt and Basket Raffle, which took place on Thursday, February 14th at 7 pm! Thanks to all of you who supported our upcoming 2019 Summer Reading Program by participating and donating! Special thanks go out to Thrivent Financial for Lutherans for providing the seed money to get this project started, as well as to Janelle Kelleher for making and donating the quilt!

Here is a list of the lucky individuals:
Quilt: Jeanne Tippery!
Pioneer Girl Basket: Eileen Hegland!
Tea with the Queen Basket: Joan Redig!
Adventures with Gary Paulson Basket: Sarah Erdmann!
Happy Camper Basket: Jean Carlson!
Cozy Reads Basket: Lynn Carr!
Murder in the North Basket: Hein Bloom!
Family Science Basket: Amy Kulas and Helen!
Mini Maker Space Basket: Jean Carlson!
I survived Basket: Barb Swenson!
Day at the Beach Basket: Sarah Erdmann!
My First Easter Basket: Ann Markegard!
Get Gardening Basket: Eileen Hegland!
Never Quit Drawing Basket: Twyla Peterson!
Car Lovers Basket: Beth Peterson-Lee and John!
Zen/Meditation Basket: Averi Hunter!
Family Staycation: Amy Kulas and Aden!

Questions? Give us a call at 896-READ!

CLOSED for Dr. MLK Jr. Day

The Houston Public Library will be CLOSED on Monday, January 21st in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone. We’ll be back to our regular schedule on Tuesday, January 22nd. Questions? Give us a call at 896-READ!

Fine Free Children’s Books!

It’s a new year out there  — and as it begins, your five Houston County Public Libraries are happy to announce an exciting new county-wide policy:  as of January 1st, 2019, children’s books and audio books from our region will no longer accumulate overdue fees!

The group decision was an easy one for the library directors from Caledonia, Hokah, Houston, La Crescent, and Spring Grove to make.  Encouraging early literacy is one of our primary goals. Fines, no matter how small, can become barriers for families of all shapes and sizes, eventually preventing them from using our services.  With this new initiative, we hope to welcome back parents and kids who may have avoided the library because of fines on their accounts, while continuing to build goodwill (and great reading skills!) within our communities.   

As a result, we will also be waiving outstanding fines that were incurred on overdue children’s books on current library accounts anytime in the past.   Please note that this change does not apply to adult books or to movies for any age group. In addition, charges for lost or damaged items will still apply.   

Questions?  Give us a call at 896-READ or stop by the Houston Public Library during our regular hours of operation.  We’re delighted to start off the new year with such a positive change — and hope you will be too!


The Houston Public Library will be CLOSED this holiday season on:

  • Monday, December 24th
  • Tuesday, December 25th
  • Monday, December 30th 
  • Tuesday, December 31st.

Have a safe, peaceful, and happy end of the year, everyone!  Please give us a call at 896-7323 if you have any questions!