Blog Entries

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Staff Member

Earn Your High School Equivalency with Library Resources

by Clelia Sweeney

As someone with a GED, I feel very strongly about the importance of helping people earn their high school equivalency. It opens doors for employment, training programs, military careers, and applying to college. Through a conversation with a patron last week, I learned that Iowa does not use the GED test but the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test, a much more straightforward acronym!) I hadn’t heard of the HiSET, but 23 out of 50 states currently offer it instead of the GED. It was developed in 2014 to better suit the needs of adult students, be more affordable, a... Read Full Blog

Great Reads for Hispanic Heritage Month

by Cathy Cooney

In order to include the celebrations of as many Central American, South American and Caribbean independence days as possible, Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15. Celebrate this year by picking up a great book by a Hispanic or Latinx author!

 For the horror fans among us, try Mexican-American author Isabel Cañas. Her debut novel, “The Hacienda,” blends Gothic suspense and horror. After her father’s execution during the Mexican War of Independence, Beatriz chooses to marry for safety and convenience. She ends up at her husband’s... Read Full Blog

Voting for all Ages at the Ames Public Library

September is the month of school, apples, and even the start of pumpkin spice. But it also has National Voter Registration Day on September 20th.  The League of Women Voters will be here at the Ames Public Library from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm to register people to vote.

Adults may know what voting is and why we should do it. But how do we teach kids and young people? The best way is for you to vote yourself and talk about how and why you vote. But another great way is to read books about voting and government with them!

Even babies can get started on the road to voting ... Read Full Blog


by Brianne Anderson

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read." — Abraham Lincoln

By far one of the best parts of our job as librarians is getting to recommend books. Don’t get us wrong, we love the satisfaction of helping someone discover a link to an ancestor, or helping kids find just the right source for their school paper, but the absolute best feeling is when we get to walk the shelves, pulling out our favorite titles and describing them to patrons. Our goal at APL is to be just like Abraham Lincoln’s bes... Read Full Blog

Family History

by Tracy Briseño

Recently my grandmas both shared some family pictures. I’ve never been very interested before. I know the basics of my family history, but hadn’t really gotten into many stories about folks I’ve never met.

Seeing photos of them changed that for me. I started listening more to the stories and asking more questions. Once I jumped in, I realized I needed a way to understand who my grandmas were talking about. Was Aunt Pat their Aunt, their Great Aunt, my grandpa’s aunt, or a close family friend not even related to us? I tried out Ancestry to map out my... Read Full Blog

Dog Days of Summer

By Alissa Dornink

In a couple weeks, I will join the almost 70 million households in the US that have a dog, specifically a golden retriever puppy tentatively named Sylvie. Or possibly Poe. Or maybe Din Djarin. I’m still working on the perfect name. I have been watching updates of her with her littermates online and I am pretty sure she’s the most adorable dog ever, although I may be slightly biased.

It’s been a little while since I have had a dog so I am taking time to bone up (the only dog-related pun I will make here, I promise) on all things pertaining to dogs. I have gone ... Read Full Blog

Summer Discoveries

by Anastasia Tuckness

Summertime as an 11- or 12-year-old can be very unpredictable. The rhythms of the school year are thrown off. You meet new people, unearth deep family secrets, or simply learn more about yourself. For this column, I’ve selected some of my very favorite summer stories about kids and young teens. They  tell stories about summertime experiences that, while sometimes surprising and unpredictable, really could have happened, either now or in the past. Their characters are dear to my hearts and their settings are vivid in my imagination—I truly, truly love each ... Read Full Blog

A Good Book

by Jill Philby

When I was in elementary school, I remember thinking to myself, “I will always read chapter books that have pictures. They are so much better than books without!”  In my mind, if a book had wonderful illustrations, then the story was probably wonderful, too.

To my sister at that age, a good book meant a horse book.  To one daughter, it meant a book in which everyone was nice to everyone else.  To another, it meant a funny book. To my best friend, it meant a teen romance. 

No matter what the story is about, though, good books hav... Read Full Blog

Climbing Mango Trees and Other Summer Pursuits

by Rosie Francis

Summer. Growing up in India, this was my favorite season. The days were long and filled with food, friends, and books. It was a special time for another reason also: summer was mango season. In our home, this meant a ready and steady supply of fresh mangoes straight from the tree. My childhood home was located in what was formerly a mango grove, and every house in our neighborhood had at least one mango tree; our home was supremely fortunate to have not one but four full-grown mature trees. Much of my summer was spent climbing these trees with my siblings and our fr... Read Full Blog

Why Travel?

by Seth Warburton

Travel exists, for me, in about the same space as dancing. I figure some people must be telling the truth when they say they enjoy those activities, but I can’t really relate. What fun you achieve with either activity seems to me to come with too high a price in cash, time, discomfort or perhaps all three. I know that my Ames Public Library colleagues have even written several of these columns extolling the virtue of travel and pointing you to books and other library resources to dream up and plan your ideal trip. In the interest of balance, I’d like to encourage y... Read Full Blog

Living the Van Life!

by Ellen Wanamaker

Library books are free, of course. What’s not free is the trip you take because you read about it in a library book and JUST HAD TO GO THERE.

Last spring I was feeling restless (like everyone else) and picked up a copy of Lonely Planet’s “The Vanlife Companion” by Ed Bartlett and Becky Ohlsen, a book about how to rent a camper van, and how to outfit it for epic rolling adventures. This book also features some ambitious road trip itineraries. Some of those were very cool but very far away: Western Australia’s Southwest Coast (amazing) and Patagonia’s Carretera... Read Full Blog

Road Trip!

by Jillian Ocken

Who’s ready for vacation? It’s almost time to pack up the family, hop in the car, and head out in search of adventure!

If you haven’t picked a destination yet, be sure to check out Ames Public Library’s Adventure Passes. There are a lot of great places to visit nearby, and even some in Ames! Adventure Passes are like tickets to local attractions that you can borrow from the Library for free. Choose from places like Blank Park Zoo, Reiman Gardens, The Science Center of Iowa, the African American Museum of Iowa, and more! Be sure to reserve your Adventure Pa... Read Full Blog

Finding Your Next Great Read

by Cathy Cooney

Picture the last really, really good book you read. The one you couldn’t wait to get back to when you had to put it down to go to work, cook, or let the dog out. The one you thought about for days afterward. The one that made you go back and read everything else that author had written. The one you told all of your friends and family they needed to read next.

Sometimes a book that good leads to a reading slump, where nothing seems to catch your interest. Luckily, your Ames Public Library staff can help! One of my favorite parts of my job is connecting custo... Read Full Blog

All the World’s a Stage at the Ames Public Library

by Danielle Ziegler

Do you know kids and teens aged 7 to 14 years old who are interested in theater? Is your family’s summer filling up already, with no time for months of rehearsals and shows? Or maybe your child has never been in a show before and you’re not sure if they’d love it or not. Why not try Prairie Fire Theater’s “Peter Pan” at your Ames Public Library this summer?

Prairie Fire Theater is a professional theater company out of Barrett, MN.  How it works is that they send two professional actors/directors to a community where, in just one week, they will put on a... Read Full Blog

Earth Week at Your Library

by Megan Klein-Hewett

As the City of Ames makes progress in the Climate Action Plan (CAP) process, Earth Day provides an opportunity for each of us to learn about and engage in actions that will lead to greater environmental sustainability in our community. Whether you wish to learn in person, change your habits locally, or read up on climate change, the Library has something to connect you to climate action in our community.

Ames Public Library is again working with the City of Ames to present EcoChats, a series of presentations featuring local experts on topics focused o... Read Full Blog