Blog Entries

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Staff Member

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

Ready for Gardening

by Jillian Ocken

The crocuses are just about done blooming, the Daffodils are getting started, and my brain has fully entered gardening mode. It’s too bad the weather hasn’t caught up with me yet!

I’m especially excited for spring this year because two family members are asking me for ideas on their own landscaping projects. I’m no expert, but I enjoy the creativity of starting a new garden—and I love plants!

My first instinct when starting a gardening project is to visit every garden center in a 100-mile radius to pick out plants, but that doesn’t work this early in ... Read Full Blog

What to read next…?

by Ellen Wanamaker

I’ve done it again, that thing that librarians do. I’ve brought home too many books and can’t settle on which one to start. It’s a good problem to have, being surrounded by so many books that you’re paralyzed by the sheer pile of awesomeness in front of you.

One of the books in my heap is “The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird” by Joshua Hammer. This one made it home because I’m just a sucker for books about birds. Also, how can you resist a true crime story about a man so desperate to steal rare peregri... Read Full Blog

Reading Requests

by Jill Philby 

We get lots of requests at Ames Public Library.  Sometimes it is a simple request, like needing a study room.  Other times, it’s a bit more complicated, like putting an item on hold or a purchase request.  And, occasionally, it is for something that may take a bit more time and thought, such as title suggestions for advanced young readers—children who are reading quite a bit higher than their grade level. 

When we have an adult talk to us here in Youth Services about their advanced reader, we get excited.  It’s exciting that ... Read Full Blog


by Alissa Lee Dornink

My friend recently sent me a life-sized carboard cutout of the character Dean Winchester, of Supernatural fame, that she found at a vintage shop in Minneapolis. For those not familiar, Supernatural was a long running CW show that followed two brothers as they crisscrossed the country in their 1967 Chevy Impala hunting monsters and fighting evil supernatural beings.

I thought it would be in keeping with the road trip spirit of his character to bring him along as I traveled to visit family in Nebraska and Minnesota, so I folded him up and brought him al... Read Full Blog

Settling In

by Sheila Schofer

I moved into a new old house recently. It feels good to settle further into my chosen home town of Ames in a more permanent way, after years of NYC apartment living. I bought an older home, an aesthetic that speaks to me; I was recalling to a colleague recently that I’d had a clawfoot bathtub in nearly every place I’d lived since graduating from college.

Older homes come with interesting layouts, smaller closets and storage challenges though. Plus, moving homes forces you to confront your stuff.  I had parted ways with many items when I moved across ... Read Full Blog

To Be Read?

by Seth Warburton

One month of 2022 is already gone, which means this is the time of year to default on all those lofty goals that you made only a few short weeks ago.  I rarely make New Year’s resolutions myself with the exception of setting the number of books I want to read in the year to come.  With my goal comes a constantly-growing pile of books that I aspire to read: my TBR pile.  My TBR, or To-Be-Read, list never seems to shrink, no matter how many books I read.  My biggest problem is rank promiscuity.  When it comes to books I’m an unrestrained phil... Read Full Blog

Resources for the New Year

by Jonathan Tostado-Marquez

With the New Year comes new beginnings, new adventures and, for some, new resolutions and goals. Whether you are interested in finally finishing up that small project you keep putting off or picking up a new skill or hobby, the Ames Public Library has a wide range of books, CDs and, other materials to help you along the way.

If, in this New Year, you would like to express more of your artistic side consider checking out books on topics like woodworking, painting, drawing, knitting and so much more. If woodworking seems appealing, consider the bo... Read Full Blog

It Comes Down to Empathy

by Ellen Wanamaker

Two times recently I’ve had that bittersweet experience of reading a book I couldn’t bear to finish. Of course I finished both, and have been raving about them ever since.

A few years ago I read Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light You Cannot See.” That story, set in Nazi-occupied France, gave us two characters so real I felt like I’d been personally introduced. The story featured blind teenager Marie-Laure, whose father carved a replica of their walled city so she could learn the layout by feel, and Werner, forced into the Nazi army as a teen.

I eag... Read Full Blog