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NOVEMBER 30, 2015
Celebrate the Holidays with MCPL!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Marathon County Public Library, with 10 holiday-themed events scheduled between now and December 21 at the Wausau Headquarters and its eight branches.

Running now through December 14, MCPL is kicking off the holiday season with “Letters to Santa,” during which time children of any age can visit the Wausau headquarters to drop off a letter in Santa’s gingerbread house mailbox, located in the Children’s Department. After the library staff sends the letters up to the North Pole, children will receive a reply in the mail from Santa Claus himself starting the week of December 14.

The holiday fun in Wausau continues with two craft events held back-to-back. “DIY Paper Holiday Ornaments” on December 9 will give outdated and damaged books new life when adult patrons recycle and transform them into beautiful Christmas tree ornaments. On December 10, all ages are welcome to participate in the “Family Holiday Craft Fair”, creating items like glitter magnets, felt flower pins, and scented milk bath, which make for great gifts for friends and family.

“Gingerbread Who?” on December 12 will feature a morning Gingerbread Man story time, followed by a family craft event allowing young patrons to make faux-gingerbread versions of their favorite characters, like Gingerbread Curious George and Gingerbread Harry Potter. Children can also make extra gingerbread people to send to local nursing home residents to brighten their holiday.

MCPL will get a taste of the country on December 19 with “Country Christmas Fun”, consisting of a Christmas and farm-themed story time in the morning, proceeded by refreshments provided by the Marathon County Farm Bureau.

Patrons of all ages can create their own personalized handmade holiday greeting cards on December 21 with “Cards for Cause.” Participants are invited to make cards for their own friends and family or to send to local nursing home residents, just in time for Christmas.

With a handful of events at the MCPL branches, the holiday fun doesn’t stop in Wausau.

The Spencer Branch Library will serve up “Heart-Healthy Holiday Cooking” on December 1 where Jackie Carattini, Family Living Agent with Marathon County UW-Extension, will instruct attendees on how to make healthier version of traditional Christmas dishes. Carattini will also talk about things like portion control and how to maintain healthy eating choices throughout the holiday season.

“Carols of Dysfunction” will take place December 9 at the Marathon City branch. During this event, tweens and teens will create their own “Carols of Dysfunction” board game, where players perform Christmas carols in unorthodox ways, such as by barking or meowing.

Adults and children alike are invited to create their own handmade Christmas cards and ornaments at the Mosinee branch library on December 10. Participants can choose from a variety of ornament designs and difficulty levels, allowing the whole family to get creative.

MCPL’s Rothschild branch will celebrate the holiday season with their “Happy Holidays!” celebration December 15, consisting of a family holiday story time, holiday songs, winter crafts, and Christmas card-making.

For questions or additional information regarding any of these events, feel free to call or visit the Marathon County Public LIbrary or any of its branches.

Happy holidays from MCPL!


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Dan Richter/Library Services

Categories: ProgramsChildrenParents


NOVEMBER 27, 2015
Things I learned from the WLA Conference
On Nov. 4, 2015, I was fortunate to attend one day of the annual Wisconsin Library Association conference, held this year in Middleton. These conferences are a great chance to network, but more importantly, librarians and library staff from across the state come together to discuss different aspects of library operations – including sessions this year on programming, library design, collection development and engaging teens through technology, among other topics.
Since MCPL covered the cost of attending the conference, I thought I would share with you, the public, some of the things I saw and learned during this beneficial excursion.
The morning keynote address was from Mita Williams, a librarian at the Leddy Library in Windsor, Ontario called “The City as Classroom” and how libraries can better embed their institutions in the community.
One way is to set up physical locations around communities at farmer’s markets or other public gatherings. The Suffolk library in Virginia has set up Pop-Up Libraries under a 10x10 tent with library services like card registration, digital training and sometimes stories.
The Louisville Free Public Library each year organizes a How-To Festival –something I would love for MCPL to try some day. Attendees have their choice between 50-100 presenters for 30-45 min. lessons on everything from how to jump rope and how to sing the national anthem, to origami and sign language.
Other avenues of outreach in the talk referenced a local wiki project where people can fill in information about their own communities – an idea that intrigues me and is something we might have to try in Marathon County. Williams also discussed embedding more in a community by promoting websites and apps for information on birding, for example, so libraries and their staffs can gain or enhance their reputation as a source for different types of information.
The first breakout session I attended was “What is Bubbler” about the Madison Public Library’s Bubbler program, which is an impressive mix of DIY programming (screen printing, monster making, upcycle crafting, etc.), digital media and evening events for adults. The Bubbler finds volunteers for their programs, but they also work frequently with smaller, local businesses on how-to programs, information sessions/seminars, digital literacy, etc. In the year ahead, our library staff will be exploring ways in which we can get our local business and non-profit communities more involved in library programs and increase the quality of our programming by incorporating people who are experts and make a living from their knowledge and craft. I think for a while we’ve been unsure about exactly how we can bring business owners, artists and others into the library for programming out of concern the library would be seen as promoting a for-profit endeavor. But the Bubbler has basically a come one-come all approach to involving small business owners and artists trying to make a living from their work, as long as they’re not handing out business cards and selling products at the library. The Bubbler also now has an application process for their artist-in-residence program that brings in an artist for 2-3 months to offer exposure to their work in exchange for the artist doing at least 3-4 programs.
Simply put, the Bubbler rules.
Several La Crosse librarians talked about how they organize, promote and run their computer and technology classes which is currently up to 24 programs. In the past, MCPL Wausau frequently offered computer classes, but we’ve pulled back a bit on those types of programs since the United Way’s RSVP program began offering their own classes. Not anymore: Stay tuned in 2016 for a variety of computer and software classes, from basic computer skills to the Wisconsin’s Digital Library e-book system. In the meantime, if you’re looking to learn more about computers or computer programs, try Learning Express Library 3.0 or an excellent site organized by the Goodwill Community Foundation.
The last session I attended, entitled “Designing a Participatory Library,” was on the design and construction of the new library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is quite nice. MCPL recently embarked on a long-term planning and visioning session and we’re considering some changes in the way MCPL Wausau is organized. (Have some thoughts? Let us know here!) The Cedar Rapids library architects built in and designed the interior with more of a retail theory – “more Apple store, less DMV” - by opening up the space with staff desks strategically placed in a wide open floor plan. None of the shelves are higher than 5’2”, there’s lots of windows, different accent materials for way finding, more lounge-style furniture in study rooms, that sort of thing. And they’ve been more willing to say yes to requests like weddings, birthday parties and a petting zoo, and allow businesses/groups to rent meeting rooms after hours for a small fee to cover security or staff time.
In the seven years since it was built, visits increased by 240,000, circulation has increased from 1.2 to 1.4 million even though the collection decreased by 150,000 items. Program attendance the last year at the old library was 10,000; last year it was 130,000.
I look forward to more professional development opportunities in the future and if I come across anything that might interest our patrons, I’ll be sure to share it. And, if you have some thoughts on programming or other aspects of MCPL operations, we always welcome the feedback.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: LibrariesProgramsyourMCPL


NOVEMBER 24, 2015
Working to combat hunger and homelessness
Rep. Sean Duffy recently organized his third-annual Hunger and Homelessness Summit on Nov. 9 in Rothschild to bring together people from throughout central Wisconsin – government, business, individuals and non-profit folks – to discuss hunger and homelessness. More than 100 people participated, and I attended the summit to participate in discussions and learn about other community efforts that may help some of the patrons we serve at the library. As we gather with our families and friends in our homes to share holiday meals, I thought this would be a good time to share information not only from the summit, but also about available library resources.

The need for overnight shelter and food assistance has steadily increased over the past five to seven years, according to the United Way of Marathon County. In 2014, the Salvation Army, The Women’s Community and the Wausau Community Warming Center provided a combined 20,000 nights of lodging. And in 2013, the Marathon County Hunger Coalition met more than 100,000 requests for food assistance.
The library offers a wide range of resources to help individuals and families who are struggling financially, including those facing homelessness and unemployment. First, all library resources – books, movies, music, programming – are free with a library card (and you don’t even need a library card to attend programs). Anyone looking for a job can find at just about any MCPL location books on resumes, job trends and life skills, or use one of several computers at MCPL Wausau set aside specifically for job searching – no card required and no time limit. We also maintain a list of different job engines here - We also have a variety of career exams, software tutorials, GED test preparation and ways to build reading, writing and math skills through Learning Express Library 3.0 in the online resources section of our website.
Throughout the winters, MCPL Wausau is a designated warming center in the city, giving people a centrally located place to get inside and warm up from the cold. While we are happy to help anyone shake the chill from their bones, all we ask is that all patrons abide by the library’s behavior policy - - which includes prohibitions on sleeping, the consumption of alcohol on the premises or entering the library intoxicated.
Secretary Julian Castro of the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department gave the keynote speech at the Hunger and Homelessness Summit, and said the United States is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. Castro spoke about programs like the HOME Investment Partnerships Program that provides states and municipalities with funding toward building, buying or rehabbing a home, or toward direct rental assistance to low-income individuals. You can find information about the HOME program here - and a list of different federal resources for hunger, homelessness and mental health services here -
We have a number of different local organizations working hard to provide services for low-income and homeless individuals and families, including the United Way and both the Marathon County Hunger Coalition and the Housing and Homelessness Coalition. The United Way also operates the 2-1-1 assistance hotline and publishes the annual Give and Get Help Guide, available at many Marathon County locations and online through the 2-1-1 website. Also, information about the Wausau Community Warming Center on Third Avenue - including a list of their needs - can be found here.
Another resource is the Wisconsin Community Action Program, which assists with literacy skills and employment training, rental assistance, revolving business loans and much more. Marathon County is served by the North Central Community Action Program -
An eye-opening panel discussion for me was on mental health and homelessness among military veterans, and the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse that many veterans face every day. A number of different organizations, from local to federal, exist to help veterans with mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as housing assistance, job training skills and social and emotional support. The Marathon County Veterans Service Office works between the veteran and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Wisconsin Dept. of Veterans Affairs (WDVA).  In 2013, the VA provided services to more than 260,000 veterans who were either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
If you or someone you know if struggling with hunger, homelessness or mental illness, and you’re not sure where to turn, our library staff will be happy to help. Although we cannot make specific recommendations or offer any sort of legal advice, we'll do what we can to provide relevant resources and information to anyone who needs it, any time it’s needed.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: FoodLibrarieselectronic databases


NOVEMBER 11, 2015
Learn More About the Presidential Candidates
With the 2016 presidential election less than a year away nearly 20 candidates are still left vying for the nation's top spot.

In addition to interviews and televised debates, another great resource for learning about the presidential hopefuls and where they stand on certain issues can be through their own written words. A vast majority of candidates in both of the major political parties have published books throughout the years, including memoirs, autobiographies, and manifestos on a host of topics, from healthcare to the economy.

Below is a non-comprehensive list, in alphabetical order, of some of the candidates' more recent books that can be checked out through the Marathon County Public Library, any of its branches, or through its OverDrive digital library. Any candidate not represented on this list either has yet to write a book or doesn't have a book available through MCPL at the time this blog was published.

One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future by Ben Carson, M.D. (2014)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Carson outlines his solutions to hot topics like health care, education, and tax policy, and shares anecdotes from his own life as a neurosurgeon as a means of addressing what he believes are the most pressing issues facing the nation.

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2014)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

The former first lady, New York senator, and secretary of state shares her thoughts on the key moments during her time working as part of the Obama Administration, as well as her ideas for how the country can navigate the domestic and international challenges in the years to come.

A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America by Ted Cruz (2015)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Here, Cruz talks about his life, his political career (including his time as a Texas senator) and proposes revitalizing the government by returning to the core principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey by Carly Fiorina (2015)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:
In this book, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Fiorina writes that politics, like business, is primarily about people and also highlights the lessons she’s learned from her personal and professional difficulties and successes.

God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy by Mike Huckabee (2015)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and Fox News talk show host, explains his conservative faith-based values and expounds on his stances on issues like gun control, religion, same-sex marriage, and more.
Leadership and Crisis by Bobby Jindal, with Peter Schweizer and Curt Anderson (2010)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Jindal, the current governor of Louisiana, talks about the federal government's role in both Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in addition to his thoughts on big government and American ideals.

Stand for Something: The Battle for America's Soul by John Kasich (2006)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Written before he became the current governor of Ohio, Kasich warns in his book about what he believes to be an erosion of moral values in America due to a lack of business ethics, religious intolerance, and ineffective elected officials.

Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds by Rand Paul (2012)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

A U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Paul asserts in his book that everyday Americans are being abused and taken advantage of via thousands of unconstitutional laws and regulations and suggests lower taxes and smaller government as two possible remedies.

American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone by Marco Rubio (2015)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

The 43 year-old Florida senator uses a mix of autobiographical stories and the experiences of everyday citizens to talk about social and governmental issues, such as tax reform, as well as his plan for economic restoration.

The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class by Bernie Sanders (2011)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

This book presents a written copy of the Vermont senator's' entire eight and a half-hour speech from December 10, 2010, during which he urged the American middle class to become more organized and informed in an effort to take on the special interests in Washington.

Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works by Rick Santorum (2014)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

In this book Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, writes about his thoughts on the Republican party and its connection to blue collar voters.

Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again by Donald Trump (2011)
To place a hold or check on availability, click here:

Real estate developer and media personality Trump talks here about his opinion of the Obama administration as well as his thoughts on issues like jobs, illegal immigration, international trade and the national debt.
A sampling of additional books by the candidates available through MCPL:
“A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties” by Ben Carson, M.D. (2015)
“Living History” by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2003)
“A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington and a Trillion That We Don't” by Mike Huckabee (2011)
“The Tea Party Goes to Washington” by Rand Paul (2011)
“An American Son: A Memoir” by Marco Rubio (2012)
“Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again” by Donald Trump (2015)

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Dan Richter

Categories: BooksReadingFuture


OCTOBER 31, 2015
Terror! in Six Words story contest winners
We'd like to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated in our 2015 Terror! in Six Words story contest. We were thrilled to receive more than 80 entries from 78 participants! We had a blast reading through all the entries, and we hope you enjoy reading them, too.
The top five entries are listed below, along with all of the entries. A quick note for curious minds wondering how we picked the winners. First, it wasn't easy and you may disagree with our picks (let us know in the comments if you do!) Second, entries were shared with 10 MCPL staff members, and each picked their own top five. Entries that made the top five were picked based on appearances on the judges' lists. For example, our winner from Allie Gall was in five of the 10 lists (a sign of our differences in taste and difficulty choosing!)
Thanks again to the participants and start thinking of your scariest six words for 2016.
The entries:
  • Death searches for you. Relentless. Unforgiving. - Leigh Montalto
  • Deserted Road. Car stalls. Glass breaks. - Leigh Montalto
  • Nick shivers. The spirits are close. - Leigh Montalto
  • Incessant knocking. From inside the house. - Leigh Montalto
  • He got into the car drunk - Pattie Knight
  • Parachute tangled during one-mile jump - Ken Barker
  • The Ouija board spelled “IMU … Goodbye” - Evan Cass
  • Another shooter at a local school - Art Wiese
  • The poison smells delicious, right dearie? - Dylan Calhoun
  • In the dark, glowing eyes appear - Garret Parks
  • Bill arrives, reach into empty pocket - Jonah Dombrowski
  • Falling high, falling fast: no parachute! - Guy Gehrman
  • Alone in darkness. Are those voices? - Peter Clark
  • “It’s breech!” screamed the elephant’s midwife - Dawn Bohm
  • Masked faces walking all around me - Anna Koehl
  • Wake paralyzed itching crushed black widow - Kim Burnham
  • Oh my gosh, it got out! - Christopher Jensen
  • Oh my gosh, you’re having triplets! - Delaney Lawlis
  • Sleeping alone, someone pulls the blanket - Daphne Rose Gavin
  • Taxes due. You have no money. - Laura Rusch
  • She never saw the car coming - Stephanie Kohlie
  • There are two types of tumors - Theresa Schulta
  • Wait until your father gets home! - Theresa Schulta
  • Decayed leaves stain Fall’s walk. HIROSHIMA – Tracey Ludvik
  • Drunken push, dead eyes, ask why - Tracey Ludvik
  • Leaves falling like yellow snow. Winter! - Tracey Ludvik
  • With his last breath, “Behind You!” – Cole Martinez
  • Fleshless bones, rats and maggots, burp! - Susan Ninneman
  • Eyeballs pop, blood drops, lick chops - Susan Ninneman
  • Stop! Come back! I’m still alive! - Julie Mayrose
  • Dropped phone. Oh no, cracked screen. - Sydney Pisarski
  • Dad, mom knows we watched ‘Psycho’ - Tony Liddle
  • “Attention: the Earth Project has failed” - Isabel Dahlke
  • Dirty fingernails, panicked breath, blinding darkness - Mercadees Schara
  • Bloodcurdling scream, corpselike blur, dreadful nightmare - Whitney Guenther
  • Hot breath, weight on chest, snarling - Hannah Morse
  • In the shadows it lies. Waiting. - Laura Hillman
  • Safe under the covers; maybe not - Sam Larsen
  • Chilling graveyard, eerie fog, bloodcurdling screams - Nick Weinkauf
  • Knife hidden; he rings the doorbell - Shawn Bunkelman
  • Knives were removed – so was he. - McKenzie Durr
  • Dead body, bloody fingers, Shia Lebouf - Justin Michalewicz
  • Ominous shadows, sinister looks, eerie shrill … Macey Wirkus
  • It’s gone, the life you love - Jarret Miles-Kroening
  • Decapitation, murder, exorcism, screams, dead, behind. - Hugo Calderon
  • He cackles from the shadows, “Soon.” - Marissa Slack
  • Disappearances, monstrous howls, trapped in darkness - Scott E. Lepak
  • Fastidious sadistic, constrained victim, glinting scalpel - Miranda Myszka
  • Dark woods, creepy noises, howling death - Jorid Folster
  • Burning flesh, deafening screams, butchering psychopath - Nataley Myszka
  • Spine-chilling world, horrendous murder, bloodcurdling bath - Noah Fernbach
  • Eerie graveyard, loud screams, bloody terror - Isabel Slagoski
  • Child trapped down in eerie basement - Tyler Soczka
  • Sinister bloodcurdling corpse in the shadows - Jesse Albert
  • Screaming bloody murder and sadistic terror - Rachel Roskopf
  • The sinister laughing of sadistic murders - Hanna Lang
  • Ominous clouds, loud screams, bloody corpses - Dawson Berry
  • Eight legs, unable to get out - Michael Wood
  • Creaking hallways, bloody walls, deathly victim - Lindsey Schneeberger
  • The bloodsucking sinister victim of death - Brock Mueller
  • Sinister terror, trapped death, bloody corpse - Brianna Hoppenworth
  • “Mommy, where did your face go?” - Allie Gall
  • Quiet whispers, loud footsteps, empty house. - Samantha Schreiber
  • Trips in the darkness, sticky hands. - Mckayla Drenner
  • Children of Tigoku, weeping bloody tears. - Jared Garske
  • Baby monitor, crying child, home alone - Kamryn Butt
  • Wood creaking, blood streaking, midnight reaping. - Wesley Gust
  • Basement screams, coming from your basement - Nicholas Koller
  • Slowly dangling, bloody kids, “Who’s next?” - Brooke Jisko
  • Dark shadow, gleaming axe, missing person. - Rose Paul
  • Possessed demon, unhuman laughter, bloody mess. - Bethany Borchardt
  • Bloody victim trapped in shadowy tomb. - Seth Schilling
  • Bloodcurdling screams from below our feet. - Mason Guralski
  • “The earth will explode in five…” - Rachel Heiden
  • What’s in the corner, sadistic sloth. - Tyler Sommer
  • Dark room, closing in, panic cries. - Hannah Brewster
  • Revived figure, “There is no God.” - Taiyah Tarter
  • The purge, chaos, violence, only death. - Tyler Engel
  • Screaming girls, bloody hands, sharp knife. - Erica Lemmer
  • Creaking floors, sadistic man, no survivors. - Kelsey Strobel
  • Macabre basement, dark silence, metal scraping. - Lyndi Mullen
  • Bloody knife, victim shadows, death trap. - Tyler Matysik
  • Dark room, sinister figure, bloody footsteps. - Brett Schutte
  • Gory foreign weapon, unearthly deathlike shrieks. - Alec Hafferman

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: WritingStaff Picks


OCTOBER 29, 2015
Video: David B. Whitehurst: "Tree Stand Murders"
Author David B. Whitehurst discusses his 2015 book "Tree Stand Murders," an account of a 2004 fatal incident near Rice Lake, WI during gun deer season.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: BooksHuntingWisconsin


OCTOBER 28, 2015
Video: Gary Beyer: "Hope in the Face of Illness"
If you missed our Oct. 8, 2015 inspirational program with author and motivational speaker Gary Beyer, you can watch the video below. We enjoyed hosting Gary and his wife, Julie, as both of them exude positivity in light of difficult life circumstances.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: ProgramsWritingMovies


SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
Big Library Read October 7-21
Marathon County Public Library is excited that we will be taking part in OverDrive’s Big Library Read program featuring two young adult e-books. Library card holders will be able to borrow and read "The Door in the Hedge" by Robin McKinley and/or "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" by Cat Winters starting midday Wednesday, October 7 and concluding at midnight on Monday, October 21 (U.S. EST) by visiting
"The Door in the Hedge" opens a door into an enchanted world in this collection of original and retold fairy tales. Four short stories, two original and two cherished classics, take you into a magical world of whimsy, wonder, princesses and talking frogs. "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" is a young adult historical fiction story of war, ghosts, friendship, mystery, love and perseverance. This coming-of-age tale takes you on a heroic journey through the eyes of Mary Shelley Black as she’s forced to face a world war, a deadly strain of flu and a troubled spirit who is desperate for help.
Big Library Read is an international program that gives libraries and library patrons unlimited and simultaneous access to the selected titles during the program dates, creating a virtual, global e-book club. Interested patrons will be able borrow "The Door in the Hedge" and "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" using a valid library card, and read on all major computers and devices, without worrying about wait lists or holds. Titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, and best of all, there are no late fees!
The Big Library Read program is made possible through a partnership between OverDrive, the leading supplier of e-books, audiobooks and more to libraries and schools, Open Road, publisher of Robin McKinley’s fairy tale short stories and Abrams Books, publisher of Cat Winters young adult historical fiction. To borrow the e-book version of "The Door in the Hedge" and "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" as part of Big Library Read, patrons can visit For more information, call 715-261-7230.


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Amy Bergstrom- Library Marketing Specialist

Categories: Teen ZoneBooksOverDrive


AUGUST 24, 2015
Planning and Visioning
A letter to our friends and neighbors about our Planning and Visioning
 from the Library Director

Over the coming weeks we will be hosting listening sessions at the main library in downtown Wausau. These sessions will be conducted by Engberg Anderson, an architectural firm based out of Milwaukee that specializes in libraries. We want to learn how we may best serve the public during the next ten years to ensure that your library is relevant and useful to you. They will solicit your ideas about services, facilities, and resources that you want to see at your library. Please take a moment if you can, and attend a session or write down your thoughts so that we may collect them and then implement those ideas. We will have three sessions for listening, the first on August 26 at 6:00pm. The second sessions will be at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and the final public listensing session will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23. There will be various ways to share your vision, and I invite you to help us shape the future of your library. Here are some ways to let us know your thoughts:
  • Visit the library’s main webpage for an overview of the campaign and links to feedback mechanisms and more information:
  • Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages and post ideas with #yourMCPL.
  • The online contact form at  will allow you to send us your thoughts and comments.
  • Comment cards can be found at the public desks.
  • Attend a public listening session with the architects. (Future dates and times to be posted)
We appreciate the support the library has in our community, and we very much want to see this process help to revitalize and invigorate your library experience. Please join us on this important journey. If you would like to talk with me personally about the project, I’m always happy to hear from you. My direct number is 715-261-7211.

Ralph Illick
Library Director
Marathon County Public Library

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Categories: LibrariesyourMCPL


AUGUST 17, 2015
Your Next Favorite Books: Personalized Reading Suggestions
Our staff at the Marathon County Public Library has launched a new service aimed at helping our patrons find their next favorite books.
The library recently set up a new page within our website called Personalized Reading Suggestions, through which we’ll rack our brains and a vast pool of online reading resources, to recommend three books based on just a few clues provided by you, the patron.
Our staff is surrounded by books all day and each of us has our own favorite genres that run the gamut, so chances are someone here shares your reading tastes. Plus, we love these kinds of challenges that usually starts a little something like this…
“I just finished The Hunger Games and Matched trilogies. Do have anything else like that?”
“I like Lee Child’s stuff, who are some other authors like him?”
Or even…
“I need something good to read, what can you recommend?”
Here’s how the Personalized Reading Suggestions works:
  • Go to the Personalized Reading Suggestions page at
  • Tell us your name and email address, whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction and the format you prefer to read it in (such as books, audiobooks, or e-books)
  • Give us the titles or authors of the last few books you read that you really liked, and why you liked them
  • If you want, write a few specifics that will help us find the right books to match your taste. For example, maybe you prefer suspense and mystery novels but don’t care for excessive sex or violence. Or perhaps you’d rather read stories straight from the source in autobiographies, rather than someone else’s take in a biography. The more details we have, the better chance we have of finding good matches.
  • Click submit and we promise to come back with three suggestions within four days, because (as we all know) sometimes you just don’t want to wait long before diving into a new book!
We can’t guarantee you’ll love each and every suggestion we send you, but whether you love or hate our recommendations, we always appreciate feedback; it helps us refine our efforts, and you might indirectly help another patron with similar tastes find their next great book!
So fill out that form any time of day or night, and let us help you keep reading!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: BooksReading RecommendationsStaff Picks


JULY 27, 2015
Food Drive continues through end of August
Residents throughout central Wisconsin still have until the end of August to help individuals and families in need of food, through the MCPL food drive. The library is working with the Marathon County Hunger Coalition on the food drive, which ends Aug. 22, to benefit food pantries across our area.

Anyone from across the central Wisconsin area or beyond is welcome and encouraged to drop off non-perishable items during regular business hours at any MCPL location:
Athens, Edgar, Hatley, Marathon, Mosinee, Rothschild, Spencer, Stratford and Wausau.

If you would like to donate, please consider some of these suggested items: canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, peanut butter, packaged or canned meals, pasta, soup, canned tuna and other canned meats, juice (100 percent fruit, please) and spaghetti sauce.

Food items not accepted include dented or bulged cans, open packages, home-canned foods and infant formula beyond its expiration date.

Call 715-261-7200 or stop by any library branch for more information, and thank you for your help!


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Categories: FoodLibrariesSummer Library Program


JUNE 29, 2015
Video: Raising chickens with UW-Extension

We were very happy to collaborate recently with Marathon County UW-Extension on a program at MCPL Wausau about chickens!

Heather Schlesser, dairy and livestock agent with Extension, provided our audience with a primer on all that's involved with raising a clutch of chickens - the variety of breeds, diet, shelter, diseases to keep an eye out for and more!

If you missed the June 9 program, you can watch the whole program below. Or, if you'd like to catch the program in person, Heather will present similar programs Sept. 3 at the MCPL Athens branch and Sept. 23 in Marathon City.

A very special thanks to Heather for sharing her knowledge of chickens with those who came to the program. And one fun fact that may entice you into watching the video: Chickens are the closest living relative on Earth to the late, great T. Rex dinosaur!

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Categories: ProgramsMoviesFood


JUNE 28, 2015
Summer food drive at MCPL
Throughout the summer of 2015 the Marathon County Public Library is working with the Marathon County Hunger Coalition and hosting a food drive to benefit food pantries across our area.

The food drive began in early June and continues through the end of August. Anyone from across the central Wisconsin area or beyond is welcome and encouraged to drop off non-perishable items during regular business hours at any MCPL location: Athens, Edgar, Hatley, Marathon, Mosinee, Rothschild, Spencer, Stratford and Wausau.
It may seem obvious, but unlike some other aspects of the library usage, no library card is needed to help others in need!
What may not be obvious to some is the extent of hunger, food insecurity and the need for food assistance in Marathon County.

According to the most recent LIFE Report from the United Way of Marathon County, nearly 24,000 people received assistance through Marathon County’s FoodShare program in 2012 – an increase of more than 10,000 people since 2008. Also, 5,800 people received food assistance through the Women, Infants and Children (W.I.C.) program in 2012, which is 1,500 more individuals served than in 2008.
If you would like to donate, please consider some of these suggested items: canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, peanut butter, packaged or canned meals, pasta, soup, canned tuna and other canned meats, juice (100 percent fruit, please) and spaghetti sauce.

Food items not accepted include dented or bulged cans, open packages, home-canned foods and infant formula beyond its expiration date.

Call 715-261-7200 or stop by any library branch for more information, and thank you for your help!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Chad Dally / Library Services

Categories: Summer Library ProgramFoodHealth Resources


JUNE 11, 2015
Juan Felipe Herrera named U.S. Poet Laureate

The United States has a new champion for poetry.

On June 10, the Library of Congress announced it appointed Juan Felipe Herrera as the nation’s Poet Laureate, a position that dates back to 1937 and is aimed at raising awareness of the reading and writing of poetry. Perhaps most significant in the announcement is the fact that Herrera, 66, is the first Latino poet to be named to the post.

You can read or listen to an NPR story here, but the short version is he’s the son of migrant farm workers and spent much of his earlier life on the west coast. He studied at both UCLA and Stanford, as well as the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He has since written more than two dozen books.

If you’re curious to read some of Herrera’s work, libraries within the Wisconsin Valley Library Service have some copies you can request here. Also, if you’re willing to wait a little longer to receive his books, you can find hundreds of copies through our Interlibrary Loan system. (In both catalogs, search by the poet’s name.) The Marathon County Public Library also has a couple of sites – LitFinder and Literary Reference Center - within our online resources where you can find information about Herrera and past poets laureate, or other authors. (You'll need your library card number and PIN to log into LitFinder and LRC.)

Herrera will serve as Poet Laureate for the next two years, and joins past Poets Laureate such as Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams and Robert Penn Warren. In describing Herrera and his work, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said: “I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original—work that takes the sublimity and largesse of “Leaves of Grass” and expands upon it. His poems engage in a serious sense of play - in language and in image - that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices and traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity."

Here is one of Herrera’s poems, excerpted from his 2008 book “Half a World in Light: New and Selected Poems.”

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings

for Charles Fishman

Before you go further,
let me tell you what a poem brings,
first, you must know the secret, there is no poem
to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,
yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,
instead of going day by day against the razors, well,
the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket
sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from
the outside you think you are being entertained,
when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,
your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold
standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,
is always open for business too, except, as you can see,
it isn't exactly business that pulls your spirit into
the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,
you can even join in on the gossip—the mist, that is,
the mist becomes central to your existence.

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Categories: AwardsPoetryWriting


MAY 29, 2015
OverDrive's Big Summer Read
Marathon County Public Library, Wisconsin’s Digital Library and OverDrive all hope you’ll join us and other patrons in the Big Summer Read, an online shared reading program for all ages, through most of June.

Each year, OverDrive selects a title with an author and publisher willing to allow an unlimited number ebooks and e-audiobooks available to download anytime from June 9 to June 23. This year adult patrons can read or listen to Kate White’s fast-paced suspense novel “Eyes on You” – Robin Trainer learns that being a media star comes with its costs; including potentially her own life. Can you guess her perpetrator before the big reveal?

For the first time, OverDrive also is inviting children and teens to share in the reading experience with the OverDrive Summer Read. From June 9 to July 9, kids will be able to download unlimited copies of “Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky” from Sandra Dallas, who shines a light on a dark period of American history in this story of a young Japanese American girl caught up in prejudices and World War II.

Teens can sign into OverDrive anytime between June 9-July 9 and download a copy of “The Fat Boy Chronicles.” Inspired by a true story and told in first-person journal entries, Diane Lang’s novel brings to life the pain and isolation felt by many overweight teenagers as they try to find their way in a world obsessed with outward beauty.

This is a great chance to try a new book recommended by the fine folks at OverDrive, without the wait that occasionally accompanies newer releases! Our library staff can show you where to go within the Digital Library to download your copy of one (or more!) of these three books.

The Big Summer Read is also a great excuse to try OverDrive if you haven’t already. Any device will do – smartphone, tablet, e-reader, laptop – and you can find instructions to set up your device here under the “First-time users” tab: Of course, if you’re a hands-on learner, you are always welcome to bring your device to the library and we’ll help you get started with OverDrive.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently released its report on public libraries as of 2012, and Wisconsin has the distinction of the highest number of library e-books available per capita in the country: As of 2012, our state had more than 3,500 ebooks per 1,000 people. Of course we still love our print books, but our selection of ebooks and e-audiobooks is growing almost daily, as is the selection of streaming videos available through OverDrive. And as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can browse and download titles from anywhere and keep your bookshelf full no matter where you may roam this summer. Once downloaded, you can read them anywhere, no wireless needed.

The Big Summer Read is not only a kickoff to vacation reading, it’s also a chance to share a literary experience with thousands of other patrons across the state, some of whom might just be a few towels down the beach from you, reading the same novel.

Chad Dally is a library specialist with the Marathon County Public Library


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Categories: AudiobooksOverDriveSummer Reading Program


MAY 7, 2015
Learn More About Penokee Hills Wetlands

On Thursday, May 14, residents in our community have the opportunity to learn about and discuss an area of the state many have heard about in the last few years, and an area that is near and dear to me personally: the Penokee Hills region of northern Wisconsin.

Tracy Hames, executive director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, will be at MCPL Wausau to talk specifically about wetlands scattered through the roughly 25-mile Penokee-Gogebic range that stretches through Ashland and Iron counties. Hames will show photos, maps and other graphics and discuss the important ecological role these wetlands play in an area brimming with forests, lakes and streams. The talk begins at 6:30 p.m.

If the area sounds familiar, it’s because mining company Gogebic Taconite (G-Tac) several years ago announced its intent to mine taconite (low-grade iron) from a swath of land 4.5 miles long, 1,000 feet wide and nearly 1,000 feet deep, which would’ve made it the world’s largest open-pit taconite mine. A report funded by G-Tac estimated some 700 permanent and 1,000 temporary jobs would be created from mining operations – significant numbers in a region mired in some of the highest unemployment rates in the state.

From the start, the plan was saddled with controversy and opposition – including intense opposition from the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, which claimed the mine would cause irreparable damage to the Bad River Watershed and was an assault on Tribal sovereignty over air and water quality control in its own reservation. The headwaters of the Bad River begin in the Penokee Hills and meander north through the Tribe’s reservation before reaching Lake Superior, the largest freshwater body of water in the world.

All of the controversy came to a halt in late March, when G-Tac announced it would withdraw its pre-application notice and cease all plans to mine the area. It was not opposition that spurred the company to drop (for now) its mining plans. The company’s own environmental analysis “revealed wetland issues that make major continued investment unfeasible at this time,” G-Tac President Bill Williams said. It is those same wetlands that Hames will discuss on May 14.

So, why is this area important to me personally? I spent four years (2006-2010) as a reporter with The Daily Press in Ashland, and covered a wide range of environmental stories for the paper, including some centered in the Penokees: research on the endangered pine marten that makes its home in the area, tourists drawn to the natural resources and water quality in the region’s many lakes and rivers. I’ve hiked portions of the North Country Trail just north of the proposed mine and waded through rivers and creeks in feeble attempts at fly-fishing. I stood in the Bad River and held a 4-foot sturgeon making its way upstream from Lake Superior to spawn (for a reporting assignment, not for sport). To me and many others, it is a place of incomparable beauty that Wisconsinites and everyone else should see and appreciate for themselves.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I personally was happy to hear G-Tac had abandoned its mining plans. Yes, the region would’ve benefitted from economic activity and job creation, but at what cost? I never believed claims the mine could be developed in an environmentally safe way. Not something of the magnitude proposed by G-Tac, and not in this area. Worse yet, this mining project would be active for 50 years or so and would have permanently altered a region that took tens of thousands of years or longer to develop.

Hames and the Wisconsin Wetlands Association never took an official stance against the mine. In fact, we planned this program before mining plans were abandoned and as we organized it, I made sure this would not be full of anti-mining sentiment, but a science-based discussion about the wetlands, of the potential impacts to wetlands if mining operations came to fruition and an ecological/biological understanding of the aesthetic beauty visible to the naked eye.

I’m glad he’s willing to share more information about a region we’ve all heard so much about, and I hope this talk will motivate others to see the Penokee region with their own eyes.

Chad Dally is a library specialist at MCPL Wausau. His views do not necessarily represent those of the Marathon County Public Library.
For More Information


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Categories: WisconsinNature


APRIL 29, 2015
Story Time Break
Many of our locations will be participating in a story time break before our Summer Library Program begins to accommodate school visits and prepare for our summer programs.

Athens, Hatley and Rothschild will continue to have regularly scheduled story times. Marathon City will continue to have regulary scheduled story times but will not meet on May 28th.

Wausau will have no story times in the month of May, except for the Family Resource Center’s Play & Learn story time on Fridays. Story times will resume in June, along with Sweet Dreams Story Time Monday nights at 6:30. Some story times may be cancelled due to scheduled Summer Library Program events. See our brochure for these events.

Edgar, Mosinee, Spencer, and Stratford will break at various times in May and resume in September. Regularly scheduled Family Resource Center Play & Learns will still occur. Please visit our story times page for more specific details and times.

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Categories: ChildrenStorytimesSummer Library Program


APRIL 8, 2015
National Poetry Month: LEGO Poetry
There are plenty of things to celebrate in April, but one of my favorite is poetry. Here at MCPL in Wausau, we’ve got two activities to encourage you to experience poetry every day. 

Come and build a poem with LEGO poetry in the TeenZone. Each LEGO has a word on it and you are invited to create a poem by using the words on the LEGOS.  It’s like magnetic poetry, but in three dimensions.  When you are done, take a picture with your phone, name the picture with the title of the poem (and your name if you want) and send it to us at We’ll post the poems to our Facebook page, so remember to like MCPL on Facebook to see your poem. Don’t have time to build a poem here?  Take one of our word pages and have fun creating whenever. You can email your poems to us and we’ll post those on our Facebook page, too.

On April 30, it’s poem in your pocket day.  On that day, you have a poem in your pocket that you share with everyone you meet.  Hopefully, they will have a poem to share back! We have three poem possibilities, already photocopied for you to pick up and put in your pocket available in the TeenZone.

Also, our Athens branch will be have materials for teens to create found poems with materials provided by the library all month long.  So stop by and create a poem or share poem. Remember, April is National Poetry Month! 

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Julie Kinney / Library Services

Categories: PoetryNational Poetry MonthTeen Zone


APRIL 6, 2015
Never Counted Out
Teens, have you ever felt like your voice wasn’t heard?  Or were there times when you spoke out about your truth?  Now you have the opportunity to share these by submitting an essay, poem, graphic novel or photograph about these times to Never Counted Out, a website created to connect teens with artists and writers. 

Never Counted Out is the brain child of novelist, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, the author of Fat Angie.  e.E created the website after connecting with a depressed teen writer, after his teacher shared is creative writing sample with her.  When e.E. talked with young writer, she felt like she had made a special connection with him and wanted to create opportunities for other writers, photographers and artists to connect with teens, especially at-risk teens.  e.E. traveled around the country and worked with other writers and artists and with the teens in their communities, building a mentorship program for young writers and artists to express their concerns, hopes, successes and fears in a positive way.

Inspired by the suicide note from a bullied transgendered teen, teens are invited to submit a work of art that completes the sentence, “If someone only knew…” This art work can be anything from an essay to a poem to a photograph to a graphic novel, as long as it communicates your truth.  The art will be displayed on the blog on the website for Never Counted Out.  In addition, a selection of the essays and art work will be published in an anthology. Go to the website for admission guidelines and due dates.   

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Categories: ArtTeen ZoneWriting


APRIL 2, 2015
Raise Great Kids Parent Survey
If you are a parent, guardian, grandparent, or child caregiver, we would like your input! is a local website put out by a collaborative effort of community partners under the Early Years Coalition. Marathon County Public Library is a member of this coalition, and we need your help completing a survey.

As part of our efforts to make a better site for our users, we need your help. We would like to get both your thoughts and feedback on Raise Great Kids as well as gather more information about how you use the internet to search for information you find valuable about children. Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey. Your feedback will be invaluable in helping us shape the site moving forward.

If you haven’t checked out, please visit the website.

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Categories: ChildrenEarly LiteracyWebsites


MARCH 13, 2015
OverDrive's Big Library Read (March 17-31, 2015)
Check out OverDrive’s Big Library Read, which offers community-wide access to a title during March 17-31, 2015. During this special event, all card holders can simply download “Shakespeare Saved My Life" by Laura Bates from OverDrive. Since OverDrive is offering simultaneous use for this title, the title is available right away, with no waiting on hold for the next copy. The title expires at the end of the lending period for each user, not the end of the program.

Synopsis: “Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer Laura Bates thought she had seen it all. That is, until she decided to teach Shakespeare in a place the bard had never been before — supermax solitary confinement. In this unwelcoming place, surrounded by inmates known as the worst of the worst, is Larry Newton. A convicted murderer with several escape attempts under his belt and a brilliantly agile mind on his shoulders, Larry was trying to break out of prison at the same time Laura was fighting to get her program started behind bars.
Thus begins the most unlikely of friendships, one bonded by Shakespeare and lasting years—a friendship that, in the end, would save more than one life.”

For more information on OverDrive’s Big Library Read, visit their website.

Need help downloading OverDrive to your new device? Check out detailed instructions here.


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Kathleen Kosiec / Library Services

Categories: OverDriveReading Recommendationstechnology


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