March 1 marked the end of our Adult Winter Reading Program, ‘Drifting through the Stacks.’ During the reading program, the 49 adults who participated read books or listened to audiobooks and turned in reading log sheets. Throughout the weeks of the reading program, the adults who participated read a total of 124,342 pages! The reading log sheets that patrons turned in became entries into drawings that will be pulled within the next couple of days. Four lucky patrons will be getting a call when we do pull names.

One will be receiving a Kindle e-reader and another will be receiving a Nook e-reader, provided by the library. Courtesy of The Fruited Plain, one person will receive a $20 gift certificate to enjoy some of the delicacies The Fruited Plain has to offer. The fourth person will receive a $20 gift card, courtesy of Butlers, to be enjoyed at Butler’s.

Sioux Center residents may not realize that many of the wonderful programming we offer here at the library can only be offered because of generous donations like the donations mentioned above from The Fruited Plain and Butler’s.  For example, many people, adults and kids alike, have enjoyed a movie and popcorn at the library, maybe during an after-school movie showing or one of our special vintage movie showings. The delicious popcorn that we offer is only possible because it is provided for us, free of charge, by American State Bank.

And, of course, I can’t forget our summer reading program. Every year we at the library send out a massive pile of letters, requesting the help of businesses in supporting our efforts to bridge the reading gap between one school year and the next. Because of the help Sioux Center businesses offer, we can do things like bring Lisa Laird the puppeteer to the library and offer fun prizes that kids can earn by reading. Kids can maintain the reading skills they learned in the previous school year and be well equipped to begin the next. Without the support of Sioux Center businesses, the summer reading program would not be possible.

We love being able to offer reading prizes to kids and popcorn to anyone who comes for a movie showing at the library. And at the end of this year’s Adult Winter Reading Program, we are happy to be able to offer gift cards to two lucky participants. We’re thankful for the aid Sioux Center businesses give. Without their generous donations, the spectacular programming provided by the Sioux Center Public Library would not be possible.


Juvenile in Justice

By Richard Ross


Winner of the 2012 Best News and Documentary Photography Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors for a selection published in Harper’s Magazine, Juvenile in Justice opens up the world of the incarcerated youth in the U.S. to the casual observer. The pictures, taken over a 5-year period, are poignant, even gut-wrenching. Richard Ross included, along with the photos, the life stories of many of the children he met in the various juvenile prisons he visited.

Though I found this book difficult to read, I also greatly appreciated it. Ross did an excellent job, in my opinion, of showing the complex dichotomy of the children he met. Many of them seemed vulnerable, sad, scared, and yet many (though not all) had committed horrible crimes. Ross didn’t sugarcoat the fact that many of the children in the cells he visited had done terrible things. But he also called society at large to task. Some of this is the fault of the kids and some of this is the fault of society. He asked the question, Are these juvenile prisons effective at doing what they should do, namely teach kids a better way to live and operate in society and provide the resources for them to deal with their past mistakes? For the most part, sadly, it seems the answer is no.

The book is mainly just a documentary. Ross doesn’t offer explanations or hopeful solutions. He just tells and shows the stories that he sees in juvenile prisons. Though it was difficult for me to read, I appreciated gaining a little bit of new knowledge about this hidden and silenced segment of the U.S. population.