Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Closings and an Upgrade

From all of us here at the Mississippi Valley Library District, we wish you glad tidings and good health in the new year!

There are several events happening over the next two weeks that we want to make sure you know about:

  •  The library will be closed Tuesday, December 23 through Thursday, December 25.
  •  Our primary software will be undergoing a big upgrade on Friday, December 26 and many of our services (placing holds, renewing items, etc.) will be unavailable.  We WILL still be able to check out to you if you have your library card on-hand (unfortunately we won't be able to look up anyone's account until the upgrade is complete).
  •  The library will be closed Wednesday, December 31 and Thursday, January 1, 2015.

Our outside book drop and our website are available 24/7!

Posted by Kyla Waltermire, Adult Services Librarian

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Classics

Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays! It's the most wonderful time of the year and here at the library we are surrounded by the imaginative stories that help make the season merry and remind us of what matters most through the busy hustle and bustle.

Here are some touching and memorable quotes from a few of our favorite Christmas stories. 

Posted by: Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Friday, December 19, 2014

Staff Holiday Recipes - Ham Pinwheels

This incredibly simple yet equally tasty appetizer is something even the most culinary inept individual can manage and the perfect snack for crowded holiday get-togethers.

Ham Pinwheels

¼ pound thinly sliced ham
8 ounce tub cream cheese
4 kosher baby dill pickles
32 toothpicks

1. Pat all 4 pickles dry with a paper towel and slice each into fourths.
2. Lay one piece of ham on a cutting board and spread a generous layer of cream cheese on top. Slice ham in half.
3. Place ¼ of a pickle on top of ½ of the ham slice.
4. Roll ham around pickle, trim off any excess pickle and cut roll in half.
6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 until you run out of pickles. Spear each with a toothpick and serve.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 32 appetizers

Recipe: Spoon University
Posted by: Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Staff Holiday Recipes - Red Velvet Cheesecake

This magnificently marvelous recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake is presented by Ashley just in time for the Holiday kitchen marathon. 

Red Velvet Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,
2/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Stir the milk, food coloring, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract together in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Beat the softened butter and 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Beat in the egg until smooth. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
4. Once the cake has cooled, cut half of the cake into cubes, and set aside. Cut the remaining cake into 1/2-inch strips, and place onto a baking sheet.
5. Return the cake strips to the oven, and bake until they have dried out, about 15 minutes. Turn the strips over halfway through cooking so they dry evenly. Once completely dry, allow to cool to room temperature, then crush into fine crumbs.
6. Combine the cake crumbs with the melted butter until evenly moistened. Press into a 10-inch springform pan, and refrigerate until the butter has hardened, about 45 minutes.
7. When the crust has nearly hardened, whip the whipping cream until stiff; set aside. Beat the softened cream cheese in a bowl with 2/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream until evenly mixed. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into hardened crumb crust. Spread the cake cubes evenly over the cream cheese mixture, then spread the remaining cream cheese over top. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until the cream cheese has set and the cheesecake is firm.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Ready In: 8 Hours
Servings: 12

Recipe: Ashley Hylsky, Library Clerk
Posted by: Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Monday, December 15, 2014

Staff Holiday Recipes - Theo's Turkey

Today Theo brings us his signature recipe for a Holiday staple.


Theo's Turkey


2 tbs. dried parsley
2 tbs. rosemary
2 tbs. sage
2 tbs. thyme leaves
1 tbs. lemon pepper
Bell pepper
Orange or apple
1 can of chicken broth
Butter or margarine


1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Wash off the turkey (remove the gizzards and neck part) and smother it with butter or margarine.
3. Create herb mixture (parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme leaves, lemon pepper) and put it into the cavity of the turkey and sprinkle it all over the turkey.
4. Stuff turkey with celery, onion, orange or apple, carrots, bell pepper
5. Put turkey into oven bag
6. Pour chicken broth over turkey
7. Bake it covered for three hours until it's no longer pink.
8. Uncover turkey and continue baking for another hour.

For best results, wash, season and stuff turkey the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas and put turkey in the fridge so it can marinate. Then, put it in the oven the next morning

For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Recipe: Theo Tate, Library Clerk
Posted By: Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Friday, December 12, 2014

Staff Holiday Recipes - Hot Hot Chocolate

Today Grahm brings us a recipe for hot chocolate with a cayenne kick to keep you warm this winter.



1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Stir together sugar, cocoa, cayenne pepper, salt, and water in saucepan.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
3. Add milk; stirring constantly, heat to serving temperature. Do Not Boil.
4. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and enjoy.


For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Recipe: Grahm Underwood, Library Clerk
Posted by: Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Monday, December 08, 2014

On This Day In...1980

Beatles frontman John Lennon was killed on this day in 1980. Lennon was shot in the back four times by fan Mark David Chapman. After the shooting Chapman remained at the scene reading The Catcher in the Rye until police arrived and arrested him. John was forty years old and had just released what would be his final album Double Fantasy three weeks prior to his murder. 

Key Library Checkouts:

Nowhere Boy - This 2009 biopic covers Lennon's years as a troubled teen reeling from a profoundly messed-up childhood and features his early attempts at starting a band, as well as his first ever meeting with Paul McCartney.

Backbeat - Released in 1994, this film chronicles The Beatles time spent in Hamburg, Germany. At this point The Beatles were a five piece band with Pete Best on drums and Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. Sutcliffe was Lennon's best friend in the band, but the rest of the group felt his lack of talent was holding them back.

Lennon Naked - Taking place in the late 1960's after John was a huge superstar this biographical movie deals with Lennon's attempts at reconnecting with his father, while completely ignoring his own son Julian.

Staff Holiday Recipes - Stocking Stuffers

Today Alison is sharing some of her favorite holiday memories.


As you may know, I spent many Christmases in Scotland.  We celebrate in many of the same ways you do this side of the pond, but here are a few traditions that I still like to enjoy in my celebrations in the US.

My Granny on my mother's side is from Germany, and we would all wait impatiently for a big cardboard box to arrive to her house from her brother.   He would post (somewhat illegally) German cheeses and meats which our parents really liked, but what I was looking for were the Pfeffernüsse and lebkuchen.  These little spiced cookies taste great dipped in a cup of tea, or with a glass of cold milk.  My daughter has come to enjoy these, and Aldi sells them so we are enjoying far too many of them already.

Something else we always had at Christmas was a real tree.  Granny would light real candles on hers (safety caution - maybe don't try this at home!), and she would give us children a little sprig of burning tree to hold so we could smell the aromatic fir scent.  Gorgeous!  So we always have a real tree in our house with a matching live wreath on our front door.  We typically buy a tree twelve days before Christmas and take it down twelve days after.

On our tree we placed Christmas crackers.  When it was time for Christmas dinner, there was a cracker at every place setting.  When our Mum finally sat down to eat, we would each pull a cracker with the person opposite and we would immediately put on our paper hats and read the terrible jokes inside!  We also had foil wrapped chocolates hanging on our tree.  We would eat them the day we took the tree down, as a small reward for the undecorating chore.

Like children here, we put our stockings out on Christmas Eve.  My Auntie Linda made all of the children in our family a felt stocking with their name sewn on, and although she has been gone for a few years now, we still use our stockings and make them for the new great nieces and nephews she would have adored.  Typical things to get in your stocking are an apple, an orange, chocolate coins, and small trinkets.

Advent calendars were a festive staple too.  For the twenty four days preceding Christmas, we would open a little door on our calendar to see a picture from the nativity scene. At this time, many of the calendars have chocolates inside, which my six year old enjoys greatly. Nowadays, my brother and I like to tease our mother about our hard life with no chocolates in our calendars!

These are some of the special traditions my daughter Felicity and I observe to remember our family across the ocean at this time of year.  Thanks to online shopping and stores like World Market, it is quite easy to buy international delicacies to enjoy over the holidays, abating my homesickness (for the most part)!


For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk and Alison Donnelly, Children’s Librarian

Monday, December 01, 2014

If You Like the Podcast "Serial"...

Telling the story of a teenage girl's 1999 murder in serialized weekly episodes, the show Serial has become podcasting's first breakout hit. Far beyond its 1.5 million listeners per week, the show has created a huge buzz with tons of media coverage, endless online conspiracy theories, and several other podcasts dedicated to dissecting every episode. Serial was created by the makers of public radio stalwart This American Life and so everything is done with great professionalism and class, but what really makes this podcast work so well is the powerful combination of true-crime and teenage melodrama. This is like the entertainment version of double stuffed Oreos and diet Coke, hitting some sweet spot in your brain that instantly craves more.

Fortunately, our library system has lots more items that fit this category available for checkout. Here are just a few examples:

Under the Bridge by Rebecca Godfrey - The beautiful Pacific Northwestern town of Victoria, British Columbia is a nicer and better place to live then approximately 99.8934% of the globe. Still, in 1997 a fourteen year old girl was beaten to death here by a group of her peers. Godfrey's book on this case was a bestseller and won British Columbia's National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction in 2006.

Bully - This 2001 film is based on the book Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge. Director Larry Clark, as is his style, piles on loads of drugs, nudity, and general seediness. The film's best and most haunting scene however, uses the teenage murderers' actual courtroom dialogue.

Pretty Little Killers by Daleen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller - Originally released as an e-book under the title The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese, this new print edition adds an extra 100 pages about this sad case of a sixteen year old girl stabbed to death by two of her friends.

Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale - Of course, true crime doesn't have to be all death and murder. Abagnale's first-person narrative of his life as a teenage conman details how he wrote $2.5 million worth of bad checks while passing himself off as a pilot, doctor, and lawyer. This biography was eventually made into a film starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio.