Family Reading

A Dad was in the library this morning looking for books to read with his son. The big word here is WITH. He regularly sits and reads stories with his son. I think that is wonderful, and I know many more Moms and Dads are doing this. A child loves to be told stories. And when a parent regularly takes the time to read aloud to their child or children, those children will remember that forever.

As they listen to the story being read, their imaginations are free to enter into the story and become part of it. They will benefit by hearing an adult read words that might be unfamiliar to them and they will add to their vocabulary.

When you read to your children, let go of your inhibitions, and put emphasis and emotion into the words and sentences. Allow yourself to also be carried away by the story and connect with it. Perhaps you can create voices for characters, or find a mysterious tone of voice for special bits. Your children will love it, and they are probably the least critical audience you could ever want. You may find a benefit for yourself also – the more you read aloud, the better you will get, and you might find you can add to your vocabulary as well. You can discuss words no one understands, then look them up to discover the meaning and everyone learns together. You will be a literacy teacher in your home.

We have lots of books that can be read aloud. If you don’t know where to start, talk about it with your kids and find out what kind of stories they like – mysteries, adventures, fantasy worlds, or real stories about real people.

Always feel free to ask us for help. We will try very hard to help you find books that your family will enjoy. There are many classic stories, that children might find difficult to read on their own. Sometimes everyone can take turns reading aloud – that would also be a great literacy builder.

Here are a few suggestions – classics and contemporary:

  • Little Women / Little Men – Louisa May Alcott
  • The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
  • The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • Dear Canada series by a variety of authors – these are stories based on a particular point in Canada’s history, so not only do you have a great story, but you learn about our history as well
  • The Boxcar Children – Gertrude Chandler Warren
  • The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean – Alexander McCall Smith

If you have some family favorites, please share them - we would love to hear from you!

Expansion Update

Here are the latest pictures of what is happening.

This Day in History

Sometimes it can be quite interesting to see what happened on any given day in history. On this particular day in 1937, the magazine Woman’s Day was published for the first time. I have no idea if there was lots of hoopla and publicity back then like there tends to be in our era, but this magazine is still published today and it seems like it is still well read.

Many magazines can now be accessed on-line as well as in print, and quite a few are discovering their readership is dropping and they are ceasing to print and opting just for on-line publication. But magazines have been, for many years, a huge source of information of all kinds. Crafts – cooking – Hollywood – Home repair – Automobiles – Sports – Travel – News - and many more topics. Some information has been well researched and documented, some is simply opinions, some is educational, some is purely for pleasure, and some is utterly worthless.

We can make the same statements about information found online. You can find well researched news, excellent educational resources, very helpful travel information, lots of personal opinions expressed as truth, and tons of utter garbage.

As always we must be responsible to examine carefully what we choose to read and make sure it comes from reliable sources. We must continue to question what we read, and cross reference to verify what someone writes. I guess, really, it is no different than magazines, or newspapers, or books, except that it is accessible since you don’t have to pay a fee for each online site you look at.

We still need to use our common sense and we need to teach our children that not everything in print – paper or online – is truth. Life still requires us to be responsible for what we feed our minds, and as long as we have children, we as parents, are responsible to be mindful of the information our children are accessing from all sources. Read some of the books your child brings home, check the sites your child views online. Over your evening meal, open discussions with your children about a variety of ideas and encourage them to share what they are thinking about.

Who knows – both sides might actually learn from each other!

We Have Progress

As I look out my office window this morning I see walls coming up. What a beautiful sight. I also have a construction worker working what feels like under my desk. He is drilling into the existing concrete wall and the noise is quite loud. I love it. When the hammers are pounding and the drilling is happening we know we have progress in this long awaited project.

Being Thankful

Being Thankful

Thanksgiving comes in one of my favorite seasons: Fall. My other favorite season is Spring, and I realize these preferences probably puts me in a minority of some kind. Fall brings us gorgeous colours – yellow, rust, orange, gold, red, and scarlet backed by solid greens.

We drove to West Hawk Lake the last weekend of September to spend some time with friends. Driving down the highway, bounded on each side by trees, provided us with a never ending variety of scenery. Aspens and birches with their yellow and gold leaves, and white bark, a few splashes of red from the low bushes, and in between pines, firs and spruce with their greens. The road-side forest is never the same, with here a large patch of aspen and just a bit of green, and there less aspen, firs and some patches of red. And when the sun shines it turns some of the yellows to bright gold and red to blazing scarlet. I often want stop and take a picture, but it is difficult to capture that exact beauty digitally, and the best we can do is feast our eyes on the scene while it lasts.

Thanksgiving is always a wonderful chance to have a long weekend, get together with family, and feast on turkey. Beyond just the holiday, I believe it is important to foster a habit of thankfulness. We know that there is much of evil and dark in our modern world, but we, in Canada, and Steinbach, have much to be thankful for. We have just had the marvelous freedom of participating in an exercise that allows you and me to choose who governs us. We need to remember that millions of people that share this world have never had that freedom. Perhaps if we really understand the true value of that exercise we would have a voter turnout of 80-90% instead of 50%.

As a Library staff, we would like to express the following Thanks-giving list:

  • We are extremely grateful for a large hole and big pile of dirt beside our building – they are the promise of things to come. Such as more community space with another multi-purpose room; more space for shelves for more books, and properly spaced collections; and improved working space for the staff
  • We are grateful to the City Council for their support to make the expansion happen.
  • We are grateful for the Library Board that supports us, listens to us, praises us, and provides thoughtful leadership
  • We are grateful for our Volunteers – you quietly come in, start putting books away and help keep the shelves tidy. We appreciate your help VERY much.
  • We are grateful to you – our Patrons – it is you that makes us successful. You believe that reading and literacy is important and you check out books, you read to and with your children, and you participate in our programs. THANK YOU!


The big hole No more back door!

Historic Conversations

I have to admit that I am not the biggest reader of history books. From time to time a book will catch my attention, so I will take it home and read it. I am always rewarded by doing so – my mind is enriched and stretched and I increase my knowledge. For instance, I have read two of Pierre Berton’s many excellent books. The two that intrigued me were Vimy and The Invasion of Canada, 1812-1813. Because the battle at Vimy Ridge is a part of our Canadian history that we are taught as children, I had known the basic facts. However, reading the book gave me a much broader and more intimate knowledge. Because Pierre Berton was known for his thorough research, and for including personal stories, I began to understand the horror of trench wars, what men experienced and how they felt. After reading the book I had a much greater respect for our Canadian men who served and fought there. The Invasion of Canada, 1812-1813 was also very interesting because all I knew about it was that it had happened. Once again Pierre Berton’s impeccable research and his ability to write so readers are drawn in, gave me the reasons why, exactly what happened and how it all ended.

This particular train of thought struck me today as I catalogued a new item for the library. It is both a book and a set of CD’s that record a series of conversations with Jacqueline Kennedy. In 1964 she sat down with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and recorded seven conversations about life with John F. Kennedy. Historic Conversations with John F. Kennedy was her way of creating an oral history of her husband’s life. I have not read the book or listened to the CDs, but it seems to me that it would be extremely interesting to listen to this first-hand account. Whether or not the conversations have been censored in some form, it seems to be a unique perspective on a man who played a fairly large role in history.

I know that we have many in our community who enjoy reading history because we can see how often the history books are going out. I think it would be interesting if some of you would share one of your favorite books. Sometimes we need a personal recommendation to read a book that is outside our usual reading habits. I hope to see several comments.

By the way – we have 24 books written by Pierre Berton for adults (including the two I mentioned above) and 7 for children.

Sod Turning

I am pleased to celebrate the start of construction of the expansion on the Jake Epp Library.

This project is just over a 6,000 sq. ft. expansion, which will provide the library with space for larger collections, more public access computers, larger study areas, and more comfortable reading and social areas for library users of all ages. Included in the plans are a new children’s and teen areas, and a great new program room.

It’s an exciting day for the library staff. I would like to thank all of the current and past board members of the Jake Epp Library, who worked so tirelessly to grow and promote library services in Steinbach. Thank you Premier Greg Selinger for investing $600,000.00 on this project. I would also like to thank Mayor Chris Goertzen, members of City Council and library staff, and all others in the community who adopted the cause of an expanded library, and championed it all the way to this celebration day.

I hope that Library users will be patient during construction. Anyone who has done a home renovation project knows that there can be some inconveniences along the way. The library staff and I will be working closely with the contractors to ensure there are as few disruptions to services as possible. Even so, we know that the best way to deal with this kind of stress will be a good sense of humour, and so we plan to have a lot of fun over the next 10 to 12 months.

Stop in often and check out how things are going. We are so excited about expanding the library so that we can continue to provide better services to Steinbach residents and the surrounding area.

City Council Library Representative, John Fehr

Library Board Member, Barb Guenther

Loraine Trudeau

Official Sod Turning


When we were children and we looked ahead to an exciting event, anticipation was part of the whole experience. Waiting seemed long, but the anticipation brought some pleasure. If we were anticipating a vacation trip, we would begin imagining the differences we would see. We would try and imagine what we would be doing that we had never done before. And sometimes it was actually hard to sit still when the anticipation was bubbling inside.

Since we have grown up, we tend to want to display a blasé calmness, that will portray to others that we are on an even keel and we are no longer children to be thrown into disarray simply due to anticipation.

Well – I can tell you that the staff has abandoned any kind of blasé calm and you will definitely see us smiling, and some of us (not mentioning names!) are having trouble sitting still and not giggling out loud. Yes – we are excited!!

The official Sod Turning will be Tuesday, September 20th at 5:00 pm. Everyone is welcome. Loraine has provided herself with a pink shovel and a pink hard hat for the occasion so you can’t miss her. The fence around the construction area is in place and some stakes are in the ground. So it really is REAL! Next week the big machinery is coming and digging will commence.

We know that there will be inconveniences all around – both for staff and for you, our patrons. We will strive to overcome them as much as we can – and otherwise we will choose to grin and bear it. The end result will be worth every bit of inconvenience.

We want to keep you up to date, so look at the pictures I have included and we will post new pictures often.

Welcome to @ Your Library

First I would like to congratulate Steinbach-on-line for the Community Blog site. It is a wonderful idea and we are very pleased to participate. As well as finding us here at the Community Blog site, we will also be linking it to our web page,

Right now, the biggest thing on the Library’s horizon is our expansion. We are, of course, very excited! If you want to see the future look of the library, and also the new floor plan you can come in and see a picture board in the library foyer. Here on the blog and on our web page we will keep you updated on the progress.

Many of our patrons are still not aware of our on-line services, and I would like to share that information with you.

All patrons can enter a password on their library account that will enable them to access their account from home. This must be done at the library. Once your password is entered, you can go to our web site, click on the button My Account, and then enter your Patron ID (the number on your library card) and Password. Now you can see what you have checked out, the dates your books are due, whether or not you owe any fines, and what items you have placed on reserve. You may even renew your items from home (as long no one else has placed a reserve), as well as search our entire collection, and make reserves.

You can also provide us with an email address, and then you will receive automatic notification when your reserves become available, and also an automated message when your books have become due.

We are very pleased to be able to offer these features to assist you with managing your account.

With your membership at Jake Epp Library, you also have an automatic membership in eLibraries Manitoba, where you can download ebooks onto a computer or many digital devices. For more information on any of the above information feel free to ask us when you visit the library or give us a phone call.

Seeing as we are librarians, we will, of course, share with you some of the wonderful books we are reading. Possibly we will have a “Staff Picks” post from time to time, and maybe guest bloggers. We are new to the blog scene, so keep checking – there could be all kinds of interesting stuff to be found here.

There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.”

– Jacqueline Kennedy

About the Authors

Hi - my name is Carolyn Graham and I am the Head Librarian and I love my job! One of the best parts of my job is that I am the first one to see all the beautiful new books as they arrive. I have always loved to read and my favorite way to relax is with a good book. I strongly believe that having good reading skills is an integral part of all learning. Being able to share good books and authors that I have enjoyed is great fun. Feel free to come and ask for suggestions.

Hi - I’m Aubrey Walker, Assistant Librarian at the Jake Epp Library. I’m a librarian and coffee guzzler by day, a reader and tea sipper by night. Reading and writing (and talking endlessly about both) are passions of mine, so I’m rather lucky to have a job where those things are relevant and important. I’m also the voice behind our Facebook page, and I love connecting with people about books both online and off. is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.