Tag Archives: Adult Programming

Book Groups

I always wanted to join a book group. I love the chance to discuss books with people-it’s one of the job hazards of being a librarian. 

According to the newspaper, this month marks the fifteenth year of the Food For Thought Book Group at the Gering Library. Former librarian Sandy Strey held a book discussion of “The Innocent Man” by John Grisham during the Adult Summer Reading in 2007. People enjoyed it so much she made the discussion a monthly program. Through the years, Food For Thought has had several leaders. The only remaining founding members are Carol Enderle and Wanda Mowry. 

Each month from 8-15 people gather in the Library Community Room to discuss what they liked or didn’t like about a book, and what they learned from it. 

Louetta McHenry said, “I like the chance to read something I wouldn’t ordinarily read.” This is very typical of book group members anywhere. Another long time member, Peggy Fegler likes hearing other people’s perspectives about books.

If you are interested in joining or even launching your own book discussion group, start at the library. We have resources like interlibrary loan, general book questions and book suggestions that can help a new group get on its feet.

I have a list of most of the 180 books Food For Thought has discussed through the years. These books hit nearly every genre out there, from science fiction to nonfiction, including poetry, graphic novels, and children’s books.   

Book Club recommended books include “Ordinary Grace” and “This Tender Land” by William Kent Krueger. “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman was also popular.

Books that members didn’t like to discuss included short stories and books that touch topics that are too close to home for some readers. Some members really liked “The Dust That Falls From Dreams” by Louis de Bernières while others didn’t care for it at all.

Food For Thought has read each year’s One Book One Nebraska, with the exception of one year. In August, this year’s One Book One Nebraska Author Jonis Agee will be in Scottsbluff. She will be talking about “The Bones of Paradise”in a joint meeting of the library book groups.This author talk is open to the public, if you are interested.

The group enjoys in-person chats with authors. In the past few years, Craig Johnson and James Kimble have spoken to the group about their books. 

Carol Ackerman summed it up well. “I enjoy the Book Club because I get to meet new people.  I enjoy how each of us have such diverse thoughts and reactions to the same book that we all read.  Plus it introduces me to new authors and I find new genres of books I’ve never read before.

A doctor or a lawyer will generally ask you to make an appointment during work hours when you ask them for advice concerning their profession. A librarian will often be happy to talk about books with you outside of work. Try it and see!


We plan library programs months in advance. In February and March, I was trying to think up programs that would be interesting in the heat of June. I remembered my step-father and how much he enjoyed brewing-and drinking his own beer. Do other folks want to make their own beer? Do they know where to start?

I did some research, (it’s what librarians do well) and I discovered the Bluffs Brewing Guild who were excited to talk about homebrewing. I am happy to announce we have an amazing panel of experienced brewers lined up to show us how it’s done on July 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Gering Library Community Room. 

This is your chance to ask questions and find out how to get started making your own beer. Kristian Schank, Zak Griffith, and Jason Zitterkopf have a combined 35 years of brewing experience. They will not only tell us how it’s done, they are bringing their equipment to show us how it’s done. 

Attendees will have a chance to win “How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time” by John J. Palmer. If you want even more information, we have two new books about brewing your own beer available to check out at the library. Unfortunately due to state regulations, we are unable to provide samples of the homebrew at this library program. But we did consider it.

Some fun facts about homebrewing. Many Americans legally brewed their own beer before Prohibition. Many illegally brewed it during Prohibition and it was safer than many of the home- distilled liquors available at that time. When Prohibition was repealed, homebrewing was still illegal at the federal level. In 1979 California Senator Alan Cranston stuck legislation into a transportation bill during Jimmy Carter’s administration that legalized homebrewing. This opened a world of opportunities for beer enthusiasts.

In conjunction with the Gering Library Foundation, this fall the library will host a monthly program called Books and Brews. This series will focus on how to make a variety of boutique beverages including coffees, teas and kombucha. Be watching Facebook for more information. We also post our programs on our website calendar, and, of course, in the library.

I am always looking for programming suggestions. If you want to learn about something, chances are, someone else will want to learn as well. If you want to share a talent or skill with others, I can probably make it happen. 

If you knew Bill Enderle, he might have offered to share one of his homebrews with you. If you took him up on it you may have noticed he kept it basement-temperature. You don’t have to drink your homebrew like the English, you can refrigerate it- there is no shame in wanting a cold beer. If you want to learn how to make your own beer, or just want to learn what goes into making your favorite beverage, please join us July 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Adult Learners at the Library

Scotts Bluff County is home to around 1700 people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Some of them live with their families, some live in group homes, and some live independently. Those that are able to work often do so, but those that are unable to work often attend a day program where they have a variety of educational and social opportunities.

Gering Public Library hosts a monthly program designed for adults with developmental disabilities called Adult Learners at the Library. Each month we have a class on an interesting topic with a book, a speaker, and oftentimes a craft. Some of our speakers have included registered dietitian Betty Kenyon, weatherman Bill Boyer, staff from the Riverside Discovery Center, beekeeper Ernest Griffiths, nurse Kristen Palser, Leann Sato from TriCity Stormwater, Gering Parks Director Amy Seiler and staff from the Panhandle Humane Society.

Because the Gering Library is not equipped to host a program with a number of disabled participants, this program is held in City Council Chambers. Last month we had about 48 people there, which is about the limit of what that room will hold comfortably.

Sometimes we mix it up. Last summer we toured Oregon Trail Stadium and took photos with Hiram. We also visited the Legacy of the Plains Museum to plant flowers for pollinators. Myra Dillman said, “When I helped the group with flower arranging I was amazed by how much talent they had. If the talent wasn’t obvious, the willingness to participate and have fun was!”

Once a year I host an Open Mic program where I invite local “celebrities” like Mayor Kaufmann, PRCA cowboy Orin Larsen, artist Mary Hunt and TV news anchor Angel Alvarez from NBC Nebraska to talk about something they are passionate about for 3-5 minutes. The class members discuss a variety of things, including coin collecting, riding a bucking horse for a living, latch hook, building models, costumes, South Dakota, fishing, art, quilting, and model trains. An attendee, Hayley said, “It was awesome hearing everyone speak! It’s always fun to hear what different people are passionate about.”also shared something they enjoy doing. We heard some great talks about a wide variety of 

This summer we are having a dance with a live band- Donny O and the Troublemakers, sponsored by Riverstone Bank, NTC Logistics and Wel-life. Band teacher Emily Hauck is going to teach us a tune on the Boomwackers, and at the end of June we have performer Michael Fitzsimmons coming from Omaha to do his “Drums of the World” presentation. In July, Tom Robinson will be talking about the night sky.

Cassie Baker, Vocational Supervisor of one of the groups that attend ALL said this, “Our clients look forward to these programs each month, and continue to talk about them and what they have learned long after they go home. [Programs like this] encourage learning and acceptance of adults with developmental disabilities and offer individuals a chance to learn fun and exciting new things in our community.” 

ALL is designed for adults with developmental disabilities, but the programs are open to the public, and anyone interested is welcome to join us. If you have something you would like to share with this group, or if you know someone who would benefit from this program, please contact Sherry at the Gering Public Library.