Be the “Public” in Rochester Public Library – The library offers events, community reading and e-reading. Grow in wisdom this winter.

0005“Enter to Grow in Wisdom” is carved into the front of Rochester Public Library. “Whether you enter through the library building or through the library website, I encourage you to use your library to become informed, engaged, enlightened and entertained,” says director Audrey Betcher on Here are three ways to do so.

Wit, Wisdom, & Wine

What better way to grow in wisdom and be entertained than at the Rochester Public Library’s 11th annual fundraiser, Wit, Wisdom, & Wine on Saturday, January 14 at 6:30 pm.

    This entertaining and intellectual event features a variety of speakers and topics. (Last year’s topics included economics, politics, pirates, art, music, and, of course, wine.) Socialize over wine and light refreshments while outwitting/outbidding each
other in the silent auction.

    Mike Cords of Paustis Wine company has been passionately involved in this event for the eight years, providing wines
and being hands-on at the event. “I originally became involved through my long-standing relationship with my friends at Andy’s Liquor who have always supported the Rochester Public Library. Over the years, Tom Haddad has put together a great network of volunteers who have helped to make this event truly fun and special. When we see the tireless efforts that all of the wonderful library volunteers put forth, it makes our time seem all the more well spent.”

    Proceeds support the mission of the Rochester Public Library Foundation. Registration is required. Visit or call 507-328-2343.

Rochester Reads

Another way to get involved at the library is through the Rochester Reads events. The 2012 Rochester Reads books highlight the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. The community reading event includes two adult books by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist/author Tony Horwitz, a junior title for middle-school students and a picture book for the preschool/kindergarten crowd. The library will host a kick-off event at the library with Mayor Brede and the musical group The New Pearl Buttons on February 13.

    The two adult titles are “Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from America’s Unfinished Civil War” (1998), and “Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War” (2011). Tony Horwitz will speak on the topic of Civil War and the origins of the conflict on Monday, April 9, at Willow Creek Auditorium at 7 p.m.

     The junior title is “The River Between Us” by Richard Peck, and the picture book is “B is for Battlecry” by Minnesota author Patricia Bauer. Bauer will visit several Rochester classrooms on April 10.

     Other events in March and April include Civil War lectures, children and young adult events and book discussion groups. Find information at

Gone Digital

Did you know that the library has more than 3,000 digital eBook titles as well as thousands of digital audio-books? In addition, the library provides digital music and videos. All of these resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Because digital items automatically expire on their due date, there is never an overdue fee. All you need is a valid library card, internet access and a computer or device that meets the system requirements for the type of material you want to download.

    “Our digital collection works a lot like our physical collection. Only one user can have access to a digital title at a time,” explains Kimberly Edson, head of RPL Readers Services. “For items that are checked out, you may place a hold on them just like you do for other items in the library. A person is limited to ten digital check-outs at a time due to the high demand for digital materials.”

    Digital titles are compatible with a number of eBook readers and MP3 players. All mobile platforms are supported. The library even provides regular classes on the use of their digital resources. Upcoming classes are January 18 and 25. To register for this class or others click on “Events and Classes” at

    For more information on compatible devices or for a guided tour on using the digital services, go to

Suzanne Jones is a freelance writer, preschool teacher and mom. She could write several pages more about the many incredible programs and services the RPL has to offer.