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Library Notes: So much going on in the arts, with activities and fantastic reads

January has been a crazy month, At the River Falls Public Library we’ve already started gearing up for the summer.

We’re eagerly looking forward to more amazing collaborations with our awesome community partners and we’re excitedly planning for April’s The Big Read (a.k.a River Falls Reads), and we’re welcoming community-based artists into the gallery for the 2017 Wisconsin Regional Arts Program Exhibition.

A few people have asked me to mention what I’ve been reading in this week’s column.To be honest, I’ve been reading a lot for school and enjoying a lot of technical books as I work on my Integrated Marketing Communications degree at St. Kate’s in St. Paul.

Usually you can find me reading something technical anyway, but, right now, my favorites (that I highly recommend for anyone interested in learning the art and science of modern marketing) are pretty heavily marketing-focused and include “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” by Ann Handley; “Create Your Own Website the Easy Way” by Alannah Moore; and “Great Graphic Design On A Budget: How To Do More With Less” by Scott Witham.

Handle's “Everybody Writes” is a great read for anyone who has ever thought about getting a blog up-and-running, for anyone who wants to find a voice on social media, and for anyone, anytime, who is thinking about writing about anything.

Moore's “Create Your Own Website” is a great illustrated guide to choosing a platform for and setting up your own website.

If you have a small business, are interested in a DIY update to your current website or just want to learn more about website development, this is a terrific, brand-new, book.

Witham's “Great Graphic Design” is a long-time favorite that I recently revisited. I love this book because it’s great for someone who has even a small amount of technical design know-how. This book is perfect for someone looking for graphic design inspiration. It's a great reference tool.

Have you got any questions about my recommendations or do you want more? Let me know. Shoot me an email at

Lastly, here are library happenings we definitely think should go on your calendar for thecoming month:

  • WRAP III: The Wisconsin Regional Arts Program Exhibition and Workshop

View works by artists from throughout the region from Jan. 28 to Feb. 25. WRAP is administered by UW-Madison Continuing Studies and the River Falls Public Library through a collaboration with the River Falls Community Arts Base. Gallery reception is February 4, 2017 from 2-4PM.

  • WRAP Workshop: This Is A Real Job: Insights into Arts Work, from 1-2 p.m. Feb. 4. This session will explore the myth and the reality of what it means to be a working artist. Danielle Dresden & Donna Pecket, Producing Artistic Directors of TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater in Madison will offer this presentation as a duo, mixing humorous dialogue and rhythm dance with their personal backstage stories to involve audiences in a conversation about how the arts contribute to making a living and making a life in Wisconsin. All are welcome to attend. A gallery reception runs from 2-4 p.m.
  • Souper Bowl Saturday, 2-4 P.M. Feb. 4. Soup for a Group: Learn how to start a Soup Club with your family and friends. Copies of the recipes will be provided and samples of soup during the class. Free childcare will be provided.
  • Simple Healthy Dinners in a Jar, 6:30-7 p.m. Feb. 9. Jars do not need to be reserved for canning A variety of meals can be prepared in jars. During this demonstration, Family Fresh Wellness Specialist Louise Bilek will focus on hearty and healthy meals with dry ingredients that have a long shelf life and require very few additional ingredients to prepare. All copies of the recipes will be provided and a few lucky attendees will walk away with the meals that are prepared during the class. Free childcare will be provided.
  • Maker Monday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. or 6-7 p.m. Feb. 13. Join us in the lower level of the library for an afternoon of family-friendly, hands-on activities in our pop-up makerspace. Kids, teens, and groups encouraged to attend from 3:30-5:30; family-focused program is from 6-7, snack included. This month we’re making comic art and stop-motion animation projects!
  • River Falls Reads: During the month of April, everyone is encouraged to read Dashiell Hammett's “The Maltese Falcon” as part of The Big Read in the St. Croix Valley. ArtReach St. Croix, regional library partners, St. Croix Festival Theatre, Valley Bookseller and other community partners will be hosting a month of book discussions, art events and performances. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts. “The Maltese Falcon” is a brilliant literary work, as well as a thriller, a love story, and a dark, dry comic mystery.

Also: submit your short stories and be featured in St. Croix Noir, a collection of regional noir mystery fiction! A month of book discussions, theater performances, film screenings, nature hikes and art exhibitions.

Editor's Note: This library column was written by event and gallery coordinator Cole Zrostlik.