Gene Stratton Porter Easter

Revisit Easter.

Sarah's Notebook

Easter Trundlebed TalesIf you’ve been following the blog you know that Gene Stratton-Porter is an author who is very special to me. Stratton-Porter was my Grandma Uthoff’s favorite author and Laddie: A True Blue Story is her favorite book. So for Easter this year, I decided to read aloud the description of how her family celebrated Easter with Easter eggs in the late 19th century.


Buy a paper copy or read it online for free:

Find the museum dedicated to her near Rome, Indiana:

Buy it on CD:

UPDATED April 20 2019: I updated the signature block and corrected the link to buy the CD.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She…

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Revisiting New Madrid.

Sarah's Notebook

Reblogging this March 30, 2019 aka NOT this morning. 🙂

Early this morning we had an earthquake here in Iowa City. The epicenter was in Illinois so we didn’t get the full effect, but it was enough of a shake in our beds that it woke everyone up. There was a small aftershock this morning. Neither was enough that you were sure it was an earthquake and you have to think what is that and why am I shaking. This was the second one we’ve had in my lifetime. The last one was when I was in high school and I was upstairs and everyone else was outside. I felt it shake and saw furniture shake, but my folks didn’t believe we’d had one until the news reported it.

We don’t often have earthquakes in the Midwest, but we do sometimes. The famous one was out of New Madrid, Missouri…

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Lincoln Home Update

Taking another look at the Lincoln Home.

Sarah's Notebook

Front of Abraham Lincoln House Lincoln Home Exterior – NPS

If you have never visited the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL you are missing out. They do a beautiful job preserving their Lincoln Heritage and there are lots of other things to do in Springfield.

You can also read about the Lincoln Home National Historic Site:
And learn new things about them on Facebook, like the recent post below:
During their stay in the White House, the Lincoln family enjoyed the ability to peruse, and purchase books for, the White House library. Some examples of these purchases include titles such as Homes of American Authors; Strickland’s England; Pearls of Ord Island; Spencers Poems; “1 Set Shakespear,” History of New York; Indian Tales; History of Birds; and History of Art.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Later they responded to questions: “Thank you all for the questions concerning this weeks snippet! To…

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Iowa School Librarian Requirement Saved

Recently there was an effort in the Iowa General Assembly to remove the requirement that there be at least one librarian and nurse in every school district. This is being done under the ideal of local control. That is something that I also believe in to as an ideal, but there are certain times and places when the state government needs to step in to ensure something happens. There are times when people making the laws for the state may know things (through constituents reaching out) that the local school board isn’t aware of.  For example, study after study proves a student in a school with an active library program and a well supported library achieves more than a student without these things. Another example of this kind is requiring certified teachers which is done on a state level, not a local level. That’s the way to think of this requirement. There are times when the state should step in and I think having a librarian and more so an information literacy program is one of them.
I’ll note here that I worked as a school librarian in two K-12 school districts. However, I’m not employed in one now and I don’t really even know many K-12 librarians any more so this isn’t about me wanting to save anyone’s job. This is about what’s best for the state in creating an educated population.
I’m happy to say the amendment was killed. Below I’m reposting with permission the statement from the Iowa Library Association about this attempt to remove librarians from our schools.
If you want to know more about this instance or about efforts to support libraries and information literacy in schools, or for support for libraries across the board a good place to start is EveryLibrary’s post and then on to the rest of their page.

This from Dan Chibnall, ILA President:

Last evening [Ed. Note: February 28, 2019], the [Iowa General Assembly] Senate Education Committee met to discuss SSB 1190, the bill that contained language striking the requirements for teacher librarians and nurses in Iowa schools. As of last night, that threat no longer exists.

During the committee meeting, Sen. Mark Lofgren proposed an amendment striking the teacher librarian and nurse language from the bill. It passed by voice vote with no opposition. The bill now goes to the full Senate but our teacher librarian colleagues are safe.

Katy Kauffman, the 2019 Iowa Association of School Librarians President, wrote a great email last night to her IASL members and I’m going to borrow a little from that here so you know who was all involved in leading these efforts. The IASL Board, Lisa Beal (IASL Advocacy Chair), Karla Krueger, Joan Taylor, Mike Wright, Zach Stier, Shannon Miller, Cara Stone, Dara Schmidt, and Amanda Vazquez. There were others too, on listservs and social media, in email threads and at the Capitol. Thank you all for your hard work.

I want to give a special shout-out to our incredible lobbyists, Craig Patterson and Amy Campbell. Without them I don’t know where we would be. Thank you so much. Also, another special shout out to EveryLibrary, who came in at the 11th hour to help us in our time of need. If you’re not familiar with them, visit their site and get to know them. Patrick “P.C.” Sweeney and John Chrastka were so helpful with language and for helping us setup on their site to get the emails rolling. They also put together this website telling the story of our victory last night. I recommend you all take a look and share it with others:

I cannot thank all of you enough for your incredible efforts to help make this win a reality. When I ran for ILA President years ago, I talked quite a bit about the importance of communication between librarians, libraries, and our legislators. Last night those communication efforts paid off and I was so impressed by the sheer volume of your voices, telling your stories and sticking together with your colleagues across the state. Bravo to all of you. Let’s keep those voices loud and clear for our Legislative Day on March 13th at the [Iowa] Capitol.

If you have a few minutes today, please consider emailing or calling the senators who helped us last night and thank them for their tireless work and their votes.

Clovis the Bottle Calf

Ever want to know how to feed a bottle calf? Laura used a bucket, we have one we use later, but we like to start with a bottle.

Sarah's Notebook

This is our bottle calf, Clovis. My brother named him after “Clovis Don’t Want to be Touched” from the Apple Dumpling Gang. I was hoping to do a series of these videos, but Clovis passed away last night. So this is sort of a memorial, but he can still show people about how you feed a bottle calf.

UPDATED March 1 2019: I added my current signature block.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one

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An Obvious Quote

Revisiting a great quote!

Sarah's Notebook

I just came across this quote in a blog called “Which Came First” Sept. 25, 2007 6:48 PM on the New York Times website The 3 part series is in itself a very interesting examination of how we can know something about history (in this case about some photographs taken during the Crimea War), but this quote by the author Errol Morris really jumped out at me. It’s something to consider the next time you are trying to research some history, buy something expensive, or have a conversation.

As I’ve said elsewhere: Nothing is so obvious that it’s obvious. When someone says that something is obvious, it seems almost certain that it is anything but obvious – even to them. The use of the word “obvious” indicates the absence of a logical argument – an attempt to convince the reader by asserting the truth of something by saying…

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Book – To the Flag by Richard J. Ellis

Revisiting To the Flag.

Sarah's Notebook

Cover of To the Flag by Richard J. EllisThis book is the story of the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s a very interesting story. How the Pledge developed slowly into its final form, its rise and fall with in schools, and how the physical salute changed over the decades is covered in detail. The story of the history surrounding the pledge is even interesting.has For example, it seems that one of its best known historians was also a plagiarist. The analysis of the early history is the best part and presented in a fairly even handed way. Ellis has his own modern political point of view and the closer it comes to the present time, the less even handed his approach becomes. It’s still a very interesting book for anyone with an interest in the Pledge or the history of education. I’d recommend any one involved in one-room school history read at least the first 2/3rds of the book.

UPDATED February 14 2019: I added…

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