Special Events – April 2024

Plant Medicine: Herbal Allies in your Garden

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024, 7:00 p.m.

The plants that grow around us can be keys to not only maintaining health, but healing us when we are ill. Knowing and growing a few foundational herbs in our gardens can provide us with a way to play a more active role in our own well-being. In this workshop, led by Khadijah Lacina, we will discuss planning and choosing herbs to add to our gardens in order to begin building our home herbal apothecary. We will discuss a few key plants and their growing preferences, as well as their preparation and application.

Origami Crane Making Class

Friday, March 22nd, 4:00 p.m.

Join us for a relaxing afternoon while we learn and practice the Japanese art of origami. We’ll make cranes of varying sizes using different types of paper. This program will be led by Emily Devitt and is open to all ages. Come experience the cozy atmosphere of the library and its environs while creating beautiful, meditative art. Cranes make great gifts for friends and loved ones too, and can be used to create mobiles and other captivating displays. 

Miniature Boxes

Tuesday, March 26th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

If you’ve visited the library in the past couple of years, you’ve undoubtedly been stopped in your tracks by one of Karen Riddet’s “miniature boxes.” Karen has displayed over 25 miniature boxes at the library, and we’ve gotten used to hearing the exclamations of wonder and amazement from patrons as they examine these charming and uncannily detailed creations. Now you’ll have the chance to learn what is involved in making them! Karen will share tips and stories about making the boxes, and attendees will learn how to make a miniature book like the ones used in her “Bookstore” and “Library” boxes. We’re limiting the attendance to 12 people for this hands-on program, so please call the library at 735-4331, or email to reserve a spot. This program is designed for adults, but children may participate with adult supervision. 



Two Singing and Dancing Story Hours with Ilana: Wednesday, Sep. 16 & 23, 2020

     Call to reserve a spot for your family group for two Singing and Dancing Story Hours with Ilana at the Gays Mills Library.

     On two Wednesdays, September 16 and 23 at 10:30 a.m., Ilana Pestcoe of rural Soldiers Grove will have you cooing like a turtle dove and dancing like a chicken. 

      For years, Ilana has been taking kids of all ages on journeys with mirthful music, dance and imaginative play. Her fun and sometimes zany play times allow kids, and their grown-ups, to experience the joy of using their voices and bodies in creative ways. 

 Ilana has some charming songs to share. We’ll harmonize our voices on “Bella Mama,” and do a call and response on “I Knew A Chicken.” We want to offer two sessions so that participants can come to the second session with the songs already in their ears. Call 735-4331, or email to reserve a spot for your group. The fiestas will take place outside behind the library, so please bring a chair or blanket to sit on, though you won’t be doing much sitting.


Outdoor Story Hour with Andreas Transo: Wed., August 26, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Come join local musician and storyteller Andreas Transø for a joyous outdoor event on Wednesday, August 26 at 10:30 AM. We’ll meet out behind the Gays Mills Library for a socially distanced Story Hour for children of all ages – that means unaccompanied adults are welcome.
      You’ll get a spoons lesson from a master spoonsman, and learn some word games and silly stories using – you guessed it – spoonerisms! You may also get the chance to give a family member a ‘spoons haircut.’ 
     Andreas will regale us with some amusing stories of the Rolling Ground Irish (names will be changed to protect the innocent). And of course we’ll listen to some great songs and join in on the classic “The Rattlin’ Bog” since we’ll be right next to the slough. No need to worry about mosquitos though, since most are resting at that time of day.
     Summer is winding down and school is right around the corner. This session with Andreas will be a great way to get your kids excited about language, stories, music, and the fun that can be had learning new things.
      Spoons will be provided, but be sure to bring a chair, blanket or 5 gallon pail to sit on. The rain date is Thursday, Aug. 27 at 10:30 a.m. If you have any questions, please call 735-4331, or email
Here is Andreas giving a ‘spoons haircut’ to a bemused customer:
Spoons Haircut.jpg

Stories, Photos and Food with Khadijah Tracy Lacina: Life in Yemen, 2002-2012

The public is invited to an enlightening evening of stories, photographs, and food with Khadijah Tracy Lacina on Saturday, February 1st at 7:00 PM in the Community Room of the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center. Tracy will share her experience of living and raising her family in Yemen from 2002 to 2012 when she lived in the capital Sana’a and three different villages. However, this will not be a travelogue but an up-close look at what life is like in this predominantly Muslim country.

Tracy, who is a published author as well as a producer and marketer of clothing, foods, and bath products, grew up in Gays Mills and graduated from North Crawford Schools. She has recently moved back to Gays Mills with her family. Acting as a bridge between cultures, Tracy is a ‘local product’ we can be proud of. Don’t miss this opportunity to come hear her stories, now when the need for more understanding and dialogue with the Islamic world couldn’t be greater.

Yemeni snacks and drinks prepared by Khadijah and her family will be served, because what better way to learn about the world than by sampling its delicious foods?

This is a free event co-sponsored by the Kickapoo Exchange Natural Foods Co-op and the Gays Mills Public Library.


Film: Right To Harm

Friday, November 15th at 7:00 PM


Through the riveting stories of five rural communities, RIGHT TO HARM exposes the devastating public health impact factory farming has on many disadvantaged citizens throughout the United States. Filmed across the country, the documentary chronicles the failures of state agencies to regulate industrial animal agriculture. Known formally as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – or CAFOs – these facilities produce millions of gallons of untreated waste that destroys the quality of life for nearby neighbors. Fed up with the lack of regulation, these disenfranchised citizens band together to demand justice from their legislators. This event is co-sponsored by the Crawford Stewardship Project which will facilitate a discussion following the film.


Fall Bird Migrations
with naturalist Bill Volkert

Friday, October 18th at 6:00 PM

Come join us for a free program on fall bird migrations with naturalist and wildlife educator Bill Volkert. He has been watching and studying birds for over 40 years and has sighted more than 3,750 species (1/3 of the world’s birds). For 27 years, Volkert worked at Horicon Marsh where he conducted many educational programs. In 2014-2015, Bill and his wife Connie traveled to twelve countries during a seven and a half month trip. They sighted more than 120 kinds of mammals and over 1,300 bird species, documenting their experience in a book which will be available for perusal and purchase at the Library event.







Budapest in Pictures

A slide and photo presentation by the Library’s own Don Lampert

Thursday, October 10th at 7:00 PM

Join us for an evening with Don Lampert as he shares beautiful slides, photos and experiences of his July 2019 trip to Budapest, Hungary. Admission is free and there will be special treats and coffee served. 

Here is a photo Don took of the Budapest Central Library:


Stories from the Flood workshops:

Tuesday, May 28th from 5-7 PM 

Friday, May 31st from 3-5 PM

The Driftless Writing Center’s Stories from the
Flood project is partnering with libraries and local
historical societies to help people affected by the
flood record and share their stories.

Volunteers from the Driftless Writing Center will
host story workshops at libraries throughout the
area. We’ll introduce you to the project and help
you record your story in written, audio, or video
form. Participating in a story workshop does not
mean you have to share your story. It’s up to you.
We will ask for your permission in writing before
making your story public.


Michael Riddet Pop-up Art Show and Artist Talk Wednesday, May 22 6:30-8:30 PM

Come to the Gays Mills Public Library for an evening of beautiful artwork and an informal lecture by local master artist Michael Riddet. Michael’s work has been featured in many magazines and books and he has shown his work in several museums. (The cardinal painting above the DVDs in the library is one of Michael’s.) He draws inspiration from nature and his work displays an astonishing level of detail and realism. Along with viewing selections from his ouvre, you will be entertained by his many stories and fascinated to learn how he creates his art. The talk will begin at 7:00 and refreshments will be served.


National Library Week 2019: April 7 – 13                          Libraries = Strong Communities

Come celebrate National Library Week with us! We’ll be serving refreshments during our open hours next week. Find out what your library is doing to make a strong community. 





The Not-Too-Sweet Scoop On Sugar                                    Thursday, April 4th, 5:00 PM

Have you chosen sides in the MillerCoors vs. Anheuser-Busch corn-syrup-in-beer debate?

Crossing Rivers Health dietician Shelby Moose won’t resolve that conflict but she will discuss the nutritional impact of added sugars in beverages.  Moose’s program “The Not-too-sweet Scoop on Sugar” will be held at 5 pm, Thursday, April 5 in the Gays Mills Village Board room.

Shelby has been the dietician at Crossing Rivers Health for over four years.  Most of her time is spent seeing hospital patients or people referred by their physicians; but, her favorite activity is giving community talks.  “I am not the food police,” she says.  “My focus is on body positivity, nourishing foods, and best of all—not dieting!”

The Gays Mills Library invites you to come learn something from Shelby and sample some snacks and drinks—no sugar added!


Let’s Talk About Dementia    Friday, March 1st, 1 PM

Gina Laack, Social Worker with the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and Dementia Care Specialist, will hold an informational session discussing what dementia is, the importance of taking action to help those with dementia, tactics for addressing dementia in Crawford Co. and how to become a dementia-friendly community.


Decoding the Driftless   Sunday, January 20 @ 2 PM

The 2018 movie, Decoding the Driftless will be shown free of charge in the Community Room of the Community Commerce Center at 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 20th. There will be a Q & A with one of the producers of the film, George Howe, following the hour-long movie. DVDs will be available for purchase.



The Department of Workforce Development will be available one day a month to assist you with your resume, cover letter, interview skills and more. For a full list of services the DWD can provide see below. Schedule an appointment by calling the library (608-735-4331). 






Advance Care Planning Presentation

Gundersen Lutheran educators will be on hand on April 5th to discuss this important topic.

Register by March 29th for this event. 







Holiday Crafting for all Ages

Drop by for some holiday crafting on Saturday, December 16th from 9 a.m. to noon.

ornaments half sheet










 Books Before Kindergarten

The Gays Mills Public Library is excited to announce the upcoming launch of 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Initiative. Watch for more information in the newspaper, on our Facebook page and on our website.

The concept is simple, the rewards are priceless. Read a book (any book) to your newborn, infant, and/or toddler. The goal is to have read 1,000 books (yes you can repeat books) before your precious one starts kindergarten. Does it sound hard? Not really if you think about it. If you read just 1 book a night, you will have read about 365 books in a year. That is 730 books in two years and 1,095 books in three years. If you consider that most children start kindergarten at around 5 years of age, you have more time than you think.

Why should you bother? Because early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child’s earliest experiences with books and stories see for more information.

Families who participate will be presented a book bag, log sheets, and a 1000 words of encouragement to read to their children. Children who reach 100 book milestones will be able to place a sticker on the 1000 Books Tree at the Gays Mills Public Library.

































BUS-eum Historical Exhibit

Friday, July 9th, 1:00 – 7:00 PM

With special presentation at 5:00 in Community Room

A new historical exhibit is traversing the American Heartland this summer. A mobile museum in a retrofitted school bus, the “BUS-eum,” offers insights into America’s present problems by revisiting parallel historical events.

The BUS-eum will be in the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center parking lot on Friday, July 9th from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a special presentation in the Community Room at 5:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Gays Mills Public Library and the Kickapoo Valley Friends.  

The BUS-eum is the brainchild of Dr. Michael Luick-Thrams, originally from north central Iowa who now divides his time between the U.S. and Germany where he is a part-time professor at Erfurt University in Thüringen.

The current exhibit is entitled “Reactionary Movements in America’s Heartland, 1914-1939” and will cover five topics: the 1918 flu pandemic; anti-German hysteria during WWI; Prohibition-era bootlegging in rural America; the “Second Wave” of the Ku Klux Klan in the Midwest of the 1920s; and “Cow Wars” and other farmer-led rebellions during the Great Depression.

There will be a special presentation given by Dr. Luick-Thrams of the “Cow Wars” subject at 5:00 in the Community Room. This will be an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of the agrarian rebellions that took place during the early years of the Great Depression that mirrored rural folks’ desperate attempts to survive.  

The BUS-eum will also be at the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library on Thursday, July 8th starting at noon.