October brings Houdini and history of trains to FM library


FM Public Library Director

FORT MADISON - Duffy Hudson brings Harry Houdini to life at the Fort Madison Public Library

Harry Houdini was born in Hungary in 1874 and came to the United States with his family in 1878 at the age of 4.  Houdini began his career in 1891 as a vaudeville escape artist and illusionist.  He would go on to travel Europe and awe crowds with acts that included chains, ropes hung from skyscrapers and underwater escapes.

In this fascinating one-man show, The Great Houdini will share his secrets of success, his obsession with magic and the occult, and the amazing stunts that drove him to an early grave. 

Will the show include elements of Houdini’s life? Of course it will. 

Will the show include escapes and magic? Of course it will. 

Will the show captivate the young, the old, and everyone in between? Of course it will.

Will the show reveal all of Houdini’s secrets? Well, you will have to watch won’t you?

Learn more about the life of this amazing illusionist at the Fort Madison Public Library on Thursday, October 28 at 1:30 pm.

Chester S. Gross Collection:  Trains Galore

Rudy Daniels’ presentation on October 1 taught me how much Iowa and Iowans shaped the development of railroads as they spread across the country.  Even more so, Fort Madison has a key place in railroad history, as one of the few places in Iowa where trains could cross the Mississippi River. 

If you want to learn more about trains, and train history, take a look at the C.S. Gross Collection at the library.  Chester S. Gross had a large collection of books about trains and railroad history which his grandson, Michael Gross, donated to the library.  These books are currently located in the special collections room in the southeast corner of the library.  While the books donated by the Gross Family are the core of the collection the library has also added new materials to it over the years.  In the Gross collection, you will, of course, find books on local railroads such as the Burlington Northern, the Santa Fe and the C, B & Q.  However, there are also books on other railroads across the country and Canada as well as technical train books and books about train cars and engines.  Looking for model railroad help?  There are books on that, too, along with railroad collectibles.

If you are interested in trains, take some time to peruse this section.  Some of the books are for reference only but many can be checked out and taken home for more in-depth reading.

October Book Recommendations from Library Board Member Kathy Burkhardt

  1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (YA F STI)
  2. Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown (MYS F BRO)
  3. Old Bones by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (F PRE)
  4. The Archived by (YA F SCH)
  5. 11/22/63 by Stephen King (F KIN)
  6. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (F HOF)
  7. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris (F HAR)

And one from the library director:

  1.  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (F BRA)

Upcoming Events at the Fort Madison Public Library –

For the safety of library employees and other patrons, please do not come to library programs if you feel ill, have a fever or are waiting on the results of a coronavirus test.  The library is still offering curbside book pick-up if you need something to read, watch or listen to but want to keep your community healthy by temporarily quarantining.

The Library will be closed on Monday, October 11 for a staff work day.

Pre-School/Toddler Story Hour –Wednesday morning at 10:30.

Thursday Crafternoon –Thursday, 3:30-5:00, for ages 14-adult.  This program is an opportunity to spend some time working on an in-depth project for the whole month.  October will be a chance to work on a spooky wreath and other Halloween décor.

Hang Teen – Tuesday, 3:30-5:00 (except for October 19) for ages 12-19.

Minecraft –3:30-5:00, ages 9-18 on Mondays. 

Wacky Wednesday – School is out early October 20.  Stop by the library between 1:30 to 2:30 pm to make your own monster.

All Booked Up! - The library's book discussion group meets on the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m.  On Thursday, November 4, we will be discussing "The Black Dahlia” by James Ellroy. 

Cook the Book – We’re back in the kitchen and sharing all kinds of yummy food.  This month’s cookbook is “Better Homes and Gardens Soups Salads and Sandwiches” and is available at the library.  Pick a recipe and prepare it to share with the group on October 12 at 5:30 pm.  In November, we’ll be picking recipes from “Cookie Classics”.


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