Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas gift from the library!

Felice Navidad! Oh humans from all walks of life! Pine River Public Library wishes you the most loving of holiday seasons. As a tribute to this season of lights we are keeping the lights on more at the library! (This may also have something to do with budget, but why question it?) New hours after January 1, 2008:

Monday: 12:00 – 5:00
Tuesday: 10:00 – 5:00
Wednesday: 12:00 – 7:00
Thursday: 10:00 – 5:00
Friday: 10:00 – 3:00
Saturday: 10:00 – 2:00

I am sooo excited about this! It means more time for me to see you, oh valued patrons. More time for fresh water. More time for extra treats. More time for playing with friends. More time for… well, lots of things. I get lonely on those long weekends, especially during the dark days of winter. There are the “dog days of summer”, and then there are the “cat days of winter” when a cat likes to curl up in a comfy corner. I’m pretty sure this is a Christmas present just for me, this extension of hours. You may think it is for you. Not. It’s my gift this year. Thank you, Kitchigami Regional Library. Thank you Pine River Public Library. Thank you, patrons all. A special thanks to Muriel, head honcho of my home.

Have a wonderful holiday season, whatever that might mean to you. Say something nice to somebody else. Maybe even to a stranger! I do that all the time. It makes them smile and it makes me feel great.

Until next year, I remain,
Browser, the library cat.

Printed in the Pine River Journal Dec 19, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Politically correct holidays

I am a cat. What do I know about political correctness? I do read the newspapers that are readily available at Pine River Public Library. It astonishes me that celebrating Christmas or Hanukah or any other mid-winter celebration has become somehow negative. What could be negative about lighting the winter skies with colored lights? What could be negative about thinking about our friends and neighbors during the darkest days of winter and wishing them well? And what about Santa? Who is this guy, anyway? “…The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century…” Visit that web page for a complete history of this tradition. We have computers at Pine River Library for that very purpose. Information. Information. Information. My mantra, as I have often tried to convey to you, my trusted friends, is: Reading will set you free! After all, I make my home at a library…

Meantime, during this special season of giving (I don’t care what’s politically correct. I’m a cat.) The Pine River Library will be collecting non perishable food for the local food shelf through the holidays. (What holidays? you may ask. My answer is simple. All of them!) Now, I don’t know a lot about canned food except for tuna, of course, but I’m pretty sure there’s more “non perishable” than green beans. Use your imagination. All sorts of great stuff must be non perishable. There is only so much nourishment in a can of beans! (“Green beans, while quite low in calories (just 43.75 calories in a whole cup), are loaded with nutrients — an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin.”

Mini Me Browser has been traveling Pine River. His first stop was to visit Beau. Can’t tell you where that is. It wouldn’t be correct, politically or otherwise – advertising without permission? Who knows! If you’re from Pine River you know where Beau lives. You could trip over him when you walk in the door of this business! Mini Me Browser’s second stop was where they sell pizza, coffee, and ice cream. Not too difficult to figure this one out either. Keep looking. He’s around town somewhere different each week!

A special thank you to everyone who donated to the Dorothy King memorial. Half the money went toward the library roof replacement fund. The other half went into the book account.

Have a very special __________ (Call it whatever makes you comfortable!)
-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal December 13, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Drip, drip, drip......

Hello, fellow travelers on the quest for enlightenment. I am Browser, the library cat at Pine River Library, where enlightenment does not mean light shining through the roof! We wish to thank a few generous souls who have donated to our roof repair fund:

Thank you Pine River/Backus ATOD program for your donation of $25.00.
Thank you Marcella Fisher for your donation of $1,000.00.
Thank you Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe for your donation of $2,500.00.

As it happens, we are still $25,000 short of a new roof. If each of 25,000 people would donate $1.00, or 5,000 would donate $5.00 or … You get the picture. Let us all pitch in and get a new roof on our library. A library is a precious thing.

Speaking of our library, there is a new art exhibit adorning our walls. The Pine River Art Club has, for several years, made our library space not just a repository for books but a warm and inviting space with their manifestation of the creative spirit which lives within each of us. Thank you, Artists all, for your transformation of brick and mortar into lively and lovely display. Who knew? We thought it was a library. Turns out it is also an art gallery!

But enough about the rest of you… Here is something about me! We have started a feature called “Browser Mini Me”. There is a poster at the library about this. Here is how it works: Tell the staff at the Pine River Library in what Pine River business you saw “Mini Me” (that would be Browser, the library cat likeness) and receive one of 20 collectable limited edition Browser Trading Cards. “Mini Me” will be in a different location every week. Every time you spot me you can collect another trading card. Be sure to keep your eyes open. I’m out there in Pine River! One trading card per person per week. Limited availability.

And finally, a sad note in closing. We mark the passing of Dorothy King, a long time Kitchigami employee and ardent volunteer in both Pine River Library and in the Kitchigami Library system. Dorothy spent countless hours making our library a better place. She is remembered as the “Story Time Lady” at our library. She donated some of her quilted place mats and lap quilts to the Pine River Library silent auctions. That is the short list. The staff at Pine River Library and Kitchigami Regional Library will miss her greatly. A memorial fund has been set up at Pine River Library in her name.

With the coming of winter weather, stay inside and read a book!
I remain,
-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal November 15, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

And another Haunting Hello

Halloween is nearly upon us, and once again through a great deal of hard work, Friends of the Pine River Library have stirred up a brew of entertainment for people of all ages. I say people, because they never allow me to attend these gatherings. I liked it a bit better when it was held at the actual library where I could lurk in the shadows. Oh well. I suppose they know what of they do. But here’s the thing… This is a fund raiser for our wonderful Pine River Public Library. It is my home. It is your literary edifice. It is leaking! That is certainly a very good reason to attend the Haunted Forest, Oct. 19 – 20 & 26-27 6:30 – 10pm. It is being held now 2 ½ miles east of Pine River off State Hwy 84. There will be spider signs posted along the path to direct your passage. The proceeds will help put our library building to rights.

There is another, deeper reason to attend. It is for the pure adventure of the thing. I quote from “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive…”

Scare yourselves a little. Take a risk. Traipse around in the dark for fun, “…for the adventure of being alive.” If you need more information, call Cleo (218-587-3996).

I remain, hidden in my haunted lair,

-Browser, the black library cat.

Printed in the Pine River Journal Oct. 18, 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Haunted forest seeks participants

Greetings ghostly, ghastly ghouls.
This is alliteration, on the off chance you didn’t know. “…the repetition of usu. initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables…” Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary says so and I believe them. It is also a suitable seasonal salutation. And it is Pine River Public Library and the Friends of the Pine River Library’s absolute favorite as seasons go. (You would not believe all the spooky stuff stashed in Muriel’s cellar!) As a result of all this festive frenzy, Friends of the Pine River Library are once again hosting The Haunted Forest, October 19 – 20 and 26 – 27 from 6:30 to 10 PM at State 84 and County Road 44 in Pine River. Individuals and groups are invited to decorate and operate a fright scene. The deadline for entering is October 10. Cash prizes will be awarded! And now the disclaimer: Friends committee has final say as to scene content. No decapitated cats, please. I, as a committee member in good standing, might become enraged, or at least mortally, morally miffed. If you are interested, or become interested in the next few days, contact either the calculating Cleo (587-3996) or inimitable Muriel (587-4639).

Hope you have a horribly happy Halloween.
-Browser, the library cat.

Printed in the Pine River Journal Oct 4th, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Explore the gift of learning to learn

Hello and greetings from your resident feline at Pine River Public Library.

Our library wants your input. Please go into the library and fill out the survey so that the Kitchigami Regional Library can know more about what they can do for you. Isn’t that nice?

The children – I do so love them – have made drawings on quilt squares that have been sewn into a truly marvelous quilt. (If you win it, can I please rest on it for a bit? There is even a drawing of me!) We are asking for donations for a chance to win this amazing quilt. The proceeds will go to next summer’s Summer Reading Program. Stop by The Pine River Public Library and look what the children created.

I consider myself rather erudite for a pussy cat. Erudition is a learned thing. Even cats must learn language in order to communicate. I am also a philosopher, and as I must from time to time, I will share my philosophy with you, my trusted readers. School is beginning. This is not a prison camp or a daycare center where children go during the day. It is a precious gift, this learning. Oddly, one must learn to learn. This, primarily, is the purpose of school. To teach children to learn. This lesson includes the invaluable gift of learning to find out things for ones self. It is freeing for a young person to be able to rely on self to locate answers to his or her questions. If you have never heard a child exclaim, “Guess what I found out today!” you missed the ultimate in the human experience. Parents, this is a gentle way of explaining why it is so important to let your children do their own schoolwork. Help them if they need help, for you are their parents and that is your job, but allow them the exhilaration of finding out things for themselves. Muriel and her staff at the library will happily provide gentle guidance when needed. I will now quote the passage about children from “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran, because it is beautiful:

And a woman who held a babe against
Her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s
longing for itself.
They come through you but not from
you, and though they are with you yet they
belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not
your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not
their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even
in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek
not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries
with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path
of the infinite, and He bends you with His
might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand
be for gladness;
for even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Your children are your future. Take very good care of them.
I remain,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal September 13, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Christmas gift ideas at the library

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? No!!? It’s already August. I have a really wonderful suggestion. The Scholastic Book Fair is being held at your Pine River Public Library from August 7 through the 11 during normal library hours. One stop shopping. There are plenty of books for young people, but most of the time they have something for everybody. I remember from past years. You wanted to go to the library anyway, didn’t you?

And whatever did happen to Harry Potter? The last book, Deathly Hallows came out July 21st. A dozen children came to the library with their sleeping bags and jammies to listen to the book on CD’s that Saturday night. I was there. I know. They had a great time. Still, because it is such a long book, I only heard part of it. I still don’t know how it ended. Will somebody please read it and tell me?

When was the last time you came to the library? Have you seen the CHAIR? “Adirondack” chair to be precise. (“The mountains often included by geographers in the
Appalachian Mountains, but they are geologically more similar to the Laurentian Mountains of Canada. They are bordered on the east by Lake Champlain and Lake George, which separate them from the Green Mountains in Vermont. They are bordered to the south by the Mohawk Valley and to the west by the Tug Hill Plateau, separated by the Black River. This region is south of the St. Lawrence River.” That tells you where the chairs originated. The library is where you can donate $5.00 to get your name in the drawing for our beautiful hand-made example. The drawing is September 1.

Now for the best part! You can get something for nothing at your library. It’s public, after all. Your new library cards are ready with the new logo. They haven’t been through the laundry yet or lost under the seat with all the fast food wrappers or reshaped in your wallet or lost in the bottom of your purse. They are new! Come get yours.
Until next time, I remain…

-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 2 August 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Welcome, Readers and people of other media.

“Go Bananas @ your library is the Summer Reading Program theme this year. The program is for kids in K to 12 grades. Check out all the happening at the library.”

This message comes from our illustrious head librarian, Muriel. It prompted me to research. You know how I am. Bananas are grown in 132 countries around the world. They are a major source of Vitamins A, B6 and C plus a good source of potassium. Here’s something I really didn't know: Bananas have been used in Japan since the 13th Century for the fabrication of textiles used in clothing. In Tibet banana fibers are used to weave rugs. ( What is the point? You may ask. Save those banana peals. You could be wearing them. The Facts On File Dictionary Of Cliches suggests that the phrase “to go bananas” dates from the 1960’s.

While we’re on the subject of consuming, the annual Wine and Beer Tasting and Silent Auction is being held at Driftwood Resort on Thursday, June 14th, 7pm to 9pm. There will be a silent auction. I hear there are wonderful things being offered this year. That’s all very fine and good, but what about the consuming? I have heard, though this isn’t confirmed by me, personally, that the Driftwood Resort has a new chef who will be preparing the hors d’oeuvres!

A little closer to home – mine, of course – is the Annual Summerfest Book Sale. When? Guess!
Nah, I’ll tell you. I know there are a lot of people who wait with baited breath all year for this sale.
Friday, June 29th from 10am to 6pm. Saturday, June 30 from 10am to 5pm and Sunday, July 1 from 10am to 2pm. Sunday is bargain day with everything going for $3.00/bag. See you there!

Browser, the library cat.

P.S. (this means “post script” or “after writing”): Those of you who wish to donate books, please do so during regular library hours and check with staff first. Please don’t leave them outside the library. Thanks.

Printed in the Pine River Journal June 14, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Welcome, Spring!

Here’s a tribute I found surfing the net, something I like to do in the library off hours. (You’ve heard the story about animals talking at midnight on Christmas Eve? Well, not only is that entirely true, but some of us surf when nobody’s looking.)

For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 – 1909)

That man certainly could write his poetry! Some day I hope to take it up as well. Not today, though. Today I must let you know about a few Press Releases issued by Kitchigami Regional Library.

1. The NoveList database of adult and children’s fiction is a wonderful tool for avid readers. It is available to registered library users from home, work, school or at any branch of Kitchigami Regional Library. Over the past year is has become the most frequently used database in KRL’s branch libraries, with more than 70,000 searches done last year... There is now a link from any title to the Kitchigami Regional Library catalog. Users can find out if the library owns a copy and place a request on it in one easy step. Just check the left hand column for the Check the Kitchigami Library Catalog and click on the button. It takes users right to the library’s catalog information on that title. Place a request for it and the library will let you know when it’s available for you.

2. The world of information available at the Pine River Library is bigger than ever. We now offer the web-based investment resource, Value Line. An independent research staff of investment analysts collected data on and analyzes the performance of over 8,000 stocks, 13,000 mutual funds and 80,000 other securities. A variety of investors will find it a wonderful source of objective and reliable information. Individuals, investment clubs – almost anyone will benefit from the information and educational materials in th is information source and its daily updates.

3. HeritageQuest Online is the first stop for online genealogy research. It includes the U.S. Census 1790 – 1930, a huge catalog of local history books, revolutionary war files and an index to magazine articles about family history. KRL cardholders can access this database from home, school or work.
Ancestry Library Edition is the largest and most comprehensive online genealogy resource available. It includes over 4,000 databases with 4 billion names. It also includes census data, maps, and military, immigration and DAR records. This resource is only available on public computers at any branch of Kitchigami Regional Library.

WOWEE! Lots going on, isn’t there? The days may be getting longer and the weather more beautiful, but on those much needed rainy days, get on that computer! Out for a walk in the spring air? Stop in at Pine River Public Library and check on some of this stuff. You could also view some really lovely art work on our walls and our display of kites. Who doesn’t love kites?

Until next time,
The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. Henry Van Dyke (1852–1933) One would think he lived in Pine River!
By the way, today’s poetry comes from
-Browser, the library cat.

Printed in the Pine River Journal May 17, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

Kitchigami Branches Provide Wireless Access!

Hail! Citizens all.
The Pine River Public Library has gone wireless. Is that at all like “unplugged”? Seems like it should be. That being the case, the first thing that comes to mind is “Unplugged” by Lois Grieman . After that, the wonderful missive, “Unplugged!: the bare facts on toilets through the ages/ Anna Ciddor” by, of course, Anna Ciddor and “Unplugged Kitchen: a return to the simple, authentic joys of cooking” by Viana La Place. Music? Sure. “Shakira, MTV unplugged” or “MTV unplugged EP” with Mariah Carey, or the very best, “Unplugged/ Eric Clapton”. Where, you might wonder, do I get all this information? Why, in the catalog section. All of this and more is available through your regional library. Just think of a title, an author, or a keyword and plug it in…The results will astound you.

But I digress. Actually, wireless has little and everything to do with unplugged. I received an email from Muriel, branch manager of the Pine River Public Library with the following news release:

Computer users at the Pine River Library now have another way to access the Internet. All branches of Kitchigami Regional Library now provide wireless access within the library.

Public demand for wireless access has increased over the last year. Muriel says, “For example, people who are taking courses or writing reports found our Internet access too restricted. Our library has a limited number of computers available for an hour or less. Now people can bring their laptops to the library and have the extended Internet access that they need – as long as their laptop has a wireless card in it.” Muriel also says that wireless users must agree to follow Kitchigami Regional Library Internet policies before their wireless connection is activated.

Of course you are now wondering how it is that I have email, and can you actually communicate with me using it. Naturally! Simply write to me at and put “to Browser” in the subject line. I’ll get it. Have any questions? Comments? Suggestions? Let me know!

And lastly, don’t forget to file your taxes. Forms are available in the lobby of the library and patrons can still go to to download any forms we don’t have or any information they may need. Better get right on that. It’s getting pretty close to spring-like weather and you aren’t going to want to be indoors with a pencil and eraser and calculator, chewing your finger nails – or claws, whichever the case may be.

Until next time,
I remain,
-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 29 March 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Brutus from Center Point Large Print came to visit the library this year. Here Browser is having a nice visit with Brutus. To see what Libraries Brutus has all ready visited, go to: and click on Brutus.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Browser recovers from illness with literature

My dear friends and neighbors,

I find myself infirmed. (Je trouvaille moi-même malade.)
I thank all of you in advance for your many cards and letters wishing me a quick recovery. That address, again, if you have peut-être forgotten, is:

Pine River Public Library
PO Box 14
Pine River, MN 56474

My usual physician est des vacances. Actually, he is not on vacation at all, but rather is aller à l'école (attending school) in sunny Florida. I was thus escorted to Staples for a visit with the local docteur animal in that fair town. The outing was tres cher ($$). Without seeming too indelicate, contributions of quelques pièces de monnaie (a few coins) would be greatly appreciated.

You have, peut-etre, heard the term “excuse my French”? “…Please excuse the strong language. Exactly why French should mean ‘bad language’ is not known, but this usage dates from the late 1800’s. Eric Partridge speculated that the phrase was picked up by British soldiers in France during World War I and was first recorded during this period. However, given that language such as the F-word has become commonplace in popular entertainment and public life, this cliché is probably obsolescent, if not obsolete...“ (The Facts On File Dictionary of Cliches by Christine Ammer) I think of French as a beautiful and graceful language. Since my illness I have been doing a great deal of reading, since I can do little else. Ah, the classics! Jules Verne (1828-1905), Victor Hugo (1802-1885), or my personal favorite, Albert Camus (1913-1960), 1957 Noble Laureate for Literature.

Perhaps you have been reading as well. Did you know that the (“chaud lit pendant des nuits froides”) Hot Reads For Cold Nights has once again débuté. This is naturellement, the adult reading program. Mugs, this year, are tres joli! I hope Muriel saves one for me. (You weren’t expecting poetry, were you? I did mention, did I not, that I have been reading? I am nothing if not littéraire.) But enough of this foolishness. In plain English, Mugs will be given out for those reading 15 books in 3 months, starting January 1 and ending March 31. One mug per patron and sign up sheets can be picked up here at the library.

Here’s wishing you a very pleasant reading experience. With special thanks to and their Babel Fish Translations, I remain,
Browser, the library

Published in the Pine River Journal Feb. 1, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year

Italian Buon Capo d'Anno, Japanese Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu, Norwegian Godt Nyttår, Pilipino (Tagalog) Maligayang Bagong Taon, Polish Szczesliwego Nowego roku, Portuguese Feliz ano novo, Romanian La Multi Ani , Russian S Novym Godom, Spanish Feliz Año Nuevo, Sudanese Wilujeng Tahun Baru, Swedish Gott Nytt År, Turkish Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun, Welsh Blwyddyn Newydd Dda (Try pronouncing that one. I actually have very little trouble with it. There must be many erudite cats among the Welsh.)

There are other language choices, of course. Most countries want to wish everybody a Happy New Year! I do rather like Chinese (Cantonese): Gung hay fat choy, a New Year greeting meaning, "May you become prosperous." (

Where did I find all these marvelous translations? I regularly surf the web looking for information on things like tuna and salmon and other things that might be of some use in my articles. This brings me, in a round about way, to my next subject; that of the cookbook written by Sharon Corbin. Many of you may remember my very deal friend, Don. He was a librarian assistant at our Pine River Public Library. I have Don to thank for my years of comfort and friendship at the library. Don promised Muriel many years ago that he would clean out the litter box if she would let me stay. He may not remember this, but I certainly do. Thanks, Don! But I digress. Don’s wife, Sharon, has written a cookbook. While surfing the web the other night, I found just the biographical information for which I was searching:

“… Sharon Corbin’s roots in northern Minnesota go back many years when her parents, Kenneth and Katherine Peterson were charter members of the Faith Lutheran Church in Swanburg, Minnesota. Sharon moved to Crosslake as a permanent resident in 1999 after vacationing on Stark lake, Trout lake, Woman lake and Little Pine lake for many years. As a child she was interested in cooking and has collected recipes all of her life. It finally came time to convert the scraps of paper and old 3 by 5 recipe cards to a more organized format. So she converted the dream into actually writing a cookbook of her own using many of her favorite recipes over the years. Over a period of almost two years Sharon selected, re-wrote and clarified the hand written scribbles and notes into a marvelous collection of family and friends favorites…” (

But the compelling information does not stop there. Certainly not! The featured recipe on this particular website is none other than Halibut Lasagna, which the site claims is Sharon’s favorite recipe. Right on, Sharon! Find this and other wonderful recipes in Sharon’s book, “Crosslake Cooking”. We have a copy at the library, of course. If you wish to own your personal copy, order it online or ask Muriel at the library. I am pretty sure you can get one signed by Sharon. My friend and co-author, Cora, purchased several for gifts during the holiday season. Each was signed by Sharon. She – Cora – tells me that the gifts were received with great enthusiasm.

In closing, Aide shoma mobarak! (Happy New Year in Farsi, no less.)

-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 1/4/07