Eastern Shores Library System hires a new Director

Eastern Shores Library System announces that it has hired Amy Birtell as its new director effective July 7, 2014. Ms. Birtell succeeds David Weinhold who served as system director from 1991 to 2012 and as interim director since – from 2012 to the present. Mr. Weinhold devoted over 37 years of service to libraries, at the Sheboygan Falls Memorial Library, the Mead Public Library in Sheboygan, and at Eastern Shores.

Ms. Birtell has been the library director at the Clinton Public Library in Clinton, Iowa since 2011. She held library director positions in Iowa public libraries since 2002. Ms. Birtell holds a B.S. degree from the University of Wyoming and masters degree in library and information science from the University of Iowa.

Eastern Shores Library System is a federated library system established in 1987. The system is comprised of Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties which have a population of more than 200,000 people. All 13 municipal libraries in the two counties are members of Eastern Shores Library System. The system assists the member libraries in serving their residents more effectively, in large part by maintaining an integrated card catalog system which makes the entire collections of the member libraries available to any resident of the two counties, by fulfilling requests for materials from other libraries through a delivery service which moves the materials from library to library, and by operating a bookmobile that serves areas without a local library. Eastern Shores Library System is headquartered at 4632 South Taylor Drive in Sheboygan.

Connections in Sight: A Website to Connect Vision Loss Resources in Southeastern Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL), Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE), Beyond Vision, Center for Deaf-Blind Persons and Vision Forward have been working together to increase awareness and access to vision-loss resources in the seven county region of Southeastern Wisconsin, including Ozaukee County. The other counties are: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, Walrworth, Washington, and Waukesha.

This project, Connections in Sight, is a combination of outreach marketing efforts that has resulted in a website with easy-to-access information on the types of services available from each agency. The website contains information on resources for living, reading, coping, getting around, finding recreation opportunities, getting career ready and finding a joy with vision loss.

For more information, check out the website at www.connectionsinsight.org or contact Katia, the Communications Manager at 414-481-7477 or info@connectionsinsight.org.

Why You Should Be Reading Books

In a recent Huffington Post article, posted 10/12/2013, journalist Laura Schocker, listed “seven unconventional reasons why you absolutely should be reading books.” We know that we read for enjoyment, entertainment, a high school English assignment, etc, but reading can be more than that.

Schocker starts with a study published in Science that reading literary works cultivates a skill known as “theory of mind” which is described as the “ability to ‘read’ the thoughts and feelings of others.”

The other six are:
Reading can chill you out. A study in 2009 showed that reading was the most effective way to overcome stress, better than listening to music, having a cup of tea/coffee, or taking a walk. The participants in the study relaxed in just six minutes after starting to read.

It could help keep your brain sharp. A study published in the journal Neurology found that those who “engaged in mentally stimulating activities (such as reading) earlier and later in life experienced slower memory decline compared to those who didn’t.”

And it might even stave off Alzheimer’s disease. Research published in 2001, stated that adults “who engage in hobbies that involved the brain, like reading or puzzles, are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.” Researchers were quick to point out that there is an association between reading and not having the disease, not a cause and effect. They said, “Just as physical activity strengthens the heart, muscles, and bones, intellectual activity strengthens the brain against disease.”

Reading may help you sleep better. Sleep experts recommend establishing a regular de-stressing routine before bed to calm your mind and cue your body for sleep. Reading can be a great way to do so.

Getting lost in a good book could also make you more empathetic. Research in the Netherlands conducted two experimental studies which showed that “people who were ‘emotionally transported’ by a work of fiction experienced boosts in empathy.” The “self-reported empathic skills significantly changed over the course of a week for readers of a fictional story by fiction authors Arthur Conan Doyle or José Saramago.”

Self-help books, on the other hand, can ease depression. A University of Glasgow study “showed that reading self-help books combined with support sessions on how to use them, was linked with lower levels of depression after a year, compared to patients who received typical treatments.”

Read the complete article and link to the research at:

by David Weinhold

Congratulations Mary


The Cedarburg Public Library recently held a celebration for director, Mary Marquardt, who will be retiring in November. In honor of Mary’s retirement, library staff member Kelly (Colleen) Dennison, with the help of her mom, Kathy O’Neil Thiele, and her friend, Nancy Stecker, made a quilt over the summer. The quilt was made out of all the Summer Reading Program t-shirts (22 of them) that Mary saved over the years, and it was Kelly’s first quilting project.


Mary was joined by her family, with whom she’s looking forward to spending more time, as well as Linda Pierschalla, the incoming Cedarburg Public Library director.

What a beautiful job on the quilt, Kelly, and congratulations to Mary. We wish her our best.