Big Read 2021

As of now we are planning in person programming. Of course, this may change if Covid-19 conditions change.  Masks are required at all times while inside the building. 

All are welcome to join us for the following programs, even if you haven't read the book!  Please contact Melissa Roelli, Programming Librarian, with any questions., 608-437-5021, ext. 4109.

To kick things off, the library will give away 65 copies of this year's selected title to those who want to participate in the events, thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Library.  The book giveaway is Saturday, September 18 at 9am.  WE WILL GIVE THE BOOKS AWAY OUTSIDE THIS YEAR, as long as the weather cooperates. We will line up along the building - but not block the entrance doors!  The books are given on a first come-first served basis. We have Large Print available in limited quantities. We recommend arriving early!   The first program of the Big Read will immediately follow the giveaway. (Approximate program start time 9:30am.)

Forensic Evidence in Real Life    Saturday, September 18, 9:30am 
With Detective Jennifer Schaaf and Lieutenant Nate Gretzinger of the Mt. Horeb Police Department. 
Do you wonder how fingerprints are processed? Are you interested in what happens with DNA investigators collect? Are you curious how evidence is processed and stored? This Mount Horeb Police presentation will be a hands-on and informative discussion on real world evidence procedures and debunk the television “CSI” misconception.


How to Write Your Mystery in 10 Steps    2 Part Series, Tuesdays September 21 and 28, 6pm (Note Earlier Start Time)  You can attend both or either session. Registration appreciated. Call 608-437-5021 or email
Featuring author Christine DeSmet
Agatha Christie wrote what's called "traditional" mysteries. Her mysteries have inspired people like you to write one, too. You might also prefer to write other subgenres of mystery, such as suspense, or a thriller, or a cozy mystery, or romantic suspense, or science fiction thrillers, or historical mysteries, or mainstream general fiction with a mystery element involved. What's essential for your mystery to succeed? What are the common pitfalls in mystery manuscripts to avoid? Christine DeSmet will lay out 10 steps to help the new mystery writer. During these evenings, you'll get the "how-to, sure-fire" keys for starting and writing your mystery based on her years of writing mysteries and teaching adult writers who became authors.

Pistols and Petticoats    Monday, October 4, 6:30pm
Historian Erika Janik 
(She will present via Zoom, but we'll meet with her from the library.)
From its very beginning, police work was considered a male domain, far too dangerous and rough for a woman. But a handful of women refused to let that stop them, and in the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century became real-life sleuths. Yet at the same time, within the covers of popular fiction, many women not only wrote best-selling mysteries but also created female characters that handily solved crimes and created the archetype of the modern sleuth. Historian Erika Janik, author of Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction, traces the exploits of real and imaginary female police officers and detectives.

Journey Through Agatha Christie's England   Thursday, October 7, 6:30pm
Historian Conrad Allen
Why was it impossible to find "good help" in England after the First World War? How close did Britain come to a socialist revolution in 1920s? What caused the widespread belief that people could see and talk to ghosts? Conrad Allen will answer these questions and more in his talk on the history of England and Europe during the period that Agatha Christie wrote her novels. In particular, he will focus on the aftermath of the First World War in England, including its effects on politics, class and gender relations, and daily life.

Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie Documentary    Wednesday, October 13, 6:30pm
Learn what made this incredible author tick. The film includes history from her personal archives and shares stories from people who knew her well.


Mystery at the Library!  (You get to be a detective for the evening!)    Monday, October 18, 6:30pm
Featuring local community members: Carl Atwell, Rowan Childs, Kyle Keene, Amy Lyle, Nic Owen, JoAnn Prehn, Marie Raboin and Jessica Williams
Gather your friends for a fun evening of sleuthing. Sit back, enjoy the skits, and try to decipher the clues we provide!  Do you have what it takes to be a detective? Don't worry. This is a laid back evening, and we will not put you on the spot. 


Community Discussion   Monday, October 25, 6:30pm
We'll gather to discuss the programs and the books!