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A Des Moines librarian wrote the national Library Bill of Rights to protect what you see on your shelves

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Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

What do North Dakota's most famous accordionist who died more than 30 years ago and a writer and musician living in Minneapolis have in common?

Dancing With Welk: Music, Memory, and Prairie Troubadours pulls the thread between Strasburg, North Dakota native Lawrence Welk and the book's author, Christopher Vondracek.

Vondracek began writing the book in 2008, after his South Dakota-based indie rock band The Brickhouse Boys tried to become famous from the middle of nowhere.

Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with Vondracek about the book which tells the local stories he heard of Welk growing up, and blends memoir, travelogue and cultural history for an ode to the landscapes and musical traditions of the Northern Great Plains.

Raygun in Des Moines is hosting a reading and performance from Vondracek at 6:30 p.m. on March 3.

Also in this episode, the Library Bill of Rights was adopted by the American Library Association in 1939. The anti-censorship document was originally written by Des Moines librarian Forrest Spaulding in response to the rise of totalitarianism in Europe during the 1930s but also in part by the intellectual freedom issues that he witnessed in his 20-year professional career.

Nebbe talks with Des Moines Public Library Director Sue Woody about the purpose of the Library Bill of Rights, and the threats it faces today.


  • Christopher Vondracek, author, journalist and musician
  • Sue Woody, library director, Des Moines Public Library
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.