FOREST CITY | Staff at the Forest City Public Library are sharing their love for nutcrackers this holiday season.
Library Director Christa Cosgriff and Librarian Soni Kegler brought some favorites from their collections to display on top of the bookshelves.
Some of the nutcrackers are designed to look like soldiers or kings, like the first ones made in Germany in the 15th century.
But there's also a firefighter nutcracker, a mouse nutcracker, some Santa nutcrackers and a couple of nutcrackers wearing kilts.
Rhonda's Decadent Delights of Lake Mills created a five-layer nutcracker cake for display only. It sits on the front desk along with some more nutcrackers.
Both Christmas trees at the library have nutcracker ornaments on them. Nutcracker gift wrap hangs on one wall, resembling wallpaper.
Even the screensavers on the public computers are nutcracker-themed.
Cosgriff started her nutcracker collection when she was a chaperone during Waldorf's band trip to Germany in 1990.
While they were in the village of Oberammergau in Bavaria, she bought a nutcracker.
She said she wanted to buy it because of her German heritage.
From there the collection "just kind of grew," she said.
Her piano students gave her some as presents.
Cosgriff also buys them for herself.
"I just pick them up as I see them," she said.
The nutcrackers are available in many stores in North Iowa, so it's not hard to find them, she said.
Cosgriff particularly enjoys looking for Irish nutcrackers since she has Irish heritage as well as German.
The library has a special theme every year for its holiday open house. This year it was nutcrackers.
Iowa and Iowa State nutcrackers were given as door prizes at the Dec. 2 open house.
Kegler started collecting nutcrackers 20 years ago.
She said new kinds of nutcrackers are introduced each year, which makes it fun to look for them.
Kegler's favorite nutcracker is one that plays music when you wind it up.
"It was given to me by my mom," she said.
"I'm jealous I don't have that," Cosgriff said.