Alma Punke

Honored by:David G. Punke
Brick location:B:1  map

Alma (Davis) Punke was children's librarian (and for a few years bookmobile librarian) for the Mason City, Iowa Public Library. Alma began telling stories to Mason City children in 1927. From 1961 to 1970, she was the Story Lady on the KGLO-TV program Bart's Clubhouse. She made reading and books fun for hundreds of children in North Iowa and southern Minnesota.

Born on a farm north of Clear Lake, Iowa, Alma said she had few books to read as a child. Her family moved to Clear Lake when she was thirteen years old. She was within walking distance of the public library where her love for books flourished. In 1924, when few women were pursuing advanced college degrees and traveling alone, Alma packed a trunk and left by train for Madison, Wisconsin to get her degree in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin.

In 1977, North Iowa honored the Story Lady by naming her Grand Marshall of the North Iowa Band Festival Parade. The theme of the parade was children's stories and children's characters of course. As children's librarian and Story Lady, Alma touched many lives. Once while in the hospital, she received over 500 get well cards, most of which were handmade by children. Some of the cards were addressed only to the Story Lady but the Post Office knew where to deliver them. Many grandparents and parents are now helping their children to know and love reading and children's stories such as "Make Way for Ducklings," "Blue Berries for Sal" and "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel" thanks to Alma (Davis) Punke.

In addition to her son graduating from ISU, grandson Steven graduated summer of 1993 and is currently working on his M.S. in biochemistry at ISU.