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Friends group donates cash for library’s ‘Cyberzoo’

April 23, 2014

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The Cyberzoo at the Warren Civic Center Library was purchased with funds donated by the Friends of the Warren Public Library.

WARREN — The children’s area of Warren’s Civic Center Library just got better with a little help from the “Friends.”

The library recently opened its “Cyberzoo” for small children over a year old, thanks to a donation from the Friends of the Warren Public Library.

It’s one of the many things the group does to support the city’s library system.

Library technician Lisa Martin said the Cyberzoo is a kid-friendly feature designed to give young children hands-on experience with digital devices that teach early literacy skills. Cyberzoo devices, including LeapFrog Tag Reading Systems and the Magic Counting Train, help children learn the sight words, letter sounds, shapes and numbers that are an important foundation for educational development.

“We want to get technology into their hands when they’re very young,” Martin said, adding that the Cyberzoo concept originated with a trip to the “Tech Farm” at the Troy Public Library. “We tried to pick devices that teach early literacy skills. The kids really like it.”

The Cyberzoo’s four Tag readers (two pens for older children, and two “dog” readers for younger kids), counting tools, scribble tablet and pretend cellphones are open for use when staff is available in the children’s area. Parents can phone ahead to check the availability.  The Cyberzoo is set up with furniture that includes toddler-sized chairs for young patrons.

Martin said the Cyberzoo was purchased with $2,000 in funding donated by the Friends.

“The procedure that’s followed is the librarians are the ones that come up with the ideas, explaining what they would like,” Friends of the Warren Public Library President Naida Okray said. “It’s always something that the city isn’t going to buy.”

Okray said the Friends raise money to support the library through fundraising activities that mostly involve the sale of used materials at the Friends Used Bookstore at 5961 Beebe.

In addition to the Cyberzoo, Okray said the Friends plan to donate equipment to the library that would enable Warren residents to transfer video from VHS tapes to DVDs.

Friends Used Bookstore is typically open from 9 a.m.-noon on Fridays. The store will also be open during regular hours for special two-day, half-off sales May 16-17 and June 20-21.

To inquire about Cyberzoo availability or for more information about programs and services at the Warren Civic Center Library, call (586) 751-0770. The Civic Center Library is located on the ground level of City Hall, east of Van Dyke and north of 12 Mile Road.

For more information about the Friends Used Bookstore or the Friends of the Warren Public Library, call (586) 264-4387.

About the author

Staff Writer Brian Louwers covers the cities of Warren and Center Line. He has worked for C & G Newspapers since 1998 and is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In his free time, he participates in the Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program and conducts interviews with military veterans for the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

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