Hazel ParkJuly 15, 2013
HPML’s summer lineup: Picnic, therapy dogs and more
By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer
Hazel Park Memorial Library, 123 E. Nine Mile Road: All offerings listed below are free unless otherwise specified. Normal library hours are Monday through Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, 1-5 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call (248) 546-4095.
• Tuesdays (6:30-7:30 p.m.) and Thursdays (2-3 p.m.), now through Aug. 1: Read with Rover: Kids can spend 20 minutes reading to a therapy dog. Sign up in advance.
— Andy Kozlowski
HAZEL PARK — The summer lineup at the Hazel Park Memorial Library sees some programs heading outdoors — and some furry friends coming inside.
Those visiting the cherished venue on Tuesday evenings and Thursday afternoons will notice some four-legged visitors in the Monroe Room. At any time, there may be as many as six or seven therapy dogs, including a 180-pound St. Bernard wearing a flask, a miniature Doberman pinscher, an English golden, brother-and-sister greyhounds, and a mutt described as “super sweet” by library director Corrine Stocker.
They’re part of the library’s new Read with Rover program. Young children who sign up in advance can spend up to 20 minutes reading a book to a dog. The canines are very calm and make for excellent listeners.
“It boosts (the children’s) confidence levels in reading aloud,” said Linda Sims, children’s librarian and assistant director. She noted the unconditional love of the dogs help to put the children at ease.
The dogs are attended by trainers volunteering their time. The Tuesday hours are from 6:30-7:30 p.m. while the Thursday hours are from 2-3 p.m.
The library is providing bowls and treats for the dogs with funding from a $2,500 Dollar General grant. The grant also allowed the library to purchase additional bean-bag chairs for the children to sit on while they read to the dogs.
Other purchases made with the grant include LeapFrog pens that read the words off the page of compatible books, and a selection of popular titles for early reading levels.
Little ones continue to flock to Tiny Tales, now on Friday afternoons from 1:15-2:15 p.m. Consisting of stories, songs, flannel board presentations, crafts, snacks and a musical parade, the weekly staple — once a Friday-morning fixture — was rescheduled due to a cost-saving rollback in library hours.
“We thought we were going to have problems changing to the afternoon, but we still have a strong group,” Sims said. “We had a really good turnout for the first afternoon session the first week of July. It should still be OK when school resumes, because Tiny Tales gets out before school does, so parents will still have time to pick up their kids.”
The summer reading programs for adults, teens and children are well under way, and new participants can sign up anytime. As part of the children’s program, the kids will get their hands dirty making and excavating fossils during Dinosaur Dig Crafts from 2-3 p.m. July 23. And at 1 p.m. July 30, funnyman Joel Tacey, no stranger to library patrons, will present his Wunderground Comedy Show, getting the kids involved in the act.
It all leads up to the Summer Reading Potluck Picnic at Scout Park, from 5-7 p.m. Aug. 2. The free event is open to everyone in the summer reading programs. There will be bounce houses, games and music, and plenty of food. Presented by the Hazel Park Library Friends, the menu will include hotdogs, chips, soft drinks and favorite dishes brought by attendees to pass around.
“We did the picnic last year for the first time and it was very successful, attracting almost 200 people,” Sims said. She added that three individuals will receive Kindle Fires, one for each summer reading program.
Another library event taking place outside is Camp Stitch-A-Lot, an all-new event for teens and tweens from 1-3 p.m. Aug. 5, Aug. 7 and Aug. 9. Participants are asked to register for the free event, which takes place on the library’s patio, under canopies that will be set up for the occasion. As the name of the event implies, it’s a chance to learn knitting, sewing and crocheting, with special instruction from skilled volunteers.
A donation from a friend of a library employee is paying for the knitting materials, including a huge bundle of yarn.
“It will be like a camp,” said Chris Walny, teen services librarian. “No particular craft — just teaching them how to knit and how to make whatever they want to learn. An example might be a cellphone carrier.
“This has not been done before,” she added. “It all came about because of the donation, and interest generated by the adult knitting group, which has been very active. The teens have been asking me for their own version of it ever since.”
Also of interest to the teens and tweens: Word War I. It’s a creative writing group in a supportive atmosphere, where Walny starts them off with a creative writing exercise and they take it from there.
“The subject matter runs the gamut,” Walny said. “I’m just encouraging them to follow their interests and creativity.”
The next sessions are July 17, July 31, Aug. 14 and Aug. 28. The group meets at 3 p.m. and is only scheduled for an hour, but the group of 10-12 kids often goes twice that. One of the kids is assembling a blog compiling their work, and the group plans to put together a book by the end of summer, containing all of their short stories and poems.
“They’re making new friends,” Walny said. “This gives them a chance to meet like-minded individuals.”
The Hazel Park Memorial Library is located at 123 E. Nine Mile Road and can be reached at (248) 546-4095.