TroyAugust 7, 2012
Library courts young patrons
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer
Young patrons are returning in record numbers to the Troy Public Library this summer.
“Summer Reading is going gangbusters,” Troy Public Library Director Cathy Russ said. “We’ve exceeded 2010 registrations.”
Youth Services Librarian Meghan Battle said that 1,460 children signed up and read more 9,000 books as of Aug. 1.
“We’re not back to where we were (before the library was slated to close), but we’re higher than we’ve been in the last two years,” Battle said. We’re glad people are back and know we’re back in business.”
Last August, voters approved a 0.7-mill, five-year tax to fund the library, which city leaders said would close without the additional millage.
To make things more user-friendly, library staff no longer requires registration in advance for most of the children’s programs.
“We don’t want to eliminate anyone from coming,” Battle said. She said that in the past, the concern was that there would be too many people.
“People would call to ask and were told it was full; then some who registered didn’t come. It was an imperfect system.
“We’ve had no problems at all,” she said. “We haven’t been overrun. We’ve had some slightly larger groups. The public has been thrilled.”
The Make a Magic Wand craft project drew 110 children to the library. The Open Lego Play activities are also a big draw.
The Friends of the Troy Public Library support the Summer Reading program with weekly prizes, and fund programs and activities throughout the year. In 2009, the Friends raised $100,000 to go toward library materials and programs, and contributed more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service to the library.
Friends President Rhonda Hendrickson said the group’s goal is to look at programs and materials to reach as many library users as possible.
“We try to engage people with what they love and are accustomed to, as well as bring new people to the library,” she said.
Also, the Friends look at how a piece of equipment will benefit both patrons and staff. For example, the Friends recently funded the purchase of a DVD cleaner that cleans 50 DVDs at a time, rather than one at a time as the old equipment did, at a cost of more than $10,000. “This frees up staff time and puts the material back on the shelf,” Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson praised the recent staff additions at the library in the Youth and Teen areas.
“We’re excited to support them,” Hendrickson said.
In May, Battle and other library staff visited five local elementary schools to invite students to visit the library during the summer.
“We ask them to say hello and introduce themselves when they visit, and many of them do,” Battle said. “We love that they take it so personally. It’s their personal, engraved invitation.”
Battle has worked at libraries in Ann Arbor and Farmington, and said the youth collection at the Troy library is deep and offers multiple books on single topics at multiple reading levels.
The summer reading program will conclude with a ticket for young readers to attend the Dream Big Magic and Illusion Show starring Baffling Bill at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 15 and 16; the show features Gus the live bunny, a floating lady and a vanishing assistant.
The Friends of the Troy Public Library and library staff are also planning early learning interactive activities at the library, and they tout sensory materials aimed to introduce material to children with special needs and a digital library for very young children.
For information about upcoming events at the library, visit www.troylibrary.info or call (248) 524-3541. The library is located at 510 W. Big Beaver. The library is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
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