Education comes first at the library

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 26, 2018

  Librarian Julie Dries reacts as Sebastian Quinn, 6, of Harrison Township, completes a rhyming exercise during the first Building a Base for Reading class at the Harrison Township Public Library on Jan. 13.

Librarian Julie Dries reacts as Sebastian Quinn, 6, of Harrison Township, completes a rhyming exercise during the first Building a Base for Reading class at the Harrison Township Public Library on Jan. 13.

Photo by Sean Work

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The myriad free programs and classes offered at the Harrison Township Public Library continue to fill to capacity nearly four years after becoming a full-time, taxpayer-supported center of information.

Interim Library Director Melissa Goins said programs for adults — which include live music as well as topics like yoga instruction, coloring and a course on how to preserve historical photos — are popular and frequently well-attended.  

“One of our goals as a library is to be an educational force within our community, and we love doing that with our programs for both adults and children,” Goins said. “Some of our programs are … suggestions from our community, while some are ideas from other libraries or local church groups, and some are simply new ideas based upon what’s happening in our community.”

She said programs that are hands-on or interactive tend to have the best attendance.

“So of course our children’s programs, which include hands-on activities and interactive learning, are always a community favorite,” Goins said.

Youth Services Librarian Julie Dries said programs like Tales with Tails, Mother Goose on the Loose, Rockin’ Readers and the new Reading Skills Booster Class are possible on both weekdays and weekends since the library went full time in August 2014.

The newest program is the Reading Skills Booster Class for K-3 students called “Word Play! Building a Base for Reading,” which started earlier this month and will continue every Saturday through March.

Dries said the class quickly filled to its maximum capacity.

“It’s designed to meet the Third Grade Reading Law (in Michigan) for children in grades K-3 who have an IRP (individualized reading plan),” she said. “It’s to help those children who may be behind a grade in reading.”

Dries, a certified teacher and reading specialist within L’Anse Creuse Public Schools, is helping students in attendance hone their phonological awareness skills through wordplay in stories, games, songs and other activities. Phonics and fluency are also on the agenda.

“I wanted to bring this to the library as a free program because I want to support literacy,” she said, adding that her goal with the program is to expand it into the summer, fall and winter, depending on the need and the demand.

“The library is a place people can go to get some support. Like schools, libraries are also educational institutions.”

Goins echoed the sentiment.

“It’s an important and popular service that we provide,” she said. “People always think of books when they think of libraries, but the truth of the matter is libraries aren’t just books anymore.”

Winter children’s programs
Mother Goose on the Loose is an interactive lapsit program for babies, toddlers and their caregivers. The program is offered at 9:30 a.m. on Mondays and at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays. There will be no class on Feb. 17 or Feb. 19.

Reading ABCs is an active program specifically for preschool-age children. Each week will feature a story, finger plays, songs and music highlighting a different letter of the alphabet. The program is held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays.

Rockin’ Readers is a theme-based storytime program, which is followed by an activity or a craft. It is loosely geared toward elementary-age children, but preschoolers and tweens may also enjoy participating. Rockin’ Readers will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, March 3.

Tales with Tails allows children to read aloud to a certified therapy dog. Register up to two weeks in advance for a 15-minute time slot to read to Bailey, a Labrador retriever. Times are 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 14 and March 7.

February programs for adults
Telling Your Story: Writing Workshop will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 3. Local author Kevin Fitton will provide instruction on writing, including the basic components of a story and how those components work together.  

An Essential Oils for Women’s Health seminar will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7. Essential oils expert Renee Pokoj will be talking about supporting women’s health.

Salsa Dancing for Beginners will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. the workshop will be led by dancers from The Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

A Yoga Nidra Workshop will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17. Yoga Nidra relates to conscious deep sleep. It is sleep without images (dreams). Yoga Nidra will bring the yogi or yogini to an incredible calmness. During this workshop, participants will do a gentle yoga asana practice to prepare the body and mind for this experience. Participants may bring eye pillows or personal blankets.

Moving to the Oldies — Senior Seminar will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21. The program will be led by dancers from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. While this program is designed for seniors, all are welcome to attend.

Karen Dionne, author of “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” will be at the library to sign copies of her book at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21. Dionne is a Michigan native and an international best-selling author.

The “Small Great Things” book club will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27.

For more information about programs at the Harrison Township Public Library, call (586) 329-1261 or email The library is located at 38255 L’Anse Creuse St. For a complete calendar of events, visit