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Benefit concert to raise money for library, celebrate 2010 renovation

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published August 26, 2015

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FERNDALE — It’s been five years since the Ferndale Area District Library, then called the Ferndale Public Library, wrapped up a $4 million renovation project. This month, the library wants to celebrate the anniversary with the public and raise money for the purchase of new materials.

Circulation Specialist Jeff Milo is working with local bands for the third straight year to host a benefit concert for the library, which will be held at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale.

“I think that the musicians are keenly aware of the library being on the same level as the theater or museum or a concert venue,” Milo said. “I think they see supporting the arts on the same level as supporting the library. I think they see the culture enrichment of society at large that the library provides and know that we support our local music with an impressive collection.”

The doors will open at The Loving Touch at 8 p.m., and organizers are asking for a $5 donation. Milo said the concert has raised nearly $1,000 each of the past two years.

The concert has always raised funds to buy materials, such as books, music and audio books. Library Executive Director Jessica Keyser said every little bit helps the library provide for the public.

“Every little bit helps for sure, and it does make a big difference,” she said. “If we raise even $1,000, we can purchase a lot of materials to offer to the community. It is not enough to open on days we had to cut or bring back employees, but it does make a difference.”

Last summer, the library faced an $85,000 year-end deficit and was forced to close the library on Fridays, cut hours on Saturdays and lay off two employees. In October of last year, the city of Ferndale and the Ferndale School District agreed to form a district library, which allows the library to ask for more millages dedicated to it.

The formation of the Ferndale Area District Library was approved by State Librarian Randy Riley in December.

Milo said many may think of the library only as a place where they can get physical copies of books, but libraries everywhere have grown to include other media and electronic copies of books, and libraries also serve as venues for special events.

“To tell the truth, there are days I worry that people have forgotten about the library entirely,” Milo said. “It is very easy to forget the library and easy to overlook everything else the library does. If you drive by, you may see a big building filled with old books or DVDs you can stream at home, but we do a lot more here.

“So another reason for this concert is to spread awareness of the library and everything else it does by transitioning into more of a community center.”

The $4 million renovation project in 2010, which was funded by a 1-mill tax increase, added about 10,000 square feet to the library and many other features. Keyser said that adding more room allowed the library to host many community events.

“Basically, it was a total renovation and expansion of the library, which was originally built in the 1950s,” she said. “We took out drop ceilings and installed tons of windows for natural light, and the whole community room space allowed us to do all of our programming. We also added study rooms that are utilized all day every day, and an entire children’s area to be more welcoming for families.”

The concert will feature the talents of Chris Bathgate, Ancient Language, Kriss Gaynes, 800beloved, MISTER, Woven Tangles, DJ Eddie Logix and Molly Jean.

Keyser said having local musicians and the public step up to support the library reinforces the library’s importance in the community.

“It speaks volumes, their support, and we are grateful for all the support from the bands and the staff of The Loving Touch and the people,” she said. “The library belongs to the community and is a reflection of the community, and we are really happy to celebrate that.”

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