The Hazel Park District Library is preparing for its summer reading program, which will have a space theme this year. Last year’s theme was “Libraries Rock.” A library fundraiser will be held April 25 at a local restaurant.

The Hazel Park District Library is preparing for its summer reading program, which will have a space theme this year. Last year’s theme was “Libraries Rock.” A library fundraiser will be held April 25 at a local restaurant.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Benefit to help fund planetarium for summer reading program

Library also planning ‘Game of Thrones’ celebration April 13

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published April 5, 2019


HAZEL PARK — For the kickoff of the Hazel Park District Library’s summer reading program this year, attendees will enter an inflatable dome, 36 feet across, and look to the dome’s ceiling to see a star-filled sky that recreates the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere, exactly as they appear the day of the presentation.

Or that’s the plan, at least. To fund this, the library first needs to raise money. And so on Thursday, April 25, there will be a benefit at Classic Coney Grill, 24041 Dequindre Road in Hazel Park, where 10 percent of purchases will go toward the cause. Customers just need to let their server know that they’re supporting the library with their order.

The Sky Dome Planetarium comes from Mobile Ed Productions and will be deployed in the gymnasium of Hazel Park Junior High during the library’s summer reading program kickoff, which will take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18.

The reason it will be in the gymnasium is to accommodate the size of the dome. The show is 45 minutes long, and the dome accommodates 150 kids and adults. There may be two shows if there are more than 150 people in attendance.

Students will enter the dome and be introduced to the simulated night sky. A navigator equipped with a laser pointer will guide students through the stars, discussing Greek constellations, the Milky Way galaxy, the sun, the moon and all of the planets. The summer reading program itself continues for seven weeks following the kickoff.

“There will be an array of awesome programming,” said Amy Beem, youth services librarian. “(The planetarium) is a program that we normally do not do, but we’re splurging on this year. We also have Paleo Joe, who is coming to talk about dinosaurs, and a magician for the finale. On Saturday, July 20, we are having a huge ‘Star Wars’ program. Other programs are book bingo, rockets and astronaut training.”

As one may surmise, the theme of this year’s program is space-based: “A Universe of Stories.” Last year’s theme was musical, titled “Libraries Rock.”

“Oh, I could talk all day about all the fun programs we had last year,” Beem said. “The summer reading program is our busiest time of the year, but also the most fun. Our kickoff program last year, Exotic Animals, had 300 people. Everyone had a great time seeing the animals — they even got to touch the snake and tortoise at the end of the program.”

Other attractions at last year’s summer reading program included an expert on Native American culture, a magician/comedian, and a summer reading picnic that included a chance to meet Hazel Park K-9 Officer Lando, get hosed down by fire engines, and a live musical performance by The Reefermen, as well as bounce houses and retro games courtesy of Oakland County.

Other sources of funding for library programming come from the Hazel Park Library Friends, who hold a used book sale twice a year, in the fall and the winter. They also sell candy, chips and pop at the library’s reference desk.

“The Hazel Park Library Friends pay for most of our summer reading programs and prizes with the money that they raise,” said Corrine Stocker, library director.

Another upcoming event will be a “Game of Thrones” celebration on Saturday, April 13, from 12:30 to 3:45 p.m., where fans of the book series and TV show will get ready for the final season by watching episodes from the seventh season, eating themed snacks, playing trivia testing their knowledge of the lore, and having a “Game of Thrones” costume contest.

“Don’t forget to drop by in your favorite medieval duds and celebrate the final return of winter,” said Randy Ernst-Meyer, the teen/adult services librarian.

The library is located at 123 E. Nine Mile Road in Hazel Park. For more information, call the Hazel Park District Library at (248) 546-4095.