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Hazel Park District Library announces program lineup for July

Drum circle July 14, magician/comedian July 17, musical storytelling July 26

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published July 11, 2018

HAZEL PARK — Libraries are usually quiet places. But soon the one in Hazel Park will be filled with the beat of a drum circle, exclamations of wonder at a magician’s tricks, and energetic music from around the world.

The Hazel Park District Library, 123 E. Nine Mile Road, has announced its July programming lineup, which includes Drummunity at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 14; the magician and comedian Doug Scheer at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 17; and The Storytellers, a group performing live music from around the world, at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 26. 

All three events are free and suitable for all ages. 

And Harry Potter fans, take note: At 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, there will be a Harry Potter-themed party for the grand finale of the summer reading program. This will be followed by the library’s picnic party at Scout Park for summer reading participants and their families from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3.

“We’ve been trying to engage people coming into the library, and we’ve been trying to keep kids reading over the summer,” said Amy Beem, the youth services librarian. “We’re a fun place to get out of the scorching heat. And since our (summer reading) theme this year is music, we’ve been focusing on music programs.”

The drum circle Drummunity is an example of this. The drum circle’s facilitator is Lori Fithian, who will share her collection of hand drums and percussion toys so everyone can join in the fun. Drummunity is not only for kids, but also adults, including those without kids of their own.

The drum circle came to the library once years ago and was well-received at the time. 

“A retired children’s librarian was revisiting us earlier this year, and she told me, ‘You have to get Drummunity this summer!’ I’ve seen a sample of Lori’s program in a preview for librarians, and the energy of it all was just fantastic,” Beem said. “The chairs will be a spiral — a circle within a circle — and she has instruments made from recyclables as well as traditional drums that she lets us play.”

Corrine Stocker, the library director, said everyone can enjoy the drum circle.

“It really builds a sense of community. It’s a very powerful experience,” Stocker said. “We did it as a general program last time, and the adults had just as much fun as the kids.” 

For the magician Doug Scheer, the show is called “Rock ’n’ Roll Bookshelf.” Scheer takes popular children’s books and uses them as the basis for magic tricks and comedy routines. This is his first appearance at the Hazel Park District Library.

“We’ve traditionally had another magician, Joel Tacey, and he’s really good too, and patrons love him,” Beem said. “But we just decided to try something different this year. We will bring back Joel in the future.”

As for The Storytellers, the program features live music from around the world combined with storytelling and audience participation using a variety of instruments. This is also a new program for the Hazel Park District Library. 

“They’re another group I saw at the performer showcase for librarians, and they just looked amazing to me,” Beem said. “They do some storytelling, but it’s mostly music, and mainly music from the other side of the world.”

As for the Harry Potter party, patrons can look forward to crafts such as homemade butterbeer (no alcohol), chocolate frogs, Hedwig owls made out of paper plates and construction paper, handmade wands, origami folding and more. There will also be a balloon activity based on a levitation spell from the books, a scavenger hunt in the library for “horcruxes,” a photo booth for kids who come dressed up and want to take pictures, and a “sorting hat” assigning kids to Hogwarts houses.  

The July programs come in the wake of two well-attended events the library recently held, including one on Native American culture that featured authentic artifacts and traditional dancing, and another hosting Exotic Zoo, a group that brought live animals such as a kangaroo, a lynx, a python, a giant tortoise and more. 

The Native American program had two showings, with the second attracting more adults who had many questions about Native American culture. And the Exotic Zoo program packed the library with around 300 people.

“We’ve never had that many people here for a program before,” Beem said. “It was crazy busy, but everyone had a blast.” 

Stocker said the focus on fun programs is about creating fond associations with the library, and by extension with reading. The summer lineup also aims to keep kids engaged so they avoid the “summer slide” or “brain drain” that can occur during school break.

“I think also that the role of libraries has changed over the past two decades. We used to be more a place you’d check out books, but now we’ve become more like community centers. And since we’re right at the corner of Nine Mile and John R, we’re about as downtown as it gets,” Stocker said. 

“Ultimately, we’re trying to enrich the lives of the people here in the community, and we’re trying to create lifelong library users, whether they come here to check out books or music or movies, or to learn a new hobby or skill, or to do homework or find work,” Stocker said. “There are a million reasons someone could come here.”

Registration is strongly recommended for all events. To register, call (248) 546-4095.