Hazel Park library announces December lineup

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 29, 2019

HAZEL PARK — The Hazel Park Memorial District Library keeps busy throughout the year with regularly scheduled programs and special one-off events.

Arguably its most popular event is Crafts with Santa, a holiday tradition that continues this year alongside some new offerings. And there will also be visits this month from a local author and a musical trio.

First, author Iris Lee Underwood will visit the library, 123 E. Nine Mile Road, at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5. She will discuss her latest work, “The Mantle,” a generations-spanning spiritual fantasy story that tells the story of the Mahari people. The book explores such themes as relationships, art, learning and faith. Underwood will also speak about writing in general, poetry and the flower lavender. Originally from Kentucky, Underwood now resides in Rochester.

“She is well-known for her poetry, essays, and as a lavender farmer in the Rochester area,” said Randy Ernst-Meyer, the library’s adult and teen librarian. “Ms. Underwood is a delight — charming and whimsical. We can’t wait to hear her speak about her newest book.”

Next up is Crafts with Santa, set for 1-3 p.m. Dec. 7. Each child who attends will receive some one-on-one time with Santa by the library’s Christmas tree, and the library will take their picture for the family. The parent or caregiver is welcome to do the same. Each child will also receive a candy cane and a gift-wrapped, brand-new, age-appropriate book.

There will be several winter or holiday-themed crafts for each child to make and take home in a special bag that they will get to decorate. There will also be cookies for the kids to enjoy.

“This is an awesome family program, right in your home community, for free,” said Corrine Stocker, the library director. “Mrs. Claus will also be in attendance. So we have Santa and Mrs. Claus, hands-on holiday crafting, music, cookies and a gift. The library’s Christmas train will also be in operation, circling the Christmas tree.”

Crafts with Santa is a long-running tradition for the library. It first launched in 2001.

“Historically, it is one of our most popular and best-attended programs,” Stocker said.

The third event in December will be a performance by the Phil Hale Trio at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 19. In the business for more than 30 years, this group blends rhythm and blues, funk, house, jazz, gospel, techno, rock and more to create a unique sound. Hale has backed such musicians as funk icon George Clinton, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan, and gospel artists The Ridgeway Sisters.

“The trio plays a wide variety of music and has played all over the metro Detroit area,” said Ernst-Meyer. “We’re really pleased here at the library that they could make time to play a few songs.”

The library continues to keep busy throughout the year with an ever-changing lineup of events.

“My personal favorite event (this year) was the sword swallower’s performance at our teen Halloween party,” Stocker said. “I’ve never seen anyone do that, and her interactions with the audience were hilarious.

“The programs that we offer throughout the year have really enhanced our role as the hub of the community,” she added. “We offer a wide range of programs for all age groups. They run the gamut from educational to purely recreational. Our programs give people access to opportunities and experiences that they may not otherwise have, such as seeing a live musical performance, meeting a live exotic animal from another part of the world, hands-on learning experiences, learning new skills, meeting an author, etc. These are all things that can enhance the quality of someone’s life and give them a sense of community.”

For more information, call the Hazel Park Memorial District Library at (248) 546-4095.