To celebrate the opening of the Grosse Pointe Public Library’s Ewald  Branch on Sundays, jazz musicians, from left, RJ Spängler, Jeff Cuny,  John Tbone Paxton and Michael Zaporski perform Jan. 6.

To celebrate the opening of the Grosse Pointe Public Library’s Ewald Branch on Sundays, jazz musicians, from left, RJ Spängler, Jeff Cuny, John Tbone Paxton and Michael Zaporski perform Jan. 6.

Photo by Deb Jacques

New website, new hours at the GPPL

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 8, 2019

GROSSE POINTE WOODS/GROSSE POINTE PARK/GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Over the past few weeks, some notable changes have been implemented at the Grosse Pointe Public Library.

On Jan. 2, officials announced the expansion of library hours at all three branches. Each branch will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

This marks the first time all three branches will be open on Sundays and have the same hours, which was part of the library’s strategic plan. And while the Woods and Central branches, in Grosse Pointe Woods and Grosse Pointe Farms, respectively, have been open on Sundays, the Ewald branch in Grosse Pointe Park had not. Jan. 6 marked the first open Sunday for Ewald.

According to Library Director Jessica Keyser, having different hours was confusing for patrons. For instance, sometimes visitors would arrive at one branch thinking it opened at 9 a.m., but it didn’t open until later, which became frustrating. The belief is that having each branch on the same schedule will be more convenient and easier to remember. In addition, all three branches will now be open on Sundays for people with work to do and for others with downtime.

“Sunday is always a high-demand day. People are doing homework and getting projects ready for the week,” Keyser said. “There’s time to sit down and enjoy the library.”

To celebrate the opening of Ewald on Sundays, jazz musicians RJ Spängler and John Tbone Paxton — with special guests Michael Zaporski and Jeff Cuny  —  performed this past Sunday at Ewald.

“We wanted to give a warm welcome to the community, and that’s why we are going to have music,” Keyser said prior to the musical event. “We’re just really excited to be able to roll out some of the strategic plan, and we’re going to continue working on it.”

On Dec. 17, the library launched a new website to replace its former one. According to library officials, the new website is faster, has an improved search function and works on all devices, including cellphones, tablets, iPads, and laptop and desktop computers. The URL is

“We had been getting feedback that our old website wasn’t adapting well to different platforms,” Keyser said. “It was getting a little outdated, and some people found it difficult to find information. The new website is faster, more responsive and has more flexibility.”    

The new website — created by Madhouse Creative LLC, based in Toledo, Ohio — gives patrons a chance to peruse the libary’s full catalog, upcoming events, new book arrivals, book clubs, programs and more.

Here are some upcoming events that patrons might want to check out:

• Teens and middle schoolers are invited to an Escape Room activity at the Woods Branch from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 18.

• From 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 19, the library will host a tween art lab at the Central Branch for kids ages 11-13 to use various art supplies to be creative.

• Three new Hygge “cozy” programs this winter have been scheduled. The first one will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  Jan. 17 at Ewald. The Icebreakers “What’s On TV?” event will give attendees a chance to sit by a fire and talk about their favorite TV shows.

The second Icebreakers Hygge event will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Central. At “The Art of Self Care,” Dr. Asha Shajahan will talk about simple and beneficial ways to incorporate self-care.

The third Icebreakers, “LGBTQ Support,” will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. March 7 at Woods. Maurya Kay, a representative for the Grosse Pointe chapter of PFLAG, will lead a discussion about supporting the local LGBTQ community.

Visit the website at to register.

Students learn to code
In other library news, a group of 10 students from the Grosse Pointe Public School System graduated Dec. 17 from Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit that works to close the gender gap in technology. The after-school club is designed to give middle and high school girls the chance to explore coding in a fun and friendly environment.

With coding, students can become more knowledgeable and familiar with computer programming languages such as Java, C++ and Python. Coding is what makes the creation of computer software, apps, websites, browsers, operating systems, phone applications, Facebook and other websites possible.

Last fall, the GPPSS seventh-grade through ninth-grade Girls Who Code students met for one hour at the Central Branch for 14 weeks. With assistance from volunteer facilitators, the students worked on a computer science impact project to address the topics of literacy and access to clean drinking water for students in Detroit schools.

“The girls had fun, worked hard and created something they are proud of. The final project was a true collaborative effort. Each young lady had the opportunity to learn in the way that best suited her style,” GPPL youth librarian Catherine Ricard said via email. “They could work on their coding skills individually and were also able to share knowledge with, and rely on help from, other club members as they delved deeper into the concepts. The final computer science impact project gave them a chance to shine as individuals and as a team.”

At this time, there are no plans to hold another Girls Who Code session, but staff is exploring how it can support future opportunities.

“GPPL was happy to host this program. There is a gender gap in the computer science field, and technology skills are essential for success in the workforce. Coding knowledge in particular helps develop critical thinking, problem-solving and resilience. It’s an excellent base to grow from, no matter what field they choose to pursue,” Ricard said. “This is a chance for the library to contribute to reducing the gender gap while at the same time supporting the interests, confidence and future opportunities of our patrons. It was a great experience to see the girls work through and complete these club sessions. We are very proud of them and their work.”

All the Girls Who Code final projects can be seen at the website To learn more about Girls Who Code, visit

The Central Branch is located at 10 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe Farms.  The Ewald Branch is located at 15175 E. Jefferson Ave. in Grosse Pointe Park. The Woods Branch is located at 20680 Mack Ave. in Grosse Pointe Woods.