Southfield summer library programs heat up

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published June 18, 2014

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SOUTHFIELD — The road outside the Southfield Public Library might be bumpy and under construction soon, but that doesn’t mean the library is closed.

In fact, the 2014 Summer Library Reading Program has just begun and is heating up for children and adults alike in Southfield and Lathrup Village.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Southfield Public Library, the library’s nonprofit arm, this year’s programs offer a wide range of topics from book signings and meet-and-greets, to scavenger hunts and Lego building parties. 

The youth reading enrichment program, called Fizz, Boom, Read, is all about combining science and reading, and it’s for children pre-K to fifth grade. The teen program, called Spark a Reaction, also focuses on science and is for residents in grades 6-12. Registration is now underway and runs through July 18.

Kelly Rembert, outreach librarian at the Southfield Public Library, said the library’s summer reading programs will help kids continue to learn over the summer.

“It’s been proven that if kids are enrolled in library programs over the summer, they’re more likely to retain the information from the past school year and will go into the next year being better,” Rembert said. “We really try to push that because we want the kids to keep learning and growing, and keep reading.”

This summer’s programs aren’t only for kids and teens, however. The library also offers a summer reading program for adults, called Readopoly. In the twist on the popular board game “Monopoly,” participants collect rewards by reading as they travel through the game, with a chance of winning a tote bag full of books from the Friends Book Cellar.

The Friends Book Cellar, sponsored by the Friends of the Southfield Public Library, is a donation center that collects books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and much more.

“The only dangerous thing is you’re going to walk down there and come out with a bag full of books, all for less than the price of one new book at Barnes & Noble,” Rembert said.

Another popular program taking place this year is the Jazz and Blues Festival, which is sponsored by the Detroit Blues Society and the Friends of the Southfield Public Library.

For a $5 admission, patrons can enjoy the sounds of band Soul Purpose in June, Shahida Nurullah in July and the Dave Bennett Quartet in August.

While this year’s new programs are planned to be fun and exciting, times have been tough for the library, officials say.

In 2011, the budget for the library was cut, leaving officials with the task of cutting the hours, programs and salaries.

Dave Ewick, city librarian, said the cutbacks have saved the library thousands of dollars, but in turn, they have lost patrons.

“We do know it’s been an inconvenience for the public and we apologize for that, but I’d rather we reduce and make it an inconvenience than rather someday we hit that wall and we have to close,” Ewick said.

While patronage and circulation are down, Ewick said numbers are growing.

“I think we’ve bottomed out, and from everything I hear, we should be growing again,” Ewick said. “So, knock on wood, in a year or so, we should be able to add them back.”

Rembert and Ewick both said their hope for the summer programs is to draw in patrons lost from the budget cuts and new ones who have never been to the library.

“We’ll get you hooked as soon as you’re in here,” Rembert said.

For more information on the Southfield Public Library’s summer programs and events, visit southfieldlibrary.org.

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