Village supports Baldwin library

By: Linda Shepard | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 18, 2018

 Attendees enjoy the Baldwin Public Library Read in the Park program last summer in Beverly Park.

Attendees enjoy the Baldwin Public Library Read in the Park program last summer in Beverly Park.

Photo provided by the Baldwin Public Library

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BEVERLY HILLS — Last year, 6,124 Beverly Hills library card-holding residents checked out over 135,900 items from the Baldwin Public Library, which is located in downtown Birmingham.

“Beverly Hills has a contract with the Baldwin library,” Doug Koschik, the library director, said during a Dec. 4 presentation. “Every year, the village pays under $490,000 for library services.”

Koschik said 539 Beverly Hills residents took part in the 2018 summer reading program, and the programs Storybook Trail and Read in the Park — both held in Beverly Park — were very successful.  

A library book return box is located at Beverly Hills Village Hall, along with a small lending library.   

“We pride ourselves with our work with youth. We have many contacts with public and private schools,” Koschik said. The library offers homework help, program announcements are sent to schools, and links from school media centers connect to Baldwin’s website.

“There is a program called First Grade/First Card that makes sure all children in first grade get a library card,” he said. “We have tutoring via a computer called BrainFuse tutoring. It is available for all students, from elementary up. With the Birmingham Public Schools, we put on the Battle of the Books for fourth- and fifth-graders. That is a massive program.”

A new website and online catalog are designed to reflect the changing times, which includes e-book circulation currently at 19 percent. The Idea Lab, a makerspace, features 3D printers and a laser engraver, and offers soldering, metal casting, vinyl cutting, heat pressing, embroidery and sewing services.

“This has been fantastically successful in bringing a new crowd to the library,” Koschik said.

An ongoing renovation is focused on improving the physical library facility while highlighting the original 1927 building. “It was gloomy. Now it is filled with light,” he said. “The idea is to create a mid-century glass pavilion so the theme of ‘let there be light’ will carry through.”

“I just want to say thank you,” Beverly Hills Village Councilwoman Racheal Hrydziuszko said. “My son was one of the ones who got his first-grade library card this summer. He had to get a wallet for it, and he spent the entire summer carrying it around with him. Thank you so much.”

“I was at the library over the weekend,” Beverly Hills Village Council President Lee Peddie said. “I’ve always been a very strong proponent of the library. I think it is wonderful and use it all the time.”

“It is one of the things that makes a community vibrant and a desirable place to live, so I am looking forward to help support that cause,” Councilman John George said.

“I think the relationship you have with the library is successful,” Koschik said. “I think the residents of Beverly Hills are using Baldwin. We are always trying to improve services and outreach. I invite everybody to come visit us.”

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