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Grant County celebrates National Library Week

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FAHRENHEIT 451: Eastbrook English teacher Kevin Rigdon, left, tutors junior high school student Tristan Myers at the Van Buren Public Library.
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NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK: Van Buren Public Library Director Shiloh McMullen works on her computer.

BY Clay Winowiecki



Emily Rachelle Russell


The American Library Association kicked off National Library Week yesterday, which runs April 7 - 13 and celebrates libraries across the country and what they do for their communities.

Several libraries across Grant County are joining in the festivities, as well as preparing for future community programming.

“We tend to celebrate our libraries and what they do for the community,” said Van Buren Public Library Director Shiloh McMullen. “We tend to offer people cookies this week and ... introduce people to programs we have at this library.”

During National Library Week, the library receives a boost in Eastbrook students who take advantage of their free memberships.

“(The library) is open to all of the students at Eastbrook, so if people attend Eastbrook they are able to get a card for free here,” McMullen added.

At the Van Buren library, members are able to receive e-books, digital magazines and audiobooks for free.

In Gas City, Director Jessi Brown of the Gas City-Mill Township Public Library has an amnesty week and family trivia night planned. Any overdue library books returned during National Library Week will have all fines waived, and families are invited to bring children of all ages to play book trivia on Thursday night.

Brown wants to see communities take advantage of the services their libraries provide. At the Gas City library, databases are available to help people with whatever they might need, such as starting a business, restoring a car, researching colleges or finding a new job.

“We have some great programming for all ages,” Brown said. “We’re a safe space. ... People can come here and research things that they may be embarrased to do at school or at home. We provide high speed internet. ... Our staff (is trained) to help answer questions, whether it’s tech questions or research questions.”

For National Library Week, Fairmount Public Library is bringing in author Ray Boomhower of the Indiana Historical Society, author of “Mr. President: A Life of Benjamin Harrison,” among other books. His talk will take place on Saturday at 10 a.m.

It’s also poetry month, and the library is celebrating by giving out free poems for visitors to take home and enjoy.

Fairmount is preparing a summer reading program, as well. This year the theme is space, and the program is free for kids up until sixth grade, according to Assistant Librarian Carol Chambers.

At the Jonesboro Public Library, it’s all about Amnesty Month rather than National Library Week.

“We don’t charge any fines for overdue movies or books (this month),” said Director Carol Jones.

Jones is also busy planning the library’s summer reading program, which begins in June.

To Jones, local libraries are vital to the fabric of small towns.

“They’re more important than people realize,” Jones said. “They can come in and use the computer or check out a book.” 

At the Swayzee Public Library, they are not officially celebrating National Library Week, but they did launch a new program to leap into the digital age.

“On April 1 we started a new program called ‘Hoopla,’” said Assistant Librarian Heather Butler. “It’s an app you can use to download e-books, audio books, movies and music.”

The app is free for anyone who is a Swayzee library card holder.

Swayzee will host a summer reading program, too. This year’s theme is “a university of stories.”

The program is free for children, with programming on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. from June 5 to July 12.

The Marion Public Library is adding a few extra events to its usual programming in honor of National Library Week

On April 8, musician Glenn Welch will sing from 2 to 4 p.m. during a library open house. National “Drop Everything and Read Day” is April 12, during which MPL has several activities planned. Also on April 12, the library will host Family Fort Night, with families building cozy forts to read in.

Marion Public Library’s Director Mary Eckerle believes that, while today’s libraries may not look as much like the libraries of years past, they are vital to local communities.

“National Library Week is a time to celebrate libraries and literacy in our country,” Eckerle said. “All kinds of libraries, not just public libraries but school libraries, academic libraries – it celebrates the people who work within those institutions (too). ... Libraries have always been important, and they continue to evolve with the times.”