One of the key necessities of a community is to enrich the education of the younger generations because these children will one day take our positions of being the city’s leaders. In order to supplement their education, there is no place better place to look than the local public library.
Located on High Street, Downtown Akron’s Main Library branch serves the community like no other. The library is a place to explore stories and culture through a variety of mediums and is a place to gather with colleagues, classmates, or tutors to discuss projects and concepts. The library is essentially a hub for the creation and conception of ideas to blossom into success.
In order to provide young children and preteens with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed, the children’s library division implements a series of programs to support their learning.
The monthly recurring programs in the children’s library include Baby Tales, Preschool Story Times, Saturday & Sunday Story Time Sampler, and Paws for Reading, in which children can share a story with a certified therapy dog.
I had a conversation with Trish Saylor, the manager of the children’s division at the Main Library. She explained that the five librarians of the division collaborate to create programming for early childhood and school-age children, ranging from birth to age 12.
I asked Saylor about her thoughts on the rise of technology and how the library ensures that the children still find a love for reading. She says they are incorporating more technology into their programs, such as a Minecraft program and Wii games. But reading is still the central idea of their programming. “We don’t care what format you use to read, whether it’s a book, an audio book, or on your device, it’s still reading.” With the passing of the levy this past May, the librarians are very excited more room is available in the budget to continue to introduce technology.
She mentioned that many library patrons do not realize how much downloadable material the library can offer. Saylor introduced me to a new platform available called Hoopla, in which anyone can digitally stream eBooks, music, and movies onto their digital devices, allowing ten loans per month per library card. This is definitely something I will begin to take advantage of!
Lastly, Saylor spoke of a trend many libraries have begun to embrace. This trend is community engagement. The library is able to be a contributing part of the city’s committees to collaborate with other Downtown organizations such as the Akron Art Museum and homeless shelters in order to create more programming to reach out to the population. By doing this, the library makes more connections with the businesses in the area as well as share ideas that are beneficial to both parties.
The librarians of the Akron-Summit County Public Library also want their patrons to know about events the other divisions are holding. During the first weekend in February, the Main Branch will host the Annual Family Reading Festival, in which a musician friend of the library’s will be arriving from Chicago to perform for the participants. April will be the host month of a family awareness program brought on by the Children Services Board, and May 14th will be the International Literature Festival.
The library is a place with something for everyone. We are lucky to have such a committed team of librarians working to enrich the lives of our children in the city of Akron!
By: Audrey Fliegel