Libraries thank patrons with week’s worth of activities

By Wayne Bryan Published April 13, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Carson Bowen, 10, of Hot Springs reads to Dylan, a red Doberman pinscher, as part of Paws for Reading at the Garland County Library in Hot Springs. Libraries across the Tri-Lakes Edition coverage area have a slate full of activities in the coming days for National Library Week.

Librarians in Benton, Bryant, Hot Springs and Malvern are joining their counterparts all over the nation in showing appreciation for their patrons during National Library Week, starting Monday.

Libraries will present special programs, give out awards and prizes, and hold special events to thank library patrons and bring attention to the contributions of libraries and librarians to their communities.

“Libraries are the heart of every community, and I think it is particularity true for Saline County,” said Erin Waller, director of the Saline County Library, which has branches in Benton and Bryant. “At our libraries, people from all backgrounds come together for community meetings and programs, to do research and homework, to get help finding a job or to simply find a book.”

Cori Williams at the Garland County Library in Hot Springs said today’s libraries are different than they were 50 years ago.

“Instead of being a depository of great literature,” she said, “libraries are community

centers. It is no longer a quiet place where a person can read or do research, usually alone. The modern library is a public space where friends meet to listen to music, watch movies or work on their homework together.”

On Friday, the Garland County Library will use Library Week to promote hoopla, said Greg Wallace, a staff member of the library.

“It is a new service we have had for a few weeks, and we will use Library Week to talk more about it,” Wallace said. “The hoopla program will let our patrons experience thousands of movies, television shows, music and audiobooks for free. All it takes is a Web browser, a phone or tablet, and their library card.”

Garland County Library cardholders can sign up for the hoopla service, then stream video or download titles to a phone or tablet to watch later. When the lending period is over, the download goes away, so there are never any late fees.

A demonstration of the hoopla system will be part of a patron-appreciation event, including refreshments, from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the library. Another part of the event will be the announcement of two winners in the Lives Change @ your library contest.

“Members are being asked to write about how the library has changed during their lifetime,” Williams explained. “The library staff will choose two of the best [stories], with each winning a new Kindle.”

The entry forms, on which library members have written their stories, will be placed around the library on Malvern Avenue so other library patrons can read them, Williams said.

“It was an easy and fun way to celebrate Library Week, by talking about how much libraries have changed,” she said.

On several days during the week, younger members of the library are invited to read books in the Paws for Reading program at the Garland County Library. Young readers, some of whom have been reluctant to read aloud at school, get to read to an assistance dog, brought to the library to be a patient listener and companion.

On Tuesday, Carson Bowen, 10, of Hot Springs read a book to Dylan, a red Doberman pinscher.

“I always like reading with Dylan,” Carson said. “He’s awesome.”

The youngster was reading silently with Dylan, who lay on the floor with Carson. Later, the boy started reading aloud to the dog. Dylan, who is only a year younger than Carson and about as large, is a regular visitor to hospitals as a therapy dog. He is also a retired international champion show dog.

Carson’s mother said her son had been reading with the dog for about six weeks, and she said Dylan is so calm and relaxed that he seems to be listening.

In Saline County, the younger patrons of the Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library in Benton and the Mabel Boswell Memorial Library in Bryant will celebrate Library Week with a Teddy Bear Sleepover for children of all ages.

Those attending are encouraged to bring their favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal to the library. There will be a special puppet show, games and a story time, said Jill Martin, head of children’s services for the library.

“Teddy bears are perfect reading companions,” she said, “so we decided this would be a great way to celebrate books and libraries with a fun twist.”

That twist, Martin said, is that the teddy bears can sleep over at the library during the night, and their owners can pick them up the next day.

“When the people come back to pick up their bears and other animals, they will receive photos of what their furry friends got to do all night at the library,” Martin said. “It should be a lot of fun for everyone.”

The sleepover will be held at the Boswell Library at 6 p.m. Tuesday and at the Herzfeld Library at 6 p.m. Thursday.

For music lovers, a folk-music group, Harmony, from Mountain View will perform at the library in Bryant at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The program is free and open to all ages.

For the craft-inclined, beginning crochet classes are offered at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Bryant location. Supplies will be provided. The class is open to adults 18 and older. Another class will be held in Benton at 6 p.m. April 28.

Also for adults, a seminar on the Battle of Jenkins Ferry will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Herzfeld Library to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle, which took place in Saline County in April 1864.

Sheridan educator Roy Wilson, Tom Ezell of Little Rock and Steve Perdue, the library’s own genealogist and local historian, will conduct the program. Registration is required. To sign up, call (501) 778-4766.

In Malvern, a special patron-appreciation reception will be held at 5:30 p.m.Thursday at the Hot Spring County Library, 202 E. Third St. in downtown Malvern.

“It is open to the public, and we have tons of food coming,” said Ashley Parker-Graves, library director. “We have been doing this for several years, and it is always a great event.

Sponsored by Pro Med Ambulance, the end of the evening will be the presentation of four cash prizes for an essay contest.

“Students submitted a paper on a book that inspired them,” Parker-Graves said. “We had entries from ages 7 though 15. The prizes, $50, will be given in the different age groups so the younger writers are not at a disadvantage because of their age.”

She said special events will be going on all week at the library in Malvern.

“Every day, there will be prizes for guessing how many bookmarks are in a jar,” Parker-Graves said. “One day, we will hide a paper bookworm in the library, and people will try to find it.”

County residents who sign up for a new library card during the week will receive a small prize, she said.

The first National Library Week, created by the American Library Association, was held in 1958.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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