New guide takes the shh… out of library

It’s not your same old stuffy library anymore. Chesterfield libraries have come alive with programs for kids, teens and adults alike. “There’s no more shh,” said Carolyn Sears, of Chesterfield’s library department.  

Director of Libraries Mike Mabe introduces the inaugural issue on page two of the 12-page guide of “Loud and Clear: the Summer Reading Program” with his own experience with libraries and how they have affected his life. Both Mike and his wife are seasoned storytellers and will certainly be part of the programming over the summer.

The goal of the summer reading program is to prevent reading skills from slipping away from students during their long summer vacation. Research shows that students can lose one to three months of learning over the summer.

“We are proud to be an organization that not only helps prevent summer learning loss, but helps people to transform information into usable knowledge 365 days a year,” said Mabe in his introduction to the new publication.

“’Loud and Clear’ will be published only one time during the summer months, and then will be printed bi-monthly,” said Sears. “We will be printing 5,000 copies that will be distributed among the nine branches, but we’ll print more if we need them. We decided to put all the information in one piece so people will come to realize that this is where they will get that information.”

Libraries across Chesterfield are introducing their first summer reading issue, which gives the public not only a list of activities at libraries but descriptions of the programs; interesting book reviews; multi-media selections for children, teens and adults. Dates, times and places are all included with the event descriptions.

The well designed and carefully thought out informational piece will find its way to refrigerator fronts across the county. Local residents, when trying to find a cool place to participate in activities, download a Kindle book, browse the latest CDs or spend some quiet time in the stacks of books will find the guide the go-to publication for library events and information.

Sears said the guide is a good representation of who we are today, I think that it’s fresh and it’s modern and it’s appealing, “And I don’t think it’s something that people will expect from the libraries.”

The 12-page guide will be available in all the library branches, and just like the distribution of the guide you will see that all of the programs will tour many of the library sites. While some summer events take place just before the end of school, the summer reading kick off, called “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Festival” will be presented on Saturday, June 16 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Central Library at 9501 Lori Rd. Midsummer Night will feature amazing fire tricks, Jonathan Austin, a balloon creator, an outrageous children’s musical combo and a giant community art project.

Adults will enjoy programs such as a rain barrel workshop, War Came Home to Chesterfield exhibit and a glass blowing studio workshop during what the program calls it “Morning Coffee Break” series.

Some programs that have been presented at just a few libraries have been filled to capacity, but according to Sears the summer reading program is set up to avoid those issues.

“We know from past experience that some programs will be popular and we will get a full house,” said Sears. “But a majority of our children’s programs are scheduled at all of our locations. We do make sure that all locations will get a nice sampling of all of the programming.”

Alice Eovino, four-and-a-half-years-old, wrote, as told by mother, what she thought of the library.

“Once upon a time there was a little girl in the library looking for a book. A simple book. About dragons, when she found one, the dragon came alive out of the picture and breathed fire. It was super and fantastic. The End.”

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