If you google the definition of community, it will highlight a special area in Furnas County Nebraska. The First Annual Arapahoe Gala was held on April 6th and on behalf of the Arapahoe Public Library Foundation and the Arapahoe Public Library Board-we thank you! The generosity and goodwill displayed in the weeks leading up to this event was simply amazing. From the businesses and individuals who donated an item to the auction or gave a monetary donation to assist our cause, to the people who walked into the Ella Missing building last week and asked, how can I help, we thank you.
The planning for this event began in August of 2018. It took the assistance of our friends in Elwood who graciously volunteered their time and know-how to help us prepare. Our library staff were asked to work extra hours and to do more than usual to reach out to donors and to do tasks out of the norm. It took some brave people to approach business owners from areas within a 70 plus mile radius of our hometown. It was an amazing thing to see so many business owners so graciously say, yes we’ll help!
Mitzi and Kevin, along with their team from Cunningham’s, provided a fantastic meal. Billie Taylor and her team made us chuckle with her signature drinks. Marcia Foley and the students from the Spanish Club were so helpful and proved that teenagers can be great kids. George Probasco provided the witty banter and kept the event running on time. Mark and Linda Hamel donated their time for the live auction and kept this organized so well for us.
This event took a small village to make it run smoothly. Nearly thirty other volunteers helped to make this event happen! People of all ages helped set-up the tables and chairs, the displays and prepare the building. People worked shifts to run each area and the raffles. The amazing desserts were all donated, and disappeared very quickly. We had a team of auction runners who worked tirelessly, and a flash mob! (For those who don’t know-a flash mob is an organized group of dancers who planned their routine for the event.) By noon on Sunday, the clean-up crew was finished.
This was a big step towards reaching our goal of renovating the Arapahoe Public Library. We still have a long way to go, but with our community behind us, we can do this. Thank you and remember, start practicing your dance moves for 2020!
Safety and Security. Two words people might not consider when they think about a public library, unless you work at a public library! In the larger metropolis of Grand Island there is a sign posted in the bathrooms prohibiting bathing and doing laundry. Violators of this policy may lose their library privileges. This isn’t a joke-this is a real concern in their community. While most of our visitors don’t violate these types of rules, due to the proximity of our town at the crossroads of two major highways, we see a lot of characters passing through. People have taken naps and have stolen toilet paper and maps. Sometimes a book goes missing, but that happens. When the Director finds herself asking someone if she can move their trash bags out of the way so the Lego Kids can walk through, it’s a concern. When a visiting patron gives too much attention to our staff members, this is a concern.
The library is a place for the vulnerable. It’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We have water to drink and a clean bathroom. It’s a place where people can use the computers, something you can’t do while out on the road. Not everyone owns smart phones. Not everyone has internet in their homes. The library was created to serve all people. However, we live in a world where the thoughtful use of a space can help prevent harmful things from happening.
Although the library has two entrances, the staff is unable to see either entrance from the circulation desk or from most areas of the building. There isn’t a line of site to the children’s section as this sits in the addition to the other side of the building. If a patron enters the building from the East door and walks directly into the children’s section, the staff have no idea who has entered the building. If a patron enters through either door and quickly makes their way behind the stacks and moves around the perimeter of the stacks, the staff can not see who has entered the building.
When people enter through the East door, they often approach the door of the Director’s office, as it is confusing for first time users of the library. There is only one door to the office, no way for the Director to see who is entering and no way to exit. There have been times when upset patrons step into the doorway of the office to speak with the Director regarding a complaint, again with no way for the person in the office to exit this room. Safety and Security. Two words that are essential in the design of public places. We’d like to address some of these concerns during our Open House which is scheduled on October 9th from 4-6 PM.
Example of children and adults sharing space
The Arapahoe Public Library along with the City of Arapahoe was awarded a matching grant from the Civic and Community Center Financing Fund in April of this year. The (CCCFF) grants are awarded to municipalities and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) to encourage and foster quality of life in our communities. CCCFF grants are awarded on a competitive basis. The Arapahoe Public Library Board sought this grant opportunity and thus far a feasibility study, which included a user survey of the Arapahoe Public Library, has been completed. This summer representatives from Olsson Associates and Wilkins Architecture, Design and Planning have met with the Board, the Arapahoe Public Library Foundation and members from the Friends Group to discuss the current space and the potential for a remodel.
One of library’s main goals is to focus on programming for youth that follows the practices of Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering and Math or STREAM. We’re accomplishing this goal by offering a variety of programs such as Mad Science Mondays, Reading with Rembrandt, Lego Club, and a variety of other programs like Grandparent’s Day, Native American appreciation, and donuts with a police officer day to name a few. Our local math teacher offered a robotics program this summer. And of course we offer a very active summer reading program and a teen advisory group. The school children in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade visit the library once a month during the school year.
However, when a children’s program is held, this space must be shared between the adults and the children of our community. Herein lies part of our current building’s problem. While an addition was made to the building in 1985 after it was converted to the library from the Peace Lutheran Church, after 33 years of growth, it’s too small for any programs, meetings, or gatherings.
The noise level and congestion often turn away our adult patrons when children are present. Additionally, some parents decline our programs knowing that their children may be in the presence of other adults that are not familiar to them. An Open House on how the library would like to address these issues will be held on October 9th from 4-6 PM. Refreshments will be served.
Arapahoe is considering some improvements to our library. The attached survey asks about the library’s current usage and it’s needs. It only takes a couple of minutes and we appreciate your feedback.
This week for the summer reading program the kids got to meet a real ballerina! We read The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow, listened to some beautiful music from The Nutcracker Suite and learned a lot about stage performances and tutus!
Tuesday mornings are for robotics here at the library! High school teacher Dan Schaben is volunteering his time to teach our JH kids more about this subject. Kids are teaming up to build their own robot and today the “brains” and wheels were installed. So far only one adult patron has had their toes ran over! If your child is interested in this program, please contact the library.
There’s swim team and baseball and 4-H projects and family vacations, and the summer to-do list goes on and on. But wait! You mean kids, teens and adults can still earn prizes and keep their reading skills sharp this summer without going to the library? You mean parents can track what their kids are reading? How? This is the wonderful thing about registering and logging your minutes at arapahoelibrary.readsquared.com
While those attending the library programs will benefit from fun events and hands-on interaction, everyone can benefit from getting lost in a book this summer! Avoid the summer slip-keep reading! Read squared allows parents to sign up their kids and get them reading even if you can’t physically make it to the story hour at the library (even though we’d really love to have you!).
Our interactive summer reading program begins June 4th and runs for six weeks. Each week children ages 3-12 are welcome to join in on story telling, games and crafts all involving music and sound. The library will not be a quiet place! We have four time periods to choose from: 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM, and 1 PM. Families may choose to bring their children all at the same time to accommodate schedules. Generally the youngest children attend during the first session, with younger elementary ages to older elementary ages attending as the day progresses, but we accommodate children of every age group. Be sure that you’ve filled out a paper registration form and returned this to the library. Registration forms can still be filled out on the first day, June 4th. Let’s get ready to rock!
We’re excited for our patrons to be part of something brand new! Welcome to Read Squared. This is an online format for people to register their reading minutes/books for our summer reading program. No more keeping track of folders and papers (but if you prefer paper reading logs, we can make that happen). Once you are registered, your information can carry over to any reading program we offer
How does is work? Using any web browser on your computer, phone or tablet go to: http://arapahoelibrary.readsquared.com
Register your family online and begin tracking your reading. You can enter minutes for an entire family at one time. Adults and Teens can register for their own unique programs. Each participant will earn reading badges, unlock games and earn prizes as they keep reading this summer. This is brand new to our library and our staff will be learning alongside our patrons-please bear with us as we navigate through this process!