Library gearing up for season

ESCANABA — From April 7 through April 13, libraries and librarians across the nation were celebrated. Library Director Carolyn Stacey promoted the Escanaba Public Library on Facebook by posting trivia, sentiments, special pop-up sales and a competition for patrons to share “how they library.” Today ends National Library Week, but the Escanaba Public Library is starting to gear up for the many activities ahead.

Starting in April the library will be renovated. New flooring and carpet will be installed, and parts of the library will be renovated and spruced up.

“We’re taking a look at our layout and the use of space. We’ve talked to people about the ways they use the library to help us determine if we have things organized the most comfortable for people,” said Stacey. “We did have a survey online for quite a while … we got some great ideas.”

During the renovations there will be minimal disruption. Areas of work will be blocked off during hours of operation. The library will be closed one day while the entrance is renovated. Work will complete the end of May.

“As soon as the flooring goes in we’ll be back in business with programs for this summer,” said Stacey.

The staff is busy creating the 2019 calendar of summer events. For children there will be special performers, a magician, musicians, and a summer reading incentive program. The summer reading program theme is, “A Universe of Stories.”

In partnership with the Delta Astronomical Society, the library is getting a telescope they plan to loan out this summer.

“The Delta Astronomical Society will be doing a presentation to tell people how to use it (telescope) and what to look for in the sky,” Stacey said. “We’re looking forward to that. It fits in nice with our reading program this year.”

Adults will be able to enjoy an artist exhibit, traditional outdoor music and a storyteller knowledgeable about Michigan history.

“The storyteller will tie into the history conference that is going to be in town the end of June,” said Stacey. “And of course, the Friends of the Library ice cream social.”

In addition to books, magazines, and newspapers available at the library, the library has a growing digital on-line library, downloadable ebooks, digital audio, streaming, virtual items, computers and technology services. There are also early literacy opportunities and story times for children.

“We have story times that start with babies, baby time, toddler time, right up through preschoolers, into summer reading,” Stacey said. “Friday, babies lap-sit story times are one of the happiest times to be at the library.”

Stacey loves the user initiated programs, ideas brought forward from locals. Lego Club is one of those programs, as is the new photography club, writers group and Escanaba high school book club.

“This is the community’s library, we want it to be what the community wants,” said Stacey.

Friends of the Library started in the late 1980s and enhances the operations by funding extras.

“You cannot talk about the library without mentioning them,” said Stacey. “They’re the ones that allow us to have concerts, they fund the summer reading program, they maintain our library garden. All those extras and nice things that make this library special are funded by our friends group.”

Stacey has been the director at the library for 12 years. While living in California she wanted to get back to the Upper Peninsula and applied to the job position online. Stacey was interested in the benefits of working in a library in a smaller town.

“I think we really do have the opportunity to impact the community in smaller towns like this with what you do at the library,” said Stacey.

The majority of the staff of ten at the library have been there most of their lifetime. According to Stacey people go there and stay there.

“They love their work and it shows,” said Stacey. “I think one of the things we strive to do here, is to maintain or define that balance between offering the resources you expect to find at a big city library and with the warmth and service of a hometown library.”