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In the News
The Anne Arundel County Council made history Monday with its unanimous vote to nominate Deirdre Hendrick to the county library board of trustees. Hendrick could become the first openly transgender member of the board.
The Cape St. Claire resident still has to be approved by the Anne Arundel County Public Library Board of Trustees. That decision is expected to take place June 20.
If appointed, Hendrick would serve a three-year term.
“It is an honor to be nominated and I appreciate the commitment to diversity this shows,” Hendrick said. “I’m really excited about being part of the library board. I believe in libraries, they are a center for lifelong learning and one of the best investments a community can make.”
A library experiment inside Westfield Annapolis mall has been so successful officials have asked the county executive for $1.3 million to make the branch permanent.
Discoveries: The Library at the Mall location opened April 30, 2018 and was pitched as an opportunity to reach new library customers. The result was a smaller, more flexible location that focused less on books and more on programs such as group readings and bilingual story time for young children.
Westfield has offered a 12,000-square-foot space — four times bigger than the current location — and County Executive Steuart Pittman has included $1.3 million for it in his budget. It is one of two mall library locations in the state and attracts people from across the region.
“It’s perfect because it is in the mall,” said Lindsey Brooks of Washington, D.C., who was at the library on a recent day. “It is a good place for families to come in. The kids love it.”
Riviera Beach Library held its third and final community meeting regarding the new building on Tuesday.
At the meeting, representatives from Grimm and Parker Architecture Inc., the firm working on the project, presented attendees with new images of the library’s interior and exterior.
On Saturday, the Glen Burnie Regional Library celebrates 50 years of providing media to northern Anne Arundel County.
Abby Granger said she has had the privilege of borrowing materials from the Glen Burnie branch throughout her life.
“As a kid, visiting the library was freedom - browsing and checking out books with my sister – on our own – independent of mom,” Granger said. “As a teen, the library was solace - finding the voices and stories that helped me through the usual strife in that stage of life.
“As a college student, the library was home - a beloved place after so many new adventures far away from the familiar. As an adult, the library is my part of my center - after a long week at work, I know I can find ground under my feet again by exploring a new read or revisiting an old friend.”
The building at 1010 Eastway hasn’t always been the site of Glen Burnie’s library – and the organization itself has changed throughout the years.
Originally staffed by volunteers, the Glen Burnie Free Public Library began in 1923, housed in the Masonic Lodge on Crain Highway. By 1932, the library had outgrown its walls, and the Kuethe family funded the construction of a new structure near the Masonic Lodge.
The parent organization was the Glen Burnie Free Public Library Association, and was not part of the county’s library system.
In 1953, the Anne Arundel Library System created a Glen Burnie branch, housed in Glen Burnie Junior High School within the Glen Burnie High School complex. It wasn’t long before the library set up shop in a three-bedroom Harundale home on Cotter Road.
Crowding concerns caused the closure of the Cotter house, and a lease agreement was established which made the Kuethe Library a branch of the Anne Arundel Library System.
The Kuethe Library remained in operation as an annex until 1991. The building currently houses the Anne Arundel Geological Society’s Historical and Genealogical Research Center.
In 1967, the Library System announced it would construct a branch in Harundale. Ground was broken at the Eastway Road site April 11, 1968, and the Library System spent about $650,000 to develop the branch. Its doors officially opened May 4, 1969.
Carolyn Moyer of Millersville has many memories of the library, although she still tends to call the branch by its previous name - “North County”.
Moyer said in the 1970s and 1980s, she enjoyed visiting with her preschool-aged children, who thought story time was the highlight of their week.
“At that time there were no toys – no noise,” Moyer said. “Computers and videos did not exist, of course – the library was all books, books, books. And paintings that you could check out – the kids and I would pick out a painting every month or so, check it out and hang it in our dining room. We loved changing the look of our house with a beautiful reproduction we had picked out together from the library walls.”
Moyer said now she brings her granddaughter, Carolyn, to story hour every week. Carolyn adores the staff – especially “Mr. Bill”. Moyer said her heart is warmed by watching her granddaughter play and interact with staff, and by the many happy memories the library has provided to her family.
“I deeply appreciate Glen Burnie Library and its role as a public space where all people, of all races, all ages, all political persuasions, all sexual orientations – all can gather with a common goal: to feed our minds and our souls with good books and with the company of the people of our community,” Moyer said.
Toni Martsoukos, a self-proclaimed bibliophile, said her mother would take the family to the Glen Burnie library when they were on the way home to Pasadena. Martsoukos said she remains a patron with many happy memories and loves the helpful staff.
“Over time, we came to rely on the knowledgeable librarians to help us find resources for school projects and later, as we got older, they were a wonderful resource for our research assignments,” Martsoukos said. “I also have been able to vote early at this branch these days which gives it yet another useful function.”
Brian Oberle is one of those librarians. He’s worked for the Library System for 27 years, and has been at Glen Burnie since 2000. As a Librarian II, he is part of the management staff, but still serves the public directly. Oberle considers it a privilege to work with the other staff members.
“I enjoy the public service – finding answers for people is its own reward for me,” Oberle said. “The people I work with are a huge motivation for me. The team here is outstanding – we all have our specialties and back each other up.”
Oberle said the evolution of the internet has brought the most obvious change to the library – technology. He said Glen Burnie now has resources that rival college libraries with premium databases, as well as wireless access, wireless printing, ADA workstations, self-checkout and technology-dependent STEM and STEAM programs.
Although the library’s population may be changing, with more senior citizens as traditional users, Oberle said teens have been recognized as a separate client base from children and adults. In addition to a teen section, the library offers a minimum of three teen programs per month – usually more.
Family attendance is strong, with many enjoying every program offered. Oberle said the library sees a substantial population who are experiencing homelessness, or who are on the verge of homelessness.
Oberle said he wishes more people understood the degree to which the library and its staff is able to meet their needs. He stressed the library is open to everyone of our diverse community, and noted there is something available for everyone.
Although the building was cutting-edge when it was constructed, Oberle said now it is dated and presents limitations such as lack of space, power and access. He is hopeful for a new building that will enable the library to continue to grow with the community.
More information on the library and its programs is available at www.aacpl.net.
Prom is often thought of as a rite of passage and one of the highlights of a student’s school experience. And although the dance is a tradition, attending is often quite expensive. Between tickets, attire, makeup, hair, transportation and all of the many costs associated with the night, the bill can become too much for some to cover.
To help lessen the financial burden of the memorable night, the Linthicum Community Library, with help from Anne Arundel County Public Schools, created The Glow Up, a prom dress drive that will provide dresses and other prom night necessities to those who need them.
“Several years ago, the idea came up at one of our library program planning groups meetings,” said Kt Zawodny, Programming and Outreach Librarian for Anne Arundel County Public libraries. “We did some research and found that other library systems had done this successfully. From there, we decided to move forward into how it fits the needs of our community.”
The library, along with several other branches in the county, began collecting donated dresses at the end of February. They, along with shoes, makeup and accessories, will be offered to the public at no cost March 23,10 a.m.-3 pm at the library, 400 Shipley Road.
Love to read? Your library loves you back. Anne Arundel County Public Libraries are offering plenty of family-friendly events to celebrate love this week.
Around Annapolis: There are Valentine’s story times at the Annapolis branch at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and 10:30 a.m Thursday. Eastport-Annapolis Neck offers Valentine’s bingo on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Play bingo with heart-shaped candies as markers and you could win a small prize or a book. Discoveries: The Library at the Mall offers a Valentine’s-themed Babies in Bloom with a workshop to make cards with your baby's feet for babies up to 18 months old on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
The real Deale: Deale offers a Valentine’s Friendship Fun Story Time for 3-5-year-olds interested in STEM on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Celebrate friendship and the color red with books, songs, and simple heart-themed STEM activities and crafts. Then, it's Valentine’s Toddler Time on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Cuddle your tiny valentine (up to 18 months old) with sweet songs, rhymes and playtime at Valentine Hugs and Kisses Thursday at 10 a.m.
Other events: Mountain Road hosts Love Your Library at 3 p.m. Thursday. Make the teen area lovely by painting a bookend and helping fix it up. Riviera Beach offers Valentine’s bingo for preschoolers at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Glen Burnie screens the 1970 film “Love Story” for adults at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The moment guest reader Nisa Popper held up her colorful storybook, the roomful of 3-to 5-year-old ‘Future Foxes’ grew very excited.
“We want ‘The Snowy Day’,” they shouted.
The occasion – Jones Elementary School’s “Future Foxes Story Time” – was held in the library media center Friday afternoon. The guest reader was librarian Nisa Popper from Severna Park Community Library “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats as her first book.
“I was surprised the children knew the book,” Popper said. “It’s an old favorite written in the 1960’s. Most of the kids seemed familiar with the pictures and the words. Two little girls even told me when I missed a page.”
Reading teacher Karen Simpson, who’d welcomed everyone and introduced Popper, was pleased with the turnout. There were 19 children seated on carpet squares around the librarian and even more seated at tables with their parents.
Simpson said Future Foxes Story Times are an annual tradition.
“Media Specialist Kate Rogers and I created the event four years ago in collaboration with the Severna Park library as a way to promote early childhood literacy,” Simpson said. “It serves the dual purposes of introducing our soon-to-be students to reading and familiarizing them with our school.
Jones Elementary’s brightly hued library media center – complete with its pair of plush foxes – was a cozy setting for story time. The “fox” is the school mascot and also a nickname by which Jones students are known – hence the term “future foxes” in the event’s name.
An animated and expressive reader, Popper held her young audience’s attention throughout “The Snowy Day” and, between books; she charmed them with humorous songs and games. In keeping with her winter theme, she chose a newer book, “I Want Snow” by Tony Ross, for her second reading.
At the end of her appearance, Popper invited the children to visit her where she can usually be found…at the Severna Park branch of Anne Arundel County Public Library. Like her fellow librarians, she frequently visits elementary schools, middle schools and high schools bringing along scores of fascinating books.
Following the reading, it was time to make a fun craft developed by art teacher Amy Degenhard – bejeweled snowflakes that kids and parents could work on together.
The first children to begin making snowflakes at their table, under the watchful eyes of a fox mascot, were Holly Pierce and Ryan Rose. Soon they were joined by others.
Ryan’s mother, Tory, said it was her son’s first time visiting and as entertaining for her as him. At a smaller table, parents Jonathan and Ashley Rice were watching daughter Lola make an especially pretty snowflake.
“This is really fun,” Johnathan said. “Our daughter already loves books. We read to our children every night. But we wanted to come because she’ll be coming here in two years.”
Carly Knott, who was helping her daughter Elana and her friend Mary Merritt construct snowflakes, said both little girls were excited to come because they’ll be starting kindergarten at Jones next year.
“They’re really eager because Elana’s brother James is here in fifth grade and Mary has one sister in first grade and another in third,” Knott said.
Wielding a glue gun to apply the finishing touch to a final few snowflakes, Simpson said she was delighted with the response to the story Future Foxes Story Time invitation…especially since several families came back for the second year.
“We feel Future Foxes Story Time is beneficial for both us and the Severna Park library,” Simpson said. “We’re told the library has seen a boost in kids wanting to attend their story times and obtain their own library cards.
“For us, the event was also a perfect tie-in with Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ January campaign through social media @AACountySchools #aacpsReadWithMe” to get children interested in books. As a county, we’re trying hard to create a culture of literacy.”
Anne Arundel County Public Library officials have announced they recently added six C-Pen Reader scanners to their collection of technology aids. The portable and lightweight pens empower non-readers, struggling readers or people who are studying another language to read and learn independently.
Each reading pen, generously funded by the Library Foundation, narrates words from a page out loud with an English, Spanish or French human-like digital voice so customers can better understand and remember the words in the future. Simply pass the device across a word and it instantly reads aloud while providing access to a Collins English Dictionary and multiple languages.
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