Library welcomes summer with rockin’ kickoff event

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MANISTEE — Libraries rock, and that was apparent Saturday at the Manistee County Library’s summer kickoff event.

The library’s main branch — located at 95 Maple St. in Manistee — was bustling with activity, both inside and outside, as area youth and their families said hello to the summer season in style.

Following the theme “Libraries Rock,” the “Kickoff Jam” featured the popular local band Clear Heels — performing for one day as the family-friendly Clear Wheels — as guests enjoyed live tunes, treats, games and prizes as well as the vast resources the library has to offer on a daily basis.

“Our summer program is really a good way to invite people in, who maybe haven’t been here before or haven’t been here in a while,” said Julie Herringa, assistant director of the Manistee County Library. “We (wanted) the kickoff event to be a good representation of who we are as an organization and a library, and what we can offer to the community.”

Saturday’s event marked the start of busy summer for the library and its five satellite branches across the county. Each will offer a wide range of events and programs throughout the season that should satisfy all ages.

“There may be some misconceptions about what a library is,” Herringa said. “We don’t want people to think it’s a quiet place where you go to read a book, and that’s it. That old stereotype of people getting shushed in the library is not what our library is about.

“We want life in our library: music, laughter, conversation. We want to provide a fun environment that people want to be a part of.”

Young library patrons are encouraged to get involved this summer through the library’s revamped reading program.

From now until July 27, bingo cards containing a wide span of summer activities will be available to pick up at any Manistee County Library branch. Participants will earn “Book Bucks” according to the number of items on the cards that they accomplish, which can be spent at the library’s “prize store” beginning July 30.

“We wanted to streamline how the reading program has been done in the past,” Herringa said. “Whoever wants to participate can pick up a bingo sheet and check off the activities as they complete them.

“Some but not all tasks involve reading,” she added. “The library’s place in the community is to contribute to the quality of life, so we want to fulfill that in many ways.

“Some items (on the bingo card) are attending library programs, and then some are even things they can do with their families, like going out for ice cream, going to the beach or going for a walk. They are all very attainable things that families should enjoy doing in the summer.”

For more information on the summer reading program, or for the Manistee County Library’s schedule of summer programs and events, visit www.manisteelibrary.org.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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