Manistee County Library hosts party for National Library Week

Youth patrons were a major focus for the National Library Week parties held at Manistee County Library branches throughout the week. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Creating young readers is a major focus for the Manistee County Library, with the hope that it instills a lifelong love of reading as they grow up.

With that in mind, youth were also the focus for the Manistee County Library’s celebration of National Library Week, with parties held at several branches over the past week.

The party at the Manistee branch took place on Saturday, and there were a variety of crafts, games and snacks for children to enjoy.

“We have a lot of different craft stations set up for them, including these paint sticks that they can decorate and use to mark their place when they take a book off of the shelf,” said Laurel Sproul, youth services director at the Manistee County Library. “There is also a scavenger hunt they can all participate in.”

There were also several activities leading up to the event on Saturday.

“We did a bookmark contest, and for the story time sessions I read books about libraries,” she said. “We are celebrating everything about libraries and what they offer to the community.”

The event helped kick off a variety of youth programs taking place at the library in spring.

In April, there will be many opportunities for arts and crafts, as well as educational opportunities such as the Science for Kids event taking place at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

There will also be plenty of youth activities in May, including several new events such as the Cinco de Mayo party on May 4 and a Mother’s Day tea.

The spring events will lead into the Summer Reading Program, a popular activity for youth to partake in that encourages reading throughout the summer. The program begins in June.

Manistee Library director Debra Greenacre felt that National Library Week helps remind the public about the library’s services.

“It is good way to show the community what we have to offer,” said Greenacre. “When I took this job a year and a half ago I was just amazed by a county having six libraries. They are just such gems in their communities and people love them, so we are trying to do more and more, and National Library week is one of those ways to show how great our libraries are.”

The National Library Week celebration dates back to 1958 and is sponsored by the American Library Association; it is traditionally held the first week of April. All types of libraries including public, school, academic and special ones participate in the event.

Selected as the theme this year was “Libraries = Strong Communities.” Melinda Gates, who is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, served as honorary chair of National Library Week; she said libraries still play a key role in society.

“In addition to providing communities with ideas and information, libraries play an important role in our public life by encouraging creativity, promoting equality and serving as a source of empowerment,” said Gates. “This week and every week, library workers deserve our support and our gratitude.”

A full schedule of library events at all Manistee County branches can be found at www.manisteelibrary.org.

Ken Grabowski also contributed to this report.

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