The Grand Rapids City Council convened for its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 5 at city hall where Marsha Anderson delivered the department head report for the library. Anderson described progress being made towards goals of the strategic plan that the library put together in 2014. Those goals include: Early literacy learning, increased activities for children aged 6-12, things to spark creativity, ways to encourage discussion and collaboration, and increased use of outdoor space at the library.
Anderson noted two Saturday story times every week throughout the year, two Monday book times every week during the school year and smart play spots as three initiatives that the library offers to strengthen early literacy building blocks. Anderson said the library also offered about 10 informal book times over the course of the summer.
The library tries to use outdoor space, particularly for large programs. She cited the K-9 demonstration from the Itasca County K-9 unit, which was attended by 55 people, as one example. A program for pre-schooler sculpting also took advantage of the outdoor space. Anderson said that the library continues to make fishing equipment available to the public and there were 26 checkouts of fishing equipment over the last summer.
Anderson talked about the library’s work to bring out the creativity in its patrons. She cited a program aimed at character development for the stage, a photography contest, and a wire jewelry workshop as examples of initiatives designed to promote creativity.
Anderson recapped summer activity at the library that included a summer reading program that included more than 900 participants. She also made mention of several other programs offered to encourage visits to the library. The programs ranged from cake decorating to music to magic shows. A guitar series in the KAXE Rotary tent was particularly popular.
The library’s winter reading program kicks off on Dec. 17. The program will be entitled Paul Bunyan’s Big Read. Children who participate in the program will receive a free book.
The library tries to draw adults as well, offering learning opportunities in the areas of bee keeping, presentations on the lost towns of Minnesota, the northern lights and northern pike management.
Anderson went on to talk about technology at the library. She said that the library is offering online research databases, live online help with homework and resumes, test preparation and practice and exam proctoring. She said the library also offers personal computers and wi-fi to the public. Nearly 20,000 audio and e-book titles have been downloaded in 2016. The library also has about 100 magazines available for download.
Anderson concluded her remarks by discussing recent gifts to the library. A grant from the Northland Foundation and the Library Foundation was used to purchase books about Native American culture and characters. The library also received a mural from the human rights commission. The mural is entitled, The Year the Roses Died and was created by Leah Yellowbird.
Anderson then offered to field any questions from the council. City Administrator Tom Pagel encouraged Anderson to discuss a gift that the library received last week. She said that the library had received a bequest of nearly $40,000. When asked if the money would be added to the endowment fund, Anderson said that decision would be up to the library board.
In other business, the council:
• Accepted the resignation of Nathan Morlan from the fire department.
• Accepted a resignation from the Police Department.
• Filled the position of part-time communications specialist at a rate of $14/hour
• Approved changing the design of the multi-use outdoor pavilion to a pre-engineered metal building to keep the project on budget.