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Marion Public Library

Community Spotlight

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On any given day, Marion Public Library hosts a variety of programs and events for the public to attend – sometimes with more than half a dozen options. If there’s one thing the library hopes these programs can foster in the community, it would be “connections”.
It’s been decades since libraries have seen themselves as simply storage facilities for books. Shifting the public’s perception of what libraries can be, however, has been a long process—with much more yet to be accomplished. The goal is to show the importance of evolving library services to the community, all while maintaining a focus on literacy and lifelong learning.

Participants in the new ALL (Adult Lifelong Learning) program

That focus on literacy is evident in a number of recent and upcoming programs. Notably, the library has worked to bring several bestselling children’s authors to Marion: Marc Brown on November 6th and Chris Grabenstein coming up on April 9th. Brown, creator of the Arthur series of books, shared “Why Illustrations Matter” with the community at Grant Middle School. Turnout for the event was huge. “We originally planned to host this event in the library as we’ve done with plenty of other authors”, said Gary Branson, Executive Director at the Library. “But we started hearing the buzz going through the community and we very quickly realized the need for a bigger venue”.

Author Chris Grabenstein and his wife JJ will visit Marion April 9, 2020.

The Grabenstein event will also draw a huge crowd and represents a partnership between Marion Public Library, the Let’s Read 20 literacy initiative, Marion Community Foundation, and schools from across Marion County. “This event is an effort to target children between 3rd and 5th grade”, said Diane Watson, Program Coordinator for Let’s Read 20. “It’s a critical age for maintaining momentum in literacy skills and keeping kids interested in reading”. Every student in those grades has the opportunity to attend the author event at the Marion Palace Theatre, and thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation, each student in Marion County will also receive a copy of Grabenstein’s newest title, Shine. The public will then be invited to attend a book signing that evening at Marion Public Library.
Grabenstein is the author of several popular children’s book series, with titles such as Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and other engaging mysteries. He frequently collaborates with bestselling author James Patterson, who is a co-author on many of his books.

Staff at the Marion Public Library

The opportunity to connect with an author is one that these students won’t soon forget. Library staff members know the potential impact that these events can have on a child’s reading habits. Ultimately, the goal is to foster a love of reading among Marion’s children.
Marion Public Library takes connections for all ages seriously and is constantly seeking new programming options that will engage the community. The latest effort to this end is the all (Adult Lifelong Learning) program. Conceived as an exploration of a variety of topics for individuals 18 or older, all consists of numerous short-term, classes that encourage creativity, critical thinking, and personal growth and development. With class lineups in both the spring and fall of each year, all operates similarly to college courses. Registrants pay a nominal base fee to enroll. The fee includes a certain number of class signups, with any additional signups requiring extra fees.
Spring 2020 classes are currently being planned and excitement for the program continues to grow. Those interested can visit MarionLibrary.org/all where they’ll find the latest info on upcoming classes and can subscribe to receive updates about the program. Visit MarionLibrary.org and be sure to check out the events calendar for a full lineup of all their great programming.

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