Archived Story

Niles library has busiest June ever

Published 4:59pm Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Niles District Library enjoyed its busiest June ever.

Patrons checked out 19,642 items.

Circulation of children’s books jumped like the thermometer — 22 percent from a year ago.

Director Nancy Studebaker isn’t sure to what to attribute the surge.

Perhaps the air-conditioned library at 602 E. Main St. being a cool place to beat the heat contributes.

Studebaker does know children’s attendance is up by half from June 2011, so “they’re checking out books when they’re here,” she said Tuesday.

Certainly another factor is new programming introduced by former kindergarten teacher Rhonda Belcher, who started as Youth Services Department head last May.

“We’re keeping ourselves very busy,” Belcher said. “I love my job.”

Libraries traditionally offer some sort of reading club, but it’s more flexible with evenings for working parents and Tuesday and Thursday times in addition to traditional Wednesdays.

Prizes can be claimed anytime. Movies are shown on Thursdays.

Niles District Library, besides buying children’s books for a broader audience, is expanding programming and aiming for a wider audience, from Squealers, for birth to 18 months, to teens, including an after-hours Dead Man’s Party at 5 p.m. Friday, Stars and Moons July 10 for children and Batman, another teen event July 17 to tie in with release of the latest Dark Knight film.

“If I have to have a party about zombies to get kids to read, I will,” said Belcher, who created the nine-member TAC (Teen Activities Council) to advise her.

Batman is a reminder that this library has a graphic novels section.

Stars and Moons, billed as “where art and science collide,” takes place at 3 p.m. and is limited to 30 ages 8 to 12, so sign up by calling (269) 683-8545 ext. 106.

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