Howard Branch Library hosts interactive MLK Day programming

Published 8:54 am Tuesday, January 18, 2022

HOWARD TOWNSHIP — A local library took a hands-on approach to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

The Cass District Library Howard Branch, 2341 Yankee St., hosted interactive Martin Luther King Jr. Day programming for children from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. The national holiday celebrates and remembers the Civil Rights Movement leader, activist, orator and minister who was assassinated in 1968.

For the past few weeks, the library has been featuring a display with Martin Luther King Jr. books and activities for guests to check out.

“We try to do some educational stuff for the kids in a fun format,” said CDL Howard Branch Manager April Hughes.

The crux of the library’s MLK Day programming was its “My Own Two Hands” paint activity. Inspired by the song “My Own Two Hands” by Ben Harper, the library created activity pages with two handprints for children to color in.

“I read the lyrics of the whole song, and it’s really positive and uplifting, but it really just is implying that each individual can make a change themselves if they put effort into it,” she said. “We ended up putting paint supplies and stuff out, and we’re having kids paint and decorate the hand to take home.”

Hughes believes the activity is a fun, interactive way to learn about and celebrate King’s legacy.

“It’s just to remember that, no matter what skin color you are, that he fought for equal rights for everybody in the civil rights movement,” she said. “We want to help these younger kids remember past events in history and to keep moving forward in positive directions.”

In light of the ongoing pandemic, Hughes opted to have the program open to the public all day as opposed to a certain time frame in an effort to free up library traffic.

“With COVID, it’s been a little difficult with programming,” she said. “We’re trying to do some hybrid-type stuff. If we can have something out all day, people are a little more comfortable stopping in with just their family groups instead of hosting them at a concentrated time period.”

The CDL Howard Branch is one of five area branches under the CDL system. The library is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Hughes said business has been up and down of late due to the rising number of COVID cases in the area. The library offers curbside check-out services as well as online services through the Southwestern Michigan Digital Library.

“With transmission rates being high, we have some families that are back to being cautious,” Hughes said. “There is still a lot of caution in the air and people have different comfort levels, so it does make it difficult for the library. We really try to advertise our online services, especially because we’ve seen an uptick in that, and some people are just getting a card to use online services. … It’s still a wonderful time to come in and use the library and support the library. There are a lot of different ways that people can do that if they’re trying to be more cautious, still. There are many online services that they can still actively participate in as well.”