By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Library Director Michael Penrod didn’t know Elfreda Rusher except as a patron with a broad taste in books. Future library patrons will be able to enjoy their own literary tastes thanks to a bequest from the Rusher estate. The retired Bowling Green State University business education professor left $153,000 to the library with the expressed wish that it be used for books. Rusher died at 101 in April. She taught business education at BGSU from 1950 until her retirement in 1976. Penrod told the library trustees Monday that because of the conditions of the bequest the money has to go into the library’s general fund and not to the Library Foundation. Penrod and Fiscal officer Linda Joseph will make sure that the money will be spent on books in the coming years. “When someone says thank you in this way” by remembering the library “considering all the entities in the community that need support, it’s very humbling,” Penrod said. Such planned giving makes a big difference, Penrod said. That’s why the library’s new strategic plan, which runs through 2021 calls for the library to work with the foundation “to implement a planned-giving program and increase the Foundation’s ability to support library efforts monetarily.” The library’s trustees approved the strategic plan unanimously Monday. The plan represents the bare bones of what the library intends, Penrod said. Now it will be up to the library’s management team will flesh out how to put those ideas into action. Brian Paskvan, the president of the board, noted the areas that are outside what’s considered the traditional functions of the library. With the new access to Lynda.com the library is entering in a major way the area of job training and development. Another new area is the “library of things,” where what’s loaned out extends beyond the usual items. The library also loans ukuleles, puzzles, and telescopes that we provided by the Toledo Astronomical Association. Assistant Director Michele Raine said that the society told her if the telescopes are damaged, they will fix them. Penrod said there are limits to what can be offered. He said he’s in touch with the library’s liability insurance carrier, so don’t expect to be able to borrow a chainsaw. The library, he said, does not want to compete with the hardware store or rental businesses. The plan also addresses the physical needs of the main library in Bowling Green. Penrod noted that in the previous strategic plan, one goal as to increase meeting space at the Walbridge Library. Five years later, an expansion project has doubled the branch library’s size. Nothing like that is envisioned in Bowling Green, he said. Rather the goal is to use the existing space as efficiently as possible. The plan also calls for keeping the facilities “looking and feeling fresh, inviting, and safe” by adhering to an established maintenance schedule and investing in maintaining the building and providing new furnishings, fixtures, and equipment. The building was expanded and renovated 15 years ago. Paskvan said it will fall to the finance committee to look at ways of funding this. The strategic plan will take the library through 2021. The library’s levy will be on the ballot in November 2020.Read More
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The board meeting room in the Wood County District Public Library “looks like a department store exploded in there,” Library Director Michael Penrod told trustees Monday. By the end of the week, though, all should be returning to normal, after the Library Foundation’s fundraiser at Schedel Gardens. Penrod reported that the 100 tickets, which are $100 each, sold out as of Sunday. That’s the first time in the event’s 10-year history that it sold out so soon. The Foundation board, he said, has opted not to create a waiting list. The foundation set a goal of $75,000 for the fundraiser though it has raised more than that the last few years. Money raised goes to purchased books in all formats for the library. Penrod said last month that the money supplements the library’s book budget and does not replace money from the state or from the local levy. That was not the only bit of good financial news. Linda Joseph, the library’s finance officer, reported the library received a $5,000 rebate from the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. That money will be listed as “other income” in the library’s budget. Penrod reported that he is adamant that Columbia Gas line work now underway downtown will not disrupt the community Christmas tree that was just planted last year. The library will have a new gas line and meter installed, and it will enter at the southeast corner of the building. There are three burning bushes that were planted in 1974 when the library was built near the spot the line will run through. It’s possible one may have to be taken out, Penrod said, but Columbia Gas is committed to replacing an landscaping it disrupts. Also, Penrod reported that the replacement of the carpeting on the steps has been delayed because the interior designer he is working with is on medical leave. Work selecting carpeting continues. He said the stairway carpeting will be selected with the intent of replacing the carpeting in the circulation area as well as the back hallway. He said the library will also replace the walk-off flooring in the entryways. This is made of tougher stuff – like Brillo pads, Penrod said – but new designs will allow it to be more carpet-like. This area should be about 20-feet long to catch dirt, sand, and salt so most of it doesn’t get onto the library’s carpeting.
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Simon is back to work at the Wood County District Public Library. Though she’s not up to rocking out, the children’s librarian is feeling well enough to return to see the Libraries Rock summer reading program through the end of the summer. Simon was seriously injured June 6 in an automobile accident on I-75. She returned to work with restrictions a week ago. Simon said she was very pleased to be back, even if it’s just part time. She attended the library’s Board of Trustees meeting Monday. She suffered a broken sternum and a concussion, so she said she’s having to limit her contact with the public. “Just a wave is all I need,” she said of well-wishers. She said that the library is a very private place, so many people probably aren’t aware of where she’s been. They may assume she’s been on vacation, Simon said. The accident occurred just south of Cygnet Road in Wood County when the Toyota Prius she was driving struck another car that was driving erratically. While trying to avoid that car she also made contact with a tractor-trailer. She, her husband Marc Simon, Bowling Green State University professor, and her mother, Mary Roemer, of South Bend, Indiana were on their way back to Bowling Green after traveling to Cincinnati to see a show the Simons’ daughter and son were performing. Roemer was very seriously injured who was taken by air ambulance to St. Vincent’s in Toledo. She has now been transferred to a skilled nursing facility in South Bend. So in addition to her own recovery, Simon was monitoring her mother’s care. Simon said she appreciates returning to the library. “I love this place,” she said. “I love libraries. Libraries incredibly healing places, places of order and stability. There’s answers here.” Answers are hard to come by in the world of medical care where even the experts can be baffled, especially when it comes to concussions and spinal injuries, such as those her mother suffered. That “world is full of care and concern, and definitely love and prayers. That’s very comforting, but it’s extremely scary.” Back in the library “is very comforting and knowledgeable and orderly. And this place is a lot more fun.” Simon said that she especially missed the children. Her injuries knocked her out of action just as the summer reading program with the theme Libraries Rock had started rolling. But her staff “didn’t miss a beat,” she said. “They are rock stars.” She’s even turned to the library collection to study up of the injuries she and her mother suffered. Sometimes that means a book aimed at young readers since it is written in easy-to-understand terms. Simon though would like some answers from the legal system. As far as she knows no charges have been pressed against the other driver. And she still has a lot of questions about what led up the accident. County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson said his office “is still working with the State Highway Patrol to see what information and evidence is available.”
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The board meeting room in the Wood County District Public Library is filling up. New treasures arrive every day, said Library Director Michael Penrod. That includes a grill and a bicycle. There’s hand-crafted wooden box by John Calderonello and glass by Dominick Labino and Joel O’Dorisio. Hidden among them are gift certificates from numerous local business. The items are arriving in advance of the 10th Annual Library Benefit at Schedel Arboretum and Gardens, Thursday, July 19, 6-8 p.m. Attendees will also feast on hors d’oeuvres catered by Swig’s and tour the gardens. The price of a ticket is $100 and only 100 are sold. Tickets are available at the library. The focal point is the live auction, said Clif Boutelle, president of the Library Foundation, sponsor of the fundraiser. The bidding gets “very spirited.” People enjoy trying to outbid each other. Items also include a week at a Florida Gulf Coast condo, a family portrait session with Cheryl Hagemeyer, and golf with BGSU coach John Powers, either a 45-minute lesson or a nine-hole round. Then there are Sue Shank’s cookies, Boutelle said, which “seem to be very popular.” Shad Ridenour returns as the auctioneer. Attendees aren’t there trying to get an item on the cheap, Penrod said. Rather they bid enthusiastically. That spirit is fueled by an understanding of what the library contributes to the community and a desire to help it continue its mission. The purpose of the Schedel benefit is to raise money to buy books, both printed and ebooks. Last year $116,000 was raised. Penrod said that money does not replace money from the library’s levy or state funding. It supplements that funding. Boutelle said the fundraising is a way of thanking the community for its support of the library. The money raised has allowed the library to spend $442,000 on materials last year. Boutelle said the goal is always set at $75,000. They never want to take the generosity of those who attend for granted. That generosity starts, said Penrod, with the 15 members of the foundation board who reach out to friends and business associates to get the auction items Penrod said those efforts were “a blessing.” The Schedel fundraising started at the initiation of Bob and Patricia Maurer in 2009. The deepening recession was starting to take a toll on the library budget. So the Foundation, which was created in 1994, decided to stage the auction. “It’s allowing us to make a tangible difference in serving the community,” Penrod said. That allows the library to buy enough print and ebooks, which are more expensive per unit, to meet demand. Even with a popular best seller, the goal is for patrons get their requested book within five days. Penrod said he’s competing with Amazon to meet patrons reading needs. And as director, he instructs the librarians in charge of collections to maintain a non-fiction print collection as complete as what existed before the internet. Peoples still want books on writing resumes and finding a job, or finding new recipes. Travel books, he said, continue to be very popular. Penrod said when he attends library conferences he’ll go to sessions on fundraising – a topic not taught in library school – and he’s yet to see a library the size…
On July 19 the WCDPL Foundation will host its tenth annual Library Benefit at Schedel Gardens in Elmore, Ohio. Over the past nine years, this event has raised funds to purchase new books that our patrons use to move into a new career, gain a new skill, teach a child to read, learn about nearly any other topic of interest, or read for pleasure. Every dollar from this event goes to purchase new books, large print books, audiobooks, e-books, and picture books. Despite some saying the Internet and e-books replace libraries, the core function of the library as the “People’s University” (where anyone can explore, learn, and discover) remains vital. In 2017, community members visited the library more than 4,200 times per week, attendance at programs and author visits grew another 11 percent, the number of cardholders grew another 3 percent, and borrowing books and other materials remains at all-time record levels. This high rate of usage requires continuing investment. The importance of private fundraising to meet community demand is critical. Your financial gifts make a difference! I ask that you consider giving a monetary sponsorship for the Library Benefit at Schedel Gardens in any amount from $20 to $20,000. Simply send a check payable to WCDPL Foundation (with “Schedel sponsorship” in the memo line) to A.J. Heilman, 251 N. Main, Bowling Green, OH 43402. Sponsorships over $1,000 will be recognized on a plaque in the library. Also, please plan to attend the July 19 Benefit! Come enjoy a relaxing evening with garden tours, fine beverages, delicious food, live and silent auctions, and lots of fun and laughs with other library advocates! Tickets are $100 each and are on sale at the library. Please support the library so that it can remain “the place to be” for the community to learn, discover, explore, and read. Michael Penrod WCDPL Director
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The libraries in Wood County generated $35.5 million in economic value in 2017. Wood County District Public Library Director Michael Penrod presented those figures to trustees at their meeting Monday morning. That figure was a local update of a report originally commissioned by the Ohio Library Council in 2016. The update was done by Woodlink, which brings together the county’s the eight library systems. Those libraries provided just over $8 million worth of services in the year, and the direct return on investment was $3.44 for every dollar’s worth of services, or $27.7 million in direct return on investment. The multiplier reflects the impact of the money patrons save by using library services and how that flows through the economy. That brings the amount to $35.5 million. The report looks only at the impact of services provided, not money spent, such as salaries. The eight library systems in the county, in addition to Wood County District, which has a branch in Walbridge, are: Pemberville Public, which operates branches in Luckey and Stony Ridge; Kaubisch Memorial in Fostoria; North Baltimore Public; Rossford Public; Way Public in Perrysburg; and Weston, which operates a branch in Grand Rapids. Penrod said it is important that the library seek donations as well as tax dollars. The Library Foundation provides a large financial boost with the money it raises at a summer benefit held at Schedel Arboretum & Gardens. Penrod encouraged the trustees to promote the event in the community. The 10th Annual Library Benefit will be held Thursday, July 19. Tickets are $100. Last year it raised $100,000. That money is used to purchase books – in all forms, Penrod said. He said that the money does not replace money from the state or raised by the library’s levy, but supplements those dollars, allowing the library to spend more than the average amount on materials. The event features a live and silent auction. It is not, Penrod said, an event where people come expecting to find a bargain at auction, but rather expect to pay a premium as a way to show their support for the library. Trustees John Fawcett said he’ heard from a couple people that they wished there were lesser priced fundraising options included, such as a lottery where everyone who buys a ticket has an equal chance. Board President Brian Paskvan said that could be taken under advisement for next year. Also Penrod said that he’s seen no noticeable change in the state support checks, he’s received. The state support for public libraries is based on a percentage of tax receipts, and those have been increasing.
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ken and Pam Frisch did their part to help their granddaughters earn their crowns. The granddaughters, Sophia Kulik, 3, and Savannah Kulik, 4, are among the 23 preschoolers who have met the mark in the Wood County Public Library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge. The Frisches said they read to the girls, and then logged in the number of books. They were so impressed with the program that they stepped up to help fund it through their Frisch Family Fund. Both have backgrounds in teaching, “so reading has always been important and pretty special,” Pam Frisch said. “The library has been an important part of our family,” Ken Frisch said. Their daughters volunteered as teenagers, and now their granddaughters share that connection. Saturday, the library celebrated the first year of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. As part of the festivities, the children who’d reached the goal received cardboard crowns. Cassie Greenlee, who works in the Children’s Place, said 23 have met the goal. Julia Kulik, Sophia and Savannah’s mother, said the girls earned their crowns last summer. They started in May, and by August they’d notched 1000 books. “It was a lot of reading,” she said. “They love it.” The girls go to story times at the library. “Everyone in the children’s department is so great and so supportive.” Sophia will pile up picture books to her waist when she wants to read, her mother said, and that’s all the time. The grandparents said the girls go through phases in what they want to read. Right now Sophia is captivated by dinosaurs. But “we’re equal opportunity readers,” Pam Frisch said. The two-hour celebration featured a number of schools, programs and agencies that support children. Most had dinosaur-themed activities in honor of guest author Shari Halpern, whose “Dinosaur Parade” will be given to each child who signs up for the 1000 Books program. Halpern got her own start as an author-illustrator when she was a child. She enjoyed drawing and coloring. “I loved getting a new box of crayons.” She was always making things for school projects or her dollhouse. Going into art “was a given,” she said. Becoming a children’ book illustrator was her goal from the time she learned in college that it was a career opportunity. Halpern has been working in the field since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991. Halpern’s work is rooted in her home life. As part of her short presentation, she showed a video tour of her studio made by her daughter. The studio’s shelves store vintage lunch boxes, stuffed animals, family photos and more. Halpern said her three children, now teenagers, are a source of inspiration, whether it’s their love of dinosaurs, cats, or trucks. Halpern said the 1000 Books program is “fantastic.” “I’m so impressed with all these little kids reading all these books,” she said. “It’s a really great thing.” The youngsters’ enthusiasm was evident from the start of her presentation. Halpern was showing the kids the illustrations for “Dinosaur Parade,” when one little guy chimed in with a request: “Will you read that book to us?”