1000 books program gets new readers off to royal start

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Some local royalty will be crowned on Saturday. About 20 local preschoolers who have “read” 1000 Books before Kindergarten will get crowns of their own as part of the celebration Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wood County District Public Library. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program was launched last year, and it’s been a success, said Children’s Librarian Maria Simon. About 800 children are enrolled, with more being signed up each day. She hopes more will join on Saturday, moving the library closer to the goal of having 1,000 participants. The program encourages reading 1,000 books before children enter school. That’s not 1,000 different books. These are toddlers, and they may want to hear the same book over and over again, and then yet again. A book read aloud to a group by a child care provider or library staff member counts as well. Simon said she intentionally kept the record keeping simple. Just tally the books, without worrying about titles or minutes spent reading. Everything can be done online at Every child who is enrolled gets a free book, and then they get stickers along with way to celebrate each 100 read. When they get halfway through, they get to pick a book from the library’s collection, and a bookplate noting their achievement is put in the book. At 1,000 they get a crown. For the inaugural year, the children received a book by Denise Fleming, who was the special guest author at last June’s kickoff celebration. Starting in Saturday, the children will receive Shari Halpern’s book “Dinosaur Parade.” Halpern will give a presentation at 11 a.m. Saturday and then sign books. Simon said both Halpern and Fleming were very supportive and enthusiastic about the program. Some of the older participants do enjoy seeing their numbers go up and up. But for most the biggest benefit of the program is the time spent with parents, or grandparents or childcare providers reading. And to get a 1,000 books read, it takes all of them. One child told, Simon that if it wasn’t for his two grandmas, he wouldn’t have read all those books. Simon said she enjoys watching children develop their taste. They get to explore the library’s large selection of picture books. They find characters they like, or realize they prefer funny books. Then after every 100 books, they get to pick a favorite in which their name can be included. “That’s been really fun to have those conversations,” Simon said. The program is collaborating with the Wood County Early Childhood Task Force. “It’s really a community partnership,” Simon said. That’s helping to draw children into the program who may not otherwise visit the library. They learn about it from their childcare providers, or at the doctor’s office or through Jobs and Family Services. It encourages people to come to the library and discover the resources that the library offers, not just for children but adults. On Saturday a number of area agencies, programs, and pre-schools will be on hand for a resource fair. The cost of the program was picked up by the Friends of the Library in the first year, and now the Library Foundation is paying the costs, Simon said.  

Library to celebrate 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, June 9

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Families with young children birth through preschool are invited to a Celebration of 1000 Books Before Kindergarten at the Wood County District Public Library Children’s Place on Saturday June 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. Included in the one year celebration of this ongoing reading challenge program will be an author/illustrator visit form Shari Halpern, a Family Resource Fair with the Wood County Early Childhood Task Force, and special recognition for everyone registered, new registrants, and the 20 “Royal Readers” who have already achieved the goal of 1000 books! The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program began last June with a kick-off with guest author/illustrator Denise Fleming. (Click to read story.) In the past year, 800 young children have registered in the library or online at The Children’s Place looks to register more babies and young children at this event. This program has been supported by the Friends of the Library and continues to be supported by the WCDPL Foundation with private donations. The Wood County District Public Library will be giving Shari Halpern’s picture book Dinosaur Parade to all children present and registered in the 1000 Book Before Kindergarten program. Shari will be share a presentation at 11am and stay to autograph copies of Dinosaur Parade. The Resource Fair will include local agencies and organizations as well as daycare and preschools. Crafts and activities will be available to enjoy. Please contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253 with any questions about this event or the ongoing Summer Reading Program “Libraries Rock!”

Operatic ‘Big Bad Wolf’ starts summer reading program on a high note

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Simon, the children’s librarian at the Wood County District Public Library, wanted to get the musically inclined summer reading program off on a high note. So, of course, she brought in a soprano. And the soprano rolled in with a mezzo-soprano, a pianist, and a bass to play the bad guy. Libraries Rock! The summer reading program got under way with a visit by Toledo Opera on Wheels. The four-member troupe had enough scenery and hand puppets, not mention musical talent, to bring to life a couple of classic fairy tales. “Who’s Afraid of the Big Band Wolf?” blends the stories of Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs. The original script was set to music from Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni.” This is what the public library is all about, said Joy Torres, who was there with her four children age 3 to 10. “It introduces us to a lot of new things, we wouldn’t have a chance to experience if it wasn’t here. They always seem to bring in something new and exciting.” One year it was a magician, she said, and this year the opera. Later this year a local rock band, Mindless Matters, will play a show in the library on June 27 at 7 p.m. Crystal Swaisgood, a mother of three who like Torres home schools her kids, said she’s at the library all the time taking advantage of the diversity of activities offered. This summer Lubrizol will present a STEM Sound Lab and young local musicians will come in play what they’ve been practicing and serve as reading buddies. The full schedule of activities is available in the library’s Connect Family Magazine. Click for more details. “It helps keep the excitement of learning alive,” Torres said of the summer reading program. The young musicians in the Opera on Wheels program hope that their 30-minute opera will spawn future opera listeners and maybe performers. Janani Sridhar, the soprano who sang the part of Little Red Riding Hood, said with the arts being cut in so many schools, programs like this are all the more important. She believes very strongly in bringing opera to these young listeners as a way of cultivating an audience. This was the last day for the troupe, all resident artists at the Toledo Opera. After 85 performances, they had one more show, and then they would be off pursuing their professional careers. Carolyn Aquirre who plays the third little pig, that is the one who builds her house from brick, said she loves the question and answer session and seeing how involved the young listeners get. The audience Thursday was pre-schoolers through second graders from St Aloysius School with a coupl dozen more kids with their parents. They wanted to know why the wolf was so bad. Bass Michael Colman said that he tried to make him not all bad. He used his character to show something about bullying. In the end, he comes around to apologizing and gets a cookie for his contrition. The musicians were also asked why they like opera. Pianist Josh Wang, who got his master’s degree from Bowling Green State University and is music director at First Presbyterian Church, said he loves how opera uses music to tell…

Community survey gives high marks to public library

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A community survey done for the Wood County District Public Library turned out to be a love letter. “Levels of satisfaction were pretty high across the board on all the services we surveyed,” said Shannon Orr, whose public policy class at Bowling Green State University conducted it. “There is very high customer satisfaction for the Wood County Library system, and they would be willing to support the next levy.” That was true even among the majority who only use the library a few times a year. They still felt that the library was an important community service. Orr presented the results to the library’s Board of Trustees Monday. The library’s levy, which brings in $1 million a year, about 40 percent of the budget, will need to be renewed November, 2020. Orr added, that “children’s events were cited over and over again very highly.” On the other hand, “the level of dissatisfaction is almost nonexistent.” “We do a lot of these,” she said. “I run more than 100 community projects with my classes, and this level of satisfaction is very unusual.” Orr’s students sent surveys to 2,000 registered voters in the library’s service area. They got 346 back, or 17.3 percent. That’s an adequate response rate. An online survey with identical questions was sent to about 1,500 email addresses the library had on file. Those responses matched the random sample, but were not figured into the results. The answers to the open-ended questions included in the online survey were provided to the library. People did cite a few areas of improvement. Given the aging population, more large print books are needed. Also, people wanted better guidance on what the library offers, whether books or programs. Arts and craft programs would be nice. And the library needs “freshening up,” particularly the carpet on the stairs. “I might have written that myself,” said Library Director Michael Penrod. He said he’s also ready gotten some carpet samples, and is consulting with a decorator. He said he still thinks of the facility as the “new library,” but it has been 15 years since the expanded and renovated library opened, and is showing its age. Customer services was singled out both for accolades and a few complaints, but was overall a strong point. “What came out is that the people are being served by people who really care,” Trustee Becky Bhaer said. The library is seen as more than a place that loans out books and materials, Orr said. People see it as a community center. A safe, clean, warm, inviting place. “No single person talked about not being welcome,” Orr said. If you’re looking for a place to hold a meeting or have a class, there aren’t a lot of other options,” Trustee Ellen Dalton said. “We realize that library is a very loose term for us,” said Brian Paskvan, president of the trustees. For some the atrium in the main library is “a great music hall.” Children’s program serve the needs for families, and the Walbridge Branch recently held a Wii Bowling tournament. All this goes to show that the predictions of the demise of libraries was premature. “The library is very relevant in 2018,” Orr said. “No one talked about, ‘I don’t need the library.’” Orr…

Library seeks nominations of exceptional staff members

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Are there staff members at the Wood County District Public Library who always go the extra mile for you and your family when you visit the library? Say “Thank You” to library staff by nominating them for the John M. Gibson Award, a tradition which was begun by the library’s Board of Trustees in 2005 to recognize excellence in customer service. Since then it has been presented annually by the Trustees, who select the recipient from nominations submitted by both library users and staff members themselves. Any WCDPL employee (except the library director and assistant director) may be nominated for the Gibson award, which was named after the late John M. Gibson in honor of his contributions to the library and his integral role in the library’s 2003 renovation. All nominees will be recognized by the Library Board of Trustees and the Gibson Award will be August 17. Since being established in 2005, the Gibson Award has been presented to 14 library employees: Mandy Hackley (2005), Mary Boone (2006), AJ Heilman and Donna Mertz (2007), Debra Born (2008), Kristin Wetzel (2009), Linda Conrad (2010), Maria Simon (2011), Nancy Weiland (2012), Katherine Lawn (2013), Anne Render (2014), Matt Mehling (2015), Victoria Forgette (2016), and Tara Bahnsen (2017). Easy to use nomination forms will be available at the main library in Bowling Green, on the Bookmobile, and at the branch library in Walbridge starting Monday, May 21. Nominations may also be submitted directly from the library’s website, Deadline for all nominations is noon, Monday, July 2, 2018. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to have your favorite WCDPL staff member recognized and honored. For additional information about the John M. Gibson Award, contact WCDPL at 419-352-5104.

Library hikes fees to use atrium

The Wood County District Public Library  trustees voted Monday  to increase the fee for using the atrium. The board approved raising the rate from $50 to a base charge of $100 with additional fees depending on services needed. According Michael Penrod the main issue was that after reducing the meeting room rental rates in 2016, the atrium was still cheaper for use by individuals ($50 versus $75).  “But in the meeting room, we do not do set-up and staff time is minimal (we just clean),” he stated in  an  e-mail  after  the  meeting.  “But for atrium use, in addition to cleaning up after an event, the staff has to set-aside the space for much longer periods of time, handle all set-up of tables/chairs/etc, at times is asked to be present to run the complicated sound system for spoken-word events. “My staff is running at full-speed now, so I think the rental fee should be high enough to reflect the additional work – while still being at a reasonable rate overall.” The new fees are: *    Payment of a $100.00 base fee is required at the time of making the reservation. Set up of up to 90 chairs, refreshment & presentation tables, a podium, & a microphone (if needed) are included. *     The piano is professionally-tuned on a quarterly basis.  If you require an additional tuning, there is an additional $100 fee.  Only our own tuning professional may be engaged. *     If you need a staff member to be present to run the in-house sound system, there is a $75 additional fee.  This must be paid when making the reservation and is dependent on the availability of appropriate staff.  Otherwise, you may bring in your own sound system. *    Groups will handle all of their own technology needs including providing the computer, projector, etc.  A small screen and AV cart are available from the library at no cost. *     Before/after-hours access – $250 additional fee.  

Sometimes patrons’ requests tax librarians’ desire to serve

By DAVID  DUPONT BG Independent News Librarians love to say “yes.” Service is the name of the game. But they have their limits. Michael Penrod, Wood County District Public Library director, shared some of those limits with the Board of Trustees Monday. He said he wanted to start giving the trustees some insight into the professional lives of librarians. And tax season, when folks flock to the library for forms and information, is an apt time to talk about limits. The Internal Revenue Service has been supplying fewer and fewer paper forms to libraries as it pushes taxpayers to file online. Some folks are resisting, Penrod said. A librarian can show a patron where the form they ask for is, or where to find I online and even help them print out the form from the IRS website. They cannot, however, tell the taxpayer whether that really is the form they need, or whether they are filling it out properly. For that, Penrod said, they need to consult a tax professional. That’s what he does. The library staff can direct patrons to non-profit services that can give help them do their taxes. It’s not only taxes. Michele Raine, the assistant library director, says the advent of DYI divorces can be a strain on library staff. The library again can point the way to where a patron can find legal information, but not tell them what information they should be searching for. They can show them how to use Ohio Revised Code, but can’t advise them what section applies to whatever problem they have. “People are looking for reassurance we can’t give them,” Raine said. “That’s the bottomline.” Penrod said a woman came in who had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He brought her reliable sources and lent an ear. But could not give medical advice. Raine said that the staff who are notaries public recently went through a training during which they were cautioned that because of librarians’ reputation for helpfulness that they may be targeted to sign questionable papers. They were warned to be vigilant. Penrod said he once was helping a man copy pages from an out-of-print reference book until he realized the man’s intent was to copy the entire book, have it bound, and then sell it. The staff in the Children’s Place love to have young patrons come in looking for books or taking part in the numerous programs the library offers. However, they draw the line at babysitting a child while the parent is at work. And if someone’s looking for a painting contractor, library staff can help find a list of all the local businesses. That staff member, though, is forbidden from recommending an uncle, even if that uncle is the best in town. That would be a serious ethical breach, Penrod said. The list presented by Penrod also addresses issues of confidentiality. Custodial parent can find out what their dependent children have checked out. They can’t tell someone what their neighbor has checked out, even if the patron is waiting to read it. This becomes tricky with split families, Penrod said. The non-custodial parent cannot find out what the child has burrowed. In some cases, a child will have two library cards, one for each household. That, the library director said, was…

Library budget reflects need to address wear and tear

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Wood County District Public Library trustees Monday approved a permanent budget for operations. The $3,079,738 budget is 8.7 percent less than what was spent in 2017, but that budget reflected costs for adding onto and renovating the Walbridge branch library. Library Director Michael Penrod said he tends to include a bit more money in some lines, so he doesn’t have keep coming back to the trustees to make transfers from one budget line to another. The largest chunk of the library’s expenditures is for personnel-related costs at 52.41 percent. He said he can’t really predict what will happen in personnel for the year. He did note that the library saved money by changing one vacant full-time position to two 20-hour-a-week positions. This will enable the library to better cover its seven-day a week schedule, he said. Also, it saves on health insurance. Much of the discussion focused on the $200,000 budgeted for property maintenance. The library’s own new addition and renovation will turn 15 this year. “This building will be old enough to get its learner’s permit,” Penrod said. And, as noted by Brian Paskvan, president of the board, the building gets used by the public. “That’s what we want.” But that also means wear and tear. The library has had persistent leaks in the roof, with buckets strategically placed to catch the water above the ceiling tiles. That will be addressed… again. Also, the library’s windows need to be cleaned this year. That takes a power lift. While the lift is on site, Penrod said, it can be used to check other exterior features. The lights in the atrium will be replaced. The bulb type in the fixture are no longer manufactured, so they will be replaced with LED lights. That will save money in the long run, Penrod said. He said that custodian JJ Hofner has been replacing incandescent bulbs with LED throughout the building. The initial cost is higher but it will result in future savings because they last longer and use less electricity. The library grounds also need another application of mulch in its various gardens, and its parking lot near the Carter House needs paving. Penrod also noted that this budget includes a separate line item for ebooks, $120,000, which distinct from the purchase other electronic materials. Ebooks are an increasing share of what people borrow from the library, said Michele Raine, assistant director. This means fewer people may be coming into the library to borrow books. However, as Penrod showed in his year-end figures for 2017 that decline in traffic is made up for by people coming to the library for programming. On the revenue side, the budget anticipates bringing in $50,000 through various fees, that despite an anticipated loss of $20,000 because it stopped collecting fines for overdue books. Penrod said that’ll be made by the leasing fee for the water station located in Walbridge. He said he’d rather get funds that way than through fines, which can discourage some people from using the library. The largest share of revenue, $1,425,000, comes from the state’s Public Library Fund. That fund is based on 1.68 percent of the state’s general revenue. The library also brings in just over $1 million from it levy, which runs through 2020….

Humorous & soulful sounds on tap as BGSU pianists take center stage at library atrium

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Laughter is not the usual response to music performed at a piano recital, but that’s the reaction Varis Vatcharanukul has gotten when he’s performed “The Body of Your Dreams.” The composition by Dutch contemporary composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis, known as JacobTV, will close the piano concert in the atrium of the Wood County Public Library Monday March 19 at 7 p.m. The rest of the program will features classics by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, and Chopin. Vatcharanukul said he wanted to tackle some contemporary music and his teacher Thomas Rosenkranz suggested “The Body of Your Dreams” for piano and boom box. JacobTV is an apt stage name for someone who uses fragments of TV dialogue to build his compositions around. In the case of “Body” he has sampled an advertisement for a body conditioning device. He shaped music lines inspired by the rhythms of the hyperbolic sales pitch. The pianist performs these in counterpoint to cut-and-pasted shards of male and female voices. The result is music easy to understand even for listeners new to contemporary music. “It’s not like that kind of new music,” Vatcharanukul said. It’s tonal and not particularly dissonant, with rhythms that evoke jazz rock. “That can catch audience,” he said. “Body” is also highly rhythmic, and it grows in intensity as the sales pitch continues. The piece is not simple though. Vatcharanukul said he’s not able to pay too much attention to the audience’s reaction because he has to concentrate, listening both what he’s playing and making sure it locks in with the voices on the tape. Vatcharanukul, who comes from Bangkok, Thailand, is in his last semester as an undergraduate piano performance major. He came to study with Rosenkranz. Over his five years at Bowling Green State University, he has played numerous times in the library’s atrium. He likes the mix of listeners. Some are knowledgeable about music, others aren’t. “It’s really nice I can do something for those people,” he said. Rosenkranz, who organizes the library recitals, said the students enjoy playing for their peers, in a less stressful situation. A pianist can feel isolated spending so many hours a day in the practice room. This gives them a chance to get out and share the music they have worked so long on. “They see it as a chance to grow,” Rosenkranz said. Ioanna Nikou came from Greece to study with Robert Satterlee after she met him when he presented a seminar in her native land. She knew she wanted to go abroad for graduate school, and Satterlee put Bowling Green on the map for her. She will open the concert with a piece that does not elicit laughter, J.S. Bach’s “Chromatic Fantasy.” She loves the spiritual qualities of the piece and the challenge of bringing out each of note in the lines. Each note is important. Nikou said she wanted to learn this piece because she has been studying Rachmaninov’s massive Concerto No. 2. She needed a break from the grandeur and romantic intensity of the concerto, something “more calm, more spiritual.” Performing the piece from memory is also a key to connecting with its inner workings. “Every pianist can connect to a special composer or piece,” she said. “Whenever he doesn’t have the score in from…

Gordon Korman, Youth Community Reads author, to visit BG & area schools

From WOOD COUNTY LIBRARY Families, meet Wood County District Public Library’s 2018 Youth Community Reads author, Gordon Korman. Gordon Korman is the best-selling author of over 90 Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, including Slacker, Restart, Ungifted, and the Swindle series. He is also a contributing author to the popular multi-author series 39 Clues. For more information and a complete list of his titles, please visit his website, He was first published as a 7th grader with a novel he wrote during English Class. Mr. Korman is a much sought-after speaker who spends much of his time traveling to libraries and schools around the country. WCDPL is bringing Mr. Korman to Wood County March 21st and 22nd. His visit is funded through a gift from the estate of Majorie Conrad, and with support of the Bowling Green Community Foundation. Mr. Korman will speak at the Wood County District Public Library on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m., and at the Walbridge Library on Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. During the day on Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Korman will visit Bowling Green, Lake, and Northwood Schools. During his visit to Wood County District Public Library, Mr. Korman will speak, answer questions, and be available to sign books. Two paperback titles will be for sale by the Friends of Library. Several additional copies of his soon-to-be released novel #WhatsHisFace will be raffled off and available for autographing as well. The audience is encouraged to bring any personal copies of Mr. Korman’s books for signing as well. For more information, contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253.

Vintage Valentines celebrate the sweet & sour sides of the holiday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most of the origin stories about Valentine’s Day are not true. There really is no link to any one of the five Valentines who share Feb. 14 as their saint days. And the connection to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia seems tenuous at best. That celebration involved sacrificing dogs and goats, and whipping young women and crops with whips made of the goat’ hides to ensure fertility in the coming year. The more modern belief that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday,” cooked up by the card company to boost sales is also not true – people were exchanging Valentine’s Day greetings for more than a century before the company was founded in 1910. “Most of what we know is probably wrong,” said Steve Ammidown, manuscripts and outreach archivist for the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University. Ammidown visited the Wood County District Public Library to share a selection of vintage Valentine’s Day cards. The first reference to St. Valentine’s Day being associated with lovers comes in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century poem “Parlement of Foules (The Parliament of Fowls).” By the 16th century the tradition of exchanging romantic notes on Valentine’s Day took hold, especially in England and Germany. Exchanging cards began early in the Victorian Era. True to the times, Ammidown said, “complicated and fragile” was the way to go. It was a female entrepreneur, Esther Howland, who founded the first Valentine card manufacturer in America in the 1840s. The Worcester, Massachusetts, businesswoman had a staff to create her line of cards, which “were very ornate, very overwrought.” Ammidown showed a Howland card from the archive’s collection with its intricate patterns and fine, lace-like cut paper. It was meant to display, and its excellent condition indicates it was treasured. The Valentine card business proved attractive enough that competitors sprang up. The most prominent, George Whitney, eventually purchased Howland’s business. “He became the biggest name in Valentine’s cards,” Ammidown said. The business flourished at the turn of the 20th century as the post office became more reliable and postcards became more popular, the archivist said. Though they may have flowery, sentimental sayings on them, sometimes what was written on the back was more pedestrian. The inscription on the front of one declared: “My heart’s a posy blooming for you.” On the back is written: “Your boss said you have to come to work on Monday. He told me this morning. Your mother.” In the 1920s, students started exchanging cards in school. That gave rise to simpler cards with more age appropriate messages. Ammidown said that the library’s collection has grown through donations. Many of the cards come from the Armitage family. While the library may be willing to look at collections, Valentine or other, he said, “we’re not really interested taking huge mounds” of them. The nature of cards changed with the times. There were vinegar Valentines, he said. They were a reaction to the “sickly sweet sentiments” of traditional cards. One has a woman declaring “I dream of you every night” on the front. Inside it reads: “Wot nightmares!” In the 1970s, the cards grew racier. Ammidown showed a pair. One depicted a devil declaring: “We’ll have a hot time.” Another pictures a monster: “You bring out the beast…

Library offers help getting the most out of digital devices

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Two workshops in January at the Wood County District Public Library (251 N. Main St., Bowling Green) will help demystify your tablets, smart phones, and other devices as well as get you ready to borrow free digital content. Kristin Wetzel, who works closely with the library’s digital content providers, will lead both workshops.  The first is Wednesday, January 17 at 10 a.m.  and the second workshop is Monday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m. Both workshops will take place in the second floor meeting room.  “We are offering the workshop at two times so people who are not available during the day can also take advantage of the training and get the most from their devices” said Wetzel.  “There is so much wonderful, free material to download from your library,” said Wetzel. “I have helped people who came straight to the library from the store with their devices still in a box.  When they leave the library they are ready to read, listen, or watch whatever they like,” she said.  Reservations are not required to attend the workshops. Additional personalized help with your technology and computer questions is available Monday through Friday by appointment.  To take advantage of this service, simply call ahead to 419-352-5050 for an appointment with library staff. “We have been asked when the next class on using computers will be offered, but we have found that computer classes leave a lot of people in the dark because the class doesn’t relate to people’s specific needs,” said Michele Raine, Assistant Director at WCDPL. “The appointments allow us to focus on exactly what people would like to learn during their appointment.” Appointments can cover everything from how to format a Microsoft Word document, how to set up basic commands in an Excel spreadsheet, or how to create contacts in your smart phone. For more information on either the workshops or the personal assistance appointments, contact WCDPL’s Information Services Department at 419-352-5050.

‘Little Free Library’ makes books available 24/7

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A new library opened in Bowling Green on Tuesday. No library cards are necessary. And there is no closing time. A “Little Free Library” was christened at Kenwood Elementary School by students reading their personal odes to books. The tiny library sits on the front porch of the elementary, and is open round the clock to children or neighbors of all ages. “It’s open 24/7. They can come up anytime and take a book. It’s free,” said Shannon Lentz, a first grade teacher at Kenwood Elementary. “Maybe kids who don’t have access to books all the time can use them.” Lentz hopes to add a journal to the library, so readers can record their feelings about the borrowed book when they return it.   The library “building” was donated by Bowling Green State University students in the Service Learning program. Similar libraries were donated to each of the Bowling Green elementary schools. “The goal is to inspire reading,” Lentz said. “It’s not just for our students. It’s for the neighborhood as well.” The library operation is simple, she said. “If you take a book, you leave a book,” Lentz said. The “Little Free Library” program is international – with more than 60,000 of the lending libraries registered in 80 countries. Christine Englebrecht and her daughter Frances Chavez, who were present at Kenwood Tuesday for the ribbon cutting, are familiar with the tiny libraries in Colorado where they lived before coming to Bowling Green. “They were everywhere, in front of every public space,” Englebrecht said. “I’d love to see one in City Park here.” Frances said she was excited about having a Little Free Library in Bowling Green. “The best part is, it’s a library for everyone.” “Anything that provides books for kids and puts books in the hands of kids is great,” Englebrecht said. At the grand opening of the little library, Kenwood students professed their love for books with readings. Tess Challu, who always has a book in her hands, wrote a poem for the new library. Aurora Martinez read aloud her ode to books. “I am excited to donate some books for others to read,” she said. Kenwood Principal Kathleen Daney said teachers on the literacy committee took hold of the library idea. The library “building” was painted by the art teacher. And school maintenance staff built a stand for the structure. Later at the board of education meeting Tuesday evening, Daney said the timing of the library opening was ideal. “We wanted it open for the Christmas break,” she said. Bowling Green Board of Education member Jill Carr was on hand for the dedication of the library. “I just think it’s such an awesome program,” Carr said. “I love books. I think kids should be surrounded by books.” And with the little lending library, they can do just that.

Library’s Holiday Cookie Bake-Off is a winner for all involved

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A recipe that has traveled over the ocean and through the generations was the favorite bite Monday at the Holiday Cookie Bake-Off at the Wood County District Public Library. Jennie Whiteside won for her German Sour Cream Twists. The recipe, she said, has been passed down through many generations in her husband’s family. The winners were selected by a vote of the more than 60 people in attendance. Each attendee received six tickets to distribute as they choose, and each baker had a paper bag where the voters could deposit one or more ballots. Whiteside is living in Bowling Green while her son’s family is temporarily located here. He works for an engineering firm doing pipeline work. Whiteside said she’s been baking the cookies since 1979. The recipe has traveled with her family from Pennsylvania to South Dakota and now here. At first, the recipe she got wasn’t quite right. Then she figured out what was missing and has been making the winning recipe since. This is the first time, though, that she’s shared it outside the family. (See recipes below). Whiteside said her daughter-in-law, Jamie Whiteside, will be learning the recipe, so it will pass down to another generation. “It’s something to live up to,” Jamie Whiteside said. Her mother-in-law said part of the reason for participating in the bake-off was to show support for the library, which has done so much for her family since they’ve been in Bowling Green. “This has been a huge resource for us to get out of the house,” Jamie Whiteside said. The second-place winner was Janet Griffith, of Bowling Green. Though Griffith has been baking since she was a child, her Magic Peanut Butter Cookies are a recent addition to her repertoire. She found the recipe in the “Gooseberry Patch: Dinners on a Dime” last year. The cookies are gluten-free, but that wasn’t a concern for Griffith. She and her daughter wondered how so simple a recipe – one part peanut butter, one part sugar, one egg – would come out. Well, those attending the bake-off thought they came out just fine. Griffith was confident of the quality of the cookie though she wasn’t sure they were good enough to win a prize. Griffith is a former pre-K teacher. Last year she decided to start baking full time. She now works at the Carillon Place Dining Center at Bowling Green State University. Griffith took part because she participates in the library’s Page to Table cookbook club. The book club gives participants a chance to read cookbooks and then make recipes for all to share. Adding to the festive atmosphere of the bake-off were about a dozen piano students of Vicki Hoehner, and her daughter Bethany Hoehner playing seasonal tunes. Vicki Hoehner said the event was the students’ favorite performance. Because they serve as background music, there’s little pressure, she said. The students all love to play Christmas music. The concert is beneficial because it gives the students confidence and makes performing in the more formal recital easier. And “they do get to test the cookies,” she said. Kristin Wetzel, the library staff member who leads the cookbook club, said that the bake-off started three years ago. “It was a big success.” At the end of each…

Library hosting Holiday Cookie Bake-Off

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The Wood County District Public Library  invites home cooks and baking enthusiasts to bring their best recipes to the library for a community Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. “With the popularity of television shows such as the Great British Baking Show, we thought it would be fun to offer our local bakers an opportunity to get in on the action,” said Michele Raine, WCDPL Assistant Director.  “Winners get bragging right, a prize package, and their recipe is featured in ‘Cooks Corner’ in the Sentinel-Tribune.”  The event takes place in the library’s atrium on Monday, Dec. 18 at 7 pm.  Previous winning bakers are Char Rehklau and Isabella Nardone. “The winning recipe is determined by popular vote that night, so we need both tasters and bakers,” said Raine. To participate, bring at least two dozen cookies to the library.  “The last couple of years, some of the bakers have run out of cookies, so we feel like having at least 2 dozen is pretty important,” said Raine.  Bakers can bring more than one recipe, but should have 2 dozen of each cookie for the tasters.  After all the cookies have been tasted and the votes counted, Mrs. Claus will award the prize to the winning cookie. The event also features live music from students in Vicki Hoehner’s piano studio. For more information about the Holiday Cookie Bake-Off, please call the Wood County District Public Library’s Adult Services department at 419-352-5050.