Library surveys in the mail

The Wood County District Public Library has sent out surveys to 2,000 community members to collect their views about the library and its services. The surveys are part of the library’s process of developing a five-year strategic plan. Graduate students studying public administration with Dr, Shannon Orr at Bowling Green State Uniersity developed the surveys with input from the library’s staff and board. For further information see this BG Independent story.  

Wood County Public becomes a fine-free library

By DAVID DUPONT BG independent News The Wood County District Public Library is going fine free. The library board voted unanimously Monday to eliminate fines. Patrons will still be charged if materials are lost or damaged. Library Director Michael Penrod recommended the change. Fines were intended to be a punishment for not returning books, not a source of revenue. Fines bring in $21,000 annually, 0.8 percent of the library’s budget. Libraries that have gone fine-free have seen no drop in return of materials. What the fines do is discourage people from using the library. “I truly believe that fines serve as a barrier to service,” Penrod said. In 2012 when the library reduced its maximum fine per book to $5, more materials were returned. Now the library offers automatic renewal up to four times for material that hasn’t been requested by another patron. Those factors have led to a steadily decreasing amount of revenue for fines. Still for some people getting hit with fines can lead them to decide to forego using the library, library staff said. Children’s Librarian Maria Simon said with the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, some families take out a couple dozen books, and often one gets left behind or they are a day late. This is also true of home-schooling families. At Project Connect, the annual day helps connect low-income residents with services, library staff often hear from people who say they have stopped using the library because of fines accrued, Simon said. This is especially the case with people who lack reliable transportation, said Assistant Director Michele Raine. Penrod said regardless 90 percent of borrowed items are returned within two weeks of the due date. The board voted to end the fines, but it’s up to Penrod and the library staff to determine how to implement the policy. Penrod indicated he would be in favor of forgiving outstanding fines. However, he also is considering cutting to 21 days from 45 days when an item is considered lost and the patron is billed for its replacement. If two weeks pass after that…

Library partners on Spanish Civil War, WWI programs

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Two Wood County Public Library Partnership programs will explore 20th century conflicts. On Thursday, October 12 Bowling Green State University’s Department of History presents a screening of the documentary “Souls Without Borders: The Untold Story of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade” (2006) in the Wood County District Public Library’s 1st Floor Meeting Room starting at 6 .pm. The 53-minute film, part of the History Department’s program “America and World Fascism” seris is shown in partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) is an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting social activism and the defense of human rights. ALBA’s work is inspired by the American volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Drawing on the ALBA collections in New York University’s Tamiment Library, and working to expand such collections, ALBA works to preserve the legacy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as an inspiration for present and future generations. The film will be followed by a question and answer session with scholars Peter Carroll (Standford University) and Sebastiann Faber (Oberlin College). Also on October 12 at 7 p.m., WCDPL’s Michele Raine will be the guest speaker at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum’s (13660 County Home Rd., Bowling Green) October Tea. Her talk, “Home Fires Burning: WWI Fiction,” examines the literature which grew out of the shock and horror of that war’s battlefields, and its depiction of the lives forever changed by the war–both on the home front and in the trenches. The Tea costs $12 for Wood County Historical Society members and $15 for non-member adults. Payments and RSVPs may be through Friday, October 6, either online at or in person at the Museum. More information about the Tea is available from the Museum at 419-352-0967. For more information, contact the Library at 419-352-5104.

Astronaut & author Mark Kelly to speak at BGSU, Oct. 24

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS As part of events commemorating the celebration of Jerome Library’s 50th anniversary, University Libraries will host astronaut and author Mark Kelly as part of its Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories lecture series Oct. 24 with a free presentation at  7 p.m. Lenhart Grand Ballroom | Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Kelly’s talk will be preceded by a VIP reception at 5: p.m. Tockets, which include premium reserved seating for the lecture, are $100. To tickets click here To register for free lecture click here With an extraordinary career of service to our military, our nation and humanity, Kelly has secured his place in history as a role model, modern-day pioneer and leader of distinction. Together with his identical twin brother, Scott, he has laid the groundwork for the future of space exploration as the subjects of an unprecedented NASA study on how space affects the human body. Kelly, author of “Gabby: A Story f Courage and Hope,” is known for captivating audiences with lessons learned from his extensive travels and experiences in the Navy, outer space and on the ground. From leading teams in some of the most dynamic environments imaginable, to the thrill of spaceflight, and the recovery and resilience of his wife Gabrielle Giffords, he will reveal what he believes are the foundations for success to accomplish your mission in life and work.

BGSU library hosts presentation on banned music

Submitted by MATTHEW DONAHUE In recognition of Banned Books Week, Bowling Green State University’s Jerome Library will present “Popular Music Controversies and Banned Popular Music: The Ascent from Low Culture to High Culture” by Dr. Matthew Donahue, of the Department of Popular Culture, Thursday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. in the Pallister Conference Room. The free presentation will highlight some of the controversies surrounding rock and roll music and various subgenres from the 1950s to the present. In addition to examining some of the controversies surrounding rock and roll and its many subgenres, this presentation will also examine how certain popular music styles have gone from being labeled as “low culture” and being banned or controversial, to being celebrated and embraced by so called “high culture” institutions such as museums and universities. There will also be a brief musical performance by Dr. Matthew Donahue (guitar) and BGSU alumni Craig Dickman  (drums) and Tyler Burg (bass). Dr. Matthew Donahue is a lecturer in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, teaching a variety of courses related to popular music and popular culture. In addition he is a recognized musician, artist, filmmaker and writer, his academic and creative pursuits can be viewed at .  

Public library offers programs for middle school students

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The ood County Distruct Library is launching its fall series for middle school students. Weekly Tween/Teen Coding & Creative Writing Clubs The library offers two tween/teen after school club opportunities on alternating Mondays from 4-5 p.m. Youth ages 10 and up are encouraged to explore and participate in both the Coding Club and Wordplay Creative Writing Club. No previous experience is required for either group. The Coding Club investigates computer programming with several Sphero robots, as well as guided coding practice through for students who would like to experiment with more in-depth coding. Wordplay is a new creative writing group, where students will play word games and consider writing prompts as they learn about how to craft stories through their writing. The two groups meet Mondays from 4-5 p.m. in the Children’s Place, alternating weeks. Coding Club meets September 11 and 25, October 9 and 23, November 6 and 20, and December 4 and 18. Wordplay meets September 18, October 2, 16, and 30, November 13 and 27, and December 11. Middle School Book Group The middle school book group, “Pizza and Pages,” meets for the first time this school year on Tuesday, September 12, at 2:30 p.m. in the Bowling Green Middle School’s Media Center. “Pizza and Pages” is a partnership between BGCS and WCDPL and is open to all area 6th-8th graders. The Children’s Place of the Wood County District Public Library has multiple copies of the pre-selected books available to check out. This September, youth can choose one or more of the following “Middle School Experience” titles: Posted by John David Anderson; Ungifted by Gordon Korman; and The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan. Posted by John David Anderson is the story of Frost and his friends who start communicating through sticky notes left all over the school when cell phones are banned. Soon other kids start following their example, triggering a wave of bullying activities in the wake of a new girl’s arrival. Ungifted by Gordon Korman is the story of Donovan, whose thoughtless prank accidentally destroys the school gym during the Big Game. In the aftermath, he is mistakenly sent to a school…

Collab Lab aims to make its mark by sparking innovation at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Collab Lab in Bowling Green State University’s Jerome Library has plenty of top notch technology—virtual reality headsets, video for 3D modeling, 3D scanner and printers, laser etchers, a suite of graphic programs, and markers. “You never want to be out of reach of a marker and a dry erase board,” said Jerry Schnepp, the lab director. All the high-tech equipment is ready at hand and in its place – at the periphery of the lab. The center of the space are comfortable chairs, arranged in semi-circles, partitioned off with white boards. Other prototyping materials are ready at hand, sheets of butcher paper, pipe cleaners, and magnets. These humble tools are “things that will help you get your ideas out of your head and tangible,” Schnepp said. The Collab Lab opened last week. It was funded with money from the state’s Next Frontier fund. The university received about $350,000 in state money, which it then matched. ( The lab is opened to students, staff and faculty from all disciplines, Schnepp said. The idea is to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations. The lab is also open to community members, as a way of spurring entrepreneurial ideas. The mission of the lab is not to bring innovations to fruition, but rather to germinate the ideas. On a recent morning Emily Aquilar, of the Department of Theatre and Film faculty, was on hand with a number of her students. She directs the Treehouse Troupe. The troupe will present Dennis Foon’s “New Kid” at area elementary and middle schools this fall. She brought her students to the Collab Lab to work on the teaching materials that will go along with the show. Khadirah Hobbs, a marketing major, was busy working up a presentation for a client about an advertising campaign. She said she loves the space. “I like the way it flows.” It has technology she needs. The space itself is inviting, encouraging conversation. “It has an executive feel.” In developing the lab, Schnepp said, he drew on expertise from faculty across the university. Designing…

Library crowns first Royal Reader

The Wood County District Public Library has crowned its first royal reader. Anneliese Lawrie, the 4-year-old daughter of Josh and Kelly Lawrie, of Haskins, has had 1,000 books read to her since early June. The feat was part of the library’s initiative to get kids to read or have read to them 1,000 books before they enter kindergarten. Shea Cunningham-Darabie, who operates the daycare Engaging Young Minds where Annaliese was cared for, said it took “a community effort” to achieve the goal. Cunningham-Darabie said that she reads picture books an hour a day to the children, and then she’ll read a chapter book during their quiet time. Anneliese also read to at home, she said. Her parents told Cunningham-Darabie that at night Anneliese would tell them how many books she wanted to read and set them out. “She was very self-motivated. She loves books.” The books she heard read at story times at the library’s Children’s Place also counter toward the 1,000. Cunningham-Darabie said about a month into the program, she realized that Anneliese’s totals were adding up. Cunningham-Darabie was interested in having her achieve the goal before she relocates to Michigan. Cunningham-Darabie is moving to Pinckney, Michigan this weekend. She said the move is bittersweet as she keep getting greetings from former charges, the oldest of whom are now juniors in high school. While the 1,000 books before kindergarten initiative was launched in conjunction with the library’s summer reading program, which has now wrapped up, it will continue year round. So far 464 youngsters have registered to participate. “That’s what I’d like to do,” said Children’s Librarian Maria Simon, “get children involved in reading.”  

Here’s the scoop – cops meet with kids over ice cream

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For more than a year now, Bowling Green Police Division has been meeting citizens over cups of hot coffee. On Friday, they tried something different – meeting them over bowls of ice cream, with chocolate sauce and sprinkles on top. “This is bigger than the Coffee with the Cops,” said Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick as he looked out over the room at the Wood County District Public Library, full of children eating ice cream and wearing police badge stickers. “We’re making you all honorary policemen today,” the chief told them. Police officers posed for photos with kids holding their bowls of ice cream. They answered questions about their jobs. Deputy Chief Justin White said he did not get the usual, “Have you shot somebody” question today. In fact, most of the questions were not about the two-legged officers, but about their four-legged canine officer named Arci. “He’s going to make an appearance,” assured Hetrick. The goal was to make the kids more comfortable around police officers in their community. “We’re here to help,” said Lt. Brad Biller. “The police officers in the community are here to serve them, not to be feared by them.” The officers have visited the library in the past to read to kids, but this visit was a little different. “We’ve invited the police officers before, but we’ve never thought of combining it with ice cream,” children’s librarian Maria Simon said. “What a great idea.” The ice cream, combined with the location, drew in a different and larger crowd, Lt. Dan Mancuso said. “We were trying to get other people,” not just the normal coffee crowd, Mancuso said. “It’s summertime, kids like ice cream.” And the long-term benefit may be more than the bowl of ice cream. “So if there are problems, they feel comfortable coming to us.” The hit of the day proved to be Arci, the Belgian Malinois canine cop. His handler, Sgt. Gordon Finger, said Arci is trained for several different jobs like sniffing out narcotics, tracking people,…

Library survey to get a read on patrons’ needs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Library patrons accustomed to checking out books will soon be asked to check in their feelings about the Wood County District Public Library. How often do you visit the library? What is the library doing right? What is the library doing wrong? Do you read ebooks? Do you prefer old-fashioned paper books? A library survey will soon be conducted to determine community expectations and needs. Shannon Orr, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University, and her students will conduct the survey. Orr has done similar efforts for the city parks and recreation department, and the city schools. The surveys will be mailed in September to a random sample of voters in the library district. The survey will also be online, with the results to be kept separate from the mailed returns. Staff, boards, volunteers, patrons and the public will be asked to complete the online survey if they do not end up as part of random sample. At the same time, the library will be hosting focus groups to collect public opinions. The data gathered from the surveys and focus groups will be used to devise a strategic plan. “If we get this information, we should do something with it,” library board president Brian Paskvan stressed during a board meeting Monday. Also at Monday’s meeting, the board discussed a rebranding effort and updating the library’s logo. Options for the new logo were displayed, with the goal being a memorable image. “So when you see this, you recognize it as the library,” Paskvan said. Because of the long name of Wood County District Public Library, the board debated condensing the name to just Wood County Library. But the overall feeling of the board and staff present was to keep the longer name. “Wood County District Public Library has currency in the community,” library public relations coordinator Mary Boone said. “I love the word ‘public.’ That is an important part of who we are,” library assistant director Michele Raine added. The board also reviewed its new vision…

Ta-dah moment: Library & circus are compatible

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ta-Dah was the word of the day Friday morning at the Wood County Library. As part of the summer reading program, the Cirque Amongus from Michigan visited the library to give an introduction to basic circus skills – stilt walking tight rope walking, a ladder pyramid, riding a unicycle, balancing, and juggling. A successful, or even unsuccessful, attempt was concluded with a loud ta-dah! Accompanied by the hands flying out to the side. Children’s Librarian Maria Simon started off the morning with a cautionary note by reading the picture book by Elise Parsley, “If You Ever Want To Bring a Circus To the Library, DON’T!” But Simon clearly didn’t heed the book’s message. She welcomed Myrthia Hornshaw and Johan Yamine into the building with open arms. At first they demonstrated each skill, using drawing volunteers from the dozens of children in attendance.  After each skill was shown, the kids were instructed to scream ta-dah! They were itching to go. With the help of the library’s volunteens, the kids – for some walking a recently acquired stunt — then got to try for themselves. That meant riding bikes through the atrium. Tottering on a “high-wire” that was just a few inches off the ground. Tumbling, balancing, working with other kids to form a pyramid on the ladders. And they were the only ones having a blast. Diana Hensley, who as there with her two children, tried her hands with the balance sticks and then she even got on a tiny bike, not afraid to tumble. Hensley said the family frequently takes part in library activities, throughout the year. She appreciates that in the summer there’s something going on just about every morning. The circus program was special. It got kids moving. It involved kids of different ages as well “It’s more interactive,” she said. “It’s a different thing that kids don’t get to experience.” That was why Simon brought Cirque Amongus to the library. The program gives kids a chance to exercise their gross motor, helps them build their self-esteem…

Schedel Gardens benefit helps keep library strong

By CLIF BOUTELLE Board President WCDPL Foundation Board On July 20, the Wood County District Public Library (WCDPL) Foundation will be hosting its ninth annual Library Benefit at Schedel Gardens in Elmore.  This unique event raises funds to purchase new books, audiobooks, large print books, picture books, and ebooks for the library. Successfully raising private funds remains critical to the success of the library.  WCDPL exists as a true public-private operation.  Local fundraising allows for expanded service without increasing the burden on taxpayers. Tickets for the evening are $100 each ($75 of which is tax deductible) and are available at the library at this time.  The evening runs from 6pm to 8pm, with garden tours starting at 4:30pm (golf carts available).  Do not worry about high temperatures or bad weather – the event is inside and air-conditioned.  Come enjoy good company in an idyllic setting with delicious hors d’oeuvres and fine beverages (included with the ticket). Live and silent auction items are available, including one-of-a-kind artwork such as Labino glass, an OSU football signed by Urban Meyer, a gas grill with accessories, gift certificates and baskets from local businesses, and much more.  You can review the items at The Library Foundation is extremely grateful for all of the support the community has given the library and this event over the years.  This support makes a difference in the lives of children, new parents, families and all of us by providing new books for learning, exploration, and leisure reading.  We hope to see you on July 20!    

WGTE-FM personality Haley Taylor summer library guest

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Wood County District Public Library (251 N. Main, Bowling Green) offers adults a double-helping of appealing events on Saturday, July 15. First up, author Gwendolyn Hiles and her collaborator, Dick Rogers, talk about Hiles’ book, Jersey Gold, a true story of the Gold Rush of 1849. Hiles and Rogers share stories of fortune, lawlessness, and scandal, and reveal the roles played by unique family heirlooms in creating this exciting story. Catch the Jersey Gold book talk starting at 11 am in the 2nd floor meeting room. Free and open to all. Then, at 2 p.m., members of book groups and readers of all stripes will want to join us in the first floor meeting room for our “Summer Scoop Ice Cream Social.” You’ll get the inside scoop on summer’s coolest reads, enjoy refreshments from our ice cream bar, and hear keynote speaker, Haley Taylor, host of WGTE’s “The Rough Draft Diaries.” Space is limited and registration is required for this program. To register call,419-352-5050. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5050

Library outlives perceived threats from technology

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In the 1950s, local librarians feared that libraries could soon be obsolete. “What are we going to do with these paperback books? Is this going to be the end of the library?” Michael Penrod, the current executive director of the Wood County District Public Library, said about his predecessors. But libraries survived paperbacks and so much more. Videos, DVDs, internet, e-books. None of that has doomed libraries, Penrod said earlier this week during a brainstorming session for the library board on the facility’s vision, mission, core values and core services. The library continues to be a place where people come for education and entertainment. “The library is still a destination,” said Brian Paskvan, president of the library board. Penrod said he didn’t want the board to experience “paralysis by analysis,” so he didn’t present lists of statistics. However, he did say the door counts and check-outs remain strong. “Library use has hit an all time high,” he said. So the question now is – how to keep those numbers strong. There are a lot of external issues that could impact the library. The senior center will be moving from next door to a new site. The city schools plan to consolidate the elementaries. And funding is never a complete certainty. “There are lots of external influences,” Paskvan said. To make sure the library remains a vital partner in the community, a survey will soon be conducted to determine community expectations and needs. Shannon Orr, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University, and her students will conduct the survey. Orr has done similar efforts for the city parks and recreation department, and the city schools. The board discussed updates to its vision and mission statements. The vision statement’s focus on “learning and entertainment” spurred quite a bit of discussion. To some board members, the term “entertainment” seemed to cheapen the purpose of the library. It was suggested that perhaps “exploration” would be a more appropriate word. But library staff stood firm that “entertainment” was a worthy…

Energetic kids learn about renewable energy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the young girl pedaled the bicycle, her efforts first turned on the radio. As she pedaled harder, she created enough energy to turn on LED light bulbs. And if she pedaled really hard, she turned on the old-fashioned light bulbs. Pretty sneaky way to teach kids about energy. “You’re pretty strong,” Daryl Stockburger, assistant director of Bowling Green Public Utilities, told the young girl. “When you use these light bulbs, you’re making the electric company work really hard,” Stockburger said of the older bulbs. “Tell your parents to use LED bulbs.” Stockburger was talking about Bowling Green’s energy efforts recently to a group of kids gatherered at Wood County District Public Library. He talked about the new solar field, the wind turbines and hydropower. Stockburger, who is more accustomed to talking energy with adults, did his best to bring the discussion down to the level of the children. He was helped out by Maria Simon, head of youth services at the library, who is more accustomed to taking technical topics and making them understandable to young minds. Simon was the Gracie Allen to Stockburger’s George Burns. “She’s generating 5 amps,” Stockburger said as another girl tried pedaling the energy bike hooked up to appliances. “I think she should come to my house. I think she could run the dishwasher,” Simon said. The program was part of the library’s summer children’s program on Building a Better World. The children provided a challenging range, with one crawling around tracing the shapes on the floor, to another asking about geothermal energy. Stockburger talked about the city’s new solar field – which is the largest solar array in Ohio. He quizzed the kids about where the field was located. Columbus? That’s our capital, Simon offered. OSU? Go Bucks, she said. Prospect? Sounds promising, Simon said. When it turned out to be in Bowling Green, the kids cheered. So then they were quizzed on the number of solar panels in the field. Turned out to be 85,000. “Can anybody count that…