Library trustees close the book on 2017

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Wood County District Pubic Library Board ended its year with a peek ahead toward next year’s business. Library Director Michael Penrod said that students in Shannon Orr’s public policy class are “frantically” compiling the result of the community survey that was sent out. The survey is intended to gather data to help the board in formulating a new strategic plan. Board president Brian Paskvan said those discussions on the plan will start in early spring. The date, he said, will be determined based on when the most board members can attend. Penrod said that Orr has reported that response to the survey was good, and the one take away she could share was: “People love the library.” Penrod also said that the library’s “grand experiment” in ending fines seems to be going well, though, the staff will need to wait to see how it plays out next year before declaring it a success. Penrod also said he has presented a memorandum of understanding to the Village of Walbridge about the mowing lawns and clearing snow at the Walbridge branch. Penrod said the village has been doing the work, but with the renovation of the library, the facility now has more parking lot to plow and more lawn to mow. The library will compensate the village $1,800 if the village council approves the memorandum. Penrod said the library’s budget is on track to run a slight surplus. As of the end of November with 91.6 percent of the year, the library has spent or allocated 90.9 percent of its budget. The board held its annual organizational meeting at the beginning of Wednesday’s session. Paskvan was re-elected president, a post he’s held since January, 2009. Becky Bhaer will continue to serve as vice president, and Nancy Buchanan was elected secretary. The board will continue to meet the third Monday of each month at 11 a.m. That includes Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents Day, both days when the library will be open. The January meeting will be held only if needed. The board convenes in the meeting room of the Bowling Green library except in April and September when it meets in Walbridge. Before the meeting, the library’s annual volunteer appreciation breakfast was held. Former board member Jane Robb received the The Legacy of 1875 Award, which goes “to a person who exemplifies the qualities of selfless generosity, service to one’s community, and the promotion of literacy that the library’s founders set forth.” Robb was honored for her role on the levy support group that advocated for passage of levies in 2010 and 2014. She was also a founding member of the John Gibson Award Committee. That award honors a staff member. The citation states: “A former educator, she brought a unique perspective and understanding of our community’s needs and the ways in which the library could best meet those needs.” It concludes: “She is truly a champion of this library and its mission.”    

Library concert offers great piano music from BGSU studios

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Some of the greatest music written for piano will be performed in the atrium of the Wood County Library, Monday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. Performing on the library’s Steinway concert grand will be piano students from the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts. Masterworks from German and French composers, from J.S. Bach to Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy will be the focus of the program. The performance continues a series of recitals by BGSU piano students, who hail from around the world. “It has been such a pleasure to have our beautiful piano in use,” said Michele Raine, the library’s assistant director. “The students give excellent performances, and I appreciate that they are so willing to share their talents with the community.” Thomas Rosenkranz of the BGSU faculty coordinates the programs. “These kind of community concerts are important for our piano majors because it allows them to get out of campus and share their music with people who might not normally be exposed to classical music,” he said. “Too often in academia, things are quite insulated and these kind of concerts allow for a more real life experience for our piano majors.” The concert will feature 10 pianists performing music by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy and Ravel. College of Musical Arts attracts musicians from around the world. Among those performing on Monday will be Mengqian Lin, from China. Lin is working on a one-year piano performance certificate from BGSU. In selecting a piece to perform at the library, she reflected on hearing a friend play at the venue. She decided to play the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata, Opus 109. Considering the library’s “beautiful structure” and the piano, she decided “a simple melody line is better than complicated harmony.” She also felt that an audience of community members would “prefer a more beautiful, singable melody. It’s easier to understand it.” Lin came to BGSU this fall after completing a master’s in piano performance at Syracuse University. She’s planning to pursue a doctorate at another school next year, but felt she wanted another year of preparation for her auditions. Lin selected Bowling Green because it seemed such “a calm, small town, very peaceful, very good for practicing and studying,” which is her focus this year. Her teachers at Syracuse also know Rosenkranz from his time there, and highly recommended him. Lin, 25, has been playing piano for 18 years. She recalls when she was in kindergarten, one of her friends started taking piano lessons, and then a neighbor started lessons. “More and more my friends started to play an instrument,” she said. “So I told my mom I was jealous of them. I also want to learn something.” So her mother found a good piano teacher and bought a piano. Young Mengqian was excited … for about the first week. Then she got bored. But her mother kept her practicing. The more she learned about piano, Lin said, the more she wanted to learn. “Every time I got some encouragement from my piano teacher, I felt very satisfied and confident,” she said. “As a teenager, time every time I performed in public successfully, I started to love it more.” Coming to the United States three years ago and learning more about history of the instrument…

Santa collection revives magic of Christmas past

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   All year long, Dale Schmidt is surrounded by the spirit Santa Claus – more specifically by 700 Kris Kringles at last count. Schmidt, a retired art teacher who lives in Bowling Green, started out as an accidental collector about 40 years ago. “I think it just kind of occurred,” he said. “I had a couple things and I realized – I have a collection.” A small portion of that collection is on display in the windowed showcase at the front entrance of Wood County District Public Library, at 251 N. Main St., Bowling Green. The Santas will remain on display there until Dec. 18. Schmidt has tried to go cold turkey in his quest for Santa Clauses. But who can resist the kindly faces, the flowing white beards – and great bargains. “There have been times I’ve stopped and then started again,” he said. “Once you’re a collector, always a collector.” Schmidt’s and his wife, Donna, married after he already had his collection underway. So she knew what she was getting into – kind of, he said. Does she share his love of Santa Claus? “Well, yes and no,” Schmidt conceded. She wouldn’t mind cutting back on the collecting and regaining some of the couple’s storage space at home. “I’ve got stack and stacks of bins of Santas in the storeroom,” Schmidt said, not to mention the four display cases in their home. “That’s been a major bone of contention with my wife.” She has even remarked that “they look the same,” Schmidt said. That’s close to blasphemy for a true collector. Besides, how can Schmidt resist the jolly old man himself – at a reasonable price. “If I see a bargain, I’m lured into it.” Schmidt can’t exactly pinpoint why Santa Clauses caught his attention, but he suspects it was because of the magical feeling that came with Christmas when he was growing up in East Cleveland. “When I was a kid, Christmas was rather important,” he recalled. One of the few holiday treasures he remembers was a paper mache Santa with his sleigh made in the 1930s, that sat in the family’s fireplace. He can still picture the stunning holiday displays in department store windows in downtown Cleveland. And he remembers the three-story tall Christmas tree that would be decorated at the Sterling Linder Davis department store every December. It wasn’t that Christmases meant a mountain of toys for the young Schmidt. “Toys were a little hard to come by,” he said. But as a boy, he never forgot to leave a treat for Santa on his busiest night of the year. “I always put a bottle of Coke and cookies out for Santa,” he said. Schmidt’s collection comes from all over the world – Germany, Switzerland, Philippines, Japan, China and Canada. And they are from various time periods. “My mission was to have from the turn of the century to present day,” he said. Many were created in traditional cottage industries, prior to World War I and then prior to World War II.  They were handmade with one person sculpting the Santa, one person creating the face, and another painting the jolly old man. Schmidt is rather particular, preferring handmade creations. “I have a number of pieces that were…

Wood County Library trustees approve raises all around

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Library employees from bottom to the top will have a bit extra to be thankful for this week. The Wood County District Library Board of Trustees Monday voted to give 2.5-percent raises to Library Director Michael Penrod and Treasurer Linda Joseph and to increase the amount of money for salaries by 3 percent. Penrod and Joseph also each received a one-time $500 bonus for their work on seeing the Walbridge Library renovation to completion. Penrod’s raise brings his salary to $86,275 a year. Board member Nathan Eikost said of Penrod: “Your heart is in this community, and it really shows.” The raise, he noted, puts Penrod closer to where he as an individual, and where the library director’s position, needs to be in comparison to peers statewide. Board President Brian Paskvan said the library survey found that the average salary for a public library director is $87,212.  That figure has been adjusted to minimize the impact of several highly paid “outliers.” While this raise doesn’t get Penrod the average, it is a step, Paskvan said. Joseph’s pay will increase to $28.20 an hour from $27.51. “What you get done in your part-time hours is what most people get done in full-time plus,” Paskvan said. He noted that the library had with the year winding down only spent 84 percent of its 2017 budget. As an attorney, Marcin works for a number of municipalities and it is unheard of to have such clean audits so consistently. Trustee John Fawcett said that Joseph helped him as a new trustee understand “the very convoluted financial policy” that governs libraries. Penrod noted that increasing the salary pool by 3 percent over what was appropriated last year does not mean uniform 3-percent raises. That money will be used to address the increase in the minimum wage, and then adjusting salaries above that. The pool also includes the money for his and Joseph’s increases. Employees who get health insurance will be paying more. The trustees voted to continue getting coverage from Paramount. The library’s cost of the coverage will go up 9.7 percent. Employees’ share for coverage will increase to $49 a pay period, or $1,274 a year, from $45 a pay period, $1,170 a year, just under 9 percent more. The plan calls for $1,000 deductible, but the library will reimburse employees for anything over $300 they spend. Employees can get family coverage, but that is not subsidized by library. Penrod said given the changes in the insurance market, he asked insurance consultant Ben Otley to shop around to other companies. All other options had increases more than double of what renewing with Paramount would cost. The trustees also approved temporary appropriations. This budget, Penrod said, will be very close to the permanent appropriations that will be acted on in March. This represents all “the hard work” of determining what the library will spend in 2018. The budget calls for spending $2,970,938. Estimated revenues are $2,971,000. Penrod said the revenue estimates are conservative. The library is expecting its state funding to be flat for the next two years. Spending on staff, $1,608,988, which includes salaries and benefits, represents 54.2 percent of the budget. He said he was proud that the library spend 14.6 percent on its materials budget. That’s…

Bowling Green turns on the lights of a new tree

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green celebrated the lighting of a new Christmas tree Friday night and got help from some friends from afar to do it. Gone is the 50-foot Colorado blue spruce, and in its place is a less towering 12-foot specimen. Still Wood County Library Director Michael Penrod, who had to make the recommendation to cut down the old tree, said he was pleased with the new tree. “Our new baby is alive and well and is awesome,” he said. “It’s exciting to be here on the beginning of a new tradition.” He hopes the tree will last 30 years like the previous tree. This is the third community tree on the library lawn, though the first one only lasted a year. For such a momentous change, it’s taken a long time for some people to notice. A patron came in a couple weeks ago, Penrod said, and asked what happened to the tree. “Wasn’t it bigger?” In honor of International Week on the Bowling Green State University campus, foreign students were invited to participate in the tradition. Foreign students on campus made decorations representing their countries, and the tree was topped with flags representing some of the 80 countries from which students come to BGSU. Edwards invited three BGSU students to join him in flipping the switch to light the tree. Hannah Lechner, from Austria, Crystal Lau, Hong Kong, and Caroline Flaesgarten, an American student who studied in Strasbourg, France, last year. “It made me feel like a little girl,” Lau said, after the tree was lit. Flaesgarten agreed, especially having the chance to drive to the event in the fire engine with the mayor. “I’m so thankful for this opportunity because all the people who are here,” Lechner said. This made the students feel more connected to the community. Erin Klessner came with her children as they have for the last five or so years. “It’s just a fun family event to kick off the holidays.” She said it was “a bummer” that the old tree was gone. But she’s looking forward to seeing this tree grow over the years. “It’s exciting to be here on the beginning of a new tradition,” Penrod said.        

Artist gets to the heart of Jerome Library with sculpture

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In celebrating the largest piece of art on the Bowling Green State University campus, Jerome Library welcomed a new piece to its collection. The wood, Plexiglas, and LED artwork by Vince Koloski pays tribute to the towering murals that decorate the east and west facing walls of Jerome Library. As with the murals, though, what’s inside the new work is what’s important, Koloski said. From the interior unfold five panels with phrases that praise libraries and books. “It’s a nice building,” Koloski said, “but what’s important is what’s in the building, the knowledge, the content.” That’s what those panels represent. The quotations were collected by the other important element in his view, the librarians. Those librarians, retired and active staff, together with the campus and Bowling Green community gathered Friday afternoon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of Jerome Library. Library Dean Sara Bushong said this was 50 years to the day that the ceremonies marking the dedication of the library in 1967 began. The formal dedication was held the next day on Nov. 4. In her talk on the history of the Donald Drumm murals, Librarian Amy Fry noted that the building was not intended to have the murals. But BGSU President William T. Jerome was “keenly interested in beautifying the campus.” To that end, Fry said, he invited Donald Drumm to serve as an artist in residence. His first project was creating a cast aluminum sculpture for the lobby of the administration building. The original design for the university library did not have any decoration on it, so Jerome asked Drumm to design murals for the two faces. He sandblasted those onto the walls and put in stainless steel pins that protruded three inches from the face. The play of shadow and light was supposed to bring the design to life. But, Fry said, Jerome and Drumm were disappointed with the subdued effect. So some areas of the mural were painted brown, and the artistic landmark visible from I-75 took final shape. The work was done over the summer of 1966 and when students returned their reactions, Fry said, ranged from “fantastic” to “grotesque” and “inappropriate,” or “better than a blank wall.” One suggested shrubs would have been a better way to beautify campus. For his part, Jerome took the reaction as a sign that the murals were doing their job to provoke a reaction. University President Mary Ellen Mazey remembered seeing the library from the highway when she arrived. “That’s truly a unique building.” Then she made it the front page of her presentation. Mazey also spoke of how libraries have changed. As a student she loved going venturing into the stacks. Most students now would not share that enthusiasm. Now libraries offer much more. The first floor of Jerome has a focus on student services from the FLY Program that helps students with learning disabilities to the Collab Lab that helps them generate innovative ideas. There’s even a café. That’s a change from the days when Bushong was an undergraduate and had to sneak in M&Ms. Mazey recalled her discussions with a previous athletic director about the location of the office of student athlete advising services. He wanted it with the rest of the athletic department offices, but…

Horror of Hiroshima leads survivors to push for nuclear disarmament

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Hiroshima bombing survivor Keiko Ogura punctuated her account of the day the nuclear bomb destroyed her city and killed 80,000 instantly, with a simple phrase: “It happened.” It was as if on a beautiful autumn day in Bowling Green, the horrors of another beautiful day, Aug. 6, 1945, would be so unbelievable and needed confirmation. “It happened.” Bodies washed out to sea coming back. Pregnant women who went to the city to seek their husbands, gave birth to deformed infants months later. In a small park near her home, her father created 700 bodies. A sudden flash, silence, darkness descending and a charcoal rain. “It happened,” Ogura said Ogura, an educator at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and Setsuko Thurlow, also a Hiroshima survivor and nuclear disarmament advocate, spoke at the Wood County Library’s Carter House on Thursday. Their presentation was part of “Seeking Peace in the Nuclear Age: A Peace Symposium” presented at Bowling Green State University. Akiko Jones, who organized the symposium, credited Dr. Marc Simon, a colleague in the Peace and Conflict Studies program, with suggesting hosting an event in the community as well as on campus. After the two survivors had spoken, Simon said that all his university students have learned about the bombing of Hiroshima and later Nagasaki was that it shortened the war. While the Holocaust is taught in detail and rightfully sparks moral outrage, little thought is given to the horrors of nuclear war. Simon said he felt that was because the United States is seen as on the side of good in liberating concentration camps while they were the perpetrators of the atom bomb. Local resident Sue Moore said she never understood how the suffering in Hiroshima could be justified. Thurlow and Ogura detailed that suffering. Ogura illustrated her talk with paintings inspired by her story done by high school students. It took some students a year to complete their paintings because of the emotional impact of her story. Ogura was 8 at the time while Thurlow was 13. In the weeks before the attack “we were living in fear and anxiety,” Thurlow said. The United States had started a campaign of carpet bombing Japanese cities, yet Hiroshima, the 10th largest, had been spared, she said. Ogura said months before the attack, her father had moved the family out of the city to the nearby countryside. He said that Hiroshima was going to be attacked soon. What people couldn’t know, Thurlow said, is why Hiroshima had been spared. Once the atomic bomb had been successfully tested, the reasoning was, she said, “instead of using this new type of bomb on already burned-out city we’d like to use it on a city that’s not been touched.” Thurlow was at Army headquarters the day the bomb was dropped. She and other school girls had been enlisted to do decoding for the military. This was to be their first day of work. They were marched up to the second floor of the building and given a pep talk. Now was the time to show their patriotism, they were told. “Do your best for the emperor.” And they responded “Yes, we will!” At that instant Thurlow said she saw the bluish-white flash. “My body flew up in the air,” she remembers….

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 process is initiated and there’s no response, the bill is turned over to a collection agency. As it stands, said board member Chet Marcin, a patron would have had the material for about six months. Penrod said using the collection agency is effective. The library has had former BGSU students return materials after several years because the bill appears on their credit report when they want to buy their first home. In other action, the board voted to keep the library open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, and Veterans Day. The library started closing on those days when it was suffering from severe financial problems. Now that the budget is in much better shape, Penrod said, it was time to revisit those holidays since people would use the library then. Instead of having those days off, staff would be able to take another day off within a two weeks of the holiday. The library will continue to “float” Columbus Day. The library remains open on that day, closing instead on the day after Thanksgiving. The library also closes on Easter.      

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 for gifted students and has to learn how to be one of them. The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan is the story of scientist-in-the-making Madeline Little, starting sixth grade and learning that middle school is nothing like a perfect lab experiment–and that she now has to find the cure for her newly messed-up life. The discussion with staff from BGMS and WCDPL will include any or all of these titles, along with pizza snacks. Call the Children’s Place desk at 419-352-8253 with any questions.

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 it involved the kind of collaboration the space hopes to encourage. There were discussions of various locations for the lab before deciding on placing it on the first floor of the library. Michael Ogawa, BGSU vice president for research and economic engagement, said earlier this summer as the intellectual heart of the university, the library was the best place for the Collab Lab. The space had been used as a computer lab and two classrooms. In developing the Collab Lab the first charge was it not look like a computer lab. The lab employs a dozen students as digital media assistants. Schnepp said that there’s no metric to measure the lab’s success. How the lab is used is the true test of whether it’s working. The Collab Lab aspires to be a place, he said, where “faculty and students come to work together and demonstrate that collaboration can lead to amazing innovations.” .      

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.”