Programs on using iPad & books for WWI soldiers on tap at library

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT LIBRARY Each Monday in June (6/ 5, 6/12, 6/19, and 6/26) the Wood County District Public Library (Bowling Green) offers iPad for Beginners classes in its 2nd Floor Meeting Room. Class sessions start at 11 am, and will cover new material each week. The workshops will provide an easy-going, fun environment in which to explore the basic functions of your iPad. Areas covered include: the hardware, settings, navigation, app basics. Registration required. To register, call 419-352-5050. Join us Tuesday, June 6 at 7 pm, for “Books Wanted for Our Men Over There.” Learn how the Library War Service, established in 1917 by the American Library Association, used money from private donations to create camp libraries and distribute over 7 million books and magazines to U.S. soldiers serving in World War I. WCDPL’s Michele Raine shares the history of this service and insights into the impact access to books had on those serving in the war. 2nd Floor Meeting Room. All programs are free and open to all. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5104,

Reading 1,000 books to preschoolers adds up to kindergarten readiness

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Children’s Place at the Wood County Library is building on its summer reading program for school age children to launch a new program for infants through preschoolers. The library is challenging parents and child caregivers, and others in youngsters’ lives to read them 1,000 books before they enter kindergarten. Children’s librarian Maria Simon said she’s wanted to offer the national initiative as a incentive to get parents, child caregivers, relatives, and maybe even a grandparent, via Skype reading to youngsters. The program will be launched Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to noon in the library atrium. Denise Fleming, an award winning author and illustrator, will be on hand. Each child who is enrolled will receive a copy of Fleming’s book “Alphabet Under Construction,” which ties into the summer reading theme “Building a Better World.” If there’s more than one child in the family signing up, another Fleming title will be available. About 100 children have already been enrolled. Simon is hoping younger siblings will sign up as older children sign up for the summer reading program. The kick-off will also include an Early Childhood Resource Fair presented by the Wood County Early Childhood Task Force as well as local childcare providers and agencies. Simon said each booth will have some sort of literacy activity. She said she’s letting them know about Fleming’s other books – she’s published more than 20 since 1991. Fleming will give a presentation to children and families, and then to those participating in the resource fair. Fleming lives in her hometown Toledo where she creates her illustrations painting with pulp. “She understands the value of this program,” Simon said. “Everyone who reads to kids is a fan of hers.” The 1,000 books goal is flexible. It can mean the same book read many times. Simon said she recently read “Alphabet Under Construction” three times to a group of children, along with singing the alphabet three books, she said. A book a day makes the goal in three years, three books a day achieves it in a year. Tiffany Rathburn said that at first 1,000 books seemed like a lot, until library staff explained all the ways that it could be accomplished. Telling a story to her 19-month-old Zoey counts, or having her 9-year-old Alexis read to her little sister counts. Rathburn said her older kids are involved in…

Library nurtures community in many ways

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green students will be able to borrow digital material without even going to the library, and folks in Walbridge will be able to go to the library to get water. These were among the matters before the Wood County District Public Library Board when it met Monday. (See for story on board’s decision to replace community tree.) Children’s Librarian Maria Simon explained the new E-cards that were distributed to students in grades 3 through 11 this week. The cards will give students access to such online libraries as Hoopla Digital, TumbleBooks and The Ohio Digital Library. Because the materials borrowed using the cards are automatically returned, no fines are charged on the cards. Information is available both through the library and the schools on how to use them. Students cannot borrow physical material from the library using the cards. The E-cards are another way of encouraging students to read during the summer, Simon said. The library board approved an agreement with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District for the district to install one of its watershed units at the newly expanded Walbridge branch. The unit will be installed in a closet-size space with outdoor access. The district will pay for installation. In exchange for locating the unit at the library it will not charge the library for water or sewer service and will pay $$200 in rent. Library Director Michael Penrod said this will provide another service to the community. Also at the meeting, the board discussed the prospects for state funding. State library funding is provided based on a percentage of the state’s general revenues. In the past biennium budget that percentage was 1.7 percent of the state’s revenues, higher than the previous rate of 1.66 percent. Penrod said he expects that percentage will be bumped back down to 1.66 percent. The Ohio Library Council is advocating for the number to stay at 1.7percent. How much that will generate is uncertain because state revenues have consistently been coming in lower than projected. “As an organization we just need to be very careful in our budgeting,” said Board Chair Brian Paskvan. State funding accounts for 53 percent of the library’s $3.24 million in revenues Penrod said such financial uncertainties make fundraisers all the more important. The Library Foundation’s annual benefit at Schedel Arboretum and Gardens will be held July 20 from 6…

“This coming holiday season, we will gather together around a smaller tree that can serve as BG’s tree for another 30 years of memories” — Michael Penrod

The annual lighting of BG’s Community Holiday Tree has been a tradition for just over 30 years and the Wood County District Public Library is proud to host BG’s Tree. Because it is important to the Library that the tree remain a vital part of the holiday season for Main Street for many years to come, we have worried about the health of the tree for more than a few years. Branches have died, or lost many of their needles, and the tree is swaying more and more with every strong windstorm. Recently, the Library checked with an arborist who, when examining the tree in detail last week, found indications of a disease that causes branches to die from the ground upward. While the tree many live for a few more years, we do not want it to get into such a poor condition that it no longer looks nice as the community’s tree. BG deserves a beautiful tree filled with holiday lights. We also do not want to purchase a lot of expensive decorations for a large tree and then have to replace the tree with a smaller one. Therefore, after much deliberation – and reluctance – the Library has decided that it is better to replace the current tree with a new, healthy one that will be able to serve as BG’s tree for many years to come. Later this Spring, we will work with the City to plant a new tree in the same location. This coming holiday season, we will gather together around a smaller tree that can serve as BG’s tree for another 30 years of memories. ~Michael Penrod WCDPL Director

Community tree has seen its last Christmas; new tree will be planted in place

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Downtown Bowling Green will be getting a new community Christmas tree, and it’ll be delivered well before the winter holidays. At Monday’s Library Board of Trustees meeting, Library Director Michael Penrod said he had asked city arborist Grant Jones to take a look at it. The arborist found clear signs disease. The 50-foot Colorado blue spruce’s days are numbered. Once the disease sets in, Penrod said, it cannot be reversed, though it’s hard to tell how long the tree would last. Conceding the tree’s uncertain future, the library board voted to have the tree removed and replaced as quickly as possible. Jones, Penrod said, felt a new tree, likely about 12-foot-tall, could be in place within weeks. It would cost the library about $3,000-$4,000. Penrod said he’d already been approached by Mary Hinkelman, the director for Downtown Bowling Green, to discuss the future of the tree. Downtown BG owns the ornaments that decorate the tree, and the years of stringing increasing lengths of lights to cover the tree has taken their toll. A couple ceremonial tree lightings, have suffered temporary blackouts. Faced with replacing the lights, she wondered how many Downtown BG would have to purchase. She said this afternoon, after being informed of the library board’s decision, that she’s hoping to be able to use the LED bulbs which are in good shape and expensive to replace with whatever replacement wiring is needed. She won’t know how much that would be until later in the year when the decorations are pulled out of storage and inspected. Penrod said Jones advised planting the tree this fall. The library will leave it up to the arborist to select the best tree, and then just write the city a check. Anything taller than 12 foot, he said, would probably require more watering and feeding of nutrients. A smaller tree could be surrounded by smaller portable trees to add to the festive atmosphere during the holidays. The decision was not an easy one for the board. Ellen Dalton wondered if they couldn’t just wait a year to let the community adjust to the idea. But Chet Marcin said his experience is once a tree starts to die, it dies quickly. Board President Brian Paskvan said he didn’t want to end up with a 50-foot-tall Charlie Brown tree. Nancy Buchanan said she was afraid a wind storm would…

“Build a Better World” is theme for library’s summer reading program

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY “Build a Better World” this summer with the Wood County District Public Library’s Youth Summer Reading Program.  Registration begins from the “Observation Deck” of the Children’s Place all day Wednesday, May 24th along with a “Touch a Truck” visit in the library parking lot between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Registration continues all summer and is also available online . Monthly calendars of programs and events can be found in the WCDPL Family Connect Magazine widely distributed to schools, organizations, and businesses as well as picked up from the library.  Calendars are also available from the library website Youth registrants receive a one use pass to the BG Pool and Water Park as well a coupon for a McDonald’s Happy Meal.  Later in the summer, one day passes to the Wood County Fair will be distributed to participants. The Children’s Place is encouraging everyone to set their own summer reading goals.  As readers report their reading progress, they earn incentive prizes to be picked up at the library.  All participants qualify for a final end of summer raffle, but the more stories climbed, the more chances to win!  Levels are set at the tallest building in Wood County, the tallest in Ohio, in the United States, and the tallest building in the world.  Readers will identify and learn about these buildings and other skyscrapers and engineering feats from the “Observation Deck” and the world map display in the “Observation Deck.”  All summer, a “Bridge to Literacy and Better Understanding” will be constructed by a growing community of readers. Everyone is invited to explore many languages and images of beautiful libraries around the world from the Children’s Place castle. Counting stories this summer is determined by the reader:  picturebooks, chapters, beginning readers, audio books, ebooks, comic books, scripts, book trailer videos and suggested podcasts all count.  A wide variety of book lists and suggested resources can be found on the library website   Books read to oneself, listened to, and that readers share aloud all count, even if the books are reread multiple times.  Library books and personal books from home all count. Storytimes for Preschoolers on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. as well as Babies and Toddlers on Thursdays at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. continue all summer with “Every Child Ready to Read” workshops on a…

Library board gets down to the nuts & bolts of strategic planning

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When the Wood County District Public Library approves Director Michael Penrod’s next three-year “to-do” list, going to the hardware store probably won’t be one of the chores included. But the board may embrace a notion that Penrod shared from a recent library conference: “If our city is the best in the world then the library is its hardware store.” Penrod offered assurances though that he didn’t want to compete with Floyd Craft owner of ACE Hardware. The library will have plenty else on its agenda, which will be set by a new Strategic Plan for the years 2018-2020. Penrod and the board will have that plan ready by the beginning of next year. The plan is important because it brings the library through November, 2020, when it will have to be on the ballot to renew its levy. That levy generated almost $1 million in 2016, about 40 percent of the library’s revenue. When the strategic plan is done, Penrod said, its message should be simple enough to explain to an 11-year-old. Little will be simple about the process of getting to that point. The library is planning for an uncertain future, operating within an environment of constantly changing technology. Board Chairman Brian Paskavan posed the question: “Is the organization flexible enough to move when we need to move?” He admitted that “that’s a tall order.” Penrod presented the board with demographic data and library statistics that will guide the process. Those statistics show a shift toward greater use of digital materials, and less circulation for physical books, except from the bookmobile and at the correctional center library. The shift to eBooks is so great, libraries are typically reducing the space devoted for shelving books by 40 percent when they do construction projects, he said. That was not the case, he noted, for the renovation of the Walbridge branch. Those eBooks, Penrod said, are expensive. A book that costs $17 for a hard cover can cost $85 as an eBook, and after 50 or so uses, the license has to be repurchased. Though digital borrowers need not visit to get their material, foot traffic at the library is up. Penrod said programs continue to be popular. Regardless of how they are reading, he said, people still like to get together to discuss what they are reading. Paskavan said he’d like the library to have…

BGSU library acquires trove of Great Lakes research materials

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The University Libraries at Bowling Green State University has greatly expanded its collection of Great Lakes research materials thanks to a significant donation from the National Museum of the Great Lakes, which is owned and operated by the Great Lakes Historical Society. More than 160 cubic feet of photos, pamphlets, slides, bound materials, postcards and archival materials have found a new home in the Libraries’ Historical Collections of the Great Lakes (HCGL), housed within the Center for Archival Collection. “We are grateful to the National Museum of the Great Lakes for entrusting us with their extensive collection, and we are excited that the consolidation of their materials with our existing Great Lakes archives has now created the largest collection of its kind on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes,” said Mary Ellen Mazey, Ph.D., president of Bowling Green State University. “Thank you to the Museum, its board of directors, the Great Lakes Historical Society and the University Libraries staff who helped to facilitate this exciting and symbiotic new alliance in the name of historic preservation.” These additional materials bolster the already robust offering of Great Lakes-related research and artifacts curated by the University Libraries at BGSU. “The Great Lakes materials recently donated to HCGL is a wonderful addition to our holdings and provides many opportunities for collaboration between BGSU, the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Historical Society,” said University Libraries Dean Sara A. Bushong. The addition of these materials to BGSU also will make University Libraries a major research destination in the U.S. for Great Lakes history. “The added scope and depth of the HCGL collection expands research opportunities for BGSU students and faculty, National Museum of the Great Lakes staff and patrons, as well as researchers from beyond campus,” said retired HCGL archivist Bob Graham, who played an instrumental role in bringing the collection to BGSU. “Both organizations view this donation as the first step in an evolving partnership involving students, faculty and museum staff.” Potential areas of collaboration include internships, lectures series, exhibits, new courses and digital galleries. “The merging of these incredible archival collections is just the beginning of a long, synergistic journey between our two organizations that will both preserve Great Lakes history, but more important, elevate the perception of Great Lakes history in our national culture,” said Christopher Gillcrist, National Museum of…

BGSU taps state grant to get ideas flowing at Collab-Lab

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A state Third Frontier grant will help Bowling Green State University launch new research, teaching and commercial ideas. The money comes part of $8.7 million in funding that’s half state money and half matching funds from the institutions. The money was awarded  to NextTech, a collaborative organization comprised of BGSU, Mercy Health, ProMedica, and the University of Toledo, which is the Entrepreneurial Service Provider for Northwest Ohio. Michael Ogawa, BGSU vice president for research and economic engagement, said the university’s share is about $707,000, half from the state, half from BGSU. That money will help to create the Collab-Lab, a new initiative to help faculty staff, and students work together to create new ideas. The lab will be in the first floor of Jerome Library, across from the elevators. Now there’s a technical support lab and a classroom in the space. That area, said Jerry Schnepp, the lab director, will be gutted to create a 2,000-square foot lab. Work begins May 10 and the lab will open of the start of the fall semester. The library as the intellectual heart of campus is the right place for the lab, Ogawa said. Though the space itself isn’t open, the initiative is already getting the ideas flowing. Schnepp said he’s been approached by faculty members who have ideas but need other skills to bring it to fruition. Workshops have been held to bring together faculty members, who have ideas to share, with other colleagues. One of the matches was someone from Women’s Study who has a store of oral histories with a librarian who had a knowledge of metadata that can be used to make the information in the interviews more accessible. Schnepp said he hopes the lab draws in people from a wide range of academic areas. The lab will be intended to get ideas started, not necessarily bring them to fruition. If a product needs further development that work can be done at the University of Toledo’s Launch Pad or Pro Medica’s business incubator. Together all the partners form an ecosystem for innovation, Schnepp said. The Collab-Lab is a good fit for BGSU, Ogawa said. BGSU has neither an engineering nor medical school. Those fields typically generate a lot of ideas for technology. What BGSU offers is “not as natural a link to the business sector,” he said. “The question is how do we…

Sherman Alexie’s Community Reads talk sold out

With only a little under three weeks to go until Community Reads author Sherman Alexie visits Bowling Green, the author’s free event on April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Bowling Green City Schools Performing Arts Center  is “sold” out. A limited number waiting list has been started for the event. Community Reads is asking that current ticket holders whose circumstances change and find they are no longer able to attend the April 6 talk by Alexie, call Wood County District Public Library’s Information Desk at 419-352-5050, or stop by the Bowling Green library , so that tickets which are no longer needed may be cancelled and made available to those on the waiting list. As tickets become available, people on the waiting list will be contacted in the order in which they joined the list. “The Community Reads planners knew Mr. Alexie would be a big draw, but have been astounded at how quickly tickets for his talk were grabbed up,” said library spokesperson Mary Callahan Boone. “We were hopeful we’d match the number of people who came to see Community Reads authors like Homer Hickam (Rocket Boys) and John Grogan (Marley and Me). Roughly 650 were in attendance for each of those programs. To have exceeded those numbers –the PAC accommodates 740 –is wonderful. As problems go, having a “sold” out event for Sherman Alexie is a great one to have.” Boone said half the free tickets for the Alexie event were snapped up within days of their becoming available on Feb. 14. Because the Hickam and Grogan talks were held in the gymnasium which is a larger and more flexible space, those were not ticketed events. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5104.

Home history & ukes on tap at library

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Ukulele enthusiasts return to the Wood County District Public Library on Sunday, March 19 at 3 p.m. Anyone who is looking for a lively group to play ukulele with is invited to join in the fun in the library’s firstt floor Meeting Room. Sheet music and songbooks will be provided; all you need is a sense of adventure and a ukulele. Have you ever wondered about your home’s history? Or about the stories it could tell of its past inhabitants? The library’s program “If These Walls Could Talk: Researching Your House History” on March 21 at 6:30 pm, will teach you to use library and community resources to discover the stories hidden within the walls of your home. The program will be led by Local History librarian Marnie Pratt in the second floor Meeting Room. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5050.

Library closed for Presidents’ Day; ukulele jam, Feb. 19

From THE WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green and Walbridge, and the library Bookmobile will be closed Monday, February 20 in observance of Presidents’ Day. Calling all ukulele enthusiasts looking for a friendly and helpful group to play ukulele with. Look no further: the popular Ukulele Club, led by members of the Grand Royale Ukulelists of the Great Black Swamp (GRUBS), returns to Wood County District Public Library Sunday, February 19 at 3 pm. To participate in the group’s jam session, all you need is a ukulele and sense of adventure. Song books and music provided at the jam. RSVP appreciated (419-352-5050), but not required. 1st Floor Meeting Room.

Libraries defend against funding cut in Kasich budget

By DAVID DUPONT & JAN McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Libraries as trying head off funding cuts before they pass the state legislature. Action on Gov. John Kasich’s budget is months away, and as State Sen. Randy Gardner said during an open forum Saturday, that much can change while the proposal is being worked over in the Legislature. Gardner was speaking in the Wood County Library, which like all libraries in the state could stand to lose money under the governor’s budget. The budget calls for a reduction in the percentage of the state revenue fund devoted to libraries. The general revenue fund consists of sources including income and sales taxes. Libraries have received state aid amounting to 1.7 percent. That was a temporary increase in the last budget intended to make up for drastic cuts suffered by libraries dating back to 2008. That included a mid-year cut in funding in 2009 during the Strickland Administration, just as the recession was starting. In a letter to the community (, Wood County Library Director Michael Penrod, said that the increase to 1.7 percent in the last budget “allowed for some modest growth in dollars distributed to public libraries.” With no action from the legislature that percentage would roll back to 1.66 percent, a $7 million cut in state funding for libraries, according to Michelle Francis, , director of government and legal services for the Ohio Library Council. Gardner indicated he is not inclined to see that happen. “I have gravitated to the library cause over the years,” seeing all the services they provide in communities, he said. Because the amount libraries receive monthly is determined by the revenues the state is receiving, figuring out how much the cut would cost the Wood County Library is difficult, Penrod said. He did point out that the state’s projections have been falling short. This year libraries were expected to get $389.5 million, but received $377.6 million. Back in 2008 before the recession, Francis said, the state’s libraries received $418.2 million. Given the economic realities, she said, libraries are simply asking that funding not be cut. She noted that 58 of the state’s 251 libraries rely only on state funding. The Wood County library is not one of those. It has a local property tax levy as well. Gardner said that he believes if he polled local residents about what they value most in their communities…

Local readers pick their choice as best picture book (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News And the winner is… “What To Do With a Box” by Jane Yolen. That was the book selected about a dozen folks, kids through grandparents, who gathered to consider what should win the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book of 2016. The winner of the actual Caldecott Medal announced Monday morning at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting is “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat” by Javaka Steptoe. Kathy East, retired children’s librarian at Wood County District Public Library, said Sunday during the Mock Caldecott Election that the real committee has already made its choice. The press release was being drafted, and first thing in the morning the winner of the medal and honor books will get a telephone call. East has been through this before. She served  on the committee in 1987 when Richard Egielski won for “Hey, Al” and chaired the committee in 1998 when Paul Zelinsky won for “Rapunzel.” The award goes to the illustrator. The committee that awards the prize can start with a field of as many as 500 books. By the time they gather in January that’s been whittled down to 100 or so. Then each of those books must get a simple majority to stay in contention. East said usually 30 make the final draw. From there the best books rise to the top. The eventual winner, she said, must have more than a simple majority. It must have a significant margin of victory. That requires a number of rounds of balloting. “You want to make sure everyone on the committee is able to go out and say ‘this is the most distinguished children’s book,’” East said. Not that there aren’t those who later who will later kvetch about the choice. “There’s conversation,” she said. The rewards for having the image of the Caldecott Medal affixed to the front of the book are significant. “The guarantee for the artist is the book will always stay in print.” Those gathered at the public library Sunday had a much abbreviated version of the selection process. Library staff had pulled 49 picture books published in 2016. They split into two groups, each looking at a random sample of half the books. Each group picked their four favorites from what they had. Then they cast ballots. “What To Do With a Box” and Terry Fan’s “The…

Library to host vote for the best picture book of 2016

Submitted by the WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Teachers, book enthusiasts, parents, and readers of all ages are invited to participate in a 2017 Mock Caldecott Election on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. in the Wood County District Public Library Children’s Place Programming Room. The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. At the Wood County District Public Library’s Mock Election, everyone will take a close look at some carefully selected, beautifully illustrated picture books from the past year, then help select a “most distinguished” picture book. Kathy East, retired Children’s Librarian, will share her experiences serving on the Caldecott committee in 1987 and chairing it in 2004. For the full mock election with final results, the Children’s Place suggests planning to stay until about 4 p.m. The 49 books we will be considering for our Mock Election are currently on display in the Children’s Place Quiet Study. Everyone is invited to read and look at the books on closed reserve status. The Caldecott award winner, along with the Newbery award winner and many others will be officially announced on Monday, Jan. 23 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta. For more information, contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253.