Wood County District Public Library

Library hikes fees to use atrium

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

Gordon Korman finds fodder for his fiction all around him

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Writer Gordon Korman finds stories everywhere. His childhood love of survival stories led to his writing “The Island” trilogy. When his wife exclaimed that their eldest son wouldn’t even notice if the house was burning down when he was absorbed in playing a video game, the novel “The Slacker” was born. These inspirations even can come during a talk to middle school students, like the one he was giving in Bowling Green. Korman told the BG sixth graders gathered to hear him that once he was speaking to an assembly and a student asked him what was going to happen next in the “On the Run” series, which he had just finished. Nothing, Korman told the girl. She wanted to know more about Aiden and Meg Falconer. He wondered what more could happen to the Falconer kids. Meg could get kidnapped, the student responded. “The Kidnapped” trilogy was born. Korman is the Wood County District Public Library’s Youth Community Reads author. He’s in town visiting local schools and speaking at the library. Korman, 54, has been a published author for 40 years. Yes, do the math. His first book was published when he was a freshman in high school, and written when he, like the students in front of him, was in middle school. He wasn’t thinking about writing a novel, he said. He got better grades and was more interested in math and science than in English. But then a fresh-from-college track and field coach, who had no clue about how to teach creative writing, took over his English class. He was the only adult available. He told the students to write. Korman did. He started spinning a story about a fictional school Macdonald Hall. He wrote in class, and then brought his notebooks home to continue the story. And when he had finished “This Can’t Be Happening in MacDonald Hall,” he had his mother type it up….

Sometimes patrons’ requests tax librarians’ desire to serve

By DAVID  DUPONT BG Independent News Librarians love to say “yes.” Service is the name of the game. But they have their limits. Michael Penrod, Wood County District Public Library director, shared some of those limits with the Board of Trustees Monday. He said he wanted to start giving the trustees some insight into the professional lives of librarians. And tax season, when folks flock to the library for forms and information, is an apt time to talk about limits. The Internal Revenue Service has been supplying fewer and fewer paper forms to libraries as it pushes taxpayers to file online. Some folks are resisting, Penrod said. A librarian can show a patron where the form they ask for is, or where to find I online and even help them print out the form from the IRS website. They cannot, however, tell the taxpayer whether that really is the form they need, or whether they are filling it out properly. For that, Penrod said, they need to consult a tax professional. That’s what he does. The library staff can direct patrons to non-profit services that can give help them do their taxes. It’s not only taxes. Michele Raine, the assistant library director, says the advent of DYI divorces can be a strain on library staff. The library again can point the way to where a patron can find legal information, but not tell them what information they should be searching for. They can show them how to use Ohio Revised Code, but can’t advise them what section applies to whatever problem they have. “People are looking for reassurance we can’t give them,” Raine said. “That’s the bottomline.” Penrod said a woman came in who had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He brought her reliable sources and lent an ear. But could not give medical advice. Raine said that the staff who are notaries public recently went through a training during which they were cautioned…

Library budget reflects need to address wear and tear

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Wood County District Public Library trustees Monday approved a permanent budget for operations. The $3,079,738 budget is 8.7 percent less than what was spent in 2017, but that budget reflected costs for adding onto and renovating the Walbridge branch library. Library Director Michael Penrod said he tends to include a bit more money in some lines, so he doesn’t have keep coming back to the trustees to make transfers from one budget line to another. The largest chunk of the library’s expenditures is for personnel-related costs at 52.41 percent. He said he can’t really predict what will happen in personnel for the year. He did note that the library saved money by changing one vacant full-time position to two 20-hour-a-week positions. This will enable the library to better cover its seven-day a week schedule, he said. Also, it saves on health insurance. Much of the discussion focused on the $200,000 budgeted for property maintenance. The library’s own new addition and renovation will turn 15 this year. “This building will be old enough to get its learner’s permit,” Penrod said. And, as noted by Brian Paskvan, president of the board, the building gets used by the public. “That’s what we want.” But that also means wear and tear. The library has had persistent leaks in the roof, with buckets strategically placed to catch the water above the ceiling tiles. That will be addressed… again. Also, the library’s windows need to be cleaned this year. That takes a power lift. While the lift is on site, Penrod said, it can be used to check other exterior features. The lights in the atrium will be replaced. The bulb type in the fixture are no longer manufactured, so they will be replaced with LED lights. That will save money in the long run, Penrod said. He said that custodian JJ Hofner has been replacing incandescent bulbs with LED throughout the building. The…

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

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Laughter is not the usual response to music performed at a piano recital, but that’s the reaction Varis Vatcharanukul has gotten when he’s performed “The Body of Your Dreams.” The composition by Dutch contemporary composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis, known as JacobTV, will close the piano concert in the atrium of the Wood County Public Library Monday March 19 at 7 p.m. The rest of the program will features classics by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, and Chopin. Vatcharanukul said he wanted to tackle some contemporary music and his teacher Thomas Rosenkranz suggested “The Body of Your Dreams” for piano and boom box. JacobTV is an apt stage name for someone who uses fragments of TV dialogue to build his compositions around. In the case of “Body” he has sampled an advertisement for a body conditioning device. He shaped music lines inspired by the rhythms of the hyperbolic sales pitch. The pianist performs these in counterpoint to cut-and-pasted shards of male and female voices. The result is music easy to understand even for listeners new to contemporary music. “It’s not like that kind of new music,” Vatcharanukul said. It’s tonal and not particularly dissonant, with rhythms that evoke jazz rock. “That can catch audience,” he said. “Body” is also highly rhythmic, and it grows in intensity as the sales pitch continues. The piece is not simple though. Vatcharanukul said he’s not able to pay too much attention to the audience’s reaction because he has to concentrate, listening both what he’s playing and making sure it locks in with the voices on the tape. Vatcharanukul, who comes from Bangkok, Thailand, is in his last semester as an undergraduate piano performance major. He came to study with Rosenkranz. Over his five years at Bowling Green State University, he has played numerous times in the library’s atrium. He likes the mix of listeners. Some are knowledgeable about music, others aren’t. “It’s really nice I…

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

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

Library offers help getting the most out of digital devices

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

New Year’s resolutions easy to make, hard to keep

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Marcy Collins gave up on New Year’s resolutions long ago. So as 2018 rolls around, her resolution is to not make a resolution. “I quit doing those years ago,” Collins said as she worked at the front desk at the Wood County Commissioners. “None of them come true.” But some people still have hope – even if it’s just a sliver of optimism – that starting a new direction stands a better chance of success when it begins with the turn from one calendar year to the next. Dallas Mohr still clutches to the hope. “I guess I’ll try to lose a little weight,” he said. That may mean a change in eating habits, since he made his 2018 prediction as he waited for his carryout order at Campus Pollyeyes. But Mohr had other goals, too, that do not require cutting back on pizza. “This year I want to strive to be a better person, and to do better in my business” which he is just starting up. A business resolution was also top on the list for Ben and Jen Waddington, of Waddington Jewelers in downtown Bowling Green. As they worked at their jewelry counter, the couple talked about resolutions. “You feel like you have to start something at the new year,” Ben Waddington said. So the couple decided to focus on time management. “With kids and a small business, that’s always hard,” he said. But now that both their children are in school, they can focus more on their business which saw growth last year. The plan is to get to work earlier, be more organized and take advantage of the extra time that both kids are in school, the couple agreed. Research shows that nearly half of all American adults make New Year’s resolutions. Fewer than 10 percent stick with their resolutions more than a few months. The most common goals are losing weight,…

Library hosting Holiday Cookie Bake-Off

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

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.