By KIM LOCCISANO
Times Leader Staff Writer
SHADYSIDE-The local library is a place for enjoying fun, family and friends old and new and all in an environment that does not require admission or a usage fee.
T-L Photos/KIM LOCCISANO
Shadyside Public Library Branch Manager Lisa Millhouse, a specialist in children’s library services, was delighted at the reception local teens gave the library’s new after-school activities program which was unveiled this week with a pizza party in the library. A book club plan grew from conversations among the teens attending the initial activity event. The after-school activities program participation and involvement in the newly formed book club are open to all teens in the area. Details are available at the library.
It is a dream with particular significance to Shadyside Public Library Branch Manager Lisa Millhouse.
Right now, as fall season family schedules begin getting complicated, the local library staff is geared up to provide a full slate of programs and services focused in large part on expanding its after-school services and resources which are provided at no charge to library patrons.
The elements of fun and education are essential parts of each project.
Thanks to the generosity of a group of library supporters, some unique resources are being made available to help area youths feel welcome and comfortable while getting better acquainted with the resources and the many opportunities they can access through it without having to dig into their wallets.
"We particularly want to do all we can to let area parents know their children are welcome here. This is the basic reason we are starting this after-school youth activities program. We have a variety of games for them to enjoy playing and are in the process of getting a big screen television set up and a newly purchased X-Box 360 ready to be played," said Millhouse.
The Shadyside Foundation's generosity has made the addition of these items possible, she said.
The first gathering of area teens for an after-school pizza party at the library this fall was held earlier this week and proved a resounding success even more quickly than Millhouse had hoped would happen.
"They decided on their own to form a book club and are going to call it "GABZ: girls and books (z)", said Millhouse. "They decided to meet Tuesdays from 3:30-5:50 p.m."
"The television will also make it possible for us to, in the near future, organize a regular movie night for those wanting to enjoy the library and its resources on an increasing basis and in a way not previously possible," shared Millhouse, noting the library holds a license to show current movies.
Goals for the library's use and efforts are to further connect its resources to those living in the local area in ways both positive in nature and educational, yet not requiring admission or usage fees be paid by those coming to access the library's diverse resources.
It is a place where everyone is invited to find something they enjoy doing.
The Shadyside Library, always a beloved part of the local community, is becoming an even more popular place for everyone in the family to spend leisure time, after-school time, homework time, computer time, basic down time, and of course, personal reading time.
Virtually all services and resources at the library are available to patrons free of charge, and library staff members and volunteers are always willing to be of help whether a patron needs help figuring out how to download part of a hard-to-find engine repair manual to a laptop, phone or e-reader, or helping find the perfect book to successfully entice the youngest member of the family to get involved in the reading process-even if they can't really read yet.
"We just started our Fall Storytime schedule," offered Millhouse.
"The storytime program open to all ages meets weekly on Mondays from 6-7 p.m.," she said. "The program for 2 to 5 year-olds is held weekly on Tuesdays from 1-2 p.m. Details can be confirmed through the library webpage or by calling the library desk."
Upcoming topics include: Jumping Day; Monkey See, Monkey Do; Just the Thing; Our Marching Band; Over in the Pink House; The Cat's Meow and more. The program will conclude with a Christmas presentation on Dec. 5.
The basis for this and several other of the library's programs, individual lessons, structure and goals are built on the foundation provided by the Ohio Ready to Read Program, shared Millhouse.
Much of the program's purpose is to show adults how they can be the one sharing these learning and developmental experiences with the children when they are at home, as well as when they are at the library. These activities are wonderful opportunities for the children and the adults.
Recently, the lesson was built on the rhyme, "Itsy Bitsy Spider." Involved in the lesson were opportunities for physical activity for both adults and children, the fun of working with colorful art and craft supplies while making a simple spider shape, and playing a game of spider tag that very much resembled 'Mother, may I'," shared the branch manager.
"There are six literacy skills at the heart of the program's design. They are meant to stimulate a child's senses allowing them to learn through the experience," she offered. "We get them up and moving, singing, hearing the rhyming, learning about colors, experiencing responding to their name. We want the adults to be able to provide this kind of learning experience for the child at home."
These same general goals hold true for the Babytime Program held weekly from 11 a.m. until noon on Wednesdays at the Shadyside Public Library. Leading this popular program is longtime library volunteer Linda Artler. This specific activity is open to children from six months to 23 months of age.
Each of these programs is open to new participants as there is no fee and no formal registration required other than a basic head count being done for the weekly activities, explained Artler and Millhouse.
Locating details of the schedule and upcoming programs centered at the Shadyside Branch can be found on the Internet at mfpl.org/shadyside.asp.
Book clubs for adults have been a popular offering at the Shadyside Public Library for several years. Membership in a large consortium makes it possible for book club members to avoid being required to purchase each book selected for reading by the group.
In keeping with the practice of offering services free to the public, even the books selected for the three standing book clubs reading are supplied through the library's collective resources which reach to numerous libraries across the state.
Coordinating the details for the adult book clubs is library associate Nicole DeVendra.
"We have three book clubs: one focuses on non-fiction and two which focus on works of fiction. They meet once monthly on the second, third and fourth Wednesdays, at 1 p.m. or 6 p.m. for about an hour," said DeVendra.
"I envision this as a place where entire families can come to enjoy a variety of opportunities and programs; a place where there is something of interest and enjoyment for everyone," shared Millhouse.