Winter Happenings at the Libraries of Champaign County

Winter’s the perfect time to settle in with a good book.

And libraries in Champaign County offer a variety of other ways to cope:

Champaign County Library, Urbana, OH, soup tasting

One of many crockpots of soup available at the annual Friends of the Library soup and bread tasting event. Beware: the soup goes fast.

Champaign County Library

Main Library (Main), 1060 Scioto St., Urbana, OH
North Lewisburg Branch (NL), 161 Winder St., North Lewisburg, OH

Kids Pizza Party & Movie, Jan. 16, Main – Here’s a way to spend part of the day off school — pizza and the movie “BFG,” starting at noon.

Soup and Bread Tasting, Jan. 21, Main – An annual treat of the Friends of the Library. Sample an array of delicious soups and breads. Free, but donations appreciated to support the Friends of the Library, which supports library programming. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. But get there early to make sure you don’t miss out.

Facebook for Beginners, Jan. 23, Main – A free program at 2 p.m. for those wanting to keep up with their friends on social media.

Lego Club, Jan. 23, Main – Kids build to their hearts’ content with Legos provided by the library, 6:30 p.m. 

Family Fun Night, Jan. 23, NL – A fun evening for kids of all ages and their families. Wintry stories, games, treats and more. 6:30 p.m.

Family Movie Night, Jan. 27 (Main) and 28 (NL) – Featuring the movie “Storks.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and movie starts at 6 p.m.

Genealogy and the Internet, Feb. 6, Main – learn how to research your family tree with library and online resources. Free at 2 p.m.

Mechanicsburg Public Library

60 S. Main St., Mechanicsburg, OH

Preschool Story Times, Jan. 18 & 25 – 11-11:45 a.m.

National Soup Month Celebration – Crafts and weekly drawings in January for prizes  – including a bowl of soup at The House Café and Bakery. Fill out a prize drawing entry and tell the librarians what they should put in the soup (think “Stone Soup”) they’ll be serving to library patrons Jan. 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (Donations of ingredients are welcome and non-perishable extras will be donated to the local food pantry.)

St. Paris Public Library

127 E Main St., St. Paris, OH

No School Movie Day, Jan. 16 – “The Secret Life of Pets,” 10 a.m.

Toddler Storytime, Jan. 17, 24 & 31 – 9:30 a.m. Please call 937-663-4349 to attend.

Baby Bounce, Jan. 18 & 25 – 9:15 a.m. Please call 937-663-4349 to attend.

Preschool Storytime, Jan. 18 & 25 – 9:30 a.m. Please call 937-663-4349 to attend.

Knitting, Jan. 19 – All ages welcome, 1-4 p.m.

Kid Dimension/Teen Element, Jan. 19 – Featuring fabric art. Please call 937-663-4349 to attend.

Imagination Creation, Jan. 21 – Build Lego creations, all ages, 10:30 a.m.-noon.

What are your favorite library activities?

Signs of Renewal in Champaign County

On my morning run today, I celebrated spring.

Browne Hall, Urbana University, Urbana, Ohio

Browne Hall at Urbana University

Everywhere, trees leafed and bloomed. Like the red bud that framed my view of old Browne Hall at the edge of the Urbana University campus.

Amidst the beauty of God’s creation, our community has been blessed this spring with opportunity for renewal and second chances.

Urbana University is a prime example – thanks to local banks and all who worked out the agreement announced this past week for Franklin University to buy the university.

UU has a renewed opportunity to serve students, enrich our community and energize the local economy – an estimated $30 million a year. Plus the new partnership offers the prospect for broadened impact.

Gloria Theater, Urbana, Ohio

A clear sign of renewal, with a reference to the past: the theater’s one-time name, The Gloria, named by Warren Grimes in tribute to his daughter Gloria.

My run also took me past the closed Urbana Twin Cinemas building. About 24 hours earlier I sat at a table in the theater lobby with several others. We worked on marketing and fundraising strategies for GrandWorks, a community initiative to transform the theater into a center for live and on-screen entertainment and other programming to drive cultural, social, economic and spiritual revival for the greater Champaign County community.

Visit the new GrandWorks website to learn more and support the project. (By the way, Urbana University is one of several community organizations involved in GrandWorks.)

At the end of my morning today, Jim Lillibridge, pastor of the Urbana United Methodist Church, shared in his message a bit of scripture (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) that illuminated my on-the-run musings about what I see at work around us and what we’re called to do:

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

What signs of renewal and second chances do you see at work in the Champaign County, Ohio community?

Vote for a Community Treasure

Election Day is only a few days away: I’ll get right to the point.

Voters in Champaign County, Ohio, have the opportunity to support a priceless community treasure by voting for one of the best—if not the best—returns on your tax dollar.Vote for the Champaign County, Ohio, Library

That is, the Champaign County Library tax levy. For the owner of a house with an appraised value of $100,000 the cost of the levy is only $24.50 a year.

I’m not knocking bookstores or other media stores…. Books, CDs and DVDs are worthy purchases and make cherished gifts. But if you walk into one of these establishments with twenty-four dollars and fifty cents, you won’t be leaving with a whole lot. Not compared to what you can walk out of a library with.

Let’s say you go to the library once and check out an adult bestseller, a DVD and a children’s book. Not much. Nonetheless, at a store you’d be exchanging those items for about $60.

At a library you just take them home, having opened your wallet or purse only to extract your library card. Then you return to exchange those items for more.

These days, when disposable income is limited, the library’s value has increased. People out of work or living on a tighter budget cut expenses like Internet service and newspaper and magazine subscriptions. But they can come to the library to read the papers or search job sites and check e-mails on public computers. In 2009 the Champaign County Library’s public computers were used 24,151 times.

Libraries across the state have come upon hard times themselves. As a result of state funding cuts, the Champaign County Library—which includes the North Lewisburg Branch Library—is  operating on $276,000 less state money than it did in 2008. More cuts are anticipated in 2011. Staffing has been reduced, raises eliminated, employees who resign are not being replaced, weekly operating hours have been cut from 60 to 52.

Just when people need libraries more.

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, vote for a good investment. Vote for the Champaign County Library.

(In the interest of full disclosure, my wife, Kay, is on staff at the Champaign County Library.)

What services do you use at your public library?

University Reaching Out

A university can bring many practical benefits to a community – not just the aura of higher learning.

Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio, has been intensifying efforts to strengthen the town and gown bond and make its influence more apparent off campus. The University, in fact, is one reason Ohio Magazine selected Urbana as a Best Hometown for 2011. (By the way, the November edition featuring Urbana’s selection is just days from hitting newsstands and mailboxes!)

A couple of new examples of the University’s outreach were just brought to my attention.

Grant Resources for Nonprofits

This first example appeals to my role as coordinator of a nonprofit organization – the Champaign County Literacy Council. Like any charitable organization we’re always on the lookout for new sources of funding.

As a new member of the Foundation Center Cooperating Collection Network, the University is offering to the community-at-large free access to extensive online and print directories of grant funding sources. These are valuable resources that small nonprofits cannot afford on their own.

The University is offering a free training session on how to use the resources. It will be held at the University’s Moore Math and Science Building at 3 p.m. Monday, November 15. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 484-1409 or online at the Foundation Center. I’m already registered.

Participants will learn how to create customized searches to find foundations that match their organizations’ funding needs.

Civil War Art Series

Starting this Tuesday, October 26 at 7 p.m., at the Mechanicsburg Public Library (60 South Main St.—St.  Route 29), Urbana University professors will present a three-week series on the history represented in three pieces of art from the Civil War time period. The series is funded by a grant from the Picturing America project of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This Tuesday’s program is “Abraham Lincoln Photographs by Alexander Gardner.” Gardner was one of a team of photographers hired to make a visual record of the Civil War at a time when photography was still a new medium.

The program will be preceded at 5 p.m. by a performance of Civil War music by the Champaign County Dulcimer Club and from 6 to  7 p.m. by a display of  Underground Railroad photographs taken in Champaign County.

Learn more about the rest of the series on the University’s website.

Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling (937) 834-2004.

(In a previous post I highlighted the University’s involvement in the Champaign County Barn Quilt Tour.)