Library celebrates successful 2016, looks ahead to New Year

Published 5:41 pm Friday, January 6, 2017

By Kaycee Shiley

Special to The Post-Searchlight

The Decatur County – Gilbert H. Gragg Library is the headquarters for Southwest Georgia Regional Library System, and serves Decatur, Miller and Seminole counties. The Regional Library System had a fantastic year in 2016. Community members of all ages benefited from what the library offered, with activities for adults, teens and children.

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Adults enjoyed an assortment of activities in 2016. The library resumed its popular introductory computer classes, where attendees learned the basics of using a computer, including using the mouse and keyboard, working with files and folders, navigating the Windows environment, creating and editing documents in Microsoft Word. They were also introduced to searching the Internet, and creating and managing an e-mail account. The library also held Introduction to Excel and Advanced Microsoft Word classes.

The Southwest Georgia Regional Library System also saw many new programs for adults in all three libraries this past year. Catherine Vanstone held two Identity Theft Workshops in Miller and Seminole Counties. All three libraries kicked off an Adult Coloring Program that is now held once a month. This has been a great chance for adults to relax and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of coloring. In addition, our libraries have held Knitting Clubs, Puzzle Clubs, and the monthly book clubs have continued to grow. Seminole County Public Library held a book signing with Sandra W. Burch in April, a local author, who has written the Seaside series. Doctor Who Day was held in July with a Tardis appearing at the library and free comic books.

The Southwest Georgia Library for Accessible Services had a busy year. In February, an Open House was held at the library for the community to see the assistive technology available. This was a great opportunity for SWGLAS to show off a lot of the brand new devices that became available. The library had over 50 local community members and out of area visitors come by to see what outstanding work our local staff have been doing. SWGLAS also partnered with GeorgiaCares and began offering monthly one-on-one Medicare assistance. This is a free service with certified Medicare Counselors that helps individuals pick a plan that is best for them and answers any questions individuals may have.

Several teen programs were offered, including the Scribbler’s Society, a creative writing program for teenagers. Teen Gaming was offered at all three libraries, and teens had access to the Wii and PS2 video game consoles.

The Decatur County – Gilbert H. Gragg Library had a busy year for children in 2016 with the continuation of program favorites, and the introduction of several new activities. Toddlers and their parents listened to children’s stories, sang songs, played games, and made crafts during Thursday morning Toddler Time. Book Babies was introduced on Tuesday mornings in September, and is a new program geared towards lap-sit babies and early walkers. This program is 30 minutes long, and involves stories, songs, and rhymes. S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) became a huge focal point for children’s programming. The library was the recipient of a grant that allowed us to offer technology based programs for kids, including robotics, circuits, and creative computer use. In October, children from all three libraries checked out S.T.E.A.M. related books and drew pictures of the things they were learning, with one lucky participant winning a Kindle Fire. Coding Club kicked off in the fall, and has been a fun way to introduce children to the concepts and logic of computer programming. Both parents and children have been delighted by the addition of Coding Club to our library. Legos & Games was held weekly during the spring, and moved to a monthly program in the fall. Elmo visited the library in September for National Library Card Sign-Up Month, and received his very own library card!

The library’s annual Summer Reading Program kicked off at the end of May with the 2016 themes: “Ready, Set…Read!” and “Get in the Game.” Summer readers logged over 2,000 more books read in 2016 than in the previous year! In addition to the reading portion, the library held several special programs that were both fun and excited, including Dr. Magical Balloons, Animal Tales, and Family Zumba. Kyle Puttkammer from Galactic Quest Comics taught a program to our older kids on how to create their own graphic novels. Olaf also visited the library and found out what snowmen do in summer! Thursday programs were held at all three libraries, and alternated between Family Game Day and Toddler Time. The Summer Reading Program was sponsored by Hardees, New Life Learning Center, the Decatur County – Gilbert H. Gragg Library Foundation, the Thomas M. Kirbo and Irene B. Kirbo Charitable Foundation, and the Decatur County Family Connection.

The library continued to offer Zoo Atlanta passes for free after patrons check out an informational DVD, free State Park Passes, and a free Center for Puppetry Arts passes. In addition to these great resources, the library can also now check out a pass to the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta!

The River of Words brought artwork from children and teens around the state of Georgia in January. The Decatur County Artists’ Guild displayed their beautiful artwork in October for the community to enjoy.

The Decatur County – Gilbert H. Gragg Library continued to serve our community by providing books, computer classes, children’s programs, and creating unique experiences for our patrons. We look forward to continuing our efforts to offer great customer service, engaging programs, and valuable resources to our local community.