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Gilbert H. Gragg library shows progress in community offerings in 2017

The Decatur County – Gilbert H. Gragg Library is the headquarters for Southwest Georgia Regional Library System, which serves Decatur, Miller, and Seminole Counties. The library had a great year in 2017. Community members of all ages benefitted from the library’s offering of collections and services throughout the year. The library offered programs and activities for children, teens, and adults.

The library hosted a viewing and distributed glasses for the solar eclipse on August 21, which had many children, teens, and adults in attendance. Chess Club began in November and was held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the club will continue in 2018. Children, teens, and adults in the community have become regular attendees, and many beginners have learned how to play by attending the club.

The library had a busy year for children in 2017 with the continuation of program favorites, and the introduction of several new programs. The library received the PRIME TIME reading grant, which enabled a program on six consecutive Mondays from February to March. The PRIME TIME program included free meal and books for participants and involved discussions on the books read for the program. The library has been awarded this grant again for 2018.

Toddlers and their parents listened to children’s stories, sang songs, played games, and made crafts during Toddler Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Toddler Time experienced steady growth throughout the year. On October 2, the library hosted Carol Buckley of Elephant Aid International for a presentation for children on the new Elephant Refuge North America in Attapulgus. The library held its annual Breakfast with Santa on December 2, sponsored by First Port City Bank, which gave children the opportunity to work on crafts and meet Santa Claus!

S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) continued to be incorporated into children’s programming. Coding Club continued throughout 2017 on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 pm and served as a fun way to introduce children to the concepts and logic of computer programming. Builders Society was held on a monthly basis in the spring and offered children the opportunity to experiment with Legos. The library began Minecraft Club in August, which quickly became a popular program. The club is held on the first Thursday of the month at 4:00 pm.

The library’s annual Summer Reading Program kicked off at the end of May with the 2017 theme “Build a Better World.” Summer readers in Decatur County logged nearly 4,000 reading hours in 2017! In addition to the reading portion, the library held several special programs that were exciting and educational, including Doc Atoms, Will Keating, Bright Stars Theater, and a meeting with Pete the Cat. Toddler Time continued to be held on Thursdays during the summer. The Summer Reading Program wrapped up in July and concluded with the grand prize drawing of Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. The Summer Reading Program was sponsored by Hardee’s, the Decatur County – Gilbert H. Gragg Library Foundation, the Thomas M. Kirbo and Irene B. Kirbo Charitable Foundation, the Decatur County Family Connection, Georgia Rural Library Initiative, Birdsong Peanuts, and the Miller County Gin Company.

A number of teen programs were offered throughout 2017. Over 40 teens participated in the Summer Reading Program and read over 400 hours through the course of the summer. Get Your Game On was offered in the spring, and teens had access to the Wii and PS2 video game consoles.

Adults participated in a variety of activities at the library in 2017. The library continued to offer its monthly introductory computer classes, where attendees learned the basics of using a computer, navigating the Windows environment, creating and editing documents in Microsoft Word, and using the internet and email.

The library also held Introduction to Excel and Advanced Microsoft Word classes in the spring. The library began a book club that meets monthly on the first Tuesday at 5:00 pm. The library combined the Coloring Club and the Puzzle Club into Coloring and Puzzles, which met on a weekly basis and drew caretakers and their charges.

The library hosted experts in Medicare and disability on a monthly basis for members of the community that needed assistance with these processes. On September 25, the library hosted Carol Buckley of Elephant Aid International for a presentation for adults on the Elephant Refuge North America in Attapulgus.

The library revamped its website in 2017 to improve our patrons’ online experience. The Georgia Library for Accessible Statewide Services’ photography-based “Just Kids” exhibit displayed at the library from July 1 to August 12.The Decatur County Artists’ Guild displayed their works in the library in October, and 4-H students displayed projects in the library in December.

The library continued to offer free passes to Zoo Atlanta, free State Park Passes, a free State Park backpack, free passes to the Go Fish Education Center, free Chehaw Park passes, free passes to Center for Puppetry Arts, and free passes to the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.

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 persisting in our efforts to offer great customer service, engaging programs, and valuable resources to our local community in 2018.