If You Build It, They Will Come

Aug 09, 2017
Written by cmcguire
On July 29, we wrapped up our “Build a Better World” Summer Reading Program. It was a busy two months, full of special programs and activities. Frequently, there were long lines at the Circulation Desk with people waiting to check out a variety of materials. It reminds me of a big sale at a store during Christmas. While the planning and preparation for our yearly summer reading program was a long and at times difficult process, it was also rewarding. The reason we put in so much effort each year is that we want everyone to experience the joy that a good book, entertaining music or a thought-provoking speaker can bring to a person’s life.

During one of the Children's performances by Jim Cosgrove, “Mr. Stinky Feet,” the room was filled with kids and their parents singing, bopping their heads, tapping their toes and enjoying themselves. One little boy with a huge smile turned to his mom and said, “That was awesome!” It was worth all the extra work for the past several months just to see him at that moment.

The week before that, we had tropical birds visit the library. Even though I had lots of other things to do to and I am not involved with organizing our children’s programs, I found an excuse to attend. I did the same thing when we had dogs here from the Human Animal Bond in June. Both times, I felt the same as the little boy I described above. I said to myself, “How awesome is this! I get paid to pet dogs and see some beautiful tropical birds.” That same day, we also offered a martial arts class for kids. They were focused and learned some great skills. Something for everyone.

In June, we hosted an after-hours jazz fundraiser to kick things off for adults, complete with wine, beer and food. Thanks to our generous attendees, we raised around $1,000. We also had: 
  • a book discussion series “That’s Funny: Books That Make Us Laugh”
  • Jen Mann, an author who would like to punch annoying people in the throat
  • Finding Common Ground, a presentation showcasing Kansas towns that embrace diversity with immigrant populations
  • a tap dancing workshop
  • a green cleaning program
  • a conflict resolution presentation
I can’t think of anywhere else in Leavenworth where can you find such a variety of events on a consistent basis, and with the exception of the jazz after-hours program, for free.

We build our programs and collections to serve the community. The people continue to come, so we must be on the right track. Shoeless Joe Jackson asked, “Is this heaven?” We think it is. And if you don’t know what I am referring to, check out Field of Dreams from our DVD section. Like Shoeless Joe, you will discover that the library is like heaven, built in an old grocery store instead of a corn field.