Libraries are more than just books these days

There are many things in the world that we should be grateful to have in our daily lives, as they often enrich us and make us a better person.

In Manistee County, we are blessed with an outstanding library system. With a main branch located in town and branches in Onekama, Arcadia, Bear Lake, Kaleva and Wellston, it provides easy access to the knowledge and entertainment value contained within the walls of these structures.

When you think about it, we are quite lucky in this regard because not all communities have this type of access to libraries in their cities. Shortening the distance between the home and the library facilitates access so that they remain a viable part of the community.


But there is more to this story because libraries are no longer a building full of rows and rows of books on shelves as many of us remember from our youth. What you also see today is the influx of technology in so many forms that gives people the ability to access literature, information, and entertainment items in their library.

Knowledge and the ability to acquire it should never be tied only to people with the thickest wallets. Public libraries help level the playing field in the most positive way for people from all walks of life.

What’s also been great to see is how Manistee County Library General Manager Deb Greenacre and her staff continue to work hard to bring the library into the community. There was a time, years ago, when not stepping into a library building kind of left you out of the good stuff going on inside that building.

However, that has changed in many ways with a presence on Facebook and one of my personal favorites, which is the weekly library column written by library staff Kim Jankowiak and Becca Brown. These two do a wonderful job of keeping us up to date with what’s new at the library. Thank you ladies for your great work and keep up the good work.

Their column features what’s new in adult, young adult, and juvenile books, which is great for avid readers like me. Getting a glimpse of a new fiction or non-fiction book to watch often is the perfect thing to pique interest.

It is also ideal for parents looking for good reading options for their children. The fact that reading is still hugely popular among children is great to see, because children’s books don’t just entertain, they often also include an important message about life skills.

Many times the phrase was used: “If you encourage a child to read, you are giving him a gift for life”. This encouragement was given to me when I was a child and the love of reading is a gift that still burns in me to this day.

So I encourage everyone to do the same with their children. What better place to bring that home than in a library full of great reading material? It is an invaluable gift for any child.

All public schools still celebrate Reading Month every March and it was good to see how they promote the importance of good reading skills as well as the many good things it brings to our lives.

Ultimately, libraries are always “information hubs” and over the years one of the many popular additions they have made are the programs they have brought to the community. Just recently, they hosted one on morel mushroom identification with champion mushroom hunter Anthony Williams as presenter.

The program was held at the Wagoner Community Center and drew a large crowd to listen to the advice Williams had to offer. Morel hunting is very popular in this region and in the state. What better way to educate the public on how to do this safely than to hire a subject matter expert?

Providing programs of this nature and all the other technological improvements that Manistee County Library staff have made over the years further proves that they are still an active part of the community. Moreover, it fits the concept of how they listen to the needs of the audience and do their best to meet them.

The local library is also trying something new and innovative this summer with a library of mobile bikes that they will cycle through multiple locations around town. It’s a pretty cool concept and shows that people at the library are always coming up with new ideas.

So I hope everyone will continue to support our local library as they continue to do the same for this community. And the next time you’re in one of their buildings, take the time to express your gratitude to Executive Director Deb Greenacre and her staff for what they do to make Manistee County the best place in the world. or live.

It’s a well-deserved appreciation and a service that will hopefully continue to be there for us long after I see you again on Thursday.

Ken Grabowski is the retired deputy editor of the Manistee News Advocate who has spent more than 36 years in the newspaper business.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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