Two new hires bring fresh ideas to Wayne County Public Library
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on September 9, 2013 1:46 PM
Two new librarians at the Wayne County Public Library are trying to make it an even better place for people to go for enjoyment or to do a little research.
Evan Schmoll is head of children's services, and Marty Tschetter is the historian librarian.
Ms. Schmoll wants to make the children's story time a little more fun.
"We're trying to find things that are just really going to grab the kids' attention, whether it's using puppets, video or songs," she said. "We want to use something that will have them participate, too. When you do lots of songs and dances, they can get up and jump around. We want story time to be a lot of fun and not just sitting around being told a story, but to interact with the story."
Something new will be a tween book club aimed at 9- to 13-year-olds. Ms. Schmoll hopes to get this age group into the library after school once a month to talk about a book the group chose to read.
"It will foster that love of reading with kids," she said. "I like the idea of reaching that age kids because they get kind of looked over sometimes. And it's a great way to have them participate and be part of things."
Ms. Schmoll is also starting a chess club for youths, a teen knitting club and teen game night.
And she will be reintroducing the Every Child Ready to Read program, aimed at preschoolers and their parents in local day cares, in collaboration with Partnership for Children.
She said activities at the library and outreach programs are a good way to get children interested in reading.
"It's so important for them to learn how to read because basically everything is based on the written word," Ms. Schmoll said. "There's never going to be a place where you don't need to know how to read and write.
"It builds vocabulary. It takes you places you never dreamt of being before. You can travel all over the world with one book. It just opens people's eyes to so much. Starting at a young age, it's like a muscle. The more you work it, the bigger it becomes. Coming to the library, they can do that. And it's all free. That's the best thing."
And if a parent takes his or her child to the library to get him interested in reading, but doesn't know where to start, Ms. Schmoll can help.
"I can help them find books," she said. "I know kids' books, and I can get usually get most kids to find something that they like. That's where my talent is. Then the next thing you know you have this kid who really wasn't a big reader asking what can he read now."
Tschetter said the history room at the library has much to offer, too, including books, clippings, photos, microfilm and much more.
"One thing the library is doing is we have a lot of the old yearbooks that we're trying to get digitized." he said. "I'm trying to get the county schools yearbooks, but some years are missing. If anyone has a yearbook, we would like to borrow it for about three months to digitize it. I'm looking to track down the ones we're missing from 1963 and older."
Tschetter is also researching community baseball teams in Wayne County for a section on that topic.
"We're getting ready to start a project with the agricultural extension agency to document the importance of agriculture in the county," he said. "Baseball kind of plays into that uniquely because a lot of these guys were farmers and would play baseball as a social and recreational thing."
Another project Tschetter is working on for the history room is a map of the county with all the little communities that had post offices.
"We'll have a list of how long the post offices existed and dates when it started and stopped, who the postmasters were," he said. "We'll try and collect original postmarks and scan them from old letters."
The history room also has old newsletters from Civil War veterans' reunions, original scrapbooks of the old community center downtown that burned down, some old city directories, church histories and cemeteries.
And those researching their family history can access ancestry.com for free at the library or at home using their library card.
"What I really enjoy is the engagement with the public with the stories that fall through the cracks," Tschetter said of his new job. "That happens everywhere in our country, but it's really rich here. There are a lot of fun stories to explore, who people were and learning about their past."