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Library Match: Hagerstown & Pickford

Two of our smallest member libraries have been paired up for the “Library Match” project. The Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library in Hagerstown, Indiana and the Pickford Community Library in Pickford, Michigan have been paired up to participate in the pilot project “Library Match.” For the next six months, they will participate in activities together using video-conferencing equipment generously underwritten by the H.W. Wilson Foundation.

What makes them a match?

Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library


Lunch Bunch Book Group with Ruth Frasur, Director, Hagerstown Library

The Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library, led by Director Ruth Frasur, is located on the Eastern side of Indiana and serves a population of 3,500. Their staff of 6 work in a  library building that is reminiscent of a Carnegie Library, but was constructed as a gift from the Charlie Teetor family, son of Ralph Teetor, a local entrepreneur and founder of the Perfect Circle Piston Ring Company. Charlie gifted Jefferson Township with the building when a grant to the Carnegie Foundation was abandoned due to the death of Mr. Carnegie. The library was constructed in 1928, just a year before the Great Depression. Their current operating budget is $260,000.

Pickford Community Library

The Pickford Community Library, led by Library Manager Ann Marie Smith, is located in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula and serves approximately 2,000 residents in Pickford Township, Marquette Township and Raber Township, as well as many other patrons in a 60 mile radius. They have a staff of 2, as well as 1 high school intern and a pool of “the finest, most dependable volunteers on this or any other planet.” They serve a community that is fiercely independent and hard working, with an attitude of risk-taking and a dedication to the principle that “if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself.” Their current operating budget is $70,000.

Pickford Community Library Bat Cave with Ann Marie

Pickford Community Library Bat Cave with Manager, Ann Marie Smith

What initiatives do they have to share with their peer library?

Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library

The Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library plans to share information about their H:EART Initiative. H:EART stands for “Hagerstown: Every Age Reads Together.” This is the umbrella initiative that covers their literacy programming including “Reading Sprouts” (an early literacy class for 0-2 year olds and their caregivers) and “Jr. Super Readers” (a pre-kindergarten class for 3 – 5 year olds to increase school readiness) as well as the Reading Challenge Component of their summer library program.

Another program they want to share information about is the SE:NCE (Summer Enrichment: Nettle Creek Excellence) program which encompasses their summer enrichment classes for school aged children. According to Ruth Frasur, “While summer library programs are often highlighted by arts and craft classes, we wanted to be very purposeful about the offerings we provided and have them specifically address the summer slide.  So, while there are still the traditional craft projects from time to time as well as special events, we are offering age specific reading and writing classes as well as developing an exciting science component. These, added to our H:EART classes and Community Kids Club, our civics-oriented club for 1st – 6th graders, make for a very robust and purpose-driven schedule both throughout the summer and during the school year.”

Frasur adds, “We are also proud to be partnering with the Hagerstown Community Garden Project by growing our own plot of vegetables using plants started from the Sally Asche Memorial Seed Library here in the library.  We hope to raise awareness of the project as well as the Seed Library and also use the garden plot as a resource for some of our classes.”

Pickford Community Library

The Pickford Community Library is going to share information about their “Young Writers Workshop.” Starting on October 2015, new students will begin their journey to become published authors of short stories, essays, and/or flash fiction, and returnees can choose to expand their writing skills by composing longer works (novellas or novels) in most genres. All participant’s work will be represented, at no charge, by JLB Creatives Publishing. According to Library Manager Ann Marie Smith, “By reaching the public eye with a publisher’s name on their manuscripts, these authors have a better chance at recognition by literary agents, screen writers and ‘The Big Six” publishing companies.” New author’s short works are published in an anthology, and the longer works by returning students are published as individual books. Each student’s story/book will be available to the public, free of charge, through SmashWords, at the end of the workshop. All are also available for library check-out either at the Pickford Community Library or through the Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation (UPRLC), a group of people working together to improve library services in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan.

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Pickford is another program they will share. This program is geared to provide the community with free year-round hands-on education in areas of diverse interest. Smith says, “DIY Pickford is a great way for residents to share their hidden talents with the Pickford Community Library and the greater EUP community.” Local professionals are encouraged to participate and introduce the community to their profession while providing an informative DIY workshop.

Lastly, the Pickford Community Library is partnering with the Pickford Public Schools and area homeschoolers to offer all local K-12 students an opportunity to participate in the 2015 Scholastic Reading Challenge. Nationwide, participants need to read more than 304,749,681 minutes to set a new reading world record for the summer of 2015. Locally, each reader will earn points and qualify for online challenges and prizes. Readers will also receive awards and special prizes throughout the summer from the library. Over 190 area public school and home school students have signed up for the challenge this year. “So far, our participants have read 44,422 minutes towards our community goal of 250,000 minutes by September 4.”

What do they hope to learn from their peer library?

Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library

The Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library would like to learn, not just how to build good will with the community, but how to nurture and develop a healthy, enthusiastic and vibrant advocacy effort for the library from within the community. “We seem to definitely have the good will of our patrons, but struggle to find a way to build a sense of volunteerism and advocacy. Pickford Community Library actually came into existence through the efforts of a driven group of people who WANTED a library for their community and made it happen.” Frasur added, “our library has already seen benefits from the Library Match project.  Ann Marie and myself have begun conversations both on the phone and through email about what we envision as the takeaway from this, and how our libraries can work together to benefit both our staffs and our communities. I’m also grateful for the equipment that was included in this project. We will be using it, not only to meet remotely with Pickford, but also to participate in Maker Camp, for which we have been chosen as an affiliate for the 2015 summer.”

Pickford Community Library

The Pickford Community Library is hoping to learn Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library’s approach to serving their community, and in turn, what the community brings to the library.  “We are a young library (5 years old on October 23) and we are eager to learn from the experience of others. We are excited to try new ideas and to make new community friendships. Our nickname is “The Little Engine That Could.” We are risk takers who embrace unexpected outcomes!”  “We are deeply honored to have been asked to participate in this program. It’s especially sweet to have been partnered with such an enthusiastic soul as Ruth Frasur! It feels like the teleconferencing equipment is the wardrobe entrance to Narnia–we can’t wait to begin exploring!”

Watch for updates from these libraries as they connect and learn from each other over the next several months. For more information about the MCLS “Library Match” pilot project, visit our Library Match Page.