By Kenyon Stronski
Westwind Weekly News
Libraries are an important part of any community, even in the ever-changing age of the Internet. They’re a place for social gathering, information sharing, and for people to cut their teeth on book genres they may have never known they liked.
The Raymond Library recently received $1500 from the Youth in Action grant thanks to the effort of a youth in Raymond’s community — Brielle Hartley.
“With the library anybody can come in and use our content. The only restriction is not anybody can take it home. There’s been a lot of kids recently that have been wanting to take it home but they haven’t had a library card. We can’t bring other books to our library if they don’t have a library card so our solution was ‘okay, let’s grow our collection.’” Said Library Assistant Shyanna Reimer. “We’ve had quite a few families come in, hearing that we wanted to grow our collection so they’ve been sharing titles with us and one of the community members, her daughter asked what she could do to help grow the collection because, well, books are expensive. We pointed her in the direction of the Youth in Action grant and her and her mom sat down one day, got it done just in the nick of time and about a week later we heard we had been given $1500 towards books. Because she was willing to sit down and do that and help all the kids in the community we have a bunch of new books.”
As with any grant, the Youth in Action grant was extremely specific and the money had to be used for graphic novels. “The money they give you has to go exactly to what you said it was for. We spent $1500 on books and then we had friends of the library donate $300 and an anonymous community member donate so we purchased some beanbag chairs which was pretty awesome.”
The Library has been trying to grow the teen collection, said Reimer, so the addition of the chairs making the area more comfortable has been a welcome addition. “We have a young group that spends anywhere between 10 minutes to two hours in our teen section.”
The Youth in Action grant does have a restriction on how often applications are allowed. The Youth in Action grant is a year and it has to be youth that applies for it.
“We can help them in any way they request but we are not allowed to fill out the forms so the kid’s actually have to go through that process and do that themselves. we have another community member, a senior member is looking to find some money in the community for large-print books. Our collection is what it is because of our community members. We take direction from them, but we’re constantly encouraging them to donate money or books or give advice on what they’re looking for.”
Reimer continued to thank Hartley, stating that the collection would not have grown without her support.
“She was an absolute trooper — we went on a shopping day to Chapters and overwhelmed ourselves with picking books but this is truly happening because of her. It’s been an awesome experience for her and for us as well.”
The Raymond Library has a theory that it’s not that people don’t like to read — it’s about finding the right book. Reimer noted that theory is something they really try and focus on, and they do have a large amount of kids coming in every day to consume material.
“If a mom or dad comes in and says their kids ‘hate to read’ but let’s talk about what kind of things they like to read. Sometimes it’s just about finding that right genre and I think we’ve had four times as many teens come in because they’ve heard we got new graphic novels.”
“The youth is the future and it’s very true. Inspiring them to continue reading is very encouraging because it expands their vocabulary and the more readers we have — the more future writers we have as well so. Art is a lot of things and I think writing is an art as well so we have to encourage a future in that as well.”