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OPINION

Dexter Library Musings

Holly Terwilliger-Peichl

Greetings from 724 Marshall St., Dexter. I thought I might share some of what has been going on at the Dexter Library and also things to come. For the last two years we have had a middle school book club. We meet one Saturday morning a month and the kids take turns leading the discussion. It’s been fun to watch friendships bloom, personalities emerge and to hear their opinions. Their leadership styles are all different, as they are encouraged to do it their own way. We all have a say in the books we select to read. Some belong to the library, some are borrowed from other libraries, and some are given to the children to start their own personal libraries. If you have a middle school aged child who would be interested, please join us on July 18 at 10 a.m.

Due to this unusual period we are living in, an adult painting class had to be canceled and has not been rescheduled. I’m hoping we will be announcing that again soon.

Needless to say our Children’s Summer Library program will look different this year! No preregistration is required. July 2 - July 30 are the tentative dates. This year we are offering virtual programs from both Jester Puppets and Blank Park Zoo. There is grab-and-go including: outdoor alphabet scavenger hunt, trivia contests about Dexter and Dallas County, crafts and games, track your reading for prizes for both children and families, T-shirt and book giveaway, STEM activity calendar, flower planting, library bingo and daily fitness challenge. On July 2, the library will be open by appointment only. If you are looking for Summer Library packets or games, you may pick them up inside the library foyer and no appointment is necessary. Directions will be with each set telling you when you need to turn your sheets back in for prize eligibility. There will be a variety to select from each week.

We will be opening up the library in phases. We are currently in Phase 1 and it is posted on the library door and at the Dexter post office. All four phases (which are subject to change) are posted on the library Facebook page, Dexter Garage Sale site and the City web page.

During the school year, our library has a Lego club and a Crazy 8’s math club. When one child joined the math club, her parent stated she didn’t know Dexter had a library. When I heard that, I was flabbergasted! I’ve lived in Dexter most of my life and can’t imagine not going there on a weekly basis. I also had somebody tell me once they didn’t know library materials were free! We have had our budget cut by $10,000 in the last two years (in the words of one Dexter council member, “books don’t save lives, fire departments do”). But yes, they are still free! We offer books, magazines, movies and computer usage. Sadly, we are the last library in Dallas County to do so, but we’ll begin offering E-books on July 1.

With some debate, it is believed that Benjamin Franklin and his friends started the first public library in 1731. Public libraries began popping up in urban areas in the mid 1800s. During the depression, mobile libraries came into favor with female librarians delivering books to outlying areas on horseback in many parts of our country. I’m sure you’ve heard of a ‘Carnegie Library,’ as Stuart used to have one. It is a library built by businessman Andrew Carnegie between 1883-1929. A total of 2,509 of these libraries were built. Mobile National Libraries were initiated in 1960, (affectionately called the book mobile) and we’ve all seen the personal (share a book/take a book) library boxes that have popped up in recent years. Clearly, reading and books are a large part of who we are as a nation.

Here are two of my most recent favorites: “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,”by Kim Michelle Richardson and “A Girl Named Zippy,” by Haven Kimmel. Please call our library at 789-4490, as we are offering pick-up and delivery at this time. If you want a book and we don’t have it, we will be happy to borrow it for you from another library.

Let me leave you with this quote from Isaac Asimov: “When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.”