Coming Home

Guest post by Tricia Slavens

I grew up in the Alvah N. Belding Memorial Library. Well, not literally, but that would have been cool.

I remember being really excited when my family moved two blocks away from the library, and not just because it would shorten my walk. A self-professed bookworm, it was one of my favorite things to spend an afternoon in the children’s library downstairs (despite the rumors amongst my classmates that it was haunted) picking armfuls of books off the shelves to browse through. My sisters and I would explore the foot-beaten path behind the library by the river. Neighborhood kids were always around to play “Mother May I” on the steps.

As a broody teen I would sit in the chairs reading for hours or just walking along the rows of books. I just liked being there. I loved the smell of the books and the quiet. Growing up with four younger sisters meant quiet was a luxury not easily found in my house. After the school libraries closed for the night I’d take my homework to ANBL. I’m old enough to remember when the library got computers, then the internet. I spent many days agonizing over when it would be my turn to log on and chat with friends or play online games.

Like some kids do, I grew up and moved away.  As an adult I visited the libraries in the new cities I lived in but it wasn’t the same. Don’t get me wrong, some of them were very beautiful. Others were a little lack-luster. But none of them were my hometown library.

As it happens, I ended up back in little old Belding. One of my first stops after getting settled in town was to bring my daughter to the place that had been such a big part of my adolescence – the library.  We immediately got ourselves library cards and I was so happy to see that some things hadn’t changed. The feeling of being completely awed as I walked through the door was still there.

library back night

It was to our mutual excitement to find that the downstairs children’s library was greatly expanded and positively enhanced. ANBL continues to expand with the Overdrive App, which lets patrons access eBooks and eAudio books, which I could not live without. There are also so many free programs to join and activities to attend.

Now my daughter will get the benefit of having this library be a part of her life. With the evolution of the technology and social media, it’s nice to have something as awesome as ANBL in common with her.


The Library is so grateful to Tricia for being willing to write this guest post for our blog. We love hearing about the role the Library plays in the community!

Tinkering at the Library

by Stefanie

The libraries that we grew up with are gone.

A library in 2018, particularly a public library, if it continues to thrive, does so because it evolves and changes with the world around it. A library fifty years ago, or even twenty years ago, generally consisted of print media – books (obviously), magazines, newspapers – and the occasional story time. It might hold other resources and treasures, but the vast majority of library patrons came in for that print media, especially the books. And libraries will always (hopefully) be the best place to get a copy of the next book on your reading list.

But as technology, and even the way we read, has changed, libraries have come forward to fill a lot of creative gaps in ways you might never have thought of. Some of this comes in the form of lending a new range of materials, from DVDs to digital books and music to tablets and Kindles. Unique circulating collections, like our board games and Discovery Packs, are broadening what patrons can get out of the library.

But beyond this, libraries are also becoming more and more a place to DO things, in addition to checking out materials. They’ve developed into spaces for children and adults to make, to build, to create and imagine, and to just have a lot of fun. Here at the Belding Library, we are really excited about this (and frankly love having the chance to put together all of our makerspace kits and programs).

In the spirit of making, building, creating, imagining, and playing, we’re adding two new  children’s programs to our regular monthly schedule. One of them is our monthly STEAM Time. STEAM, if you’re not familiar, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. While it sounds very serious, what it means for us is experimenting using all of the parts of your brain while you play! While we love story time, and all the stories and singing and crafting it lets us do, STEAM Time will give our birth to five-year-old patrons a chance to learn in a slightly different way, while still getting to be silly! We’ll play games, build things, and experiment with sensory bins in a drop-in program the last Wednesday of the month at 10am, starting January 31st.

The elementary-aged kids get their own tinkering session in the form of our new Tinker Lab. Each month we’ll give the kids a surprise challenge along the lines of “Create something to protect you from a magician.” We will provide a pile of different materials for the kids to work with, and it’s up to them – either on teams or individually – to figure our how they want to solve the problem. This means figuring out the problem itself (what is it that actually needs to be fixed?), then creating a prototype solution they can test. The most important part is being willing to do some trial and error; tinkering is about testing, fixing weak spots, and trying again! Tinker Lab will be the fourth Saturday of the month at 10am, starting January 27th.

Additionally, while our Little Wigglers (birth-2 years) and Preschool Pals (3-5 years) start up again next week, we are also starting a monthly evening Family Story Time, for families who are unable to bring their kids to our daytime events, and for families who just can’t get enough of the library! This new story time will welcome all children – pre-K, and older children, as well – and their caregivers, and will include stories, songs, games, and crafts. Family Story Time will begin Monday, February 5 at 6pm. As for our “regular” story times, Little Wigglers will be every Monday at 10am starting January 15, and Preschool Pals will be every Wednesday at 10am starting January 17.

We are really excited to see what the kids come up with, and are working hard to find new ways to expand what our library provides to our Belding community. We hope to see you and your kiddos there!


Seeking Classic Solitude

This week, ANBL Library Life is pleased to highlight a guest post from an avid library supporter.   This post originally appeared on her blog

Guest Post by H.S. Deurloo

After the holiday hustle, I’m looking for a little solitude, and a shift back into a routine – hopefully, a productive one.

The issue, around my house at least, is the lack of quiet space. Space to spread around and dig into a writing project without constant interruption. While I am able to tune out a certain level of noise and annoyance (oldest of 5 siblings testify), what I cannot do is stay in a writing flow.

You know, that special sweet spot where the words are bursting to be written and the household unites in its efforts to thwart you.

I’m sure most of you just hollered at me to get a booth at Starbucks, drink my latte, and get busy writing. However, I’ll challenge you that I’ve found a better spot.

Better than Starbucks? Yes, I said it.

Let me state my case. First, and best in my mind, it’s FREE! No purchase required. Second, it not only has free wi-fi, but also additional resources for your browsing. Again, free. It is staffed by knowledgeable folks who “get” your creative and nerdy self. It’s also a quiet space where the odds of someone hitting on you or bothering you is low – super low. Anyone guess it?

Your local library.

I’ve found a sweet corner spot with a window overlooking a bird feeder. They don’t even care if I bring in my own coffee (in a sealed mug, of course). The library is the most classic place to seek solitude for creative abandon.

Take a few minutes this week to scope out your local library, find your perfect wooden table, grab a jumbo book like Hermione, and get your words down.