Library brings back programming | News, Sports, Jobs

ABOVE: Youth pick their frosting and toppings ahead of “cupcake wars” Saturday morning at the Martin County Library in Fairmont. Staff at the library are working on bringing back a variety of free programs for members of the community.

FAIRMONT– The Martin County Library in Fairmont is bringing back programming for both children and adults with the addition of children’s librarian, Michele Nelson and outreach librarian, Chris Hasek.

Nelson came on board in February. Prior to that she had spent two decades working as a pharmacist but she wanted a change of pace after dealing with the coronavirus pandemic over the last two years.

She has also served as a Girl Scout leader for the past 18 years which has prepared her well for her new role as children’s librarian.

“I enjoy doing programming. I’ve done a lot of programming through Girl Scouts and have done a lot of events for service units. I really enjoy doing that and being able to bring different activities to kids,” Nelson said.

One of her areas of focus is the tween and teen age group, which she said is a harder group to reach. In addition to cupcake wars, she said HyVee is coming in April to offer a cake decorating class that will be aimed toward the tween/teen age group.

As for children’s programming, Nelson has a lot planned. Yet this month they’ll have a St. Patrick’s Day party, lap sit story time, Lego club and a family game night at the end of the month. Next month she said a children’s author will visit the library to do a book reading and signing.

“Right now I’m seeing what activities people would like. I’ve done a variety of things to see what times, age groups and activities bring people in,” Nelson explained.

She is planning a summer reading program which will run the first four weeks of June and two weeks in July.

“There will be something everyday,” Nelson said.

For that she’ll be focusing on different age groups each day of the week. She plans to bring in special programming like the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, a magician and the Fairmont robotics team.

Hasek started her position six months ago and her job is to get books out the door in creative ways. She’ll also be doing adult programming.

Hasek said she recently started a library on wheels program where she delivers books to about 10 different in-home daycares once a month.

“We also deliver to senior living places,” Hasek said.

She said people with a library card can sign up and are given five books and 15 picture books that go in a tote and it’s a no-contact delivery service. She would like to be able to offer the service to those who are home-bound and is working on getting the word out about the program.

Hasek said they’ve also partnered with the birth center at Mayo Clinic Health System- Fairmont to provide families with a new baby a book, some water toys and information about the importance of reading.

“Mayo is very thankful and excited to get that program going with us,” Hasek said.

As for programming, Hasek is planning on offering an adult program at least once a month. She’s also working on getting an education program started that will use community members to come in and give a presentation about a different topic.

“We’re going to run the jigsaw puzzle race again on March 28,” Hasek said.

Together with Nelson she’s planning a joint community craft at Gomsrud Park in the picnic shelter on June 11 for Interlaken heritage Days.

Both Nelson and Hasek are looking forward to see what else they can provide to the community. They shared that all of the programs they offer are free and pre-registration isn’t required.

“Because of Covid there hasn’t been programming for two years. So far people have been so appreciative and happy to be able to come out and do different activities. It’s been really well-received,” Nelson said.

Some of the activities have had really good attendance. Earlier this month they held a celebration in honor of children’s author Dr. Seuss which brought in about 130 people. On Valentine’s Day a family bingo was offered that had 31 participants. An adult program this month also had a dozen in attendance.

Nelson said while they’re hoping for good attendance, they’ll still be mindful about spacing and for several of their bigger events this summer, they’ll be held outdoors.

Information on dates and times of events can be found on the library’s website, martincountylibrary.org, and on its social media pages.

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