Library now better for kids

The Rainy River Public Library celebrated major improvements to its facilities with an open house on Saturday.
Two years ago, the library board and staff began working on making the children’s section of the library more inviting and fun for kids to use.
They applied for a Trillium Foundation grant and received approval for $11,000 for capital costs.
“The major focus for the project was the kids area,” said librarian Penny Shumaker.
They purchased new furniture, shelving, lighting, and a storage cupboard. The “Kid Zone,” as it is now called, also has been painted with bright inviting colours.
As part of the project, it was expected that volunteer hours would be contributed by the community to make it happen.
Shumaker’s family, especially her husband, Tom, volunteered countless hours putting up all the shelving and slot wall, and also built the arch-way.
Work took as long as it did because the library remained open the entire time.
“We still had to operate the library and worked around normal operations to get it done,” noted Shumaker.
Each Tuesday, the “Kid Zone” hosts a story hour for kids (as long as they are accompanied by an adult) at 10:30 a.m.
Shumaker said the reaction by parents has been very positive. “They all think it is fabulous,” she remarked.
“The [main] idea behind this is for the parent to go in with them [kids] and read with them,” she added. “We have provided a safe and welcome environment to do that.”
An activity area complements the room.
“We tried to put out activities that complement the reading experience,” explained Shumaker, such as crafts and puzzles, etc.
Shumaker said the idea came from a conference she attended. And while wishing she had more space, she’s pleased with how it turned out.
In addition to the “Kid Zone,” some of the Trillium money was used to purchase furniture for a quiet reading room at the back of the library. It currently is still a work in progress.
Since the grant was for capital costs only, no literature was bought with it.
However, Shumaker said proceeds from the penny table at the recent Borderland Orchestra fundraising concert went towards new materials for the “Kid Zone.”