This year's Summer Book Club for kids at Alpena County Library features an adult component thanks to a recent grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
The $2,600 in grant funds, awarded through the Cheboygan Area Arts Council, is enabling the library to provide three evening programs geared more toward adults and wrapped around the Summer Book Club theme of One World, Many Stories.
Two of the three presenters will be doing children's programs for book club participants during the day, followed by another program for adults to attend in the evening.
"One of the things we've talked about doing is finding ways to incorporate more general adult programs that are not primarily designed for kids," said Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank. "This seemed like a good way to add that adult component, but also be reflective of the Summer Book Club theme."
The scheduled programs include:
"LaRon Williams is an excellent storyteller. He's one of the best I've ever heard," said Magness-Eubank.
Without the grant, Magness-Eubank also said it would have been a stretch of the library's budget to bring Williams to Alpena. He said Anshu Varma and the Equinox Celtic Band should be equally entertaining.
Securing grant funding in the current poor economic climate of the state isn't an easy task, but the library has faired well with both the recent MCACA grant and a grant for the 2011 Authors in the Fall series.
"Funding for everything is very competitive these days so you have to bring good ideas," Magness-Eubank said. "I think we have a very good track record with many agencies of being able to deliver high quality results that draw people and deliver in a positive way."
Despite being pleased to be able to offer the adult programming, Magness-Eubank said the Summer Book Club still remains all about the kids. The long-standing tradition of offering a way to keep children reading during their summer break from school also is a big priority for the library staff.
"Reading for kids is such an important thing and that's by far the most important thing," Magness-Eubank said. "There's a marked difference between kids who read in the summer and those who don't when they return to school in the fall. The Summer Book Club makes reading fun and makes the library an important part of the kids' summer."