Cold, frosty temperatures can often call for huddling inside beside the fireplace next to your favorite book. If that cozy image sounds like a perfect day, Kent District Library (KDL)
has a program tailored just for you.
With many formerly in-person activities switching back to digital platforms, school going virtual and kitchen tables becoming makeshift offices yet again, many people are spending the majority of their time at home. Keeping your mind active is important, and reading can provide a great escape.
Hannah Lewis, KDL economic and workforce development outreach specialist, works with adults and lifelong learners. “You may see me out in the community facilitating partnerships with other fabulous organizations as we all work toward the same goal — the empowerment and betterment of the West Michigan community,” Lewis says.
One of the popular programs KDL offers during the cold weather months is the Let it Snow: Winter Reading Club.
Lewis says the goal is to promote literacy and lifelong learning. “Let it Snow used to be an annual event that KDL hosted in the 2000s,” she says. “After a short break, we rebooted the program and are now in our fourth year.”
According to Lewis, Let it Snow is open for teens and adults from Jan. 3 to March 31. Patrons can sign up online or pick up a paper reading log at branch locations. After six books are logged, patrons receive a free mug. An additional four books read earns you an entry to win a super reader prize, including a $250 Meijer gift card.
Participants can track their reading progress online using Beanstack
or with their paper form. The website features various title categories and suggested reading materials including romance, books to film, mysteries and thrillers, local indie/Michigan authors, fantasy, biography/memoir, modern retelling of classics, history, poetry, picture books, humor and more for both adults and teens.
Lewis says KDL also offers other ongoing reading programs for all ages. “We offer 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
, a reading program for anyone age birth to right before kindergarten. Read 1,000 books, mark off an animal for every book you read and get a cool prize.”
Virtual programming, like Wimee’s Words
, can also provide an educational entertainment show, watchable live on Facebook or YouTube on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m. or as a rerun on Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m. via PBS. The web-based interactive live show invites kids to build their vocabulary and encourages imagination through storytelling with puppets, music and more. The Wimage app combines tech time with meaningful instruction and visual creativity. Students can input words, images, shapes, locations and orientations to help them understand the importance of vocabulary and visual expression.
Part of Lewis’ job is to assist businesses with resource access as well as training opportunities for the workforce. “I oversee the Career Online High School, an online high school training program that offers a certified high school diploma, with a career certificate in one of many desired career fields,” she says.
Sometimes as adults, learning takes a backseat to managing a household, full-time jobs and other responsibilities. KDL offers a variety of lifelong learning tools and resources to provide education and career advancement opportunities.
“KDL has a podcast hosted by three fabulous youth branch librarians called Stump the Librarian,” Lewis says. “The podcast has questions asked by school-age [children] and the librarians try to answer the question.” More details can be found by emailing [email protected]
“KDL offers many fabulous in-person and online events to help people stay active and engaged,” Lewis says. “KDL has catered our most-used resources for businesses all in one easy-to-navigate page. On this webpage
, you can discover many free resources to help with your business, like LinkedIn Learning
, Value Line and more.
Some of the free resources to help patrons with their business development include video courses, reservable, private meeting rooms, legal support and Consumer Reports. For professional development, KDL offers a variety of resources to aid with test-prep, computer skills and even driving tests. LearningExpress Library
offers career resources and several test prep exams.
Those with careers in childcare can also benefit from KDL’s specific programming, says Lewis. “If you’re a childcare provider, individual or trainer that needs to keep up to date on certification, KDL offers Early Childhood Essential MiRegistry courses
in collaboration with Great Start to Quality Kent Resource Center
in many of our branches.”
Whether you’re looking to keep your young child actively engaged in education, finish high school virtually, refresh your professional development skills mid-career or fall in love with reading again, KDL has plenty of valuable, free resources to help you along the way. Those interested can register for a KDL eCard online
Literacy Matters is a series focused on the importance of knowledge, community resources seeking to remove barriers to access, and the value of our library systems to society. Literacy Matters is supported by Kent District Library.
Sarah briefly lived in Grand Rapids years ago, before moving back to Lansing, but that West Michigan love never really left her heart. Through her coverage on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, and anything mitten-made, she’s committed to convincing any and everyone -- just how great the Great Lakes state is. Sarah received her degrees in Journalism and Professional Communications. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at [email protected]