Local library programs fuel summer dreams

Photos by Sue Suchyta
Dearborn residents Nathaniel Hermen (left), 9, Luke Hetrick, 9 and Garrett Hermen, 12, glue mirrored tiles to a plastic foam ball to create a “rockin’ planet disco ball” at Henry Ford Centennial Library. Dearborn’s summer reading programs run through Aug. 3 at the Henry Ford Centennial, Bryant and Esper branch libraries. For more information, go to www.dearbornlibrary.org.

Sunday Times Newspapers

DEARBORN – She may come for the crafts, but Emma Hetrick, 11, of Dearborn said she likes to leave the library with lots of books.

“I just like to do art and stuff,” she said, holding up her partially completed “rockin’ planet” disco ball. “They’ve got stuff here that I can’t usually access at home… and usually the projects are really neat.”

Rebecca Hermen, youth services supervisor at Henry Ford Centennial Library, said a variety of crafts and activities in an air-conditioned building with computer access make the Dearborn Public Library summer reading program “Dream Big Read,” which runs through Aug. 3, a popular draw.

Some crafts are available on a drop-in basis while supplies last, while others require advance registration, Hermen said, which lets them have enough supplies and volunteer helpers on hand.

A dream catcher craft project held from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 22 drew 172 youth participants, she said.

“It was our first week having it, so I have a feeling that we had a lot of kids that were like, ‘I’m bored already’ the first week off of school,” Hermen said.

Of the advance registration “tween” crafts, she said Shrinky Dinks, scheduled for 2 p.m. July 13, is a popular activity for fourth-graders and up. July 20 features a “light up the night” candle craft, while July 27 focuses on an alien pet rock project.

At the end of the summer program, on Aug. 3, they will do a variation on tie-dye using Sharpie markers, Hermen said, adding that participants must bring their own shirt to decorate.

“We mix it up a lot and the kids have a lot of fun,” Hermen said. “We try to get the boys in, too – we don’t want this to be just a girl craft.”

While she likes crafts, Hetrick said she mainly comes to the library to check out books. She said she likes adventure books – especially the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan’s series.

Lily Kanclerz, 10, of Dearborn also likes to read a lot. She said she likes mysteries and the Rachel Renee Russell “Dork Diary” series.

She said her favorite craft was last week’s glow-in-the-dark book cover craft. She said she makes new friends and connects with school friends while at the library summer program.

“I like the crafts because I don’t really get to do a lot of them at home; I like to do art and stuff,” Kanclerz said.

Nathaniel Herman mostly enjoys the crafts’ “cool themes,” he said.

“It’s a good way to get out in the world and socialize with people,” he said.

He said he is looking forward to the tie-dye shirt decorating craft.

His brother Garrett Hermen, 12, a self-proclaimed avid reader, said he comes to the library primarily to get books, since he reads at least one a day during the summer. He said he prefers to read fantasy books, especially the science fiction and fantasy books by Avi.

Layla Marshall, 9, of Morenci, said she also likes to read fantasy books, especially the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. She is currently reading the fifth of the seven books, “The Order of the Phoenix.”

Since arriving in Dearborn for an Independence Day holiday visit with her cousins, she said she has heard many positive comments about Dearborn’s libraries from them.

While part of the summer library program’s purpose encourages children to come in and check out books, Herman said it also gives children who might not do crafts at home a chance to come in and make something while socializing with their peers.

She said the air conditioning draws people in as well.

“We have a lot of people who come in to get out of the heat,” Hermen said. “And we have a lot of kids who do spend a lot of time here during the summer, and rather than have them bored or spending all their time playing games on the computers we try to give them other activities.”

Monday afternoons at 2 p.m. will feature free movies, with a July 16 showing of “Ratatouille,” a July 23 screening of “The Princess and the Frog” and a July 30 airing of “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” at Henry Ford Centennial Library.

The movies tie into the common summer reading theme of achieving dreams, Hermen said. The theme for fifth-graders and under is “Dream Big Read,” and the theme for middle-schoolers and up is “Own the Night,” with a Star Wars themed-party planned for teens from 2 to 3 p.m. on July 18 at Henry Ford Centennial Library.

“They’re going to be doing some Jedi-training and releasing Han Solo from some very tasty Carbonite, so it’s going to be a really great time,” Hermen said. “It’s still really popular with the kids of all ages. The whole ‘wanting to be a hero’ and there’s space and there’s fighting and lasers and swords… it’s still really, really popular.”

She added that while they cannot do a public showing of the Star Wars movies, they will make a lot of related crafts and activities for the teens, and the library has the movies available for borrowing from the library collection.

Drop-in crafts for children of all ages are held from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays, with monsters featured July 13, a rocket ship on July 20, an alien and spaceship on July 27 and an Aug. 3 odds and ends craft day.

Story times for of 2- to 6-year-olds are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, with a Mother Goose story time for six to 2-year old children on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. featuring finger play, songs and movement.

Website listings describe additional family activities and other themed events online. For more information, go to www.dearbornlibrary.org.