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More than just books at the library

July 23, 2011
By Kurt Hauglie ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - The Portage Lake District Library is more than a place to find books and magazines. It's also a place for community members to gather to hear speakers and take part in activities.

According to Shawn Leche, PLDL director, and Chris Alquist, library director of programing, there are many activities and programs taking place at the library seasonally and all year.

During Children's Hour, Alquist said the younger patrons can attend story time, during which a book will be read to them, followed by craft period.

Article Photos

Daily Mining Gazette/Kurt Hauglie
Maria Silva reads to a group of children during Story Time at the Portage Lake District Library. The program is one of many at the library, some of which are seasonal, and some, such as Story Time, take place all year.

"During the summer, parents bring children of all ages," she said.

Children's Hour takes place three times a week all year.

Also during the summer, Alquist said another children's program at the library is Isle Royale for Kids, which is conducted by two rangers from Isle Royale National Park. The program teaches children about the environment of the island.

Alquist said the Music on the Menu program takes place from noon to 1 p.m. Fridays, and it seems to be popular with patrons.

"It's a wonderful time," she said.

Alquist said the library offers a health and wellness program the second Thursday of every month with different presenters giving discussions about various issues.

There are many one-time programs each year, also, Alquist said, including a recent one on China which was well-attended.

"The room was packed," she said.

Participants at the China presentation learned some Chinese words and how to use chopsticks.

Other one-time programs include a presentation by unicyclists and a magic show during the summer.

Leche said there are some new services at the library, also.

"We have several additions to our digital collections," he said.

New services include the Universal 550 course, Leche said, which allows people to get additional continuing education units.

Leche said Mango languages is new to the library, also.

"It has 35 foreign languages," he said.

The program presents the languages phonetically, Leche said. The student can record his or her voice and compare their pronunciation to a native speaker.

For those looking to get legal information, Leche said Law Depot provides facts about various legal issues, such as wills, power of attorney, medical consent children's travel and bills of sale, among many others.

"It's a complete database of legal information," he said. "It can save a patron thousands of dollars, easily."

The Law Depot provides pertinent information for every state, Leche said.

Leche said there are speakers on different topics all year at differing times and days.

"They're open to the entire public," he said.

Leche said he gives instructional presentations on how to use the various databases the library has.

In one week, Leche said the library will have the Job and Career Accelerator, and he'll give instruction on using that program, which will show people how to do rsums and even find a job.

Besides the various library programs and services, Leche said the Friends of the Library support group conducts special events, such as for Cinco de Mayo and a Valentine's Day tea service.

Although it isn't a service or a program, Leche he wants people to know there is a constant changeover of items in the library, with 6,300 items added last year.



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