Celebrate Summer Nights Three- Part Series
Stimley-Blue Ridge Neighborhood Library just finished its fifth Living Room at HPL with over 250 attendees, it was our most successful event yet! I wanted to share some observations about the success of the night.
The Living Room at HPL was a success before it even began because of all the partners called in from previous Living Rooms and outreaches as well as a few newly established partners. We invited Abuse is Real, a local nonprofit teaching about abuse through innovative youth programming, the League of Women Voters, the Willowridge High School marching band and dance troupe, our local line dance instructors, and Sheena Wilson from the African American Library at the Gregory School. This gave us a library full of programming and informational resources for this event, but also increased our networking pool as everyone told their friends and family about our event.
Our successes were many throughout the night and I would like to share some of the stories behind the photos that highlight them. The girl in the yellow shirt pointing to her butterfly is Karma. She is originally an After School Zone attendee but her whole family eventually became part of our year round library programming. First through WIC, then through Summer Food and Backpack Buddy. Her little sister Roiyal regularly attends our Saturday playgroups and we have observed her vocabulary growing steadily since the family has been active in the Library. This is just one example of how libraries can battle food insecurity and build literacy at the same time.
The smiling boy with the pokeball on his face was in our library for the first time. His family heard about the event on Nextdoor and they decided to check us out. We now have a new family keenly interested in our future Living Room at HPL and ongoing Library programming.
The girl reading at a table is a marching band performer at Willowridge High School. She is reading a book graciously donated by a local poet to Vinson Neighborhood Library, who shared them with us as well. To me, this image truly captures the way the Living Room at HPL program celebrates the diversity in our communities. She likely never would have discovered this voice if we had not had this program and if we did not have such wonderful partnerships as we do.
Finally, there are the photos of Ada and Amara, my two longest running and most frequent attendees of my Saturday morning Family Playtimes. They live almost thirty minutes away from our branch now, but still regularly attend our Saturday programming. Their regular attendance insures that new families almost always see children to play with and they have even invited friends that now regularly attend Library programing. I call my Family Playtime a “Lil’ Living Room” because it is the only program outside of the Living Room at HPL that have consistently drawn such a diverse crowd and from so many parts of the city.
- Drew A.