Dowagiac District Library launches new programs

DOWAGIAC — Young people will soon learn that fact is sometimes stranger than fiction, thanks to a new program coming to the Dowagiac District Library.

Next Friday, the Dowagiac District Library will launch its new Fact and Fiction Fridays. For the program, the library will release a video about a specific topic at 10:30 a.m. each Friday on its website and social media. Each video, designed for children up to 7 years old, will explore the topic through two books — one containing a fictional story and one non-fiction book featuring only facts about that topic. The first week of Fact and Fiction Fridays will feature the subject of tadpoles. Through the presentation, watchers will learn about tadpole facts, while also hearing a fun, fictional story.

The program is being run by library staff members Melissa Phillips and Erin Amundsen. The videos are not recorded live so that they can be accessed at any time.

“We still want to bring storytime to our youngest patrons, but with the pandemic, in-person programming just isn’t feasible at this time,” said Phillips, youth services coordinator for the Dowagiac District Library. “I’ve been thinking of new ways to do those stories when we are back in person, but since we don’t know when that is going to happen, I thought we would introduce this sooner.”

Phillips said the idea for Fact and Fiction Fridays is one that she has been considering for a while. She believes that the program will help introduce children to new topics while getting them interested in reading and helping them learn the difference between fact and fiction.

“We thought this would be a fun way to keep things lively and keep kids interested in books and reading,” Phillips said.

Fact and Fiction Friday is not the only new initiative the library is rolling out. Starting Monday, the library will be launching Chapter One, an initiative where the library will post a video daily of a staff member reading the first chapter of a book. Phillips said the books would vary in topic and genre from children’s books to young adult novels and books written for adults.

“This is a way for us to connect with our patrons and promote all different types of books,” she said. “A lot of people want to read but just haven’t found the right book. By reading the first chapter, we are giving patrons a pretty solid glimpse into the book. Our goal is that if they like it, they will come in to check it out and finish it.”

Phillips said she is happy the library has been able to shift to offering virtual programs like Fact and Fiction Fridays and Chapter One, believing it is vital to continue to engage the Dowagiac community even if they can’t meet in person.

“I think it is still important to help foster a love of reading in children,” Phillips said. “We have had to find creative ways to reach the community.”

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