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Thursday, July 2, 2015

All You Have to Do Is Ask

Kids in Prescott visit booths of local heroes to find out what they do
Many thanks to Becky Arenivar, Programming Specialist in Prescott for this inspiring guest post:
This year’s SLP theme, Every Hero Has a Story, has been a super enabler for collaboration at the Prescott Public Library.  I wanted to shine more attention on real heroes in our community than on superheroes and fictional heroes, so I started planning events to recognize local heroes.  I contacted local organizations, enlisted ideas and help from library staff, and talked to patrons about it.  The response has been tremendous!
Our kick-off event featured representatives from various organizations in town, the food shelf, Kiwanis, Borner Farm Project, Great River Road Theater, and more.  They were happy to come and talk to kids and families about what their organization does.  A Prescott City worker jumped on the band wagon and brought the Sewer Vactor Truck; he’s definitely a community hero for keeping our sewers clean! The library offered a scavenger-hunt activity that guided kids to each table.  Once they were done with the scavenger hunt, attendees got to make crafts and have a treat.  The kids really enjoyed talking to the representatives and the parents appreciated the lesson that heroes are people who work hard to make our community a great place to live.
For our Military Appreciation Day on July 15, the Commemorative Air Force, Minnesota Wing is bringing vehicles and exhibits from their museum and is arranging a flyover of a WWII airplane.  This is all the result of an initial conversation with a library patron whose husband volunteers at the CAFMN hanger.  Local veterans organizations will also be on hand, and we may have a modern vehicle from a nearby National Guard armory.  I’m busy getting the word out, so we have a big crowd to say “thank you for your service” at this event.
Animal Heroes is going to be amazing, due in great part to the hard work of a library patron who has raised puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind.  The patron has brought us bookmarks and pencils to give out, and is using his contacts to get a puppy for the event.  If he can’t get a puppy, he will bring his therapy dog and talk about the differences between therapy dogs and leader dogs.  Another patron, who transports puppies for an adoption organization, will be on hand to talk about her organization, and will bring a puppy toy craft for kids to make – she’s supplying all the materials, too!
I’m thrilled to see how many organizations and people are not only saying “yes” to being at our events, but are going way beyond to make our events exciting and meaningful.  Not only are they doing all this, but they are grateful for the invitation.  They see this as a win for them too, as they will be promoting their organizations to event attendees.  And their enthusiasm has motivated me to go beyond, too.  I e-mailed a local scout leader yesterday advocating the Commemorative Air Force as a great field trip for her scouts.

This will be our best SLP yet, and all I had to do was ask.