Lisa Visits Detroit Libraries

by Lisa Buttigieg, MLA Administrative Assistant

Last week I had the opportunity to visit a few of the Detroit Public Libraries.

My gracious hosts were Alma Simmons, Assistant to the Executive Director of the Main Library downtown, Charlene Hyland, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian of the Conley Branch and Crystal Jolly, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian from the Parkland Branch.

They each took time out of their busy days to show me why their libraries are the heart of the communities they serve. As they showed me around and spoke of the many services each branch offered, I could hear and see the pride they have for their library.

Alma took me around the main branch with all its beautiful architecture, special collections and art exhibits. One part of the library featured the “Hype Room” which stands for: Helping Young People Excel. It was a very cool space where teens can explore, learn and just hang out after school. What a great service for Detroit’s youth. Thank you Alma!

Having grown up only a few blocks away, the Conley Branch was very special to me. It looked just as it did many years ago when I used to go there as a child. Charlene and the staff were so welcoming! She showed me around this quaint library which included a trip to the basement where some events and programs are hosted. Then I saw it, the same piano that was played for me many years ago, it brought me right back as if it happened yesterday. Thank you Charlene!

Lastly, Crystal gave me a tour of the beautiful Parkman Branch. She spoke of the many programs they offer from adult literacy and GED opportunities to small business assistance and tutoring services. Many of these programs are collaborations with other organizations and businesses that partner with the library to help make them available. The staff was upbeat and happy to be part of this library and it was evident. They even have a community garden that Q, a recent graduate helps to facilitate during the growing season. I was so moved by how engaged everyone was. It makes me love my job even more than I already do. Thank you Crystal and Q!

 


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