Throughout its history, the Daviess County Public Library has tried to provide its patrons with a veritable cornucopia of self-enriching programs.

From its Mini Thinkers program geared toward enriching toddlers and preschool-age children to exercise programs for area seniors, library staff constantly strives to provide programming to fill the needs of the community members, no matter their ages. And, as 2019 comes to a close, the library is preparing for 2020, which may be its biggest programming year yet, said Shannon Sandefur, library community engagement manager.

While the library will continue to offer its long-running traditional storytime for children, it will also offer Tiny Dancers, which focuses on movement skills; Little Leonardo, which focuses on the arts; Mighty Minds, which focuses on developing the skills needed in kindergarten, as well as Mini Thinkers, which introduces science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related projects designed for toddlers and preschool-aged children, she said.

"We try to focus on more process over product with many of our programs," Sandefur said. "There is so much that we can do and open up for participants. Like with Mighty Minds, participants, aside from traditional storytime, will have the opportunity to work in different stations, like they will in a kindergarten class, like writing, cutting, grouping -- the kinds of skills that they will need later."

While the library will continue to evolve its children's programming into the new year, one in particular, the Family Place Library Program, has the potential to be revolutionary.

The program, made possible through a $20,000 grant through the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro, will be the first of its kind in the state and will allow the library to become a community resource center with the goal of providing services to the whole child as well as the families of those with young children, Sandefur said.

"We are already officially a Family Place Library," she said. "We are going to roll out the playgroups beginning in January and then the parent child-workshops will be rolling out in February. The January rollout will allow the children and especially the parents the opportunity to start getting to know one another and building that support network."

The program will allow the library to continue to make vital partnerships throughout the community, an integral part of its programming development, said library Director Erin Waller.

"We want to bring in organizations like Hands, Building Stronger families, some of the pre-school service providers, First Steps Program and WIC (Women Infants and Children) Program," she said. "Essentially all of those organizations that cater to families with young children. That is why we put so much attention into partnerships so that we can maximize the potential of our programs."

The library also puts a great deal of focus and planning into adult programming such as book readings, trivia nights and community forums, but two upcoming programs will be the epitome of the library's overall goal of generating new and exciting partnerships as well as fulfilling an overall community need, Sandefur said.

"We are a Grow with Google partner," she said. "In January we are going to begin various programs that focus on aiding our local small business owners in utilizing various Google applications to help their businesses grow."

The program will continue into February, rounding out the small business series, with a workshop on how a business owner can use YouTube to create an online presence and grow their business. These business-centric programs will also be supplemented with a program centered around "tools for organizing one's life."

Another program, Friendly Forums, is five-part series that will be limited to 30 people, she said. Registration is required.

"We will be partnering with a company that lays out how to facilitate community meetings that center around discussing, in a safe environment, the difficult issues that many communities face. We will be moderating those discussions and reaching out to experts to come and speak on these topics. The first will be held on Jan. 23 and will focus on mental illness.

"While we will, of course, continue with our traditional programming, the new year will hold a lot of exciting new opportunities for us and the community. We always have things going on at the library. I would encourage the community to always check in on our social media and events calendar to see what we have coming up."

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com.

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