“The public library is where place and possibility meet,” writer Stuart Dybek once said.
For Muffie Beato, newly appointed adult program coordinator at the Palmyra Community Library, the quote sums up what the library’s new adult program expansion is all about.
A compliment to the children’s program and the popular Friends of the Library book review luncheon, the library is now offering a variety of programs geared toward adults. Headed by Beato, the expanded services meet the library’s mission to serve people of all ages.
The library held a focus group meeting in the fall to find out what community members would like to see happen in Palmyra in the next few years and how the library could play a role, Library Director Patricia Baynes said.
The focus group pointed to a need for more programs that would appeal to adults of all ages. With so much more space available in the new building, Beato said they are able to widen offerings to the growing adult program.
Survey results helped Beato determine what the community wanted, including times and dates that worked best to offer programs. Among the ideas offered, residents would like to see programs on genealogy, computer skills, photography, gardening and a movies series.
“The group strongly recommended that there be more outreach to adults with library programs that offered opportunities for learning, creativity and artistic expression,” Baynes said. “As a result, the library board voted that one of the roles of the library would be as place of lifelong learning where people can gather to explore topics of personal interest and continue to learn and grow throughout their lives.”
The library has renovated a large meeting room in the lower level that offers plenty of space for programs. Beato said she already has several programs lined up. The library has already offered a defensive driving course, tax preparation sessions through Wayne CAP, a garden designs class taught by a master gardener and a Food for Fines event. Beato said the Food for Fines was a success, forgiving $100 in late book fees through the donation of a non-perishable food item for the Palmyra Macedon Farmington Food Pantry. The community’s generosity shined through, however, and several people came in just donate food to the cause, Beato said.
The library is now offering Saturday Studio, an art workshop cosponsored by the Stillwood Study Center, where adults can learn more about creating art under the helpful eye of instructor Alan Stewart. Saturday Studio programs are held the first Saturday of each month, and the $10 fee covers all materials provided.
Every Friday morning through May 17, the library hosts Wayne CAP’s Living Healthy workshops. Beato said she is initiating a summer reading program for adults this year as well. Where the children’s theme is “Dig into Reading,” the adult’s theme will be “Groundbreaking Reads.”
Page 2 of 2 - “Muffie is the perfect person to coordinate the adult programs,” Baynes said. “She enjoys planning events and possesses excellent organizational skills, which I saw in action when she helped plan the library's murder-mystery dinner.”
Beato is always looking for new ideas for programs. She has several concepts in the planning stages. Among those, she hopes to set up a computer learning series to teach basic skills, insight into the multitude of gadgets out there and a session that explains just what “the cloud” is. She is working on a movie series geared toward adults and a “Downton Abby” event, which the library will partner with PBS and Writers and Books to put together, Beato said.
Another concept Beato is exploring is a seed library, where residents could come in, pick up a packet of seeds and plant them. At the end of the season, those participating need only bring back some seeds to replenish the seed library. Beato said she is working with an organic farmer to develop the concept.
“We have always had a phenomenal kids program, and the Friends have been incredible with their bake sales, book sales and book reviews,” Beato said. “We are just so excited to be able to expand on that, to offer a variety for all ages.”
Beato said she is always looking for new ideas for the adult programming. Stop in to the library at 402 E. Main St. or call 597-5276.