Library summer reading program kids work to ‘Build a Better World’

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The Concordia branch of Trails Regional Library got some young readers outside to paint a mural of how they see Concordia on the north side of Britt’s Central Drug Store.
(Bob Stewart/The Concordian)

Have you ever wondered what Concordia looks like through the eyes of the community’s children? You’ll soon have the chance to find out. Participants in the summer reading program at Trails Regional Library in Concordia are spending their Thursday mornings painting a mural on the north-facing wall of Britt’s Central Drug Store, located at 728 S. Main St. in Concordia. According to Library Branch Manager Debbie Kirchhoff, the theme for this year’s reading program is “Build a Better World.”

“In the fall of each year, the library begins planning for the next summer,” Kirchhoff said. “Trails Regional Library participates in the Collaborative Summer Library Program, which develops a common theme for summer reading programs throughout the country. This year’s theme is Build a Better World, so I began thinking about inter-generational projects the library could sponsor to help build community.”

Kirchhoff said she then began researching ideas for collaborative art projects and was drawn to the idea of an outdoor mural.

“One of our staff members, Michelle Trent, has experience in mural painting, so we did some brainstorming and came up with an idea for a stylized representation of Concordia, the town, as seen by children.”

She then spoke to Britt Hasselbring about painting the side of the Britt’s Central Drug Store building, because there has been some graffiti there, and he agreed to the idea and the tentative design.

The library then applied, and received, a Thrivent Action Team grant to purchase the painting supplies for this downtown beautification project, which would involve multiple age groups working together. In addition, she said the timing for the project has been great since the Concordia Branch library building was going to be undergoing renovation throughout the summer.

“It’s nice for the kids to feel like they are a part of making a difference in town,” she said. “One of the little guys said ‘You’re gonna let me help?’ He was just very excited about being part of what we are doing. We hope other children will get involved in the project as the summer moves along. We will be working on the project each Thursday, weather permitting, from 10 a.m. until noon, until the project is complete. Response so far has been very encouraging with painters as young as 3 years old up to grandparent age.”

The Concordia Branch of Trails Regional Library also will be hosting a fundraiser in Concordia’s Central Park on Friday, June 23. Plowboys BBQ will cater the event. Dinner will begin at 5 p.m., and the library hopes to continue serving until they run out of food. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward purchasing furnishings after the library moves back into the renovated space.

“The budget for renovation did not quite stretch that far,” Kirchhoff said. “The wish list includes study tables and chairs, comfortable seating, and a bit of new shelving in the children’s area. In addition, my office will get smaller to accommodate the bigger restroom and my current desk will not fit, so I will be needing a new smaller one.”

For more information, contact Kirchhoff at 660-463-2277.

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