Two-year-old Cambree Martin ran a wooden caterpillar through one of the Maryville Public Library's new interactive wall toys as her mother Bobbi Martin stood nearby. The wall toy is just a small part of the $10,000 in additions the library introduced at on open house Thursday night.
The library received a $12,428 grant from the Gladys Rickard Charitable Trust in June as part of the $160,446 in grants the Trust awarded around Nodaway County. Gladys and Floyd Rickard owned a pharmacy in Hopkins, Mo., and left a charitable trust that has given $2.2 million to local organizations since 2004.
The open house was partly to celebrate the library building's 100th anniversary, but Stephanie Patterson, director of the library, said the improvements were the focus of the event.
“The really big thing is the Rickard grant,” Patterson said. “We wanted an event to celebrate all the improvements with that.”
So far the library has spent $10,000 to expand the children's, youth, and young adult reading areas. Additions include seating in the youth section, a microscope, felt story board, puppet theater, interactive globe, new children's books and children's audio books, wall-mounted activity boards, and a computer tablet, most of which were all unveiled Thursday.
The additions were to improve library services for all ages of youth.
“The ideas we had came from different areas,” Patterson said. “Elizabeth Argo (infant/toddler services coordinator) has been saying we need things to help kids with their fine motor skills; I wanted more pre-literacy things.”
Many of the items assist in a small child's development.
“Any time they use the fine muscles in their hands it gets them ready for school later on,” Argo said. “The felt board is more creative play, imagination.”
The open house followed the library's regular Book Nibblers event for families with children eight years and younger. People gathered in the youth section as Patterson and volunteer Sam Offutt, 7, cut a red ribbon to commemorate the event.
Patterson has plans for the remaining $2,000.
“We still need to spend $500 on books for young adult and things in young adult mostly,” Patterson said. “Some are for things we've purchased but want more of.”
Larry Anderson, president of the Library Board was on hand to view the additions to the library.
“I think they're fantastic,” he said. “Especially in the Youth Zone and the updates we've had on the paint and recent expansion.”
The Friends of the Public Library and Second Century Library Fund Foundation assisted the library in securing the grant, such as $1,000 in matching money donated by The Friends of the Library.
“They give us enough money to have matches for these grants,” Patterson said. “Their fundraising activities have allowed us to take advantage of grants.”
Volunteer painters from the First United Methodist Church, Diane Sudhoff of South House Design and Kenzie Martin also assisted in color and design consultation.
Page 2 of 2 - The response to the additions has been positive.
“We just put a lot out today,” Patterson said. “But I've had one mom already say, 'I love the new stuff.'”