DeWitt library encourages community discussion

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At the library, patrons expect walls of books and the librarian’s inevitable “Shh” when making the slightest bit of sound. The Dewitt District Library strays from the traditional library terms and encourages community interaction through their events.

Dewitt District Library. Photograph by Nina Felicidario

The library holds many events and programs tailored for all ages. Children, teens, adults and family events are open for attendance, however, according to Dewitt residents, not many are aware of this.

Program outreach coordinators Jacqueline Thompson and Susana Bogner

Susan Bogner and Jacqueline Thompson are the program and outreach coordinators at Dewitt District Library. Bognar concentrates on the adult services and Thompson works on the teen services.

Before Bogner and Thompson started working at the library, Teen Time was the only program provided to the community. 

“We definitely expanded on them quite a bit since we got here,” Thompson said.

According to Thompson’s records, last year, there were 97 teen programs with 650 total attendance. That is a 5% increase in attendance than the previous years.

Bogner and Thompson started working at the library about two years ago, and during that time programs as well as connections were formed.

Bogner built relationships with frequent event attendees in the community.

“People love Susan,” Thompson said, “People come in here and they ask about her or they want to talk to her about programs.”

Children and teen corner in the Dewitt District Library. Photograph by Nina Felicidario

Since she works with tweens and teens, Thompson gets to see children grow up and be a part of it. 

“I have a teen that came last year- he’s grown so much in maturity in a year span. It’s a proud teacher moment,” Thompson said.

“The goal of my program is to have somewhere for them to go,” Thompson said, “Something for them to do that is positive, engaging, entertaining, and educational.” 

Teen events are created with the intention of being an after school meeting place. It is conveniently by schools and the events take place 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

While providing events such as Movie Mondays, Thompson also incorporates educational components. This year, it is mental health awareness. During this program, teens become educated on the significantly rising issue and learning techniques through activities on how to self soothe. 

“It’s been a good year so far,” Thompson said, “The least amount of teens was 10 and the most is 26.”

Thompson and Bogner started this season by going to the local farmers market once a month just to get the word out about the library as well as what they’re doing to form a community and build connections.

“We always surprise people about how much more we offer as a library,” Thompson said. They’re working on getting the sign in front of the library to advertise their services on top of their digital footprints.

“Whenever we go out to the community we find at least one person who doesn’t know about what we do,” Bogner said.

Thompson said she wants to keep pushing and growing. 

“We are just bursting at the seams right now in terms of what we’re trying to offer to the community, and we want to do so much more,” Thompson said. The team collaborates constantly to come up with new ideas and they’re always three months ahead.

Inside the Dewitt District Library. Photograph by Nina Felicidario

Dewitt resident Michelle Adams said she loves her local library and the various community activities. There are events held Mondays through Fridays and the occasional Saturdays.

Anyone could sign up for events by phone, the library’s website, or just by coming in.  More information including a calendar with the event dates and times is provided on its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blog, and YouTube.  

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