The Dickinson Area Public Library is a community resource that has ingenuity within their events and activities to keep all ages within a book and their creativity sharp, whether getting people in the library or taking the library to people.
To accommodate the rural communities with access to the library's vast selection, they hit the road in the bookmobile. Since 1985, the Dickinson Public Library has been operating their own bookmobile to reach schools and even ranches.
“Some of these people are 50 to 60 miles away from a library and it's a big production for them to get to return books… we also service schools in the smaller towns and are able to supplement what they have to give them more books for their students to read,” Paul Amberg, outreach librarian, said. “Being able to come out to them with the bookmobile gives them the opportunity to get books more often.”
With the current bookmobile collecting 14,000 miles and making over 330 stops annually, it is ready for retirement and the library is hoping for local support from individuals and businesses to help replace it.
“We are currently fundraising for the next bookmobile ... we are wanting to add a lift, that will add expense to it but it will add a lot of functionality to it,” Rita Ennem, library director, said.” Our bookmobile doesn't seem to last as long as others, I know Bismarck just replaced theirs and it was just about 20 years old but they are not driving out on to ranch roads.”
In the past, a children librarian used to primarily focus on storytime for kids but have become much more -- especially at the Dickinson Area Public Library. Jade Praus, the children librarian, leads multiple events for kids throughout the year that is specific to age groups and their learning levels.
“I go all out for our different events because it's about the kids, to get into the library but to also show them the enjoyment of reading,” Praus said. “It's also about literacy development too because they see print concepts; how to turn pages in a book and it helps prepare them for school and preschool because they learn sitting for an extended period and that there are transitions and breaks.”
The library offers a winter and summer reading program that is available for all ages. The winter program will run until the end of the month that will be celebrated with cookies and cocoa social on March 6. Then the summer reading program runs from the beginning of June to the end of July. At the end of the summer programs, teens can earn a chance to be part of the all night lock-in at the library.
“We do have an adult reading program here too so anyone can sign up,” Praus said. “It is important for us to keep reading all ages, the experience of getting lost in a book is one of a kind. We are here for the public and the patrons of our community to provide that service.”
Both librarians, Caitlin Meyer and Paul Amberg, manage separate adult book clubs. Meyer’s book club is the traditional book club style, that meets in the Community Room at the library on the last Monday of each month. She also manages one of the library's STEAM programs, LEGO club.
“That is something that a lot of libraries are doing and so we want to incorporate more STEAM programs to give hands-on learning and those life skills that kids learn while playing,” Ennen said. “We do have a few small robots and things but Friends of the Library are working on raising funds, particularly for our Maker Space, hopefully one that is geared towards kids and another geared towards adults.”
Books and Brew, a program that is strictly for adults ages 21 and up is a newer addition to the programs. A book club that has the purpose to be more inclusive to free spirited adults over the age of 21, meets monthly at the DePorres House of Barbering and Lounge.
“A lot of people think book clubs are stuffy and that they have to be really knowledgeable about the book so I wanted to have a book club in a more laid back setting,” Amberg said. “Even if you haven't read the book, even if you just heard of it yesterday, show up, see if you like it.”
Prior to his employment at the Dickinson library, Amberg lived in Minot and had a similar type of book club. Because of its success, he wanted to make sure he brought this idea with him to cater to adults.
“Libraries are starting to try to take events out of the library to get people to come to the library hopefully in the future,” said Amberg.
From child learning to adult enthusiasm, The Dickinson Area Public Library yearns to continue being a source of knowledge, creativity and provide atmospheres for the community to socialize over a good book.