Royal Oak Tribune

Public library gets artsy with NEA grant

- By Mike McConnell mmcconnell@medianewsg­ @mmcconnell­01 on Twitter

A new grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will allow the Royal Oak Library to get equipment to create an artmakers space.

“We’re renovating the library and creating space for it” on the first floor, said Library Director Emily Dumas. “The renovation­s will start next year and take a couple of months.”

The grant from the NEA is for $10,000 and matches $10,000 worth of library employee hours that will go into the arts-based makerspace.

The project fits in with a science-based makerspace that will be included as part of an upcom

ing $627,000 renovation project at the library.

The NEA is committed to ensuring people nationwide have access to the arts, from rural to urban areas, said Mary Anne Carter, arts endowment chairwoman for the NEA, in a statement.

“We are proud to support organizati­ons such as the Royal Oak Public Library that are providing opportunit­ies for more people to experience and engage in the arts in their communitie­s,” she said.

Art makers will have access to everything from a

sewing machine to music production software and the ability to convert vinyl recordings to an mp3 format, Dumas said.

Other art equipment and supplies will include clay materials, knitting kits, canvas boards, printmakin­g material, and photograph­ic items such as a camcorder, Fuji Instant Camera, green screen, photoshop and a photo printer

The art items will complement technical things such as a 3D printer the library will include in its upcoming science makerspace.

“Part of the maker movement is all about creativity and creation,” Dumas said. “With this ( NEA) grant I think we have the art side covered.”

All age groups will be encouraged to use the art and science makers area coming to the library.

Library staff members plan to run a series of programs for art and science projects.

“We’ll have stuff for kids and adults,” Dumas said. “Our hope is to begin using the makerspace next summer.”

Dumas credited Youth Librarian Emily Crosby for successful­ly working to get the NEA grant.

The library has remained closed to the public since mid March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When it is allowed to reopen will depend on how and when the pandemic is brought under control in the com

ing months.

Library employees have adapted and still provide services to the community with curbside delivery of library materials and access to a variety of online programs for tutoring, job seeking and Scholastic Teachables printable worksheets for children doing distance learning or home schooling.

Patrons can also get items from the “Library of Things,” which circulates electronic­s, household gadgets, tools, toys, musical instrument­s and other items.

“Even though there are bad circumstan­ces with the pandemic, we really have a positive growth mindset,” Dumas said, “and continue to add new services.”

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