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The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Art and Literacy Go Hand-in-Hand at the Library

The Springfield Regional Arts Council recently paid the library a supreme compliment with an Ozzie Award for its regional impact on the arts. The council recognized the library as both a workshop and public stage for arts education, expression and performance for all ages.

We hope you’ve sampled some of the offerings: Sunday Concert Series at the Library Center and Bluegrass in the Park outside the Fair Grove Branch. Partnering with First Friday Art Walk, the Park Central Branch combines music and art lectures for “First Friday Art Talk.”

Art is an entry point for children learning to read, and librarians make the most of that with crafts, song and dance during story times. Yes – art is not only messy, it’s noisy! The Library Station last year brought a free family concert to Robberson Elementary with kids’ rap group Koo Koo Kanga Roo and world renowned Harry and the Potters. It rocked.

The library is also a comfortable setting for teens and adults who are unlikely – or unable – to enroll in formal instruction elsewhere. At several branches through the year, they can sample classes such as do-it-yourself wall art, screen printing or photography at no cost. Often, materials are furnished.

Such programs also provide artists/instructors better exposure in the community. Emerging artists as well as veteran performers have the chance to introduce new audiences to their music. Five branches feature monthly art and photo exhibits, while the Between Friends Gift Shops are sales outlets for local and regional artists.

As library Executive Director Regina Cooper said at the awards event, the library’s traditional emphasis has been on literacy – reading and writing. But those who think a public library is simply a repository of books haven’t been to the public library lately. The staff strives to find ways to bring the arts alive within our library walls.

This week enjoy some of these art events:

Keep watching for other arts partnerships. We’ve got big plans.

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