Delaware County District Library’s year in review

Happy 2023! I hope your holiday celebrations last month were full of love and laughter, and maybe a book or two. I took the opportunity at the end of the year to polish off my reading goals for 2022 and finish several books that had been sitting on my end table.

We had such a fun year at the Delaware County District Library in 2022. While our printed annual report to the community won’t be ready for several months, reading today’s column should give you a glimpse at some things that were new and exciting to our branches last year.

In January, we were honored to host the traveling panel exhibition “Telling A People’s Story: African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature.” The panels showcased 130 pieces of art over 50 years celebrating African-American children’s literature. Artist R. Gregory Christie visited the library for a series of programs and an “exhibition walk.”

Later in January, the DCDL Maker Studio debuted a new program called the Maker Studio Passport, which was created to help users learn the various machines in the space and become masters of each. Users who filled the entire passport with their experiences and accomplishments earned the final “prize” of creating their own Golden Library Card.

A brand new service that started in February 2022 was the introduction of Culture Passes to the Delaware County District Library cardholders. What began with member-for-a-day passes to the Columbus Museum of Art in February expanded to include the Franklin Park Conservatory and the Central Ohio Symphony by the start of the 2022-2023 school year. Each pass is unique in its availability and how it can be checked out, but all are guaranteed to provide our cardholders with a unique experience at a renowned cultural institution in central Ohio.

Perhaps while you were visiting the library in 2022, you met the newest member of the DCDL team – Percival the Unicorn. The new mascot Percival, or Percy as we like to call him, was introduced to the community in the spring through the “Check it Out” newsletter. He was warmly welcomed with many hugs, “hoof” bumps, and smiles from those who met him. Percy is all about creating magic wherever he goes, and his visits are almost always a surprise. Did you know Percy even has his own newsletter? Join the mailing list at www.delawarelibrary.org/unicorn.

The library was the recipient of a Delaware Public Health District mini-grant in April thanks to the Creating Healthy Communities Mini-Grant program. The funds allowed DCDL to partner with Preservation Parks of Delaware County to create a new StoryWalk® trail that was installed at Hickory Woods Park. Other StoryWalk trails continued at each of the DCDL locations, with stories changing on a regular basis.

Two of our signature events at the library were bigger than ever with their first return to in-person celebrations since 2019. The Medieval Faire in June and the Great GeekFest in October brought hundreds of individuals to the Ostrander Branch and Delaware Main libraries to celebrate history, pop culture and all things “geeky” in their favorite place for fandoms – the library!

The reading challenges we brought to the community in 2022 were accepted with vigor! Both the Summer Reading Club and the Winter Reading Club saw record numbers. We definitely know that we’re part of a community of readers here in Delaware County.

September brought a month of transition to the Delaware County District Library as we thanked retiring Director George Needham for 50 years of service to the public library institution and welcomed Bryan Howard as the new DCDL director. Bryan joins DCDL with many years of service already under his belt and experience directing the London Public Library and New Carlisle Public Library in Ohio.

One of the biggest undertakings of the year was the return of author visits to the library. Many plans had been laid in 2019 and 2020 to bring a series of authors to DCDL. Of course, those visits couldn’t come to fruition immediately. So after a series of delays, 2022 was our biggest year of author visits yet. DCDL cardholders had the opportunity to meet Sara Nisha Adams (“The Reading List”), Terri Libenson (“Emmie & Friends”), William Kent Krueger (“Ordinary Grace”), Sarah Vowell (“Assassination Vacation”), Damon Mosley (“Smile for We”), Felicia Day (“You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost”), and Tommy Orange (“There There”) over the course of the year.

The construction of the Liberty Branch Library never ceased over the course of the year. While we didn’t have the grand opening celebration we were hoping for in 2022, we did see the project move forward by leaps and bounds. Allow me to offer a small “stay tuned” tease in hopes that we’ll have an update on the construction headway in the coming weeks.

Of course, outside of all the events and hullabaloo I’ve highlighted here, the DCDL staff continued to work hard every day to bring our patrons top-notch customer service, exciting reading recommendations, early literacy-building storytimes, and a friendly and safe space to call your “community living room.”

As always, thank you for being a loyal reader of this “Glad You Asked” column and user of the Delaware County District Library system. I hope to see you in the stacks in 2023!

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By Nicole Fowles

Glad You Asked

If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!