La Cygne library installs StoryWalk, outdoor instruments, memory lab with grants

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

A young visitor takes a turn on the Percussion Play xylophone, one of the new installations by the La Cygne library. (Photo by Janet Reynolds)

LA CYNGE – Most people think that everything that happens in a library happens, well…, inside the library. But two recent outside installations at the La Cygne Library (Linn County Library District No. 2) have expanded its services outside the walls.

The library received grants that provided outdoor musical instruments along the sidewalk leading up to the former entrance to the library. And a StoryWallk, with a story on displays along a sidewalk in La Cygne Park, will be enjoyed by parents and children alike.

In addition, Heartland Cooperative recently gave the library another donation to create a memory project that will allow the library to purchase equipment to help patrons put items that might normally go into a scrapbook into digital form to be enjoyed on their computer.

As part of the pandemic-related American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the State Library of Kansas received a grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services to give libraries throughout the state money to develop projects that could be used outside the library walls.

The staff at La Cygne Library applied for – and received – grant funds to purchase Percussion Play equipment. Made by an company in Great Britain, the Percussion Play instruments are manufactured to withstand the elements and include chimes, xylophones, and drums.

One of the xylophones has an all-weather music “book” that gives the musician color-coded instructions on how select favorite tunes.

Anyone can stop by to play, whether it’s a child ringing chimes on his or her way home from school or an adult picking up a mallet or beating on a drum to see what it’s all about.

Library Director Chris Waddell installs pages for the StoryWalk at La Cygne Park. (Photo by Janet Reynolds)

Janet Reynolds, one of the librarians, said that in applying for the grant money, they hoped to complete funding for the StoryWalk, for which the staff was already working to raise funds, and find a complementary outside activity for the library grounds.

The StoryWalk is a set of 20 protective signs that are secured on posts along a stretch of sidewalk near the east shelter in La Cygne Park. The plan is that each month the library staff will go out to the park and put a new story for children in the signs for families to read together as they walk along.

Reynolds said the library unfortunately will be forced to tear up books to put the stories in the signs. She also said they had hoped to install both the Percussion Play and StoryWalk equipment before the weather turned colder.

The library also received $5,000 on Nov. 5 from Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative Inc. to install a memory lab. The memory lab will include equipment for creating digital copies of physical media such as photos, VHS tapes, and cassettes.

With the grant the library will be purchasing a document scanning system, a flatbed scanner, a VHS cassette adapter, a DVD player, a video cassette recorder, a wireless turntable with USB, 8 mm & Super 8 reels to digital movie maker, a digital film and slide scanner, and assorted software to make it all work.

The grant was a portion of the cooperative’s $36,000 in awards for its Concern for Community grant program.

“I often say that we’re not in the business of selling electricity, we’re in the business of powering rural lifestyles,” said Mark Scheibe, Heartland CEO. “Part of that is supporting the communities our consumer-members live in and around. This grant program is a great way to do just that.”

The Concern for Community program provides grants of up to $5,000 for capital improvement projects throughout the Heartland service area, which covers parts of 12 counties in eastern Kansas.

Doug Graham from Heartland Rural Electric, from left, presents a check to librarian Janet Reynolds and Debi Doering, Linn County Library District No. 2 board member. The money will be used to install a memory lab in the library.

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