Library remains resourceful

Published 9:46 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Once again, the men and women of the Suffolk Public Library system provided their services to an eager audience on Saturday.

The library celebrated Women’s History Month at the North Suffolk Library with Women’s Fest, where local women young and old took in all of the available resources. They checked their health in a mammography van parked outside the library and perused through tons of vendors.

Female artists from Suffolk’s This and That art studio proudly displayed their work. Some of the younger women waited for their turns at the self-defense demonstrations, and the four women of The Storyweavers performed at the end of the day.

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“It’s inspiring to see female representation in the community,” Amy Brunson, a library employee, told Suffolk News-Herald reporter Kellie Lagoy on Saturday.

I’ve been covering events and programs held by the library since I started writing for the Suffolk News-Herald a little more than a year ago. My first published piece was about the library’s Family Fun Valentine’s Day back in February 2017.

It’s not easy to compete against everything else in Suffolk that’s vying for citizen attention. But Brunson, Angie Sumner, LaSandra Adams and all the others that work at North Suffolk, Morgan Memorial and Chuckatuck libraries are doing a pretty good job of reaching the people.

That was abundantly clear in January when about 300 such people descended on the ever-popular North Suffolk Library for “Engage Suffolk.” More than 30 local organizations and causes had tables inside.

“It’s to connect people to different organizations and causes, and also connect them to their neighbors and with somebody in Suffolk that they may not talk to every day,” Library Outreach and Program Services Manager Megan Mulvey told the Suffolk News-Herald.

That bustling Saturday was inspired by “Engage Norfolk” and was a great example of how our library staff are trying new things to engage the community and provide their services.

They’re a creative bunch, whether they’re collecting residents’ stories via microphone for their “Suffolk Speaks” oral history project, or partnering with Keep Suffolk Beautiful, the Suffolk Art League, the Suffolk Art Gallery and public-school students for a mosaic from tens of thousands of plastic bottle tops as a colorful warning against pollution.

My favorite library event I’ve covered, however, was one that spoke to my nerdy interests. Staff partnered with The Tidewater Alliance for the second annual IconiCon last April, a pop-culture convention with vendors, games, workshops, art and costume contests. There was no admission fee, and about 1,200 fans kept the North Suffolk Library busy.

“I think the plan is to continue it year after year,” Sumner said while wearing her best Clark Kent costume. “We had a lot of positive feedback this year, so we definitely hope to bring it back for year three.”

You better believe I’ll be at the library with my camera when it comes back this April. There are plenty of comic book-inspired reporters to cosplay.