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Grant will create program between library, city parks

March 30, 2009
By MATTHEW WHITE, Staff Writer

SALEM -The Salem Public Library has received a grant that will allow it to bring a variety of services to the city's parks this summer, including kindergarten readiness instruction, early literacy training and lending out audio and print books, CDs and DVDs.

Library Director Brad Stephens said the $14,735 in federal money the library received through the Library Services and Technology Act Grant will be used to fund the materials, technology and modular classrooms that will be necessary to put together the summer program. The program is the first of its kind in Salem, combining the efforts of the library, the Salem City School District and the Salem Parks Department.

Stephens said the grant would fund 75 percent of the program while the library will pay the remaining 25 percent and that he officially received word Thursday when the State Library of Ohio, which distributes the funds, voted to approve the library's grant request.

Stephens emphasized that although some of the programming is geared toward children, the items available would interest everyone from children to seniors..

Salem Parks Director Steve Faber said one modular classroom will be located in Waterworth Memorial Park and another will be located in Centennial Park, although exact locations have not yet been chosen. He said he intends to firm up the locations sometime during the next week.

Stephens said each of the classrooms will be open two nights a week during afternoon or evening hours from June through August and that he expects to have nearly 1,200 items available for individuals to check out. The classrooms will be open on separate days, meaning four days a week a modular classroom will be open to the public.

Fact Box

WHAT: Vision for Veterans 5K race

WHEN: May 22, registration at 4:30 p.m.; kid's race 5:30 p.m.; one-mile fun walk 6:15 p.m.; evening walk 7 p.m.; and 5K evening run 7:15 p.m.

WHERE: Columbiana's Firestone Park and surrounding neighborhood; registration at Pavilion 4 and starting line at the track.

REGISTRATION: $15, $12 before May 16; $10 for kids run; contact Crystal Siembida at 330-831-0997 or Josh Boggs at 330-540-0097 or e-mail

He also said the Waterworth Memorial Park location will likely be open on Sunday evenings in conjunction with the summer concert series.

Faber said he was thrilled the library received the grant because it could bring people into Salem's park system that haven't been there in awhile.

"I hope people not only discover what the library has to offer but what's available to them in the park also," Faber said. "This is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the school system and the library."

Stephens said he was very pleased to be able to bring federal money into the community and that the grant would basically allow the library to open two new locations, even if they're only open throughout the summer.

"We're looking to reach a new audience. We want to bring the library to them," Stephens said. "We're making these reading tools as accessible as possible."

He also said kids attending the programs would receive free books and school supplies.

"We want to put books in their hands so they're ready when they reach kindergarten," he said.

Salem Superintendent Lou Ramunno said the program will complement what is already taking place within the school district and that it reinforces the partnership between the school system and the library.

"I think it's a great idea," he said. "It's perfect for us because it steps up our 12-month program, which focuses on learning in the summer."

Stephens said the library was one of 13 that received grant money in a competitive bidding process.

Matthew White may be contacted at



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