Generous foundations and donors have given Sandusky Library close to a quarter million dollars, money the library will use to provide new programs and services for all ages.
The funds will be used for a new preschool center to help kids learn to read, a new digital production studio to allow patrons to bring out their creative side and, possibly, enhancements to the library’s reference services, said Julie Brooks, the library director.
• A collective $100,000 from the Randolph J. and Estelle M. Dorn Foundation, the Frost-Parker Foundation, the Sam S. and Rose Stein Foundation and the Erie County Foundations’ Council of the Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation to help “tomorrow’s readers” with the preschool center.
• A donation from the Norbert A. Lange and Marion Cleaveland Lange Trust for the new digital studio. The library did not announce the size of the donation, but Brooks said it was close to $100,000.
• A $50,000 memorial from Martha Hay Deegan, in memory of her parents, John W. and June R. Hay, to the Sandusky Library and Follett House Museum Foundation.
The preschool center, aimed at developing early literacy skills, will open next year in the children’s area.
It will provide a place for parents to help their children with activities the American Library Association has identified as useful in getting kids ready to read: talking, singing, reading, writing and playing.
The library plans to host workshops for parents and is working with local social service agencies.
“Healthy children are more ready to learn to read,” Brooks said.
The library even plans to provide transportation vouchers to help parents get their kids to the library.
“It’s kind of a holistic approach,” Brooks said.
The new digital media studio will be in the lower level of the library. It will be equipped with Macintosh computers and audio and digital equipment, and will also be soundproofed so budding productions won’t disturb other library patrons. It’s also slated to open next year.
It will allow local residents to make videos, music and graphic designs. Examples of possible projects offered by library staff include short films, oral histories and conversions of home movies into a digital format. Terra State Community College will help the library by supplying interns to provide technical support.
The library has not decided how to use the $50,000 provided by Deegan, but it likely will use the money to augment the reference desk, which Deegan’s mother frequently contacted.
Deegan wrote to the library, “Mrs. Hay, a former English teacher at Sandusky High School, was a lifetime learner. She loved libraries in general, and the Sandusky Library in particular. She was a member of the Library’s book discussion group for many years and was on a first-name basis with the Reference staff, calling frequently for assistance when her eyesight failed her.”
“We were sort of her Google,” Brooks said.