John Nalan

Everybody needs a good library. Veterans and service members are no exception. They can find reliable information, books to read for enjoyment, internet access for finding jobs and benefits, as well as audible books and ebooks at the library. Places like the Grand Rapids Area Library make a difference in the lives of veterans on a daily basis. I was speaking with a disabled veteran at our reference desk last month and he told me he was not sure what he would do without the library. It was that important to him.

There are times, however, when veterans may have unique library needs that require a special library. The Veterans Health Library is just one example. It is a great resource for health information. It has health sheets and informational videos on a seemingly endless supply of health topics. This library covers topics including various medical tests, medications, diseases, and mental health. People can access this helpful health information on the internet at the veteranshealthlibrary.va.gov website. Since we have public internet computers, printers, and Wi-Fi available here at our library, you can visit the website either here or in the comfort of your home.

Our active duty military and their families also benefit from having access to the library. However, unlike veterans, they often have no access to traditional public libraries. Whether they are stationed overseas or serving aboard ships, the government provides library access. A military library looks and feels a lot like our library. Traditional books are available for soldiers and sailors as well as ebooks, magazines, DVDs, and audio books. In combat zones, the unit chaplain will often deliver library items when they visit.

For families and Department of Defense civilians overseas, the military libraries in places like Hohenfels, Germany and Okinawa in the Pacific would seem like familiar places to those of us from Itasca County. Saturday story time for the kids, online tutoring for the school aged set, and evening programs for curious adults are as much a part of those libraries as they are here at the Grand Rapids Area Library.

The idea that we provide quality library services to the military volunteers we send overseas to protect our first amendment only makes sense.

I have plans to go to one of the many Veterans Day celebrations in town tomorrow. The library will be closed for staff to attend a ceremony, so I would not miss the honor of attending one. To all of our veterans, I say thank you. For everyone, I hope you enjoy your Veterans Day.

Coming Up @ your Library

World War I: Lessons and Legacies. This traveling Smithsonian exhibit explores the history of the war and its lasting impact on American life. The display highlights how World War I gave rise to significant and enduring changes in America. The poster exhibit is provided courtesy of the Smithsonian and will be on display at our library starting November 18 through mid-December.

Nov. 11, No Book Time today because the library is closed for Veterans Day.

November 12, Truth in Ten, presentation and discussion by the Climate Reality Project 6 p.m. Tim Scherkenbach will facilitate a multi-media presentation on climate change that will focus on these three questions. Must we change, can we change, and will we change?

Nov. 12 Artastic with Amanda 3:30 p.m. Join us as we create nature-inspired feather paintings. Everyone is welcome, just pre-register by calling our Children’s Desk or stopping in.

Nov. 13, Library Board Meeting 6 p.m. The board meets monthly in the Riverview Room at the library. All meetings are open to the public.

Nov. 16, Saturday Story Time 10:15 or 11:15, Join us in the Story Circle for books and songs. Then move to the Community Room for a snack, a craft, and time to play and visit. Families may earn one Baby Steps coupon for attending Story Time.

Save the Date! On Nov. 9 our Friends of the Library volunteer group is planning a Holiday Book Boutique until 2 p.m. here at the Grand Rapids Area Library. You will find nearly new books with an emphasis on holiday and children’s items, baked goods and a prize drawing. See you there.

Fine Free Fridays in November. As a convenience to all of you, we are not charging a late fee for anything returned on a Friday in November. Also, if you do have some fines built up on your library card, bring in a non-perishable food item on one of the five Fridays in November and we will give you $5 credit. Donations will be brought to the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank.

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