The blog this week was written by Marsha Meyer from the Portage District Library. The Portage District Library has been an active member of the Connect Kalamazoo network and has appreciated a partnership with The Arcadia Institute for a number of years. Through this partnership the library and the community have benefited from art exhibits by talented, innovative an artist with a disability. Through our connection with The Arcadia Institute and Deborah Warfield, Community Broker, we have been able to connect students to a poet and mentor. Because of our partnership with The Arcadia Institute, we were very pleased to be introduced to Cody, a student with a hearing disability who delighted an audience at a poetry reading during the 2014 Kalamazoo Poetry Festival by “signing” his poetry. Hopefully that experience has encouraged him to continue writing and performing his poetry. We plan to invite Cody to the next Kalamazoo Poetry Festival.
Portage District Library has had the distinct advantage of enjoying the valuable assistance of many different volunteers, including those with special needs. They perform a variety of helpful volunteer duties around the library, including: shelving books, sorting newspapers, straightening shelves, organizing papers and undertaking other useful tasks. The best thing they do for us, however, is to brighten our days with their smiles, enthusiasm and desire to help in any way they possibly can. We have also enjoyed meeting their families and building long-lasting relationships with them.
The library’s partnership with The Arcadia Institute has enriched our connection to area social service organizations and their clients. For example, it enabled us to be introduced to a wonderful interpreter for the hearing impaired, Jamie Rix, who signed at several poetry readings during the 2014 Kalamazoo Poetry Festival. This definitely made these wonderful poetry events equally accessible to the hearing impaired population in our community. Likewise, through our affiliation with The Arcadia Institute, many of their clients have now been made aware of our library resources. Because of our collaborations with The Arcadia Institute, we have met talented artists, poets and valuable volunteers who are on their way to identifying and accomplishing their dreams and goals. Our hope is that they will continue to visit the Portage District Library as a desired destination, and share their talents and skills with all of us and our library users in and around the Portage community. The continued partnership between the Portage District Library and The Arcadia Institute will evolve into many new fulfilling relationships for the people in our communities, particularly those with special needs.
We look forward to many more years of working together and sharing resources with The Arcadia Institute.