From a makerspace to an early reading program for preschoolers, here’s a look at what’s new at the Denton Public Library
If you haven’t been to any of the three branches of the Denton Public Library recently, a lot has changed over the past few years. While books and periodicals are certainly still a top priority for the library, there is much more to see and do. From grab-and-go crafting kits to a makerspace to a seed library, the Denton Public Library has something for everyone.
The Forge Makerspace
One of the latest additions to the Denton Public Library system is a major overhaul of The Forge Makerspace in the library’s North Branch. While the library had a makerspace for about seven years, a $50,000 grant the library received from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) allowed them to move the makerspace to a larger room and purchase new equipment.
According to Kasey Fanucchi, assistant branch manager for the North Branch of the Denton Public Library, The Forge provides a wide variety of crafting, fabrication, and digital creation tools for the community to use for free. Equipment in The Forge ranges from button makers and Cricut makers, to 3D printers and a Glowforge Pro Laser Cutter that can cut and engrave a variety of materials including wood, leather, acrylic, and metal.
Additionally, The Forge offers electronics equipment like coding toys and soldering irons, computers loaded with digital creation software like Adobe Creative Cloud and iMovie, as well as programming software such as Python 3 and Visual Studio Core.
“This room provides the knowledge to innovate, the space to collaborate, and the tools to help you bring your ideas to life,” Fanucchi says. “We have seen a huge number of people coming in to make Christmas presents that are personalized, which has been really cool to see what people walk out with when they have this equipment at their fingertips. It’s been really amazing.”
The Forge has certain hours it is open for the public to walk in and use. However, if those hours do not work for you, Fanucchi says Denton community members can schedule an appointment through the library’s website to come into The Forge, and a library employee who is an expert in the equipment you want to use will be at your disposal.
And the library has a large variety of classes available for learning how to use The Forge, including how to solder, a Glowforge orientation for beginners, and a 3D printer orientation. And The Forge is not just for adults, Fanucchi adds. “Our 3D printer orientation and learn how to solder, those classes are for ages 8 and up, so kids can really come in and get started at an early age learning how to use this tech equipment,” she says.
Speaking of kids, also earlier this year the Denton Public Library launched their 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. According to Fanucchi, the program is open to all children from birth until they start kindergarten. Parents sign up online or at a library branch and track the books they read to their young children
“For just 15 minutes a day, that’s what you’re shooting for,” Fanucchi explains. “Even if you can just read one book a day, that’s still building future school and life skills. It’s to build vocabulary and language skills and pre-literacy skills. And then it’s also the goal to get families to read together.”
As the parents track their read books, for every 250-book milestone their child receives a prize. Fanucchi says they already have a few children who have read their 1,000 books and received their final prize and certificate of completion. “And we’re going to be holding a graduation ceremony when we get enough kids who have completed it,” she adds. “That will help them feel accomplished and like they really did something awesome.”
And for kids — and adults — of all ages, Fanucchi says the library’s Summer Reading Program is a great way to keep motivated to read more. And she urges everyone to sign up for the library’s Winter Reading Resolution, which each year runs from January 1st until the last day of February. Signs-up will open in mid-December on the library website.
“The goal of (the Winter Reading Resolution) program is to encourage everyone to start the year off right and read more,” Fanucchi says. Through this program, she explains each reader gets to pick a specific goal — such as to read 10 books during the challenge. And she says every participant who reads at least three books during the challenge gets a virtual certificate and is entered into a drawing for a prize bag full of Denton Public Library swag.
More Than Just Books
Obviously, programming is a huge part of the Denton Public Library experience. According to Fanucchi, the library system provides over 300 programs a season during its three seasons throughout the year. For each season, the library publishes a full-color booklet of all the programming scheduled for that season — community members can pick the booklets up at each branch or download one in the Classes & Events section of the library’s website. The January-April 2022 season booklet will be available by January 1, 2022.
Additionally, Fanucchi advises using the library’s online events calendar to easily search for programs by branch location, age, and topic.
One program that will be part of the programming for the January-April season is the library’s Grab-and-Go kits. “(Those) started during COVID — people would come to our drive-thru and they would be able to pick up take-home craft kits,” Fanucchi explains. “It was such a huge hit that we started doing that regularly.”
Some of the Grab-and-Go kits the library plans for 2022 include a journaling kit for adults, a sewing kit for kids, a Valentine’s Day craft, a bird feeder kit for children, and a Dungeons & Dragons beginner kit for teens. Fanucchi says the pick-up days for each Grab-and-Go kit will be announced in the programming booklet and as supply is limited, she advises library patrons to come as early as possible to pick up a kit.
And if gardening is more of your interest, on Earth Day 2022 the Emily Fowler Central Library will be providing instructions and supplies to create a seed bomb. That’s in addition to the seed library located at the Fowler branch where community members can pick up seeds to grow in their home gardens. This past spring, the seed library offered Native Texas wildflower seeds, as well as seeds for growing beans, jalapenos, and more.
No matter where your interests lie, for Detonites who have not been to the Denton Public Library in a while, Fanucchi urges them to do so soon. “Just come in during our open hours, look around, and talk to the staff because we have so many things going on that people don’t realize that we have,” she says. “We love to see the community come into our buildings and just help them with whatever we can.”
There are three branches of the Denton Public Library:
- Emily Fowler Central Library, 502 Oakland St.
- North Branch, 3020 N Locust St.
- South Branch, 3228 Teasley Ln.
For hours, programming, and volunteering information for all of the library’s three branches, visit library.cityofdenton.com.