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Literacy at Long Lake gets a boost with grant money

ST. AGATHA, Maine — Thanks to an $1,800 grant composed of funds from people who chose to donate money from their tax refunds, the Long Lake Public Library is able to continue programs for children in the area.

The money is collected to help libraries throughout Maine, according to Librarian Jenna St. Onge, and each library can apply for the grant every two years. St. Onge said she heard about the grant through the Maine State Library, and while they had never applied for the grant before, they wanted to give it a shot.

“I figured it was the perfect time to get supplies for all the activities that I had planned,” St. Onge said.

St. Onge bought arts and craft supplies for the monthly story hour, which averages 15-20 people each month. The money also went toward buying STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, kits as well as Legos for the two-week STEM and Lego club she started this summer.

“I am also going to be using Legos for a monthly Lego Family Night, where families will be coming in to the library, receiving a building challenge, and work as a family to build what is being asked of them,” she said. “For example, for the Lego club they were given a plastic bag, four pieces of yarn, and legos. They were told to create a parachute, a spacecraft and a landing pad. They needed to create a spacecraft out of Legos that would be dropped from up high that would not break when it landed.”

St. Onge said families will come in and get the same type of challenges and will then share their work with the other families at the event.

She also bought foam, wooden, mega, and duplo blocks for the younger children who want to be part of Lego Family nights, as well as supplies for sensory activities.

“I use sensory activities weekly for the children who come in every Tuesday with our local recreation department. They have sand play, water play, Playdoh, and so much more.”

Every weekday, the Library has an activity going on for families to come in and enjoy anytime between 8:30 a.m. and noon. One day could be finger painting, another might be water beads, and one day could be building blocks, according to St. Onge.

“I have had such a great response from families all around with all the activities that I have been able to do, due to this grant,” she said. “My goal when writing this grant was to get families together. To give young children a place to meet, learn, play, and socialize. I also hope to give children a love for the Library, as well as get parents back to the libraries. It really is all about community. We hear people say there is nothing to do around here, so my goal is to change that one activity at a time.”

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