Your Impact

Children’s Literacy

Craft Around the World

Craft Around the World

Friends’ funds were used to purchase craft supplies for a new summer program called “Craft Around the World.” This program met during June & July. Each week staff shared stories and facts from different countries. Following Storytime, patrons made crafts from/inspired by the country of the week. June countries included Mongolia, India, and Japan.

Teen and Tween Engagement

Teen Crafting Corner

Teens participated in APL’s drop-in craft program series at the Kensington location. In one session they learned the history and art of pointillism art and practiced their skills with acrylic paints, cotton swabs and paper. In other sessions, they created bracelets and festive fairy light jars. Each teen created unique and fun designs and was eager to take their projects home and share with family! Friends’ funds supported the program supplies.


Teen Ambassador Program (TAP)

Teen Services continues the exciting monthly Teen Ambassador Program (TAP) for teens (ages 13-17) interested in making a positive difference at APL and in the community. Meetings included discussions and guest speakers sharing opportunities for teen engagement, volunteerism, and employment, prompting TAP members to speak at a City Council meeting, join a teen-led housing coalition, and secure library employment. TAP members’ contributions were recognized in a team building holiday celebration. Friends’ funds supported program supplies, thank you gifts for participants, and refreshments.

Adult Programs and Classes

Tales and Travels

Tales and Travels participants “traveled the world” in the bi-weekly series in partnership with Fox Valley Memory Project, wrapping up the 2022 sessions in November. This quarter, we explored history, food, art, and cultures of Italy and Poland, as well as explored stories of “home”. The second session of each month is hosted by APL’s former Artist-in-Residence, Elyse Krista-Miche, who leads the group in an art project specific to the destination. Fox Valley Memory Project is sponsoring this program in 2023 in response to numerous participant requests. Friends’ funds were used for program supplies and the artist honorarium for this program.

Native American Heritage Month: No More Stolen Children

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, Heather Bruegl, a decolonial art and education expert, presented “No More Stolen Children: A history of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the fight to save it,” an overview of how the ICWA came into existence and the potential impact of the current Supreme Court case on tribal sovereignty. We worked in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UWO)-Fox Valley Student Center and Diversity Office to host the speaker virtually for an in-person group of attendees at the UWO-Fox Valley campus. We heard from the University staff and students how meaningful the program was and how much they appreciated the partnership and programming. Attendees stated they knew little about this topic and appreciated the information. Friends’ funds provided the honorarium for this presenter.

Find Your Ancestors: Researching Native American Ancestors

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, the Find Your Ancestors presentation for November was “Sources and Methods for Researching Native American Ancestors” presented by Paula Stuart-Warren, internationally recognized genealogical educator, researcher and consultant. Paula covered a wide range of resources in her two-hour presentation, ranging from the obvious census records to the hard-to-find private sources and manuscripts that may be in archives or libraries. In addition to sharing the resources, she also shared the historical context around the records, such as Indian school records, so researchers could look at them with an understanding of the time period in which they were created. One attendee said the presentation was “very thorough and filled with excellent sources and research tips.” Friends provided financial support for this series and an honorarium for this speaker.

Find Your Ancestors: Identifying and Interpreting Historic Photos

In October, the Find Your Ancestors series hosted Tina Beaird, owner of Tamarack Genealogy and Genealogy/Local History Librarian at Plainfield Area Public Library in Plainfield, Illinois, to discuss identifying and interpreting historic photos. Tina talked the nearly 200 attendees through how to spot the details in historic photos and use these details to learn more about the photographs. She also discussed photo themes, trends, props, backgrounds, and eras, and how to use this information to identify and date photos or to learn more about photos that may feature our ancestors. One attendee said the program was, “Very informative. I didn’t really think to look at old photographs with such a detective eye.” Friends provided financial support for this series and an honorarium for this speaker.

Find Your Ancestors: DNA Workshop

The Find Your Ancestors series wrapped up a great 2022 season with two back-to-back presentations on DNA from Diahan Southard, Founder of Your DNA Guide. Diahan presented: “Five Tips to Make Sense of Your DNA Testing” and “Find Missing Ancestors Using DNA Testing: An Introduction for Genealogists.” During the sessions, she walked attendees through how to get the most out of your autosomal DNA testing, reviewing testing options, tools to understand your DNA results and matches, and how to use your DNA results and genealogy research to locate unknown ancestors. One attendee said this was “The best presentation on this topic I’ve heard. Lightbulbs finally went off!” Friends provided financial support for this series and an honorarium for this speaker.

tech help

Computer Help 1:1 Sessions

Computer Help is an in-person, one-to-one, drop-in and appointment service for up to two hours with library staff or volunteer to assist patrons with general computer and technology use. The goal is to reduce the digital divide and improve digital literacy for individuals with limited access and information on how to use technology. Friends funds the position of the library assistant coordinating this service.

Books and Brews

Books and Brews

With the purpose of connecting patrons to more books and to each other, we created a casual book club – all the inspiration without the assigned homework. This monthly program that started in December pops up at different local establishments that ‘brew’ to discuss books we have read or are excited to read. Our sites include ACOCA Coffee, McFleshman’s Brewery, Lawlss Coffee, and Stone Arch Brewpub. Business owners have been incredibly welcoming, and attendees have been excited to visit new-to-them spaces, meet new people, and be inspired with a great list of books to add to their TBR (to-be-read) pile! Friends’ funds support light refreshments from the small business offering space for the program.

Arts & Culture

Hmong American Day Art Contest

In honor of Hmong American Day, APL staff created a Hmong art contest opportunity for Hmong students from the Fox Valley to participate. We asked middle and high school artists of all skill levels to submit Hmong artwork to celebrate Hmong American Day. The artwork was showcased in the library along with materials from the Hmong Resource Collection. Patrons appreciated seeing the artwork from the students and the Hmong display. Friends’ funds were used to purchase books for the participating artists.

Fiber Arts with Pat Bishop

We were excited to welcome celebrated fiber artist Pat Bishop for a workshop. Pat showed attendees how to compose a simple landscape with fabric scraps. This easy and fun technique showcased how accessible it is to create beautiful art from your home with little supplies or experience. Friends’ funds were used for an honorarium for the artist.

Bollywood Dance Workout

We hosted two in-person Bollywood Dance Workouts at City Center Studio, where Mahima Grover led participants through a simple dance movement routine for all ages and skill levels. Participants from the first classes responded with overwhelming interest. They learned about the history and culture of Bollywood dance and built greater self-confidence with new dance moves. Because of the enthusiastic response, we will bring this program back in the summer. The honorarium was made possible by Friends’ funds.

Workforce Development

Community Partnerships – Library Assistant Position

Library Assistant Position: This Friends funded position has increased capacity for community engagement and outreach related to individual and community well-being. The staff member has increased capacity related to computer help service relationships with volunteers, community partners, community initiatives, agency overview learning sessions for library staff, community partner outreach at the library, library programs, and outreach to promote well-being resources.

Building Project Communications

Friends’ funds paid for outside printing of various building project communications.