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Henry Whittemore Library tells its story


Raena Doty / THE GATEPOST

By Raena Doty

Asst. Arts & Features Editor


The Henry Whittemore Library celebrated National Library Week, April 23-29. Durin


During the week, librarians connected with students in a series of both relaxing and engaging activities such as a cake decorating contest, lawn games, a career presentation, and a breathwork session to illustrate this year’s theme - “There’s More to the Story.”


For the cake decorating contest, five contestants decorated cakes themed around works of classic literature, including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon.”


The two winners were librarian Sam Westall with a cake themed around “Eragon,” and librarian Colleen Previte with a cake themed around “Napoleon Dynamite: Vote for Pedro.”


“It’s a nice way to get things moving and to kind of have a sweet treat for everyone. We’re big on sharing food,” Kathleen Barnard, student engagement coordinator for the library, said the next day while gesturing to the snacks they had set up for their next celebration, called Outdoor Fun on Larned Beach.


This took place on a sunny Tuesday, and the librarians took the chance to move outside. Set up for two hours from 12:30-2:30 p.m., students passing by in front of the library could relax with chips, cookies, and lawn games.


Some students played catch, some drew on the sidewalks in chalk, some played tic-tac-toe, and some just took the break to soak in the sun and enjoy a treat.


Many of the games set up are available to be checked out at the library. Barnard added the library has board games students can check out for three days at a time.


“We have a wiffle ball set. We have KanJam for outdoors. We have a ring toss. But we also have Trivial Pursuit and stuff like that. So even if it’s just a night in at the dorm with your friends, you can still come and get some of these great board games too,” Barnard said.


Wednesday, the library staff hosted a Zoom panel for community members interested in learning about careers in libraries and library science.


On Thursday, the final event for National Library Week was a breathwork session hosted over Zoom and in person. A certified breathwork coach, Susan Clark, came in and led a 45-minute session in three basic breathwork techniques.


“It only takes 15 minutes a day - five minutes in the morning, five minutes at lunch, and five minutes at night,” Clark said. “That’s a great way to kind of come back to the ‘now’ - to create a process, to create self-care.”


The first type of breath she demonstrated was what she called the “coffee breath” or breath of fire. She said this type of breath, intended to be energizing, is good for morning practice.


Clark called the next breath “water breath” or ujjayi pranayama. She said this breath is ideal for midday as a way to balance and relax.


“If you’re feeling anxious, it’s going to kind of relax you. If you’re feeling low energy, it’s going to bring you up,” she said.


The final type of breathwork she demonstrated was called “whiskey breath” or triangle breath. She said this type of breathing is best to relax and slow down, and should be practiced at the end of the day before bed.


Lori Wolfe, access services supervisor, said she thinks the library has seen less engagement since the COVID-19 pandemic made more people spend more time online, and the library hopes to change this.


“It’s starting to pick back up, but I wouldn’t say we’re at quite the level where we were before the pandemic. But we’re starting to see more bodies in the building,” she said. “That’s why we’re trying to do a ton of outreach just to get people into the library and using our resources - and having some fun.”


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