A $5,000 grant awarded to the Merced County Library system will help launch a movie-screening program to boost readership during the summer months.
The Board of Supervisors on March 12 approved the grant application, which allows for the purchase of two televisions, two DVD players and five movie licenses -- one for the main library in Merced, and the rest for the regional branches in Atwater, Gustine, Livingston and Los Banos.
Diane Satchwell, county librarian, said the grant from the California State Library opens many doors for Merced County because the equipment will remain at the libraries for use in other projects.
"After the summer reading is done, we still have the equipment and movie licenses, and can tie it in with other programs," Satchwell said. "Without this grant, we wouldn't be able to do this, so we appreciate the Board of Supervisors' support."
The Merced County Library will present nine separate movies based on books over a four-month period -- three for teens, three for children and three for pre-teens. The movie titles will depend on the movie licenses, Satchwell said.
Participants will read the book before watching the movie, then discuss differences and similarities. A craft project will follow, as well as snacks for the readers.
Movie day likely will run one Saturday a month, at each of the five main locations, beginning during the summer reading program, she said.
The California State Library also awarded Merced County Library a $2,500 grant for the "Pushing the Limits: Making Sense of Science" program.
From 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and April 23, the program will bring science to the Gustine library by having a reading, viewing and discussion of various subjects for adults.
Branch manager Nola Ramirez said the Gustine library was one of 20 libraries in the nation to receive the grant. The $2,500 allowed for the purchase of another large-screen television, DVD player and science books, she said.
"A lot of people in rural areas don't have access to programs or discussions like these," Ramirez said. "We're discussing the topics with a science teacher and talking about how science affects our daily lives."
Both programs are aimed at increasing Merced County's readership, especially among teenagers. The Merced County Library's circulation numbers are one of the lowest in California, with a decreasing number of juvenile borrowers.
Satchwell is new to Merced County, moving from Oregon three months ago to accept the librarian's job. Before that, she worked in San Diego County and in Oakland's library systems.
Satchwell said she's excited at the opportunity to bring new programs into Merced County's libraries.
"Every day, I am more thrilled to be here," she said. "I'm looking at new models of service, and adding more technology and programs. The potential here is limitless."
Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at
(209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.