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By Renee Summers
Telegram Newspaper 

Jefferson Barns Reading Room is a Library Without the Strings Attached


Volunteer librarian Julie Glander keeps programs running at the Jefferson Barns Community Library in Westland.

Checking out a book from the library can satisfy your craving for a mystery novel, allow you to discover your favorite Hollywood star via an autobiography, or offer a do-it-yourself guide to training your dog.

But, oh, those due dates that seem to arrive so quickly, and pesky late fees.

The Jefferson Barnes Reading Room, also known as a library, offers the books without the obligations. The library is located inside the Jefferson Barns Community Vitality Center in Westland. Julie Glander is the head librarian and a volunteer. She explains the community center was at one time an elementary school and the former school library has remained intact. The Reading Room, as it was originally called, opened its doors to the public in 2016 with a load of donated books and the hopes of encouraging literacy in the community.

The library is purely volunteer-driven. "Most of us like to read," Glander says. "I think that keeps us interested being here and promoting the reading, pushing the programs."

The library uses no digital system of organization as most modern libraries do. It is not part of the larger library network shared by neighboring communities. Visitors do not need a library card; an index card recording the visitor's name and books checked out-up to two-is the only record used. There is no formal record of inventory, and Glander says the goal is to get people, especially children to read. Therefore, there is not due date to adhere to and library volunteers only ask that if you take a book out, just bring a book back. It does not even have to be the book you checked out.

The library has books for children of all ages, and adult titles are available on subjects like gardening, cooking, and sports, to name a few. The selection is varied and the room is quiet and serves as an out-of-the-way place to study or seek solitude.

Glander has been with the library since its days of planning in 2015. "I love to read and I would love to keep the kids off the screen and more involved in a book," she says. The children's summer reading program will be beginning shortly. Glander says she finds satisfaction in a young person who is enthusiastic about reading. "When you listen to the kids who will tell you the whole book, and they know it," she says. "When you find those ones who really enjoy it and really know what they read, that's just really rewarding to me."

The Jefferson Barns Library attained non-profit status last year and donations are always welcome. Coloring is offered every Saturday and crafts are offered every 3rd Saturday. "We're here, come on in and get a book," says Glander. Library hours are Monday and Friday, noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Jefferson Barns Community Vitality Center is located at 32150 Dorsey Road in Westland.


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