Living Democracy

Collinsville Public Library plans busy summer

The Collinsville Public Library will kick off its summer reading programing with literacy-based events and a historical display for all to see.

In June, the media center will host an arts and crafts event every Tuesday from 5 to 6 p.m. This year's theme is "Tails and Tales",  and it will incorporate books, mini-films, and art activities focused on telling tales and animals.

The June 8-15 sessions will be led by local artist Brandy Still, while library interns will host the June 15-22 sessions. Various activities relating to the will be announced at the end of May on the town's Facebook page.

Jennifer Wilkins, director of the Collinsville Public Library, said the 2021 summer programs are "highly anticipated" because of the cancelation of the previous year's program caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Wilkins said, "I remember the kids and parents were utterly disappointed that we had to close last year, and that's why we want to go above and beyond and make this upcoming one special for them."

"There is still so much that we don't know about the coronavirus, but we will protect them while assuring that they enjoy themselves," she added.

Wilkins said those in attendance must follow COVID-19 guidelines, including wearing facial coverings and practicing social distancing. Library officials will check temperatures before entry.

Wilkins said prepackaged refreshments would be provided. Children can take home books to read, which Wilkins said may "enhance their literary skills during the summer months."

But that is not all. 

From Monday, July 5, through Friday, July 30, the Collinsville Public Library will display Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum's two traveling exhibitions. The exhibits, “Tired of Giving in: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott" and "Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott," will include an augmented reality component designed to provide viewers with a realistic experience-specific event. 

Visitors can scan images of the exhibit using their smart devices to activate the voices and videos of civil rights activists such as Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, and Jo Ann Robinson. The voices patrons will hear are not originally those of the depicted figures but are recordings created by voice actors at Design Viz in Mobile, Alabama.

"We want to tell the tales of the many unsung heroes who served alongside Rosa Parks," Wilkins said. "We want them to make it seem like they were there. It seemed to fit our theme this year and the mood of our nation in examining social justice and how it has shaped all our lives, especially in the deep South." 

Wilkins said though the library has spotlighted previous historical events, this traveling exhibit is unlike any other. She said she hopes it will inspire people to commit to action when change is needed. 

Donna Beisel, assistant director of the Troy University Rosa Parks Museum, said the exhibits were made possible by a grant from the Institutions of Resume and Library Services in 2020. Beisel said it is free of charge for Alabama libraries to utilize the exhibit, and it will be traveling for at least another year.

Beisel said it is essential that residents in Collinsville learn about the civil rights movement and the front-line foot soldiers involved in fighting for racial equality.

She said, "We wanted to make it easier for people to gain knowledge on the issues that plagued the United States at one point and time. Our ultimate goal is to share this story with Collinsville. Instead of traveling dozens or hundreds of miles to a museum in a big city, it will be available at their fingertips."

By Laney Mayfield
Last Updated: May 19, 2021