Energizing the St. Edward Community Through Diverse Programming
While the St. Edward Public Library is a quiet and welcoming place to find a great book, the space has also become a hub for elevating the sense of community. Director, Vickie Fritzges, continues to see and fill needs by creating a unique assortment of programming that brings people together to learn and build friendships.
How the Library in St. Edward, Nebraska has Identified Community Needs
A few years ago, Fritzges saw an opportunity to help welcome and support the diverse population of St. Edward, Nebraska residents. The library was awarded the Libraries Transforming Communities grant through the American Library Association, which provided funds for Fritzges to develop an English as a Second Language (ESL) program at the library.
To lead the class, she enlisted the help of Tammy and Jose Gonzalez of Albion, who have helped shape the program to be centered on real-world needs and everyday conversations. As an example, one session was focused on common hand tools that are used on many worksites. Participants were encouraged to bring in tools they use often and were able to expand their communication skills in a way that’s more relevant to their daily lives.
Classes meet Friday evening at 6 p.m. in the Community Room of the library, and are free of charge to all participants. Child care is provided at the library during the class, which has further led the program to help build a sense of community and belonging across the St. Edward community.
Innovative Thinking Brings More Patrons to St. Edward’s Library
Seeing even greater opportunity in the space, Fritzges has also brought yoga into the space. Last winter, chair yoga was offered to older adults as a way to bring people together and encourage regular exercise.
Similarly, a kid’s yoga class was offered last fall by Britt Foster of Goldenrod Yoga. The class introduced the practice to children and helped them understand the mental and physical benefits of stretching and slow movement. Fritzges believes offering yoga classes in the library will continue as schedules allow.
Further showcasing the flexibility of the space, the St. Edward Public Library is also home to both adult and children’s art classes. Both are led by local artist, Jerene Kruse and often feature painting projects, which have included still-life floral and landscape paintings. Like the yoga classes, the art programs have been well attended–including a youth class consisting of 55 participants–and will be continued into the winter.
More Educational Opportunities for Members of the Community
Beyond these programs, the library hosts a wealth of educational opportunities for community members to enjoy. From learning about ocean life to discovering how to research family history, Fritzges is finding ways to engage and inspire the St. Edward community and beyond.
Currently, she is working with the Department of Labor and a local career coach to develop classes on various job search skills and career options.
Although they vary greatly in subject matter, the programming at the St. Edward Public Library is supporting quality of life and workforce development that can have a positive impact on Boone County for years to come.
- Career Exploration and Job Search Workshops: March 25 and April 22, 2023.
Learn more about and stay up to date on what is happening at the St. Edward Public Library by following their Facebook page.
(This story originally ran in the December 2022 BCDA Newsletter.)