Library introduces partnership with UPMC Heartworks to help children deal with loss

The James V. Brown Library introduced a new partnership with UPMC Heartworks to provide kits to help families with children experiencing loss.

Dana Brigandi, library community partnership coordinator, told the trustees on Thursday that the library will be a pilot location for the project.

“If it’s successful … then it will be expanded to the rest of the county,” Brigandi said.

The care packages include bags and backpacks that have books designated to help children through the loss of a family member or pet. There also are journals with activities and writing entries for families to fill out together, and there are puppets, toys and games that may help children through loss.

“It’s for grieving families in this community, and as you know, our community is dealing with a lot of deaths, family deaths, due to the opioid (crisis),” said Barbara S. McGary, library executive director.

“This was all supported in grant funding and donations to the Heartworks grief support program,” Brigandi said.

The board also unanimously voted in approval of endorsing the district negotiated agreement for the library, in which it, as the district headquarters, receives $379,624 in additional state aid through the Public Library Subsidy to provide district services to 40 public library units in 11 counties — Bradford, Potter, Tioga, Sullivan, Montour, Clinton, Columbia, Northumberland, Snyder, Union and Lycoming.

The agreement is for July 1 through June 30, 2018. The library receives 5 percent of the aid, $18,981, for administrative costs.

The library provides a number of services to the 40 other libraries, including leadership and consulting services, IT support, webmaster, continuing education, collection development, overdrive service and reference service.

“Our primary focus is to strengthen those 40 public libraries through service,” McGary said. “We’re able to do that at Brown through the $379,624.”

McGary said that for the month of April, 13,818 people visited the library in person, 17,601 visited the library online, 28,470 physical items were loaned and 2,583 electronic items were borrowed.

The next trustees meeting will be at noon June 15.