YVC’s libraries provide place for more than books
Throughout the 2022-23 academic year, libraries on the Yakima and Grandview campuses have explored new ways to engage students and the community.
“Libraries are a place of information and belonging. The more ways we can invite people to experience that, the better off we all are,” says Grandview Campus Library Director Wendy Poteet.
While YVC’s libraries offer a wide range of resources such as books, ebooks, more than 130 databases with digital resources, computers and Wi-Fi, staff also create programs to foster a spirit of community and learning.
Recent activities in Grandview include toddler craft and story time, adult crafting and art classes, family game nights, spring break puzzles and games, Lego building, wellness activities, poetry events and wine sales workshops.
According to Poteet, these events bring more community members to campus along with students who use the space for research and studying.
“We are hoping to get the word out more and more that [the library] is also a great place for them to experience new things, attend author events, learn de-stressing techniques, take an hour to relax while doing a craft, etc.,” continued Poteet.
The Grandview Campus Library, which is a partnership with the city, provides full library services to both students at Yakima Valley College and the Grandview area community, an arrangement Poteet feels is crucial.
“It would be difficult for a community of 11,000 residents to maintain both an academic and public library. This partnership allows us to have both.”
Spearheaded by Reference Librarian Samuel Faulk, the Yakima Campus library has also focused on welcoming more community members to campus and increasing student participation. Recent activities include poetry events including The Black Box Poetry Slam, the Read! Leer! Wiwanik! podcast, visits from therapy dogs with the Love on a Leash program, jazz performances, a historical presentation on the city of Yakima and faculty discussions over tea.
“These events foster a sense of community among our students and attend to the needs of the wholistic student,” said Faulk. “We feel it is important to offer a space not only used for studying, but to relax and have fun as well.”
There has also been an initiative recently to bring library programming together across both campuses.
“Partnering with Grandview has been a terrific experience,” says Faulk. “In libraries, as well as academia, you never want to reinvent something if the same resource can be found elsewhere. Not only can Yakima students get access to the Yakima Herald by activating their Grandview library card, but they have access to everything that the Grandview library has to offer! Collaborating with Grandview Director Wendy Poteet has helped us support students in tremendous ways. We share ideas for events, acquisitions and so much more.”
For Poteet and Faulk, the benefits of libraries as a gathering space are real — something they hope to share with as many people as they can.
“Libraries are one of the few places in our society with no expectation of payment. People can simply sit and watch a movie, play computer games, read, check out material, etc. for no cost. And it doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe, where you live, how you look. You can just be and be accepted,” Poteet said.
“I think libraries make the most impact by providing free access to information and resources to people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Faulk. “We are a place where people can come to learn, to explore and to connect with others.”
This summer the Grandview library will focus on its summer reading program and events. Children will earn prizes for their reading. Middle and high school students and adults will also have the opportunity to engage in activities such as bingo, weekly crafts, writing activities, movies and author visits. Staff are also working to be more involved in campus events and partnering with the Yakima campus.
“We are participating in whole-campus events and inviting other departments to participate with our events. For years, we have been an island on campus and we have a focus now on being part of campus life. We are also cross partnering with the Educational Service District 105, Grandview School District, United Family Center, Grandview City Parks & Recreation, Save the Children, Mainstreet Association, and more to create and participate in community-wide events,” Poteet said.
In Yakima, librarians are developing a Relax and Read Collection that focuses on fiction, poetry and nonfiction specifically curated to improve literacy skills.
“We encourage students and community members to bring children in and enjoy sharing with them the joys of reading,” Faulk said.