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Book it: Cass County Public Library offers much more than reading material

By Raymore Journal staff

May 6, 2022

In 2020, voters approved a property tax increase to fund the Cass County Public Library. Although exciting improvements are just around the corner, your tax dollars have already created new opportunities for all ages that involve more than just books at the nearby Northern Resource Center.

Living in a digital world ruled by technology, it can be easy to forget that some of the most valuable resources are in our communities. Cass County residents appear to understand the value of the local library after voting in favor of Proposition L, a 12-cent increase in the property tax based operating levy to fund the Cass County Public Library.

That money has already gone a long way at the Northern Resource Center. Rod Inman, the Northern Resource Center branch manager, sat down with The Raymore Journal to talk about all the resources and events currently available and the remarkable improvements expected to be completed later this year.

Take a good look at these photos of your local library. By the end of this fall, the only two photos that will remain looking mostly the same are Inman and the exterior shot of the library. Continue to page 5 to find out what too many residents are already missing out on and what they can plan for in the not-too-distant future.

Inman began his role as branch manager to an understaffed Northern Resource Center in January. Thanks to the passage of Prop L, he now has a fully staffed library, allowing him to get ready for the busiest time of year: summertime!

This year is particularly exciting because the library just recently opened back up to in-person programming. Like so many other businesses and organizations, the pandemic has caused major disruptions to the Northern Resource Center’s operations.

To celebrate the return to relative normalcy, the Cass County Public Library system, including the Northern Resource Center, have a packed summer lineup. A big kickoff party is on June 6, but programs are already underway.

On Monday, May 2, the local branch launched its Spanish Storytime program. Each Monday in May (except for Memorial) the Northern Resource Center will host a storytime for Spanish speakers and families who are looking for a fun and educational activity for their preschool children.

Each storytime will be planned by children’s specialist Kasey Gilbert Poindexter, and led by Betty Kille, a retired teacher and former daycare provider with over 40 years of experience.

Children will learn their Spanish ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes, opposites, and more during the course of the month. Teen specialist and Spanish speaker Elizabeth Nachtigall will accompany Mrs. Kille in singing traditional Spanish nursery rhymes. Each session will end with an unstructured playtime, allowing families to mingle.

Storytime begins at 9:30 am and will last about 40 minutes (playtime included). It is structured for children 18 months to 4 years old and their caregivers.

Speaking of Teen Specialist Nachtigall, she is one of the newest members of the library. One of Inman’s goals coming in as branch manager is to increase the amount of programming for teens. Prop L afforded the Cass County Public Library to hire a teen specialist to accommodate that need.

Now, the Northern Resource Center has a Teen Advisory Board, allowing any teen to come in and tell the staff what they would like to see in the library. The Teen Advisory Board meets every third Friday at 4 p.m. Local teens can plan programs for their age group while earning volunteer hours.

Striking two birds with one stone, Inman’s second goal is to give good services to the Latino community. As mentioned, Nachtigall is both the teen specialist and speaks Spanish.

That is just the tip of the iceberg of what the Northern Resource Center has to offer to Cass County residents, and more is to come. Funds from Prop L will also go toward a significant renovation project. Details are being smoothed out, but the project is scheduled to be completed this fall.

With a return to in-person programming, a new branch manager and an injection of additional funding that the library has not received since the 1980s, the Cass County Public Library is on a trajectory to be better than ever.

The Raymore Journal will keep residents up to date with the latest events and offers from the public library. Residents can also visit Don’t miss out!