'Book Nooks' offer free reading material at area locations
PRESCOTT - Waiting for an appointment is no fun for anyone. But for kids accompanying their parents, it can be especially tedious.
Thanks to a new program by the Prescott Public Library, both the children and their parents will get some relief while waiting at five area locations.
The "Book Nook" project, which recently got under way, will provide free books for a variety of ages and interests in the lobbies and hallways of Prescott organizations.
On Thursday morning, a group gathered to kick off the nook in one of the locations - the hallway outside the office for the Clerk of Superior Court at the Yavapai County Courthouse.
"We've tried in all of the places to have something for little children, teens, and adults," Martha Baden, library manager, public services, said.
The courthouse site includes about 110 books, ranging from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Little Dog Lost" for children, and "Cold Mountain," and "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" for adults.
Along with the courthouse, other Book Nook locations include: Prescott Area Shelter Services, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic (South Cortez Street location), Community Health Center of Yavapai, and Yavapai Regional Medical Center's Ponderosa Pediatrics.
While the main goal is to give people reading material to occupy them while they wait, Baden said, "Our second goal is a little sneaky - (it is) to win people to the library."
Books in the nooks are free to those waiting, and Baden said the library hopes people will take the books with them when they leave. "And we also encourage them to bring one back, if they have the means to do it," she said.
Many of the books are overflow volumes from the Friends of the Public Library organization's book sales. Baden said others - especially the children's books - are being supported by a grant form the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Arizona Secretary of State, under the Library Services and Technology Act (administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services).
Courts Administrator Rolf Eckel was on hand this week to help with the installation and ribbon cutting for the courthouse's new Book Nook.
Noting that children often accompany their parents for family law matters, Eckel said the Book Nook "gives them something to do while they wait."
Attorney Angela Bradshaw Napper, who serves on the First Things First Yavapai Regional Partnership Council, helped Baden unpack and shelve the books Thursday morning.
Noting that she sits on the partnership council's community outreach committee, Bradshaw Napper said, "We were talking about what a nice project this is." As a family law and criminal defense attorney, she said she often sees children struggling to be entertained while they wait.
Prescott Library Director Roger Saft emphasized the crucial role that the Friends of the Library play in the program. "We couldn't have done any of this without the Friends of the Prescott Public Library," he said as he unveiled the courthouse's Book Nook.
Giving the nooks a unique flair is the artwork and woodwork provided by local artists Heather Johnson Beary and Pat Beary. Beary built the ponderosa pine shelves for the nooks, and sculptor Johnson Beary crafted the lizards decorating the shelves.
A news release from the library notes that the Book Nook project is the direct result of the library's 2013 strategic plan. One of the plan's goals is to ensure that: "All residents throughout the City of Prescott will benefit from convenient access to library materials and services."
Library staff will visit the sites periodically to replenish the books and check with site staff about how the project is going, the news release added.
Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks.