“Fall at the Mall” is a series of library programs that are put on at the Kitsap Mall’s retail space. It is currently in its second year of the program. Jeff Brody, director of community relations at the Kitsap Regional Library, commented: “We have taken possession of a temporary space at the mall and put up signs and library materials. Each Saturday, at 1 pm, we put on a program. The idea behind the series is to present library programming and the variety of things that go on at our libraries. We feel young adults or middle aged people may have not been at a library since they were children, and may not realize we do a lot of programming, more than just books, media is available, information to help somebody develop their career possibilities, improve their small business marketing, things like that. We offer programs on the range of things that go on at libraries and hope to bring people from the mall to attend these programs and surprise them as well. What we’ve found in the first year is that we did attract people that really had no idea that we do some of these things, and new people to the mall because of the library event. The mall benefitted because we’re drawing people and we benefit because we have a place where the public gathers, that is not normally a library patron, discover something about the library there.”
The Fall at the Mall has three times a larger space this year than they did last year. The Fall at the Mall has had five programs this year, with attendance exceeding last year’s 9 programs. This year, there were 870 people in the first five weeks of the program, almost 175 people per program. Jeff commented: “That’s pretty good attendance for a library program and last year totaled 715 people for 9 programs.”
Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 1 pm at the Kitsap Mall (between the food court and interior entrance to Sears), “Who is Debbie Macomber?” will take place. Jeff explained details and the history of the event, “We formed a partnership with the Genealogy society based in Kitsap County and the space in our Sylvan Way library is where their Genealogy Center’s library exists. They are now getting more people in their Genealogy Center in a day, than they would in a month in South Kitsap. We know how popular the genealogy shows on PBS (public broadcasting), where celebrities are taken through their family history by people that have done the research and the process of doing genealogy. At the same time, it’s a great program to do and with the name recognition that Debbie has, and people interested in her and genealogy, it combines both interests. It would be a real popular program. We were very pleased when Debbie decided to cooperate with us and allow them to do it. Some people don’t want their family history put out in the public, but she was very cooperative and really excited about doing it.”
Jeff stated: “I’ve been part of this group that’s planned the programs for both years and I think this is one of the more interesting and compelling adult programs that we’ve put together for this series. It’s pretty easy to get people to the reptile man, as kids are going and then parents go. We this event, we hope to draw an adult audience of 125 people. I think anybody that comes will enjoy family history or Debbie Macomber’s work as an author. What better way to learn about her and have a chance to see and interact with her? I think it’s got the makings of a really great program.”
Jeff discussed the best thing about the event, “It combines a best-selling author that’s very popular with a happy hobby (genealogy) that’s one of the fastest growing hobbies in the U.S. It’s putting two things together (a best-selling author and genealogy) that can be very, very interesting to a lot of people.” Jeff explained how this event was unique compared to others, “It’s the combination of other programs, which will tell you the nuts and bolts of genealogy but, to actually combine with that a real person that people have a connection to and who’ve read her books, seen her talk before, in a real world situation makes it unique. It’s learning about her family history generations before her. It’s one thing to go to a genealogy class, it’s another when you actually see it done and follow the process. It’s a real different experience, seeing it than just taking a class.”
Jeff mentioned what many people may not know, “There are programs at the mall put on by the Kitsap Regional Library that are free and just really good examples of what libraries do on a regular basis.”
For more information about other Fall at the Mall events, please visit: http://www.krl.org/newcalendar. “October is family history month, a time when people do talk about tracing their roots,” Jeff concluded.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com