Four out of the last five Thursday evenings, I’ve been upstairs at the Musser Public Library with my oldest son for the Sparkplugs early literacy series. For the next two weeks, Sparkplugs will be on hiatus before returning with new activities for local families. Betty Collins, who serves as the Children’s Librarian at Musser Public Library, takes time to plan each Sparkplugs event and makes sure that all who attend have a good experience. Folks like Betty Collins are doing great work in the Muscatine community and deserve to be acknowledged.

Thursday, February 16, upon walking into the upstairs room at the library (I’m sure it has a name but I can’t remember it), I felt such a strong sense of community. The room was full of families and children with more following through the doors, all ready to learn. The Sparkplugs program consists of a reading a book (or information about the topic/project) and then getting hands-on with the scheduled activity. From making fake blood to homemade taffy to delicious ice cream, the lessons learned and time spent with our children will not be forgotten, and it is all thanks to Betty.

Personally, I was able to work side by side with Betty when she invited me to broadcast live from the first annual Librarians vs. Muskie Athletes Dodge Ball Game. Again, we’re talking about a LIBRARY that has perhaps the most creative ideas and staff ever! This goes for everyone on the staff at Musser Public Library. Granted, I don’t have a personal connection or story with all the employees, but I do see the passion in their work. If you can make the library a fun place to be, you will always have readers.

Big changes are ahead for the library when it moves into the HNI building. The amount of work that it is going to take to make that transition is, I’m sure, daunting at times, but it’ll be so worth it once completed. So here’s to you, Betty Collins! Thank you for making Muscatine a better place and for all your hard work. You inspire me to do more, and I appreciate that.