Grand Island Library’s next raffle will feature colorful book cushions

Sat, March 26, 2022 10:20 a.m.

Story and pictures by Alice E. Gerard

Children ages newborn to 12 will have the chance to win books and colorful book pillows in a raffle held at the Grand Island Memorial Library in April. Thirteen book cushions were donated to the library by members of the Grand Island Golden Age Center.

According to Youth Services Librarian Carly Spatar, “Our goal is to encourage reading, engagement and participation, and also to get kids excited about speeding up summer and all the things we are going to do here”.

Book pillows are designed to have a handle for easy carrying, as well as a pocket to place a book.

Anna Vaccaro, President of the Grand Island Golden Age Club, said: “Our sewing group at the senior center was making these pillows and looking for a way to do something for the community. As a community service, we decided to work with the library to present it as a free raffle. The children have nothing to put on, but they have the possibility of obtaining both a pillow and a book. We felt it was our way of improving the community, especially through reading, which we all love, as well as sewing. It’s a kind of wedding in heaven. Sewing and reading.

Each book will have something to do with the pillow it is placed in.

One of the pillows is decorated to reflect the story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, a children’s picture book designed, illustrated and written by Eric Carle and originally published in 1969.

Vaccaro explained that Kathie James “is the one who came up with the idea for ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ as a book pillow, and she did that and others.”

Book pillows are suitable for different levels of reading, the most advanced being the pillows decorated with images from the “Harry Potter” book series. According to Spatar, the library is considering another raffle for these pillows and the “Harry Potter” series books that will be included. “If there’s something about teenagers — maybe because there’s ‘Harry Potter’ — I might break them up and put them in a teen contest,” Spatar said.

Book pillows have been popular with the Grand Island community since before the next raffle. They were sold out at the Golden Age Center’s “Holiday Happenings” event in October 2021.

According to Jan Yardley, who sewed pillows at the Golden Age Center, “People really liked the pillows. We have almost sold them all. I think we only had four or five left. It was very well received. A lot of people thought that was a really good idea. Children love to carry things. It kinda overlaps, because there are so many of us who do book clubs that are also part of “Seniors in Stitches” and the quilt club that we could combine the two things that we really like good. We really want children to read.

Everyone is welcome in both sewing groups, whether beginners or experienced, Yardley said. “’Seniors in Stitches’ meets every Thursday afternoon at the center. People don’t need to have sewing skills. We start from the beginning. We kind of did the same thing with the quilting group. People work on projects at their comfort level and they learn new things along the way. »

Pictured, book pillows filled with children’s books are, front row left to right: Golden Age Center sewing group members Michelle Chasse, Martha Marrinan, Jan Yardley and Linda Smith, plus (back row , from left) Bridgette Heinz, Grand Island Memorial Library Director, Joy Mesmer and Anna Vaccaro, members of the Golden Age Center Sewing Group, Carrie Mesmer, Golden Age Center Recreation Manager, and Carly Spatar, Services Librarian to Grand Island Memorial Youth.


Michelle Chasse has compared the Golden Age Center’s sewing groups to “the girls’ quilt club of the 21st century.” A quilt bee. She noted that inexperienced seamstresses were welcome to participate, as well as more experienced seamstresses. “It’s so nice to work with all these talented people. Some of us have fewer skills than others. You start with ironing and cutting and sewing, then you have the people doing the designs, but it’s a cooperative effort that makes everyone feel good. There are times when I messed things up, and then I learned to take them apart and put them back together. We are all proud of what we do.

Golden Age Center recreation manager Carrie Mesmer explained that the sewing projects at the Golden Age Center were made possible by generous donations of supplies. “By the grace of very generous people in the community of Grand Island and Niagara Falls, we have received significant donations of fabric and thread and various quilting tools, sewing machines and sewing tools.

In addition, the Golden Age Center budget also included the purchase of sewing machines.

Chasse said creating children’s book pillows is something very meaningful to her. “It brings out all of our creativity and education, because most of us have kids and grandkids who love to read. And, to give them something they can do in the car or at night. Those these will be perfect.

In addition to the book pillows that were sold during “Holiday Happenings,” Grand Island Golden Age Center sewing groups also donated book pillows to library staff during “Love Your Libraries Week,” a event which started in Australia and is centered on Valentine’s Day.

“In an effort to recognize what the staff do, not just for the members of the Golden Age Center, we wanted to recognize all the efforts that Bridgette and the staff of the Grand Island Memorial Library do for the members of the Golden Age Center by coming a times per month. and provide a portable mobile book,” Mesmer said.

“My car is basically a moving book once a month,” said Bridgette Heintz, director of the Grand Island Memorial Library.

“So it’s really great for members to be able to check out the articles,” Mesmer said. “And then, on top of that, all the work she does for the center book club, which is a very active book club. It’s not just about reading, it’s also about learning. This can include field trips, food, fun, speakers. »

According to Yardley, upcoming events at the Golden Age Center include a craft show on May 4. “It’s a Wednesday. It’s evening. During the month of April, people are going to work on the projects they feel most comfortable with, whether you get a quilted table runner or potholders or mug mats or whatever, rugs, coasters, all kinds of things, you have to come and see. We will eventually take orders for pillows, if people are interested.

Donations of material, yarn and pillow shapes are always welcome, Mesmer added.

Mesmer said she hopes for more outreach opportunities in the community in the future. “Going forward, there are other things we will do that could benefit other organizations as well. We have projects scheduled, but we are open to ideas and try to cater to all levels of ability. I think that’s the most important thing. The motivation is that you have to come to the center and commit to it.

Vaccaro said, “This awareness has turned into a beautiful project for the community and for our senior center.”

Some of the book pillows that will be given away during the April raffle at the Grand Island Memorial Library, which aims to encourage children to read.