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Published: Wednesday, 9/12/2007

New stage set for tots; youths gain bonus zone


For about an hour last week, Perrysburg's Way Public Library was more like a train station than a place dedicated to quiet and contemplation.

The occasion was the library's unveiling of its new puppet stage in the children's department, and there were plenty of excited little ones on hand to try it out.

The stage, which is a booth children can use to put on puppet shows, is a beautifully constructed amenity, put together by Tom Apel, Way's building and grounds supervisor, who built it in his woodworking shop.

The stage was designed by PRIZM Creative Community, a nonprofit group that promotes educational and artistic growth in the area. The several-thousand-dollars cost of the stage and washable hand puppets was covered by a donation from the Mifsud Family Foundation.

"This is wonderful," said Lisa Smith, who was at the unveiling with her daughter, Parker, 3, and son, Dugan, 1. "This is definitely a new addition to the library that will make a difference. The kids will love it."

PRIZM members Tamara Mielke, Annette Jensen, Dorothy Zemper, Julie Harrison, Ruth Koskinen, and Gabrielle Click painted cute figures on the sides of the stage: a spider dangling from a downspout, a goldfish, flowers, a watering can, a butterfly, a bunny, a cat, and a bumble bee.

Pat Maust, the library's director of youth services, thought they looked "real enough to touch."

The library also has a new afterschool space for children age 11-14.

The Bonus Level is open from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for youngsters to use computers, play games, converse with friends, or just hang out. The new space features music, a conversation area, an Xbox 360, and a place to study.

The official opening will be next week. There will be food and drink every day, along with daily prize drawings - the winner must be present to win - and an Xbox tournament on Thursday.

For more information about the Bonus Level, visit the Way Web site at www.waylibrary.info and click on YA Happenings.

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