Social media drives attendance to Caro Library holiday events

Caro Area District Library plans several Christmas-themed events starting Thursday — and thanks to social media, even more people are showing up in search of a cool Yule.

Caro Area District Library Children’s Director Randi Dalton noted social media options such as Facebook and Instagram have made a big difference in attendance size at Caro Area District Library events, 840 W. Frank St., Caro.

Last year the library had more than 600 attendees in the Thumb come to its Reindeer Program that features Santa Claus and live reindeer.

This year the event is from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15 inside the Irl L. Baguley Community Room of the library.

Other events include:

  • Family Gingerbread House Building at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8. (full)
  • Christmas ornament decorating at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. (full)
  • Evening Book Club with a discussion on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20.
  • The film “Prancer” at 1 p.m. Dec. 27.

All of the events are free.

Both gingerbread and ornament events were by RSVP only and filled within several days of posting. Twenty-five families signed up for gingerbread house-making and 50 are scheduled to attend the ornament decorating. Ornament decorating was offered last year and this year was the first time the library had the gingerbread house- making event.

Library Director Erin Schmändt said the Reindeer Program usually averages several hundred attendees, offering children and adults a chance to pet a reindeer, meet Santa and eat cookies.

“Touching a live reindeer is an experience because we hear about them but to see and touch them is an experience,” said Schmändt. “And Santa’s always a hit.”

Schmändt said the only thing the library did in addition to making flyers or posting on Caro Area District Library’s website was promoting the event on its Facebook page, garnering a number of interested people to attend.

As of Tuesday, the Facebook page has 81 people who have shared the event, 67 saying they’re going and 233 guests interested. See more at http://bit.ly/2gND4nH.

Facebook is also the marketing tool that helped fill up the ornament decorating and gingerbread-making events.

Dalton said she began working at Caro Area District Library in August of last year.

Before using Facebook and other social media platforms, Dalton said program turnout was small — not because the programs weren’t interesting, people just didn’t know what was happening at the library.

With Facebook or Instagram, “Most of our programs fill up pretty soon once registration opens. Usually within a couple of days the program is full,” said Dalton. “We’ve just seen a heightened popularity in all our programs.”

Dave Aldrich, owner of Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm, 2706 E. Stevenson Lake Road, Clare, said he also noticed the increase.

“That’s very large for the library — that’s exceptional each year,” said Aldrich. “We’ve been going to it a few years and I’m guessing they do a pretty good job of advertising. I know they’re always in the Christmas spirit when I get there. They really get into the reindeer getting there.”

Rooftop Landing has provided the reindeer for the past eight years. Aldrich told The Advertiser this year he will bring two reindeer to pet Thursday, Dec. 15. In a five-week period — mid November to Christmas Eve — Aldrich said, the farm will visit 130 locations with reindeer for town events, private parties and corporate events but Caro’s Reindeer Program is the largest he’s ever attended, and thought last year’s turnout was impressive.

Library Assistant Debbie O’Brien, who also coordinates the movie “Prancer,” said holiday events are very popular, but other programs are successful outside the season. Playing movies, for instance, is a monthly event at the library, and has been going on for more than 15 years, O’Brien said.

Schmändt said she also created the book club that has been in place for almost two years. The discussion of “A Christmas Carol” has been adapted into multiple movies and plays, but many have not read the novella, Schmändt said. After the reading, she said the group may watch a film. The book club usually has between eight and 10 members of all ages.

O’Brien said the library is always looking to get the community involved with its programs. Last month a group learned glass etching, which uses different methods to make translucent art on a piece of glass. In September 2015, the library also taught homebrewing through the Make Program that teaches participants how to make something each month. In January, the library will make pretzels.

Dalton said with the programs, residents get excited to bring something home. A lot of programs brought to the library kids and families couldn’t find anywhere else.

“There aren’t a lot of things that offer art classes in the Thumb,” added Dalton. “These places are dependent on libraries, churches and places like that.”

For more information, contact the library at (989) 673-4329. The library newsletter can be found at carolibrary.org under news and events section.

Debanina Seaton is a reporter with The Advertiser and can be reached at debanina@tcadvertiser.com

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