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Wednesday April 01, 2015
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No More Shushing



In newly constructed spaces, libraries in Chelsea, Dexter, and Saline are luring people with unconventional programs such as stand-up comedy, video game tournaments, henna body art, stress reduction workshops, and rock concerts. It's part of a nationwide push to repurpose libraries from book repositories to community centers. The prime targets are young people and teenagers, for whom words on paper are quaint and dull.

"This is not your grandfather's library," says Harmer, who books a Detroit rock band on nationwide library tours. "We need to stay relevant, and that means we need to think like entrepreneurs."

The first goal of entrepreneurs is to get customers in the door, and these days libraries are willing to try just about anything to accomplish that--including Bollywood dancing in Chelsea, a live animal demonstration in Dexter, and a yo-yo workshop in Saline.

On a summer afternoon, Purple Rose Theatre's resident artist Michelle Mountain is leading an acting boot camp for teens at the McKune Memorial Library in Chelsea.

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