Center Library hosts 'udderly' educational event
May 31, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 31, 2013) -- It's not every day that people get the opportunity to get close to farm animals, let alone learn firsthand how and where their food comes from, but the Fort Rucker Center Library is giving people that chance with an up-close and personal look at a live cow.
The Southwest Dairy Farmers' Mobile Dairy Classroom returns to Fort Rucker June 7 at 10 a.m. to educate people on the modern-milking process, anatomy of a cow, and the importance of food safety and a healthy diet, said Gayle McCarthy, library technician.
"It's all about teaching (the children) something that's fun in a different way," she said.
The classroom will take place behind the Center Library and is hosted by Amanda Griffith, MDC instructor, who came last year and travels throughout Alabama teaching people about the milking process.
"Everyone just loved the event last year," said McCarthy. "There were more than 300 people who attended and a lot of people are excited for the event to come back."
"How many children these days actually get to see a cow?" asked Jackie Chappell, a reference librarian. "You go to the store and you get some milk, but you don't know where it comes from, so this is a good chance for the children to actually see where it comes from."
During the presentation, Griffith will demonstrate the milking process, show how technology plays a role in the process and teach those in attendance about the importance of pasteurization. They also learn that great care is given to each cow that provides milk, and that their safety is just as important as the safety of those who drink their milk.
The cow's teats are sterilized before milking to ensure the safety of both the cow and people that consume the milk, said Griffith during last year's presentation, adding that the cows aren't harmed in any way during the milking process. Cows actually "volunteer" to be milked, she said.
During last year's event, children also learned that a single cow can produce up to 50 pounds of milk a day, the equivalent of eight gallons.
One of the main goals of the event is to show that the library is more than what people are used to, and that it can and is changing with the times, said Chappell.
"Libraries have changed a lot, especially these days with so many electronics and different types of technology," she said. "People just feel like you can (search for anything on the Internet), so they don't feel like libraries have much of an importance in the community anymore."
Chappell believes that libraries play a bigger role now as community centers rather than a place where people come only to check out books.
"We're really trying to draw the community into the library with all of our programs," she said. "I think it's important, especially for children, to see that the library's fun and there are things to do here."
The Center Library offers movie rentals, game rentals, computer and Internet access, as well as access to books -- electronic and traditional. There is even language-learning software available to some patrons.
"We have a lot of newcomers to the facility that don't know everything that we have to offer," said Chappell. "This is just a great place for (children) to come, especially in the summer when school is out and they get bored easily."
For more information, call 255-3885.