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Library, Education departments have open house

BIG CYPRESS — The start of the school year is an opportune time to showcase Tribal services to those who may benefit from them. In Big Cypress, the Willie Frank Library, the Culture Department and Education’s Learning Resources Department held their annual open house with a focus on information and activities.

“We are a small rural library,” said Gretchen DeBree, branch librarian. “We want kids and parents to be aware we are here and what we have available. It is a good time to meet the staff and promote the library.”

The library gave reference books to each child, who could choose an atlas, dictionary, encyclopedia, almanac or book about animals.They also had an arts and crafts area where kids made sand art candle holders. Outside, the Learning Resources Department had backpacks filled with supplies, as well as supply lists and calendars for various schools that Tribal students attend. The Culture Department displayed animal wood carvings, beaded items, axes, patchwork, bows and small canoes.

“This is an opportunity for kids to see what we have to offer, but we are here to talk to parents, too,” said Carine Eugene, education adviser. “The Education staff is here, and it’s a good time to interact with them.”

But the highlight for most of the kids appeared to be the enormous inflatable waterslides.

“We thought it would be a fun outing,” said Glynnis Bowers, who attended with her daughters Sierra Bowers, 14, and Shana Balentine, 10. “We always have a good time at these events.”

Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at

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