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Dungeons and Dragons, anyone?

Kurth hopes to develop new adult programs for library
Alexis Kurth is the new adult services coordinator for the Solon Public Library. She’s hoping to reach out to adults of all ages to develop programs of interest. (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– Solon is a lot like home for Alexis Kurth.
Kurth, the new adult services coordinator for the Solon Public Library, grew up in XXXX, Ore., a small town south of Portland.
“It’s actually very similar to Solon in a lot of ways,” she said, except XXXXX has a hop festival instead of Beef Days. “It was very much the same feeling when I went to Beef Days as it was being a kid at the Hop Festival, so that was pretty cool.”
She attended Brigham Young University in Idaho as an elementary education major, but because of the sparse population, she ended up in Las Vegas to student teach second grade.
She and her husband Taney (pronounced tawny) married three days before they moved to Las Vegas in 2007.
“They offered me a job while we were there, so I stayed,” Kurth said.
She taught third and fourth grades for five years, but then son Max arrived on the scene.
“Then we decided Las Vegas was not a place where we wanted to raise a family,” she said.
Taney was from Illinois, so the young couple decided to try the Midwest for a while. He wanted to go to the University of Iowa (UI) Writer’s Workshop, so the two settled in Iowa City while Taney finished his undergraduate degree and attended the non-fiction writing graduate program.
“We decided we liked Iowa City, so we wanted to stay in the area,” Kurth explained.
They’ve been in Iowa City for seven years now, and Taney now teaches at UI.
Max has since been joined by two sisters– Persephone and Harper. Persephone (also the goddess of springtime from Greek Literature) was named for a planet on the television show “Firefly,” while Harper is named in honor of Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“I stopped teaching when we moved here, because being a good teacher is a 60-hour-a-week job, and I just didn’t have the time to devote that and be a good mother,” Kurth noted.
She missed teaching and took up some private tutoring to fill the void, but she wasn’t ready to go back to the classroom.
And that’s when she saw the position open for the Solon Public Library.
“The library is very similar to a teaching position because I’m still working with people and helping learning,” she said. “They’re just similar in a lot of ways.”
Kurth started her new job Tuesday, Sept. 3.
As adult services coordinator, she facilitates all library programming for adults in Solon area, including the two existing book clubs, Game Night, activity events like the Pinterest Parties, Senior Conversations and Meal and a Movie.
But she’d like to draw more adults of all ages to the library.
“I’m working on trying to reach out to more people so that we have things that are exciting for everyone,” she said.
Kurth is kicking around a lot of possibilities, including an adult spelling bee, a Dungeons and Dragons game night (she has a volunteer for dungeon master) or an escape room.
“I’ve got ideas, but since I’m fairly new, I’m feeling out what people want and not just what I think would be cool, ‘cause I’m kind of a big nerd,” she said. “What I like might not be what everybody else does.”
She enjoys dabbling in a lot of things– photography, quilting, graphic design– and collects tea cups and vintage hats.
“I host monthly tea parties in my home,” Kurth explained. “I just invite six women who I maybe know a little bit but not very well, and then we have tea and an excuse for me to bake yummy things and sit around and eat and get to know each other.”
She also has a side business making cakes, cupcakes, cookies and candies for weddings and graduations.
“I like to spend my time in the kitchen,” she said.
She’ll be putting those skills to good use Tuesday, Oct. 22, when the Pinterest Party moves to a new night of the week with cake decorating as its theme.
Participants will learn to pipe with butter cream frosting and master a simple swirl technique for fancy gourmet cupcakes, drop flowers, grass and leaves using a decorating bag, basic star tip and writing tip. Registration is required by Saturday, Oct. 19, to ensure enough materials for all.
Solon Library Director Kris Brown said Kurth’s arrival was a good time to shake things up for the monthly adult activity.
“The main goal has been increasing adult programing, that’s why we started,” Brown explained. “The Pinterest Party theme was handy because you could go in a lot of different directions. We did decorative things, we did practical things, but we need to refresh it.”