Sterling Heights

Photos: In-person, outdoor library event meets community where it's at in Sterling Heights

If there's one lesson COVID-19 has taught us, it's that we need our community. That might explain why when the Sterling Heights library hosted an outdoor, in-person event this week, residents jumped at the opportunity.

"There's been a real hunger for in-person events," says the library's Programs Coordinator Jason Groth. "While our patrons have appreciated our virtual programming, many have longed to get away from the screen and be in the company of others. We saw that need and have done our best to fill it."

On Wednesday, 24 children and their caretakers gathered for a Fossil Dig activity at the library on Dodge Park Road, making the most of clear weather to participate in the outside program in the Children's Garden. Metromode photographer Joe Powers was there to capture the reactions. 

Participants received their own plaster and sand block which contains real fossils, shark teeth, gems and minerals. Using brushes and hammers, kids discovered treasures and attempted to identify them. 

Corbin, age 7, shows off his work so far.

Groth admits that there are obstacles to events like this, but he feels confident the precautions they take can keep people safe.

"It can be challenging to balance these needs with safety concerns, but we feel we've struck a good compromise," he says. "By and large, almost everyone in the community has supported our COVID-19 precautions."

Tristan, age seven, enjoys the outside time.April and Lani Styber getting wrapped up in the activity, something April says she can't provide for her daughter at home.

Library worker Krista helping Elisabetta and Felix with their fossil dig. Felix is learning online at the moment and his mother Elisabetta, who usually works at a hospital, has had to stay home with her mother, who is ill. Despite restrictions, and Felix's birthday party plans cancelled on the day that closures started in Michigan, she says he is doing a great job staying positive. 

"I'm sad that it's happening, but he is fine," she says. "[Felix] has been saying this is so cool, he wants to be a paleontologist."

Read more articles by Kate Roff.

Kate Roff is an award-winning freelance writer and journalism educator, currently based out of Detroit. She is the managing editor of Metromode and Model D. Contact her at