Quality of Life

What is Quality of Life? A nebulous concept, to be sure, it manifests itself in the resources available right here in Delta County. Read on and learn about our libraries, the Arts Center, the YMCA, the MSU Extension Service and then you decide for yourself…Delta County is a GREAT place to live!

The William Bonifas Fine Arts Center is a multidimensional art center located in Escanaba. A wide variety of visual, performing, cultural and literary arts unique to the UP are available at the Center. The Alice Uren Powers Gallery, with a controlled atmosphere, showcases regional arts as well as art on loan from the Smithsonian and the Detroit Institute. The Center works closely with the Neville Museum in Green Bay, the Dennos Museum in Traverse City and other Michigan museums. The Players de Noc perform regularly at the 240-seat William Bonifas Theater. The Center also sponsors special theatrical programs by touring companies throughout the year.

The Bay Area Art Association utilizes the studio and pottery shop areas of the Center for its many art Guilds. Its members sponsor the annual Waterfront Art Festival in August and the Holiday Guild Fair in November. The Waterfront Art Festival, held at Ludington Park during the first weekend of August, shows the works of over 100 artists and draws crowds of up to 10,000 each year.

Guild activities in basketry, painting, quilting, stained glass, weaving and spinning, and writing combine with the Center’s classes and workshops to present a creative and productive atmosphere for the arts to flourish. A summer program for children, Art in the Park, visits many Delta County parks through the summer engaging children in artistic activities.

The Arts Center and its nine arts and cultural affiliate organizations make direct contact with over 30,000 people each year. The Arts Center has three full-time and two part-time employees and enjoys the services of a strong group of approximately 100 volunteers. The Center also serves as an information center for cultural, literary, and historical related arts in Michigan.

Delta County residents are well served by several libraries.

The new Gladstone School and Public Library is conveniently located at 300 South 10th Street in the City of Gladstone. The new building is nestled between the newly renovated Middle School and James T. Jones Elementary School. The library is proud to serve the Gladstone community, along with the students, by providing current books, magazines and the latest in technology and computer use. Holdings include over 25,000 volumes, large print books, audio books, a Michigan history collection, 90 magazines and newspaper subscriptions, a conference room open to the public, as well as the Delta Reporter on microfilm. The size of our audio book collection for adults is 150 permanent, with a rotating selection of 100+. Our services include FAX, photocopying, Internet access and Microsoft Office suite programs.

In addition, the Gladstone Library offers young children’s holiday, special occasion and summer reading programs. We also have an active Friends group, open and welcoming to anyone who would like to support the library and its services.

The Escanaba Public Library is located in its new building in the 400 block of Ludington Street. Originally established in 1903, the Library’s mission is to provide our community with materials and services for learning enrichment and enjoyment in a welcoming environment.

One of the hallmarks of the library is its popular children’s room where excitement and adventure in reading to suit all ages and reading levels can be found. During the fall and winter months, Saturday story hours are popular with the young set and a summer reading program is held every year. Materials for adults include a good selection of general fiction, mysteries and biographies as well as information on almost every topic. More and more materials is being purchased in large-type and books-on-tape formats. The Michigan Collection, consisting of almost every book written about Michigan, is of interest to those studying the state’s history as are the rolls of microfilm of the local newspapers dating back to 1869.

With over 50,000 volumes, 150 magazines and newspaper subscriptions, 500 audio books, public internet computers and an extensive reference collection, the Library staff takes pride in meeting the needs of the community. The Library has a photocopier, a TDD line for the hearing impaired and a VTEK viewer for the visually impaired. Its entire card catalog is computerized to enable patrons to search desired topics and titles quickly.

Both Escanaba and Gladstone libraries are members of the Superiorland Cooperative. Their interlibrary loan program makes materials available from any library across the country for a small fee. Both libraries have active Friends groups, open and welcoming to anyone who cares about libraries and loves to read.

The Learning Resources Center at Bay de Noc Community College is also open to local residents. Specialized materials not found in other local libraries include the Michigan documents collection, indexing to newspapers from around the country, specialized electronic databases. Delta County oral history collection, and audio visual programs and equipment.

The Michigan State University Extension office located in the County Services Center Building near the Bay de Noc Community College campus offers many services to people of the area. The Extension’s mission is to help people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical issues, needs and opportunities.

Extension provides educational programs for the entire family in three areas: Agriculture and Natural Resources; Children, Youth and Family; and Community and Economic Development.

Master Gardeners is one example on an educational program offered in Delta County. Participants first complete a ten-week basic course of horticultural study. Topics covered include plant science, flower gardening, lawn care, pest management, house plants, vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits and woody ornamentals. In order to gain recognition as a Certified Michigan Master Gardener, a participant must complete all scheduled classes as well as 40 hours of approved volunteer horticulture related community service.

Michigan State University Extension, Delta County, includes programming in dairy and livestock, Family Nutrition Program, farm and family budgeting, farm business consultations, field demonstrations and tours, home buyer information, land use resources, parenting education, 4-H youth development programs and volunteer development.