In February, the libraries in Kansas started promoting the 6 x 6 Program, six literacy skills by the age of six.

Just prior to the kick-off workshop for the Southeast Kansas Library System, the Weir Public Library received a box of handmade wooden magnets via a patron from her pastor.

Stef Arbuckle, director/librarian of Weir, knew immediately that the magnets would be beneficial for the preschool story time.

Attending the workshop in January on the 6 x 6 Program, she received activity cards and brochures for parents on the program and the day after the program, the patron brought in an even larger box of magnets.

Arbuckle divided the magnets between the area preschools at Weir Elementary, Faith Tabernacle, Weir, and Columbus along with a set of activity cards and brochures.

The magnets donated came from Pastor Troy Risley, Columbus.

He started his hobby with a scroll saw about 10 years by making and selling plaques in Oklahoma. He found that even though he enjoyed the process, he didn’t find interest in the plaques or selling them.

Risley then downsized his patterns to a single object or animal and placed them on various wooden sizes and shapes. The bases are brightly painted while the image is laquered or painted gloss black. He uses a magnifier to make the intrique cuts in the designs that are very detailed.

He has given hundreds if not thousands away, mostly to children and non-profit organizations to use as rewarads or teaching aides in the 4-state area.

The magnets can be used for learning shapes, sizes, colors, alphabet and objects along with tactile and visual stimulation.

Arbuckle attended a summer reading workshop in Iola and took some of the magnets along to show and report on what she had done with them. Risley had told her that anyone wanting magnets that he would gladly give them some, just give him a number.

Seventeen of the attending libraries from Southeast Kansas requested some of the magnets for their summer reading programs.

Then two days after returning from the workshop while compiling the list of libraries, Risley came into the library with another large box of magnets without being notified that there were other libraries interested.

“I cringed when I told him that I had requests for almost 1500 magnets.” But Risley just smiled and said let me know how many more you need when you get done with this box.

While at the library he gave out magnets to the patrons. Smiles were on everyone faces being able to pick which one they would like.

There are wonderful generous benefactors of libraries and Pastor Risley is one of them.