St. Mary's Co. Library Awarded Curiosity Creates Grant

'JAMuary' to be a Musical Extravaganza!

LEONARDTOWN, Md.—The St. Mary's County Library announced a special program, 'JAMuary,' made possible through a Curiosity Creates Grant for over $4,500, designed to support creative programming. The Curiosity Creates Grant was awarded from the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) through a donation from Disney. Over 400 libraries from around the United States applied for the grant, and 79 awards were made.

'JAMuary' will include multiple programs through January 2016 for all ages. Through the grant, the St. Mary's County Library will be purchasing 20 ukuleles for participants to use throughout the programming.

On Saturday, January 9, two programs will be held called "Please to Meet Uke!" These beginner classes for the ukulele will be for children ages 6 to 10 years old from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. at the Leonardtown Library and for ages 11 to 14 years from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Charlotte Hall Library. No music experience? No problem! Musician Nani Lowery will have you strumming in no time. Registration is required to participate.

Ukuleles will be provided to participants at no cost. The 20 instruments are being purchased from Island Music Company in La Plata using grant funds.

On Saturday, January 16, two "Song Writing Workshops" will be held at the Lexington Park Library for two age groups: ages 6 to 10 years old will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 noon led by music educator Nathan Earley, and ages 11 to 14 years old will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. led by author and musician Mary Amato. Both song writing experts will guide participants through the process of expressing themselves through music. No experience needed. Instruments for the class will be provided by the library. (Free! Registration required.)

As a culminating event, two "Family Jam and Open Mic" programs will be held for everyone! Sing and strum along to some of your favorite songs at our all ages celebration of music. Bring an instrument, or play one provided by the library. No registration required. Lexington Park Library will host the Family Jam on Friday, January 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Charlotte Hall Library will host on Saturday, January 23 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Michael Blackwell, Director of St. Mary's County Library said, "This prestigious grant is a testimony to the creativity of our staff who consistently fulfill the library's traditional mission of connecting people with resources in innovative ways. This program will allow young people to learn about music and explore their creativity while bringing St. Mary's families even closer together for a fun time."

The musicians, authors and presenters

Nani Lowery a self-taught ukulele player and has been playing the ukulele for over 40 years. Due to her mellow style and laid back strum, Nani encourages students to relax and enjoy playing the ukulele. Nani also leads the Monthly Maryland Ukulele Jam that meets in Gaithersburg and the Litz Ukulele Club at the Victor Litz Music Center. You can find more information about Nani by following her on Twitter (@hakipuunani) or on youtube (Hakipuunani1).

Nathan Earley is a local Southern Maryland performer, music writer and teacher, offering a variety of performances, private lessons and more. For more information about Nathan visit his website:

Mary Amato is an award-winning children's and YA book author, poet, playwright and songwriter. Her books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, produced onstage, and have won the children's choice awards in Ohio, Minnesota, Utah, and Arizona. She teaches popular workshops on writing and the creative process around the country. For more information about Mary Amato, visit her website:

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