Robert Allen Memorial Listening Center
The Robert Allen Memorial Listening Center was created to honor and celebrate Bob’s love of books, love of reading and love of sharing books with his grandchildren. The Robert Allen Memorial Listening Center allows children to come into the library and experience someone reading a book to them, just as Bob loved to read to his children and grandchildren.
The Listening Center, created in 2011 after Bob’s untimely death in a car accident. The system includes a touch screen monitor connected to headphones that reads audiobooks to children as they browse the pages of the book being read to them. More than 200 people donated to the Robert Allen Memorial Fund at the Pere Marquette District Library. The Listening Center gives a child the opportunity to connected with a printed book while following along with the narrator, helping young children to make the connection between the written and spoken word. The Robert Allen Memorial Listening Center will honor Bob’s love of reading for years to come.
A message from the Allen Family
You may remember when my dad, Clare businessman Robert Allen, died in a car crash just before Christmas in 2011.
After his death, his family created a memorial fund in his honor in conjunction with the Pere Marquette District Library in Clare. Dad loved to read, and reading to his grandchildren will always be a favorite family memory. More than 200 friends, family and businesses from Clare and from across the country — contributed to the fund.
Earlier this month, that memorial fund came full circle when his four grandchildren and other family members were the first to visit the Robert Allen Memorial Listening Center at the library.
The listening center — a touchscreen computer connected to headphones that reads audiobooks to children as they browse the pages of the books on a comfy couch nearby — was specially designed by the library, and director Sheila Bissonnette says it is possibly the first of its kind anywhere in the nation.
In addition, the library used money from the fund to create an Apple computer lab at the library. (My dad was an Apple guy from the early 1980s, when he bought us our first one for Christmas.)
The funds also contributed to purchasing four specific sets of childrens' books for the library.
Dad would be humbled by the generosity of the donors but, to be honest, also geeked at the creative way we (with the help of the library) were able to put the funding to use.
-Kristin Bull (Robert Allen’s Daughter)