The program is geared towards children from birth to 5 years and has been going on in some form since the library started. The program was once a strong element at the library but in recent years attendance has dwindled, a trend Phillips hopes to see reversed.
“I’d like to draw them back into the atmosphere of the library,” she said. “I’m trying to build storytime back up. It’s absolutely free, just come and play.”
Phillips believes storytime at the library provides a chance for children to interact with one another, have some fun and learn something as well. During the Tuesday morning sessions, she plans to read stories, sing songs, perform finger plays and make crafts.
“They get involved. It’s more of a social time for kids to be with other kids. These little kids get to know each other. They also don’t have to sit perfectly still,” she said. “If I get their attention for five minutes at a time, I’ve succeeded.”
Even in all of the fun, she tries to teach the children a lesson with each session such as friendship or sharing. She also makes it a point to be repetitive about the lessons to ensure the message sticks.
“I still like for them to have a little magical time,” she said.
Adults who bring the children to the program are asked to stay with the kids and even participate in the activities. Phillips said that sometimes families who homeschool their children will come, and while the younger children enjoy storytime, the older ones will use resource books they need from the library or use the Internet.
Phillips said as far as she knows storytime has been taking place at the library since it was opened in the late 1950s.
“Mrs. Stone did a lot for children. This used to be the only outlet as far as stories,” she said of the program’s beginnings.
Phillips’ own children participated in the storytime program when it was led by Joni Metz, who dressed up as Mother Goose. Metz would bring in live animals to go with many of the stories she read and even painted elaborate murals on two of the walls.
“My children absolutely loved her and she was magical. She was Mother Goose,” said Phillips. “To get to do what she did is very gratifying to me.”
Storytime will start back up on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m.
For the older siblings of those participating in storytime and even for parents, September is the perfect time to visit the library as it is National Library Card Sign-up Month.
Phillips said the library likes for children signing up for their first library card to be 5- or 6-years old so they are able to print their own name on the card.
“It’s a big deal because they help answer the questions and they get to stand there in front of all of us and write their name on the card. We all applaud and cheer. It’s a big thing to present your own card to check out books,” she said.
The sign-up campaign is not only geared towards children who are getting their first card, it is for people of all ages.
“I would encourage anybody to come get a library card because in these economic times we have so much we can offer,” she said, listing books, Internet access and magazines and newspapers as just some of the services provided. “We also offer a wide variety of help if they need it like getting them in touch with the different agencies. Just ask a librarian and they’ll know. That one little card opens up a whole new world and it’s absolutely free.”
A new opportunity provided by the library is access to some eBooks with the collection expanding all the time. Patrons can download the eBooks for a certain amount of time, just like checking out a book from the library.
Contact Morgan Wall at email@example.com or 719-1929.