All posts by Diane

Baby Love Baby Shower

First-time parents of infants and first-time parents-to-be, will have a new and unique opportunity to learn about community resources, and celebrate the upcoming or recent birth of their babies, at County Library’s initial Baby Love Baby Shower on January 10 at 6:30 p.m.

The goal of this special event is to share information as together we care for and educate children from local neighborhoods. Seven exhibitors, plus the library, will have staff available on site to assist attendees during the hour-long gathering.

Each family will be invited to decorate a baby gift to take home, receive a free book, enjoy refreshments, and possibly win one of several door prizes. A flier, reminding parents of County Library’s weekly Books & Babies storytimes for infants through 24 months, Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m., will also be distributed.

For more details, contact Miss Diane, Children’s Librarian, at 540-984-8200 x207. County Library is located at 514 Stoney Creek Boulevard in Edinburg.

ARSL Conference Celebrates Libraries

What a joy to recently attend my first Association for Rural & Small Libraries Annual Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. With the theme of “Celebrate Libraries!”, the tone was set for a learning and sharing experience for nearly 400 who attended, including 215 “newbies” like me. Also of note, several state libraries awarded grants to library staff to cover registration and travel expenses. This was a celebration in itself for grant recipients, many of whom felt that the value of their library work was reconfirmed by this state level financial support.

The general consensus of participants regarding the value of the conference was overwhelmingly positive. No complaints heard; how refreshing! First-timers resolved to attend the 2013 in Iowa because what they gleaned this year was so hands on and focused; many remarked that they could utilize session content immediately upon returning home. Many ARSL “veteran” attendees stated that they try to participate every year, when possible.

In addition to four top-notch keynote speakers, including Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Service, the scheduling by ARSL planners allowed me to attend eight workshops. A college professor presented tips during “Celebrate a Successful Family Literacy Event”. “Surviving (and Thriving) During Challenging Times” reminded us to continue to focus on our individual community’s needs, then look at what we can stop, so we can plan to start new programs or services. The “DIY After School Programs (for K-5th)” presenter handed us a terrific list of book titles, craft ideas, and other resources to use with this age group. A Louisiana speaker showed awesome photos during his “Razzle Dazzle em: the Glitz, Glam and Gusto of Material Displays”. “Signature Events for Small Libraries” highlighted ways to raise funds and make friends. The remainder of the workshops were also helpful.

Why We Do, What We Do, at Preschool Storytime

During our “P is for Pancake” Preschool Storytime this week, we focused not only on letter recognition but also included an array of other components to benefit the 2- to 5-year-olds who gather each Tuesday or Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. at County Library.

Researchers claim that at birth our brains are 25 percent developed; upon entering kindergarten, the development reaches 90 percent. Thus, we take seriously our mission to provide quality enrichment experiences as well as fun for our preschoolers.

We begin with our “Hello & How Are You” song, which sets a light tone and promotes socialization and caring for one another as we share that, “I’m fine, I’m fine, and I hope that you are too.” Storybooks presented differ in level, ranging from simplistic to mind-stretchers. Attendees learn one or more words in infant, baby or American sign language.

Child development experts encourage educators to liberally utilize repetition and rhyme, so we repeat fingerplays and action rhymes numerous times, which also builds self-esteem when young children are able to comfortably and successfully participate.

Our closing song, “If You’re Happy & You Know It”, teaches sequencing, as we at first individually clap our hands, stomp our feet, or shout hooray; then we link the three actions as we “do all three”.

During craft time, cutting out a pancake shape, picking up and gluing tiny yellow construction paper squares of “butter” to the pancake, and painting brown “syrup” on the pancake hones fine motor skills. Children express pride in their completed projects and take home something to reinforce the storytime content and encourage further discussion at home.

Now that summer vacations are a pleasant memory, plan to join us next week!

LEGO Club Builds Cooperation and More

At first glance, the continued popularity of LEGO bricks might appear to be the main focus of this elementary and middle school program. However, as Adult Services Librarian David Robinson commented last fall, “There is a lot more going on during LEGO Club.”

Children hear about upcoming library programs. Miss Diane, Children’s Librarian, provides brief book talks about new arrivals, materials recently acquired by the library. Participants work individually or cooperatively in small groups to create projects that are photographed by Mr. David. After a light snack, everyone helps with clean-up time before a LEGO-related door prize is drawn.

All of the above is in addition to further development of small motor skills by connecting, then separating the LEGO bricks in preparation for the next meeting. Adult caregivers often join in the fun, enhancing relationships during this quality time together. Many of the children like to log their attendance during Club meetings, taking pride in their continued participation as they meet and make new friends in a relaxed, yet educational, setting.

In response to requests from the public, we will begin offering a Preschool LEGO Club at 3:30-4 p.m Sept. 20 at County Library. A volunteer parent will supervise the program and all interested preschoolers (and their parents) are invited to join us on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Our regular LEGO Club, for children of kindergarten age and up, will resume “meetings” at 4:30 p.m. following a summer hiatus.

For more information about either LEGO Club, contact Diane Cary at 984-8200 x207.

Why Should Your Child Read During the Summer?

Unfortunately, studies indicate that children generally lose ground when not in school during the summer. This loss is most significant for high-needs youngsters.

There are many no-cost solutions to addressing this concern. Here are a few ideas:

First, allow your child to have his or her own library card. With a responsible party cardholder, any age child can present a new card at the Circulation Desk with pride and a big smile. As staff, we see their faces as they check out materials, so we can vouch that this is true.

Second, register your child for the Summer Reading Club. Infants through 5th graders receive a colorful “Dream Big…Read!” button to wear during library visits, proving that they “belong” to the Club. Children add a sticker to reading logs for each book read or listened to between June 18 and August 11 in order to earn a free book. Tweens/teens and adults also have SR Clubs and prizes.

Third, visit the library weekly to enter the title of a child’s favorite book in the prize box (limit one per week) to be eligible for toys, books, or the grand prize of a bike of choice from Wal-Mart Supercenter/Woodstock (up to $90 value). Stop in on the way to the picnic or the pool, weaving library visits into your summer lineup as a routine activity, anticipated and enjoyed.

Fourth, allow children to select a variety of books. Reluctant readers especially enjoy juvenile non-fiction as they explore the world of dinosaurs, dogs, drawing or a myriad of other subjects. No longer “assigned” certain books, children enjoy the seasonal freedom to browse more freely.

Next, participate in the performances, weekly storytimes, or summer-only activities. Kids will sing, dance, and shimmy under the limbo stick (as shown above during our kickoff “One Man Band” show). They will be enchanted by the magician, delighted by the puppeteers, and bonded with the “real” puppies during weekly Paws to Read programs. Building an ice cream sundae while meeting new friends will truly be a treat. Check for programming at each library branch.

And last, read to your child of any age. Just as adults sometimes read a book passage, magazine or newspaper article to another adult, children of any age benefit from hearing and discussing what is of interest to other family members. Modeling the love of reading is a gift easily provided to your child.

Have a fantastic summer as we continue to “Dream Big…Read”!

Zoo Animals Have Arrived at County Library!

As one of the first 40 libraries in Virginia to receive an Early Learning Literacy Center, County Library has hosted bugs, dinosaurs, pets, and now zoo animals. Themed materials are “switched” between participating libraries statewide twice per year during the Virginia Library Directors Association meetings.

To introduce young patrons to the latest newly-arrived theme, Miss Diane, Children’s Librarian, prepared Preschool Storytimes on May 8 and 9 featuring “A Trip to the Zoo” and the letter Z. Following books, songs, action rhymes, sign language, and a monkey sack puppet craft, the children played independently or in small groups within the Activity Room. Later the Center was moved to the Children’s Area, where it now resides.

Stacking, sorting, and other activities help hosting facilities to meet the Library of Virginia’s basic goals of providing a welcoming environment for young patrons while enhancing early literacy and reading skills. The contents of each Center were carefully selected, educational in purpose, and brightly colored to engage children and encourage creativity.

Parents and caregivers have the opportunity to interact with the children as they explore the many parts of each Center. Centers are currently located at the Basye-Orkney Springs, Ft. Valley, and Strasburg Community Libraries, as well as the New Market Area Library. Mt. Jackson Community Library is also slated to receive a unit from the Library of Virginia later this year.

The Centers are funded through a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant administered by the Library of Virginia.

Poetry Pajama Party – April 17

Pajama DayFrom renowned children’s book author Margaret Wise Brown, to prolific children’s poet Jack Prelutsky, to comedian Jeff Foxworthy—the choices are abundant when perusing the juvenile nonfiction Dewey section J811 in the Children’s Area for a poem to share at a first-time event to celebrate National Poetry Month. Children are invited to bring a favorite poem or verse that they have written or enjoyed, then share the selection during the County Library’s April 17 storytime that begins at 6:30 p.m. Silly or serious, brief or long, the goal is to have fun, meet new friends, create a craft, and have a light snack. PJs are optional, and those who wish to just come and listen are welcome.

April has been recognized as National Poetry Month since 1996 when the Academy of American Poets encouraged the literary world and educators to plan programming across the nation to instill and savor a love of verse. An events calendar lists, in addition to poetry readings or author visits, such activities as poetry walks, festivals, receptions and cocktail parties.

For further details regarding the Poetry Pajama Party, contact Miss Diane, Children’s Librarian, at 984-8200 x207.