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.