As a parent and a former public school teacher, I still tingle with the prospect of the new school year and, as a children’s librarian, I’m determined to make use of this almost tangible energy. I’ve readied my calendar to ensure visits to various library branches to meet the Head Start students and began inviting guest speakers and programs to sing, dance and explore the world of science.
Perhaps one of the most exciting new programs we’re undertaking is the 1,000 Books before Kindergarten program. It’s a national program urging parents and guardians to get involved with their child’s reading skills at an early age. We will begin with a reading launch at the Lumberton library and then we will expand the program to our other Robeson County public libraries in 2017. Each child who has not begun kindergarten comes to the library, registers and receives a log. The child is awarded a prize after each time they complete 100 books. It’s broken down to about three picture books a day, each taking about five minutes to read. It is doable.
Along with the 1,000 Books before Kindergarten, the Youth Services Library has decided to create new clubs in an effort to gain more young patrons. A Lego club is going to be offered on Wednesdays starting on Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. and we’re going to try to incorporate Pinterest in a book club for teens. Once a month, we want to meet with our teenage patrons to discuss books and genres while creating a new craft found on Pinterest.
The Lego club will stimulate imagination and creativity in ages 4 and up. We will provide instructions to build creatures and structures and discuss how they relate to books or things we know. It’s meant to be a fun opportunity in the middle of the school week. A chance for young people to build social skills while playing together, as well as build an appreciation for things in a library.
As for our Teen Book and Pinterest Club, I’ve always enjoyed pinning crafts on Pinterest, but never quite found the opportunity to make them. Why not do it with others? I’ll look for the most interesting crafts I can and take suggestions from participants. The crafts should be something that can be completed in an hour and give our fingers something to do while discussing our favorite book types and what we enjoy about the books we are currently reading. These are strong, positive social skills to build a young person’s community. Sharing while creating helps to encourage a love of people and place, which is what a library is all about.
If that isn’t enough, we have our famous Storytime. In Pembroke, we’ll be at our library at 10 and 11 a.m. for Storytime on Mondays. Then we’ll be back at Lumberton on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and St Pauls at 11 a.m., and finally back at Lumberton on Fridays at 10 a.m.. We hope that one of those locations will work for our patrons.
On a final note, and an important one, September is National Library Card sign up month. If you don’t have a library card, please come and register for one. If you have a young person in your home about to start school, bring him or her in for a library card. Reading helps with every subject area in school and it’s a skill that should be taught even before your child begins school.
We love children and hope that our library shows it. We can help select books for homework and provide a nice, comfortable place to do it. Hope to see you soon.
Lisa Bowden is the Youth Services Librarian at the Robeson County Public Library.