BY RYAN WELLICOME
Children’s programs held at the Mary C. Moore Public Library attempt to foster creativity among youth, while simultaneously creating library awareness.
The library’s Children’s Programmer Mary Poole, said the program’s first function is to encourage children to enjoy the library by engaging in activities.
“The primary purpose is to get children comfortable in the library and singing and stories and crafts make that possible because there is something for everybody,” she said. “We also have Play-doh and toys to play with so we can appeal to any child.”
The programs cater to a broad age range, from infants under two years old to teens as old as 13. The library’s programs for older groups are featured in the form of reading clubs. The clubs will hold contests and games centered around reading with prizes and gifts given to excelling participants – with a free library membership thrown in.
“I think (children) don’t realize until they start reading, what fun and how interesting some of the book are,” said Poole.
She said by increasing children’s familiarity and comfort levels within the library, she can create a habit that will perpetuate into the teenage years and adulthood.
“It’s just for a continuation; to make it appealing to them,” she said. “A lot of the kids come for the computers and a lot of them come to pick out movies and things but they also meet each other here and it becomes more of a community then.
“It gives the kids a sense of belonging.”
Special events are also held to include all those who can’t be in programs due to other commitments.
“Once a month we have a special event and that’s for kids who can’t come to the programs, anyone can come of course but it is an opportunity for kids who are in other things to come to the library too,” said Poole.
The events are normally in the form of themed parties that will sometimes correspond to particular times of year.
According to Poole, parties can also be themed around a particular children’s author; authors like Roald Dahl, Tomi Ungerer and Dr. Seuss. During these parties, children can create crafts based on excerpts from those authors’ books.
“(The kids) took the books home to read too. We got them reading,” she said.
More information regarding regular programs, events and library membership can be found at www.lacombelibrary.com.
In a digital world, Poole stressed that books are an important part of a child’s mental growth and particular care must be taken in order to keep children reading.
“It’s five cents a day to belong to the library, for a whole family, $20 a year. You can’t buy a book for that. And you can go to any library in Alberta with our card,” she said.
“I think it is just an alternative to always having screen time and I think it is more relaxing for (children). It expands their imagination and it expands their world.”