By Megan Conklin
My children and I visit various Timberland Regional Public Libraries at least twice a week. We check out an average of 50 books every two weeks. We go to activities at the library. We get our music from the library. We watch movies from the library. I cannot imagine my life without a public library in it. However, an informal poll (of my four children and my husband) shows that, by far, the most beloved aspect of the public library over the years has been and remains: Library Story Time.
Sarah Little, a librarian at Aberdeen Timberland Library, describes story time as “a multifaceted opportunity to expose young children to new ideas, community, and literacy skills.” She also points out the more fun and active the story time, the easier it is for the kids to absorb the new skills.
Because they see such value in library story time, the librarians at the Aberdeen library have created many diverse opportunities for families to experience these literacy rich experiences. The Mother Goose Playgroup that meets on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. is open to children ages birth to kindergarten and their caregivers. It is an opportunity for children and parents to connect with others in the community, sing, play, and explore books alongside trained librarians. The librarians in Aberdeen have purposefully made the arrival and departure times for the Mother Goose playgroup flexible so that caregivers can feel comfortable coming and going based on the needs of their children.
Another unique library story time offering at the Aberdeen library is their Saturday family story time which meets at 10:15 a.m. This particular date and time slot is a gift to working parents who would love to take their preschool aged children to a story time, but can’t make the usual weekday events.
While the librarians delivering story time to our youngsters are very intentional in teaching and modeling explicit literacy skills to the preschoolers in their charge, as far as kids are concerned, library story time is nothing but fun and silliness.
The silliness is a big motivator for my 2-year-old, Grace, who attended a preschool story time with me last Thursday. I was a little concerned that she would not be able to sit still long enough for the stories, being more of a toddler than a true “preschooler,” but we could not make the toddler story time fit into our schedule. Happily, because of the interactive and physical nature of the activities and stories, she did great. We learned about the planets, we danced like stars, and we pretended to be rocket ships. We will definitely be returning next Thursday.
The librarians at all the Grays Harbor County Timberland Libraries tailor their story times to the age group they are serving. Family story time is a more general offering for infants all the way through early elementary age, toddler story time is specifically for children in the 2-to-3-year-old range, and preschool story time for the 3-to-6-year-old set. The nice part, though, is that all the story times are flexible and I have been known to take a baby, toddler, and preschooler to a preschool story time, and they all find something to enjoy.
Parents in Grays Harbor County are especially lucky to have amazingly gifted librarians available to teach, play with, help and love our kiddos. The various Timberland libraries in the county all offer unique story time experiences. So, if you have a baby, toddler, preschooler or even half-day kindergartner in your life, check out your local library story time for a fun, free, and valuable literacy-rich experience. You won’t regret it.
Aberdeen Story Times:
Mother Goose Play Group: Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.
Family Story Time: Saturdays at 10:15 a.m.
Elma Story Times:
Family Story Time: Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Toddler Story Time: Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Hoquiam Story Times:
Preschool Story Time: Fridays at 10:30 a.m.
Montesano Story Times:
Family Story Time: Fridays at 10:30 a.m.
Westport Story Times:
Preschool Story Time: Fridays at 11:30 a.m.