This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, October 10, 1990

October 10, 1990 - Children's programming/services

Recently I took a hard look at my life. While I was at it, I examined the lives of most of the adults I know. And I came to a startling conclusion.

We just don't build a year like we used to.

The older we get, the more we have to get done in less time. We hurry. And time is just like anything else. If you don't pay close attention to what you're making, it just doesn't last as long. The reason time goes so fast for adults is simple -- inferior craftsmanship.

By contrast, children put some quality effort into their minutes. I distinctly remember when I turned five. Subjectively, it took almost three agonizing years to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas, nine months of it on Christmas Eve alone.

On the other hand, Christmas morning lasted a good six weeks.

This difference between the way adults and children see the world is just one of the things that makes libraries so interesting. Adults may do a little browsing, but basically they're in and out. They want quick information or a little well-earned distraction, all with a minimum of fuss.

But for kids, because their moments are so big, because they'll take the time to listen, libraries are a different story altogether. And speaking of stories, storytelling for children just happens to be one of the things we do best.

It seems simple enough. A librarian sits or stands in front of a group of youngsters, reads aloud, and shows some pictures from a book. Most story times last about half an hour, maybe forty-five minutes with a little craft activity thrown in.

But in what most adults would call a brief span of time, miracles occur. I've seen it. Children get excited about language. Through stories, they learn how people behave, and why. Perhaps most important, they learn that learning itself can be enormously engaging. And they get in the habit of hanging around books.

Take your children to McDonald's, and they learn to like hamburgers. Take your children to the library, and they learn to like books.

Of course, children aren't the only people who benefit from story times. New moms, or moms new to the area, are big winners too. For one thing, library story times are one of the few free activities left. Moms meet other moms. Their kids meet other kids. Everybody learns something, including the librarians. (Some of the best, clearest writing in the world is in children's non-fiction.)

So the deceptively simple practice of library story times has two big and complex results. Adults get connected to their community. Kids kick off a whole lifetime of reading predicated on enthusiasm.

If you've never taken your children to one of our story times, maybe you should make the time to look into it. If not now, when?

Here's our story time schedule:

Philip S. Miller Library (Castle Rock): Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. The Tuesday sessions are designed for 2-5 year olds. The Thursday sessions for 4-5 year olds.

Parker Library: Tuesday at 10 and 11 a.m. (for one-and-a-half to three year olds), and Thursday at 10 and 11 a.m. for 3 to 5 year olds.

Oakes Mill story times are held on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

The Louviers Library has story times at 2:30 every Thursday afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment