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.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 26, 2008 - "Why do I not know about this?"

A few weeks ago, I put out a call for stories about how the library changed lives. I'd like to give you a taste of some of the wonderful responses we've gotten.

This one is from Hannah Fenstermacher:

"I grew up with the library having a consistent presence in my life. My mom was a library fan, and I remember going to our small town library each week to pick out new books. I continued to enjoy libraries as I went on to college - and then when I moved to Castle Rock - the library was one of the first places on my list to visit. While I have always enjoyed libraries - and always been an avid reader - I am not sure it was necessarily life changing until I had a baby last August.

"I believe new mothers generally have a couple things in common - they're pinching pennies, they're malnourished of adult interaction, and they're wondering how the heck they entertain this new little person ALL DAY LONG without going crazy. I fell into all three of those categories - particularly because previous to having our daughter, Freya, I was always on the go and surrounded by adults all day long, whether through school or work. I decided to begin working part-time from home when Freya was 4 months old and began interviewing babysitters to watch her a couple hours a week. One of these daycare providers mentioned 'baby storytime' to me, and asked me if I had ever been. I said no, and thought to myself, why do I not know about this??

"I began attending baby lapsit storytime on Tuesdays at the Castle Rock library with Geri in November 2007 when Freya was nearly 5 months old. We were hooked! It has now been about 6 months . . . and we never miss a Tuesday .... Nowhere else can you come into a safe environment, where your child can shake rattles, listen to stories and interact with other children where there is no cost involved. Nowhere else does Geri say every single time, 'You are wonderful people - if no one yet has told you how wonderful you are today, I am telling you now.' No where else can you interact with other parents, who are also there because they care about their child's development and want to have other parent interaction.

"A 30 minute period once a week may not seem 'life changing' to most people .... But, I truly believe that when I leave storytime, I am a better mother. Not only because I have exposed my child to reading and everything wonderful that goes with it - but because I have had a break in my day where there is guaranteed fun, happiness and support."

Over the past months, we've been taking advantage of recent research on brain development to better establish something called "early literacy." If you read to your child, you probably already follow these simple steps -- but you may not know it.

By taking the time to understand those steps, like those followed by such warm and loving staff as Geri, you can be a far more effective teacher for your child.

For more information about this wise investment in the development of your child's brain, see our website at http://www.douglascountylibraries.org/AboutUs/Literacy. Look for "early literacy."

Douglas County Libraries -- keeping moms sane and making kids smarter. It's the right thing to do.

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