This week I worked two days at the library. I was there on Friday , January 27 and Saturday, January 28. On Friday once Liz, the Children’s Librarian and I had straightened up from Thursday’s patrons and reshelved returned material we sat down to discuss story time and the after school program for next Thursday. I will be working the story time for Preschoolers on Thursday, February 2 with Liz’s help and guidance along with the after school program that day.
Liz first went over how to search for books pertaining to our subject for the week-Groundhog Day and we were able to find some at our library and the others were coming over with the courier’s afternoon delivery. We read through the books to see what would be appropriate for the age group we will be working with that day. We selected several, one we especially liked to show exactly what a groundhog looks like along with their habits. We also gathered up our supplies for the craft project we will be doing with the children that will go along with the stories about groundhogs.
With that all done for Thursday’s sessions we began to look at books for future story-times in the coming weeks. Liz plans about 4 -6 weeks of story-time themes at once. So,some of the upcoming themes for February and March are Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, and Spring/Planting a garden. I pulled some of the books for these themes so we could go through them now and order the ones we need from other libraries in the system. Liz told me some guidelines she uses when choosing the books such as for preschoolers if the books are too wordy the children lose interest and become distracted. Not being around really young children in quite a few years that was helpful, because you forget that their attention span is not that long.
For the after school program we are using the same theme and I selected several books that I think the children will enjoy. With this age group we will also be exploring shadows along with the groundhogs. We will also play a Groundhog trivia game with them after we share some facts about the day with them. I am looking forward to Groundhog Day at the library.
On Saturday the library hosted the Tail-Wagging Tutors from Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi. The group is a non-profit organization that has registered Pet Therapy dogs that come to the library once a month in Fall and Spring so that children can read to them. The Pet Teams, a dog and their handler, also visit hospitals, nursing homes, senior day care facilities and the VA hospital all along the Gulf Coast counties. My husband and I have been a member since 2009 and I have helped develop the TWT program to where we now visit 3 libraries in the Harrison County system. We are now visiting Pass Christian, Margaret Sherry and the Biloxi Library once a month. I usually have 2-4 Pet Teams at each location, all on the same Saturday and at the same time. We previously tried every other week rotating between the three, but that was taking up all our Saturdays. And before that we only visited one location in Kiln and just continued to have low turnout of children and too many dogs. So, changes had to be made and we are seeing success at last.
The numbers have been on the increase at each location. This month's session was a very good one with the Biloxi Library having 16 children read to the 3 dogs that were present. The other two locations also did quite well, Pass Christian had 18 children with only 2 dogs and Margaret Sherry had 11 with 2 dogs. The children’s librarians at Biloxi and Pass Christian are just wonderful and supportive. Margaret Sherry does not have a Children’s librarian at this time, so those numbers for them is a great achievement. The 2 Children Librarians we do work with are very supportive and make every effort to notify the children in the area that we will be there.
The children and their parents welcome the chance for the children to practice reading aloud to the dogs and where the dogs are not judging the child. The dogs love the attention that the children usually shower on them before, during and after the reading is completed. The goal is to let the child read aloud for 10-15 minutes without someone criticizing them or making fun of how they may pronounce a word. It is a worthwhile outreach program to the community and over time I have seen children improve their reading skills.
Here are a couple of photos from our session on Saturday-( when parents sign permission forms, they are also signing a photo release to our organization).
John and Gumbo listening to Alora read at TWT. John is my husband and Gumbo is one of our dogs. I was so busy I didn't have the chance to have someone take a picture of me with Coco and a child.
Buddy and Tiger Babe listening to Marielle read at Biloxi Library.
In the next couple of weeks I will be working with Liz at some of her Outreach Services in the Biloxi area. We will be going to a Head Start program and to a local school that requested a Library instruction class. Also, I will be going shopping with Liz for supplies for some of her upcoming programs so I can see how she budgets her money for her supplies.
This week I also worked the Book drop, taking the books from the drop, checking them in and locking and unlocking the bin for the weekend. I helped with closeout for the evening assuring no patrons were still in the library at closing, shutting down the computers and lights. It was a good week for me as far as the library goes.