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Library finds interesting ways to reach children

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| November 15, 2009 11:00 PM

Getting down on their hands and knees on the floor of the Libby Library to test their “balloon rocket cars,” 6-year-old Tucker Boyer Masters and 8-year-old Emma Gruber smiled with joy to see just how far their creations would go.

Library staffers Sami Pierson and Sarah Daviau also got in on the fun with their homemade vehicles rolling along a tape measurer for distance.

The Tuesday evening activity was the latest example of the type of children’s programs offered by the local library. The ideas could come from anywhere but in general, it gives librarians a chance to think like kids.

“A lot of it is things we used to love to do when we were kids,” said Daviau, who carries the job title of adult services librarian but also works with children. “So, we think about how can we adapt and make them new or interesting to kids now. With this particular project we were lucky because Sami had gone to a project given in Bozeman.”

Pierson, who is the Lincoln County Public Libraries director, participated in an event hosted by the Bozeman library. And she got to test her skills at building a rocket car.

“NASA put on a rocket workshop so we learned how to build these different rockets,” she said. “It was hilarious.”

The children seemed to be having a lot of fun with the event, which included apple juice and cookies in case their tummies needed a treat.

“We have something every Tuesday night and we have parents that know to look for activities,” Daviau said. “And every time we have parents here, we tell them, oh by the way, we have this activity coming up.”

Daviau spreads the word any way she can, such as mentioning the activities when college students come down to the library for tours in the fall and spring. She also works with students in Libby and Troy.

“I get to work with kids which is something I never thought I’d like to do but I’ve found that I really love it,” Daviau said. “Teaching somebody is so much fun.”

This past Thursday, for example, Daviau spent the day at Morrison Elementary in Troy.

“We’re happy to come to the kids if the teachers ask us to,” Daviau said. “We’ll go out in the community and talk to children or any group.”

Periodically, a children’s activity will tie in with a particular theme or holiday. For example, Pierson said that last month, a program with local firefighters involved a grant made available through the Big Read program. It was an event that tied in with both the Big Read’s “Fahrenheit 451” theme but also coincided with Fire Safety Week.

Pierson said the library welcomes suggestions from the public on possible children’s activities that could be staged.

Each of the three libraries in the county – Libby, Troy and Eureka – schedules various programs.

In Libby, children’s storytime occurs every Tuesday at 10 a.m. Staff members read to the kids on most occasions although volunteers also participate. Once a month, a library staffer takes storytime to Head Start students.