POMEROY — Finding fun and educational activities for children can be difficult, especially during these times of social distancing and cancellation of many in person activities. The Meigs County District Public Library took up the challenge of filling this need by finding new and creative ways to present their children’s programs.
Children’s Services Coordination Emily Sanders and Children’s Assistant Anna Wears, known as Miss Emily and Miss Anna by the children who frequently participate in their programs, wanted to maintain a connection to the community. During the initial lock down the library closed, and many felt the void. With the re-opening there were concerns of the safety in group settings, and this fall the library again closed most of their in-person activities due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
During it all, Miss Anna and Miss Emily have continued their programs using technology and creativity. They believe it is very important to stay connected with their smallest patrons.
“We want them to continue to enjoy reading, or being read to, and having fun with books. Our goal is to keep the library connected with the community, let them know we are here to provide assistance and resources,” said Miss Emily. “We have moved our children’s programs online, so they can still participate at home.”
They are also providing craft kits for children to make at home.
“We had an overwhelming response at Christmas,” Miss Emily said. “Typically, we have about 100 who participate in our Gingerbread House craft. This year we offered take home kits, and a total of over 350 were picked up.”
Many sent pictures of themselves with their completed houses, and Miss Anna and Miss Emily were able to respond, again staying connected even though not in person.
“It was so wonderful to see the kids enjoy the project,” Miss Emily said. “We offer a craft each month, right now we are working on Valentine’s Day.”
An example of the library’s reading programs is Wiggle Giggle Read, designed for ages zero to three. This program introduces the youngest of library users to reading.
“Moving and shaking is encouraged, “Miss Emily said. “We use music and rhymes along with short stories, and encourage the adult’s caregivers to interact with the little ones. We want everyone to have fun and enjoy. We feel it is a very positive way to introduce children to books.”
Story Time, a stable of the library’s preschool crowd, is also now available on Facebook and YouTube. Visitors can watch Miss Anna and Miss Emily building a snow man or sailing in a pirate ship.
Caregivers are encouraged to register their children in the programs listed below designed especially for young readers:
— 1000 Books Before Kindergarten includes a packet that helps parents track the books, creates their first library card, and a board book to take home. As the child reaches 100 book milestones, they receive a small prize as an incentive and have their photo placed on a way. As each milestone is achieved, the photo is moved up. Upon reaching the goal, children receive a certificate of completion
— Meigs County Libraries are also now part of the Ohio Governors Imagination Library. Following registration, each child receives a new book in the mail each month until age 5. When the child turns five, they receive their final book “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come”, and officially become an Imagination Library graduate.
— Owl Prowl, provided by Raccoon Creek Partnership, is an in-person program that has been redesigned to allow participants to take their project home. The kit is and can be picked up at the library and includes an owl pellet, dissection tools, owl booklets, hot chocolate, craft, and coloring pages. This kit is on a first come basis, so interested parties are encouraged to register early.
Miss Anna and Miss Emily want the community to know there are many resources available to both children and adults. Visits are still made to area preschools either in person or on Zoom, and the library will work to provide books specifically targeted to your child’s interests or their current academic studies.
“That’s what the library is for, that is what we do, “said Miss Emily. “If you aren’t comfortable coming inside, we can schedule curbside pickup for books and crafts. We are here for you; all you need to do is ask.”
They also encouraged adults to check out the many programs designed for them as well.
Both Miss Anna and Miss Emily are looking forward to seeing everyone in person again, but in the meantime, more information can be found on their website: meigslibrary.org or visit them on Facebook.
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