2017-10-12 / Editorial

Reading outside in the perfect spot

Library Links
By Leslie Rounds

Have you been by the Dyer Library lately? Have you noticed the bright, lime green fence behind the library? Perhaps you’ve wondered what was going on there. Please read on…

Children’s storytimes are a fabulous way to reach out into the community and provide book-based entertainment to children who haven’t yet reached school age. But far beyond that, the storytimes deliver a second, much greater punch. Our children’s librarians model a whole series of techniques that have been found to play a key role in getting children ready for school. We all know that it’s important that children have lots of experience being read to. It turns out that there is more to it than just that. There are ways to read to children that make it a far more interactive experience. And study after study has proven that interactivity is key to helping children gain fully from being read to.

The Saco Bay Rotary Club has shown over and over that they are very concerned about children’s literacy. They have always been generous with their time and money in helping support us as we strive to reach children in the community—especially those that aren’t getting read to or are only infrequently having the opportunity to enjoy stories with loving adults. About a year ago, Rotary Club president Jeff Slaton approached me. They wanted to try to get Rotary Club grant money to help us with our literacy mission. We talked about the ways that we could enhance our outreach and improve our connection with kids. One of the things we’ve always dreamed of was being able to do storytimes outside where passersby could see what kinds of things children could experience here at the Dyer Library. In addition, the children would be able to enjoy stories in the sunshine, giving us the opportunity to include nature (in a more vibrant way) into our story themes.

Surrounded by busy streets, the Dyer Library has never been a good place for outdoor programming. What we needed was a fenced area—and one that looked inviting to children. What we wanted was an area that would inspire imagination and bring in and inspire little children (and their care givers.) The Rotary Club got its grant and over the past month members have been working so hard to craft the perfect spot, from the flashy, bright fence, to the built-in benches, to the fabulous little playhouse, too, even, a thick carpet of sod. It can’t be beat. We are so excited to get started out there. We’re just waiting for the sod to get established and we will be up and rolling. If you know Rotary members (and they are all people in the community that are making projects like this happen!) then say thank you to them for us, for little children, for kids that will have even more opportunities to reach school ready to read, for everyone who will benefit from this marvelous gift.

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