By Linda Andersen
A visit to a Tuesday morning story hour at the Hallock Public Library proved to be a perfectly pleasant experience of viewing young and old participating in interesting activities and visiting with friendly folks who willingly shared about themselves and their interest in library activities and books.
The smell of fresh popcorn greeted visitors as they entered the library. Though it was just minutes away from the 10:30 a.m. story hour, the place was abuzz with grown-ups and children checking out books. Children picked small prizes and placed their names in a drawing box as they checked out their materials. Librarian Peggy Pearson explained more about the summer reading program’s prize system. “Each child that is registered for the reading program can pick a prize out of our prize box once a week when they check out a book or books. Then each time they check out books they can sign their names for a drawing that we do every week. In July we draw (from the same drawing box) for a $50 gift card.”
Guest reader for the day, Marge Landwehr, arrived. Landwher, who is in her sixth year as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Hallock, said she has been reading at story hours for at least two years. “I love getting to know the kids and there’s still a lot of kids I don’t know,” she said and explained that she had heard of a need for readers at the story hours and volunteered. She had already been ministering at the local nursing home and finds it enjoyable to also work with people at “the other end of the spectrum.”
As 10:30 a.m. drew closer, participants moved to the roomier area next door in the basement of the city hall where the actual story hour and the accompanying activity took place. Children gathered in chairs around Pastor Landwehr as she read the first of three books. In “The Mouse that Snored,” by Bernard Waber, the culprit who disturbs a home by snoring turns out to be a tiny mouse.
“It’s good to bite a carrot. It’s good to bite a steak. It’s bad to bite your sister! She’s not a piece of cake,” read Landwehr as she took participants through a delightful book for young children by Lisa Wheeler, “People Don’t Bite.”
She concluded the reading session with a book from the popular “Pete, the Cat” series, by Eric Litwin.
Participants then gathered around librarian, Peggy Pearson, as she demonstrated the activity of the day which involved using a straw and slime to blow a bubble.
Five-year old Sydney Bakken, who attended the event with mom, Cheri, and brother Loch, made some fine attempts at blowing up some respectably sized bubbles. She reported that her favorite part of the summer reading program is receiving prizes for checking out books.
“Peggy does really cool projects,” reported Emily Kuzel, as her daughter, Olivia, blew up what probably were some of the biggest bubbles of the day. Olivia said she likes listening to the stories, doing art projects, and getting Gummi candies at story hours.
Story hours are for people of all ages. No doubt two of the youngest participants were five-month-old twins, Johan and Avah Eksteen, who contentedly enjoyed activities from the comfort of their double stroller.
Rebecca Bakke, who described herself as a “homeschooling mom who loves books,” attended the event with her four children. Bakke serves as librarian at the Karlstad site when that library is open on the first Saturday of every month. She is planning to divide the children by age groups and do paper airplane races with them on Saturday, July 7th. “Hopefully the weather will be good and we can be outside,” she said.
On the subject of books she likes to read to children at story hours, she stated, “I always look for classic stories,” adding that she also chooses books that have been Caldecott and Newberry winners.
Story hour at the library in Hallock had definitely been the place to be June 26th. Asked what the attendance had been, Librarian Pearson responded, “I had 49 kids that I counted. That wasn’t counting the babies and mothers and I wasn’t sure how many were running up and down the ramp.”
Back at the library after the story hour events, patrons were once again finding books and checking them out. “I like that it’s a community event for kids – an opportunity to do things we can’t normally do,” said Raeya Hanson, who had attended the story hour with two of her daughters, Eva and Christine. “It adds interest to their summer,” she continued, mentioning that activities are for all ages and can actually be enjoyed by the whole family.
According to Eva Hanson, story hour is “fun and it teaches me stuff.” She has favorite storybook characters – Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton.
“I like reading the books and picking prizes,” stated Christine Hanson, whose favorite storybook character is Amelia Bedelia.
Meet some nice people, get acquainted with good books, and do fun activities at story time at the library!