Superheroes, national treasures...children's librarians!When I was the mother of a preschooler and toddler I was planning to home school, I discovered the Friday morning story time at one of our local libraries. It wasn't the closest library, but it was the most easily accessible by bus, which was important as we were a one car family.
Years passed. We added a baby and a minivan, and the preschooler and toddler became school age children. Story time remained one of the most important parts of our week: not only did it serve as the first practice sitting still in a group that my kids experienced, but we formed friendships with other homeschooling families that formed the basis for co-ops and playdates that provided the important social experiences my kids might otherwise have missed out on. As time wore on, the older kids would wander out and pick their own stacks of books, eventually novels, while the youngest still enjoyed story time.
Once, Friday fell after an ice storm and we tried to start out over an inch of ice for story time. We got stuck and a stranger had to turn our minivan around and point us back toward home. The kids all cried to miss storytime.
But all good things come to an end. Sooner or later, you give in and move on from preschool story time. The friends moved away, and I added first one, and then two mornings of work a week. With two high schoolers, I knew I wanted to ease my way back into the work force.
This year, I made a major life leap and took a job three days week teaching preschool (while maintaining my two MOPS jobs). When we started planning our community helpers units, I asked Ms Gerry, our children's librarian to grace our class with her presence. She ended up giving a 40 minute story time for our whole school, and it was a thing to behold. Energy crackling from her like a superhero of literacy, she kept nearly fifty kids from ages 3-5 engaged for that entire time. As I sat on the floor of my class room with about 5 little kids squished onto me, I felt transported back in time. And another thing- watching her, I knew most of my own circle time came from those story times of over a decade ago. I have stolen from the best.
If you know, our your children know,a children's librarian, know that aside from you, they may be your child's first best teacher. If you're an adult or close to it,stop into your library and thank your children's librarian. They are truly one of our national treasures, and our first line of defence against illiteracy.