Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Library's programs foster kids' imaginations

MP900442301At the Louisville Free Public Library’s Crescent Hill branch, summer is considered the “zenith” of the library year, just like Christmas in the church year.

That’s how reference librarian Rob Gieszl describes the busy summertime scene — especially for children and teens — at the branch, 2762 Frankfort Ave.

Not only do they have more free time once school’s out, but the branch also caters to parents who are looking for activities that are free, said Barbara Ledford, the children’s librarian.

Some teens also participate in adult activities in the summer, such as computer training, Gieszl said.

A downstairs meeting room at the branch was full recently for a “Can You Build a Dragon?” activity session for children ages 3 to 10.

Emily Dragun of Kingsley brought her children, Anna, 6, and Joseph, 1. “We are here every summer for story times,” she said. It’s a way to keep up their “excitement alive” about reading, plus it’s air-conditioned, she said.

Many of the summer children’s activities tie in with the library foundation’s system-wide summer reading program, whose theme this year is “Myth, Magic and Imagination.”

Other recent activities have included “Wings and Wands,” which offered a chance to wear Woodland Fairy costumes, and “Like Knights of Old . . . Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Knights and Ladies,” which included designing crested shields.

At the dragon session, Ledford read aloud from “The Dragon Machine” and showed off other dragon books, such as “The Library Dragon” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

When she asked participants what they know about dragons, Morgan Ray, 6, of Audubon Park said: “Some dragons have two heads.” Other said they fly, fight knights and breathe fire.

The children built their dragons from paper cut-outs of dragon parts and filled out forms listing their dragons’ traits. Kelly Cissell of La Grange had brought her sons, Tyler, 6, and Chase, 4. Tyler named his dragon “Cocoa Pebbles” and said he lived in a cave and ate pizza.

For teens, a summertime “Pizza & Pages Book Discussion” with pizza for lunch is being held twice, this month and last. The books being discussed — “The Book Thief,” by Markus Zusak and “Eli the Good,” by Kentucky author Silas House — are on the Jefferson County Public Schools suggested summer reading list.

Gieszl, who leads the discussions, said he once led another teen book discussion group — “an incredible group of readers” — that met for three years. But he couldn’t find another group that was interested once they graduated from high school.

He said he hopes the “pizza” group will attract new participants who might want to continue after the summer.

Molly White, 15, who lives in the Poplar Level Road area, and Kaiser Kroencke, 11, of Crescent Hill, have been helping out at the library as volunteers this summer and pitched in to help with the “Build a Dragon” activity.

“I come to the library, so if I’m here I might as well help,” Molly said. “It’s a fun place to hang out.”

Source: Courier Journal
Reporter Martha Elson can be reached at (502) 582-7061.

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