Off the Shelf: Youth librarians without borders

The Sequim Library is a bustling “little library on the prairie” what with regular programs like Kids Create Art, Second Saturday Science, Storytimes, Paws to Read, Family Flicks and much more.

But some of that excitement carries beyond library walls and into local schools and day care centers with the help of energetic youth services staff.

The magic starts with a child’s first library card. Aside from visiting preschools and day care centers, library staff travel to area first grade classrooms to get kids registered for their first card. The first-graders then enjoy a field trip tour of the library. Staff visits to every single elementary classroom to spread the word about the annual Summer Reading Program, a lively series of reading challenges and performances geared towards keeping kids engaged with learning over vacation.

A recent staff visit to a fifth-grade classroom rekindled relationships begun the year before through Battle of the Books, a year-long collaborative project between NOLS and schools around Clallam County including homeschooled students.

Library staff visit fourth-grade classrooms to discuss each book in addition to facilitating discussions for homeschooled fourth-graders as well. All participants receive free copies of the books read during the program and a T-shirt featuring original student artwork. Semifinal trivia competitions are held at the schools in March to determine which teams will represent their school in the final competition at the Port Angeles Main Library. Thanks to the Friends of Sequim Library for supporting this endeavor!

Literacy in action

Another wonderful example of youth librarians without borders is the annual Family Reading Night at Sequim Middle School. Around the middle of the school year, NOLS staff participate with the school district’s Teacher-Librarians to welcome families to this celebration of reading.

Similarly, NOLS’ Family Fun Day booth invites kids of all ages to play and interact during the Irrigation Festival each May. Sequim Library branch staff will attest that these examples of outreach result in a wave of fresh visits by families to our little library, asking for Playaways, Birding Kits and other fun materials they’ve recently heard about.

The word is getting out — outside!

In the middle of winter, we can remember and look forward to summertime fun-beyond-library-walls activities: enjoying summer concerts, kids’ entertainers, and outdoor games on and around the backyard stage. A big thanks to the Sequim School District and the Boys and Girls Club for providing larger spaces when the library’s small meeting room just won’t hold the crowds of attendees for such awesome performers as Caspar Babypants!

The library will also be seeing you soon at the Irrigation Festival Parade, Farmer’s Market and on Family Fun Day. Meet NOLS beyond the walls this summer!

For more information on library goings on, stop in and visit the Sequim Branch Library at 630 N. Sequim Ave. or get in touch with your friendly library staff by calling 360-683-1161 or sending an email to Discover@nols.org.

The library is always open at www.nols.org.

Mary Coté is a customer service specialist at the Sequim and Port Angeles branch libraries.

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