Libraries Attract Young With Tie-Dying, Movies

Nov 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 21-2: K-12 Education, Winter 2009, Tribal College News

Although tribal college libraries are geared toward primarily serving older students, many also have programs for the area’s youngest readers, as well. According to librarian Helen Stamper Windy Boy, Stone Child College (Box Elder, MT) has a small children’s collection. The collection is popular with families as well as daycare and Head Start staff, who bring infants and toddlers to the library a couple of times each week. Through their IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) grant, they were also able to purchase computers that many teenagers enjoy using.

At Fork Belknap College Library (Harlem, MT), community members are invited to activities, crafts, and movies, including a three-day-a-week Summer Reading and Activity Program. In June, the library hosted 38 children and adults for Charlotte’s Web Day. People were invited to make Charlotte’s Web tie-dyed shirts and watch the classic children’s film, says the librarian, Eva English.

The library also hosted an afternoon of Fourth of July crafts. “We colored flags to put on pencils, made patriotic paper airplanes, and several other Fourth of July-themed coloring pages,” English says.

At the Wind River Tribal College Library in Ethete, WY, most of the books are college-level, but there are also seven shelves of chapter books, as well as Young Adult books.

“We are fortunate to have been given, through the generosity of the Libri Foundation, dozens of children’s books, including big-format picture books,” says librarian Helen Knudsen. (The Libri Foundation is a nationwide nonprofit organization that donates new, quality, hardcover children’s books to small, rural public libraries.)

She adds that some of the books for very young children have stuffed toy animals to accompany the books (courtesy of loyal donor, Patty McGinty). “The little ones hold the animal while the librarian reads the book—this makes sitting still a lot easier to do,” says Knudsen. “Older kids are encouraged to keep the librarian posted on their latest school assignments that might be enhanced by some background information.”

She adds: “It is always good to get the kids ‘hooked’ on reading at an early stage. With luck, we’ll see them in one of our college classrooms in a few years.”

Thanks to continued funding from the National Library of Medicine, the Valerie Merrick Memorial Library at Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, ND, has seen significant improvements in recent years. During 2008, holdings in many areas increased, including the children’s sections. CCCC Vice President of Community & Library Services Antonette Halsey notes, however, that these gains remain insufficient to meet the needs of the Spirit Lake community.

The library is a Spirit Lake Head Start Program training partner. Education seminars are presented twice-monthly for Head Start staff, interested parents, and local childcare providers. Halsey adds that programming during expanded weekend hours includes Wii tournaments, Movie Matinee Sunday for families, and other special library events.

The CCCC library also hosts Summer Reading Programs, as well as Family Reading Night, which was initiated in February 2008 to build family readers. This event is theme-based and staffers integrate storytelling, hands-on activities, and technology.

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