Dinosaurs, dreamcatchers and much more


Lisa O’Shaughnessy put hours of work into a program that lasted less than 45 minutes, and that isn’t anything unusual.

She made salt dough, formed it into aluminum trays, pressed toy dinosaur skeletons (which she found and purchased online) into the and baked it. She put the skeletons back in, covered them with sand and sealed the trays. Then she did that 19 more times.

Some of the children at the Rockville Centre Library that attended O’Shaughnessy’s Dinosaur Explore program were so excited they tore through the kits in minutes, digging deep with plastic spoons and yanking out the dinosaurs, tossing sand everywhere in the process. Others took their time, carefully brushing away the sand to reveal the skeleton and the fossil that its impression made in the dough.

At the end of the program, sand covered the tables and floors in the library’s basement room. It was just about 8 p.m., and O’Shaughnessy still had a good amount of cleanup left to do. Despite the task ahead of her, O’Shaughnessy was almost giddy from the program’s success.

“You work with kids,” she said. “You have to let the chaos happen.”

A creative outlet

O’Shaughnessy, 31, has been working at the Rockville Centre Public Library as a Children’s Librarian since October, 2012. She graduated from Pratt University with a master’s degree in library science in 2010.

Being a librarian was not her original plan. Art was her calling, and she received her BA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston in 2004.

Her plan after receiving her undergraduate degree was somewhat vague. She wanted to do something in art administration but wasn’t sure what. What she was sure of was that she wanted to earn a master’s. And after hearing friends and friends of friends who were earning a degree in library science, or were already librarians, talk about how much they enjoyed it, O’Shaughnessy considered it.

“I never, in a million years, would have thought I was going to be a librarian,” O’Shaughnessy said. “It’s funny where life takes you. But I love this. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

O’Shaughnessy works part-time at the Rockville Centre library, runs children’s crafts at other libraries and also runs a crafting business on the side.

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