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Thursday, October 23, 2014
The library is more than just books
By Jimin Kim
Jimin Kim/Herald
Terry Ain, the head of youth services at the library, helps create and run dozens of programs for kids over the summer.

The Rockville Centre Public Library offers more than just books. Its unique collection of programs is designed to encourage reading in a young audience.

The children’s room is affiliated with Family Place Libraries, a national network of children’s libraries that promotes reading by blending literature with recreation.

“Under that banner, we support play as the earliest form of learning for young children,” said Terry Ain, the library’s head of youth services, as she pointed out a train set and a puppet theater. “Our items are carefully selected for imaginative kind of play.”

Digital reading resources such as Nooks and iPads are also available. The devices facilitate the process of reading for some.

“A child who might need to magnify the words so it’s easier to see, the Nooks have that flexibility,” Ain said.

The library also advocates parents and children reading together. Certain fiction books are designed to help parents explain challenging topics, such as death and divorce, to their children through a storybook narrative and colorful illustrations.

“You’d be surprised how many people come in and they say their pet is sick or a grandparent’s passed away, they’re having trouble with bedtime,” said Ain, flipping through a book called “Visiting Feelings.”

Despite the access to digital information available to many children today, Ain feels that the parenting section is a timeless resource. “When you’re going through it yourself, there’s an intimacy in someone sharing a book with you that you’re not going to get anyplace else,” she said.

Downstairs was Craft Camp, an art class for children 3 to 6. The library takes an in-house approach when running its activities; rather than hiring members from outside agencies, the library’s own staff manages many of the programs.

Emily Corvelle, 31, a youth services librarian, was helping the children build model butterflies. The project was planned to motivate kids to read and learn more about the colorful insects.

“We have our butterfly books on display,” said Corvelle. “We always try to tie literacy into what we’re doing.”

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