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Timeless Tales Program

Cre­at­ing a Con­nect­ed Com­mu­ni­ty of Read­ers: Inter­gen­er­a­tional Sto­ry­time

After see­ing a hand­ful of arti­cles about nurs­ing homes open­ing up preschools in a shared space, as well as the ben­e­fits from this part­ner­ship, I want­ed to find a way to cre­ate the same inter­gen­er­a­tional con­nec­tion in a library set­ting. We already had a rela­tion­ship with our local retire­ment home as our Cir­cu­la­tion Super­vi­sor does month­ly out­reach and book check­outs for the res­i­dents, so I approached their staff with the idea.

I was for­tu­nate to have a very will­ing com­mu­ni­ty part­ner in Fran­cis­can Vil­lage Assist­ed Liv­ing at Our Lady of Vic­to­ry Con­vent, who could not have been more sup­port­ive of my vision for bring­ing fam­i­ly sto­ry­time to their facil­i­ty. Work­ing with their staff, we planned a day that worked well both for them and for our sto­ry­time fam­i­lies. The major­i­ty of our pro­gram par­tic­i­pants are preschool aged and younger. We also chose to have me present to their mem­o­ry care res­i­dents.

We adver­tised the pro­gram in our newslet­ter with the fol­low­ing descrip­tion: “Enjoy sto­ries, songs, crafts, and a spe­cial treat at an inter­gen­er­a­tional sto­ry­time with the res­i­dents of Fran­cis­can Vil­lage. Join us off­site at the Assist­ed Liv­ing at Our Lady of Vic­to­ry Con­vent.” We post­ed fly­ers in the library and on our dig­i­tal sig­nage, cre­at­ed Face­book events, and had the events list­ed on our online cal­en­dar. We are lucky to have a very involved patron base of fam­i­lies so with those pro­mo­tion­al items and word of mouth at oth­er pro­grams, word spread eas­i­ly.

families attend Timeless Tales storytime

At this once-a-month pro­gram, I plan a reg­u­lar sto­ry­time with a craft, aimed at the kids that are going to be par­tic­i­pat­ing (because this is a reg­is­tered pro­gram, I have a gen­er­al idea of the ages of the par­tic­i­pants). So far our reg­is­tra­tion has been full for all ses­sions, but I do have a con­tin­gency should no fam­i­lies show up. This would con­sist of read­ing longer pic­ture books to the res­i­dents, so that they will still be pre­sent­ed with a pro­gram.

For our Decem­ber ses­sion, I chose four win­try sto­ries and we dec­o­rat­ed wood­en orna­ments with mark­ers and stick on gems. It was heart­warm­ing to see how quick­ly all the chil­dren took to the res­i­dents and how easy the inter­ac­tions were. When it came time for the craft, the kids and res­i­dents worked side by side, and any res­i­dent that need­ed help with the fine motor skills, the kids would step in and assist. There were some that even made the craft out­right for the res­i­dents so that they would leave with a fin­ished prod­uct.

Both our library and Fran­cis­can Vil­lage are very encour­aged by the start of this pro­gram and have dates planned into the Spring.

Please feel free to con­tact me with any ques­tions about the pro­gram: Rachel Sny­der, Children’s Ser­vices Man­ag­er, Lemont Pub­lic Library, rsnyder@lemontlibrary.org.

Rachel Snyder, Lemont Public Library

Rachel Sny­der, Chil­dren’s Ser­vices Man­ag­er, Lemont Pub­lic Library

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I love that you always find a bookstore!”

After post­ing pho­tos on Face­book of a recent trip to Chica­go, my friend Joanne post­ed the above com­ment. My heart soared a bit, know­ing that my pas­sion for books and book­stores gar­nered such a love­ly, pos­i­tive obser­va­tion. It’s no secret that just about any­time I find myself traips­ing through a new town, I am eager to check out the local book­store. It seems fit­ting that as 2019 comes to a close, I recap my book­store adven­tures from the past year and share a few high­lights from five favorites.

Riv­er Lights 2nd Book­store
1098 Main Street
Dubuque, IA

Why it’s worth the vis­it

Dubuque is my home­town and though there are three col­lege book­stores, Riv­er Lights is the only inde­pen­dent book­seller in the city. The quaint and com­fy estab­lish­ment is con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed on Main Street and it’s open sev­en days a week. What I love most about it is the qual­i­ty and quan­ti­ty of rec­om­mend­ed titles and how they are dis­played. The space is not huge, but they make use of the space in a most charm­ing man­ner. Floor to ceil­ing shelves with a cool slid­ing lad­der pro­vide plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty for explor­ing. There’s also a cute lit­tle nook espe­cial­ly for kids.

River Lights Bookstore

Riv­er Lights 2nd Book­store, Dubuque, Iowa

If I still lived in Dubuque, I would be thrilled to take advan­tage of the many book clubs spon­sored by Riv­er Lights; Chow Bel­la for food groupies, Slight­ly Creepy — a hor­ror book club, Page and Palette for art lovers, the lunch time book group, and the “read and be empow­ered” fem­i­nist book group. I’ll con­tin­ue to vis­it Riv­er Lights when I return to Iowa for fam­i­ly events and I hope any­one pass­ing through or stop­ping by Dubuque for a longer stay also checks it out.

Riv­er Lights has a great web­site fea­tur­ing a cal­en­dar of events, book sug­ges­tions, local author fea­tures and more. They offer an edu­ca­tor dis­count of 10% and a 30% dis­count to edu­ca­tors buy­ing books in bulk.

Chang­ing Hands Book­store
6428 McClin­tock Dr.
Tempe, AZ

Why it’s worth the vis­it

I’m for­tu­nate to head south mul­ti­ple times a year to vis­it my daugh­ter (and get a break from the Min­neso­ta win­ters!). Chang­ing Hands, billed as “Arizona’s lead­ing inde­pen­dent book­store,” has two loca­tions in the val­ley, one in Phoenix and one just a few miles from my Ari­zona retreat. The expan­sive space offers a mul­ti­tude of new and used books to peruse along with lots of adorable gift buy­ing options. There’s a great cof­fee shop con­nect­ed to Chang­ing Hands and there is always a “side­walk sale” with bar­gain books tak­ing place out­side.

Changing Hands Bookstore

Chang­ing Hands Book­store, Tempe, AZ

If I lived in Tempe, I would espe­cial­ly appre­ci­ate the many work­shops and events (more than 400 per year) spon­sored by Chang­ing Hands. Their doors first opened in 1974, as “a social­ly respon­si­ble, envi­ron­men­tal­ly sound busi­ness that would also be a com­mu­ni­ty gath­er­ing place” and after 45 years, two of the orig­i­nal own­ers con­tin­ue to make it their mis­sion to raise aware­ness of social jus­tice issues, pro­mot­ing inclu­sion and a love of lit­er­a­cy. I pre­dict my next vis­it to Ari­zona will include a stop at the Phoenix Chang­ing Hands loca­tion which also includes the “First Draft Book Bar,” a unique venue fea­tur­ing cof­fee, wine, beer and snacks.

Chang­ing Hands has an impres­sive social media pres­ence. Their web­site offers a week­ly newslet­ter, ideas, events, staff book picks, and my favorite, the “B.I.T.” and “LILB.I.T.” book picks. Tweens, aged 8 – 12, com­prise an élite group of book review­ers who offer their opin­ion on books pri­or to release dates or “Before Its Trendy.” This impres­sive fix­ture in the Ari­zona lit world offers an edu­ca­tor dis­count of 10% and a wide range of oth­er ben­e­fits and pro­grams for teach­ers and kids.

Indi­go Books
1033 Rob­son St.
Van­cou­ver, BC, Cana­da

Why it’s worth the vis­it

While not an inde­pen­dent book sell­er, Indi­go (Canada’s lead­ing book retail­er), is led by two pas­sion­ate women who are intent on spread­ing a mis­sion of joy, con­nec­tions, expe­ri­ences and pas­sion. With 89 super­stores and 111 small stores in all 10 Cana­di­an provinces, chances are if you love books and have spent time in Cana­da, you’ve heard of Indi­go. Last year they opened their first store in the U.S. in Short Hills, New Jer­sey. I stum­bled upon the Indi­go store locat­ed in Van­cou­ver while trav­el­ing to Alas­ka last sum­mer. Though I man­aged to make my way through most of the numer­ous rooms, sec­tions and floors in less than two hours, I could have eas­i­ly spent two days in this lit­er­a­cy haven.

Indigo Books, Vancouver, BC

Indi­go Books, Van­cou­ver, BC

If I vis­it Cana­da again, I would seri­ous­ly plan my trip around anoth­er vis­it to an Indi­go book­store. I also know that should my trav­els take me out east, a stop in Short Hills, New Jer­sey, would be a pri­or­i­ty. The smart dis­plays, beau­ti­ful mur­al paint­ings, and cre­ative­ly designed depart­ments at Indi­go give it a hip, con­tem­po­rary feel. Though it is far dif­fer­ent from the inti­ma­cy of small inde­pen­dent book­stores, I still felt a sense of allure and delight as I explored the 29,000 square foot space.

For book enthu­si­asts who are inter­est­ed in Indi­go but may not be able to trav­el so far to check them out, the Indi­go web­site pro­vides lots to check out and the “about us” page is espe­cial­ly inter­est­ing. The Indi­go Love of Read­ing Foun­da­tion is ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing high-needs ele­men­tary schools in Cana­da pro­vide stu­dents access to books. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, order­ing online from Indi­go brings with it hefty inter­na­tion­al ship­ping charges so I sug­gest vis­it­ing in per­son if at all pos­si­ble.

Par­nas­sus Books
5 Creek Street
Ketchikan, Alas­ka

Why it’s worth the vis­it

My first trip to Alas­ka last July began with a stop in the rainy, lit­tle vil­lage of Ketchikan. Strolling through the pic­turesque down­town board­walk, one can­not miss the ide­al­ly locat­ed Par­nas­sus Books. The native pride that emanates from the shelves and dis­plays is also easy to spot.

Parnassus Books, Ketchikan, AK

Par­nas­sus Books, Ketchikan, AK

If I am lucky enough to go on anoth­er Alaskan adven­ture, I would def­i­nite­ly want to vis­it Par­nas­sus Books again. I loved find­ing sev­er­al MN authors fea­tured in the tiny but well-stocked children’s sec­tion and my pur­chas­es that day made ter­rif­ic sou­venirs for the grand­kids.

Ketchikan is a pop­u­lar stop for tourists and cruise ships. My hope is that all who spend time in this love­ly place also make their way to Par­nas­sus Books. The book­store is active on their Face­book page where new books and vis­i­tors to the store are fre­quent­ly fea­tured in posts. You know you’re in good book-lov­ing com­pa­ny when the own­er shares a mes­sage like this:

Win­ter Hours 
Tues­day-Sat­ur­day 10 – 5
Sun­day 12 – 4
CALL 225‑7690 to grab a book after hours as we may be in the store clean­ing.

Harvey’s Tales
216 James St.
Gene­va, IL

Why it’s worth the vis­it

If you love books and Bernese Moun­tain dogs, this book­store is a must for your buck­et list! Locat­ed in the his­toric city of Gene­va, Illi­nois, just 50 min­utes east of Chica­go, the trans­formed two-sto­ry is one of the most fun book­stores I’ve ever seen. A recent girl’s week­end with col­lege friends brought me to the bustling streets of this gem of a town.

Harvey's Tale, Geneva, IL

Har­vey’s Tale, Gene­va, IL

The own­ers of Harvey’s, Chuck, a retired teacher and Rox­anne, a retired real estate pro­fes­sion­al, along with their friend­ly staff, go out of their way to make sure shop­pers find what they are look­ing for. More than a book­store, Harvey’s Tale is a last­ing trib­ute to a beloved pup who passed away last year. The family’s new addi­tion gets spe­cial men­tion as the name­sake for Hazel’s House, an adorable book room and a Birth­day Club, both devot­ed to young read­ers. The well-designed space in the large house offers some­thing for every­one and even man­ages to fit in a cof­fee café which fills the store with deli­cious aro­mas.

I will def­i­nite­ly return to Harvey’s Tale as it was a high­light of our girl’s week­end. The vari­ety of books and book-relat­ed gifts was incred­i­ble. Such an excep­tion­al assort­ment of book-themed socks, t‑shirts, cards, bags, posters, book­marks, and more! Their web­site show­cas­es their fam­i­ly-based phi­los­o­phy and how they strive to impact their com­mu­ni­ty in many ways.

Who knows, some­day I might just find myself emu­lat­ing the retire­ment plan that Chuck and Rox­anne put togeth­er… Wel­come to Rome’s Read­ers Book­store has a nice ring to it!

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Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary, 1971

Bev­er­ly Cleary, 1971

For the last month I have been read­ing arti­cles, toasts, essays, and inter­views with one of my favorite authors of all time: Bev­er­ly Cleary. She turned 100 years old this week. Every­thing I read about her makes me misty-eyed — the birth­day plans in her home state of Ore­gon … her mem­o­ries of being in the low­est read­ing group, the Black­birds, in ele­men­tary school … that she writes while bak­ing bread … how she named her char­ac­ters … that she was a “well-behaved girl” but she often thought like Ramona (me, too!!!) … the fan mail she still receives in a steady stream … SIGH.

My sec­ond grade teacher, Mrs. Perkins, read us Ramona the Brave. It was a new book that year — she used it to show us how to open a brand-new book and “break in” the bind­ing so that the pages would turn eas­i­ly. She told us that it was part of a series and I remem­ber being out of sorts that she would start mid-series, but then I was so engrossed in the sto­ry that I dropped my grudge.

Reading Is FundamentalMy ele­men­tary school was a RIF (Read­ing Is Fun­da­men­tal) school. RIF day was eas­i­ly my favorite day of the year. I under­stood that RIF exist­ed to put books in the hands of kids who would not oth­er­wise own books. I had books at home, though many of my class­mates did not, and I was always a lit­tle ner­vous that some­how I would be exclud­ed — what if some­one report­ed my lit­tle book­shelf, or the fact that I received a book every birth­day? What if I was pulled aside — not allowed to go pick a book?! But it nev­er hap­pened. No ques­tions asked — just encour­age­ment to pick a book of my very own. RIF Bliss!

Ramona the PestThat sec­ond-grade-year, when my class went down to the entrance lob­by of the school to vis­it the tables and tables piled with books (this remains my image of abun­dance), the very first book I saw was Ramona the Pest. I knew it had to be relat­ed to Ramona the Brave, and was proud to have the pres­ence of mind — my heart beat hard in the excite­ment of my dis­cov­ery! — to con­firm that the author’s name, Bev­er­ly Cleary, was list­ed under the title. Mrs. Cleary lived in Ore­gon, Mrs. Perkins said. It was a place so far away from cen­tral Illi­nois that I was sur­prised one of her books could have made its way to our RIF tables. I scooped it up and car­ried it around with me as I perused all of the oth­er books. We were allowed to choose only one book, but none of the oth­ers even came close to tempt­ing me to put down Ramona the Pest.

illustration by Louis Darling

illus­tra­tion by Louis Dar­ling

I’m astound­ed when I look at lists of Bev­er­ly Cleary’s books and their pub­li­ca­tion dates. She start­ed the Ramona series in 1955. My moth­er was nine years old! The last in the series, Ramona’s World, was writ­ten when my son was two, in 1999. And that’s just the Ramona books! What a career! At least three gen­er­a­tions have read and loved Cleary’s books.

I still have that lit­tle trade-paper­back book. It’s well worn — I read it many times as a kid. And I read it to my kids, too, of course. It’s the only Ramona book I own — through all of the cov­er changes and box sets, I’ve just stuck with my one lit­tle RIF book.

I might change that this week, though. I think per­haps I’ll buy myself a boxed set of Ramona and make a dona­tion to RIF in Bev­er­ly Cleary’s hon­or.

Hap­py Birth­day, Bev­er­ly Cleary!

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