Families celebrate ‘Take Your Child to the Library Day’

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Wed., Feb. 6, 2013
Children's librarian Deb Muska shows a sample of the Teddy Bear Sleepover scrapbook children put together in January. The Teddy Bear Tea Party at the ‘Take Your Children to the Library Day’ event built on that theme. Photos by Annie Gentile.
Children's librarian Deb Muska shows a sample of the Teddy Bear Sleepover scrapbook children put together in January. The Teddy Bear Tea Party at the ‘Take Your Children to the Library Day’ event built on that theme. Photos by Annie Gentile.

Just because it’s cold outside, that is no reason not to venture out - especially when there is so much you can see and do at the local library.

On Saturday, Feb. 2, as part of a nationwide initiative, the Stafford Public Library celebrated “Take Your Child to the Library Day” with a few special events for children and adults. At 11:30 a.m., children and their parents were invited to a Teddy Bear Tea Party, where youngsters were encouraged to bring a favorite teddy bear and gather with other children and their parents or grandparents for a formal sitting with juice and snacks. Later in the day, adults were invited to take part in a Zumba class.

“This started last year as a statewide event by the Connecticut Library Association as a way to make kids aware of all the library has to offer,” said children’s librarian Deb Muska. “A lot of people don’t utilize the library to its fullest potential.”

Muska said the Teddy Bear Tea Party is a little bit of a change-up from their popular Mother’s Day American Girl Tea Party and an extension of a popular Teddy Bear Sleepover that was well-attended in January. At the sleepover, boys and girls were invited to bring their bears and make up a bed for them at the library. The children would then go home and let their bears “sleep over,” and Muska took pictures of the bears and what they did while the children were away. The next day, the children were invited to return, pick up their pictures and put together a take-home scrap book that told a story about their bears’ adventures.

“The scrapbook does two things: it encourages reading and parent-child interaction,” Muska said. “It went over very big. Last year we had over 19 bear beds, and this year just over 12, which was a little more manageable, as I’m pretty much a one-man band.”

While the teddy bear events are often popular with girls, Muska said boys enjoy them too, and she tries to include a variety of programs that are enticing to both boys and girls alike. She said a recent very popular event was the making of life-sized gingerbread houses out of large gas-generator boxes that were donated by Festi’s Oil Company. That event had more boys attending with their fathers than girls, with the houses quickly morphing into forts - “which was perfectly fine with me,” Muska said.

Muska said she plans to have a similar “Make a Train” event out of the same size boxes on March 14 and a “Make a Cave” event on April 16 during school vacation. Other upcoming events include a visit from a therapy horse from the Red Tar Spirit Horse Center on Feb. 16 as part of a monthly sensory story time program for children with special needs. On March 9, the library will welcome a music therapist. It will host a special St. Patrick’s Day party on March 15, and on March 30 at 1 p.m. the library will have an Easter egg hunt.

“We do a little bit of everything here. The kids have a lot of fun,” said Muska.


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