Thursday, 21 September, 2017


Looking Back@Your Library

Tracy Kampa, Children’s Library


I’m sure it’s true for each of you, as well. When life changes, even if it’s all good (like, for example, your baby might just be leaving for college) you inevitably start looking back a bit.

One day, several years ago, I was in a rush to pay for my groceries and get home. As usual, it felt like I needed to get a dozen things done in the next two hours.  As I wrote the check, a voice asked, “Do you still work at school?” I turned to the bagger, searching his face, and my memory, for a connection.  As he spoke, I finally remembered him as a fifth grader, years earlier. “When I was in school, you read us ‘Harriet the Spy’ and it was the best book I’ve ever heard. I haven’t read many books since then, but I loved that book.”  We talked for a minute about the virtues of Harriet and Ole Golly, and I gathered my groceries and went home.  I sat in my driveway, letting the ice cream get soft, still a little amazed. It was the first time that this gift had been given to me, all tied up in a young man’s black apron strings. The simple act of reading aloud a really great book meant something to this boy, to this man. And he cared enough to tell me.

Fast forward several years. I was in the mall, at the bookstore, when a rush of cold air flew through the door, surrounding me with its intensity. The cold air carried with it another young man. This one I recognized immediately, for this was the boy who kept me up at night trying to find some way to help him get something, anything, from his elementary library experience. He simply could not sit still, and his wiggles eventually ended up not only preventing him from listening to the story, but also seriously hampering the experience of his classmates as well. The thing is, though, that he tried, so very hard, to be still. He just couldn’t. Together, he and I tried several different methods to help. We finally had some success at drawing, and, thus, armed with a pencil and clipboard, he’d settle in a corner of the room, and draw pictures with heavy leaded lines while I read to his classmates. I was convinced that he didn’t hear a single word I said that entire school year.

“Mrs. Kampa, Mrs. Kampa!” (His energy level appeared to match his now 6 foot frame.) “I’m so glad to see you! I really need your help. I’ve got a cousin who’s eight, and he told me he doesn’t like to read. Can you believe that? And I was thinking, well, he probably has just never heard the right book, and I was thinking about that book you read to us, you know about that mouse who had that motorcycle and he rode it all over the hotel, and he ended up getting an aspirin to help the boy when he got sick? Do you remember it? What was the title?” Somewhat stunned, I replied, “The Mouse and the Motorcycle?” “That’s it!” He thanked me and scurried away.

When I start wondering if my book song and dance is worth the effort, if it really makes a difference, my mind inevitably gives me the faces of these two young men. Who knew they were listening?  But they were. And I start, once again, to dance. Happy reading!


This Week At Your Library:

Monday, August 21: at 5:30, join us for Family Lego Night! Join Dion and build the evening away! We supply the bricks, you supply the imagination. Open to everyone, no registration required.

Thursday, August 24:  at 7:00, join us for Ready for School?  Join Pediatrician Janice Rourke, Dietician Kristin Klinefelter, and Librarian Tracy Kampa for an information packed evening.  You’ve purchased new crayons, sneakers and a backpack, but are there still questions, fears and challenges about a new school year beginning? Three specialists zero in on topics helpful to preparing your children to return to the classroom.  Adults learn how a child’s sleep, nutrition and stress management factor into school success, and how to support students reading and book selection. Bring questions and concerns. School-aged children can participate in supervised library fun while moms, dads and caregivers attend the program. Check kids into the closed library starting at 6:45 and pick them up at program’s end.

Saturday, August 26: At 10:15 and 11:15, it’s time for Saturday Story Time! Join ECFE teachers in the story circle for stories, rhymes and songs.  Then move to the community room for a snack and a craft.  Open to all ages. No registration required.  Story Time attendees earn one Baby Steps coupon per family per Saturday.