Wisconsin's Water Library
Call it the Aquatic Stories Center
Thirty Madison kindergarteners and first graders learned how tadpoles turn into frogs – and where frogs go in the winter – when Diane Dempsey, a naturalist from the UW Arboretum, participated in a story hour organized in late November by ASC Librarian JoAnn Savoy. The children, attending an after-school program at Madison’s Allied Drive Learning Center, also listened to three books about frogs read to them by volunteer students in the UW School of Library and Information Studies program.
The event was the fifth Allied Drive story hour organized by Savoy, who initiated the reading program in 2004, after receiving a grant from the Friends of UW Libraries to purchase children’s books for the UW Water Resources Library, housed in the Aquatic Sciences Center. Since then, Allied Drive has partnered with seven other special libraries at UW-Madison to put on a story hour nearly every month, Savoy said.
“It’s great how this has taken off,” Savoy said. “We really had no idea what we were starting.”
The UW Water Resources Library also developed “Wisconsin’s Water Library for Kids,” a Web site where adults across Wisconsin can check out water-related books for children. The Web site received a “Webbie” award for “Best site for kids” from the Wisconsin Library Association in 2006.