Water-Themed Story Hours Make a Splash
Wisconsin’s Water Library is croaking, swimming and quacking its way around southern Wisconsin as it conducts story hours with preschools, elementary schools and public libraries as part of its outreach mission. The library has a top-notch children’s collection that includes books, videos and DVDs focusing on everything related to water, including the critters that live in or around water.
The story hour road show developed in support of the 2010 statewide summer reading program, “Make a Splash—Read.” But the effort is also a reflection of Special Librarian Anne Moser’s initiative to reach underserved populations around the state. These include groups that may not have high literacy rates or use their community’s public library often.
Focusing on the theme of waterfowl, Moser recently visited the Ho-Chunk Nation Head Start Program in Wisconsin Dells. A dozen children aged three through five sat on the alphabet rug and enthusiastically listened to several books and poems about ducks, swans and cranes. After singing and acting out a song about ducks, the children moved to two tables where they created their own ducks using paper plates, construction paper, scissors, glue sticks and markers.
Moser brought a frog-themed story and craft hour to the Ho-Chunk Youth and Learning Center’s after-school program in Baraboo, which serves students from multiple Ho-Chunk schools in the region. The middle-school children at the center were able to act as mentors to the younger children involved in the story and craft activities, especially in folding origami frogs.
Moser was also able to collaborate with the Baraboo Public Library last summer and continues to work with the youth librarian during its preschool story hour. She has presented programs at multiple libraries in southern Wisconsin and hopes one day to branch out to other parts of the state using a Great Lakes theme.
“Libraries like special guests to come and do special programming, especially during the summer. I see this as a great opportunity to bring science and literacy together,” she said.
The children’s collection was started with a grant from the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries to support a story hour effort for an early-elementary story hour program for an underserved community in Madison. The collection, as with the entire Wisconsin’s Water Library, is unique in that it is part of the University of Wisconsin System, but is open to the public. Books or other materials may be requested by patrons and delivered to them via their own local library.