The Blanco Library is pleased to announce the addition of a children's librarian to its staff. Christine Bailey, born in Mineral Wells, Texas, and a resident of Blanco for the past twelve years, calls herself an “Army brat” married to another Army brat, Dave, her high school sweetheart. They have three children--Travis, 14; Evan, 10; and Wyatt, 3. A certified teacher since 2002, Christine has experience teaching at both the elementary and middle school levels, in reading and language arts as well as special education. Her training in “balanced literacy”--combining reading and writing about one's reading--qualifies her in a unique way to be a liaison between the library and Blanco's schools.
For the past several months, Christine has been planning a very special summer reading program for Blanco's children, ages 2-12. Called “Texas Reading Club Jubilee! 1958-2008, “ the six-week program will run June 6-July 18 on Fridays beginning at 10 a.m. Highlights will include visitors such as Sheryl Smith-Rogers with a spider presentation and storyteller Maggie Goodman, who will tell Texas fables and folktales. Jeff Holmes will give a snake presentation and local archaeologists will bring an extensive arrowhead and tool collection to show kids. Children's authors Pam Arthur and Davis Ford will bring copies of their book, Leroy the Cowboy, to sign and sell. On July 1 a real circus clown, Bonzo Crunch, will come to read to children and entertain. Youth ages 2-12 who read five books or more will win tickets to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. And the ending award ceremony will feature old-time music group “Hold'Er Newt” in the Pecan Bottom.
Christine's enthusiasm about her new job is contagious. “I want everyone in Blanco to be as excited about the Blanco Library and our children's program as I am! I'm thrilled to be working with the library to bring wonderful, entertaining programming to the kids of Blanco.” Other children's activities and programs will include continued weekly toddler and pre-school story times and proposed travel to Mother's-Day-Out and daycare centers for story times, puppet shows, science workshops, and author visits.
Ideas for programs for older youth include a “guitar hero” tournament, game nights, mother-daughter book talks, “scene-it” game nights, having teens write book reviews for the newspaper, teen-talk book discussions, origami and storytelling, college information nights, writing workshops, Reader's Theater, children's theater, Bring Your Favorite Board Game Night, poetry workshops, manga club, and service hours for NJHS and NHS students. Christine plans to work with high school English teachers to provide the library with required summer reading lists so that a collection can be established specifically for this purpose. Already she has established a Teen Advisory Group, which she says “will help keep in touch with what teens are reading and their interests.” The first novel they will read is I Am Legend, on which the current Will Smith movie is based.
Participants in the summer reading program should come on June 6th at 10 a.m. to register. “We've gotten support from community businesses and cooperation from the schools. Now we just need parents to bring their kids to take part!” Christine concludes. “It's a good environment for children, and there are so many opportunities for learning this summer and in the future. Kids are looking for something to do during the lazy days of summer--why not meet some interesting characters, read a few good books, and see your friends?”