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JA hosting Second Saturday Storytime

Members of the Junior Auxiliary of Brookhaven who were “Falling in Love” with the Lincoln County Public Library in August are planning a special Second Saturday Storytime beginning this week.

The JAs partnered with the library to present “Falling in Love with the Library” at the start of the new school year in an effort to get youngsters interested in reading. They’re continuing that project Saturday at 10 a.m. with the first of several half-hour storytime sessions scheduled through March.

The provisional class of JAs — those women who are in training to become full active members of the Junior Auxiliary — created this project as an addition to the “Falling in Love” project.

“We want to do projects that help children, so we picked the ‘Falling in Love With the Library’ project just because school was starting,” said provisional JA member  Jennifer Price. “And grades K-2, who may not have been to the library at their school yet, we wanted to have their parents bring them and they could see how much fun the library can be.”

They’re continuing that idea with the storytime.

When the JAs learned Kacie Beth Brown, the library’s children’s and youth services coordinator, would be out this month on maternity leave, they jumped at the chance to host the monthly event, even when Brown returns to work.

“We decided that we would like to continue that for the children,” Price said.

They’ll be doing it through March. That’s when the provisional class “graduates” to active membership.

Each year, Junior Auxiliary has a new provisional class that consists of women who are at least 21 years old with an interest in community volunteering.  The provisional class will set up and carry out a new project for area children.  If the project is successful, it is then adopted by the organization to be carried out annually.

Price said JAs will hand out bookmarks to the children who attend.

“Hopefully, it will inspire them to go to the bookshelves and pick out a book,” she said. “And the bookmarks that we give out, they can use in their own books. We want to help develop their love for reading,” she said.

It’s an important project for Price.

“My mom is an English teacher and librarian,” she said. “If they (the children) don’t  learn to love reading when they’re young, they’re going to grow up not wanting to read. Reading is very important. This gets them started learning to read at a young age.”

The storytime Dec. 8 will have a Christmas theme and March 13 will be a birthday-themed storytime honoring Dr. Seuss.

Pam Womack, president of Friends of the Library, will have volunteers on hand to help parents register their children — from birth to age 5 — to also participate in the Lincoln County Ferst Readers program, which is part of Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.

The group has registered more than 200 local children from birth to 5 years old to each receive a year’s worth of free age-appropriate books — one delivered by mail to the child’s home each month. It will cost the local organization $36 annually per child to make that happen.

The national mission of Ferst, a non-profit public foundation, is to provide books for local communities to prepare preschool children for reading and learning success.

The books are mailed each month — at no charge to the parents — from the “Read to Me Library” at Ferst’s headquarters in Madison. The books are chosen by a panel of experts in the field of early child development and education, Womack said.

Parents aren’t left out either. They get a parent’s guide as well as a monthly newsletter with each book to provide them with support material like reading guides and child activity pages that are designed to make reading fun for the family.

The program is free to the parents and the children to get to keep their books, Womack said. An anonymous grant was used to cover the cost of the program’s first year. Their goal is to make sure every child signed up remains in it until they’re 5 years old. By then they’ll be in school and hopefully be reading fluently, she said.