BY CHRISTIAN ASHLAR
Special to The Enterprise
GLEASON (June 15) – Gleason Library recently hosted an event dubbed “Tails and Tales,” in conjunction with the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP). On June 15, children grabbed their furry outfits and ventured to the library for a day “in the wild.”
According to its website, the CSLP’s goal is to promote overall literacy. There is a variety of programs to meet that goal. The Early Literacy Program targets the preschool age range and aims to help them develop reading and language skills. The Children’s Program looks at helping school-aged children create and build strong reading and language skills. The Teen Program’s goal is to motivate teens to read more and to delve into literature. Their Adult Program looks to help adults continue to enjoy reading.
As one might imagine, “Tails and Tales,” is a reading challenge that encourages kids, teens, and adults to read stories related to, or about animals. For this event at Gleason Library, the preschool-aged and school-aged children were to read their books, log their reading activity, and earn points toward small prizes to be given away by the event’s coordinator and librarian, Anna Eaton.
“It’s just a theme to get the kids to read books,” Eaton says.
As another fun incentive for the kids to read, Eaton created a paper-link snake which hung above the shelves. For each book read, another link was added to the snake. On the day of June 15, the snake consisted of 49 links and was on its way to having more added.
Eaton goes on to explain, “We’re doing activities around the theme. I’ve had somebody come every week to present.”
For the first week of “Tails and Tales,” Joshua Justice, a park ranger with Nathan Bedford State Forest, brought three snakes and an owl. During the second week, Nature Cat, from the Public Broadcasting System, paid the children a visit. On the day of the “Tails and Tales” event, Eaton’s own dog, Iris, made an appearance, much to the delight of the children.
For the third week, someone was scheduled to bring a pig. Stephanie Cooper, a trainer who trains dogs designed to help Veterans is scheduled to come and talk with the Gleason Library’s wee patrons.
The overall goal of the children participating is to accumulate tickets based on the number of books they read. These tickets will earn them prizes along the way.
“If they even read one book,” Eaton says with a smile, “I let them pick a small prize.”
Another facet to this clever program is the “Animal Day Care.” Each of the children can bring a stuffed animal from home to the library, where it will be looked after by the other children. They are required to fill out a short form detailing what the animal is, what its name is, what its favorite things are, and any other pertinent information required for its care.
Yet another furry-related fun activity is the Animal Scavenger Hunt. “Around town, there’s an animal at 13 different locations.” Clues are given out, prompting the participants to do research to uncover it. “They write down the animal, where they saw it, then turn it in for a prize,” Eaton said.
Several of the children dressed as their favorite animal or wore shirts with animals on them. In attendance on June 15 were around 20 children with a total of almost double that in books read. It was a fur-ocious day of fun at the Gleason Public Library.