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Libraries offer fun and learning

On Tuesday morning 17 children spent the morning chasing Alfred the aardvark through the dictionary and smelling the lilacs with Mack the bear, who woke up with a boy, Zack, on his back.

The literary journey through books and fields was part of the North Suffolk Library’s pre-school story time, one of the many programs offering fun and learning by Suffolk libraries.

“It’s a great thing in the community,” said Dawn Andrews, who brings her 3-, 4- and 1-year-old daughters. “It’s always well done and well organized, and it’s a great thing to do with the kids that saves money. Their grandma brings them sometimes, too.”

The North Suffolk and Morgan libraries offer story times for preschool-aged children on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and for toddlers on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. The North Suffolk Library holds summer story time for children in kindergarten through fifth grade on Thursdays at 11 a.m., and the Chuckatuck Library holds its story time for toddlers on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.

“Every storyteller works at their own pace, but I try to read between three and four books during the pre-school story time,” Morgan and North Suffolk Children’s Librarian Heidi Tice said. “A special part of the story time, I think, is the rhymes and songs we do. I love putting them in. For the toddlers, it helps them get the wiggles out. For the preschoolers, it helps integrate that fun element. In our programs, even if children don’t enjoy reading, we still try to make it fun for them.”

Books read include a variety of stories that have moral lessons, address common fears and reinforce the alphabet or numbers.

“I try to have a variety of books,” Tice said. “We do alphabet and counting books. For toddlers I try to have books that are more repetitive or get them to point out body parts. Hopefully, it’s helping them learn.”

While story time helps integrate reading, learning and a little bit of fun, the North Suffolk Library also hosts a family craft story time every other Saturday during the summer and once a month beginning in September to integrate art.

During the summer, on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at the North Suffolk and Morgan libraries, there are performers who visit the libraries to share their trade and highlight opportunities at the libraries.

While Aug. 14 marks the end of the summer season and a quarterly program break for the libraries, the regular school schedule will resume in September.

The bi-weekly toddler and pre-school story times will resume, as well as the monthly family craft story time.

This school year may also see the addition of a reading club at the North Suffolk Library for students ages 7-11.

“We really hope that if people haven’t already come to the library this summer, they’ll come in to see what we have to offer,” Tice said. “During the school year, the library can supplement a child’s school reading, and finding information is something children will be doing for the rest of their lives. Teaching them that the library has resources and getting them comfortable in it at an early age really helps.”