Starting at the beginning of September, another program has returned that makes the Library feel like a little more normal: classroom visits. Last week, nearly 100 students came through our doors with their classmates to learn about how the Library works and check out materials, with more visiting in the coming weeks. While many of these students have been to the Library before, for some it was their very first time.
As part of this program, classrooms from around Fergus County make monthly visits to the Library throughout the school year. This includes Moore, all third grade classes from Highland Park Elementary, and students from Ayers, Deerfield, King, and Spring Creek colonies. Each student is signed up for a library account that they can continue to use once the school year is over or they have aged out of the program. During these visits, I provide presentations on library-specific topics, such as the Dewey decimal system, book genres, and children’s book awards, as well as other interesting subjects, including Bat Week, National Poetry Month, and holiday trivia. Then, of course, students get to check out books to take home with them. They learn the responsibility of having a library card and taking care of materials and get to experience the pride of being a card-carrying Lewistown Public Library patron.
This program is an integral part of making kids in our community aware of library resources and getting them comfortable in the environment. They are able to learn vital library skills and supplement school library collections. Because these visits are facilitated by the schools, students whose family life otherwise may not allow for them to easily access the library are able to utilize and enjoy it. These library visits are more than just a fun school field trip — they open the door to a lifetime of entertainment, a wealth of resources, and an appreciation of libraries.
As a youth librarian, one of the most fulfilling moments of my job is seeing the look of joy on a kid’s face when I am able to help them track down exactly the book they’ve been looking for, or to see my collection wiped out after a class joyfully checks out all the books they can. The buzz of activity that is synonymous with the beginning of the school year is back, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Photos courtesy Mary Thomas.