Fort Mill Times

Learning the joys of getting lost in a book

a passport to denote each of the different cultures represented in a puppet show presented to the elementary school classes during National Library Week.
a passport to denote each of the different cultures represented in a puppet show presented to the elementary school classes during National Library Week.

During National Library Week last week, Indian Land students enjoyed a week full of fun library and book-centered activities.

The activities for National Library Week, themed "Worlds Connect at your Library," were the product of brainstorming sessions between Media Specialist Elizabeth Ashley and Indian Land High School's Library Advisory Board, a group of students who meet regularly to plan activities and events at the library.

The group also serves as Ashley's "eyes and ears" into the school, letting her know what books students are interested in reading and what activities might bring more students into the library.

National Library Week activities included a puppet show put on by library advisory board members at the Del Webb Library at Indian Land, where more than 50 preschoolers, home schooled students and their parents, enjoyed multicultural tales and crafts.

The puppet show was also performed twice during the week for Indian Land Elementary School students.

Library Advisory Board member Jacob Roberts, an 11th grade student, said he hopes the puppet show will introduce the students to different cultures and inspire them to read more about the stories presented during the show, such as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

"Maybe they will look more at King Arthur or the other stories and pick up a book, because there is a lot more [to the story] than we could show," Roberts said.

After the puppet show, Roberts helped third grade students create "passports" with a symbol for each culture represented in the stories they had performed.

Ashley said she hopes bringing her high school students to the elementary school and to visit preschoolers at the public library will begin to instill an early love of reading in those children. When she was planning activities for the week, she interpreted the "World's Connect" theme as also including connecting with the community, the elementary and middle schools and reaching out to them as well.

"I'm big on community. I grew up here, so it's really important to me that we work together across from elementary to middle to high school to provide good programs for them that will instill a love of reading throughout life," Ashley said.

"Looking at the big picture, it will hopefully stick in those children's minds at the elementary school, so they will continue to read and be interested. So when they get [to the high school] they are still excited. Those will be the people who are still readers later."

Other library week activities included decorating library week-themed T-shirts, a school-wide competition to raise money for Bucks 4 Books, which helps fund media center materials, and a "Get Caught Reading" contest, where students were rewarded for being "caught" reading.

Ashley said that she has seen a revival in teen reading lately, and a boost in the hobby during weeks such as National Library Week.

"We've had a huge increase in circulation here, nationally as well," Ashley said. "They like getting lost in a book. We all need a book and we're so inundated with the media that sometimes it's nice to go somewhere else and it's nice to go somewhere else for free, especially in these economic times. You're out of your current situation for awhile. And I think being a teenager, that's something they need. They escape for awhile."

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