“Now it’s time for story time, story time. Now it’s time for story time, on the red mat!” Library aide and children’s programming organizer Daryl Anne Stangle sang to six kids at the Winona Public library Saturday morning, signaling the start of the story time pajama party.
The six children in attendance, all in comfy pajamas, cheered and rushed to the red mat in the youth fiction room.
On the menu today: “The Incredible Book Eating Boy,” “Snow on Snow on Snow” and “Rabbit’s Pajama Party.”
“Hey, I got that book from the library. It’s pretty silly!” said five-year-old Vera O’Shea of “The Incredible Book Eating Boy.”
Vera and her three sisters, Evie, Mimi and Nora, attend library story times often. “He eats books and that’s crazy, and I like being crazy,” Vera added.
Kids quieted down as Stangle began reading, drawn into a book whose main character literally devours books to become smarter.
“So everything he ate, he learned,” said Stangle to her attentive audience.
Stangle said she organizes Saturday programs for kids not only because she enjoys working with them, but also because she believes public libraries are a vital part of a childhood and the community.
“For me [the library]…was a place I could find answers,” Stangle said. “Kids learn that books do hold answers and worlds they can travel to in their mind. I think that’s really important.”
Vera’s seven-year-old sister Evie, who Vera describes as a “bookworm,” said her favorite part of library story time is being read to.
“I like that we got to pretend to sleep and that I got to snuggle with Piggy,” she said, clutching her stuffed toy pig to her chest. During “Rabbit’s Pajama Party” — an appropriate book for the pajama party occasion — Stangle asked her audience to act out what the characters in the book did. Rabbit gobbled a snack and so did her audience. Rabbit made an ice cream sundae and the kids pretended to put whip cream and a cherry on top.
Although Saturday programs for kids are irregular now, Stangle said she tries to do them every other month. Tuesday and Friday story times for kids occur weekly.
Saturday programs draw anywhere from five to 50 children, Stangle said, while story times during the week draw 20-30 children.
Each Saturday story time is followed by crafts or games. These activities showcase opportunities for children and parents to learn skills beyond reading at their public library, Stangle said.
“Kids learn that books do hold answers and worlds they can travel to in their mind. I think that’s really important.” Daryl Anne Stangle, library aide and children’s programming organizer