A great year in Youth Services

When I realized my next blog was going to be posted on New Year’s Eve, I knew I had to write about the wonderful year we had up on the third floor. Youth Services is always a bustling place, sometimes so busy that we often lose sight of just what happens on a day-to-day basis.

The Youth Services staff prides themselves on the amazing story time sessions that are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and both days on the weekend. In order to make story time much more inviting, we combined our Mother Goose and Toddler sessions into Storytime! Held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and twice on Thursday, this new format makes it more convenient for customers to bring their little ones to the library for some stories, songs and fun. Our Lapsit story time became Baby Storytime! – the name says it all. Interest was high so that we created a Baby Playgroup that follows this storytime; it’s one of our most popular programs and a nice way for moms, dads, grandparents and caregivers to connect.

Everyone knows we go all out for the summer and our summer reading clubs, and this year was no exception. This year nearly 2,000 preschoolers, children and teens participated in our reading programs. Children and teens earned rewards as they progressed through their sessions. Once again, Thomas Sweet generously donated its famous Blend-In ice cream sundaes for everyone who achieved their 25 hour goal.

Early September brought us the annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival. Without a doubt, this was our biggest and best yet. 76 nationally recognized authors and illustrators of children’s books spent an afternoon on the Plaza meeting their young fans. Stay tuned; the 2013 festival is on Saturday, September 21 and we promise you that once again this will be an event that shouldn’t be missed.

In early October we launched our new Afterschool Homework Help Program. This informal drop-in program is available Monday-Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. when Princeton schools are in session. Staffed by work study students from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton University students, and community volunteers, there is a variety of very talented individuals here to assist your child with their homework needs. October also saw the debut of our Mac laptop lending program. Students in grades 6-12 with a valid Princeton Public Library card are welcome to borrow a Mac laptop to use on the third floor for a one-hour session. We have eight laptops available Monday through Friday when school is in session.

Game-On continues on Friday afternoons. Joe Turner brings his much-loved reading therapy dog, Emma, to visit us on Monday afternoons and we host our very popular Let’s Dance! Preschool dance party every month in the Community Room.  

Looking forward to 2013, two new clubs will debut in Youth Services; All SET Science Club will meet on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 2:00 pm and the Explorer’s Club will meet on the 4th Saturday, also at 2:00 pm.

Children in grades 1-5 who are interested in science, engineering, or technology should check out All SET. We’ll meet in the Nano Science area on the third floor for interactive demonstrations and more. Please register at http://www.princetonlibrary.org/events/2013/01/all-set

If learning about other countries and cultures is more of your child’s thing, then the Explorer’s Club is for them. Children will discover about life and travels in faraway lands through books, folktales, and songs. This club is also for children in grades 1-5 and registration is requested. 

I want to take a moment to thank all of our customers for your interest and support in all that the Youth Services department does all year long. It is folks like you who make our work as fulfilling as can be. We’re looking forward to another phenomenal year and I hope you are too!

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