New features in library’s children’s department

The Plainville Public Library Children’s Department is debuting several new features aimed at strengthening children’s early literacy skills and improving collection organization.

The children’s library staff has created a “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” tree early literacy station, based on the popular children’s book by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault.

This feature is located in front of the children’s circulation desk. A column has been turned into the “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” palm tree, complete with coconuts and fused-plastic palm leaves, created by librarian Sue Theriault. A felt-and -magnet board sits below the tree with letters and numbers for children to play with. Funds for the station were raised by the community through raffles last fall.

The children’s department also received a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain for puppetry-related initiatives aimed at strengthening children’s narrative skills through puppetry and storytelling. A puppet theater and puppets for children to play with are now available in the library’s dramatic play area. Children and their caregivers have been actively engaged in creative storytelling using the puppets. Funds were also used to create more circulating kits to join the 10 storytelling bags that have proven to be so popular with the community. These kits include eight backpacks featuring a storybook and corresponding felt or cloth pieces for retelling; three STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)-inspired Fairy Tale Problem Solving kits, where children can build Goldilocks and the Three Bear’s furniture, the bridge for the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the homes for the Three Little Pigs; as well as three fairy tale puppet & book bags. Patrons who have checked out these new story kits have provided lots of positive feedback. Additional funds from the grant have been used to purchase puppets for the children’s staff to use in programming and to book upcoming puppet performances for the community.

Finally, over the winter the children’s nonfiction books were organized into categories so that like items appear together on the shelves. This makes it easier for children to find books based on their interests. Thirty categories have been chosen, including such topics as “Build & Fix,” “Make & Create,” and “Global Information,” and each book in the nonfiction collection has been stickered with the appropriate category. Colorful signs are displayed on the shelves to designate each section. While the books within each category are still undergoing some rearrangement, all books are labeled and available for checkout. Staff is on hand to answer any questions you may have about the collection and point you in the right direction.