Even as my eyes scanned the titles on display at the storytelling event at the school, I was associating certain individual young borrowers with particular titles, guessing who would like what among the kids that frequent our library. But after Duncan’s performance, when the audience was invited to take a peek at all the great new books and audio books the CLiF Rural Libraries grant program had sponsored, I was caught off guard by the handful of kids that had already made choices and were ready to sign out the items.

“Sorry,” I told them sheepishly, “You have to come to the library to borrow these; they’re not quite ready to be checked out yet.”

I was not in the habit of telling kids NOT to take books home with them… so their disappointed (adorable) faces encouraged a little creativity on my part: “I can write your name in the back with this pencil so I remember to call you to let you know when it’s ready and waiting for you to be the first one to borrow it.” And the half-dozen particularly enthusiastic junior bibliophiles were all quite willing to go along with a solid plan like that.

We bar-code stickered and stamped the 105 items we received from CLiF for our library as quickly as we could, and imported the electronic catalog records into our on-line catalog system. Some of the titles never even made it to the “New CLiF Books!” display because families visiting the library while we were processing them were eager to check out items as soon as they were available.

By the end of the first day the items were available, 12 of the 105 titles we received from CLiF were already in circulation. Three items had reserves placed on them that same day. Today, a little less than two weeks since our storytelling event at the school, 25 of the items are in the hands of patrons. More than 1/5th of the newly donated materials have been eagerly snatched up by children and families who appreciate good books… before they have even been shelved with the rest of the collection.

Adventures in Cartooning, All the World, Bink & Gollie, City Dog, Country Frog, My Lucky Day, Dead End in Norvelt, How to Talk to Your Dog, If Stones Could Speak, Snowy Day, Telling Time with Big Mama Cat, Thunder Birds, and When Dinosaurs Came with Everything are just a few of the titles already in the hands of readers… and those last two titles have waiting lists already!

People appreciate the efforts we make to improve our library’s collection by leveraging resources beyond the tax coffers, and the Cutler Memorial Library is so grateful and proud to be a CLiF grant recipient! We were able to enrich our graphic novel collection and kids’ audio book collection significantly, too, and add many award-winning titles for kids of every reading level, exploring a range of topics and themes that really peak our kids’ curiosities and challenge them to deepen their understanding of and engagement in the world.

We are also very much looking forward to visiting our community’s home child care centers and preschools this month to do a special storytelling event and donate a set of CLiF-sponsored books to each of them as well as letting each of the kids at each center two free books to take home and keep forever. To the Purvis Family – who sponsored the program – and CLiF: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

-Loona Brogan, Library Director

Cutler Memorial Library, cutlerlibrary.org

December 1, 2012

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