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Storytime at Lincoln County Public Library gets little ones excited about books

Storytime is one of the great traditions of the American public library system. For generations, children have gathered to hear books read aloud, see vivid illustrations and interact with their peers.

As part of that legacy, the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library hosts a reading circle every Wednesday from 10 to 10:15 a.m.

“Early literacy is extremely important,” Youth Services Librarian Kasie Beth Brown said. “And storytime is a great way to get little ones excited about reading.”

Brown incorporates songs, dances and visual aids into each of her readings. She said children learn best when they are both physically and intellectually occupied.

“You try to throw in something a little educational, of course,” she said. “But it’s mainly about getting them excited about reading and being at the library.”

Storytime at the Brookhaven library is meant for small children — from infancy to roughly 4 years old. Some parents worry that their young children are too rowdy for the reading circle, but Brown wants them to come anyway.

“As long as you bring them, even if it’s just for two minutes, it’s better than not being there at all,” she said.

The reading circle isn’t ideal for older children, but parents should feel free to bring their entire family to the library. While younger children participate in storytime, older ones can use the library’s computers, read or just relax.

Storytime lasts only 15 minutes, but Brown said most children wind up staying for an hour or more. They play with blocks, pick out books and play with each other until their parents take them home.

“Even if the train stops you or you’re just running late, still come,” she said. “Even if you don’t get here until 10:15, your child can hang out with the other kids and have some fun.”

According to Brown, storytime introduces children to structured learning and allows them to socialize.

“Children learn by turning pages,” Brown said. “I think it gets them ready for preschool, and, when they sit in a classroom for the first time, they’re not as overwhelmed.”

The reading circle is also great for parents. While their children are busy playing, moms and dads get to take a short break.

The library is also developing a fun alternative for those who can’t make it to the reading circle.

“We understand that not everybody can physically come to storytime,” Brown said.

In the next month or so, Brown will offer “Storytime in a Bag.” Parents will be able to check out a bag from the library’s youth services desk and bring it home to their children.

Each bag will contain a series of early literacy tips, as well as educational books and games.

As part of its ongoing effort to engage with local children, the library will be open from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 10. Before “Downtown Jazzed Up” gets underway, parents can bring their little ones to the library to decorate a Mardi Gras mask.