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Published as a Public Service by REM, Convenor of Collaborative Community Enterprises Fall 2007

Empower Young People

Many Exciting Happenings at the Waterville Public Library

By Sarah Sugden

Postcard of the Waterville Public Library, ca. 1911

This past summer has seen many exciting things happening at the Waterville Public Library! The Library initiated several new outreach programs for children, starting with the BookBike.

Our WtvlPL BookBike brought books to the Judge Brody Playground on North Street every week during the summer. The Library wanted to ensure that all kids (including those who weren't able to go to the library) had access to books to strengthen their reading skills all summer long. We are already looking forward to the BookBike's second summer.

Back at the library, the Children's Room offered a new story time, "The Story Garden," on Thursday afternoons, while folks were checking out the delicious goodies available at the Farmer's Market in the Concourse. Other highlights from the Children's Room include our wonderful Messy Art in the Park Summer Reading Celebration in Veteran's Park and our noisy and fun collaboration with Waterville Department of Public Works.

The Big Truck Day brought over 250 adults and children to the Concourse to celebrate machines! The weather cooperated, and our neighbors in downtown were gracious about the exuberant honks and beeps. There are plenty of exciting and fun children's books about things that go, and Kathleen Kenny, our Children's Librarian, had a great time sharing those stories with children and caregivers who were taking breaks from visiting the big machines.

Even though summer has ended, the Library hasn't slowed down! We recently received our national designation as a Family Place Library. This national program consists of a network of libraries and librarians who believe that literacy begins at birth and healthy communities nurture healthy families.

Looking ahead, we will celebrate National Children's Book Week from November 12-18. This week is a great time for parents and caregivers to celebrate children's books with children!

Helping children develop a love of reading is one of the most important things adults can do. Research has shown that the "the ability to read and understand complicated information is important to success in college and, increasingly, in the workplace. An analysis of . . . long-term trend reading assessments reveals that . . . [b]y age 17, only about 1 in 17 seventeen year olds can read and gain information from specialized text, for example the science section in the local newspaper." (National Assessment of Educational Progress, National Institute for Literacy) Keep your eyes open for our local community celebration, which will be a collaboration with other community organizations, like the Children's Book Cellar, another great local place to find wonderful reads for kids!

For adults, the Waterville Public Library is partnering with the Goldfarb Center at Colby College to offer an Occasional Lecture Series at the library. The Library is very excited to host this series, which will feature some of the terrific minds of our community sharing information on subjects varied and rich. On October 10, Professor Jason Opal presented the inaugural lecture, which was entitled, "Chaos, Catastrophe, and National Destiny: Early Jamestown in Global Perspective."

For over one hundred years, the Waterville Public Library has worked to meet the cultural and lifelong learning needs of the Waterville community. We are excited about serving you for the next one hundred years. Please come in and tell us about your ideas for new library programs or that great book you've just read!

Editor's Note: Sarah A. Sugden is director of the Waterville Public Library.