This article originally appeared in the October 8th Edition of the Citizen News, a locally printed newspaper for Sherman and New Fairfield, Connecticut.
Article and Photo by Alicia Sakal
I’m not sure why it is that my five-year-old son and I seem to always miss the tons of well-organized events and programs geared towards children of all ages at the Sherman Library. We love visiting the library but have yet to participate in any of the special scheduled activities through the years.
Perhaps it has something to do with going to the library mostly when the weather is rainy or cold. Sometimes swim lessons or gymnastics got in the way. In recent months, my son had summer camp twice a week at Little Munchkins in town, which happened to coincide with the special library day designated for his age group. As a family, we also have the tendency to visit the Sherman Library on Saturdays when there is nothing special scheduled.
For whatever the many reasons happen to be for us, one consistency remains true. My son Kevin and I have an absolute ball whenever we suddenly decide to stop in for anything but an ordinary library experience. We find that even on the “no-scheduled activity” days at the Sherman Library there is always something fun and exciting that we can experience together. Our style: We make-up our own extraordinary day, oftentimes with the help and participation of others at the library.
In our most recent unplanned trip to the Sherman Library, I picked up my son after school and asked him in the car “what do you feel like doing this afternoon as we have nothing planned today?” “Let’s be spontaneous (his new catchphrase for the month) and go to the library!” Kevin asserted matter-of-factly and with such pure enthusiasm.
As we entered the library, my son immediately ran to the wooden Thomas the Train table in the children’s section. I am not sure why this table in particular is better than the very same one we have at home, but for some reason, it has extra special magnetic charm that draws him to it every time we are at the Sherman Library. Then, just a few minutes later, an adorable little girl walks up to the play table with her mother and older sister. Shyly, Kevin walks over to me and whispers in my ear “Mommy, she is a new Kindergarten girl that I don’t know.” “Well, why don’t you go over to her and say hi. Ask her what her name is, then ask her to play with you.” So, Kevin did just that. Kevin and Abi played a little too well together and started to get rather rambunctious as five-year-olds often tend to do.
Hearing their boisterous laughs and lively chitchat filling the air, Ms. Millie, the Executive Director of the Sherman Library, came over to the children. In her soft and soothing librarian voice she said, “please quiet down and use your inside voice. There are other people in the library that need to concentrate.” Well, her nice smile and appeal to the children worked for just a little while. Next thing I know, Kevin and Abi are running around in the aisles and I am chasing after them to the other side of the library, trying frantically to get them back to the children’s area. Once again, this dynamic duo began to have more fantastic fun together. Albeit, they were pretty loud for library standards.
After corralling Kevin and Abi and getting them back to the children’s area, Ms. Christine, Coordinator of Children’s Services, surprises them and catches them completely off-guard in an aisle surrounded by brilliantly illustrated children’s books. She peaks their interest in a way that only she can do. “Come with me, and let’s find you some books to read,” she said to them ever so sweetly. “We have to get going now and make dinner,” said Abi’s mom. As they were getting ready to go, Abi began to cry because she was having so much fun at the library with her newfound friend, and she didn’t want to leave.
Kevin, on the other hand, was very curious about what kinds of books Ms. Christine wanted to show him, so he went back with her to an area with tons of books about airplanes, trains, and military and construction vehicles. How did she know what he would like? Amazing! Kevin was absolutely loving all of the undivided attention Ms. Christine was giving him. Then, suddenly, with a tall stack of books in his arms, something at the arts-and-crafts table captured Kevin’s attention. He hurried over, dropping a few of the many books along the way, and discovered blank pieces of paper with a “Newsletter” header. So, right then and there, he drew and drew and wrote his very own newsletter until a few minutes after 6 P.M.
A library volunteer then came up to us and said the library was closing. Ms. Christine personally helped Kevin checkout his 10 prized library books which, of course, they selected together. Then, Kevin and I went along our merry way, lingering outside for a while longer in the new patio garden. We also sat together on the library’s new horse bench, discussing which books we would read together first. Eventually, we waved our goodbyes through the glass window to the remaining library staff working after hours.
One day this autumn, Kevin and I hope to actually make it to some of the scheduled activities geared towards Kindergarten children, like the afterschool “Fantastic Fridays” program or the “Brick Clique” Legos Club. One thing is certain, we will likely be at the Sherman Library on any given “off day” with nothing special scheduled. Once again, we will create our own fun with whoever would like to join us for an extra special day at the library. We will close the library down again, finding many good reasons for wanting to stay just a little while longer.
For a complete listing of fall and winter programs for children of all ages, visit: http://www.shermanlibrary.org/children/programs.htm
My son was always enthralled with the dirty, broken Thomas table they had at our library, too, even though he had a shiny new one at home! So funny! Great article!