Library adds new programs, brings back old ones
MONROE - The Monroe Public Library has added a couple new programs for children and restarted its ESL Talk Time program.
The library offers several classes and game nights each week for young children, teenagers and adults. All the programs are free to anyone with a Sno-Isle Libraries card. Library cards are free to anyone who lives in Snohomish and Island counties.
The library’s weekly bilingual story time for preschoolers was added in July.
The library’s children’s librarian, Shannon Dye, runs the bilingual story time on Fridays, along with several English story times each week.
A brand-new program for children to read to dogs, called Reading with Rover, begins Saturday, Jan. 28. After Jan. 28, Reading with Rover will come back every two weeks, including Feb. 11 and Feb. 25.
The library also just started offering its ESL Talk Time class again. The class will be offered every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. through the end of February.
The bilingual storytime offers songs and stories in English and Spanish, including “The Itsy Bitsy Spider (La Arana Pequenita),” complete with finger plays that translates no matter the language.
A song called “Buenos Dias” starts in Spanish and goes to English by the end, Dye said.
It’s a comfortable atmosphere for speakers of both languages to learn something new, she said. The preschoolers’ parents will even help her with hard to pronounce Spanish words.
“It’s been well received,” she said. “There’s always cultural representation in the story times so that both Spanish and English speaking children can relate and enjoy the program.”
Reading to dogs
Reading with Rover is provided by a volunteer nonprofit program by the same name, Dye said.
“They provide us with the handlers and the dogs,” she said.
Some of the other libraries in the Sno-Isle system already offer similar programs, Dye said.
“We have lots of families in Monroe with young children who are beginning to read and we fully support helping beginning readers in any way possible,” including reading to animals, Dye said. “It’s a proven way to just give children an extra incentive to practice, and it’s fun.”
Earlier this month, Dye “auditioned” dogs for the class.
She introduced the dogs to the smells and space of the library, she said, and last month she had kids practice reading with them.
Many kids are naturally attracted to dogs, Dye said, giving them a calming dynamic for children.
Reading to a dog can inspire confidence in early readers, she said.
“I’ve seen (the concept) in action, and I know that it’s widely successful,” she said.
“What happens when the children start reading to the dog is they gain confidence and they’re not interrupted or corrected by the dog so the dog’s a very good listener.”
ESL, other happenings
The library partners with the Everett Community College East County Campus to offer the ESL Talk Time class from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays.
“It’s a very accepting environment where you can just practice your conversational skills and just talk about anything really, it’s just a nice casual environment that helps you with those day-to-day conversations,” Dye said.
The class is led by volunteers. The Talk Time wasn’t attracting a large following at the East County Campus, “so we wanted to move it to the library to see if it could gain some traction,” Dye said.
The library still offers a variety of other reading and educational programs, including teen movie and gaming nights. The library owns a Wii and Playstation 2 and often can get the use of an Xbox Kinect.
On Saturday, Feb. 4, the library will hold a class on e-readers such as the Kindle and Nook, Dye said.
“We’ve been getting a ton of questions from people who have gotten e-readers over the holidays, so we’ve been offering to sign them up for this class,” Dye said.
During tax season, the library has a variety of tax resources as well.
The library was built in 2002, and as a newer facility, has a large number of outlets for people to bring in their own laptops and access free Wi-Fi.
The library also has 38 public computers that are free to use with a library card, including a laptop that customers can check out for use inside the library for job search activities.
People seeking employment can find lots of help at the library, Dye said.
“We really would like people to come to us and use us when they’re looking for work because we do have those resources,” Dye said, including a link on the library’s website to job search resources.
For schedules or more information, visit the Monroe library’s page on the www.sno-isle.org website or call 360-794-7851.
By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published Jan. 25, 2012