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Cool reads: Library offers family activities
Lawson Beck, age 6, left, and his brother Luke, 8, listen to their mother Cindy Beck read a story at the Great Bend Public Library. - photo by Susan Thacker

Six-year-old Tacy Schipmann sorted through a box of hand puppets and launched into a story.

“A sad unicorn lost its mom and dad ...,” she said, facing her audience from the puppet stage in the Children’s Department of the Great Bend Public Library. “And then a pirate came!”

The puppet stage was recently completed by Fred Hernandez, a maintenance employee at the library. It’s one of several ways children are invited to use their imaginations — a perfect introduction to reading, according to Children’s Librarian Amy Mayhill.

During the recent cold weather, parents whose children were ready to get out of the house found plenty to do at the library. “My kids love to come,” one mom said.

There is space to read, as well as an “imagination space” and a “makers space.”

Mayhill described two family reading programs that will be offered this week. During “Chapter Chats,” children sit in comfortable seats and listen to an adult read a chapter book for 30 minutes. They also get a snack.

“We’re finishing ‘Harry Potter,’” she said.

Chapter Chats was created at the request of area school teachers, Mayhill said. “We wanted to do some things that involved school-age children.” The next installment is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3.

The Family Book Bunch Book Club will also kick off 2019 this Thursday, Jan. 3, at 6:30 p.m.

“The goal is to have families read a book together throughout the month, and then come together at the Book Bunch to talking about it,” Mayhill said. They will also participate in games and activities related to the book of the month, starting with “Mary Poppins.”

“We hope to foster the love of reading within the family,” Mayhill said. “Almost everything we have in the Children’s Area is to promote creativity and discovering new things.”

Looking ahead, on Monday, Jan. 28, family members are invited to dress up in their most comfy PJs and come to the library at 6:30 p.m. to experience storytime with songs and other activities.

The Great Bend Public Library will be closed on New Year’s Day.