The new head librarian in the Children’s Department at Great Bend Public Library is no stranger to children who visit the area regularly. Amanda Moran-Jones joined the staff two years ago as the assistant children’s librarian and was promoted to the head children’s librarian with the departure of Eric Coulbourne.
“Miss Amanda,” as she is known to many children from preschool through sixth grade, took over the reins of the department last Wednesday. Next month the search will begin for a new assistant.
This is a slow time of year in the Children’s Department, with not much planned for the remainder of the year or for January, other than the After School Movie, “Despicable Me 2,” set for 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3. (Actually, Great Bend children don’t return to school until Jan. 6, and the Friday movie is open to all ages.) But once an assistant is hired, Moran-Jones expects to resume a busy schedule of programming for children in the community.
“We’ve been visiting 29 classes a month,” she said, adding most of the visits are to preschools and day-care centers. Things really get busy during the Summer Reading Program. “Summer Reading’s going to be fun this year,” she commented.
A 2008 graduate of Otis-Bison High School, Moran-Jones is also a trustee for the Bison Community Library, where she served as a volunteer during her middle school and high school years.
After high school, she attended Seward County Community College for a year and then completed her associate’s degree in early childhood education at Barton Community College in 2011. She is now working on a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
Jennifer King, who oversees marketing and the Young Adult Department as the Great Bend library, congratulated Moran-Jones on her promotion. “We are all super-excited for Amanda to take over the Children’s Department,” she said.
Here are three suggestions from “Miss Amanda” for holiday reading:
• “The Polar Express,” by Chris Van Allsburg, for preschoolers and kindergartners. A boy takes a magical train ride to the North Pole.
• “Franklin’s Christmas Gift,” by Paulette Bourgeois, for children in grades 1-3. Franklin the Turtle (from the Classic Franklin Storybook series and Canadian educational animated television series) can’t decide what to donate to his school’s Christmas toy drive. There’s also “Franklin’s Christmas: A Sticker Activity Book,” by Sasha McIntyre.
• “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, for everyone else. The Victorian author’s classic Christmas story is available in a variety of editions for all ages.