Libraries carry on tradition of story time for a 25th year |

Libraries carry on tradition of story time for a 25th year

SUMMIT COUNTY – There’s more to story time at the libraries than puppet shows, crafts and colorful characters. It’s a social, community event that brings parents together and builds strong brains for preschoolers.

On Oct. 15, the main, north and south branches of the Summit County Library started the library system’s preschool storytelling tradition for the 25th year. The programs run every Tuesday, Wednesday or both, depending on the branch, through the first week of May.

Each week, librarians bring children’s storybooks to life with puppet shows, felt characters, crafts, music and illustrated flip charts.

“I like to enhance the stories so they’re easier for kids to remember,” said South Branch manager Julie Commons.

Librarian aide Angie Halverstadt introduces her small group of preschoolers at the main library to eclectic crafts she finds on the Internet, ranging from clay work, painting and paper art. Librarian Vanessa Woodford uses puppets and music to capture the 75-80 preschoolers she entertains per week at the library in Silverthorne, and Commons builds community by involving the parents, who take turns creating theme-related snacks each week for the 12-30 preschoolers.

“It’s purely a local’s kind of thing, and that’s rare here,” Commons said. “How many places can you go in Summit County that don’t cost money? It’s an outreach thing.”

When Woodford took over story time 20 years ago, she saw about 10 kids per week. Now, because of the program’s popularity, the libraries in Silverthorne and Breckenridge repeat their programs twice a week.

“There are several reasons why the program is so popular,” Woodford said. “No. 1, people are somewhat isolated, and young moms and caregivers enjoy getting together. It’s a real outlet for parents. They’ll linger in the library after story time for up to an hour. No. 2, it’s free, and No. 3, we’re passionate about introducing kids to libraries and books. If we can get kids feeling that the library is a fun place, then we can introduce them to using the library and reading books. We emphasize the fun part.”

An early introduction to libraries creates fond memories for children, who ultimately grow up and decide how much they want to support libraries.

“It justifies the program because those kids will open their pocketbooks when it comes to voting for libraries,” Commons said. “You don’t think about it when you’re doing your horse-and-pony show and staring at blank faces, but it’s really important.”

Commons, who has been telling stories to preschoolers in the library for 17 years, runs into young adults who tell her how they still remember the warm fuzzies they felt at story time when they were preschoolers.

This week, kids can trick-or-treat throughout the buildings after Silverthorne’s and Frisco’s story times. Costumes are optional.

“The little ones get into trick-or-treating without it being a scary proposition,” Woodford said.

November and December’s programs include Thanksgiving, snow and National Children’s Book Week themes. Call (970) 668-5555 for details.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

Story Times

? Where: North Branch Library, Silverthorne

? When: Programs for ages 18 months to 3 years: 9:30-10 a.m. and 10:30-11 a.m.


Programs for ages 3 to 5 years: 9-9:45 a.m. and 10:30-11:15 a.m. Tuesdays

? Where: South Branch Library, Breckenridge

? When: 11-11:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays

? What: Main Branch, Frisco

? When: 10:45-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays

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