Nobles County Library starting new programming Sept. 4WORTHINGTON – Whether you’re a third grader looking for some weekly after-school entertainment or a parent of preschoolers seeking an extra outlet for your active little ones’ bodies and minds, the Nobles County Library may have just what you’re looking for.
By: Jane Turpin Moore, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON – Whether you’re a third grader looking for some weekly after-school entertainment or a parent of preschoolers seeking an extra outlet for your active little ones’ bodies and minds, the Nobles County Library may have just what you’re looking for.
“Beginning Sept. 4, our preschool story times and after-school programs for kindergarteners through eighth graders will start again,” said Jackie Van Horsen, the library’s children’s librarian for the past decade. “We get quite a few kids here who take advantage of what we have to offer.”
Van Horsen makes the most of the time and space she has at hand, scheduling a weekly story time for toddlers and preschoolers each Wednesday from 10 to 10:45 a.m., as well as an after-school program for kids from kindergarten through fourth grade on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“We have 25 to 35 kids in here each Tuesday and Wednesday,” she said, gesturing toward the small open space at the back of the library’s children’s room. “It can get pretty crowded in here, but it’s great that we have so many children interested in coming to the library.”
Twice each month, Van Horsen also hosts programs for older children; specifically, every other Thursday beginning Sept. 6 there is a Wii program attended by both boys and girls from fifth through eighth grade, while a “Just Gurlz” program (now in its third year) that regularly attracts 12 to 16 fifth- through ninth-grade girls takes place on Fridays.
“We tried a boys’ group a few years ago; they liked the Wii program better,” Van Horsen commented. “But some of the girls have asked if they could keep coming until they graduate from high school, and I told them, ‘If you keep showing up, I’ll do it.’”
With the “Just Gurlz” gang, Van Horsen enjoys overseeing simple cooking projects (involving microwave or no-bake recipes), as well as various craft efforts.
“We’ve made tie pillows and duct tape flip-flops, and they’ve prepared peanut butter bon-bons, floats, and a lot of fun Halloween food that sounds gross but tastes really good — things like ‘witches’ brooms,’ ‘bloody fingers’ — that’s really pretty healthy — and ‘petrified logs,’” Van Horsen said.
And when Halloween approaches, Van Horsen organizes two haunted house events for school-age kids during the Education Minnesota break in October. Last year, each Halloween event drew about 75 children.
“We could really use a lot more space,” Van Horsen said.
Funding for the Nobles County Library’s children’s programming is largely in the form of donations from the Friends of the Library group. Without those gifts, Van Horsen is certain she would have much less to offer to the public.
“We’d be lost without the Friends of the Library,” Van Horsen admitted. “They do so much for us, and I really appreciate them.”
Van Horsen is planning age-appropriate activities for this fall that are sure to stimulate the different student groups with which she works, including making a melted crayon canvas and mini shadow boxes with the “Just Gurlz” participants and drawing from the library’s regular arrivals of new books and materials for the other programs.
“The preschoolers really like the book ‘Go Away, Big Green Monster,’” smiled Van Horsen, “and another favorite is ‘There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Leaf.’
“I have a large puppet, and the kids get to ‘feed’ the little old lady and then can see the stuff in her stomach,” explained Van Horsen. “I also think it’s cute to hear the stories the younger kids tell me, and to find out what is exciting in their lives.”
Van Horsen, a 12-year employee of the Nobles County Library, is pleased to promote literacy and familiarity with the library to so many children and their families.
“These programs are open to anyone,” she said. “The school buses stop here, so it’s easy for kids to get to the library after school.
“We just ask that they get picked up promptly at 5 p.m., when the library usually closes for the day.”
Following Labor Day, the Nobles County Library returns to being open, additionally, each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Year-round hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information about Nobles County Library’s materials and programs, call 507-295-5340 or visit the library at 407 12th St., Worthington.