The Constance T. Rhinelander Performance Fund for Children established a tradition of enrichment and inspiration in children’s programming for the children and families of our community at its inception, more than twelve years ago. We acknowledge gratefully the ongoing support of the Fund by the Rhinelander family, which has enabled the Children’s Library to continue to offer excellence in family programming.
This spring we celebrated Dr. Seuss Day in collaboration with America Reads. Volunteer readers brought to life the funny, rhyming and wonderful words and stories of Dr. Seuss, and following the stories we enjoyed a special Cat in the Hat cake. The Friend Room was filled to capacity with actress Carole Finn’s performance of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. The dwarfs were the many children participating from the audience during April school vacation.
Summer Reading opened with a large audience discovering Curious Creatures. Over 400 children registered for ‘Wild Reads at Your Library’ and a summer full of interesting live animal programs. In August we hosted Mountain Mushers, the Alaskan sled dog team from Denali National Park. Children learned about sled dogs, safety, the Iditarod and the work of sled dogs historically. Kestrel Educational Adventures, an amphibian educational program, presented live critters, an interactive story and clay modeling. Project Nature brought a variety of turtles to an enthusiastic audience.
We continued to offer school vacation and after-school workshops. Some of these included: chess, card-making, weaving, knitting and crocheting. Audubon Ark visited the Library several times, bringing farm animals to the delight of our pre-school groups.
Storytimes and monthly book group meetings continued this year. Our three weekly groups of pre-school aged children were lively and well attended. This early introduction to songs, nursery rhymes, books, crafts and activities provides an important step in early development. The children build confidence as they learn to share, take turns and participate in a group, where children and adults often form friendships which extend beyond the Library. As they have since the year 2000, children aged ten – twelve, parents and grandparents met with the Assistant Children’s Librarian for Parent/Child Book Group. Authors Janet Ruth Young and Judy Spurr visited the group to read and discuss their books.
Members of the Children’s Working Group shared in planning and participated in activities for the June Book and Bake Sale, including crafts, outdoor activities, and registration for Summer Reading. In addition, many hours were given to the Children’s Library by volunteers all year. Their contributions to the Library are acknowledged with heartfelt appreciation.
The Children’s Library collaborated with Gloucester Public schools to prepare elementary summer reading lists. We welcomed class visits. Our community outreach continued with Cape Ann Early Intervention in co-sponsoring a weekly toddler group for children aged 18 months – 3 years. The Library again sponsored America Reads, a Vista program which pairs an adult reading tutor with a child in the Library. We again offered programming with the Cape Ann Asian Alliance.
The Children’s Library received book donations through the generosity of several community grants. The Gift of Reading program is made possible through an anonymous donor. Our collection has been enriched with more than 500 titles for young children dedicated to Gloucester newborns. The books receive special “Gift of Reading” bookplates. In 2007 we received 155 of these special books. The Gloucester Rotary Club has sponsored the donation of hundreds of new books. Rotary speakers are acknowledged through the dedication of a book in their name with a special Gloucester Rotary Club bookplate. This year 90 new titles were added through this generous program.
As we look forward, we want to continue and improve all of our pre-school programs, class visits, Parent/Child Book Group and community collaborations. We also want to seek new and varied educational programs for children. Again, we wish to express our deepest appreciation to all of the members of the Rhinelander family, for their continued commitment and support of the Constance T. Rhinelander Performance Fund.