Warner Library Children’s Room 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and More….

The heart of any library is its children’s room and Warner is no exception.  Many new families in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown make lasting friendships at story times with their toddlers, and longtime residents continue to support the Warner Children’s Room years after their own children have grown. If you have a little one, there are six story times a week for babies through age ten  including a bilingual story time on Friday mornings.  Shy and reluctant readers can make an appointment twice a month to read to our Labradoodle therapy dog Buddy and his caretaker Susan.  Buddy will be the star of a special event, “Back to School with Buddy,” on Monday, September 11 & Tuesday, September 12 at 4:30 pm. Children can share their first week of school experiences while enjoying a story and petting Buddy. Going back to school is exciting and fun, but it can also be a time of uncertainty and concern for some children. Come to the library for story time, Buddy-time, and fun talking about the first week of school!

Kids of all ages can be part of a story time and craft in Patriots Park at the TASH Farmers Market. A “Teddy Bear Picnic” was the theme on Saturday, September 9, and on Saturday, October 14 stories and crafts will celebrate Hispanic Heritage month.  Story time in the park starts at 11:30 am.

No visit to the Children’s Room is complete without stopping by our toy farm stand, dollhouse and recently added train table — all surrounded by child-sized couches, tables and chairs.  A painted mini Adirondack chair was donated this summer by the Neighborhood House as part of a public arts grant through ArtsWestchester. The play area is a favorite rainy day destination for parents with restless children.  Once a child can write his or her own name or is 5 years old, the child can get a library card. To help all children in school get a card, first grade classes from Morse School visit the library in September (library card registration month) to hear stories read by a Children’s librarian and apply for cards.

In this digital age, the Children’s Room computers are also extremely popular.  We have two computers loaded with educational games and three that can access the internet.  School age kids can “check out” laptops to use in the Children’s Room to do their homework and we have iPads for special programs. Electronic picture books are also available. The ever popular children’s electronic book source, Tumblebooks, can be found on the Warner or Westchester Library System website and is free to anyone with a library card.

As a special initiative, Children’s Librarians Barbara Cohen and Patricia Cohn are encouraging all parents of young children to take part in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge. Recognizing the need to develop literacy skills in the critical years before children start school, this nationwide challenge of the 1000 Books Foundation is designed to promote reading to newborns, infants and toddlers with the goal of reading 1000 books to a child before kindergarten. Sign up in the Children’s Room to get a reading log and additional information. Busy parents can check out backpacks filled with books centered on a theme such as Dinosaurs or Bedtime.  These “backpacks to go” were donated by the Tompkins Mahopac Bank and the Rotary to build literacy skills in young children.

One of the many pleasant surprises of working at the library is discovering the many authors who live locally and are willing to offer readings and share their work.  Popular author Mark Siegel will be here to talk about how he and his team created their graphic novel 5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior on Thursday, September 28 at 7 pm.  David Neilsen will provide a dramatic reading of his new humorous horror/adventure book for middle graders Beyond the Doors on Thursday, October 5 at 7 pm.  Be part of these engaging programs and inspire creativity in your child.

Many improvements in the children’s room have come through partnerships with community groups or supporters whose lives have been touched by members of the staff over the years. Two such recent donations include the Helen Andrew Memorial Garden and the Moira Poppen Gargano Book Fund. Dedicated this spring and designed in the tradition of a Japanese garden, the Helen Andrew Memorial Garden provides a beautiful and peaceful view from the story room. Mrs. Andrew was a member of the Children’s Room staff and then a volunteer who created murals and displays that delighted young and old. The garden design is a collaboration of children’s room staff and Mrs. Andrew’s husband Len Andrew and was built with the support of donations from friends and family.  The Second Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns recently donated $1,000 to start the Moira Poppen Gargano Book Fund to honor their Pastor’s wife who worked in the Children’s Room and is dedicated to language learning.

Warner Children’s Room offers everything from robot building to dance. Grants from the Kids’ Club of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow and the Rotary have allowed us to offer STEM-based robot and circuit building programs using a kit called littleBits. A Palo Seco Flamenco Company with Rebeca Tomás will provide three dance workshops for families and students this fall.  Dive into Dance will consist of an interactive flamenco demonstration on Monday, September 18, a student workshop on Monday, September 25 and a lecture/workshop for students 12 and up on Monday, October 2. All dance programs are at 6:30 pm. The dance series was made possible through an ArtsAlive Grant from ArtsWestchester.  On Saturday, September 23rd join us for the fourth annual Headless Halloween Mini-Golf extravaganza where the library is transformed into an exciting and challenging putt-putt golf course.

Our most enduring program funds come from the two Friends of the Library book sales held at the library in the fall and spring.  The proceeds from these sales provide all the funding for programs for adults and children alike.  To ensure everyone can be part of this community event, coupons to redeem a free children’s book at the sale are sent to all local schools.

We welcome children and families to come to the Warner Children’s Room for a visit. Check your mailbox this September for the Warner Library newsletter with a complete list of fall programming.

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