Ready to Read is GI Library Goal


Whether they dream of becoming a firefighter or a princess like Cinderella, kids like Jamie Murphy can dream it up at the library.

Her mom Danielle said, "What I like is they have different activities for the kids, and interact in a different way."

And while kids tote their teddy bears around for this special event, they're surrounded by books.

Librarian Celine Swan said, "It's a great opportunity for us to promote our every child ready to read and get kids in the library and get library cards and show what they have here so they beg their parents to bring them to the library."

And they like to think the library's more than books but a lifelong learning center with hands-on discovery areas for kids.

Library Director Steve Fosselman said, "Everything is around a circle of learning and literacy at our library. We have a lot of resources, of course books, that's traditional. We have so many other kinds of media, but it's programming also."

Librarians say that's especially important in Grand Island. Their research has shown kids under 18 make up a quarter of the city's population.

Plus adults in the community are less likely to have college degrees than neighboring communities.

Fosselman said, "They may not always have college education, they may be a very diverse population in Grand Island, but meeting them at their point of need means we have more diverse programming."

Every child ready to read by the time they start school -- that's the library's goal and why they're dreaming up new ways to do business.

Swan oversees the children's department. She said parents are often surprised by everything they have.

"Parents come in and say, 'oh my gosh I didn't know you have all these great toys and castle and puppets.' I see lots of interaction with parents curled up not only reading books but being silly," she said.

Parents like Danielle Murphy already give the library perfect scores.

"I'd give it a ten, it's really good," she said.

But librarians like Fosselman say that won't stop them from creating more learning opportunities.

He said, "We want to be the most exciting library we can possibly, we're pretty darn exciting now, but wait till 2020."

They've thought about bringing back the bookmobile and possibly adding a branch library.

But there's already a branch in nearly every home. They consider their website an internet branch with digital downloads available free with a library card.