Librarians + children = lifetime readers



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Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

On hand to greet all the visitors to the 20th Anniversary of the Marble Falls Library on 101 Main Street are full-time staff members, from left, Karen Davis, assistant director; Mary Seaman, Brittany Cavness, Misty Smith and Amanda Rose, director. See a schedule of events at the end of this story.





By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The very first day of events for the 20th Anniversary of the Marble Falls Library on Main Street, Monday, Oct. 2, will be Children's Day, but then, every day is children's day in a library.

In fact, when former librarians are honored on with an invitation-only luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 3, school librarians are included in the kudos and at least one among them learned to love books under their care.

“I didn't know I would grow up to be a librarian, I just loved to go to the library,” said Amanda Rose, current director of the Marble Falls Library. My best friend and I would get dropped off there and we loved spending hours reading.”

“I remember her as a child very well,” said veteran librarian Diana Collins. “I was the librarian in Marble Falls for 22 years and then at Highland Lakes Elementary School for 11 years. “Almost every time I go to the library now, I see someone I've known as an early reader.”

Collins will be at the luncheon when local historian Jane Knapik, PhD, will moderate a discussion among the staff and former staff of the Marble Falls Public Library and Marble Falls schools and their fans.

“When I first came to town, I even had a chance to interview Agnes Hefner (daughter of Lois Anderson, the woman credited with beginning the library in Marble Falls),” said Knapik.

Collins, herself is a well-spring of Marble Falls library history, she was there for the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the city's book repository and was so well loved that July 29, 2001 was declared Diana Collins Day in the city and the county when she retired.

“We celebrated that 50th Anniversary and dedicated the Main Street library a year after we moved in, September 1998,” said Collins. “First Lady Laura Bush, also a librarian, came to support us.”

There is one thing in particular that resonates with Collins and Rose: libraries and librarians are important to children.

“In this day and age, when a certified librarian, trained in readers advisory and book collections is no longer found at every school, the public library is even more important for development of reading and excitement about books,” said Collins.

Both she and Rose have depended on dedicated volunteers and staff, however. Today, Rose's staff includes assistant director Karen Davis, Misty Smith, Patricia White, Brittany Cavaness and Mary Seaman.

“They are educated women, passionate about what they do,” said Rose. Brittany and Mary have fallen so much in love with the library they have started their master's degrees in library science.

“Misty Smith finds great presenters for programs like Dinosaur George and connects with families and children, going to the schools to get the word out. Patricia White is in charge of pre-school story time. That is a lap-sit programs introduce child to reading and learning with their parents.

“If they grow up in the library they will be comfortable using it as adults.”

The youngest patrons of the library actually have three age-appropriate programs designed just for them and presented in a flexible schedule.

Mother Goose Time, for infants to about age 2, usually begins at about 10 a.m. on Fridays. Toddler Time, for children age 18-36 months, has a flexible schedule, usually beginning about 11 a.m. on Fridays. Pre-School Story Time, designed for children from 3-6 years old is typically Thursdays at 11 a.m.

Older kids hit the books in summer.

“We definitely know when school is out; it's kids big time around here,” said Rose.

“I still have pictures in my mind of those kids and those mothers who would come in to say, 'What do I do? I can't get this child to read.'

“We figured it out. Found books that would appeal exactly to a child's interest.”

“Parents find plenty to interest them, too,” said Rose. “We are a popular collection library. We have what are patrons ask for.

“And there is more than one way to enjoy a book these days. One of our most popular collections is the audio books that are really popular with commuters.”

Rose said the popularity of downloadable digital and audio books is growing as well.

“One of my favorite things to do is to sit down and help people learn about them,” she said. “It may seem intimidating, but if you sit down with people and introduce it, they love it.”

The age group that outstrips all the others is seniors.

“This is a retirement community, after all, and they love us,” said Rose. “They are free to read as much as they want. And they enjoy books while they travel.

“A great thing about digital services is that you are able to borrow items without worrying about how you will get them back to the library. Digital books don't have fines.”

If a reader wants something special, older, rare or research oriented, the Marble Falls library, as part of the Burnet County Library System is able to take advantage of inter-library loans, out side the system, across the state.

The Marble Falls Public Library is closed for renovations through Friday, Sept. 29. However it will resume regular hours the following week—10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday and information is available always at

20th Anniversary Events

Monday, Oct. 2 – Children's Day

10 a.m. – Pre-Schooler Parade

10:30 a.m. – Lollipop the Clown Magic Show

4 p.m. – After School Parade

4:30 p.m. – Lollipop Magic Show

Tuesday, Oct. 3 – Librarians Day

Wednesday, Oct. 4 – Authors Day

Thursday, Oct. 5 – Thrift Store Day

Friday, Oct. 6 – The Big Celebration!

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