ISHPEMING - Kids sit in a cluster in front of Sue Danielson, children's librarian for the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library, entranced by "The Night Before Thanksgiving," the story of eight tiny turkeys saved from certain doom by a group of school children.
The scene is a regular one throughout the week at the library, thanks to the children's programming the library makes available to the surrounding community.
"This is a free place to come with your family," Danielson said. "You come and do things with your kids."
Kids cluster around librarian Sue Danielson at the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library last week for the library’s weekly story hour. The library also offers puppet shows on Saturdays, with both activities encouraging parents to participate with their young children. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
Conner Rudzki, 6, wears a hat during last week’s story hour at the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library, as librarian Sue Danielson reads the story. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
Each story is followed by a craft based on the story. Here, kids get help from their parents in making Thanksgiving recipe holders. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
And the kids certainly don't sit through story hour on their own. Parents also sit and listen to the books, and then help out with the craft that follows.
The library offers story hour at 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays in the children's room, giving preschool-aged kids and even those who are younger the chance to begin exploring their local library.
In addition to the story hour, the library is also continuing its tradition of puppet shows on Saturdays at 1 p.m.
The puppet shows make use of the library's puppet stage and collection of marionettes, some of which are more than 100 years old, as is the puppet show program itself. Usually performed after a children's picture book, the shows are performed by Danielson and kids in third grade or older, who are encouraged to come after school on Fridays or early to the show on Saturdays to help put the performance together.
"We come most Tuesdays and some Saturdays," said Kristy Frederick of Negaunee, who brings son, Joshua, 2 to the Tuesday story hour. "It's free, it's fun, it's educational. We get to spend time together doing an activity."
Besides the weekly story hour and puppet shows, the children's room also offers a number of special activities throughout the winter.
Saturday, kids are invited to the Feast of Books to be Thankful For at 1 p.m. which will include a special craft in which the kids decorate paper cutouts of themselves to be hung up around the children's room. After the new year, the kids will turn those cutouts over and keep a running list of all the books they read during the year.
On Dec. 17 at 1 p.m., kids and families are invited to Give a Gift of Books book exchange. Kids are encouraged to bring a gift-wrapped book from home to trade during the event. To finish, they will also get the chance to decorate cookies.
More events are scheduled in the winter months, including a Feb. 11 Valentine's Day activity, the month of March full of Dr. Seuss stories, and a trip to the tropics during the month of April.
"We call it going on an imagination vacation," Danielson said, adding that the kids will be reading books that take them away from the winter weather of the U.P. and to different parts of the world.
For more information on library programs, visit www.uproc.lib.mi.us/ish.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.