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A ‘flamboyance of flamingos’: PWPL offers unique reading program

Sarah Rehborg, Youth Services librarian at the Peter White Public Library, is excited about the new “Flamingos in the Snow” reading program for youths at the library. Participants fill out reading logs and receive plastic flamingos in return. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — Don’t be surprised if you see a few flamingos around town in the coming weeks.

The Peter White Public Library continues to plan activities for youngsters to enjoy in the safety of their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s where the new “Flamingos in the Snow” program comes in.

Sarah Rehborg, Youth Services librarian at PWPL, said she read about the program on Facebook, except it took place in the summer.

For the PWPL version, from February through April, the winter “Flamingos” program will be open to any child, she said.

“There is no, really, upper age limit, but we’re expecting 14 years old and younger,” Rehborg said.

Registration will take in the first week of February when youngsters will receive a plastic flamingo along with a “Take & Make” kit and a reading log. Each log will have different requirements depending upon the child’s age.

“They can bring that reading log back and they get one more flamingo,” Rehborg said.

The young readers then can place their flamingos in a snowbank, assuming those will exist this winter — and considering Upper Peninsula winters, that’s a fair bet.

Youngsters can receive two flamingos at most, although Rehborg said they may continue to read and fill out as many reading logs as they want for a chance to win “a flamboyance of flamingos.”

Ornithologically speaking, a “flamboyance” is the term for a gathering of the large pink birds, which can flock together in the thousands.

Rehborg said she has only 400 plastic flamingos on hand, but even a few on somebody’s lawn might draw attention.

And there’s a way to really catch a few eyeballs.

“Top readers or those who read more will get their names entered in a drawing for a flamboyance of flamingos,” she said.

Rehborg stressed the purpose of the program, though, is to foster reading — and listening to audiobooks counts.

“The target we set is not super difficult or super high,” she said. “We just want to encourage kids to read — and we also think how cool would it be to have a bunch of flamingos in snowbanks all over town, if we get snowbanks.

“People are like, ‘Why is there a flamingo in your snowbank?’ And they say, ‘Well, it’s for the library.'”

The PWPL has been involved in other projects, such as family packs and school packs. Those packs, Rehborg said, are filled with educational materials for people who fill out special Google forms and can be picked up curbside.

That program, according to Rehborg, will continue when the library opens for express in-person visits on Jan. 25.

According to the PWPL Facebook page, hours have been set for noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

As well as the popular packs, monthly “Take & Make Activity Kits” have been offered for pick-up, with the January theme being “Cupcake Wars.”

February wil focus on Valentine cards, Rehborg said.

These kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and can be reserved ahead of time. Sign up for an email newsletter at https://pwpl.info/youth-programming/ to learn more.

Rehborg said a new February program will involve “sensory bins” for kids age 18 to 36 months.

“Every month we will give them new things to put in their sensory bin,” Rehborg said.

The initial theme will be construction, followed by rubber ducks, frogs and bubbles the following month, she said.

Again, Google forms will need to be filled out, said Rehborg, who suggested people visit the Youth Services section on the PWPL website at www.pwpl.info to learn more.

Other youth programming — for now virtual — at the library includes a Chapter Book Club, Toddler Storytime, Preschool Storytime, “Muggles For Potter,” “Dumbledore’s Army,” the Junior Teen Advisory Board, the Teen Advisory Board and Outword.

For details on these programs, email srehborg@uproc.lib.mi.us or call 906-226-4323.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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