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Virtual storytelling: PWPL offers programming through YouTube videos

Peter White Public Library in Marquette is pictured. While the library’s doors have closed temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is offering a variety of virtual programming for youth and families. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — When the news broke that Peter White Public Library’s doors would temporarily close to the public due to the pandemic, PWPL Youth Services Librarian Sarah Rehborg began brainstorming ideas so the library could continue its storytelling for children in the community.

The idea of virtual programming was the only way to accomplish that task since anything face-to-face was eliminated in light of the pandemic.

PWPL has been airing storytelling programs for youth and families through YouTube video postings.

With publishers granting special permission for books to be read online for virtual storytimes, this programming will continue until the state of emergency is lifted and programming can resume at PWPL’s physical location.

“There are a ton of resources available online for families and kids already. But for as

long as we are able, I want to maintain some kind of personal connection with our families,” Rehborg said.

Youth Services Librarian Sarah Rehborg of Peter White Public Library prepares for a live reading for virtual storytelling time through YouTube videos she posts on PWPLÕs Facebook page and website. This initiative is a way to continue offering services to the communityÕs youth and families during the COVID-19 crisis and offer a sense of normalcy. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Rehborg)

Starting a week ago, Rehborg has received messages from parents acknowledging how excited their children were to see the familiar face of a PWPL librarian during this time, she said.

Passive programming is also available. There is a three-week activity calendar for school-aged children and a sensory one for younger children available through PWPL’s Facebook page, where parents and caregivers can complete something on each given day.

This is the first time PWPL has conducted virtual programming in this capacity and Rehborg said she enjoys the personal connection and being able to be a facet to the community.

“Everyone is now pretty much trapped in their houses, so the chance to see a familiar library staff face can help bring a little excitement to the day.

“Also, families are encouraged to treat the story times like they are a program at the library, and have it be a good adult/child bonding time at storytime,” Rehborg said. “If the adults are able to sit and watch storytime with their kids, and do all the fingerplays and songs — just like they do at a physical program at the library — then that is a really positive family experience during what are certainly stressful times at home.”

Moving forward, Rehborg hopes to include more do-it-yourself programs once or twice a week and have the programs center around things people can do with what they already have in their homes.

The following is a list of upcoming virtual programs:

≤ Recorded read-aloud of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” from 7 to 7:30 p.m. today and Thursday

≤ Live reading of “Shine!” from 1 to 1:30 p.m. today and Thursday

≤ Live storytime from 10 to 10:20 a.m. Thursday

≤ Morning yoga from 9 to 9:15 a.m. Thursday

≤ Live reading of “Pete The Cat Storytime” from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Friday

≤ Live tutorial of “TP Tube Planters” — reusing toilet paper tubes for spring planting — from 1 to 1:15 p.m. Friday

All virtual programming is free to the public. To view the live streams, like the PWPL Facebook page @PeterWhitePublicLibraryYouthServices or follow the links to playlists on YouTube to watch recordings of the virtual story time sessions. Those links can be found at pwpl.info, on the Youth Services page. For other inquiries, call 906-226-4323 from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Jackie Jahfetson can be reached at jjahfetson@miningjournal.net.

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