MARQUETTE - Even with all of the ebooks that people can now download to Kindles, Nooks, iPads and other devices, the Peter White Public Library's children's room hasn't seen any less traffic.
Despite competition from electronic devices, good old-fashioned books seem to continue to be popular with kids.
PWPL Teen Services Coordinator Mary Schneeberger has worked in the children's and teen room for about 8 years now and said they've been as busy as ever. According Schneeberger, children are constantly coming into the needing books for research and book reports.
Library Assistant Jeni Kilpela reads to 2- and 3-year-olds during “Let’s Be Friends” story time Wednesday at Peter White Public Library. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"During the school year the kids come in needing books for the reports or research," Schneeberger said. "During the summer they are in here more to pick up books to read for pleasure because they just have more time to do so."
The busiest time of the day is always in the evening after school or when parents get out of work, she said. During the daytime home schooled children will come in.
"Kids will get dropped off here by the buses or they'll go home, wait for their parents to get home and then their parents will bring them here," Schneeberger said. "During the day we have a lot of home-schooled programs come in and the whole family will come in and use our resources."
Schneeberger said parents reading to children when they are young is not only a great way to spend time with their kids but it also shows them reading is fun.
"If you make it a fun activity by reading with your children, if you make it a time of pleasure for the two of you reading together, then they're going to have that positive connection with reading," Schneeberger said.
PWPL assistant Jeni Kilpela agrees that if children see their parents reading they're more apt to think its a fun activity, which encourages them to want to do it on their own.
"Early childhood experts say that if you read 15 minutes a night to your child that the likelihood that they will do well in school and go on to college increases greatly," Kilpela said.
Kilpela reads to 2- and 3-years-olds during "Let's be Friends" story time in the children's room and she said it amazes her how much the children know and how developed their language is.
"They read some of these big books and they'll say a word to me during story time, they'll just blurt it out, and it stuns me," Kilpela said. "I just think 'wow where did they learn that?'"
According to Kilpela, one day she was reading a book about turtles and a little girl blurted out the word "tortug," which is Spanish for turtle. Kilpela said she asked the little girl how she knew the word. She said she read it in a book.
"She was 2, but her parents read her a book and she remembered the Spanish word for turtle," Kilpela said. "So reading to your children is really great in that sense."
Kilpela said the greatest thing about reading a book to a child is that any parent can make it their own. She said that if she read a book or Schneeberger read a book it might be two different stories, which she thinks is great.
"So a mom or a dad can add some sound effects or make up a side story with the pictures and make it their own because they know their child," Kilpela said. "Then it makes it this funny - 'No, daddy reads it better' - because it's just something they connected with."
Peter White Public Library offers a large range of reading programs for babies, children and teens. For more information on summer reading programs and other year round programs visit www.uproc.lib.mi.us/pwpl or call 228-9510.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org