In-person children’s activities are starting to come back to the Hardin County Public Library.
“It has been over a year that our library could organize story times and other activities,” said Nathalie Wilms, head of youth services at the Hardin County Public Library.
But that’s all beginning to change. Baby and Me and Preschool StoryTime were the first two activities resumed last week.
Baby and Me is offered at 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Preschool StoryTime will be 2 p.m. Wednesdays, except for in April when they will be at 11 a.m.
Both activities take place outdoors and if it rains the events are canceled.
“Our first Baby and Me took place under a cloudy sky and at the Preschool StoryTime, the sun was warming up the steps of our amphitheater,” Wilms said. “The wind tried to blow away our papers and books, which made these story times a little more energetic for the librarian than indoor story times.”
Starting 5 p.m. April 5, children in kindergarten through second grade can start attending story time at the library’s amphitheater.
Other programming remains online only.
Springtime was a good time to bring these programs outdoors for in-person groups.
“Now that temperatures outside are rising, it will be much more comfortable for our adults and children to attend our activities,” Wilms said. “Some families were prepared for all kinds of weather changes and had sweaters and blankets with them.”
When the programs started back up, Wilms said new families came to Baby and Me but both programs attracted regulars who they hadn’t seen in more than a year.
“It was nice seeing their faces and connecting with them again,” she said.
These types of programs are important for a child’s development, she said, adding this includes activities such as talking, singing, listening to stories and body movements.
“Through our activities we help them develop early literacy skills and we work on physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills to promote school readiness,” she said.
In 2019, the Kentucky kindergarten screening test showed only 49.1 percent of the children were ready for school, she said. StoryTime can help children and adults learn about early literacy.
“StoryTime is structured to help show the adults ways they can help their child interact with books and develop early literacy skills,” Wilms said. “It is more than simply picking a book to read.”
For those who come to Baby and Me, it’s often about connecting with other families.
“COVID-19 made meeting other families with children in their age range harder than it already is,” she said. “Baby and Me offers them a safe space to meet and exchange experiences and information.”
This is especially true of military families that moved to Hardin County and want to connect with other parents and find playmates for their child, she said.
April 5 will be the start date of the first StoryWalk in the garden. “The Library Book” by Tom Chapin is the first book for the StoryWalk.
“A StoryWalk is the perfect way to spend time together outside, walk and read a story at the same time,” she said. “We hope to find a partner that helps us to plant a StoryWalk in every town in Hardin County.”
The events are limited to 10 families so the event can be socially distant while still being able to see and hear the librarian presenting the story.
Participants need to register for the story times by calling 270-769-6337 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Returned books still are being quarantined for seven days and masks must be worn inside the library. Hand sanitizer dispensers can be found throughout the library.