To the Editor:
About five years ago I took my two young sons to Mrs. Palmer’s story hour at the Westlake Library. As a former children’s librarian, I know what is involved in creating not only an hour of fun with books and activities on a certain topic for children, but also in developing relationships with each child. This is important because these children are in the early stages of becoming readers and future loyal library patrons.
I have been quite impressed with Mrs. Palmer’s expressive enthusiasm in reading aloud, creativity in interpreting the weekly theme, and encouraging each child to participate, as they are able. It is clear that all these children are important to her.
It has recently come to my attention that Mrs. Palmer’s full-time position as a children’s librarian is being eliminated. This would be a great loss to the young members of the community who have begun as story hour participants and have grown into independent readers who enjoy the ongoing programs Mrs. Palmer offers for older children. Her love of books and the children who read them is a serious commitment, not only to families who come to the library, but also for the schools she visits regularly.
The time she invests in collection development and programming is priceless, and I know many families in the community feel the same way.
I now have four boys, and another child on the way. We still attend story hour as often as we can, even though two of them are “too old” for the program. It is important to me that my younger ones enjoy the same wonderful experience their brothers did. Although we live in Bedford County, we drive to Westlake Library for story hour and shop at Kroger, so we spend tax dollars in Franklin County because of Mrs. Palmer.
I hope that the library board will reconsider eliminating the full-time position of children’s librarian at the Westlake Branch. Mrs. Palmer is a priceless asset, and replacing her with a part-time position could not possibly fill the void left by her years of experience and relationships.
Megan E. Saben
Smith Mountain Lake