More than just the entrée of pumpkin spice season, this September marks Tennessee’s inaugural Early Literacy month, thanks to the public-private partnership between the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The goal is to shed light on reading challenges in Tennessee’s youth and to encourage reading in families.
Rutherford County’s libraries are the perfect place to jumpstart a love for reading, with beautiful spaces, fresh programs and fun events for all ages. While any day is a good day to go to the library, check my nine special reasons to visit your local book nooks this month.
On Sept. 18 at 10 a.m., families can attend a special Imagination Library story time with a reading, craft, and special giveaways at Linebaugh Library downtown. In 2018 Linebaugh’s children’s area got a face lift with its children and juvenile collections completely moved to the first floor. Kiddos can read, play puzzles, try on hand-puppets, and build blocks, while older students will appreciate quiet spaces for reading, study, and computer work.
2. Group therapy
If you’ve ever tried in vain to catch a busy toddler’s attention for reading time, you’ll enjoy letting them get the wiggles out in a fun, social setting at area branches. Smyrna Library’s “Wiggle, Giggle and Read” story time is held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. Fridays feature “Baby and Me” reading times for babies 0-23 months old. Caregivers will enjoy new reading times with their children on Saturdays (as well as the existing Friday time) at Myrtle Glanton Lord Memorial Library inside Patterson Park Community Center. “Itty Bitty Story Time” for babies is held at Linebaugh on Thursday mornings, while “Sing, Read, Learn and Craft” is held Wednesdays for the three-and older crowd. La Vergne Library hosts “Once Upon a Story Time” and “Little Treasures” readings on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
3. Four-footed Friends
Starting Sept. 10, Smyrna Library begins its monthly “Read with Susie the Dog” program, where hesitant readers ages 5 and up can register to read to the warm, fuzzy, empathetic ear of a literacy dog, specially trained to be with children.
4. New Technology
The Technology Engagement Center (TEC) built last year near Hobgood Elementary has been called a “bookless library,” but in reality it offers a wealth of hands-on technology for children and adults alike to use, including computers and digital and audio books. The center plans to offer digital story book times and free movie events, so check their community calendar for updates.
5. Inspiring Spaces
Built in 2002, La Vergne Library is now the city’s major cultural center with over 70,000 books, CDs and DVDs for checkout, along with a wealth of programming for all ages. Its tall ceilings, many windows and works of art on its walls make it a space for curiosity and creativity. Displays created by local artists fill Smyrna Library's halls, while natural light and bright furniture contribute to its fun and welcoming vibe. MTSU’s James E. Walker Library is recognized as one of the campus’ most impressive buildings, and the extensive Womack Curriculum Collection provides educators and parents a wealth of resources to help children become lifelong learners. Bonus: you don’t have to be a student or professor to check out materials. Community members can check out up to two books every two weeks, while K-12 educators can check out up to 20 for a month.
6. Dancers at the library
Children can meet dancers from The Nashville Ballet as they present a special reading time at Smyrna Library on Sept. 18 from 10-11 a.m.
7. PJs welcome
Forget dressing up and let little ones come cozy to special Thursday evening reading times at LaVergne Public Library starting at 6:30 p.m. Kids can bring a blankie, pillow or stuffed animal as they listen to sweet bedtime stories.
8. Book sales
The Friends of Linebaugh Library (FOLL) big book sale will be held September 21 from 9 a.m.-noon. Find gently used adult and juvenile literature for a bargain-- it’s guaranteed to be less expensive than late fees!
9. Bigger Numbers
Whether at the library, at home, or the bookstore, more time spent with books means brighter futures for little ones. According to the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, children who engage in interactive reading with a caregiver for at least 20 minutes a day score an average of 6 points high on IQ exams, can hear and learn up to 30 million more words than children not read to, and can attend school for up to two years longer than their peers. Not to mention all that snuggly reading time helps bond children to caregivers, and widens children’s understanding of the world around them.
Learn more about Rutherford County’s libraries and find event calendars:
Rutherford County Library System rclstn.org
La Vergne Public Library lavergnetn.gov/192/lavergnepubliclibrary
MTSU James E. Walker Library library.mtsu.edu
How’d I do? Tell me about your favorite local library activities in the comments!