Mother Goose on the Loose a place for kids, parents

Library ramps up for celebration of Dr. Suess' birthday
By: Cody Kitaura, News Messenger Correspondent
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The Twelve Bridges Library is anything but quiet on Thursday mornings. That's when dozens of singing, clapping, dancing and sometimes crying children flood in with their parents for “Mother Goose on the Loose,” an interactive story time with songs, games and activities designed for younger children. “It's not a traditional story time,” said library assistant Linda Derosier, who leads the program. “This is something where they can move.” The activities, held at 10:30 and 11:30 each Thursday morning, are designed for children from a few months to 4 years old. They sing, tap the rhythm of their names on a drum, and play with maracas but they're also learning important interaction skills, according to Derosier. She said one boy who comes regularly to the activities started out standing timidly by the door, waiting to go home. Two months later, he was tapping on the drum and playing peek-a-boo with the other children. Now, he greets Derosier at the door every week. Heather Holbrook bounces her 1-year-old daughter, Hailey, and 3-year-old son, Jeremy, on her knees during an activity called “Mother and Father and Uncle John.” They laugh and she smiles brightly at them. Holbrook likes the program, she said, because of how much her children enjoy it. “They love the singing and the dancing and the other kids,” Holbrook said. “Then, afterward, we go check out books at the library and it’s just a fun day. They aren’t in preschool yet and this gets them social interaction.” The “Mother Goose on the Loose” program began in the 1980s as part of a New Jersey librarian’s theory that young children would learn more from “rhythm, rhyme and repetition,” Derosier said. The program expanded across the country and the Lincoln Library has participated since January 2008. But recent budget cuts have hurt the program, according to Darla Wegener, director of Library Services. The library cut the positions of six staff members last month and has cut sessions of many of its storytelling programs. One “Mother Goose on the Loose” session was eliminated. “The demand is so high (for ‘Mother Goose on the Loose’, we could probably provide five (sessions) and they’d all be full,” Wegener said. Derosier said the library has been averaging about a crowd of 90 at the first session and 70 at the second. The library has expanded plans to rely on volunteers and Wegener said between 70 and 80 potential helpers attended the library's volunteer orientation on Feb. 21. But volunteers can’t answer reference questions, catalog books or develop new programs, Wegener said. “Volunteers meet a need but they can't possibly meet the higher level (needs),” she said. Sidebar Area readers of all ages will help celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday Saturday via the Lincoln Library’s annual participation in “Read Across America,” a program encouraging adults to read to children. “Read Across America” is celebrated on the birthday of the author who created “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Lorax.” Saturday’s event includes several volunteers reading Dr. Seuss’ books to children, along with crafts, activities and raffles. The event will run from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Twelve Bridges Library, 485 Twelve Bridges Drive. Seuss, born Theodore Seuss Geisel, died in 1991. He would have been 105 years old on Monday. Ed Cummins, a Lincoln High School drama teacher, said he’s volunteering to read because of the profound effect reading can have on children. “If you can get them hooked into books, then the world is open,” he said, adding that Seuss is an ideal author for children to start with. “The rhymes and meters are very sophisticated,” Cummins said. “You can grow up with Dr. Seuss and a lot of kids have.” Library assistant Jill Loya said she remembers her son reading Seuss’ books, just as she did to her baby sister when she was about 9 years old. “He brings the words to life off the page,” Loya said. "You just wondered what was going to happen to ‘Sam I Am.’” More info: Mother Goose on the Loose, official Web site: Read Across America, official Web site: Library hours cut, volunteers needed: The Lincoln Library accepts volunteers year-round, and forms are available at both branches. Another orientation session will be held in the summer or fall. Mother Goose on the Loose 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. every Thursday Twelve Bridges Library 434-2410