Popular library program saved by donations

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Thanks to $7,500 donated by several Lincoln community organizations, young children spent 30 minutes moving, singing and learning July 8 during “Mother Goose on the Loose.” The $7,500 was the amount needed to fund the Mother Goose on the Loose for one year’s worth of the program, according to Friends of the Library vice president and program director Shirley Russell. The “Mother Goose on the Loose” program helps 4-month-olds through 4-year-olds learn preschool skills through rhythm, rhyming and motion, according Russell. The program almost wasn’t available this year due to budget cuts made by the city, according to previous News Messenger reports. It was spared when various community organizations and community members provided $7500, and collection of that money started in February, according to Friends of the Lincoln Library treasurer Viola Kuka. More than 100 family members, comprised of mothers, fathers, caregivers and children, showed up to the first of two sessions July 8, and about 100 showed up for the second session. “It’s awesome,” said Pullo Samba about the program being saved. Samba has brought Haddy, 27-months-old, there for two years. “She’s started to sing all of the songs and she looks forward to it. The program has had a break for four weeks and she’s asked about it,” Samba said. Before the July 8 session started, Russell acknowledged those who contributed to provide Lincoln’s kids with an early start to their education. The Lincoln Lion’s Club donated $2,000; Lincoln Mom’s and Kids, Too donated $300 “from their own pockets” and $597 from a fundraiser in May; Sutter Health donated $2,000; and Friends of Lincoln Kids donated $1,500. Friends of the Lincoln Library donated the remaining needed funds to operate the program, which was $556, according to Kuka. In addition to that, participants of the program donated money via coin boxes located in the room the program takes place in, which totaled $352, according to Kuka. “I want to acknowledge the fact that the Lion’s Club was absolutely devastated at the prospect of having this shut down,” said Kris Knutson, representing the club. “The Lion’s Club will do everything in its power to keep this going.” Lorrie Williams, representing Lincoln Mom’s and Kids, Too, brought her 15-month-old daughter Ella to the session, and said both she and her daughter love the program. “She loves the movements with the stories and all the puppets and little extras,” Williams said, and brings Ella to Mother Goose on the Loose “to get her involved with other kids and with stories.” “It’s fabulous and I think a lot of people are willing to do what it takes to save the program,” Williams said. The class was led by library employees Linda Derosier and Nancy Clark, as well as volunteers Betty Gordon and Linda Aidnik. Using props such as puppets, books, drums, bells and scarves, mothers and children sang along with the instructors, and the children learned to listen and follow directions. The toddlers and babies tapped out the syllables in their names using drums, threw scarves in the air and rang bells when told to do so. Then the children put the props away in various “magic cleaning bags” when they were done. Singing the “Lincoln Library Song” ended the session. “I don’t know what I’ve been told but the Lincoln library is the place to go,” sang the room. “They’ve got lots of books for me and I’ve learned my ABC’s.” The morning’s first session saw a mix of new and returning patrons. “I think it’s great for Lincoln and Lincoln’s children,” Derosier said. “I like the look on the children’s faces when the light bulb turns on and they get it.”