For many kids living in west Lincoln, Thursday morning is a time of crafts, songs and storytelling. For their mothers, itâ€™s a time to get some peace and quiet.
During the three years the West Lincoln Branch Library has been open, Thursday morning at 10:30 p.m. is story time for area preschoolers and young homeschoolers.
Pam Bethancourt, a homeschooling mother of three, comes every week with her children. Her two oldest spend their time in the library, while her youngest enjoys the morning program.
â€œIt offers her reading, art and some socialization,â€ she said. â€œFor me, it offers socialization and also a time to work with my other two children.â€
Brenna Boulanger, another homeschooling mom, revels in the time the program gives her to connect with other parents. There usually isnâ€™t much adult interaction in a stay at home motherâ€™s morning.
â€œItâ€™s a nice social time to chat with other mothers and encourage each other,â€ she said.
Mothers trade tips on child rearing and homeschooling. They also connect over the pain of never ending piles of laundry and dishes.
â€œSometimes you lose your focus because you are (at home) everyday, and the tasks become mundane,â€ Boulanger said.
Leaving the house and coming to the library helps break up the monotony.
â€œI think the fact that Lincoln County opened the West Lincoln Branch here, I love it because we didnâ€™t get to the Lincolnton branch as often,â€ Boulanger said.
The children are also excited about coming to the library. For those that are homeschooled, itâ€™s a chance to play with kids other than their siblings.
â€œ(My daughter) enjoys it because she gets to see children her own age,â€ said Stacey Davis, a homeschooling mom. â€œStory timeâ€™s a lot of fun. It helped her appreciate books more.â€
For many of the parents, cultivating a love of reading in their children is the main reason for attending the program.
â€œIt teaches them to appreciate books,â€ said Hallman. â€œWe keep telling kids that as long as you can read, you can do anything in the world.â€
Many of the mothers chose to stay home with their children in order to share that love of learning and to help them through the rough spots.
â€œWith Nicholas, math was a breeze,â€ said Boulanger. â€œReading, we had to work with, and when he got it, it was thrilling to know that we got it together.â€
During story time, the role of encouraging that love of reading goes to branch supervisor, Selina Keever.
At the start she sings songs with the children, jumping up and down at the same time they do. Then she settles into a rocking chair and reads out loud.
â€œThe goal is really to introduce children to books and reading and to prepare for going to school,â€ she said.
After reading two or three books and singing a closing song (on Thursday it was the very adventurous â€œBear Huntingâ€), story time is over, and the kids start looking forward to next week.
â€œMy children absolutely love it,â€ said Boulanger. â€œThey love the story time, the singing, the crafts. They think the librarians are awesome.â€
The librarians share that affection. Prior to story time, they sit with the children and play puzzles and talk about life.
On Thursday, Nicholas Boulanger told a story about big kids getting up from their chairs and running when they were supposed to stay seated.
â€œI stay seated,â€ he said. â€œThis is amazing. These little kids got more common sense, and Iâ€™m glad Iâ€™m a little kid.â€
After years of these mornings together, itâ€™s hard for the librarians to say goodbye once the preschoolers enter school. Two regulars did just that this fall.
â€œThey had come every week since the library opened, and it was really hard to see them go,â€ said Wanda Hallman, a library aid.
Those children left the morning program with a love of reading.
â€œIf a child learns to enjoy reading, they can do anything,â€ said Boulanger.
Branch supervisor Selina Keever sits in her rocking chair and reads a book on Ground Hogâ€™s Day. Sarah Grano / LTN Photoby Sarah Grano