MOSCOW – Even in the blustery winter months, there's a ton of fun activities and services for children at the North Pocono Public Library.
The theme for the library this year is “Build a Better Library.” In that theme, this library is leading the way in innovations, especially in its children's section.
The library now has an additional learning computer. There are three computers in total, preloaded with educational games and computer exercises. Each computer station is geared towards a particular age: 2-6 years, 6-8 years and 8-12 years.
Recently they also added a new type of item for the children to borrow: Launchpads.
“They are the iPad-type tablets that kids can play preloaded educational games on,” said Kelly Pulice, children's librarian. “They cover anything from Math to English, critical thinking, Steam, STEM and then there are a couple that just have games on them.”
The North Pocono Library is unique in the fact that it's currently the first library in Lackawanna County to take advantage of the Launchpads.
“I think people aren't used to something like that being available to be checked out,” said Pulice. “Typically people think there's just books and movies here and for them to be able to take home a game is a new concept.”
There are thirty Launchpads available at the library – ten for each age group.
A number of programs and weekly activities act as a supplement before or during formative school years.
On Monday, Parachute Play Time (also known as Music and Movement for Preschoolers) is a great way for the kids to get active.
Tuesday is preschool story hour. Not only is this a fun time for the kids to listen to a book being read, but they also develop familiarity and relationships with the other kids. Picture books, crafts and music are highlights.
On Friday it's Toddler Time. At the reading tree in the children's area they read board books and short stories. The same song starts and ends the session, which provides a routine for the kids. They know when to sit quietly and listen.
Parents also find time to bond and network before and after these programs.
Another fun time for children is the Block Party – where they get to play with building blocks.
“Its companion is Wee Build,” said Pulice. “There are fifteen different bins that they can go to and build [from]. The local Head Start likes to do this as part of their class time.”
Kids from the North Pocono School District are common attendees for these programs, but they also see home schooled children as well as families from Mount Cobb, Scranton and Dunmore. The library even gets the occasional out-of-state visitors and kids accompanied by the nurses from Saint Joseph's in Scranton.
Another great learning activity is STEM Saturday, a monthly opportunity for kids of elementary school age to learn about topics in science, technology, engineering and math.
“Terri [Collins] does that program,” said Susan Jeffery, library director. “She will select STEM activities – something with lights, magnets, electricity, sound, something like that. The kids can experiment and play.”
As the North Pocono Public Library grows and expands, utilizing every inch of its new building, there will always be a number of programs and services for residents of all ages.