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Weekly Update (01.16.19)

Computer Classes @ BPL
by Andrea Gilmer, Community Engagement Librarian

As we enter the second full week of a new year, it seems appropriate that I remind readers of some of the programs and classes that we offer throughout Bossier Parish Libraries; and I think I’ll start with computer classes.

Our Central Library continues to offer several options for those looking to expand their computer skills. In January they are focusing on Introductory and Advanced Word classes, with the beginners class scheduled for January 22 and the intermediate class for January 24, both at 6:00pm. And then in February they move on to Microsoft Excel, with the same set up of introductory and advanced classes. Meanwhile, in Plain Dealing you can learn about setting up an email account and how to navigate various social media sites, as well as getting an introduction to Microsoft Word. They are holding their classes on February 4 at 10:00am and 3:00pm, and February 9 at 12:00pm. Moving over to Elm Grove and our Tooke Branch, they continue to offer their Computer Basics class which is perfect for those who still aren’t confident in their computer skills and would appreciate an assist. You can find the next class there on February 14 at 10:00am.

In addition to computer classes, I’m pretty excited about the game and building days that are now part of many of our branches’ lineups. Aulds hosts a Lego Club on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 4:00pm; and really who doesn’t enjoy building with Legos? Benton and Central each have game days for all ages! But if board or card games aren’t up your alley, how about our teens try out the Games Lounge (video games!) that Central has set up on January 22 and February 26 at 3:00pm?

I’m almost out of space, so I’ll finish up with Bingo at our Haughton and Tooke Branches. Or, try your hand at Tic-Tac-Toss, Ping Pong Launch, and more at our Plain Dealing Branch. For full details check out our website, stop in to grab a newsletter that lists events for all locations coming up in January and February, or call us! Thanks for reading my shameless plugging of library programs; we enjoy seeing you at our events!

All library locations will be closed on Monday, January 21 in observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Coming Up: 
Aulds         742-2337  
Thursday, Jan. 17 @ 4:30pm – Teen Thursdays, ages 13-17
Benton       965-2751  
Friday, Jan. 18 @ 10:00am – Baby Laptime, ages 0-2

Bossier Central       746-1693
Wednesday, Jan. 23 @ 6:00pm – Game Masters Series, all ages
Thursday, Jan. 17 @6:00pm – Goodnight with Grandma K, ages 0-5

East 80        949-2665
CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS – Update: Noticeable progress on the parking lot is slated to begin on January 7, 2019 (barring weather more delays)! Thank you for your continued patience.  

Haughton          949-0196  
Saturday, Jan.19 @ 1:00pm – Saturday Matinee: The House with the Clock in its Walls, all ages

History Center         746-7717 
Thursday, Feb. 7 @ 6:00pm – Pages Past Book Club:  Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, ages 18 and up

Plain Dealing       326-4233  
Tuesday, Jan. 22 @ 1:00pm – Cooking & Food Prep with A to Z World Food, ages 18 and up

Tooke        987-3915  
Saturday, Jan. 19 @ 12:30pm – Nail-Art for Beginners, ages 12-18

New Materials:

  • Air Strike starring Bruce Willis, Ye Liu, & Adrien Brody (DVD)
  • Being John Lennon: A Restless Life by Ray Connelly (Biography; Book)
  • The Boy by Tami Hoag (Fiction; Book)
  • In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin (Fiction; Book)
  • Watching You  by Lisa Jewell (Fiction; Audiobook)
  • You Don’t Own Me by Mary Higgins Clark (Fiction; Playaway)

Weekly Update (01.09.19)

BPL to Launch Curbside Pickup Pilot Program in February
by Andrea Gilmer, Community Engagement Librarian

Continuing in the spirit of a new year bringing changes, here at the library we too are making a few changes. The change I’m most excited about it a new service that we are testing out at several of our branches starting in mid to late January. This new service is called “Curbside Pickup” and will be rolled out at our Aulds, Central, and East 80 branches.

Curbside Pickup will be what you can infer from the name: a service you can use to have your holds brought out to your car. I’m sure there are times when you’ve requested an item, and you’ve gotten the call or text or email letting you know it’s arrived at your library, but now you have the kids or your dog or groceries in the car and the thought of having to run in to grab that thing you’ve been waiting for is just a bridge too far. Or, what about those times when you’re not feeling well and don’t want to have to get out of your vehicle? Starting soon you can have that hold brought out to you.

Here’s how it will work: you get notification that your hold is ready for you to check out, you arrive at your branch (Aulds, Central, or East 80 for now) and park in the spot designated for Curbside Pickup – don’t worry, we’ve labeled it – and then you call us. The phone number will be your library’s main number so you don’t have to find a special line to call, and when we answer you simply tell us that you’re here for your hold in Curbside Pickup. We’ll ask you for your name and you’ll answer a verification question or two so we can be certain we’re bringing you the right thing. And then, like the magical beings librarians are, we will appear with your holds. We will also ask to see your library card or ID when we get to your vehicle, just a continuation of that verification process, and then you are good to go! You will have your holds and be on your way to enjoying them!

We are looking forward to your feedback on this service too. It’s new so we anticipate a few bumps in the road before it smooths out, and your assistance in working out the kinks is invaluable. We’ll keep you updated on the exact date this service will be available at Aulds and Central, and East 80 should be rolling it out once they reopen!

All library locations will be closed on Monday, January 21 in observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Coming Up: 
Aulds         742-2337  
Sun., Jan. 13 @ 2:00p.m. – Kids Crafternoon, ages 3-12
Benton       965-2751  
Thur., Jan. 10 @ 6:00p.m. – Game Night Café, all ages

Bossier Central       746-1693
Thur., Jan. 10 @ 5:00p.m. – Language Practice Sessions: Spanish, ages 18 and up
Thur., Jan. 10 @ 6:00p.m. – Computer Classes: Word II, ages 18 and up
Tues., Jan. 15 @ 10:00a.m. – 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Storytime, ages 3-5
Tues., Jan. 15 @ 4:00p.m. – Teen Zines, ages 13-17

East 80        949-2665  
CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS – Update: Noticeable progress on the parking lot is slated to begin on December 26! Thank you for your continued patience.  

Haughton          949-0196  
Mon., Jan. 14 @ 6:30p.m. – Evening Book Club: Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin, ages 18 and up

History Center         746-7717
Sat., Jan. 12 @ 1:30p.m. – Second Saturday Screenings: The Conspirator (PG-13)

Plain Dealing       326-4233  
Wed., Jan. 16 @ 4:00p.m. – Homework/Study Help, ages 13 and up

Tooke        987-3915
Tues., Jan. 15 @ 11:30a.m. – Tai Chi Exercise, ages 18 and up

Book Talk with Tom

Patient Zero:  a Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry has written many novels.  I discovered him through his young adult series about zombies; the Benny Imura books.  Many of us around the library enjoyed that series.  In case you're interested, the books are Rot & RuinDust & DecayFlesh & Bone, and Fire & Ash.  There is also a book of short stories that go along with the series called, Bits & Pieces.

All of the books in this series can be obtained through your friendly local library, as can the book I'm actually reviewing, Patient Zero.

According to many reviews I read on Patient Zero, this is his best book, but I don't agree with that.  This book is excellent, but I don't think the reviewers have read enough Maberry books.

I love a good zombie book, and this is one of the best I've ever read.

This is a Zombie/Anti-Terrorist/Sci-Fi novel.  The origin of the zombie outbreak is attributed to intentional bio-engineering.  The terrorists have cooked up a brain-wasting parasitic (sort of like Mad Cow disease but this is Mad Person disease isntead.  Not be confused with a brain-eating amoeba).  Once die, a lot of really important parts of the brain are destroyed along with most organs but, after you're dead, you come back (Zombie!).

Once back, you feel no pain, you become very violent, hungry, and you want to eat your neighbor's grandson or whoever the nearest living person is.  The smallest bite from an infected zombie passes the disease on until everyone is wanting to eat someone's grandson.  The only way to stop this is to isolate the infected and kill every zombie...there is no cure.

This is what the terrorists want, complete chaos, and terror.  They have a plan that will destroy everyone on the planet except for a select few (you'll have to read the book to see what this plan is).

Someone has to stop this madness from spreading worldwide.

Let me introduce you to Joe Ledger...

Joe was an Army ranger and a Baltimore police detective before he was picked to head the Alpha team of the secretive DMS, the Department of Military Sciences.  DMS takes the jobs Homeland Security is unable to handle---like bio-engineered zombies.  Joe knows how to fight and take a punch, he is a Jujitsu virtuoso, a superior marksman, a natural leader, and a warrior.

Joe was brought to the attention of "Mr. Church," the head of DMS, after watching a video of a warehouse raid full of terrorists that Joe headed up.  Mr. Church is a code name, no one knows what Mr. Church's real name is.

It was Joe's fighting style, and lack of hesitation or show of fear that gave Mr. Church the idea that he may be the right man to head the Alpha team.

This all makes Joe seem like a typical tough guy from any James Bond novel, but Jonathan Maberry has a way of building a character from the bottom up.  We learn why Joe is the way he is and what he has gone through in his life to make him that way.  Maberry has made Joe a very likable protagonist to root for.

Jonathan Maberry is known for fleshing out his characters, making them real to us, and believable as a good friend.  This novel is so fast paced, it is hard for most authors to construct the characters in as little time as is permitted in this page-turner.

So, if you like a good horror/zombie/anti-terrorist story, this is one of the best to go to.  There is even a little love story going on!


Book Talk with Tom

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

Kill Creek is the perfect novel for Halloween.

I would not recommend reading this novel on a Kindle or any other electronic device.  If you are reading in a dark room, you cannot see past the glowing screen, and as you read, you will know there are things out there in the dark...inside the room with you, just out of sight.

I enjoy a good haunted house novel (there are many taking up space on the bookshelves in my house), and Kill Creek is one of the better ones.

Here's what's going on:

Four best-selling authors who specialize in different sub-genres of horror are invited to spend halloween night in a well-known haunted house, out on Kill Creek.  The house is called the Finch House and sits at the end of a long and winding road somewhere in Kansas.  Of course, the house is in the middle of nowhere, and no one has occupied it since one of the Finch sisters was found hanging from the tree just off the front porch decades ago.

The House was built in 1859 by a man who single-handedly brought the wood and nails together to construct a beautiful home for his wife and himself.  Shortly after the house was finished, a large gang of men with torches and pitchforks showed up and killed the man and woman because his skin was light and her's was dark.  They hung her from the tree near the front porch.

There were those who tried to live in the house after the murder of its builder and his wife, but they never lasted very long; something sent them running out of the house and far away.  The last couple fled in 1961.  In 1975 the Finch Sisters, a pair of sixty-eight year-old twins, bought the house from the county.

Rachel and Rebecca Finch became the last owners of the house, and it became known as the Finch House from then on.  The Finch Sisters were known as "odd birds" to the people of Lawrence, Kansas, the town a few miles away from the house.

Rachel rarely left the property, and Rebecca, who uses a wheelchair to get around, never left her bedroom on the third floor.  Rebecca Finch died two years after the house was renovated; then, years later, at the age of ninety-one, Rachel was found hanging from the same branch as the wife of the house's builder.

By the time the writers are invited to spend Halloween night in the home, it has built up quite the reputation as one of the most haunted houses in the country.  The county had built a six-foot high fence topped with razor wire surrounding the property.  They discovered  that the third floor had been bricked off from the rest of the house at some point.  And yet, people constantly reported seeing lights pass from room to room, even in the window of the third floor bedroom.  Those who ventured near the house saw many things, that later they would convince themselves they never saw.

Our visiting writers will not be so lucky.


We have ordered this book for the library and you can place a hold; but if you can't wait that long will be happy to request it from InterLibrary Loan.

The Best Thing I Never Ate; episode 2

Fresh Figs
by Mandi Johnson, Associate Director of Community Engagement & Food Hobbyist

Inspired by Food Network’s, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, where celebrity chefs tell you their favorites from around the world, I decided to start a series I am calling The Best Thing I Never Ate (and yes, the grammatical inconsistency is killing me but “The Best Thing I’ve Never Eaten” just doesn’t have the same ring to it).  A couple of times a month I will select a food/ingredient I have never eaten before and will prepare it.  I’ll be blogging about these kitchen adventures here and will also be posting them to our Instagram.

I moved to a cozy little place back in October so this is my first summer here and I've learned a few things:  (1) my back patio doesn't get enough sun for my tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to grow; (2) extreme heat makes algea grow in the pool; (3) fresh figs are amazing--this one learned thanks to this lovely communal fig tree that is housed in our complex.

Until this point in my life my only experience with the humble fig was in the form of preserves or Newton.  That's it.  I'd never eaten a fresh fig.  One day I plucked one from the tree and popped it in my mouth and was instantly enamoured with the subtle velvety sweetness.  Inspired, I set out to discover all the different ways I could use fresh figs.  I did some research on our food database A to Z World Food (see how I learned from my mistake last time about doing advance research?).

Here's what I learned:  Figs are native to the Middle Eeast and Asia and are one of the oldest cultivated food with documentation of them dating back 10,000 years with their peak season in late summer.  Figs are an excellent source of vitamins and antioxcidents and can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried and they pair well with cheese, vinegar, meats, and their natural sweetness makes them a popular dessert fruit.

Armed with way more information than I ever knew I needed about figs, I decided on four different preparations for my kitchen adventure and invited a fellow-foodie over to join me.

I started with the obvious--the sweet deliciiousness that is a fig newton; named such after Newton, Massachusetts and began mass production  by the New York Biscuit Company--which you might know as Nabisco.  Didn't know you were going to get a history lesson today did ya?  We're a full-service institution over here at Bossier Parish Libraries; that's just how we do.  All the recipes I found used dried figs or fig preserves--which wasn't really what I was looking for.  So I set out to make my own--what can I say, I'm a kitchen renegade.  So without further ado:

Homemade Fig Newtons (or alternatively, Oatmeal Fig Bars if you so desire)

3-4 cups fresh figs, stems removed
1 small/medium lemon
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, melted (that's right...I said TWO STICKS OF BUTTER)
3 egg whites


Halve the figs in a bowl and squeeze the juice of lemon over them.  Stir to coat.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add melted butter and egg whites to dry ingredients.  Stir until combined.  This will take approximantely 89 years but hey, you'll have pretty impressive biceps and triceps in the least in your stirring arm.

Press half of the oat mixture into the baking dish until the entire bottom is covered.  It should be easy enough without sticking to your fingers but if you have trouble just use some wax paper or do like my granny taught me and just spray some cooking spray on your hands.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer figs to a food processor (leaving the lemon juice behind).  Process until smooth.  Pour fig puree over on top of the oat mixture in the baking dish.

Press the remaining half of the oat mixture over the fig filling.  I couldn't figure out how to do this without squishing the filling out so I just made small balls with the dough and pressed them flat into a "cookie round" and place that on top until the entire top was covered.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (I did 35 and it was perfect).

Voila...homemade fig newtons.  This makes enough for about a dozen or so depending on how big you cut them...which is a perfect amount because...

These were delicious and well-received here at the office.


I picked my first batch of figs when my 11-year-old niece was staying with me for a week.  She loves to cook and get creative in the kitchen and she had an idea for a little amuse-bouche (that means "mouth amuser" or a little treat to tingle the tastebuds--it's French).  The plus side was I already had everything in my pantry/fridge to make these so we figured, why not?

Amuse-Bouche Avec Figue

Crackers (we used Ritz)*
Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese triangle*
Walnut halves
Fig, halved
*I'm not being paid to endorse Ritz or Laughing Cow; although if their people called my people we could discuss their delicous buttery cracker and smooth velvety cheese

Build the cracker by spreading some cheese on the cracker (you can probably get 3-4 crackers per triangle).  Drizzle with honey.  Top with walnut and fig half.  The perfect balance of salty and sweet with the rich cheese and the crunch from the walnut.

There, now doesn't that look amusing for your mouth?

At this point I wanted to delve into the more savory applications for ye old fig.  Inspired by a couple of menu items I've seen around town, I decided to make a Fig & Pig pizza and a pan-seared pork chop with a red wine and fig reduction (reduction is really just sauce--depends on how fancy you're feeling).

Fig & Pig Pizza

Pizza dough, prepared according to instructions (or you could just be like me and buy the already done dough; I like the thin and crispy)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Prosciutto (which is just thinly sliced dry-cured Italian ham)
Canadian Bacon (for extra flavor--it's like a world tour in pizza form)
Figs, quartered
Asiago & Parmesean cheeses
Parsley (which, let's be honest, tastes like nothing but it sure is pretty)

Brush the prepared dough with olive oil.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Top with thin slices of prosciutto and canadian bacon.  Top with figs (however many you want).  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and more cheese.  Bake according to directions but it will probably be somewhere around 425 for 9 minutes.


As our Tour de Fig comes to a close I have one more recipe for you.

Red Wine & Fig Reduction

(pork chops for searing before you make the sauce)
1 Tablespoon oil or pan drippings
1/2 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup good quality red wine (Merlot works well)
1 cup beef stock
About a dozen fresh figs
1 Tablespoon butter

So the first thing you need to do is cook the pork.  I recommend seasoning with salt and pepper.  Sear on both sides in a hot cast iron skillet then transfer to 425 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes until meat thermometer reads the internal temperature anywhere from 145-160 degrees.

Taken from that's a legitimate website...I have mixed feelings about this.

Now that your pork chops are done, remove them from the skillet and place them on a baking pan and tent with foil so they won't get cold.  Place skillet over medium heat and add oil or use pan drippings.  Add the shallot and saute until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the wine.  Simmer until it is reduced by half, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the stock and thyme to the pan and continue to simmer until the mixture reduces by about two-thirds or until there are bubbles across the entire surface of the pan.

Place half the figs in a food processor and puree.  Add puree and remaining quartered figs to pan and stir well to combine.  Simmer about 30 seconds more.

You can either spoon the reduction sauce over the pork, OR because this is Louisiana and we like to smother our meats in the south, you can add the pork chops back to the skillet and let the sauce coat them.

I served my pork chops with roasted brussel sprouts and baked sweet potatoes.

Whelp that's all folks...hope you've enjoyed this little journey of the humble fig.  Pro-tip:  since figs have a short season, you can freeze them for use throughout the year.  Keep the stems on them, wash, allow to dry, and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet that you've lined with wax paper and freeze.   Once figs are frozen  transfer into a zip-loc freezer safe bag.  When you're ready to thaw, simply take as many as you need and let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes to an hour.  BAM!  We're so extra.

The Best Thing I Never Ate; episode 1

Rainbow Chard
by Mandi Johnson, Associate Director of Community Engagement and Food Hobbyist

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem and I’ll admit it—I’m a bit of a food-tv junkie.  I wouldn’t say I’m a foodie or even an amateur home cook but I am definitely a food-hobbyist.  Is that even a real thing?  I don’t know—let’s just go with it.  I enjoy spending my weekends in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes and culinary creations.  This, of course, has led me down the path of becoming a food-television junkie.  I especially love competition cooking shows and find myself actively participating in commentary much like one might expect from a sports fan during the big game.  Fortunately my dog is only slightly judgmental of my quirky habit. 

I'm not judging you but I'm totally judging you

As much as I enjoy this outlet for learning all about food and cooking (if you’re ever in need of a trivia partner who has a wealth of useless knowledge on this subject, I’m your girl) I’ve concluded that I need to significantly expand my culinary experience.  Inspired by Food Network’s, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, where celebrity chefs tell you their favorites from around the world, I decided to start a series I am calling The Best Thing I Never Ate (and yes, the grammatical inconsistency is killing me but “The Best Thing I’ve Never Eaten” just doesn’t have the same ring to it).  A couple of times a month I will select a food/ingredient I have never eaten before and will prepare it.  I’ll be blogging about these kitchen adventures here and will also be posting them to our Instagram.

Rainbow chard is something I have heard about often while consuming food television.  I had never cooked or eaten it before but it sure is pretty—a leafy green vegetable with colorful stems in vibrant oranges, pinks, and yellow hues.


I have heard that you can use chard the same way you would use spinach or kale--in that you can eat it raw in salads or cooked.

Pretty much sums up my opinion of kale

I utilized our free food database offered through Bossier Parish Libraries to do my research.  A to Z World Food offers thousands of international recipes, hundreds of fascinating culture and ingredient articles, and other essential culinary resources to bring international cuisines directly to you where you are.  Here’s what I learned:  chard is a leafy green vegetable in the beet family, and is at its peak season in the summer.  Chard originates from the Mediterranean and has a slightly salty, bitter, and earthy flavor.  See this is good information to have and I have to admit, dear readers, that I did not do my research in advance.  That’s just bad librarianing—and a lesson learned because I did, in fact, add salt to my chard as I do with any other greens but friends let me tell you—it was not delicious.

Next time I will do my research beforehand to avoid #KitchenFails such as this.  Be sure to check out A to Z World Food for all your cooking concoctions.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

What is it?

A reading program designed for infants through preschoolers to promote early literacy and kick start early education and set them up for success once they begin school.  This free program allows parents the opportunity to share books every day with their child.  Reading to or with your child daily helps them develop the pre-reading skills necessary for them to be successful readers in kindergarten.  The goal is to read 1000  books before beginning kindergarten.  The program is ongoing and will not end until your child reaches his/her goal or the child starts their first day of kindergarten.  Even if your child does not reach the desired goal, we hope they will learn the true reward in reading and spending time with you!

How does it work?

  • Keep track of what your child reads each day.
  • This can be done online, through a free mobile app, or on paper log sheets.
  • Books can be counted upt to three times per title.
  • Any time you visit the library, bring your reading log with you and let our librarians mark your child's progress.  
  • Once your child reaches each 100 books milestone  be sure and visit us so your child can receive a reward.
  • Once your child reaches 1000 books they will receive a reward and certificate!

What counts?

Any and all books read to your child count toward their reading goal.  Examples of items that count are:  fiction and non-fiction  books, audiobooks, e-books, children's periodicals, children's cookbooks, and children's comic books.  We know that children can often grow attached to their favorite books and will ask that they be read again.  That's okay.  You cancount a single title toward your goal up to three times.  It takes a child a while to really grasp concepts and story plots, so repetition is a good thing!

How do I get my child involved?

Simply fill out the registration card and return it in to the staff at any of our library locations and we'll handle the rest.  NOTE:  This program works best if you visit the same branch each time since that's where your registration card will stay.

1000 books might sound hard,  but it's not!

We know it sounds like an unreachable goal, but don't sweat it.  Just to put it into perspective for you:  if your child reads 3 books a day for 1 year, they will have read 1,095 books!  If your child read 1 book a day for 3 years, they will have read 1,095 books!  See...not so bad right?  Make reading part of your every day experiences with your child, and you will be done in no time.

Want to know more about the benefits of reading with your child or need help knowing what books might be appropriate for your child?  See our reading tips for parents guide.

Evaluating News Sources

Need help determining facts from alternative facts (aka: fiction)?  Let us help.

Be aware of “fake news.”  What is fake news?  It isn’t news you disagree with—it is content generated by non-news organizations in order to generate an audience for paid advertisements or to spread unverified/untrue information.

Take a look at these examples of fake news sites compiled by CBS.

Also take a look at this Spotting Fake News video from

What can you do?
Be skeptical of any news that comes from third-party platforms (such as social media).

Select news sources known for high-quality reporting—search those sources directly instead of settling for web search results or social media news feeds.

Use fact checking sites, such as:

And don’t forget, you can always ask your librarians for help sorting through fact or fiction…after all this is what we’re trained for!

Reading Tips for Parents

  • Show your child how you read every day for fun and work.

  • Point out to your children the printed words in your home.

  • Encourage your child to read independently in his or her own way.

  • Talk to your child as if he or she is already a reader.

  • Make reading fun using different voices for different characters.

  • Talk about the book you are reading with your child.

  • Ask questions.

  • Choose a quiet spot for you and your child to read.

  • Read aloud at least 15 minutes each day to your child.

  • Have a routine time to read, not just at bedtime.

  • Visit the library and bookstore with your child often.

  • Get a library card for yourself and your child.

  • Keep books and other reading materials where your child can reach them.

  • Take books along whenever you leave home.

  • Use books on CD (audiobooks) at home and in the car.

  • Follow along with the audiobooks with a printed copy of the book.

  • Let your child select books he or she likes.

  • Let your child read to you or tell the story by looking at the pictures in the book.

  • If you have a pet, let your child practice by reading to the pet.

Did you know???

  • Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write.

  • Parents are children’s first teachers and an early literacy storytime at a public library is a time for parents AND children to have FUN.

  • Public libraries provide the opportunity for children to interact with books.  Many public libraries provide baby, toddler, and pre-school storytimes.

  • Contact your neighborhood library to find out about their storytime schedules.

Age Appropriate Reading Guide



Newborn – Listens and reacts to your voice and other sounds.  Responds by cooing, gurgling, smiling, and crying.

8 months – Plays with sounds and babbles.  Can play peek-a-boo.  Waves arms and kicks feet to show excitement.

12 months – Understands simple words, reacts to hand movements, faces, and turns pages of sturdy books.


  • Hold the child in your lap and open the book to the beginning.  Let the baby hold onto the book, and play with it while you read.
  • Point out colors, shapes, animals, and people.  Make sounds like animals in the book.
  • Sing nursery rhymes and songs.
  • Choose colorful books.
  • Keep the sessions short.



Can put two or more words together to make short sentences.  Asks simple questions.  Can copy adult sounds, words, and motions.  Listens well to stories and can name objects.


  • Maintain a regular story time for the entire family.
  • Continue short reading sessions, gradually making them longer.
  • Pick nursery tales, songs, and stories with simple sentences.
  • Use puppets or stuffed animals to tell the story.
  • Let the child pick the book.
  • Use funny voices to read as different characters.
  • Visit the library often and take your child to children’s activities there.



May begin to recognize the alphabet letters.  Recognizes matching sounds and some printed letters and numbers.  Understands basic words like beside, above, under, near, and far.  Listens and follows directions.  Likes being read to and knows about books.


  • Have regular reading time every day.
  • Visit the library often and take your child to children’s activities there.
  • Choose picture books with lots of vocabulary and detailed illustrations.
  • Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes.
  • Talk about how things work.
  • Let your child help with chores that include sorting, measuring, and  counting (like cooking and laundry).
  • Encourage your child when he or she tries to read.
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