COVINGTON - The Newton County Library children's department is busy keeping up with the changing needs of county residents.
Starting this month, the library has five weekly story times scheduled and several other special events for young children and their parents.
"We have so many people here who use the library," said Carol Durusau, children services manager. "People keep asking for (programs) all the time, and we are trying very hard to balance the staff and meet the demands."
Home School Story Time was the most recent addition to the weekly story time programs.
"It's something we just started this past fall," Durusau said. "We have a very large home school group, and people have asked for something to do during the day for them. We had activities for preschoolers but not for the older kids."
Home School Story Time, which is held at 11 a.m. Wednesdays, serves students in preschool up to about third grade.
Home-schooled children hear stories and visit with a puppet, King Kenny.
"We usually do different stories related to a theme," Durusau said. "We'll have a short video of a book or a story and do little interactive activities. It's been very popular."
Also on Wednesdays is Kid Tales, which is held at 4 p.m.
"This is for kids who are in school or nursery school; it's a beginning story time," Durusau said.
Children ages 3 to 5 years old participate in stories and songs in groups to get them more familiar with behaving in a school or audience setting.
"It's not as focused on individual activities as some of the other (library programs)," Durusau said.
On Friday afternoons, students who are in kindergarten through about fourth grade are invited to After School Story Time, starting at 4 p.m.
"Each week has a different theme," Durusau said. "And following the stories, we do a craft."
On Friday, guests made a football craft for the Super Bowl. This quarter, themes include Valentine's Day and spring.
Babies and their parents also get story time at the library.
At 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Fridays, infants 6 to 18 months and a parent can attend Baby Talk, a 30-minute session of activities and stories to help with early literacy skills. Similarly, Toddle Tales is held at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays for parents of children 18 months to 2 years old.
"The parent and child come in together and sit on the floor. Basically we sing songs to start with and then do an activity," Durusau said. "One thing we emphasize is to talk to babies, no matter how young they are - the more words a child hears before they start to school, the better they will do."
She said the baby talk programs are so popular that the library has to have two sessions now.
All of these children's events will go though April 4, when a new schedule will be created.
"Some of these we continue to do in the summer," Durusau said. "Some we switch over and do a lot of things for the older children or have professional storytellers and magicians come in the library."
Michelle Floyd can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: If you go
Newton County Library Children's Story Times
· What: Toddle Tales
· Who: 18-month to 2-year-olds and parent
· When: 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays
· What: Home School Story Time
· Who: Home-schooled children in preschool through third grade
· When: 11 a.m. Wednesdays
· What: Kid Tales
· Who: 3 to 5-year-olds who haven't started kindergarten
· When: 4 p.m. Wednesdays
· What: Baby Talk
· Who: 6 to 18-month-olds and parent
· When: 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Fridays
· What: After School Story Time
· Who: Kindergarten through fourth-grade students
· When: 4 p.m. Fridays
*All of these events will be held in the children's story room at the Newton County Library through April 4, when a new schedule of events will be created.