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Harper Woods

Library offers fun activities for children of all ages

January 30, 2014

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Harper Woods librarian Cindy Coote shows Alana Roman, 6, of Harper Woods, a book about dinosaurs during the After School Explorers program at the Harper Woods Library last week.

HARPER WOODS — Stories of far-off lands, taking a trip back to the time of dinosaurs and just letting the imagination run wild are some of the possibilities children can explore through a visit to the Harper Woods Library.

From family story times to craft programs, the library offers fun and educational programs for children and families.

“We want to have something for all age groups,” Youth Services Librarian Bethany Bruns said.

Besides programs for children, the library also makes sure to host a monthly family activity so the entire family can enjoy a program together, Bruns said.

When choosing programs for the library, the staff uses a variety of resources.

“We get ideas from other libraries,” Bruns said, adding that they also are contacted by or reach out to organizations for programming. “There are a lot of educational groups that have outreach activities.

“We kind of have a mix of entertainment and education,” she said.

One of the upcoming family programs at the library is a University of Michigan Natural History Museum reading and science program, “Predators and Prey.”

It’s a program aimed at children 6-11 years old and their parents.

The program will consist of three different dates, Feb. 11, March 11 and April 7, all starting at 6:30 p.m. and all on different topics. The first night will focus on “Dining on Dinos: Long Necks, Sharp Teeth, Club Tails, Killer Claws.” Then, participants can take part in “Meals with Megafauna: Sabertooth Cats, Dire Wolves, Mastodons and Man.” The final night, April 7, will be about “Present Day Predators and Prey: Maintaining the Balance.”

Families can attend any of the dates, but the library asks that families register in advance for the program.

Another popular program coming up soon is the Prime Time Family Reading program.

This program is in its third year in which families with children ages 6-12 can participate together reading books, taking part in discussions and more.

They are planning to include a new set of books with the Prime Time program this year so families who participated in the past can take part again.

For children in kindergarten to second grade, the library hosts an After School Explorers program that meets every other Tuesday.

Youth Services Librarian Cindy Coote “picks a different topic each time,” Bruns said. “They have a snack. They do a little crafty project. They look at some books.”

St. Clair Shores resident Louie Corbo, a 5-year-old library patron, came to the program last week with his aunt, Harper Woods resident Patty Lapansie. Corbo loves the library and its programs.

“He loves to read,” Lapansie said. “He started reading at 3, and he hasn’t stopped.”

Corbo’s love of the library started as a toddler when he attended a program. Then, some time later as he was with his family driving by the library, he remembered that he had been there.

During last week’s After School Explorers program, Corbo walked up to Lapansie with his hands behind his back holding a dinosaur he had just colored, and he proudly pulled it out to show his aunt.

His love of reading continues to grow.

Corbo said he loves to read because he learns new words and he enjoys different popular book series. He reads some children’s books that are labeled for a few grades higher, due to his advanced reading level.

“The library really has encouraged him,” Lapansie said. “The librarians have always been very helpful.

“The social part of this has just been phenomenal for him,” she said. “He’s opened up so much more.”

Corbo has gotten to know other children through the programs.

“He’s made friends,” Lapansie said.

“I’ve seen other families get to be friends and invite each other to birthday parties,” Bruns added.

For children in third through sixth grades, the new Young Librarians’ Club meets twice a month on Tuesdays.

“They do scavenger hunts and things to learn about how to use x\the library,” Bruns said.

Coote, who runs the Young Librarians’ Club, said it teaches kids about how the library works, but it also “helps them to feel more a part of the library.”

The library is hosting a Children’s Book Swap from 1-4 p.m. April 12 in which families, starting April 7, can bring in children’s books that are in good condition and pick up different books on the day of the event.

Other programs going on include Tot Time, Family Storytimes and Crafty Afternoons. The library also is planning to bring in the Tutor Doctor organization in March to help give families tips on helping their children with reading.

To find out more information about programs that the library offers or to register for programs and activities, visit the library at or call (313) 343-2575.

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