Library partners with city to host

outdoor Storytime in parks 

Children’s summer reading can be encouraged by visiting the neighborhood library or in Farmington families will be heading out to the park with a blanket ready to listen and play.

Aimee Schrieber, 32, is the new children’s librarian at Farmington Library and she is filled with enthusiasm for all the summer reading programs. She began in her position Jan. 3 with the Dakota County Library system after working for seven years at the Sparta Free Library in Wisconsin.

She shares how she is excited to join the library team, and will work hard to fill the shoes of longtime children’s librarian Cathy Maguire, who retired after 40 years and was a “rock star,” she said, to generations of children and families.

Schreiber understands how the public library can be influential and serve as an igniter in developing a child’s love for reading and a passion for books. She grew up in Winona and she spent hours at her local public library.

“I spent summers there in the nice cool stacks doing the summer reading challenges and that was really fun, and I have great memories of libraries from a very, very young age,” she said. Her mother, who worked as a preschool teacher, served as a big influencer in her journey toward loving reading.

This summer children’s story time will return after a two-year pause.

Farmington Library will partner with Farmington City Parks and Recreation and offer families six sessions of Storytime hosted in six different parks across the city.

“This will be a way to celebrate the extra green space,” Schreiber said.

Pairing books with play has become popular and is trending at libraries today across the nation.

“There is a really strong movement with play and, at least for me, we can find a way to be outside and bring literacy outside,” she said.

The first summer story time session is slated for 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, June 9, at Prairie Pines Park in Farmington. Families are encouraged to bring blankets and towels to lay on the grass while listening to the books being read aloud.

“We tried to pick parks that were a little less well known so families could get to know more parks, - the parks and recreation team have been amazing to work with.”

The summer Story Time in the Parks will offer a half hour of stories, fingerplays and rhymes along with other literacy activities, and a half hour of games led by city parks and recreation staff.

“I am a big fan of dancing during Storytime to incorporate large movement,” she said, smiling.

Another summer library event in the works will be Mighty Machines slated for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, in the library parking lot where children can discover all the bells and whistles on big rigs and mighty machines parked in the library parking lot.

Families are invited to the Move and Groove Dance Party on July 7, at Lake Julia Park in Farmington.

“We will have a whole hour of dancing with shaker eggs and parachutes, I love summer and the summer programming, it is a great time,” she said.

A new summer literacy program for children will be Story Trails and will be premiered in Farmington in June, July, and August and will be hosted at Prairieview Park, Rambling River Park and Vermillion Park.

“Story Trails are large picture book blown up pages that are like oversized signs where you can walk, stroll, roll or bring strollers with the baby,” she said.

All the Story Trails storyboards are shared within the Dakota County Library system.

One called “Say Hello” teaches children how to say hello in different languages.

To check out the summer children’s reading lineup, go online at dakotacountylibrary.libcal.com.

All the library branch locations in Dakota County still have curbside pickup that was so popular during the pandemic. This year all the branches implemented a no late library book return fines for children or teen items to entice reading and encourage families to return to their neighborhood library.

“We are expanding that access and bringing families back to us,” she said.

Another summer children’s program will be Musical Mornings that will be monthly bands or performers coming to entertain children. Three children’s acts that will perform at Farmington Library will be The Bazillions, a kid-friendly rock-n-roll band, a group called TaikoArts Midwest will have fun with Japanese drumming, and a duo named Rosie Posies, a sing along, move along music group that play whimsical ukuleles.

Parents can check out the monthly Lego Club at the library where the library supplies the Lego bricks for all kinds of discovery.

“Each month we have a building challenge where we can build bridges and we have a bucket challenge,” she said. Lego dinosaur projects and creations are now on display at Farmington Library in the children’s section.

Children ages 4 to 8 years are invited to sell their arts and crafts at the Kids Craft Fair slated to take place on tables outside the library on Saturday, June 18.

Farmington will host a popular children’s broadcast on Minnesota TPT public television called “Hero Elementary” on Saturday, July 9, at Rambling River Park.

“We will have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activity stations and snacks and costumed characters,” she said.

When asked how parents can inspire their young children to read more this summer, Schrieber said she discourages assigning summer reading times.

“I am a big fan of choice where kids can choose books they like and they learn to read for joy and they can learn to say I want to read this,” she said. Even if that means they read only graphic novels because they can learn to read for pleasure and not just to read and be prepared to tackle a quiz.

“They can try out different books and learn what is the right book and the right time to read that book.”

She explained how the love of reading for children may come during the quiet act of reading in reading the 35th book or the 100th book.

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