Friday, November 2, 2012


The Austin Branch Library, 5615 West Race Avenue, held an Open House October 10 to officially dedicate its new Children’s Section. The festive event for parents, area school teachers, and especially kids, featured story time with Children’s Librarian Shelley Hughes reading books and directing children in a variety of activities related to the stories being read.

Hughes has been on staff at the Austin Library since March, after five years at the Roosevelt Branch on Taylor Street. She directed the reorganization of the entire Children’s Section, including moving all children’s books into the main Children’s Reading Room and lowering bookshelves to more convenient heights for young readers. All out-of-date reference works and books in poor condition were removed and replaced.

The purpose of the Open House was to show off the new facilities and make parents and teachers aware of the library’s services and programs for young people. Ms Hughes set up activity stations at the Open House, including Worm Races (a tracing game for young children), bookmaking, Fall Word Search, If You’re a Monster and You Know It (making foam rubber monsters), story time, and refreshments.

Among the library’s staff for young people is Mr. Williams, a former Chicago Public Schools teacher who is a specialist in math and science. He is the Certified Teacher in the Library, providing homework help and assistance with science projects. He is available at the library Monday through Thursday, 3:00 PM to closing.

In addition, the library offers the No Commitment Book Club for young people ages 9-14. They meet once a month and kids can participate whether they have read the featured book or not. For meeting times and the book being discussed, see Ms Hughes.
There is a Book Nook with comfortable chairs away from the bustle of the Children’s Reading Room for people to study and read without distractions. An After School Art Project is offered in the activity room for children 7-14 years old. The library has computers dedicated specifically for children’s use.

Pre-School Story Time is offered free for children ages 3 to 5 and their adult caregivers on Thursday mornings in November and December at 10:30 AM. Register in person at the library or call 312/746-5038. Mother Goose on the Loose is provided free for infants and toddlers on Saturday, November 3 and December 1 & 15, at 10:30 AM for children to age 5 with adult caregivers. It uses music, movement, and nursery rhymes to introduce pre-literacy skills to young non-readers. Register in person or by phone at 312/746-5038. JoAnne Grant is the Branch Manager of the Austin Library.

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