Students, families and staff at Educare Chicago recently celebrated the Howard and Sylvia Baskind Library’s first birthday.
During the open house celebration, books were read aloud. Children each received a free book for their home library.
There was singing. There was laughing. And the host, Jill Thompson, the school’s library consultant, was all decked out for the special occasion.
Last year, children’s book author Natasha Tarpley attended the library’s dedication for a reading, as well as an autograph session. This time around, she had some new gifts delivered: several signed books including The Princess and the Frog: Princess Tiana and the Royal Ball.
True to form, Thompson dressed the part that afternoon, wearing a formal gown, a tiara, and even silver slippers.
With the help of a generous donation by Linda and Michael Simon, the library, named after Linda’s parents, opened last year.
At last year’s dedication, Linda Simon said it was her hope that the library would inspire not only children to read, but their parents to do so, as well.
And as Thompson sees it, the library has been doing that. The support of donors and a recent partnership with Open Books has grown the library to such a point that putting an exact number on the books is a bit tough to do, Thompson said. Parents have been helping her in cataloging them as they come in.
Thompson said the library has been the perfect addition to the school’s family center.
The fall story time, the parent events, library celebrations and class library sessions have fit well into the school, Thompson said, helping both children and families enjoy books and reading.
While each classroom is filled with books, the library offers a central space to share in on the possibilities they can bring.
“It’s like the icing on the cake,” Thompson said.
Thompson said that looking ahead, she wants the library to have more make-and-take family events, more story times and more professional storyteller events – creating new opportunities to attract families and let them know how much fun reading can be.