From Washington to Indiana, Goshen Librarian Brings Books to Life

Margaret Kownover – The Good of Goshen

 

 

 

Margaret Kownover doesn’t just encourage Goshen’s children to read, she gets them to engage fully with books.

Margaret moved to Goshen seven years ago from Washington state to become the children’s librarian at Goshen Public Library.

“I really sort of wanted to bring childhood here,” she said. “So very often, children are pulled in so many different directions – they need to grow up so fast these days – and I wanted that childhood to continue, be nourished.

“The way I like to do that is through books and through programming. You can have all the books in the world, but if you don’t have the programs to bring them in, they might as well just be sitting on the shelf.”

 

 

… you can have all the books in the world, but if you don’t have the programs to bring [kids] in, they might as well just be sitting on the shelf …

Those programs include Mother Goose Monday, where parents and their infant children enjoy storytime together, and the children’s summer reading programs, where kids read as many books or pages as they can, earning prizes along the way and attending workshops that relate to the reading programs’ theme.

This summer, more than 1,100 Goshen kids participated in the children’s summer reading program. The theme “3… 2… 1… Experiment!” included several sessions for kids to do some hands-on science experimenting and events featuring magicians using science to fascinate crowds of local children.

 

 

“ … we have so much community support …”

The Goshen Public Library also goes above and beyond in an effort to change the perceptions some children may have about libraries and reading with public events.

The library regularly puts on special events throughout the year  including a night featuring dozens of science experiments in celebration of Albert Einstein’s birthday, and an after-hours event called  “What Happens in the Library When the Lights Go Out?” where more than 60 volunteers bring books to life throughout the library.

Between 500 and 1,000 people travel through the Goshen Public Library within two hours for this fan favorite event, stopping by stations to see scenes, skits or shadow plays that incorporate the night’s  theme.  In the past, the event  highlighted Alice in Wonderland with volunteers acting out the tea party at one of the many stations. Another year, a local dance company performed as Degas’ ballerinas, a few volunteers posed as Van Gogh’s sunflowers and others re-enacted 20 other famous pieces of artwork as a part of the theme “Living Art.”

Along with all the volunteers those events attract, local restaurant and shop owners and the Friends of the Library organization also donate many of the prizes for the children’s summer reading program.

“We have so much community support,” she said. “That’s one of the best things I love about Goshen and my job is that the families here are fantastic.”

“You can have all the books in the world, but if you don’t have the programs to bring [kids] in, they might as well just be sitting on the shelf.”

“We have so much community support.”

“That’s one of the best things I love about Goshen and my job is that the families here are fantastic.”

“So very often, children are pulled in so many different directions – they need to grow up so fast these days – and I wanted that childhood to continue, be nourished.”

 

 

Good of Goshen Photography • Lynne Zehr
Good of Goshen Editor • Marlys Weaver-Stoesz

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