Madeira Library offers fun and literacy

By Regina Villiers. Originally published November 26, 2003 in The Suburban Life, added November 16, 2020.

Debbie Hull, children’s librarian, plans and schedules programs for children all year long. One of the most special is “Tales to Tails.”

     A recent University of Wisconsin study of adult literacy ranked Cincinnati No. 10 out of the country’s 64 largest cities.  This region’s libraries and ratio of booksellers propelled us into the Top 10.

     Deborah Hull, the children’s librarian at Madeira Library, is doing her part toward this statistic, and she starts with the younger generation.  Libraries aren’t just for us older readers.  Even babies get a boost toward literacy in Madeira.

     If you’re a parent of young children and haven’t checked out what Madeira Library offers, it’s time you did.  Most any day of the week, you can find something there for your child.  

     There is Library Babies reading group for the creepers and crawlers, 6-18 months old, the “lap sitters,” and the “movers and shakers.”  Debbie Hull believes you can’t start reading to children too early.

     The next group up is the Toddler Storytime for the 18 month to 3-year-old child.

Pre-school Storytime covers the child 3-5 years old.

     These programs are usually all in the mornings, a convenient time for a parent to take a child.  But there are also Family Storytimes in the evening, usually at 7 p.m. before a child’s bedtime.

     All these programs further the child’s experience to books and stories and the joy of being read to.

     During the summer, the children’s library programs expand and programs are added to include older children who are in school the rest of the year.  Debbie works months ahead at scheduling these events.

     For example, this past August Estella Yungblut, a former Madeira librarian, gave a program “Wildlife in Your Garden.” She told them how to build a toad abode, to give protection to toads.  Toads keep down the insect population in yards, but they are now rare because of the spraying of insecticides.  She told them about the birds and butterflies that come to her yard and which plants are important for wildlife in a yard.  Water is important too she told them, and told how she saw a screech owl that came to her pond every night during a drought.

     A most interesting program also occurred in August when “Dan and Linda” from Raptor Inc. brought live raptors.  This attracted a large crowd of young people and a few adults who learned all about raptors.  One of the things they learned that day was that raptors keep the rodent population in check.

     Dan and Linda brought a Barred owl and demonstrated to the children that he could turn his head 280 degrees, because he has double the number of bones in his neck than the neck of a human.  His neck has 14 bones while a human has only seven neck bones.  His eyes are fixed in their sockets, and he has to turn his head to see.  He can’t look out of the corner of his eye.

     They also brought a Red Tailed hawk, so common in this area that they can sometimes be seen on islands along the expressway.  They described the huge nest of a Red-Tailed hawk.

Other special programs are scheduled at Madeira Library throughout the year.  One of the most special is “Tales to Tails.”  Children, 5 years and up, read aloud to certified therapy dogs.  The doges are trained to listen carefully and to respond.  The doges are furnished by International Therapy Dogs.

     Other special programs are presented by people from STAF No-Kill Animal Shelter who brings animals to show to the children.

     Hull started as librarian in 1985 and has been at Madeira Library for 11 years.  There are also many programs for adults and teenagers.  Hull works in tandem with branch librarian Kathy Kennedy-Bruner on these.  A travel series of programs is scheduled for next spring-Turkey in February, Ireland in March and Nepal in April.  Keep these in mind.

     Coming up in Dec. 2 at 7p.m., you might enjoy making a Victorian ornament with your child at a parent-child session.

     Monthly schedules are always available at the library for the taking, and you can ask at the desk anytime.  So check it out.  You can do your bit for literacy while having fun with your children.  And if you have no children, there’s always something for you at your library.  The latchstring is always out.