APL’s Story Time returns after two-month remodeling project

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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After nearly two months, the Andalusia Public Library welcomed back children for its weekly Story Time on Friday, April 14, after the children’s department underwent a complete remodel.

Ray demonstrates a rainbow activity at a Story Time event held Friday, April 14. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

The refreshed look is complete with new carpet, new lights, new furniture arrangement, and new décor in the children’s area. Last Friday’s theme was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and rainbows.

“We had to close in February to do some remodeling. Our children’s department is now bright, beautiful, fun, and exciting. The only thing we were missing were our little people, but we are so excited to have a full crowd today,” Children’s Librarian Caryl Lee Ray said.

Ray performed a puppet show last Friday, while librarian Threasa Martin read the famous children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. Children also made caterpillars and butterflies and learned their colors.

Local children participate in a Story Time activity involving caterpillars, butterflies, and colors in the new seating arrangement and tables at the Andalusia Public Library. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of the most basic children’s books out there. It goes through all the different colors and the process of going from being very small to very big. It shows adversity and how you can be in a hard spot, but then you emerge into a butterfly, and things can become happy and beautiful. This is a hands-on activity for the children where they will start out with little caterpillars and then see a huge one come out at the end.”

The décor in the children’s department was updated with a woodland theme. Ray and other members of the library staff painted the mural on the back wall.

“After all the environmental issues we have had, we now have a clean slate. Our floors were treated, and the lights do not buzz anymore. The city rebuilt the stairs going to the tree house, and it’s safer for children to go up and down. The puppet stage itself has been brought forward and is more convenient for us. The entrance to our puppet room is adorned with woodland creatures, leaves, and trees around the dedication sign. I thank Mr. (John) Vick for everything he has done to give us that room,” she said.

Ray was excited about the opportunity to bring back Story Time after a two-month wait.

“I love working with the children, seeing their minds explore, and having them visit us every Friday. I grew up in this library and not only do I get to work here, but I get to present stories and activities that will encourage them to read. This starts a cycle where they read after each Story Time and come back the following week to learn even more.”

Story Time is held every Friday at 10:30 a.m. in the library with a different theme each week.

“Now that I have a remodel, there is a lot more room for our children. It’s also a chance for mothers to meet other mothers in the community and a chance to form that connection. We also have homeschooled children who come in. It’s a chance for parents to make connections with their babies and children and for our community to make a connection.”

Ray said the biggest activity parents can do at home with their children is to read.

“The more they read, the better it gets. There is a saying that it takes about 1,000 hours of lap time to overcome app time. When you put a child in your lap and read to him or her, he or she associates caring with reading. They associate love and get a warm, cozy feeling. It’s something you do together and starts a positive relationship that can continue for however long they want.”

Dist. 4 commissioner Tommy McGaha added the new LED lights. Greathouse Floors provided the new carpeting. City of Andalusia officials made some cosmetic changes.

“We welcome all children even little babies each week. It’s a chance for them to learn and for parents to connect. Story Time is for everyone from little people to big people. We will continue to follow the same schedule as we have in the past before our children’s department was remodeled,” Ray said.

The Andalusia Public Library is located at 212 South Three Notch Street and is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information e-mail library@cityofandalusia.com or call 334-222-6612.