BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL
With black lab Charlie at her side, Laura Gardoski opened the book, “If You Give a Mouse a Brownie.”
The head of youth services for the Abington Community Library sat on her floor at home and began to read in front of her phone. Children watched story time on Facebook live instead of sitting at Gardoski’s feet.
As the library joined others in closing until at least March 29 because of the coronavirus, staff members grabbed stacks of books to take home and now read stories and host book discussions daily on social media.
“It gives everyone something to look forward to,” Gardoski said. “It’s nice for them to get that feeling of normalcy.”
Nancy Burke, who hosts story time for babies and toddlers, read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and then sang “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” on Tuesday morning.
The book was familiar, and so was the song. For that 16 minutes on Facebook, Burke provided a reassuring voice amid an anxious world.
“There’s not a lot that we can do, other than stay away from other people,” said Burke, the assistant director of youth services. “The little bit that we can do as library employees, we’re going to try to do.”
Books discussed by staff members are available for digital download, and Gardoski plans to read a portion of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” each night. More than 1,000 people have watched the online videos.
After reading, “If You Give a Mouse a Brownie” this week, Gardoski grabbed her ukulele and began to sing — the way she ends most story times.
“See you later, alligator … in a while, crocodile.”
To view the live story times or participate in book discussions, visit Facebook.com and search for Abington Community Library.
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