On December 14, that ill-tempered Grinch who stole Christmas, the magical train that whisks children off to the North Pole, and of course the sacred dramas of Chanukah and of Christ's birth in Bethlehem came to life once more for some forty children in the Heritage Room of the Weinberg Memorial Library. As faculty readers said the familiar words, the wide-eyed, totally absorbed expressions on the youngsters' faces demonstrated anew how important stories are to developing imaginations, and how much fun reading aloud is for everyone.
The two hour program was festive from the start; as soon as the children arrived, and after parents or grandparents had helped them off with their coats (the better to show off their colorful holiday clothes), they worked together to decorate a Christmas tree, using ornaments hand-made by the students at the Campus School. Then they settled down in the appropriate circle (there was one for the younger children and another for a slightly older group) to listen to the stories.
The readers, George and Trish Bellah, David Black, Michael Friedman, John McInerney, and Susan Trussler, made listening an active experience. They didn't just recite the words; they animated them with their facial expressions and lively intonations. They even took the time to show everyone the illustrations.
Library Director Charles Kratz and the librarians knew that steady concentration can make a body hungry, or thirsty, or both. They took care, therefore, to have a supply of cookies and punch ready whenever young listeners needed a little refreshment.
The first holiday story hour sponsored by the Friends of the Weinberg Library certainly seemed to please the children and the adults from the University community who attended. It even attracted television news coverage from WNEP-TV and WYOU-TV And a program which can fairly be called a generation-spanning success merits congratulations and thanks to all those who made it happen.
Story Magic at Library
Vice-Chair of Friends of the Library