Aug. 13—PLAISTOW — The Plaistow Public Library runs several popular children's programs over the course of the week which local families enjoy together.
Jim O'Malley and his granddaughter are just a few who routinely head to the library for these activities, especially story time.
O'Malley discovered the library's children section last year, waiting to visit his granddaughter, Cailyn. Story time was underway and from that moment, knew he wanted to bring his granddaughter to it.
"I walked in to this beautiful space," O'Malley said. "It was nice and cool. These kids were all having fun with their moms, dads and grandparents. I've brought her there ever since."
At the library, his 2-year-old granddaughter gets to play with different toys and interacts with kids of all age who befriend her.
He also credits the youth librarian, Jennifer Dawley, with providing a fun atmosphere for children.
"Everything is fresh," O'Malley said. "It's decorated for seasons or the reading theme. It's a lively place. You don't expect that in a library."
Dawley has worked at the library for eight years. She uses her background in early childhood education to curate enriching and fun programs that keep families coming back.
Dawley has seen families bond over the years with grandparents like O'Malley bringing their loved ones. Families also formed friendships from continually attending all the activities.
"Families met during story time when they were really young and continue to have wonderful friendships right through school," Dawley said. "I look at the library as a hub in the community."
The library's programming includes story time, arts and crafts, special events and take-home projects.
Story time is specifically geared towards different developmental levels. These story hours allow kids to enjoy themselves listening to stories, dancing and making crafts. Dawley added it's also been a spot for moms to socialize.
The library also offers popular arts and crafts sessions along with activities revolving around science, clay, Play-Doh and Lego building to name a few. Children can also hone reading skills or practice cursive writing.
"I try to make sure I have something for everybody, for all interests," Dawley said.
This summer, the library stuck with an ocean theme and provided unique opportunities with sea-life interaction and bringing the 40-foot "WhaleMobile" for kids to explore inside.
As summer winds down, they will host an end-of-summer foam party on Aug. 26.
The library has several programs planned for the fall and throughout the year with a few favorites returning. Messy Mondays is set to return and Wiggly Walkers will be added back to story time.
Teen to-go crafts and family-fun boxes are available for those who prefer activities at home. Their subscription-like boxes — Family FlixBox and LitBoxLoot — come with surprise movies or books, snacks and swag based on age and requested genres. These boxes — just return the movies, books and boxes — require a registration.
Story time is the only program that does not require a pre-registration through the library's website.
Dawley hopes children will continue to find joy in what they offer.
"It's important for children to have opportunities to interact with other kids face-to-face," Dawley said. "We have a lot of fun. The different opportunities give kids a chance to find what they like or their passions."