SALEM — The Salem Community Library is becoming a hub of home-school activity thanks to new daytime programming geared toward the needs of nontraditional students.
Jared Hedges, youth services librarian, said he noticed a number of home-school families were making regular trips to the library. He decided to survey them last May in conjunction with Home Schooling Awareness Month to see if there was anything the library could do to better serve their needs.
“I wanted to know what programs we could offer or materials we could buy that would be helpful for them,” Hedges said.
Hedges said he got about 40 responses. Based on the results of the survey, the library has begun to offer programming during traditional school hours.
“One of the most helpful things we learned from the survey was there is a desire for early afternoon programming,” Hedges said. “We found there was a desire for STEAM-oriented (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) classes.”
Many of the participants are in the 5-12 age range, he said. But, there are teens participating as well.
“It is fun for us to have kids coming in during the weekday,” he said.
Purchasing materials for families to check out has been a slower process than offering in-library programming, mainly because families would need to keep them longer than other items.
Families interact through library
Christine Joung, of Trevor, said she had been coming to the library on a regular basis with her five children, ages 2, 4, 7, 9 and 11.
She said the home-school-based programming provides a way for them to connect with other families, with the library serving as a nucleus.
Other benefits of the new programming include having experiences presented by someone other than a parent, she said.
“Having other teachers speak into their learning is important,” Joung said.
Also, Joung said it is nice to be able to give more individual attention to the 2- and 4-year-olds when the older children are participating in a class.
Upcoming home-school programs include:
Books Aloud! Homeschool Program: ages 5-12; Mondays, Jan. 14, 21, 28 and Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; 2 to 2:45 p.m.; Salem Branch. A classic novel is read aloud in weekly installments (first session has already been held).
Teen Poetry Class for Homeschoolers: ages 12-18; Thursday, Jan. 17; 2 to 3:30 p.m.; Salem Branch.
Sew a Journal Cover: ages: 12-18; a four-week class, on Mondays, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; 2 to 2:45 p.m.; Salem Branch. Materials: A sewing machine is required. A limited number is available. Contact Danijela at 262-843-3348 if you need a machine
Painted Bookends: Homeschool Program: ages 5-8; Wednesday, Feb. 6; 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.; Salem Branch. Paint and decorate bookends for the children’s section of the library using acrylic paints.
Hedges said all of the programs are free.
Registration helps staff make sure they have enough supplies and can be done in person at any branch, by phone at 262-843-3348 or online at http://communitylib.evanced.info/signup/calendar.