Lots of youth activities continuing at area libraries

In-person programming is still going on at local libraries, with both ongoing programs and changing offerings for school-aged youth.

Annie Welsh, the youth services coordinator for the Oil Region Library Association (ORLA), spent her Monday morning bouncing babies in the Oil City Library’s children’s section.

Welsh said the Bouncing Babies program is a fairly steady and ongoing one. Targeted for children from birth to age three but open to youth of any age, the program features a consistent format of songs, rhymes and plenty of lap bounces.

Even at that age, said Welsh, social and emotional lessons — like waiting turns and sitting to listen quietly for small bursts of time — are built in. As kids age up, the programs available at Oil Region libraries will age up with them, she said.

Storytime is similar to Bouncing Babies, said Welsh, but features the reading of three or four short books and gently increases the amount of time children are asked to focus on a story, while keeping the fun of the rhymes and other interactive components.

“We try to start preparing them” for transitioning into a classroom as school-age kids, Welsh said.

Other offerings, like a coding program that just finished up its last session and will return in January, cater to older kids. The coding program teaches kids how to build apps and websites using technology and the wealth of information and ideas available on the library’s shelves, Welsh said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, a number of Storytime sessions were recorded and published on the Library Association’s website, where they remain for kids stuck at home, Welsh said.

For more information on programs at the Library Association libraries in Oil City, Franklin, and Cooperstown, people can visit oilregionlibraries.org and check the events and programs calendar, under the events and programs tab at the top of the page.