Looking back over the summer, staff at the Gretna Children’s Library found themselves with a good problem to have: too much interest in their programs.
To give as many children as possible an opportunity to participate, the library is now splitting fall classes and programs into two sessions.
“Instead of one storytime for eight weeks, we’ll have two sessions of four weeks,” said Rebecca Brooks, assistant and creative director of the Gretna Public Library.
She said this decision was made as the library hit occupancy limits with its summer programs. Of its summer classes, three programs filled to capacity within an hour of opening registration, with all but one filling up by the end of the day — though it was filled within the next day.
“That was the sign that we needed to do something different,” Brooks said. “It’s really heartbreaking for librarians to turn anyone away.”
Brooks said the two seasonal storytimes and book clubs will be repeated to allow different children to experience the same program. The first session will run from Sept. 17 to Oct. 10 with the second following from Oct. 15 to Nov. 14.
“This is an opportunity for more children to get into classes,” she said.
The Book Bugs storytime will have songs, stories and simple crafts to boost confidence and a love for reading. The program will meet on Tuesdays from 4 to 4:30 p.m. for kindergartners through second-graders, while the preschool class will be on Thursdays from 10:30 to 11 a.m.
The book club for students in third through fifth grade will also split, with 30-minute classes at 3:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.
Brooks said this change was made to allow for students across Gretna to make it to the library for the book club.
“Gretna is growing so quickly,” she said.
The year-round storytimes for toddlers will also see some changes to benefit children and parents.
For younger children from birth to age 3, the WeeRead program — a music and movement storytime for kids and caregivers — will see some changes based upon ages.
“The age groups are so different,” children’s librarian Jean Slowinski said, describing the difference between children birth to 18 months and 18 months to 3 years old.
To address this difference, WeeRead will now be split into Baby & Me and Toddler Time.
Slowinski said Baby & Me will be an opportunity for children birth to 18 months, as well as their parents or caregivers, to focus on motor and visual skills while Toddler Time — set aside for those 18 months to age 3 — will be more like the original WeeRead program, focusing on early literacy skills.
Slowinski said the Baby & Me storytime will take place on the first and third Tuesday of every month as well as the second and fourth Wednesday. Toddler Time will take place on the first and third Wednesday of every month as well as the second and fourth Tuesday. All these classes will take place from 10:30 to 11 a.m. prior to the library opening.
WeeRead will still take place with both age groups on the first and third Monday of each month from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m.
“We’re hoping to help a lot of working parents,” Brooks said of the night storytime.
Brooks said the children’s library is excited to launch the new split sessions in hopes to reach more families.
“We are limited in space, but we won’t let that lower our scope,” she said. “Once we get this format down, we hope to provide even more really fun stuff.”
For more information on the Children’s Library programs, including registration information, go online to gretnapubliclibrary.org/kids.
Registration will open online on Sept. 2.