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Posts by Kristy Raffensberger

Growing Up In the Webster Library

The stairs leading up to the apartment.There are many people who say the library played an important role in their childhood. But for Kenneth Choquette, the library was—quite literally—his home.

Ken's grandfather, John Mahon, was the custodian at the Webster Library from approximately 1940-1971. In those days, mostly because of the coal furnace, being a custodian was a twenty-four hour job. At the very top of Webster, up a back staircase, was Ken's home: a four room apartment. The space itself is still there, but it is now full of air conditioning vents and electrical 

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There's Gold in Them Thar Hills: Digging at the Webster Library

For Webster Library's second big "Dig into Reading" event of the summer, we celebrated digging of all kinds (if you missed our worm races, check them out).

For this program, we separated our room into four main areas:

Paleontologist: Search for laminated dinosaur bones in a kiddie pool filled with packing peanuts. Geologist: Fizzing rocks that dissolve in vinegar to reveal a prize. Paleontologist (part II): ... Read More ›

Dig Into Reading: Worm Races at the Webster Library

The one at the bottom wins!Who says worms aren't fast? All of us at the Webster Library beg to differ. We recently held very competitive, highly excitable, worm race!

First, it's not very easy to find worms in this concrete jungle. Luckily I realized that pet stores carry them. I chose to use earthworms over red wigglers because then we could simply put them outside, instead of trying to find a composting site at the end.

We 

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Steal This Story Time: Won't You Be My Neighbor Day

Photo courtesy of the Fred Rogers Company.March 20, 2013 would have been Mr. Roger's 85th birthday. At the Webster Library we celebrated by having our very own Won't You Be My Neighbor Day. The premise was simple (but as Mr. Rogers says, "Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex"). Won't You Be My Neighbor Day encourages everyone to do one neighborly act—and of course, wear a sweater!

I grew up with Mr. Rogers. It is difficult for 

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Steal This Story Time: Glow in the Dark

I love it when librarians put their story time plans online. I “borrow” them all the time! In an act of reciprocation I figured I might as well throw my story time themes at the Internet to see what sticks.

Disclaimer #1: I will credit others whenever possible; however, I’ve kept pictures and notes about my themes for years but have not been keeping track of where I got the ideas. In the spirit of generous, helpful librarianship, hopefully everyone will understand if I accidentally omit a source.

Disclaimer #2: Even the name of this 

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"The Snowy Day" Connection: Ezra Jack Keats and Webster Library

Hanging on the wall next to the clock at Webster Library is a painted figure of a girl, pointing toward the ceiling. She's unassuming; wearing muted colors. People see her, but no one ever asks why she is there or (even more intriguing) what she is pointing at. When I started working at Webster Library, that was the first thing I noticed because I knew instantly who had painted her...

... Ezra Jack Keats.

How was the man who famously created

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Library Hands (like jazz hands, only better!)

Patrons of the Webster Library wrote one word on their hand to describe what the library means to them. The ultimate goal was to make a video to help support the library, but more importantly, every time we stopped someone to ask if they would participate in this slightly odd project, we started a conversation.

Sadly, it is very easy to walk blindly by large signs that shout, “40 Million Dollar Budget Cut!” But when you ask someone to write a word on their hand, it forces them to stop and think. It also makes surrounding 

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I Want To Be Your Personal Penguin: Wedding Readings from Children’s Books

Being a librarian, it's not surprising when I say that I'm surrounded by stories. But in reality, we are all surrounded by stories, every day. This was never more apparent to me than when I officiated a friend's wedding. She asked that I include a reading from a children's book, and while neither she nor her fiancé had any particular connection to children's literature, we created a whole ceremony around the power of story.

The groom told the story of how they met. The bride had her own version of that very same story. I told my story of watching them fall in 

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Do You Judge a Book by Its Cover?

At the Webster Branch, we recently put up a display with all of the books covered in brown paper. Above it there is a sign that reads: “Do You Judge a Book by Its Cover?” The rules are if you unwrap a book—based on the short description taped to it—you must check it out. Even if you’ve read it before, or if you think you won’t like it. Take it home, give it a shot. Don’t judge it by its cover alone!

One of the first books to go out, and one that sparked a lot of discussion, was labeled 

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