When a retired school teacher recently learned the Sterling Elementary School library is closed during the summer, she was alarmed.
"If you don't read during the summer, your reading skills deteriorate," said Michaele Yard.
She took action.
Although members of the Sterling Senior Citizens Center are not accustomed to having little ones around the center, Yard knew the center was little used after the popular lunch period, and she believed a children's library would be beneficial to youngsters and seniors alike.
She approached the center's board of directors with her proposal and was readily approved.
In addition to the low use of the center after 1 p.m., other convincing points were that the seniors felt they could provide a needed community service, senior-child interaction is beneficial to both and there would be no cost to the center.
The next task was to acquire books.
The senior center already has an impressive collection in its own lending library, but not much in the way of children's books.
Sterling Elementary came through with the loan of five big boxes of books, Elaine's 2nd Hand Shop contributed a large box and Triumvirate Books in the Peninsula Center Mall gave the seniors "all the books we wanted for the summer," Yard said.
"We have over 400 books, (aimed at) pre-kindergarten through sixth grade," she said.
The children's library is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and will continue offering the service to Sterling area kids until school starts in the fall.
"All we ask is that the books be returned, and children must be with an adult ... we're on such a busy highway," Yard said.
Yard, who once was a fourth-grade teacher is assisted by Carol Fry, a retired second-grade teacher, as well as two AmeriCorps volunteers, Ami Patton and Charlee Powell.
On Thursday, Cora Lee Davis and her brother, Gage, were the library's first customers of the afternoon.
Cora Lee, who said she is turning 9 years old Aug. 14, reads part of a book every night.
Mom, Tracy, reads to 5-year-old Gage every night as well. Gage will be starting kindergarten at Sterling Elementary this fall.
In addition to serving Sterling Elementary pupils, the new children's library also is available to home-schooled students.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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