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Island libraries offer something for everyone this season

By Staff | Aug 26, 2010

Reference Librarian Candy Heise and Event Coordinator Duane Shaffer are pictured with titles by the four bestselling authors that will be featured in the 2010-11 Author’s Series at the Sanibel Public Library. They are standing behind a special display devoted entirely to the game of Scrabble. Heise plans to start a Sanibel Scrabble club later in the fall. In addition to the Author’s Series, both the Sanibel Public Library and the Captiva Memorial Library have lots of interesting programs for all ages coming up this season.

Start marking your calendars — the Sanibel Public Library and Captiva Memorial Library will have a wide variety of programs scheduled for people of all ages and interests beginning in September.

For children and teens…

In September, Children’s Librarian Barb Dunkle (known as “Miss Barb” to library patrons) will begin a variety of programs for children and teens.

Two book discussion groups (one for third through fifth graders and one for sixth through eighth graders) will start in the fall. Readers select a title on their own and then after Dunkle conducts the first session, group-members will volunteer to run later discussion groups.

“The book discussion group is something that took off last year and we’re going to continue with it. We’re going to start another group because people have shown interest in starting another one,” Dunkle said. For more information about joining one of the groups, call Dunkle at 472-2483.

Captiva Memorial Library Associate Naomi Pastor displays some of the books and crafts that will be a part of the upcoming Saturday Family Program series.

Throughout the upcoming season, Dunkle will also host special events and parties for youths on days that coincide with school holidays. Past events have included themes such as “American Girl” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and even legos.

Of course, the Teen Space — designed by teens, for teens — is open all year round. The Teen Space is a comfortable, quiet place for teens to do homework, read from a wide selection of young adult titles and magazines, play computer games or just hang out with friends. Dunkle will host special teen-only events throughout the year.

But on Monday, Sept. 6, the Sanibel Public Library will begin their weekly youth programs for children up to fifth grade.

• Craft Day, Mondays at 3 p.m.

Children in third grade and up can come to the library to do a special themed craft. The craft will only take one session to finish, so visitors to the island are more than welcome to attend. Dunkle asks that youngsters who wish to attend the session call to register in advance so she can make sure she has enough materials ready for everyone to participate.

Sanibel Public Library Reference Librarian Candy Heise and Event Coordinator Duane Shaffer hold up copies of books by the four authors that will be featured in the 2010-11 Author’s Series beginning Dec. 6. The Authors are Lisa Scottoline, Harlen Coben, Anita Shreve and Lee Child.

• Terrific Twos, Tuesdays at 10 a.m.

Geared specifically for the age group it’s named after, this weekly program introduces two-year-olds and their parents to different songs, fingerplays and flannel-board stories.

“We do a lot of interactive things,” Dunkle said. “Sometimes the program lasts five minutes, sometimes it lasts a half hour — it just depends on the attention span of the kids.”

• Small Wonders, Wednesdays at 11 a.m.

This weekly program is designed for babies, from birth to 12 months.

The Sanibel Public Library is planning to start a Scrabble club in late October. Until then, library patrons can brush up on their Scrabble skills with some of the many reference materials available on the game.

“The child sits on mommy’s lap and we do songs and bounces to keep them entertained,” Dunkle said.

• Tiny Tots, Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m.

Following Small Wonders, this program is for children aged 12 to 24 months.

“We’ll focus on the interaction between me and the children and their parents — I’m also teaching the parents different things they can do with their children,” Dunkle said, noting that the program will last for as long as she and parents can hold the attention of the toddlers. “At that age, they are walking and exploring and they don’t like to sit for very long.”

• Bookworms, Thursdays at 10 a.m. (ages three to five) and 3 p.m. (Kindergarten through second grade)

A wall of photographs in the Teen Space at the Sanibel library shows images of past events designed specifically for teens.

“It’s books, it’s music, it’s everything wrapped into one. Afterward, we always do a craft based on the theme of the story we read,” Dunkle said about the three to five session of Bookworms.

For kindergarteners and first and second graders, Dunkle focuses on a theme — such as a foreign country or a letter of the alphabet — and designs a program based around it.

• R.E.A.D., Thursdays at 4 p.m.

Reading Educational Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) is a national program that Dunkle introduced to Sanibel six years ago.

“My biggest group of readers are kindergarten through second grade. I thought it was an excellent starting point because these are the children that are just learning to read and they’re also learning to read out loud, their vocabulary is growing, their fluency is developing, and I thought this would be a good way for them to be comfortable,” Dunkle said.

Children can come to the library and practice reading out loud to Rocky and Simon, the Sanibel R.E.A.D. dogs.

“There’s no one there to criticize them or giggle at them if they stumble over a word. I’ve had parents say that it’s been a great thing for their child, either because they’re slower with the reading or they’re uncomfortable reading out loud, and this gives them the opportunity to do it in a non-threatening setting,” Dunkle said.

Children of all ages are invited to attend the R.E.A.D. sessions, but Dunkle asks that parents call and schedule a time in advance so that everyone gets a chance to read to Rocky and Simon.

For adults…

The highly anticipated fourth annual Authors Series will start at the Sanibel Public Library on Monday, Dec. 6 with mystery writer Lisa Scottoline.

“This is what everybody looks forward too and it is has very quickly become an A-list event on the island,” said library Event Coordinator Duane Shaffer. “Not only because we have the author here at the library, but because we host a catered champagne reception after the author has done the book-signing.”

All the authors featured in the series are New York Times Bestselling authors. Past authors in the series have included Clive Cussler, Judy Picoult, Alice Hoffman, Joyce Carol Oates, Jeff Sharp and Tim Dorsey.

“The nice thing is that many of the people that attend the Author’s Series, once they’ve met the author in a small, intimate venue, they suddenly become avid readers of the featured author. The big difference is that at events such as the Lee County Reading Festival, you can’t even get near the author. Here, everybody gets to meet and greet the author, shake hands, talk to them and have pictures taken with them.”

The 2010-11 Author’s Series line up will feature:

• Lisa Scottoline, Dec. 6

• Harlen Coben, Jan. 11

• Anita Shreve, Feb. 10

• Lee Child, March 24

All programs, which feature a presentation by the author, followed by a book-signing and reception, begin at 7 p.m.

As the event draws closer, information about acquiring tickets will be listed in the Sanibel-Captiva Islander. For anyone who has a Sanibel Public Library card, the tickets are free.

“If you live on Sanibel, or even if you live in Lee County and you have a valid driver’s license, all you need to do is come in and we will issue you a resident card for free,” Shaffer said. Visitors that want to attend the series can purchase a visitor’s library card for $10.

But that’s not all.

In mid-February, the Sanibel Public Library will host their third Employee Presentation Week.

“During that week, the very talented and skilled people that work here give presentations of their craft,” Shaffer said.

Presenters will include chef Betsy Eidem, resident wolf expert Joanne Wessels, jewelry designer Cathy Hed and island historian Betty Anholt.

“Duane is also an accomplished author and has published several books. He’ll do a four-week series beginning the first February in Friday,” Dunkle said.

This year’s series will focus on World War II.

And there’s more.

“We’re still filling the calendar for January to April, but there will be something going on each and every day during season,” Shaffer said. “We’ll have a wide variety of programs — presentations on laser chiropractics, opera, Thomas Edison’s quotations, an introduction to English genealogy — just to name a few.”

For families…

In September, the Captiva Memorial Library will begin hosting a series of special Saturday family programs featuring a wide range of topics — everything from crocodiles to cookies. All programs start at 3 p.m.

“Saturday, Sept. 4 is when we’ll start the family programs — that means everyone from preschool and up is invited to attend,” said Library Associate Naomi Pastor.

• Beavers, Otters, and Bears, Oh My!, Sept. 4

“This program will focus on all the North American animals that live in fresh water. I’ll be asking the kids to think of animals and of course we’ll be sharing stories about them,” Pastor said.

• Crocs and Gators!, Sept. 18

“I’ll be sharing the story about ‘The Monkey and the Crocodile’ and we’ll have more stories about crocodiles and alligators and we’ll talk a little bit more about other cold-blooded animals,” Pastor said. Participants will also get to make their own smiling crocodile craft.

• Big Cats and Little Cats, Oct. 2

“This is all about your friendly cat at home as well as the big cats in the wild, like bobcats and panthers,” Pastor said. A “crazy cat craft” will also be part of the program.

• Apples and Pumpkins, Oct. 16

“During this program, you’ll hear all about apples and pumpkins and some of the things we can make from them — like apple spice cake and pumpkin pie,” Participants will be able to make an apple or pumpkin decoration.

The dates aren’t quite set for the November and December programs, but Pastor has already decided on the themes.

“In November, I’m presenting fables about bravery, like ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight,'” Pastor said.

Pastor will also give a special presentation about Native American Tales in November, where participants will also have the opportunity to make a Native American Craft.

In December, Pastor will present “Gingerbread and Cookie Stories,” featuring fun tales about cookies and other delicious treats. And as the holiday season approaches, Pastor will also present a special “December Holiday Craft” session.

Though dates for the November and December programs have not been announced yet, interested library-goers can log onto the Lee County Library System website for dates and times, www.lee-county.com/library. Find the link to the Captiva Branch of the website and click on events.

And don’t forget, the third annual Cultural Fest begins in January.

The Captiva Memorial Library is located at 11561 Chapin Lane.

Hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from noon to 8 p.m.

For more information about upcoming programs, call 533-4890 or visit www.lee-county.com/library.

For everyone…

In late October, the Sanibel Public Library is planning to launch the very first Scrabble club on the islands.

“We want to provide an opportunity for people to come in and play Scrabble against others and start a kind of casual Scrabble club,” said Reference Librarian Candy Heise. “Fort Myers has a casual Scrabble club and we definitely want to start one for Sanibel. Down the road, we might even want to host tournaments or our own little Sanibel championship.”

The idea for a Scrabble club started when Heise and Dunkle attended the Public Library Association conference in Portland, Ore. in late March. A representative from the National Scrabble Association (NSA) had set up a booth, informing attendees about how the NSA had started a Scrabble program for schoolchildren and was starting to branch out into public libraries across the nation.

Heise and Dunkle were discussing the idea at lunch one day when Library Director Margaret Mohundro encouraged them to look into developing a Scrabble club for Sanibel.

Heise and Dunkle ordered a starter kit for $100 — consisting of tiles, six Scrabble boards and a Scrabble dictionary — and set up a display in the library consisting of all things Scrabble (in addition to a survey sheet asking library patrons what they thought of the idea).

“We’ve had the display up for several months now and people love it — several people have already played in the library. We’ve had surveys out and because of the response from the local people we’ve had so far, we know that they would be interested,” Heise said.

“Most avid readers and most serious library patrons are also very avid word gamers — they’ll play Scrabble or Boggle, do crosswords, any kind of word game imaginable,” Shaffer added.

“We’re still considering how often we want to offer it — whether twice a day or once a week, evenings or afternoons — so all the details are kind of up in the air at this point. I think there will be a lot of interest, but we want more input,” Heise said.

Islanders that are interested in participating in the Scrabble club can fill out a survey from the Scrabble display to help library staff measure interest and start planning out the details.

The Sanibel Public Library is located at 770 Dunlop Road.

Hours are Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information about upcoming programs, call 472-2483 or visit www.sanlib.org.