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Libraries host free holiday programs

By Megan Workman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As a book lover, Crystie Kaiser said visits to the library were a treat when she was a child.

Today, the mother of five daughters said it is important to take her girls to the library, whether they go to volunteer, check out books or participate in an arts and crafts activity.

Kaiser and three of her daughters -- Arden, 12, Annah, 9, and Ava, 10 -- sat around a table at the Dunbar Public Library earlier this week as they decorated Styrofoam cups with colored duct tape to make a Christmas tree.

The "duct tape trees" activity -- hosted for the first time at one of the 10 library branches -- was one of more than 20 holiday-themed craft events on the libraries' calendars this month. All of the events are free and are geared toward children, families and adults.

Arden Kaiser layered the white Styrofoam cup with a pink zebra-printed duct tape and a lime green roll.

Ava Kaiser chose colors she thought went well together. Her bright cup had layers of neon pink, orange and green.

Their youngest sister, Annah, chose a pink-and-gray-plaid duct tape with layers of the traditional gray.

Crystie -- who made a blue-and-purple-colored Christmas tree out of duct tape -- said her daughters have a calendar at home that lists all the craft events at the library. The family makes crafts at home, but the library is a fun place too, she said.

"I grew up reading and going to the library. Without having a lot of money, it was a treat for us to go to the library," Crystie said as she topped her tree with a star. "It's fun and different to come to the library for crafts. And the girls enjoy it."

Dunbar Public Library assistant Kelly Stevens said she found the idea to make Christmas trees out of duct tape on the Internet.

The Kanawha County Library covers the cost of supplies.

Stevens said she has visited the Dunbar library since she was 3. As an adult, she looks forward to working with teens who visit the library.

"I love doing this, especially for the teens," Stevens said. "I think it's really cool to work with the teens and kids and to help them learn something new."

Library staff read children's books, help color paper ornaments and coordinate the crafts.

Most of the craft events put on by the libraries in December are programs they host throughout the year, but with a holiday theme, said Pam May, marketing supervisor at the Kanawha County Public Library.

The 10:30 a.m. "story time" at Nitro Public Library on Dec. 4 featured holiday stories and crafts.

The "neat as a pin" pin-making event at the St. Albans Branch Library allowed pre-teens and teens 12 and older to create a holiday-themed pin.

The Cross Lanes Branch library invited adults to make holiday note cards using rubber stamps on Dec. 6 under the guidance of Debra Wunderly, a Rubberific Stamping Club member.

Sautrday, the Kanawha County Public Library is hosting its holiday open house. The Kanawha Kordsmen will perform at 9:30 a.m. until the Charleston Christmas Parade begins at 10 a.m. Refreshments and a holiday celebration will follow the parade on the first floor of the library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

May said library staff members look forward to the seasonal celebrations, but offering craft time to their community is merely part of the library's purpose.

"Part of our mission is to provide programming for the public -- free programming that is educational and entertaining. That's just what we do," May said.

Though most kids may not realize it, they are learning while making artwork, she said.

Some activities are tied in with STEM (an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math) programming, May said.

The Dunbar Branch Library will have kids use basic geometry to create an ornament on Monday at 6 p.m.

Family STEM night -- at the Dunbar Branch Library on Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. and Kanawha County Public Library on Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. -- will require families to use engineering skills to build gingerbread houses.

For a list of all the holiday craft events going on at the libraries, visit the calendar page at http://kanawhalibrary.org. Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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