Rebekah Reisen, 6 months old, plays with other children at Baby Storytime. “I like that it’s not just reading, I like that she can interact with other little babies. She just loves it,” said Rebekah’s mother, Elizabeth Reisen, of Oak Harbor.

Rebekah Reisen, 6 months old, plays with other children at Baby Storytime. “I like that it’s not just reading, I like that she can interact with other little babies. She just loves it,” said Rebekah’s mother, Elizabeth Reisen, of Oak Harbor.

Librarians: Story times offer young minds social, physical benefits

Each week, babies “wiggle and giggle” their way though a morning story time at the Oak Harbor Library as part of Sno-Isle Library’s Ready Readers: Baby & Me Storytime series.

“We want children to develop the joy of books and being read to,” Library Manager Mary Campbell said.

The story time classes offered by Sno-Isle libraries include baby, toddler and preschool story time sessions at the Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Langley and Freeland libraries.

There are benefits for children attending such classes, Campbell said.

Bonding time, cuddling, repetition and developing social and physical skills are among the benefits of story time, Campbell and co-worker, librarian Jane López-Santillana, said.

Not all children go to preschool, so there are advantages to exposing those children to pre-school like activities as well, López-Santillana said.

Story times typically draw 30 to 60 people, depending on the day of week and type of story time, she said.

Rhianna McBride, who runs the baby story time, said her favorite part is seeing the kids’ reactions.

The group mixes up a “traditional” book story time with songs, toy playtime and games such as a parachute lift.

The library is constantly adapting to the latest information in child development and learning science, López-Santillana said.

Sometimes people have an outdated idea of libraries, she said. Contrary to what some may imagine, the librarians don’t all sternly go “shhhh.”

“We’re much more modern,” she said, particularly in its offerings in technology and accessibility.

Plus, “its a way to connect with other parents,” López-Santillana said.

“A library is one of those places we don’t care where you’re from or what your background is, and it’s all for free,”she said.

The schedules

The following are story times on North and Central Whidbey:

  • Oak Harbor: Preschool Storytime, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Monday; Toddler Storytime, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday; Baby & Me Storytime, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
  • Coupeville: Baby & Me Storytime, 9:30 a.m. Monday; Preschool Storytime, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
  • Freeland: Baby & Me Storytime, 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays; Toddler Storytime; 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays; and Preschool Storytime, 10:30 Thursday
(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)
                                Brodie Miller smiles as his mother, Carly, looks down at him. The Oak Harbor residents try to come every week to story time, Carly said.

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times) Brodie Miller smiles as his mother, Carly, looks down at him. The Oak Harbor residents try to come every week to story time, Carly said.

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)
                                William Ball, age 9 and a half months, “has a lot of fun everytime” they come, mother Meaghan said.

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times) William Ball, age 9 and a half months, “has a lot of fun everytime” they come, mother Meaghan said.

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)
                                Natasha Vanderlinden ran Thursday’s Baby Storytime because regular leader, Library Associate Rhianna McBride, couldn’t make it in due to weather. Vanderlinden usually runs the library’s Toddler Storytime. Here, she reads a book to the babies. Vanderlinden said she was enjoying leading the group.

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times) Natasha Vanderlinden ran Thursday’s Baby Storytime because regular leader, Library Associate Rhianna McBride, couldn’t make it in due to weather. Vanderlinden usually runs the library’s Toddler Storytime. Here, she reads a book to the babies. Vanderlinden said she was enjoying leading the group.