Library News: How to help your babies and toddlers grow up loving to read

By Carole Howard
SUN Columnist, and the library staff

A New York Times article headlined “How to Raise a Reader” by Pamela Paul and Marcia Russo offers easy and practical tips on how you can make sure your young children grow up loving to read.

For babies: Even newborns benefit from hearing stories. Read out loud every day. Any book will do — even an adult one. What matters is not the content, but the sound of your voice, the cadence of the text and the words themselves. 

Research shows that the number of words an infant is exposed to has a direct impact on language development and literacy. But note that the language has to be live — not from TV or an audio book.

For toddlers: It’s hard to overestimate how important reading is to a toddler’s intellectual, social and emotional development. When you read to them, they take it all in — vocabulary and language structure, numbers and math concepts, colors, shapes, animals and all kinds of useful information on how the world works. And when you read out loud, your toddler connects books with the familiar, beloved sound of your voice, and the physical closeness that reading together brings. 

Let your child turn the pages and choose the books he or she likes best. Then try to steer them to other books as well, especially books about other children living in a variety of cultural traditions and family structures that coexist in our communities. Exposing children to diversity in books will prepare them for life in a diverse world.

Every “Library News” column contains information about activities for children that let them have fun while increasing their literacy levels. We hope you and your family are taking advantage of them.

Census deadline looming

This is the last month to respond to the census — and your participation is badly needed because Archuleta County’s response rate so far is not good — only 40.9 percent — compared to the much higher rate of 68 percent for the state of Colorado and 64.6 percent nationally. 

If our poor showing continues, we will not get our fair share of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds over the next 10 years for local and regional agencies and projects like health clinics, fire departments, schools, social services like Medicaid, even roads and highways. 

Adding to the concern about our low participation is the fact that the deadline to respond to the census has been moved forward to Sept. 30, so you do not have much time to participate if you have not already done so. 

It takes only 10 minutes to respond to the census online or by telephone — and your answers are kept anonymous. The law ensures that your private information is never published and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.

Please contact Brad or Josie at the library if you have any census-related questions or visit for more information. Responding now will help decrease the number of homes census enumerators need to visit and will help ensure a more accurate count. 

Suffrage poster display

We hope you’ll stop by the library to view a display of 10 suffrage posters celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. Titled “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence,” the exhibition is a joint effort of the Smithsonian Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The crusade for women’s suffrage was one of the longest reform movements in U.S. history. 

The posters will be on display until Sept. 22 on the maroon wall behind the computers, on the other side of the checkout desk. 

Meeting rooms now available — plus more on our partial reopening

Here’s a summary of your library’s current operations. Note the first item, which is a change regarding meeting room reservations. 

• We are now accepting meeting room reservations for small groups. The guidelines are the same as they were PC (pre-COVID) in terms of library programs having first dibs on the rooms for our programs. In addition, people can schedule only so far out, which is usually two weeks to a month, depending on where we are in the month. 

• Up to 30 patrons at a time can come into the building Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

• The first hour every weekday — from 9 to 10 a.m. — is reserved for seniors and other high-risk people. 

• Hand sanitizers are available and there will be frequent cleanings inside the building throughout the day. Please practice social distancing and wear facial coverings while you are in the building. If you don’t have a mask, we are happy to give one to you. 

• Nine computers, up from eight, are available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.. In most cases computer usage will be allowed for three hours per day, up from two. Staff will clean and disinfect the computers between uses.

• One early literacy computer is available for youngsters Monday through Saturday. 

• Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for building entry and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for computer use.

• Curbside service continues Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for those not comfortable coming into the building. Phone 264-2209 when you are in the parking lot so staff can bring the items out for you. If you put a hold on something, please wait for your usual alert (email, phone call or text) before coming to pick it up. 

• Our courier service has resumed, so you now can drop your returns of books, CDs and DVDs in the drop box at City Market, as well as in the drop box at the library. No donations in the City Market box, please.

• Notary public service is available Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $5 per notary. 

• You can place holds on items from other libraries. They are in different stages of courier service and reopening, so items may take longer than usual. 

• We’re happy to provide tech help over the phone for our online resources.

Ruby’s Book Club
via Zoom

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 1 to 2 p.m., our free book club for adults takes place via Zoom when we discuss “The Monk of Mokha” by Dave Eggers. Contact if you want to attend or need a copy of the book. This book club meets the second Tuesday of every month.

Tech Time

Make a 15- or 30-minute appointment for one of three free in-person slots available noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Brad will help one person (or one couple) at a time. 


Free in-person classes take place Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. by appointment. Please register so we can keep it to a small group in our limited open spaces. No walk-ins, as the front door will be locked. 

Adult learning 

GED classes plus HiSet, CDL and other free in-person tutoring from Mark is available on Tuesdays from 2 to 7 p.m. by appointment for both new and returning students. 

New day for Dungeons and Dragons

Join us via Zoom on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for Dungeons and Dragons, free for teens and young adults. Contact for details on how to join. Note the change from Tuesdays. 

Children’s programs
on Facebook 

Every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m., join us on the library’s Facebook page for free children’s programs. 

Wednesday storytimes are on Facebook Live, so if you go to Facebook at 10 a.m. you can interact with Josie. Saturday’s Discovery Times -— with games, art ideas, science experiments, history and more — are prerecorded. 

If you have a Facebook account, log in to Facebook and search for the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library. If you don’t have a Facebook account, access the page by visiting our website and clicking the Facebook icon (a lowercase f) in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Or contact us and we can send you a direct link. 

Storywalks for kids

Every other Thursday, Josie, your early literacy librarian, posts signs outside the library that follow the sidewalk up towards the elementary school detailing a new free Summer Reading Storywalk for kids. The Sept. 3-17 theme is making friends. 

Get outdoors and follow the pages of a book as you stroll along. After you finish, pick up materials for a craft or activity at the library. By popular demand, Storywalks will continue until the snow makes it too difficult to proceed.

Legal clinic by
phone or Zoom

The free legal clinic each month is now by appointment and is happening next Friday, Sept. 11, from 2 to 3 p.m. by telephone or Zoom. You can choose to have the volunteer attorney phone you directly, or you can come into the library and meet via Zoom. 

To be added to the sign-up sheet for these calls, send an email titled “Sign-up for Free Legal Clinic,” with your first name and phone number to, or phone or stop by the library. The volunteer attorney’s time is limited, so it’s first-come, first-served. 

Books on CD

“Firestick” by William W. and J.A. Johnstone is the start of a new western series. “Hot Lead, Cold Justice” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins is a Caleb York western. “Outlaw Town” by David Robbins is a Ralph Compton western. “A Walk Along the Beach” by Debbie Macomber features two sisters who are polar opposites. “The Lost and Found Bookshop” by Susan Wiggs is set in a San Francisco bookstore. “28 Summers” by Elin Hilderbrand begins with deathbed instructions to a son. “Friends and Strangers” by J. Courtney Sullivan follows a young mother adjusting to life in a small town after New York City. “Royal” by Danielle Steel tells of an English princess sent to the country during World War II.


“We Should Have Seen It Coming” by Gerald F. Sieb documents the rise of the conservative movement from Reagan to Trump. “The Nature of Nature” by marine ecologist Enric Sala shows why preserving earth’s biodiversity makes logical, emotional and economic sense. 

Mysteries, suspense and thrillers

“Three Perfect Liars” by Heidi Perks is a suspense set in an advertising agency. “Squeeze Me” by Carl Haasen is features social and political intrigue among the Palm Beach social set. “Thick as Thieves” by Sandra Brown follows a woman whose father was suspected of a massive burglary 20 years ago. 

Other novels 

“The Exiles” by Christina Baker Kline features a trio of women in 19th century Australia. 

Downloadable e-books and audiobooks 

Ever since March, we have been buying more downloadable e-books and downloadable audio books for patrons of all ages — children, tweens, teens and adults. Using cloudLibrary, you can download a book to read or an audio book to listen to. The items in cloudLibrary are purchased separately from physical items, so the books available are different — and it continues to use the consortium’s contributions, not just those that we bought. That is why you need to select AspenCat Union Catalog when setting up cloudLibrary for use. Please email or phone us at 264-2209 if you need our help setting up this service on your device. 


Please put your donations of materials into the drop box at the library — not at City Market, which is reserved for returns. Donations will undergo the same rigorous three-day quarantine process as returns. 

Quotable quote

“The greatest danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” -— Michelangelo (1475-1564), Italian artist, sculptor and architect.


For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books, e-books, CDs and DVDs from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at

This story was posted on September 4, 2020.