Strathmore Library aims to keep kids active and engaged

·3 min read

To celebrate the spooky season, the Strathmore Library offered unique “take and make” kits for kids to enjoy and add to their Halloween experience.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library began offering similar kits for children and families to take home and be creative with.

Assistant Director of Library Services, Carmen Erison, said due to the effects of COVID-19, the library hasn’t been able to host regular programming, but there are other ways to keep local residents involved.

“In the past, we’ve worked with several different projects where we’ve done, (what) we called ‘STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) Fridays’ where we had staff record videos, do crafts and such, this is just sort of a continuation of that,” said Erison.

“Sadly, we’re going to miss that this year with COVID-19 restrictions and so we thought if we can’t do it in the library, let’s give the kids of the community a little something they can do at home.”

The library put together 50 take and make kits for kids to take home, which were offered on a first-come-first-served basis. The bags contained materials to create a witch’s hat craft and popsicle stick puppets.

The free program also did not require a library card for interested families to participate. Erison said all folks had to do was show up and grab a kit.

“We’ve seen success from our previous take and make type kits, like the STEAM kits … so we just thought let’s do something a little bit more fun for Halloween,” she said.

“It includes all the instructions, all the supplies that they need, including the paint and the brushes. It’s just an easy kit that they can take away and it’s geared towards ages five to 12.”

Erison added the expense to the library for putting the kits together was very minimal and utilized materials the team already had on hand.

The library did not host any Halloween programming last year due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, which according to Erison, was a big shift for the team.

“In the past, we’ve run very extensive Halloween programming: we’ve run a Halloween spooktacular with up to 100 kids in the library all dressed up and it’s just a blast,” she said. “When COVID-19 happened, we had to scale back on our in-house programming. We’re happy that we’re able to do some in-house programming, but it’s not as extensive as we’ve done in the past.”

Also available to borrow year-round, the library has also introduced a new ghost hunting kit.

Inspired by a similar initiative in Cochrane, the kit includes a night vision IR enabled camcorder, EMF reader, digital recorder and an infrared monitor.

“It all ties together with a great little brochure that explains all kinds of ghoulish ways to find ghosts and such,” said Erison. “We also have a journal inside the ghost hunting kit where you can record your findings that you’ve experienced while you use the kit and read other people’s past experiences as well.”

The ghost hunting kit will be a permanent feature in the library’s “More Stuff” collection.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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