| Tell Me a Story
By Nicole Cuadra Dec 14, 2006
Picture this: eighty children and their caregivers are sitting quietly, and no one is talking or squirming. All eyes are at the front of the room where their attention is held by children's librarian Rachel MacNeilly. Rachel is the new children’s services manager for the Mission Branch Library, and she is reading a story.
When asked about the success of her story times, Rachel has this to offer, “Storytimes have always been hugely popular at this branch. We are in a community where children are very important. As for myself, I try to make things fun up there. And bilingual stories go a long way toward helping everyone feel included.”
It helps that Rachel has had lots of experience with children. Before joining the San Francisco Public Library, Rachel spent 10 years teaching in schools all over the Bay Area. “My years of experience in schools have been a great benefit to me as I develop programs for our young patrons at the Mission Branch,” said Rachel.
Here is a little bit of that 10 year resume: Rachel taught elementary school in the San Francisco Unified School district. Upon completing her Master's of Library and Information Science, she then became a school librarian. After leaving the SFUSD, Rachel worked with a private school to open a new school library, and in San Mateo she worked to promote technology and libraries with middle school students. Rachel has also worked as a school administrator.
So, does Rachel have a particular vision for children's services at the branch? “My hope is that children's services will make reading and learning to read a fun experience for children and their families. I see service to children as a dynamic process that engages children on all sensory levels; the services we offer here entice children to participate physically and verbally. We sing, we do finger plays and stretches, and we encourage children to discuss the books and poems that we read. Our vision of children's services is interactive and promotes family interaction as well. Parents are always encouraged to participate in all activities.”
Children are encouraged to visit the branch, get acquainted with Rachel, and find something really great to read. If your little one needs a little help, here is Rachel's top 10 list of favorite books, in no particular order. Check 'em out!
1. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
2. The Empty Pot by Demi
3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
4. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
6. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
7. Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell
8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
9. Piggies by Audrey Wood
10. A Letter for Amy by Ezra Jack Keats
The Mission Branch Library offers the following services for children: Lapsits for infants to age 3; Preschool storytimes for kids ages 3-5; and family storytimes in both English and Spanish. A wide selection of materials are available in both Spanish and English, including CDs, CD ROMs, books on tape and CD, magazines, fiction, nonfiction, board books and parenting materials. Computer access is available for children ages 13 and below, and volunteer homework help is available most weekday afternoons.
Also, look out for special programming every month: Dec. 6 students from the Conservatory of Music will perform at 6:30 p.m.; De. 9 come see Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors at 12 noon; and Dec. 16, at 12 noon, come make a special holiday craft.
The Mission Branch Library is located at 300 Bartlett Street, on 24th Street between Mission and Valencia. The children's room is open seven days a week. Please call the branch for specific hours, 355-2828.
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