by Diane Rogers
Special to The R-C

Library events keep young readers engaged

Sixteen-year-old Caitlin Pupich helped to set up chairs for 2-year-old Nathaniel Sutton’s first-ever puppet show at the CVIC Hall on June 25.

Caitlin, Nathaniel, and his brother, 5-year-old Matthew, joined more than 140 other young readers, parents and grandparents for the latest event in the Douglas County Public Library’s summer reading program: “I Dig Dinosaurs,” performed by Portland’s Dragon Theater Puppets.

Although the three young readers’ literary tastes are all over the map--Caitlin is devoted to author Suzanne Collins of “The Hunger Games” trilogy, while Matthew likes to chill with “Ralph and the Motorcycle,” and Nathaniel can’t get enough of board books. They also enjoy the special, value-added programs the library sponsors.

“Nathaniel saw the magic show a couple of weeks ago, and he is so excited to see today’s show,” mom Amy Sutton said.

Across the aisle, Caitlin’s mother was just as enthusiastic about the library’s offerings. “We moved here in 1997, and one of the first things we did was get library cards,” Leona Pupich added. “We go there all the time.”

At a time when libraries nationwide are looking for creative ways to move into the digital age while preserving the value of the printed page, staffers at the Minden branch are constantly fine-tuning the library’s contributions to the community.

“To serve a community such as ours, we need to strike a balance between providing traditional print materials and adding new technologies for patrons who are more comfortable with media like tablets, e-readers, or laptops,” says collection development librarian Luise Davis.

That means keeping Leona Pupich’s preferences in mind (“I check out the mp3 devices all the time”), as well as Amy Sutton’s (“I haven’t figured out e-books yet, but I’m going to look into them”).

E-books or hardbound classics, magic or dinosaurs, it’s all about encouraging reading.

“All of our programs are connected with reading, and at each program the performers will highlight some related books,” youth services specialist Kathy Echavarria said. When magician Larry Wilson launched this year’s summer reading program on June 11, for example, his show was bookended by a sale of new titles from Usborne Books.

More than 100 excited readers then captured the CVIC floor right in front of the stage —“best seats in the house,” youth services specialist Maria Pearson promised — and watched closely as Wilson performed tricks with colorful handkerchiefs, hollow eggs, magic dust and a box of crayons.

The following week, Full Circle Compost’s farmer-owner Craig Witt drew a chorus of “Ewwwwwws” when he introduced his “Composting Worms on Tour” at James Lee Memorial Park. Worm tunnels and worm wine were the topics of the instructive morning on June 18, and every young reader left with a free book: “Wonderful Worms,” by Linda Glaser.

On June 25, as some 70 children waited for the start of “I Dig Dinosaurs” by Dragon Theater Puppets, the library’s Echavarria invited readers to step up to the microphone and tell about their favorite books of the summer. “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins, the “Whatever After” series by Sarah Mlynowski, and the “Captain Underpants” series were three crowd pleasers.

As puppeteer Jason Ropp prepared to step behind his curtain, he held up a final handful of dinosaur books and encouraged youngsters to check them out at the library. His Shawnry Connery archaeologist character then led a frantic hunt through the millennia, with appearances by Albert Einstein, Abe Lincoln, Pocahontas, a bright green triceratops and a cuddly T-Rex, among others.

In the coming weeks, the summer reading program will sponsor an encore performance of Farmer Craig’s worm program at the Zephyr Cove branch on July 11, and magical stories at Mormon Station State Historic Park on July 17. The grand finale? Can you hop like a kangaroo?

For details about July events, visit, or call 782-9841.

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The Record Courier Updated Jul 11, 2013 11:09AM Published Aug 5, 2013 03:14PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.