by Caroline Alder

If you follow Haliburton County Public Library on Facebook, you’ll have noticed a lot of videos this past year.

It started last March when the library closed due to the pandemic. Normally at March Break children would attend story and craft hour at either the Dysart or Minden branches, where they would sing and listen to stories read by program and outreach coordinator, Nancy Therrien, and do a craft. Not wanting to disappoint the children, Therrien made the program available online.

“I remember the Saturday when we realized the programs couldn’t happen,” she said. “Immediately we took the content we were going to provide for March Break and tried to create videos. It was hard at first because none of us had done the online videos before.”

The first story time video consisted of celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday, reading Green Eggs and Ham and then conducting a science experiment with staff member Noelia Marziali by making a green egg out of baking soda and dropping it into cup of vinegar.

Since then, more than 120 more online story time videos have been created. Some feature Jamie Bilodeau with her daughter Holly, who read a story and do a craft together. Some have Rob Muir as host. He sings, reads a story, tells some jokes with his Lobster friend and finishes by checking on his cats.

Muir also hosts Tech Time where he answers viewers ‘how to’ questions regarding the internet.

Other video series include the twice weekly Maker Break with Nicole Dolliver and Jamie Abbs. These hosts either do a craft or an easy-to-follow recipe. Some of the crafts have also been available in free grab-and-go craft bags in order for the viewer to follow along.

“The grab and go bags do not cost a penny,” said Therrien. “We are not charging for any of the materials or supplies so affordability is not an issue.”

Therrien said continuing the videos is important, even a year later.

“People like to see our faces, even now while we are doing curbside (and reopened March 16). It’s a way for us to connect and for them to leave their comments. Anything we can do to provide the content people are looking for we will, but I think what makes our programs unique is the passion that each staff member puts into their program.”

The newest video series is Story Studio with Lindsey Hobbs, which is a story time geared to adults. The current novel is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Therrien believes the video series are here to stay.

“When we are able to go back to in-person activities, I imagine a lot of these things will continue on a smaller scale for those who aren’t able to attend. Some of the activities will continue in a positive way such as having take-home craft kits available after children’s story hour.”

All videos are available on the Haliburton Country Public Library Facebook page and You Tube channel.

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