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Librarian Brings Stories to Life in Weston

WESTON, Conn. – Joy Beckwith has been performing at the Weston Public Library for 23 years: She sings, uses puppets, reads stories and does impersonations, all to get children excited about reading.

“We just have fun. It gets the kids to listen and lets us reinforce the classics,” Beckwith said Tuesday just before one of the many children’s Story Hour programs held throughout the week at the library.

Watching Beckwith, who is the children’s librarian, is like watching a grandmother greet grandchildren as they come home from school. She welcomes every child by name, notices when they had a haircut and compliments them on their clothes. As one child walked into a recent Tuesday session holding a teddy bear, Beckwith said, “It’s always nice to have an extra guest with us.”

The Story Hour runs about an hour and begins as Beckwith gets the children to sing along with her to Tom Chapin’s “I Am Going Down to the Library.” Then she reads a few stories aloud, the kids play games or make a craft, and that is followed by a film.

Watching Beckwith in action is a theatrical performance, as she reads to the children, does impersonations and flails in her chair, bringing the story to life for her young audience.

“I like to think of them as my children. I just pretend I am doing the story hour with them at home,” she said.

It’s not just the children who enjoy the show, many of the parents and nannies sit in on Story Hour, laughing and singing along with Beckwith, too.

The Children's Story Hour is available to children ages 2, 3, 4 and 5, and they are held from September to May. Each session is divided into different ages groups. Children who are 2 are welcome at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Children who are 3 can attend at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. Children who are 4 and 5 can join the fun on Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

Although registration is closed, Beckwith said she will gladly accept additional children. For more information, call her at 203-222-2651.

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