AMHERST – It’s all in how you present the material, apparently.
“Science can be fun,” said Denise Corey, deputy chief librarian of the Cumberland Public Library.
Corey’s home base, the Four Fathers Memorial Library in Amherst, had an invasion of 40 or so youngsters Tuesday morning for March Break’s ‘Science Day’. The event is “by far” the most popular in the roster of library activities scheduled for the week, according to Corey: the sign-up list has been full since at least last Friday.
“This is messy and we have things that blow up,” she said as an explanation for the event’s appeal.
Mess and explosions sounds about right. There were five tables set up in the building’s seminar room. Kids rotated through the stations, experiencing hands-on activities ranging from making goop and cloud fluff, to putting an Alka-Seltzer tablet in an upside down, water-filled film canister and waiting for the plastic capsule to launch.
Chantal Taylor, the youth services librarian, said she keeps an eye for interesting programming ideas to include in the week, but science day has been a consistent presence over they years.
“I started (planning the week) when I came back from Christmas vacation,” said Taylor.
Aiden Lawrence was one of the dozens of kids enjoying the curriculum Taylor developed.
“I’m putting soap into the microwave,” he said. “It makes the soap big.”
The deputy chief librarian said when schools are quiet, they’re not.
“This is always a busy, busy week for us,” she said.
Every program the library’s offering is oversubscribed. Names are being put on a wait-list. Expanding the events to accommodate more kids isn’t an option, according to Corey.
“We don’t have space…there’s no more room.”
While much of the planning has been for activities geared to kids from Primary to Grade 6, a ‘Minute to Win It’ event and a movie night, held Wednesday and Thursday respectively, have been planned to appeal to teens. Corey indicated reaching older adolescents is a challenge.
“We try,” she said. “It’s hard to be ‘cool’ and hang out at the library.”
She said they try to offer snacks to increase interest.