Kids discover books with ‘Miss Eva’s’ storytime
For children’s librarian Eva Fitzwater, work is all fun and games.Every Wednesday, Fitzwater leads preschool storytime at the Glenwood Springs Library with stories, puppets and crafts for 3- to 5-year-olds. The role allows her to break free from the restraints of adulthood.”Storytime gives me the opportunity to be a kid again. I can wear silly hats and have fun,” said Fitzwater, who has been with the Glenwood Springs branch for three years. “As adults, we tend to freeze our faces so we no longer show emotions. There’s a certain amount of freedom for me when I’m leading storytime that I enjoy.”Not only does Fitzwater – “Miss Eva” to the kids – enjoy the fun of re-enacting stories to her preschooler audience, but she takes pride in the responsibility of expanding their young minds.”Life is about discovery, and these children are in the forming stages of that,” she said. “They are at the age when their imaginations are so free and they are so open to the stories.”By incorporating puppets and other props into storytime, Fitzwater offers a visual aspect that effectively demands the attention and amusement of her young audiences.”I like to salt and pepper the program with puppets. At this age, they need action and variety,” she said. “As soon as the puppets come on stage, the kids laugh. No matter what they’re doing, they laugh. Sometimes its just the puppets’ movements or that they look silly. I use visual aids for the growth of their imagination. Long stories don’t keep their attention.”According to Pat Conway, manager of the Glenwood Springs branch, preschool storytime has consistently been a favorite library feature with the city’s younger residents. She has seen old photographs of storytime when the library was located in the old City Hall building that has since been demolished.”I believe in some form or another, it’s been a tradition as long as the library has been in existence ,” Conway said. “Eva does a wonderful job every week because of the variety she injects into storytime. She’s very animated and creative, which is definitely an asset to the library and the community.”Many of the preschool-aged participants agreed. Three-year-old Blue Debus, who attended storytime for the first time Wednesday with his mom, Margaret, especially enjoyed handcrafting a paper elf with red and green paper and gold glitter following the story. “I want to stay here forever and ever and ever,” he said.Geneva Gaines and her best friend, Cera Kocher, both 5 year olds from Glenwood Springs, attended storytime as part of their “Girls Day Out” with her mother, Jill La Fontaine. After storytime, the trio planned to take a tram ride up to the Exclamation Point Restaurant for lunch.”I like the crafts,” Gaines said, proudly displaying her artistic representation of Santa’s helper. “I’m going to put my elf in my room.”As another week of preschool storytime comes to a close, Fitzwater looks ahead to next week’s theme, “Wake up to the New Year.””The holidays are a little more of a challenge because you don’t want the stories to be trite,” she said. “I really don’t have a particularly favorite time of the year for storytime. I just love to tell the stories.”If her puppets had feelings, they probably would too.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518, email@example.com
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