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February 9th, 2011
San Marcos Public Library wins award for story time program


Storytime volunteers sit with some satisfied listeners. Left to right: Beverly Owen, Mateo McVey-Zuniga, Steven Roberson, Susan Smith, Stephanie Langenkamp, Kaycie Halatin, Beth Schott.


The San Marcos Public Library, 625 East Hopkins Street, recently was honored with the Central Texas Library System’s Friends 2011 Project of the Year Award for its Childcare Storytime project. The project brings a weekly story time to children in childcare centers across the city of San Marcos.

For ten years, Friends of the Library volunteers have given a story time experience to children in San Marcos day care centers and delivered baskets of selected books. Each preschooler is given the opportunity to enjoy 700 books per year. U.S. Department of Education studies across the country indicate that children who are exposed to books and reading in their early years before school become better readers and and more successful students when they reach school age.

The Friends Childcare Storytime project began in 2001, when library staff noticed that fewer and fewer childcare centers were able to schedule library visits. At the same time, there was steady stream of library volunteers wanting to read to children. Friends of the Library initially funded the program providing a special collection of books for story time volunteers to stop by, pick up appropriate books and take them to child care centers to read.

Beverly Owen, one of the first volunteers, has been reading to children in the program for ten years at the child care center her grandchildren attended. Beth Schott, another original volunteer, read to children at the Head Start Center and later  included reading to the center that serves children of teenage parents at the high school. She now reads and delivers books to three classes at a mother’s day out program.

Owen and Schott are two examples of the many people who helped make the program successful. There have been dozens of dedicated volunteers who served the project during the past ten years.

In the past decade, total attendance at the Friends Storytime service has topped 51,000. Volunteers delivered and read 57,000 books and presented 4,097 story times.

The program has been a delight to both the children and the volunteers. The Storytime experience rewards the children by preparing them for reading and school, and has proved equally rewarding for the volunteers.

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