Story Time with the Provost Builds Community around Reading
By Dawn Burngasser
Children gathered in the Reinberger Children’s Library Center on Monday, May 24, to hear several stories read aloud. Robert G. Frank, Ph.D., senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Kent State, was the featured reader.
Dr. Frank and his wife, Janet Frank, read several stories to a group of eager youngsters from the Child Development Center on campus. This is the second time a group from the facility has visited the library this spring.
The Reinberger Children’s Library Center in the School of Library and Information Science is located on the third floor of the University Library. It opened in 2003 and has been used as a model classroom for aspiring children's and young adult librarians, as well as school library media specialists.
The Center houses the Marantz Picturebook Collection of more than 25,000 children’s picture books, along with children’s and young adult library areas. Graduate level classes are held in the space, where students have all the materials they need for projects and research. The area is also used by visiting scholars, parents and children.
The event opened with Trent Roberts, a graduate of the Master’s of Library and Information Science program, reading the book Dog Day by Sarah Hayes. He energetically mimicked several sounds and motions from the book, which the children echoed.
After that story was finished, Dr. and Mrs. Frank were introduced.
“Hi Frank!” the children shouted.
The Provost and his wife smiled and introduced their books. They asked if any of the children have a dog, the topic of that day’s stories. Several of the kids raised their hands high.
Dr. Frank read The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden, a story of a dog that sneaks out at night and lives a life of luxury.
Next, Mrs. Frank read Carl’s Afternoon in the Park by Alexandra Day, a story about the fun adventures of a dog and a child.
When the story concluded, one of the children exclaimed “I want a Carl!”
Dr. and Mrs. Frank said they chose the books because they used to read them with their children.
Mrs. Frank finished with the book Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. The children applauded after each story and chatted fervently.
“We’re all voracious readers,” Mrs. Frank said of her family.
“We feel it’s very important for kids to read,” Dr. Frank added. “It’s important to so many intellectual processes.”
He went on to explain another reason why reading is imperative.
“It’s the most special time of the day for most families,” he said.
Reading promotes positive emotional bonding and fulfills the need to spend time together, Dr. Frank explained. Parents can help their children by setting aside a specific time every day for reading. They can set a good example by making reading a habit of their own, he added.
“Reading is my life’s work,” Dr. Frank said. “Everything I do is about reading.”
Like many others, Dr. Frank reads to relax in his personal time, to discover new ideas and information, and to keep up with world events.
Libraries also play an important role in connecting the community, Dr. Frank added. He described libraries as the defining characteristic of a University.
“Just last weekend I was bragging about the quality of our children's librarianship program and these wonderful facilities (Reinberger Center and Marantz collection),” Dr. Frank said.
Whether it’s serving a small community, like a group of children, or the larger area surrounding the campus, “an event like this reminds us that we give back to many communities,” Dr. Frank said.
He added that we are working toward a greater cause every day, and that Kent State’s contributions to the community sometimes go unrecognized. Even “small events like this” have an impact, he said.
“Even as the definition of a library changes (to keep up with technology), the ideas and information will always bring people together,” Dr. Frank said.