25 Years of Story Telling

Staff Writer

After 25 year of telling tales, making crafts and encouraging children to use their imagination, Carolyn Beck with the St. Marys Community Public Library has decided it is time to slow down. On Wednesday afternoon, the library held an open house celebrating Beck’s service with the library and invited the public to celebrate with them.

Beck began working at the library in 1994, working the front desk when she said everything started to fall into place for her and her role with the children’s section. A former elementary teacher, she said she landed the role of helping with storytime and crafts when the Sue Pittman decided to go back to school for her master’s degree and a spot opened up.

From that point on, everything falling into place continued for the storyteller as meeting with other librarians and technology made the job easier and more fun.

In the beginning, she said she used to visit the local schools and surrounding libraries to see what kind of crafts they were making to get her ideas before discovering Pinterest.

“This is just a fantastic thing, I mean on Pinterest you can find a craft on anything and just endless crafts for all different ages,” she said. “And that’s just been a real godsent.”

For Beck, her themes for storytime and crafts came from the world around her. She explained that she looks through the new books that come in and tries to put together ones that she thinks share a common interest. She also looks at what is going on outside of the library to tie current events into her storytimes.

“I just think that, ‘this can go with this,’ and, ‘this can go with this,’” she explained. “It just works together really well.”

Anything can be a theme, she added, listing off season changes, holidays, cars, trucks, anniversaries and more as themes that are fair game for any given storytime.

On top of using Pinterest, she said YouTube was also a big help as many librarians have put their crafts and themes online to share with others. From when she started in the mid-90s, she said the job got easier with the help of others.

“It’s just so much easier, it’s all out there,” Beck said. “You just have to look and you can get wonderful ideas and see how they do it.”

For the 72-year-old, the most memorable moments are the ones where she is interacting with the children and they are having a lot of fun — whether that is putting on puppet shows or invigorating their imaginations.
One of her favorite memories comes from a few years ago, around the time the movie “The Polar Express” was in theaters. She explained that another library employee brought in a cardboard cutout of a train and Beck pretended to be the conductor. Chairs were set up behind her and they pretended to sway back and forth with the train.

“There’s just so many fun things you can do with kids and it’s just been the most fun job ever,” she said.

That kind of interaction is the most fun part about the job, Beck said. The interactions and seeing how proud the children are of their crafts made it all worth it.

Despite the love for the children and the interactions, something she is sure to miss, the growth of technology has made it time for Beck to hang her hat up and start enjoying the golden years of her life, although she isn’t sure what that means yet.

What she does know is the people who are taking over the storytimes and crafts are more than capable of the job. Beck said she will still continue to come to the library’s open houses and events but wants to make sure she isn’t imposing on the adults taking over for her.

“The people that take it over, I want to be fair to them,” she said. “I want them to do their thing and not have them think, ‘she’s watching me.’”

Whatever the new librarians have in store, she knows it will be good and the children will have fun.

Now, she just has to determine what to do with all the free time she will have.

She shared some ideas she was playing with but said she wasn’t sure what would stick and what would not.

“People keep telling me, ‘it will all fall into place, you’ll see. It will fall into place.’ But first I have to clean my house,” she laughed.