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Waccamaw Library: Children’s librarian starts new programs

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Miss Manners’ had to readjust the chairs in the room as children kept arriving at her etiquette class Saturday at the Waccamaw Library.

“My circle is growing,” said Connie Graham, who assumes the persona of Miss Manners on the first Saturday of every month at the library when she instructs a class or leads a field trip in order to teach youngsters how to act in public.

Saturday’s lessons were on personal greetings and telephone etiquette. About 35 children attended the session that is part of the program being developed by new children’s librarian Amy King.

Miss Manners emphasized eye contact and a firm handshake to the children during the 90-minute program that also included a Valentine’s craft and King reading the book “Arthur’s Valentine” aloud.

The series will continue this week with naturalist Jerry Walls bringing a collection of snakes for the “Second Saturday” program in the library’s conference room at 10:30 a.m. There is also story time on Wednesdays and Bookworm Club on Thursdays. Scavenger hunts make learning about the library more fun and allows young patrons to discover there is an Xbox and Wii available for play along with all the books.

It’s all part of a fast-paced environment King is designing to hold children’s interest and keep the library a place to visit.

A former children’s librarian at Waccamaw knew that King loved children and advised her to apply for the job when it came open.

“I’ve always volunteered in my kids’ schools and love books,” she said.

King majored in English at the College of Charleston and worked as an assistant in her mother’s accounting firm. She and her husband, Randall, a salesman of concrete block, brick and mortar for Adams Products, live at Wachesaw East with their three sons.

“When this opportunity came up I was very blessed and excited that they picked me,” King said. “I had worked with the Lego League at St. Michael’s, and we’ve done a few things with Legos here.”

County library director Dwight McInvaill said King has proven popular with the community and children love her. “I’ve gotten excellent reports about the good work she’s done,” he said. “She’s a person with a lot of energy and creativity.”

King is looking forward to the new Waccamaw library off Willbrook Boulevard — ground-breaking ceremonies are scheduled March 15 — so she can appeal to more children.

“I am really pushing that we need a playground at the new library,” she said. “When you go outside at the Socastee Library, they have a soft playground for toddlers and a big kids’ playground. It’s lovely. When my kids were young, even though we live in Georgetown County, we’d go to the Socastee Library where they could play outside. Three boys can only sit still so long before chaos is everywhere.

“We were at a library in Charleston for a Performers Showcase, and they have a giant tree in the middle. I’m really excited about what we are going to be able to do at the new learning center. It’s right around the corner.”

King says the new library’s children’s area will be separated from the main section by a wall, and children won’t have to be constantly reminded to be quiet.

The children’s area at the existing library is a small area that is home to picture books, juvenile and young adult fiction and non-fiction and the Easy Readers and videos. “It’s a lot,” King says, “but it’s hard here because we don’t want the kids to be too loud.”

King enjoys doing crafts and singing with children, but nothing is more important than reading.

“It’s so important to read from the very beginning,” she said, “when they are tiny babies, just so they know how a book opens and that they read in a certain direction. You aren’t born knowing that.”

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