By ROBIN CAUDELL
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Children will read anything and everything they can get their hands on.
“I give great thanks to J.K. Rowling who authored the ‘Harry Potter’ books,” said Sharon Bandhold, youth services librarian at the Plattsburgh Public Library. “They came out when I first started working here. She rejuvenated reading throughout the world.”
In the intervening years, there are many more options for reading, such as eBooks.
“Our library system has a downloadable eBook program and also a downloadable audio book (program),” she said, adding that they are free. “There’s a two-week loan for eBooks.”
Having children check out books from their local library is the primary choice for parents who are not comfortable with giving their kids access to a credit card to purchase eBooks online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Visitors to the library’s Children’s Room peak during the summer months. There, patrons get books the old-fashioned way.
“(With) the economy being the way it is, if a parent has to choose between food or gas instead of buying books, that’s why we’re here, to keep people reading all the newest books available,” Bandhold said.
The Children’s Room offers “Story Time for Preschoolers” at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays.
Bandhold’s picture-book recommendations for children ages 7 or 8 are “A Ball for Daisy” by Chris Raschka, “How To Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps” by Jennifer Huget, “The Smash-Up Crash-Up Derby” by Tres Seymour and “Who’s That Banging on the Ceiling?: A Multistory” by Colin McNaughton.
Juvenile fiction choices for children ages 8 to 11 are “The Boy of a Thousand Faces” by Brian Selznick, “The Dark is Rising” by Susan Cooper, “First Light” by Rebecca Stead and “Punished” by David Lubar.
Two young-adult fiction titles are “Revolution” by Jennifer Donnelly and “The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater.
“We have a broad range of material, fiction and nonfiction. I find reading incredibly relaxing. I can’t imagine that being taken away from the people of this area,” Bandhold said. “Because we’re in such tight economic times, a huge amount of people are coming in. We have many Plattsburgh State students in education courses, reading courses or literacy courses coming to use our library.”
Bandhold is among the staffers who continuously purchase books from January to mid-November. Their selections are based on reviews in professional library journals.
The staffers are also constantly weeding books out of the collection that may not have circulated in three years. Now, new books can be easily accessed upon entering the Children’s Room.
Bandhold advises parents to keep their kids reading so they can love and enjoy reading.
“You don’t have to sit and read to them for a long time. Fifteen minutes a night is long enough. For some kids, that’s as long as their attention spans go.”
National Common Core Standards are being phased in through 2014.
“Reading consistently should help children read at or above their grade level, which is part of what the Common Core Standards will look at,” Bandhold said.
Reading is a nutrient for the brain in Bandhold’s estimation.
“Hopefully, it’s something they will love all their lives,” she said.
Email Robin Caudell: firstname.lastname@example.org