Emerson Taylor introduces new programing at Musser Library

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlberthttps://discovermuscatine.com
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Throughout his career, Emerson Taylor, the newest teens’ and children’s librarian at Musser Public Library, has enjoyed making learning come alive. After graduating from the University of Central Missouri, Taylor taught special education for 12 years, including in Muscatine at McKinley Elementary. Even while he taught, Taylor liked to help people learn in other ways. He would travel to libraries in Iowa and Illinois and perform as Mr. Taylor Sings, singing songs and doing read aloud activities with children to help develop their literacy skills and love of reading. After two years of offering performances at the Musser Public Library, Taylor looks forward to joining their staff full time, continuing some of the best loved programs for children and adding new opportunities for learners of many ages.

On Mondays, Thursdays, and alternating Saturdays, Taylor will offer O Baby Lapsit, giving children ages three and under a time to enjoy a story and other literacy activities along with a parent or other caregiver. In tandem with Youth Services Manager Betty Collins, Taylor will lead Sparkplugs, a program for kids ages four to eight-years-old that invites their whole family to join in. Beginning Sept. 22 and continuing for six weeks, participating families will immerse themselves in the program’s Explore Ancient Egypt theme, giving them a chance to hear stories about this fascinating part of history, try hands on activities, and have some yummy snacks as well. Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of King Tut’s tomb, Taylor hopes many families will join him or try out Sparkplugs later in the year when they explore color.

For junior high school and high school students who love music, fining an affordable way to practice with experts can prove challenging. As someone who plays many instruments himself, Taylor wanted to help teens interested in growing their musical talent and meeting other likeminded players by starting the Library of Rock program. For five weeks beginning Oct. 7, players of any skill level may bring their instrument to the library and practice with the help of volunteer musicians. “I’m looking forward to hopefully engaging people who aren’t a part of the library circle,” Taylor explained, “I was an unconventional library goer myself, so offering some unconventional programs speaks to me.” As Taylor pilots this program, he welcomes any musicians who would like to volunteer to help by emailing him or calling 563-263-3065 extension 128.

After spending many years teaching special education, Taylor cares deeply about helping parents of children in special education understand their individualized education plans, or IEPs. Beginning Oct. 3 and running for six weeks, parents will have the chance to learn from Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency staff what information IEPs contain, what rights parents have, and benefits their children may qualify for.

Never one to confine learning to the Library, Taylor also has two programs that will reach a broader audience. Throughout the school year, Taylor will bring Mr. Taylor Songs and Stories Goes to School to kindergarten classes throughout Muscatine, delighting children with read alouds, songs, and even puppet performances. For those wanting to experience the joys of reading at home, Taylor also produces a biweekly podcast on Apple Podcasts called “Take a Picture Walk,” where he interviews young readers about some of their favorite books and has them recount the story to get other kids interested in reading them as well.

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