Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–Even as the West Liberty Public Library continues to practice social distancing, their summer reading activities will bring people together in creative ways. On June 8, the library began their programming with a shadow puppet workshop jointly run by Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre.

According to West Liberty Public Library Director Allie Paarsmith, the library staff and Eulenspiegel puppeteers came up with the program as, “a really good way to have an engaging online experience.” Over the years, the library has worked with Eulenspiegel on many occasions, and Paarsmith welcomes this opportunity to keep their collaboration going. “Eulenspiegel has been a really great partner in the past,” she shared. “I love that they’re a local puppet theatre that we can partner with.”

The program also ties into the library’s summer reading theme, Imagine Your Story, inviting children to put stories into action using the puppets they make. “Everything is possible with puppets,” added Paarsmith.

On the first two days of the program, June 8 and 10, participating children worked with puppeteers using Zoom to write a script and create puppets for their very own show. Using supplies picked up from the library, each participant had everything needed to create puppets at home and practice their own unique scene. On June 12, they will perform their show live for each other via Zoom. Members of the community may enjoy the performance as well by watching it on the West Liberty Public Library website or on Eulenspiegel’s Facebook page.

Following the puppet fun, the West Liberty Public Library encourages people of any age to join their summer reading program. “I think it’s important not to forget that we’re encouraging lifelong learning at the library,” explained Paarsmith.

To help meet that goal, the library will mail out summer reading bookmarks to every West Liberty address. To participate, any resident simply needs to read five books and record them on the bookmark provided. Then, following the instructions in the letter, they can return their bookmark to the library curbside to enter into a variety of prize drawings, which will take place in the fall. For anyone who needs additional bookmarks for more family members, they may print them off at home, or pick them up curb side from the library.

Through individual participation and online activities such as the puppetry program, Paarsmith hopes this summer will remind West Liberty residents that, “reading is fun for everyone.”

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