Spinning a spider storytime

Recently I came across an interesting title when working on a book order.  The title screamed out at me I’m Trying to Love Spiders!  The words love and spider in close proximity to each other?  How can that be?  Of course, my interest was piqued.  I ordered it and had almost forgotten about it until it arrived.  Once I read it, I knew I had to plan a spider storytime for my preschoolers.  Creepy as they might be they are useful to us humans.  I am referring to spiders, of course.

The web unraveled as I sought out companion books for this spider themed storytime.  Books with a spider as the main character, nonfiction texts about spiders, even a spider’s diary!  Here is a sampling of what I found.

I’m trying to love spiders : (it isn’t easy) – words and pictures by Bethany Barton.

The book that started it all!  The title yelled out to me.  I mean, I could not imagine anyone trying to love spiders unless you were an arachnologist (uh-rak-nah-lu-gist).  Once I read it, though, I knew it would be a storytime hit.  I loved the way the author incorporated spider facts like what other animals are in the arachnid family, how many species of spiders there are, and how many pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a year.  By the way – they can eat a whopping 75 pounds of bugs in a year!  Considering a bug weighs maybe an ounce.  It takes 16 of those maybe an ounces to make a pound.  Do the math:  16 x 75 = 1,200 bugs!!!

Disclaimer:  My math may be a tad off, but you get the picture.

THAT IS A LOT OF BUGS!!!!!  Maybe I should have left that little spider in my bathroom this morning alone.  Oh, the guilt!!

aaaspiderAaaarrgghh! spider! by Lydia Monks

A spider decides he will try and convince a family to keep him as a pet.  The family obviously does not understand this until the spider shows them his special skill in capturing insects.  Everyone is happy about this new pet until he invites his friends over.  Of course, a spider’s friends are other spiders.  When the family returns home they get quite a shock!



diaryofspiderDiary of a spider by Doreen Cronin ; pictures by Harry Bliss

I love Doreen Cronin and had almost forgotten this was one of her books.  It takes you through a spider’s life and is set up like a diary or journal entry.


busyspiderThe very busy spider by Eric Carle

A classic by Eric Carle so I knew it was a good one!  I love the pages in this book because the web is raised on the page to give it dimension.  Kids love this!


spiders1Spiders by Aaron Carr

Talk about up close and personal photographs!  I am sure the photographer had a super telephoto lens to catch these shots.  While the pictures in this book really creeped me out, I can see kids loving them.  This is a perfect beginning information book about spiders.  I really like that they used the word “pest” instead of “bug” when referring to spiders eating insects.  Great for vocabulary development!


areyouspiderAre you a spider? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries

Well, no, I am not a spider!  Are you?  Just kidding!  This is a great nonfiction title that reads like fiction which makes it a good choice for a storytime.

You cannot have a storytime without some songs.  The singing slows down language and helps children build their phonological awareness and increase their vocabulary skills.  I set out to locate a song to go along with this creepy crawly spider theme.  Raffi has a great version of Spider on the Floor.  I also found some plastic spider rings and let the children use them as props for the song.  They moved the spider to the different places the song indicated.  Creepy good fun!

Of course, I can’t forget the Eensy Weensy Spider.

The gals at Jbrary (my personal favs) have offered more than just the Eensy Weensy Spider.  They suggest itsy bitsy, great big, very quiet, very noisy, tiny baby, very fast, or very slow spider.  Great variations on a classic nursery rhyme!

Spinning the web of this storytime was super fun! Who knows?  It may have inspired a future arachnologist or two or three in the audience.  Check out a storytime at your local Fontana Regional Library branch where we strive to inspire our future….your kids!

You’re Invited…

Jack the DipperSaturday November 2nd from 1pm-5pm Jack the Dipper will be donating 10% of ice cream sales to the FRL Reading Rover Bookmobile!

Bring your neighbors, friends, and family to enjoy an ice cream treat and an afternoon of fun in support of the Reading Rover!  Free face painting and children’s activities will be part of this event.  In addition, the Reading Rover will be open for tours.

Saturday, November 2 from 1pm-5pm


Jack the Dipper 

170 East Sylva Shopping Center

Sylva, North Carolina 28779

(828) 586-9441

View on Google Maps

But the festivities don’t end there! Stay a little later (6-7 p.m.) to experience the 1st Annual Jack the Dipper Ice Cream Eating Contest.  Western Carolina University students will compete for male and female ice cream eating champion bragging rights.  The contest is an additional fundraiser benefiting the Reading Rover.

Storytelling with Peggy Gibby
Storytelling with Peggy Gibby

Here are the results of Rover’s travels for the 2012-2013 school year:

  • 6,331 children experiencing Rover storytime
  • 582 storytime programs presented
  • 29 child care center visited monthly by the Rover
  • 9,290 library materials checked out for use in child care centers
  • Rover costs nearly $8,100 a month to operate.

Little Hands 2

Why is a visit from Rover important?

  • Many area children do not have access to books and story time at home
  • Early exposure to books and reading provide vital pre-reading skills necessary to prepare children to read on their own.

Rover Patrons


What can you do to help?

Please join us for hand-dipped ice cream at Jack the Dipper in Sylva or use the Reading Rover Pledge Form (pdf) to make your contribution.

To help us carry out the Rover mission, please read to your young child at home! Regular reading at home helps prepare you child for school, along with a whole host of additional benefits!

Read more about the Reading Rover bookmobile (a cooperative project with Smart Start and Region A Partnership for Children) on our website: http://fontanalib.org/readingRover.htm

See previous posts about the Rover:

Fundraising Dinner at Bogart’s

It’s National Bookmobile Day! Hooray for the Reading Rover!

Fundraising Dinner at Bogart’s

bogarts-restaurantWe need your support! On October 8th Fontana Regional Library will be partnering with Bogart’s Restaurant in Sylva, who will donate 10% of each meal purchased to help fund the Reading Rover Bookmobile. Come feed your family while you feed Rover!

Tuesday, October 8 from 4pm-9pm


Bogart’s Restaurant  

35 East Main Street

Sylva, North Carolina 28779

(828) 586-6532

View on Google Maps

The Reading Rover will be parked outside for tours.  Special thanks to Bogart’s of Sylva and Region A Partnership for Children!


Come see our bookmobile with its wonderful resources, helping your children to read and enjoy learning. The story teller reads stories to preschoolers and children at area child care centers and leads them in learning songs/rhymes while the Rover driver assists teachers in selecting library materials for their classrooms. At some centers, the children select their own library books from the Rover. Books, puzzles, music, puppets, and storytelling kits from the Rover help teachers of young children make learning fun!

Reading Rover

Each year it becomes more difficult to keep Rover on the road. Rising costs of diesel fuel and vehicle maintenance, as well as the increase in the cost of library books and educational materials, cannot be met by state, local and grant funding alone.

Please help “feed” Rover. Use the Reading Rover Pledge Form (pdf) to make your contribution. Read more about the Reading Rover bookmobile (a cooperative project with Smart Start and Region A Partnership for Children) on our website: http://fontanalib.org/readingRover.htm

See previous posts about the Rover:

Show me the money! Or lack thereof…

“I believe that the public library is the heart of my community. It enriches my life and inspires my future. For these reasons, I support the funding of public libraries with my tax dollars.”

You’ll be seeing those words a lot when you visit your local library, because Spring has sprung, though you’d never know it by our weather, and the coming of Spring marks another Library Legislative Day. This March 26th, people will descend upon Raleigh and attempt to meet with their representatives to show their support for libraries and library funding.  Those of us that aren’t able to make the rather long trek to the capital will send letters and email to our representatives, sign petitions, and perhaps remind Raleigh that yes, people do live west of Asheville.

Throughout this blog, I’ll be sharing fascinating facts and scintillating figures about Fontana Regional Library. Aren’t you excited? Much of what we do is under the radar, so some of this information may surprise you.

Currently, State Aid to libraries sits as $13.1 million to be spread amongst all the public libraries in North Carolina. That breaks down to roughly $1.30 per person, far less than the $2.55 libraries received per person in 2000. Our original plan was to remind our legislators that we are continually doing more with less and to request a modest increase to State Aid funding. And then Governor McCrory’s proposed budget came out.

George Lucas spent millions to bring Star Wars to life. We did it for free.
These Clone Troopers, Storm Troopers, and Boba Fett, do not approve of this cut.

He is proposing a 4.8% CUT to library funding.

Because of this new development, we’re changing track. We are asking you, our patrons, our supporters, our family, to contact your local and state officials and let them know that you support tax dollars funding public libraries. Their contact info can be found here for Macon, here for Jackson, and here for Swain.

Here in the mountains, and in rural communities across NC, public libraries are some of the only places that provide free high speed internet and free access to computers. Our digital access and computer services are core to our mission. According to our recently completed computer usage survey, our patrons feel the same. You can view the full results here.

Now here come the numbers. Are you ready? Good, let’s do this.

Total population of Macon, Jackson, and Swain counties according to the 2010 Census: 88,174

Total circulation of Fontana Regional Library (FRL) items last fiscal year: 420,375. If residents had to pay for these materials individually it would cost over $7.2 million.

Total number of people attending FREE FRL programs last fiscal year: 52,767. If the library had charged going rate for entertainment residents would have paid $600,400.

Total number of FRL computer usage last fiscal year: 92,351

Total number of FRL wi-fi usage last fiscal year: 44,641.

The cost of computers, accessories, software, internet, and maintenance would be pretty close to astronomical if residents had to pay retail prices for this service. This is how libraries are bridging the digital divide.

These kids are seriously talented.
These kids are seriously talented.

The library also provides things that are hard to turn into statistics. How do you quantify the joy a child experiences when letting their creative juices flow? Or the excitement of a person rediscovering an author they haven’t read in ages? The palpable relief that a teen feels when they find just the right book for the paper that’s due next week? The only thing we have for those stories is you.

It’s your personal stories that make the library real to our representatives. With your stories and our statistics, we may be able to remind the powers that be that libraries are crucial to our state and to our lives.

Please take a moment to contact your representatives and let them know how much you love your library and that you support funding us. We can’t do it without you! Contact info for Macon, contact info for Jackson, contact info for Swain.

The “New” NC LIVE eBooks Portal Page

NC LIVE is pleased to announce a new eBooks Portal webpage available now from the NC LIVE website.

The portal replaces a previous eBooks page that simply linked to each of NC LIVE’s eBook Collections. This new eBooks Portal makes it easier for users of the NC LIVE website to browse and search all of NC LIVE’s eBook content.

The “New” NC LIVE eBooks Portal Page

The new eBooks Portal page can be accessed by clicking on this link : http://nclive.org/browse/ebooks or by copying and pasting it into your browser’s address bar.

With over 20,000 eBooks spread across six different vendor collections, it can sometimes be difficult for users to explore all of the eBooks NC LIVE has to offer. The new NC LIVE eBooks Portal makes it easier for users to search across the eBook collections, and to explore individual collections that might interest them.

The eBooks Portal gives users easy access to:

  • eBooks on EBSCOhost (24,600 titles): includes titles in Literature, Technology, Career & Self Help, how-to books, and more.
  • ABC-CLIO (200 titles): includes titles in History, Literature, and more.
  • MyiLibrary eBooks (370 titles, approximately 100 are downloadable): includes titles in History, the Social Sciences, Criminal Justice, and more.
  • Learning Express Library (194 titles): eBooks on career development topics, test prep, and personal development.
  • Open Library: NC LIVE has partnered with the Open Library to offer access to over 200,000 books published between 1924 and 1999. These eBooks cover many subjuects and include fiction, young adult, and children’s titles.

There’s also a new FAQ information that explains how to download eBooks from the collections that contain downloadable content and answers questions such as:

  • What kind of eBooks are available through NC LIVE?
  • Can I see a list of all of the titles that are downloadable to ePub-compatible devices?
  • Are there any other downloadable eBook providers that offer content for free?

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact NC LIVE support.

It’s National Bookmobile Day! Hooray for the Reading Rover!

Fontana Regional Library’s
Reading Rover

By Jeff

So, you might already know that it’s National Library Week.  You might even know that yesterday was National Library Workers Day (time to hug your favorite library employee – but, please ask first).  But did you know that today, April 11th,  is National Bookmobile Day?  This recognition was recently initiated (2010) to celebrate the unique role of bookmobiles and direct-delivery outreach services in fulfilling the mission of libraries.  Bookmobiles have been an integral aspect of library service for over 100 years (the first one started in 1905 by Mary Lemist Titcomb in Washington County, Maryland).  They have delivered information, technology, and resources for life-long learning to Americans of all walks of life.  In some parts of the country bookmobiles provides outreach to the entire community, but in other places the services are limited to a specific population (the elderly or home-bound, or preschoolers and their caretakers).  One thing is for sure, in all these places, the people who regularly board bookmobiles, can’t wait for the vehicle to return again and whole-heatedly appreciate the services they receive.

Fontana Regional Library’s Reading Rover has been traveling the roads of Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties (including the Qualla Boundary) since 1999.  It is a cooperative project with Smart Start/Region A  Partnership for Children and serves preschoolers and child care providers with story times, teacher and parent workshops, teaching aids and parenting and family resources.

To get an idea of what this rolling library can accomplish in one year traveling to 30 child care centers, check out these numbers:

  • 547 storytime programs presented
  • 6086 children received a Rover storytime
  • 10,526 library materials checked out
    Peggy Gibby reads a story to children.

So who is providing all these services?  Well, all this is done by mainly three library employees:  Peggy Gibby, Carol Grise and Joan Lackey.  In most cases, Peggy reads stories to preschoolers and leads them in learning songs/rhymes and Joan, the Rover driver, assists teachers in selecting library materials for their classrooms.   Meanwhile, Carol offers training classes to childcare teachers, giving tips on selecting age-appropriate books for the classroom and offering assistance in using the variety of Rover puppets, storytelling kits and books for teaching pre-reading skills.

While the services to these preschoolers, caretakers and parents are seen as vital to our community, they is costly.   Fontana Regional Library budgets approximately $95,000 per fiscal year to keep the Rover on the road.  Unfortunately, many of the grants that have helped sustain the Rover in past have either lowered their funding or completely dried up during these hard economic times.

Joan Lackey assists in checking out books.

As I mentioned above, the services offered by the Reading Rover are vital to preschoolers and their parents, but in truth, these services are vital to everyone.  A child who enters the school with preliteracy skills, is a child prepared to succeed in school and, eventually, in life.

If you’re wondering what you can do to help, well there a couple things you can do.  First of all, please be a vocal advocate for the Reading Rover.  That’s right, just talk to your friends, neighbors, family members, maybe even an elected official, about the importance of the Reading Rover and its services to our community.  Maybe a few of your friends will, in turn, also advocate for the Rover, and then a couple their friends, and then…you get the picture.  Secondly, of course, you can figuratively “feed Rover”  with a financial contribution.  If this is an option for you, please download  this brochure/donation form and send in your tax deductible contribution to this worthy cause.