Saturday February 2, 2013

GREENFIELD, Mass. -- On Saturday, March 2, children will not have to look for the magic entrance to Narnia.

Thanks to the Greenfield Public Library, youngsters can spend an "Afternoon in Narnia: A Book Experience Party" from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

"We’re all very excited," said assistant library director Lisa Prolman. "This free event is a big extravaganza where people will have a lot of fun and a great experience."

Prolman notes that Kay Lyons, the children’s librarian, has a marvelous gift for bringing children’s literature to life. "Kay does a particularly excellent job of taking the elements from books and creating skits followed by a lot of interactive activities that really bring kids into the story."

Volunteers and workers on the library staff will play the roles of characters from the immortal "Chronicles of Narnia" from the pen of C.S. Lewis. The get-together begins in the LeVanway Meeting Room and will move throughout the library as scenes from the chronicles unfold.

"We’ve had many people attend our parties in the past," said Prolman. "This event is suggested for ages 7 and older."

For more information, call Kay Lyons at 413-772-1544.

Meanwhile, the Greenfield Public Library is showing a new look these days under the guidance of first-year librarian Ellen Boyer. "I’m very excited about the rearranging that’s occurred. Ellen has brought fresh eyes and led us with her new vision for the library. She’s wonderful to work with, is very enthusiastic, and has lot of ideas as we continue to make better use of our space.

"For example, we’ve moved our music CDs to an audio-visual room with DVDs, audio books, and CDs all in one place." Prolman added with a smile, "Now we have more room between shelves, so we won’t have patrons crashing into each other while browsing."

A beautiful building, the Greenfield Public Library occupies the Leavitt-Hovey House, which was laid out by Asher Benjamin and built in 1797. He wrote the first architectural pattern book in the nation. The Town of Greenfield bought the building, which is on the National Historic Register, in 1907, preserving the exterior while rebuilding the wings. The library opened its doors on Jan. 11, 1909.

Although moving projects figure prominently on the agenda at the library, there still remain a good deal of free programs on the schedule. For instance, the Fiction Classics Book Group for adults meets on the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Authors discussed in the past have included Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Wouk, Edith Wharton and Gerald Green.

In addition, there is the Kids’ Reading Club that meets

monthly. Local educator Rachael Roberts leads this group geared for children ages 7 to 9. Books can be read aloud or independently. Each session features a book discussion, a book summary project and a fun activity based on the book. The Kids’ Reading Club meets Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 4 p.m.

Another interesting children’s program is the Pre-School Story Hour, guided by Sally Ahearn. Designed for children ages 5 and under, this group meets each Tuesday at 10 a.m. and is highlighted by songs, stories, and crafts.

"Mother Goose on the Loose" takes the spotlight every Friday morning from 11 to 11:45 with Children’s Librarian Lyons presenting. Lyons excels at making early learning plenty of hands-on fun with activities planned for children 3 and under plus lots of songs and rhymes rounding out the sessions.

In addition, Sunshine Story Time is a GPL program designed for children of all ages. The group meets each Monday at 10 a.m. with Lyons except for Presidents’ Day, when the library is closed.

Meanwhile, the library holds a writer’s lunch Mondays through Thursdays at noon. Jane Buchanan is the group leader.

Two noteworthy book readings will take place this month. Local illustrator Brendan Flannelly-King will discuss his work Monday at 4:30 p.m., while local author Ted Cromack will read from his latest mystery Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Looking toward the future, Prolman is delighted to announce that the Greenfield Public Library is planning a return of Friday Night Films this summer.

Prolman, who’s been at GPL for 16 years, said, "We’re thrilled that we can offer this program again this year. We’re hoping to have as many Academy Award movies as we can get the rights to show."

The library also offers GPL card holders the ability to visit www.GreenfieldPublicLibrary.org where they can use their cards to access Freegal -- "iTunes for libraries." Three free songs are available each week from the Sony Music Catalog for card holders. In addition, Freading offers a no-wait source of e-books for those with cards.

In addition, thanks to the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library, card holders may obtain passes to area museums and attractions. The list of destinations is as follows: Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Children’s Museum at Holyoke, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Green River Swimming and Recreation in Greenfield (June to Labor Day), Historic Deerfield, Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in Deerfield, Mass MoCA in North Adams, Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., Springfield Museums on the Quadrangle, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, and the USS Constitution Museum.

For more info on any programs or events involving the GPL, call 413-772-1544.