Spring is getting closer, March 19 can’t come soon enough, right?

If you are like me, I’m ready for some green grass and little birds chirping. It’s a great time to enjoy books with kids. Everyday moments that you spend with your children really do matter. The library can help you to get your child off to a good start.

The library offers a great place to visit. I see babies and toddlers with loving caregivers every day in our Baby Zone and Discovery Center. I’ve been assisting with our Baby Lapsit Programs at 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and we have some amazing littles we just love. It’s fun watching them learn and grow. They might not be very vocal yet but they make some amazing eye contact. We know they are taking everything in. It’s fun building relationships with our patrons and it makes me so happy to see moms, dads, grandparents, childcare providers, etc. bring their children in. They also check out books and use the library.

I love to read the articles from Barbara Beck, an early childhood education instructor at Central Community College. She is always sharing important information about brain development and childcare. Here is her latest link she shared with me on brain development about the first three years of a child’s life being the most important; www.zerotothree.org/early-development/brain-development/.

I love the featured sections such as “Getting Ready for School Begins at Birth” and reading books to our little ones makes a huge difference for kids. Please take some time and check out some board books and share them with your little one. What a great time to learn and bond.

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute recently released the new groundbreaking report, “Elevating Nebraska’s Early Childhood Workforce: Report and Recommendations of the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission.” This report developed over three years with public and private sector leaders outlines the urgent need to prioritize the early childhood workforce in Nebraska. It is available at https://earlyyearsmatter.org/workforce .

Here are some startling facts from the report. In Nebraska:

-- More than 75% of children under age 6 live in homes where all adults work and no one is left to care for them if they are not enrolled in some form of child care.

-- 84% of Nebraska counties do not have enough child care slots to meet the

-- In 2016, more than 4,000 Nebraska parents were forced to leave a job, turn down a job offer or change jobs because of child care problems.

-- Statewide, only 15% of Nebraskans report being very satisfied with the quality of the early care and education programs available in the city or area where they live.

As a professional who works with children, and as a grandmother and taxpayer who lives in Grand Island, we all want the best for our children here in Grand Island andHall County.

We have some great programs coming up at the library including:

-- Dr. Seuss’s Birthday is March 2 and we will celebrate his birthday all week with special Seussical fun during our regularly scheduled library programs. On Saturday, March 7, we will have a Seuss Birthday Bash at 11 a.m.

-- Spring Break for Youth is set for March 9 through 12 with programs for children at 10:30 a.m. and for tweens and teens at 2 p.m. Visit our website at www.gilibrary.org to find information on programming or call the library at (308) 385-5333.

Thank you everyone who attended or helped with the 17th annual Bear Fair. It was fun going out to preschools and connecting with the little bear cubs.

I enjoyed and strongly recommend the 2020 Caldecott Medal Honor Book, “Bear Came Along” by Richard T. Morris.

Celine Swan is the youth and family services librarian for the Grand Island Public Library. Email her at CelineS@gilibrary.org.

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