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New children's librarian excited to invest in children's love of books
October 12, 2018

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SHEPHERDSTOWN -- Tara Carlisle, of Harpers Ferry, grew up loving books, and her appreciation for children's literature has continued long into adulthood.

As Shepherdstown Public Library's new Children's Librarian, Carlisle is excited to be part of the process of encouraging children to love learning from a young age, through weekly programming -- Lapbabies, for birth to 18-month-olds; Time for Twos, for two-year-olds; 3-5 year olds; and After School Story Time -- and special events.

"I look forward to getting to know all of the kids better. I would like to increase programming in the Children's Department, but right now, I'm going to focus on our current programming," Carlisle said, mentioning she has considered hosting STEAM-related family nights and more programs during the week, for homeschooling families.

Carlisle, who received her master's degree in library science in August, has some personal experience as a homeschool mom, having homeschooled her three daughters during some of the years when they were stationed around the country with her husband, who was in the Coast Guard. According to Carlisle, the family moved to West Virginia in July, after her husband retired from the Coast Guard and got a job at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg. The timing of the move could not have been better, as the very next month former Children's Librarian Christy Haggerty left the library for a position as South Hagerstown High School's librarian. Carlisle was hired for the empty position, and joined the library on Aug. 20, spending her first week training with Haggerty, before Haggerty left for her new job.

According to Carlisle, her nine years of experience working in libraries -- two of which she served as a children's librarian in New Jersey -- have prepared her for many of the challenges she will face at the Shepherdstown Public Library. The years she spent homeschooling will be put to use, as she prepares curriculum for the department's programming.

"Whenever we moved to a new area, my family would get a library card. We always took advantage of our local library's resources," Carlisle said. "I enjoyed using books to supplement their education -- we would read a book and we would do projects based on it, so it reminded me of library programming a little bit.

"It's exciting to help children find books that they love. This one little girl the other day said to me, 'I want to be a librarian when I grow up!' So just seeing the passion they have for books is exciting for me," Carlisle said.

Although Carlisle enjoys recommending her favorite books -- "Little Women," "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Harry Potter" -- to children in the library, she believes all books have the power to inspire a love for reading.

"I see value in all books. If you get a book in a kid's hand, it can open doors to them reading more," Carlisle said. "Although a lot of parents don't like them, I love graphic novels, because once children read all of the books in a graphic novel series, they might pick up another book."

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