Miss Gwen recently re-located (and we were sad to see her go!). Jill, who you may recognize from interactions at the Service Center, will now be planning, preparing, and presenting the preschool-focused art and science programming at the Library. Let’s get to know her better and what she’s bringing to her new role!
Why did you want to take on this role focused on helping preschoolers and their parents/caregivers?
I am a mom to a 6-year-old and have really found a passion for helping her learn and grow. It is fascinating to watch her brain working when introduced to new ideas. I’m someone who also loves learning, and I’ve found that I’m learning so much right along with her– and not just “facts” but social-emotional tools that we can use together to foster our relationship of learning and love. It’s a great adventure, and I’m so excited to work with other kiddos and caregivers to share that joy of learning and love!
Can you share any exciting plans or ideas you will be introducing (or have introduced)?
My first initiative at CAPL has been exploring winter science with some Take & Explore bags in our lobby. These are simple, open-ended, screen-free experiments, with a focus on creative thinking, and exploring the world around us. Included in every bag is a short book list to continue the conversation around the theme. I am a huge fan of book lists, so look out for them in future programming!
As for future programs, I am a daughter of a pastry chef, and love all things cooking related. I hope to bring that love to our littlest Cary area patrons with a “Little Kids in the Kitchen” program. Also in the programming works is a focus on sensory processing and dealing with big emotions. These are some of the toughest hills I have had to climb as a parent, and I have great interest in curating programming to address these issues.
Please name a few of your favorite books:
When I was little in the ’80s I adored any book that engaged my senses. I remember loving the scratch and sniff Golden Books like The Sweet Smell of Christmas and Detective Arthur on the Sent. I also had a book called Make a Bigger Puddle Make a Smaller Worm, that came with a mirror that you could use on the illustrations to make them appear bigger or smaller…it was magic to me! In grade school, my mom read me all of the Roald Dalh books, with The Witches being my favorite (even though she thought it was too scary!) Once I started reading by myself, my favorite books were The Phantom Tollbooth, Peppermints in the Parlor, The House With the Clock in its Walls, A Wizard of Earthsea, and the classic Nancy Drew books.
I am still a fan of children’s books, especially gems from the ’70s and ’80s. I have a collection of hundreds of titles, and am always researching lesser-known works– in fact if there is a book from your childhood that you vaguely remember and want help to remember, contact me! In addition to children’s books, I am also a huge middle-grade fan. Those were the years when I really developed a love of reading, so books in that age range are like comfort food to me. If I’m not reading, working, or teaching my daughter, you can find me baking, playing D&D, gaming, board gaming, more gaming, and daydreaming.