Tell Me a Story
Jul 05, 2016 10:08AM ● Published by Ashley Pape
For Elizabeth Beamon, books aren’t just part of her job at the Southlake Public Library; they’re a way to personally connect with community members. Affectionately known as “Ms. Elizabeth,” Beamon uses story time to share her love of literature and introduce children to the magic of books. Settle in … it’s story time.
Q: You’ve been a storyteller in Southlake for 15 years. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: Getting to know the young and young at heart. As a professional storyteller, I have performed all over Texas. When I perform here, I get to connect with my audience. Feedback from listeners is so much fun. I often say to our crowd, “You can’t make this stuff up! It’s live theater.”
Q: Give us an idea of a typical day for you.
A: We collaborate as a team at the Southlake Public Library. Stacy Wells, our Youth Services Librarian, and I plan and perform the story times for which we are known. Also, I help at the front desk, get materials ready for the shelf, and often help parents and grandparents find great books for their children.
Q: How do you select the books to read for story time?
A: Ms. Stacy and I have weekly meetings on what we will share. We introduce children to music, rhymes and poetry as well as books. These enrich our story times—music and repetition are powerful. We also remind parents, grandparents and caregivers to bring the culture of their childhood into their children’s lives.
Q: Favorite book you love reading to the kids?
A: That’s a hard one—there is such great literature. “Millions of Cats” by Wanda Gág and “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf would be two of many. Often we have requests from mystery readers during the school year, and I try not to overwhelm them with my enthusiasm.
Q: What’s the age range for most kids who attend?
A: Most of our little ones are babies to four years old. This summer, we’ve seen two-week-old siblings come with their mommy and big brother or sister because someone needs to get out.
Q: Is there a particular book that’s often requested?
A: Our little fans are so young they haven’t chosen a favorite yet. However, they love the puppets Ms. Stacy and I bring to our story time. If you ask the moms over the years, they still remember the puppets and the button game that we played together.
Q: Has anything surprised you during these story times?
A: I’m delighted to see that although the children are so young, they pay attention. Years ago, my puppet Mabel Monkey, who plays with the children, loved the Texas Rangers. When a three-year-old was dressed in an opposing team’s shirt, he told his mom, “Great, now I’m never going to get the button!” We regularly play a button game with our audience where the puppet will look for the button.
Q: What would you say to parents who haven’t yet taken their kids to story time?
A: Please come and enjoy the experience of storytelling and song. Story time is a great introduction to our library and the world of learning. We can guide you to books that you have fond memories of or start you on a new path of learning.
Q: What are some activities in store this summer at the Southlake Public Library?
A: So many I can’t list them all! We are pleased to offer Cupcake Wars for the tweens, Friday flicks at 2 p.m. along with art and animal acts for everyone. There are also reading incentives in our summer reading program.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A: Who knew when I started reading to my own children many years ago that it would lead to a career for mentoring many other generations of readers? Often parents will share how their children are in college, and they credit the Southlake Public Library for some of their success. It’s a privilege to be labeled “Ms. Elizabeth, the heart of our library.” I’m honored to be part of this great community.