EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 22, 2013

New Plaistow librarian sparks children's interests

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — PLAISTOW — Whether it’s dressing up as Superman or making worms from scratch, children can always expect something unique and creative at Plaistow Public Library.

Both activities are run by new library youth services director Nancy Chase. Chase offers children monthly activities such as Silly Science or Superhero Saturdays, among many other new programs.

“These programs are very interactive,” Chase said. “We do an interesting craft. It keeps kids’ interest and keeps them moving.”

Chase was officially named youth services director in January, but has been with the library since August. She worked at Derry Public Library for two years and used to be a teacher in Londonderry.

“I just really enjoy the library,” Chase said. “I like the variety of the activities you are able to do at the library.”

Chase hosted her first Superhero Saturday last weekend and had 10 children, ages 4 to 8, participate in the program. The children dressed up as their favorite comic book hero and did some “super” tasks at the library.

“We had them leap large buildings in a single bound and find the hidden kryptonite,” she said.

The large buildings were small boxes stacked on top of each other and the kryptonite were glowsticks Chase hid around the library.

Even parents joined the fun.

“They came dressed in costume, too, and I didn’t even ask them to,” Chase said.

But dressing up as superheroes isn’t the only fun children get to have.

Chase offers a program called Silly Science for ages 5 to 8. She conducts science experiments, such as making worms and quicksand out of polymer solutions.

Since Chase has taken over the programs, parents said they have seen a noticeable change.

“You just see a difference in how organized she is,” said Sharon Norcott of Plaistow.

Chase also has a jam-packed schedule for February vacation. A puppeteer and a butterfly expert are scheduled to appear at the library next week. Her activities are so popular, that children from out of town show up for her programs.

“People come from a distance because they’ve heard about what we have,” she said. “Our numbers are just skyrocketing for these programs. I am maxed out with a waiting list for the majority of our programs.”

Chase said between 10 and 15 children participate in each session. She offers activities several times a week, including story telling, book clubs, and Lego and Wii programs.

“I try to tie in literacy and make things educational,” Chase said.

Kelley Fox said her children have made new friends at the library.

“The social part is huge,” Fox said. “Since we’ve been in Plaistow, most of the friends we’ve met are through the library.”

The children also become familiar with the library staff and the concept of a public library.

“I want my kids to grow up in the library environment,” Fox said. “They know their way around the library and know who is who.”

But for Chase, the ultimate goal is getting children acclimated to the library and promote reading.

“We just need to get kids through the door so they can see all the library has to offer,” she said. “Once they are here, they see all the resources that we have.”