It’s a beautiful spring day and you decide to spend some time in nature.
Why not take a stroll along the Hudson River down by Vincent Clark Park?
You grab your picnic basket, camera to take photos of the beautiful scenic views and your water.
You head down there, but oh no! You realize you forgot your book and no perfect trip to the park can be complete without literature.
No worries, because you’ve got Rose Memorial Library.
You walk in and you’re greeted by a warm smile from Susan Babcock, the head of youth services and head of circulation.
Babcock didn’t always know that she wanted to work at the library.
In fact, she was a pre-K teacher at House On Hill Head Start in Goshen.
“When I was teaching pre-K, actually, my main focus was always trying to do things to instill literacy to preschoolers and it just kind of grew from there,” she said.
Babcock was always a reader and so five years after teaching, she decided to work at a library.
What warms her heart the most is watching the kids grow up.
“Before I worked here I worked at another library and I see those kids going off to college. I just think in some way I had some part of that,” she said.
She started working at Tuxedo Park Library as Head of Youth Services in 2000 before starting at Rose Memorial Library in 2018.
Babcock loves doing readers’ advisory, that is, bringing books and people together.
“Connecting a kid with a book that they love is just something,” she said. “When they come back to me with a book that I gave them and they tell me how much they loved it, it just really warms my heart to know that I was able to connect them with literacy, and learning, and some kind of reading adventure and they start to learn and love to read.”
Like her fellow librarians, Babcock is committed to the sharing and preservation of literature and expressed dismay that there are some people who wish to remove them from the shelves altogether.
“I definitely think that there’s things that littler kids shouldn’t read that aren’t age appropriate, but that’s really up to parents to kind of do that themselves,” she said.
As for her thoughts on editing books, like Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novels, Babcock finds that “things need to be changed and moved on with the times.”
“Some of the language in some books are hurtful in some of the ways things are depicted. I think it was a result of the way things were at the time that it was published, but I think that we need to have books on our shelves that are diverse,” she said. “Years ago people came in and they couldn’t necessarily find a book that reflected what they’re family looks like and now they can. I think that’s a good thing.”
According to PEN America, some of the most banned picture books in 2022 include “And Tango Makes Three,” a story about two male penguins adopting a baby penguin, and “The Name Jar,” a story about a young girl from Korea who decides to choose an American name from a glass jar.
“All people are welcome,” Babcock said. To her, libraries are more than just books.
“They’re more like community centers nowadays,” she said.
What she loves about the Rose Memorial Library is that it’s located right near the Hudson River.
Babcock held a lot of programs at Vincent Clark Park after the pandemic.
She likes the idea of being outside, exploring and “connecting that with good books.”
Two programs that she holds are Lunch Brunch Storytime for 3 to 5 year olds and Baby/Toddler Storytime for 1 to 3 year olds.
Another program she recommends is Tunes for Tots, 45-minute music classes for toddlers and preschoolers presented by Tunes for Tots Rockland.
With summer coming soon, Babcock highly recommends that families take advantage of the resources that the library offers, especially the free museum passes.
“They can check that out and bring their whole family for a day adventure,” she said.
To learn more about events and resources that the Rose Memorial Library offers, be sure to check out their website and calendar.
“I think people don’t see the value of the library as much as they should and I’m glad that National Library Week gives them that chance to bring attention to what value libraries are to their communities,” she said.
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