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Published: Monday, 5/20/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Library opens early literacy center

‘Playroom’ fosters skills in preschoolers

BY MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Harriet Loar, left, gets a guided tour of the new Harriet Loar Early Literacy Center from Children’s Librarian Martie Yunker at the Evergreen Community Library in Metamora, Ohio. The educational center will be open during library hours, except for the story-time hour on Wednesdays. Harriet Loar, left, gets a guided tour of the new Harriet Loar Early Literacy Center from Children’s Librarian Martie Yunker at the Evergreen Community Library in Metamora, Ohio. The educational center will be open during library hours, except for the story-time hour on Wednesdays.
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METAMORA, Ohio — Area preschool-age children who are learning to read and write just got a boost — an educational center at the local library.

Called the Harriet Loar Early Literacy Center, it was dedicated May 11 and opened to the public May 13 at Evergreen Community Library, which serves about 7,500 people primarily in the Evergreen Local School District, which is partly in Lucas County and partly in Fulton County.

PHOTO GALLERY: Harriet Loar Early Literacy Center

“It is kind of a preschool playroom but is designed to teach early-literacy skills,” Jane Dominique, the library director, said.

Mrs. Dominique said the library staff used the library’s story-time room — where they read books and hold craft and musical activities for children on Wednesday mornings — and created eight skill centers. They include a dramatic-play center, a letter-knowledge center, a science and math center, a fine motor skills center, a reading center, a music center, a felt board center, and a floor center, she said.

The skill centers are based on six early literacy skills: print awareness, letter knowledge, phonological awareness, vocabulary, narrative skills, and print motivation. The centers include tables, floor spaces, a kitchen, a set of costumes, musical instruments, and a toy barn with animal figurines and toy farm implements, the library director said.

The center’s financing began in January when the seven-member library board of trustees approved $4,000 to create it after Martie Yunker, the children’s librarian, came up with the concept of the center and designed it.

Then Shannon Loar Tenney — a board trustee and a granddaughter of Harriet Loar, a retired library director — suggested to the board that the money be raised privately through donations and for the center to be named after Mrs. Loar, Mrs. Dominique said. Mrs. Loar was the library director from 1976 to 1993.

“They raised $5,175, but more donations are still coming in,” Mrs. Dominique said.

She said only about $800 of the library’s budget money was used for the center.

The biggest challenge, Mrs. Yunker said, was “making sure that we could fit everything in one room.” The room is about 20 feet by 20 feet, she said.

“I am so pleased,” Mrs. Yunker said. “We have children from all different backgrounds coming to use the center. And there’s definitely a need in the community for this center. And I see difference being made in children’s lives just by using this center.”

The center is open during library hours, except for the story-time hour, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays.

“It is such a privilege,” Mrs. Loar said of the fact that the center is named after her.

Contact Mike Sigov at: 419-724-6089, sigov@theblade.com, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.



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