Deborah Wright’s broad smile is contagious. Spend a few minutes with her and you’ll notice that she lights up when she talks about the kids who regularly come to the Children’s Library at Martin Library. As a library assistant, she often spends time sitting and coloring with the kids. Deborah explains that “some of the children who come here do not know how to pick up a crayon.” So by introducing them to coloring, she helps them learn how. It is a skill they will most certainly need in school.
They piece together Doc McStuffins puzzles. “The kids love those,” she says. And if you listen closely, you may hear her gently singing Hey Diddle Diddle when she is near the bronze nursery rhyme sculpture just outside the library’s Family Place. The song peaks the children’s interest and starts conversations. It is all about getting them engaged in learning through the interesting things at the library.
At the core of her interactions is her ability to first observe and then listen to children. She vividly recalls approaching a little girl sitting alone by the window. She was very sad, saying that nobody wanted to play with her. Deborah offered “I can play with you. What do you want to play?” The little girl said “Read to me. My mommy don’t have time to read to me.” Deborah grabbed her personal favorite Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed off the shelf and read the book to the child three or four times. Finishing just as the little girl’s mom returned from the computer lab, the child started crying, not wanting to leave. The mother said “Thank you for reading the story to my daughter. I don’t have time to read to her.” To quell the little girl’s tears, Deborah started reading the book to the mother and child, and as the girl’s tears subsided, she asked her mommy if they could take the book home so she could read it to her.
About two weeks passed. Mother and daughter returned looking for Deborah. Smiling, the little girl happily said “My mommy reads to me at bedtime now.”