Despite lock-down, Mrs. Fran’s stories stream on to youth

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Even though the Brandon Township Public Library is closed, residents don’t have to miss out on Miss Fran’s story times.
“Reading during social distancing is even more critical than before,” said Fran Hotchkiss. “For families that are quarantining together, the intimacy of reading to your children while cuddling helps them feel safe, secure and love. For those isolated and alone it gives them a fun outlet from the news and helps them to relax and escape reality for a little while. Also for the Distance Learning the students are doing it is extremely important that they read a lot to keep up with their studies and learn new vocabulary and information. It exercises your brain and keeps you mentally healthy.”
Hotchkiss has continued doing her weekly story times virtually via a video on the Brandon Library Facebook page. She also does stories for some classes meeting via the meeting app Zoom.
“The positive happy responses I see from all of the students I used to get to do storytimes for at the preschools, daycares and elementarys is very heartwarming. They miss seeing me and I really miss seeing them,” said Hotchkiss. “I would like to continue recording special Story Time Videos because they have reached children and senior citizens that weren’t always able to come to the library. I have adults with no children that say they look forward to watching my story time videos three times a week.”
She said while she misses reading to her patrons in person, she is enjoying the virtual reading as well. She utilizes puppets for her storytimes, and the library is able to put captions on the videos as well.
“I love doing the story times in person the best of course,” she said. “The live interaction and activities we do are a lot of fun, and of course all of the hugs I would get was the best. But these video storytimes have really expanded on my creativity. Victoria Phelps has done a great job of posting them on BTPL FB page. The closed captioning has been an added bonus for children that are deaf, or Senior Citizens that may be hard of hearing.”

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