Library Features...

Dramatic Readings, With an International Flavor
Branch: Outreach

SCPL's Outreach Services
Michele Mugnier and Leslie
Auerbach of the library's
outreach services division took
a Hawaiian-themed reading
to the Hope Services center
for developmentally
disabled adults

Leslie Auerbach and Michele Mugnier of the library's outreach services division wore aloha shirts for a recent visit to the HOPE Services Aptos Senior Activity Center.

That wasn't because it was a hot summer day (though it was), but because they were getting into the spirit of the occasion. The facility to serve developmentally disabled adults has a geographical theme party the third Friday of each month, and when the library provides a book-reading, it sticks with the theme. This month was Hawaii; the month before was Italy.

The aloha shirts went with that day's theme, which Auerbach and Mugnier highlighted by reading "Dog of the Sea Waves," a book about a boy in long-ago Hawaii who befriends an injured seal and is later rescued by it.

"Sometimes through books you can travel and go to other countries," Mugnier said at the beginning of the reading. "The library is good for that."

Auerbach and Mugnier read from the selected book and traded off playing the different characters in an animated fashion, to the obvious delight of the audience, which was a dozen people that day but can be twice as large. They typically end the one-hour session with a refrain that the audience can do along with them.

At one point in the story the seal barked, and the readers imitated the noise then said to the audience, "We need your help to repeat that," which drew a chorus of varied barking noises.

In addition to the reading, they brought a box of materials to the facility, ranging from books to copies of National Geographic that have stories and photos about Hawaii. HOPE Services checks out some of the publications, and others, taken from the library's donation pile, are given away for use.

"We usually go to the library once a week in smaller groups, but it's different when we can all get together," said HOPE activity instructor Sylvia Mejia. "I think the library does an awesome job; they keep the audience engaged and bring a smile to their faces."

Auerbach said the library has been visiting HOPE Services facilities since the fall of 2007 as part of its ongoing effort to take library materials and book-readings to people in the community who find it hard to get to the library.

"From the very first time we did the program here, it clicked," she said. "We come away excited every time we do it."

story by Mike Wallace