I recently had the opportunity to visit a library that had a wealth of beautiful, handmade puppets. It reminded me of a book that I purchased while I was in library school, at the suggestion of my professor, called A Puppet Corner in Every Library by Nancy Renfro. My professor said upfront that the book was old (it was published in 1978) but said that it was still an excellent resource. I bought it used on Amazon very inexpensively and put it on my shelf, figuring I would need it for reference later.
So last night I pulled it off that shelf and started reading. The book has some really great ideas about incorporating puppets into a library children’s department! Not only does it have drawings and patterns for puppets, puppet storage and puppet theaters, but it also suggests ways that you can use the puppets. One of my favorites is this one:
“SHERLOCK HOLMES is precise and calm, and in his detective-like manner could take the children through the library with his “Magnifying Glass Tour”, explaining shelf layout, reference book location, and checkout tips. Games specifically designed for Sherlock could be fun. How about a treasure hunt search for a missing book. Give each child the name of a book to look up, which, in turn, has a note to look up another book, etc. It could end up with a surprise or award.” (p. 15).
Another idea that intrigued me is to circulate the puppets, along with a reading list for each one. For example, a list of suggested cat books (both fiction and non-fiction) to go along with a cat puppet. (See p. 93). I think that this could really help support parents in reading aloud to their children.
I also thought it was a fun idea to give the puppets over to older children and allow them to make their own story. (p. 32-33).
One idea I have been cooking up is to make a puppet show or flannelboard for Silly Sally by Audrey Wood. I think it would be so much fun! “A Puppet Corner in Every Library” has inspired me to give it a try! Stay tuned…