Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interactive Musical Experiences Benefit Your Baby's Brain!

You may have noticed that we have lots of music programs here at the library.  In fact, this Thursday (September 26) at 3:00 p.m. we'll start a brand new one: Toddler Sing-Along!

There's a reason for this.  Infants and babies have tons of activity going on inside their brains.  They're starting from scratch and developing connections between brain cells.  They need to learn absolutely everything, from moving their own bodies to speech and communication.  Interaction with you and other people in their lives helps them make these neurological connections.

Music can be especially helpful in making these connections in baby's brains.  Studies have shown that babies who listen to music, specifically in an interactive way, end up developing their communication and social skills earlier than babies who don't participate in musical activities with a loving caregiver.  One of these studies was conducted by researchers at McMaster University in Canada.  Their findings are fascinating, and highlight how beneficial it is for you to sing, rhyme, and dance with your baby!  (*You can find out more about the study below.)

So what does this mean exactly?  It means that singing with your baby, rhyming with your baby, clapping your hands, and dancing are all wonderful for your baby's brain!  You're teaching them rhythm and musical knowledge, and it turns out those skills help with all sorts of other skills.

It also means that you should take advantage of some of the music programs we offer here at the library!  We've got tons of programs where you can practice musical interaction with your little one.  Be sure to check out:

  • Story Time programs: We do these for various age groups up through preschool, and we always include lots of interactive rhymes and songs.
  • Music with Ed Morgan: For ages 5 and under, the second Saturday of each month at 11:00 a.m.
  • Music with Matt Heaton: For ages 5 and under, the fourth Tuesday of each month at 10:15 a.m.
  • Toddler Sing-Along: For walkers up through age 2, the fourth Thursday of each month at 3:00 p.m.

You can find specific days and times in our online calendar.  We've also got lots of CDs and books that will help you learn more songs to sing with your child!  Stop in and speak with a librarian for suggestions.

See you at a music program!

*Here are a couple of places to find out more about McMaster University's 2012 study:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Take Our Makerspace Survey!

Do you want a Makerspace here in Watertown?  Do you know what a Makerspace is?

A Makerspace is a place where members of a community have the tools and space to make things!  It provides an opportunity for people to learn and practice lots of different hobbies that they don't have the room or equipment to do at home.  Makerspaces are popping up all over the country, especially in libraries.  And we are looking into the possibility of creating a Makerspace here in Watertown.

The definition above is pretty vague, but there's a reason for that.  The types of tools and materials available vary from Makerspace to Makerspace.  Some Makerspaces have 3D printers.  Some have sewing machines or tools for bike repair.  Some have audio visual equipment.  Some have woodworking tools.  The equipment provided varies based on the needs of the community.

And how do we figure out what our Makerspace would have?  That's where you come in!

We've put together a survey about what types of tools and equipment you, our community, would like to see in a possible Makerspace here in Watertown.  We're still in the information-gathering phase, so we aren't sure yet what we would end up being able to provide.  But we'd definitely like to know where your priorities lie!  So do us a big favor and take our survey to let us know what you would want!