The Dauphin County Library System : Open for Discovery

Named Areas at the Library

William H. & Marion C. Alexander Family Library

Story Station
Presented by Judith T. Witmer and Thomas E. Ball In Honor of Our Granddaughters, Emily Madison Ball and Olivia Emerson Ball

Stories are the way we learn who we are, and grandparents quickly learn that the best way to answer many of the questions children ask is to respond with a story. “Who is
your mother, Nana?” opened the door to sharing information with Emily and Olivia about my own mother whom they never knew, stories about the close relationship she forged with their Daddy and the secrets they shared when he was their age. Comparing the “playhouse” (under the back porch) I shared with my sister in the early 1940s with the playhouse especially built for the first granddaughters (now grown) in my own back yard becomes a backdrop to explaining relationships with aunts, uncles, and cousins. Emily’s asking about the photograph of me at her age singing at a WWII Bond Rally leads us to compare the story about American Girl doll “Molly” with what life was like for me at that time. Olivia’s identifying “Gramps” on a motor bike a la James Dean allows us at a family gathering to tell stories about growing up in another small town, not unlike Hummelstown.

Children love being told stories and also making up their own, Emily’s with quiet, careful structure and Olivia’s complete with costumes, props, and movement. Olivia likes to take the “parts” of all of her characters while Emily is more reflective of what they might be thinking. They do the same with singing, Emily’s on-pitch soprano voice delivering “Tomorrow” just as it is written and Olivia’s improvisation, taking on the role and dance movements of all of the orphans in “It’s the Hard-Knock Life.”

“Is that Daddy? What was he doing?” as they view the photo gallery provides the perfect cue to read to them “the same books Gramps and I read to Daddy when he was your age.” In addition to my collection of children’s books, trips to the public library increase their interest in reading, whether we select books by their titles, their covers, or because Jordan, Jillian, and Aunt Jean also loved these books.

In gratitude to all who have ever read to us and because we want to provide a similar experience for children who visit this library, we are pleased to sponsor the Story Station to honor our two younger granddaughters. May they never lose the curiosity fostered through the magic casement of story books.