by Jocelyn Jane Cox
Like many in this community, I have a soft spot for the Nyack Library: both the quaint 1904 building and the modern wing completed in 2011. Now that I’m a parent, I love the place even more.
Since my son was about three months old we have been going to the children’s room for story time. Now that he’s two, we have “graduated” to the toddler story time on Fridays and we go a few other times per week just to play and see who we see.
Here is a short list of why this place has been a critical part of his young life and an important space for me as a new parent. I know this is also true for so many others in the Nyack area:
- Story time: This is a chance to sing, clap, and hear some excellent children’s books (although dancing to a really good book is always an option, too). Thanks to Claudia Uccellani and other great librarians, stories unfold on the felt board and a coy spider plays an extremely suspenseful game of peek-a-boo. There’s a black sheep who has an abundance of wool (three full bags, to be specific) and a unique frog who says “gunk gunk” instead of ribbit. In addition to learning how to sit still for more than 14 seconds at a time, my son has gotten the hang of how to “open and shut them” (i.e. his hands) and has discovered that a few circles of ring-around-the-rosie is pretty much a party without the cake.
- The toys: Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how many toys you have at home, there’s nothing more alluring than other toys. Here, there’s a wooden house, a little theater complete with a curtain and a coterie of cute puppets, and a fire truck that has by now surely responded to millions of emergencies. This is one of the places where we have been studying a highly complicated subject called…Sharing. My son almost has the basics down, but I am hoping he will go for his PhD.
- The view: Through the expansive line of windows you can see the Hudson River (at least when the leaves are off the trees) and watch the seasons change. Streams of direct sunlight keep it cozy here in the winter and the AC keeps it delightfully chilly in the summer. Whatever time of year, you can sit on the red couch gazing at the sky and feel almost serene, even if your child is scattering thousands of puzzle pieces at your feet.
- Proximity to Art Café: Because no morning in my life is complete without an extra-smooth, not-too-hot Blue Bottle latte whipped up by a troop of awesome baristas, we stop in here more times than I want to admit. We chit chat with everybody behind the counter then get our coffee to-go before heading to the library. If I savor this verrrry slowly while sitting on that red couch, I can almost remember those days before I was a parent when I used to linger at coffee shops all day long without a care in the world…and without a plastic dinosaur chomping intermittently at my knee.
- Friends: This library (and Valley Cottage Library) is where we have made so many of our friends. Some of these kids have become close friends who have come to our son’s birthday parties and others we just see for a day. It’s a nice place to mix it up with new people, and run into the families you already know. Basically, it’s key socialization for energetic kids and weary parents.
- The tiny toilet: Located in the family bathroom, this is the smallest real toilet I have so far encountered in what is (for us) a new era of potty training. It is a pleasure to not have to balance your toddler on top of a tower to pee. In fact, my son wants to go to the bathroom here, and that’s saying something. Of course he also wants to put his hands in the toilet water, but I “think” we have successfully impressed upon him the importance of resisting this.
- Oh yeah, and books: There are also a whole bunch (understatement) of wonderful books here which we occasionally sample IF the school bus is being driven by someone else and the furniture of the wooden house is being moved by other little hands. So far, we do most of our reading at home, but we do like to take books out. This system works well with my current buying freeze and my son’s seemingly insatiable desire for books he has never seen.
This is all to say Thank You to the Nyack Library (and other local libraries) for providing these opportunities and making these memories. If you haven’t taken advantage of these children’s programs or if you have a child on the way, I highly recommend. (And I’m not getting paid to say this, but…) don’t forget to donate to this library or others – as a parent, I am seeing that this is a cornerstone of our community.
See you there – I’ll be the one sipping (or chugging) coffee.
Jocelyn Jane Cox is a freelance writer who publishes at TheHomeTome.com, which she describes as “home and humor from Nyack, NY…now with kid!”
Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.