Summer readers celebrate by making cornhusk dolls, memories … and butter

Published 7:50 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How good was this year’s Summer Reading Program?
It was like butter.
After seven weeks of the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, young readers were treated to a special celebration Tuesday morning to mark the end of the series.
And it was a series with a new twist – a higher focus on science, math and technology subjects. Each session paired a lesson on a science topic with a hands-on activity.
Hundreds of children participated in this year’s Summer Reading Program since its start June 3.
Once each week for seven weeks, a different visitor would perform or provide information for the young readers.
Those visitors included park rangers from Roan Mountain State Park, Elizabethton Twins players, Cooper’s Gem Mine, a team from Hands On! Museum, Mr. Bill, representatives of the Elizabethton Electric Department and others.
Tuesday’s Summer Reading Program finale featured another visit from Roan Mountain Park Ranger Meg Guy.
This time, Guy offered the children a first-hand look at how the region’s settlers would have lived.
“This is how your great-great-grandparents would have lived here in the Appalachians,” she told the young readers.
Guy explained to the young readers how past generations lived without electricity or indoor plumbing. Instead, she told them, their ancestors used candles, lanterns and the sun for light; they relied on wells and springs for water.
Guy also explained how most food and supplies used on farms were made using items or materials that were already at the home. Most families grew their own vegetables and kept farm animals for meat and dairy products. Once the food was produced, it had to be preserved and stored which usually meant it was canned or placed cellars or springhouses to keep the it cooler.
Remember the butter?
As part of the lesson, children were taught how families made butter using churns, and how to make cornhusk dolls.
Children’s Librarian Ashlee Williams said this year’s Summer Reading Program was one of the best the library had since the program started.
“This year has been really great,” she said. “We had a lot of fun and we did new and different projects.”
Williams said the program had more participants than ever. This year’s Summer Reading Program also had two teen nights: one covering do-it-yourself spa products and the other on the television series Dr. Who.
She said the children’s program will continue throughout the year, with a continuation of the popular hands-on projects.
“It worked really well,” Williams said. “That is something the children enjoyed doing, so we will keep having those.”

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