In May, libraries celebrate National Flower Month, National Latino Book Month, National Family Wellness Month, National Backyard Games Month, and National Get Caught Reading Month, all of which are keeping Julie Anne Korpi, the Montauk Library’s new children’s librarian, very busy.
“There are a lot of national months that people don’t know about,” Ms. Korpi said.
It is the first time the library has had a children’s librarian, something Karen Rade, the library director, has always wanted. When a few longtime employees retired recently, she saw her chance. “I didn’t want to replace all those positions,” she said. “I wanted to hire a children’s librarian.”
Ms. Korpi has already initiated several changes. The Monday morning story hour, for example, now includes songs, pasting and other crafts, games, and coloring. “I’m a singer, so I love to sing songs with them,” said Ms. Korpi, who performed in high school and college musicals and has received professional voice training.
She is also sprucing up the stacks in the children’s section and putting more books out on display. She recently led a Latino story hour and hopes to get more books in Spanish as well as graphic novels for teenagers.
“What we have is already a good program. I’ll be building on what we have,” she said the other day at the library, sitting in a child-size chair at a round table.
She has a master’s degree in library science from Long Island University and is certified in elementary and special education. She has worked at other libraries across Long Island and not long ago moved to East Hampton. She vacationed in Montauk with her parents when she was a child.
The new librarian, who started in April, said she believes the library should be used by all ages. She is looking to institute a Mother Goose story hour for infants to 2-year-olds — a basic story hour with props, pictures, and songs.
“I’ll never forget the first time an infant smiled at me during a story and I realized that she was getting it. She got very animated.”
She also hopes to make the library more fun for kids and plans on offering a scavenger hunt and a trivia question of the week, in which young patrons must use the library’s research sources to find the answer, winning a prize for doing so.
Holidays are to be big, with appropriate book displays. And youngsters she finds reading at the library this month during Get Caught Reading Month will receive a surprise.
The position is full time, and Ms. Korpi will be there every day except Sundays, when the library is open for limited hours, and Thursdays, when it is closed.