Giving the gift of giving

As the holidays approach and kids start fantasizing about the gifts they'll get, the Ashland Public Library has found a way to help kids find out how good it feels to give.

Librarians have set up a little tree in the children's department where kids can pin up mittens, hats and scarves that they want to donate to babies and preschoolers in Ashland's Migrant Head Start program.

Librarians hope the Giving Tree will become an annual tradition.

"We want to do it every year," said Perii Hauschild-Owen, a librarian in the children's department. "We hope this will be meaningful to the children, knowing the gloves and hats and scarves they pin to our tree will be worn by kids who need them."

The Oregon Child Development Coalition leases space from the Ashland School District for Migrant Head Start classes housed at Briscoe Elementary School. The school closed as an elementary school in 2003 due to falling district enrollment.

Children in the Migrant Head Start program are taught in English and Spanish to help prepare them for kindergarten. Their families have incomes that fall within federal poverty income guidelines.

The Migrant Head Start classes will be closed for about a month for a winter break. Librarians plan on giving the donated clothing from the tree before the start of that break. For that reason, they hope people will bring items to hang on the tree by Dec. 2.

After winter break, Head Start children will come to the library for story time in January. Any donations that come in after Dec. 2 can be given to the kids at that time, said Margie Cicerrella, children's department head.

She said that the point of the Giving Tree is that the gifts be from the children to the children, or "de los niños para los niños" in Spanish. However, anyone is welcome to give, not just children.

Hauschild-Owen said mittens, hats and scarves have already been donated, with some coming from the store and some having been knit by hand.

Librarians are asking people not to wrap the items.

In addition to hanging items on the Giving Tree, families can read books at the library that are about giving. Featured books are Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree," Candace Christiansen's "The Mitten Tree," Louise Borden's "Caps, Hats, Socks and Mittens," Shirley Hughes' "Giving" and Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince."

The Ashland Public Library is located at 410 Siskiyou Boulevard, across the street from Ashland Fire & Rescue Station No. 1. Hours are 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Monday, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, noon until 5 p.m. on Thursdays, closed on Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or To post a comment, visit

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