Quills & Queues: Library warms hands and hearts

Children and adults are invited to hang new gloves, mittens, scarves, hats and socks through Dec. 5 on the Giving Tree at Ashland's children's library. The gifts will be delivered to children attending Ashland's two Head Start programsm which serve approximately 150 low-income children. Head Start programs help prepare kids to enter kindergarten, and are taught in both English and Spanish. The children range in age from infant to 5 years old, so any size or style of gift will be appreciated.

The children's library has for many years had a holiday tree for decoration, but this is only the second year it has been used to give back to the community. "The Giving Tree last year was successful beyond our wildest dreams," said children's librarian Perii Hauschild-Owen. Community members covered every branch of the tree with cold-weather clothing items, many of them hand-knitted.

One thing that particularly pleased Hauschild-Owen was how eager the library children were to give something. "Children felt they were doing something important when they brought in something to pin on the tree," she said. "The children got so much out of the act of giving and sharing."

Hauschild-Owen was quick to add that it is not just children who found delight in giving. "We had seniors, parents, a lot of people in this who were happy to give us something. It seems like a small thing, but it has a great impact," she said.

The librarians have also created a seasonal book display around the tree, so after you hang your mittens, take a peek at some of the many fun holiday books they have selected, such as Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree," that emphasize the joy of giving.

Librarians plan a special gift-giving event for Head Start families before the start of their winter break, so visitors are encouraged to bring items before Dec. 5. At the event, several Ashland High School advanced Spanish students will read stories and Friends of the Library will provide snacks.

Friends of the Library will also be busy this weekend conducting the annual Friends of the Ashland Public Library Book Sale and Silent Auction. The library has saved a variety of books all year for this sale and local businesses have donated items and gift certificates for the silent auction. There's also a raffle and drawing for Oregon Shakespeare Festival tickets and dessert coupons. Pop into the library before the auction and take a look at some of the gift baskets and goodies on display.

This year, the Friends of the Library has designated proceeds of the sale and auction to go to a new program it is coordinating with Ashland Community Hospital. Each baby born at the hospital in 2010 will receive a book along with brain development and literacy information. It's an ideal gift for the newest members of our community.

For more information about the Friends of the Library book sale, call 774-6996 or visit www.AshlandFriends.org. For more information about the Giving Tree, call the children's library at 774-6995.

Tidings staff writer Vickie Aldous and Tidings correspondent Angela Howe-Decker alternate as author of the weekly column Quills & Queues.

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