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Schlow event raises awareness of offerings, services, need for funding

Children’s author Teresa Stouffer reads her book “No Snitchin’ in the Kitchen” and asks youngster to act it out with her during Speak Up for Libraries Day at Schlow Library on Thursday, November 6, 2014.
Children’s author Teresa Stouffer reads her book “No Snitchin’ in the Kitchen” and asks youngster to act it out with her during Speak Up for Libraries Day at Schlow Library on Thursday, November 6, 2014. CDT photo

Ian Lebold stood at the sink of a makeshift kitchen in the community room of the Schlow Centre Region Library on Thursday night.

As Bellefonte-based author Teresa Stouffer read her book, “No Snitchin’ in the Kitchen,” Ian, 7, acted out one of the scenes.

The book is about a family who likes to bake, but sends the message to not sneak the batter before the goods are done.

Stouffer would tell the group of about 10 children who were sitting on the floor listening, to pretend to sneak some cookie batter from a green plastic bowl she provided to each of them, but at the flip of the next page, Ian turned around and yelled, “no snitchin’ in the kitchen!” exactly how it was written in the book.

He pointed at them with one finger and had a wooden mixing spoon in his other hand.

The interactive reading activity was an event hosted by the library as part of a larger statewide initiative to help spread awareness about local libraries.

Speak Up for Libraries Day was started by the Pennsylvania Library Association to help advertise libraries in the area.

“We make accommodations for the limited funding we have,” said Anita Ditz, head of children’s services at the library, who helped organize Thursday night’s event.

Authors and illustrators were invited to participate in the event at libraries around the commonwealth, to help spread the message about what libraries mean to them and why the public should patronize them more often.

As a bonus, the Schlow Library got a second author who also participated.

Ditz said author Suzanne Bloom contacted her a few weeks ago hoping to connect on Thursday.

When Ditz told her she may not be able to meet because of the the “Speak Up for Libraries Day” event, Bloom offered to help.

Bloom held a similar interactive reading session with the children in attendance, and read her book, “Alone Together.”

But the goal was to bring people to the library.

“I think it gets a good reaction specially on a rainy, cold school night,” Ditz said. “We were hoping for about 10 people.”

Instead, about 10 children were in attendance and about 30 people in total.

Stouffer said libraries are one of few places the public can go to borrow things.

“You can’t do that everywhere,” she said. “Can you go to Wal-Mart and borrow a book or something else? No. Can you go to Weis (Markets) and borrow groceries? No. But you can borrow things at the library.”

Stouffer retired three years ago as a learning support teacher at Bellefonte Elementary School.

She wrote her first book, “No Snitchin’ in the Kitchen,” about three years ago, and is working on her second children’s book, “Where’s Max?”

“You could say it’s a hobby now,” Stouffer said. “I do it because I like to, and I like to still have that interaction with the community like this, and be part of a larger cause.”

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