Children’s crafts to precede Christmas festival

Mallory Kutnick, Staff Reporter

The Charleston Carnegie Library will host a children’s crafts activity Saturday from 10:30-4 p.m. in the KidSpace Atrium, culminating in Charleston’s traditional Christmas celebration at 4:30 p.m.

Joan Spencer, the information desk clerk, plans and prepares the crafts event, entitled the Make & Take, which occurs one Saturday a month.

This month’s Make & Take is winter and Christmas themed, and Spencer will provide supplies for Santa faces, reindeer ornaments and paper Christmas-tree hats.

The walk-in, open house event, while targeted toward children, is free for all ages, although adults must accompany all children under 8. No library card is required for entry.

Spencer, a mother and grandmother who has worked at the library for 27 years, said it is difficult to predict turnouts for Make & Takes.

“I’ve had as few as nine and as many as 40,” she said.

Spencer is in charge of the Make & Take, but KidSpace staff, including Beth Lugar, Youth Services Manager, oversees all other children’s events.

“We have programming [targeted for] babies up through high school,” said Lugar, who has over 15 years with the library under her belt. Lugar’s teenage daughter attended many KidSpace events as a child.

For babies, toddlers and preschoolers, KidSpace offers“1,000 Books Before Kindergarten,” a program designed to build a passion for reading at a young age, in which children receive awards such as medals and ribbons for reading or being read to. These same children can also attend “Bouncy Rhymes” (nursery rhyme reading with a side of knee-bouncing and tickling).

For older children, KidSpace hosts after-school programs, movies and crafts. Such programs include Mrs. Smith’s Fact and Fiction, Keen Geek Gabfest, a Lego Club, monthly Astronomy Nights, and multiple science events provided by Eastern Illinois University’s GeoScience Club, whom Lugar regarded as “invaluable.”

“It’s always exciting,” Lugar said, reportedly impressed with the children’s vivacity. “We don’t just sit them down and read to them.”

Owing to the “Christmas in the Heart of Charleston” celebration taking place in the city square a half an hour after Saturday’s Make & Take, Lugar said she anticipates a turnout larger than the norm.

The city Christmas festival, located in the town square, is free for all ages and will feature refreshments, a parade, seasonal music, costumed characters, a Gingerbread House contest, visits with Santa, a Nutcracker Ballet presented by Dance Life, roasted chestnuts and a performance by the Charleston Alley Theater.


Mallory Kutnick can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]