Parents see Calexico library as catalyst for children’s love of learning

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Little Valentina Uriarte playing tic-tac-toe at “Dia del Niño” family night. Photo by Daniella Rodiles.

CALEXICO — Camarena Memorial Public Library gathered local families for their annual “Dia del Niño” family night to advocate reading and learning. Children had the opportunity  to make crafts and read with library staff, as well as participate in raffles and receive prizes. But the parents who attended the event saw their children win not just prizes, but also an educational foundation for the future.

“This event has been going on for more than 20 years and ages of 0-12 can join in. We want to promote the custom of reading in children and make it fun and interesting to them,” said reference librarian Lizeth Legaspi. “Children can have a connection through reading and hearing stories and spend quality time with their parents through different activities. I love to see the excitement in children’s faces when they pick a book of their choice, even if they don’t know how to read yet. It definitely helps children grow academically and socially.”

The library slowly crowded with eager children as they dragged their parent’s hands to the tables full of colors and crafts. Children were able to explore their creativity and imagination through drawing and coloring animal and comic figures. Delighted parents captured with their phones their children’s creations as well as helping them with any cutting and coloring.

“I love the entertainment and the family atmosphere the event has. I bring my son here because reading is fundamental in every kid’s development and it helps him get closer to the library,” said Alejandro Ambriz, who accompanied his son. “This is my second year coming to this event and it has helps us to be closer and spend more time together. We come here often to check out books and I’ve seen academical improvement in my son’s grades. It has helps him be more creative and acknowledge that it’s important to be part of the community,” said Ambriz.

One of the rooms filled with noise of children gathering together to hear stories read by a library staff member. As the library staff member began reading, silence grew among the children sitting in wonderment as they held their crafts and observed the illustrated pictures.

Children also lined up to play games and get fun temporary tattoos on their hands and arms. The library staff also provided snacks and price bags full of goodies and books for each activity the children completed.

Calexico residents Greg and Rosie Corral attended the event with their 8 month old daughter Zoe, who was curiously playing with the vibrant crayons.

“We brought our daughter because she loves books. It’s a great opportunity for her to interact with other kids, explore every creative area and become more sociable,” said Rosie Corral.

“It has a huge impact on our relationship with her and her learning as well,” said Greg Corral as he helped little Zoe color a drawing.