I ate my first Kumquat the other day. At least, as far as I can remember, I had never eaten a kumquat before. I did not know that it is necessary to roll the kumquat gently in my hands for a few seconds before eating, as that makes the skin sweeter. I would not have known to eat the skin with the fruit (the sweetness of the skin balances the tartness of the fruit). I would not have known that I like kumquats if I had not been at the library.
I heard a phrase the other day: “Out of school learning experience”. The more I have thought about that phrase, the more I see the value of programs at our public libraries. These programs reach across all age groups, genders, and interest areas. The day the kumquats came to the library, a chief from Wegmans (we appreciate our community partners!) came to teach a home school group about some fruits that are a little out of the ordinary. He brought several, including star fruit and pomegranates, and gave each child the opportunity to taste, comment, and ask questions. Many of the parents and caregivers joined in, as did the volunteers who were helping with the program. Other patrons who visited the library that day asked that we hold another session for adults.
We are very fortunate that there are many places families can take children for an out of school learning experience in our community, especially now that the weather is improving. Did you know you can rent snowshoes and kites at Tanglewood? Did you know that Letchworth State Park sends their calendar to our libraries, listing their interpretive programs? Did you know that the theme of this summer’s Summer Reading Club is science based? The Chemung County Library District staff is now busy planning programs and projects for the summer that will engage your child in fun, active learning experiences. Though many of you already know this, there are still some local residents who need to discover what is going on at our libraries. You may find that you too like kumquats!
West Elmira Library