Kim Dargeou

CHILDREN’S LIBRARIAN — Kim Dargeou is creating a series of weekly story times and virtual activities for kids of all ages.

Kim Dargeou, the interim supervising children’s services librarian at the Central Santa Rosa Library, is bringing the library into families homes with a new video series of weekly story times, science and craft projects and read-aloud programs for all ages.

Dargeou, also known at the library as “Miss Kim,” has been creating a slew of easy at-home activities for kids, tweens and teens, with the goal of keeping kids occupied and engaged.

“I’m just trying to keep people occupied,” Dargeou said.

She said the videos are also great tools for parents who already have so much to do.

“It’s nice to have a way where we can support them. We can bring them songs and stories and ideas,” Dargeou said.

A video in each age group and category comes out once a week and the story times for younger children come out twice a week in English, one a week in Spanish and starting May 16, once a week in French.

For the read-aloud sessions Dargeou focuses on reading a chapter from a different book for each age category.

“In the kids one we have a very silly, short book that everyone tends to know and love, ‘The Bad Kitty’ series. It’s technically kind of a chapter book with pictures, but you can use your mind to imagine them as long as I try to describe some of the images here and there. For the tween one I ended up doing a very silly one called, ‘The Snazzy Cat Capers,’ it’s about a cat society of thieves, it’s actually really entertaining and then for teen one (read aloud), it’s a really great book series called, ‘Cinder,’ and it’s a very fun twist on Cinderella where she’s a cyborg and it’s this world in the future where there are robots everywhere and a pandemic is going on. It’s a very interesting read.”

Throughout her read-aloud and story time sessions, a stuffed bear named, “Max LiBearry” joins her. Dargeou said she’s had the big bear for 10 years and the bear makes regular appearances in her videos since he resides on her living room couch.

“I’ve had him for the past 10 years and he always sits on that couch and it was the perfect spot to film and I happened to have a T-shirt so I was very excited. At the central library — I’m specifically from the central library even though right now there’s no branch libraries and we’re all Sonoma County librarians — we have large stuffed animals show up in our children’s room every couple of months and one of them is a large bear, so I was excited I had a large bear of my own so I got it dressed up,” Dargeou said, noting that it’s nice for kids to see something familiar.

The weekly science videos cover simple experiments that viewers can do at home with ingredients that they likely already have in the cupboard.

“One of the videos that’s not out yet is we’re making silly putty out of cornstarch and dish soap. We also use invisible ink in a video that will be coming out. They are very basic science experiments for parents to work on with their child, it’s something fun and entertaining,” Dargeou said.

She also has two craft videos coming out each week, one for kids, tweens and teens. Crafting projects that she’s tackled include creating a bag out of a shirt and making confetti eggs, where once the egg is cracked, colorful confetti shoots out.

“For the tweens video coming up soon — I don’t know if you’ve seen all those videos about how to make a mask out of socks, but I’m very uncomfortable with feet and socks, so I made a ‘How to make a mask out of a mitten’ video,” she said, laughing.

So far one to two activity videos have come out from each series and Dargeou has at least two to three more weeks worth of videos filmed.

Despite connecting with library patrons virtually, Dargeou said she misses getting to interact with kids.

“I miss everyone, having actual interactions and the questions that get asked. These videos are fun, but story time is all about the interaction with the kids, the random things they ask you. Even the tweens come up with the most fascinating questions and interesting discussion topics, and I miss that connection so much,” she said.

While she may miss library goers, Dargeou did say she’s glad to be able to perform stories in a way that can help promote early literacy in children.

“The enthusiasm we bring as librarians to perform a story in a way makes it exciting and entertaining for children and it really helps them on the love of reading and that’s what’s so important for early literacy,” Dargeou said. “Developing early literacy is such an important thing to do in children and one of the main aspects is loving reading and finding the joy of reading. If they don’t have the joy of reading, then they’re not going to want to read ever and can’t develop those skills.”

So does Dargeou have a favorite children’s book? While that can be a difficult question for a bibliophile, she said right now her favorite children’s book is a picture book called, “Count the Monkey’s.” 

“It is the silliest story time book that I’ve had such great success reading to young kids and even teens who look at me like, ‘I’m not going to sit here and read it and then they actually have the greatest time.’ It’s an all ages, silly, fun book. For tweens I am a huge fan of the ‘Harry Potter’ books and I always will be, but there are so many good new books that have come out like ‘The Girl Who Drank the Moon.’ It’s one of my favorite tween reads,” Dargeou said.

To check out Dargeou’s weekly content, visit the Sonoma County Library Facebook page at facebook.com/sonomalibrary/

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