mcl children librarian ah

mcl children librarian ahATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – A new series of writing workshops for youngsters in third grade and older will be featured at the local branch of the Monmouth County Library beginning Wednesday, April 3, when Camp NaNoWriMo opens for weekly sessions beginning at 3:15 PM.


The camp, an acronym for National Novel Writing Month is described as a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. A national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide structure, community and encouragement for all who want to write their own stories, achieve creative goals and build new worlds on and off the page, the idea has been brought to the local level by Children’s Librarian Lauren Garcia.  Beginning in in November, NANoWriMo’s mission is to have participants working towards a goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by the end of the month. The Camp NaNoWriMo version, which runs in April and July, allows participants to set their own writing goals for the month.

For the up to sixth grade children who frequent the Children’s library room in the Borough Hall facility, the Young Writers Program promotes fluency, creative education, and the sheer joy of novel-writing.


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“It’s sheer delight to be a children’s librarian,” the enthusiastic children’s librarian said. With an undergraduate degree in public relations and journalism from Monmouth University and a master’s degree in library science from Rutgers, Garcia came on staff at this branch of the Monmouth County Library in January and continued the already active and varied programs for young readers and visitors to the library.

The Camp NaNoWriMo program will run from 3:15 to 3:50 every Wednesday beginning April 3 and is geared to youngsters in the third grade and higher. “We’ll discuss ideas, have workshops, introduce new books, and encourage anyone who wants to write a novel or his own story,.” Garcia explained.

The Camp workshop is one of a number of programs specially geared to young readers, the librarian said. Every Wednesday, there are half hour-long sessions at 9:30 for infants and their caregivers, at 10:30 for toddlers and their care givers, and at 11:30 for families. Every Thursday at 3:15, there are action activities and crafts, and a similar program at 4 for preschool children. “Most of our students can walk right from school to the library,” Garcia said, “so they come early with their families and explore the library and all it offers.”

Right now, she said, the most popular books for the early-reader set are the Pete the Cat books, the 60-book series of stories and artistic design focusing on a musical cat and written bestselling author and artist James Dean. Also high on the list for young reads are Mo Williams’ books, especially “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.,”  We even have some Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books on our shelves, Garcia said, noting the teenage Nancy Drew stories, popular for generations, are apt to become popular again with the release of a new film starring Sophia Lillis, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase.

Activities for St. Patrick’s Day focused on shamrocks, or, in the interest of creativity, Stars in a Jar rather than shamrocks in a hat. The next major activity will be Lego/Duplo story times.

For further information on this and all programs at the Monmouth County Library, visit


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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...