By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Lots of clucking was going on in the Lee County Library auditorium Thursday morning, as children ages 2 to 4 handled and played with chickens brought by the local 4H Club.
The activity began the library’s monthly “Story Time,” and was followed by an animated film featuring a young chicken as the protagonist. After the show, the kids were released to the stacks to explore books on chickens.
Jan Garrett and Beth Martin of the 4H Club and hobby farmer Kathleen Bass used the chickens to teach the group of kids and parents about the life cycle of a chicken. They gave details about what chickens eat and how to protect them from predators like raccoons and stray dogs.
The birds make great low-maintenance pets, but can also teach problem solving skills and life lessons.
“If they stop laying eggs, we try to figure out why, and keeping them fed and safe teaches kids responsibility,” said Bass.
The Basses live on two acres just outside of town, where they also raise dairy goats and cows. Their goal is to be self-sufficient and provide for themselves a clean, natural source of food. On top of that, the family home schools their children, and programs hosted by the library greatly enhance the learning experience.
“We love this library,” Bass said.
The program was made possible by a competitive grant called the Public Library Programming Grant. Lee County librarian Vicky Manning was awarded this year’s 2012-2013 grant to put toward her project entitled Community Educational Outreach through Books and Movies.
Manning said her idea for the project came when she noticed how many books were being made into movies. Her program uses popular children’s movies as a platform for deeper instruction.
“Teaming movies and books has been a great avenue to add to their learning,” said Manning.
The program introduces pre-kindergarten kids to a learning setting before their education starts officially, often catering to day cares and preschools. For home school students, it provides opportunities to engage in the community.
“I would love to see our community take advantage of this program,” said Manning.
Anyone interested in participating in the program may contact Manning at the Lee County Library.