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Local Librarian Graces the Small Screen


Published April 9, 2020 at 11:43 a.m.

Westford library director Bree Drapa
  • Westford library director Bree Drapa
Bree Drapa, library director of Westford Public Library, doesn’t expect to become a YouTube influencer. But her virtual story time has been viewed hundreds of times on YouTube since she launched it in mid-March.

When her library closed to slow the spread of coronavirus, Drapa took her weekly story time online. Though she's “not much of a techie,” Drapa has figured out how to navigate technical issues, securing her iPhone to a tripod with a rubber band to record her one-woman show. She spent a little time experimenting with the best lighting — and always previews her recordings before uploading them to YouTube — but her main goals are to keep kids entertained during this strange time, and give parents 20 or 30 minutes to catch their breath.

Filmed in the children’s section of the Westford library, Drapa’s story time is reassuringly familiar. Dressed in her usual bright yellow cardigan, Drapa involves the at-home audience by giving listeners time to respond to her prompts — asking kids to say good morning or roar like tigers, for example. She reads picture books, sings songs and gives suggestions for crafts that can be made with simple materials like paper plates and crayons.

With her own kids — ages 9, 12 and 14 — now learning at home, she’s turned the endeavor into a family project. Her husband got her set up with the tripod and showed her how to upload videos to YouTube. Her daughter gave her ideas for crafts. But Drapa’s biggest fans, she admits, are her parents, who watch every episode.
For her adult patrons, Drapa hosts an online book group, too. She hopes that providing opportunities to gather as a community will give people something to look forward to and provide a virtual way for people to relate to each other until social distancing has passed.

Take a peek at these other virtual library programs:

Joslin Memorial Library in Waitsfield shares "Welcome to My Mud Kitchen," a lively, interactive story time.

Williston’s Dorothy Alling Memorial Library boasts a packed programming schedule, from preschool music to a guided meditation for kids and caregivers.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.