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Thursday
October 17th, 2019

priscilla howeCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Liberal Memorial Library hosts several storytimes a week for the little ones in the community and next Friday, a new storyteller will be making her way to the library. 

Priscilla Howe will be bringing her “A Galaxy of Giggles” storytelling show to Liberal Memorial Library Friday, July 19 starting at 2 p.m. Howe comes from a library background, which she said helped her greatly in starting her storytelling, which she has been doing full time since 1993. Howe is also listed in the Humanities Kansas Speakers Bureau and does a program called Grimm For Grownups, making her a storyteller to both children and adults. 

“I was actually a children's librarian before that for about five years and learned to tell stories in that job, so I come from a library background,” Howe said. “During my first month or so in my children's librarian job, one of the other librarians I worked with said 'We're about to go to a school and tell some stories, you want to come?' and I said 'Sure!' Then she asked me if I wanted to tell a story and my initial reaction was 'Uhh, okay!' So that afternoon I told a story I'd made up when I was 13 that I'd told to children I babysat and I also read from a book called 'The Crooked Little Finger' by Philippa Pearce. That story really spoke to me since I was born with crooked fingers and as I was reading it all the children were clapping and laughing and then I thought 'This is fun!' So I spent the next few years learning everything I could about storytelling and doing it whenever I could and ultimately thought 'I want to do this all the time!' So I launched myself out there and that's how I got started.”

Like anything else, Howe said her show has gone through some changes since its inception. 

“I would say the biggest change would be my addition of puppets. When I started out as a children's librarian I didn't use them at all,” Howe said. “But eventually my boss asked me if I wanted to try using them, to which I said 'No,' but then she gave me a lesson and then I was hooked and I've used them since. And it used to be I brought just one or two puppets with me but now I bring about half a dozen or so including an old lady, a baby and an alien, among others.”

And even though she has not sat behind the librarian’s desk for several years, Howe said she still feels that connection when in a library environment. 

“Even though I haven't been a librarian for several years, I still feel strongly about books and storytelling and literacy and getting children to read,” Howe said. “And since the children are there as audience members, they're taking everything in and processing it all. Storytelling teaches children a lot of pre-reading skills and they learn to sequence and predict how the story will go and all of that, so it's really useful in helping them get started reading. It's also just really fun for everyone. I love how excited children are to be in the library and fulfilling their summer reading goals and all of that. It's also fun to watch them take in the stories and react to the stories and also the puppets I bring with me. It's really a full show.”

Howe added this will be her first return to Liberal in a long time, which she is excited about. 

“There actually used to be a little tour and I visited a lot of libraries in the course of a week and I know Liberal was on that tour,” Howe said. “I love getting the chance to see all of Kansas, it's really interesting to me seeing where the different communities are and how similar/different they are. I grew up in New England and I find Kansas has a really friendly vibe in the communities I've visited whether it's in northwest Kansas or the center part of the state. Last week I was actually in Lakin and Johnson City, which I also had visited but not for a long time, and I just find the people really kind and it's a treat. Even though it's designed as a children's show, I've also heard adults leave my program saying 'Wow, we had a good time too!' So it really hits all ages and it's going to be a really fun time with stories and songs and humor, so I hope people come out and plan to have a good time.”

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