Thomas Memorial Library children’s programming Megan Smith

CAPE ELIZABETH – Megan Smith, assistant director/family engagement manager, coordinates all programming for ages birth through 18 and helps with intergenerational programs. Thomas Memorial Library has many events, especially for the younger children. It has a lot of fun, family-friendly programs geared toward children under the age of 6.

The library had another successful, thriving summer reading program this past summer. Smith said that they debuted a new program this summer, “The Read and Bead Challenge.” The children received their own ball chain necklace and a customized “brag tag.” They could earn special pony beads and special shaped beads to add to their necklace. Smith said, “It was a huge hit. The kids were very motivated to earn treasures from the “bead bank” and we plan to offer this program again next year.”

The library offers something every weekday at 10:30 a.m. for children ages 3-5. “Labor Day week we had over 256 people attend our children’s programming,” said Smith. The typical story time has up to 50 people attend. “A lively tween book club can be a smaller group of 10 kids,” said Smith.

So many of the events are popular, Smith had a trouble narrowing it down to just one event. “Our Playdate at the Library program on Wednesdays is a popular way to meet new friends. Thursdays we offer a Tiny Tunes program, which is a gentle introduction to a story time format but shortened up with tons of music and movement,” said Brown.

She said that there are two programs with a dedicated fanbase, Read to a Dog and the Lego Club. Read to a Dog allows children to sign up for a 15-minute session to practice reading skills with a registered therapy dog. The Lego Club is a monthly program which allows children to create their own unique creation to put on display in the children’s room until the next meeting takes place. “We usually have around 40-50 kids and caregivers for that, and kids naturally collaborate and innovate for the whole hour,” Smith said.

Smith said that the importance of offering events for the younger children is because “libraries are one of the few no-cost, barrier-free community spaces you can visit with children.” She said that simply offering developmentally appropriate spaces that encourage caregivers and children to engage with one another is vital. Smith said, “Libraries are definitely enhancing their traditional offerings to reflect the importance of play, especially for toddlers and preschool-age children. The view of literacy development has definitely expanded, and the purview of libraries has shifted toward incorporating all kinds of innovative ways that foster playing, talking, and singing as well as reading.”


The library strives to promote a holistic approach supporting children developing literacy skills, Smith said. The children’s programming promotes fun-filled activities that introduce literacy, routines, and social skills for young children.

The library is well-supported in terms of appreciative families and having the support of the town, according to Smith. Thomas Memorial Library is the recipient of the financial support from the Thomas Memorial Library Foundation. Smith said that the generous financial support “gives us the ability to offer a robust schedule of programming. I’m very grateful.” She said that the library welcomes new families and likes to get feedback from the community about meeting its needs

Bear at Thomas Me Megan Smith

by offering new opportunities.


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