The department is directed
by Louella Moreland, who works with a passion and love for all of
"her" kids who use the library. Moreland has a teaching background
of 20-plus years in Lincoln. Her enthusiasm for children and helping
them discover the worlds that are opened to them by reading is
apparent every day in every program that the library offers.
and raised in Kewanee, Moreland attended Wyoming High School. She
received her degree in education from Illinois Wesleyan University
and did her student teaching internship at Chester-East Lincoln
before beginning her local teaching career. Later, she went on to
become the literacy coordinator for Project Read and supervised
adult education before coming to the library.
She is married to Doug and has three children that she is
extremely proud of.
Her influence to read, explore and learn is evidenced in her own
children. Joshua is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy.
Jennifer is working on a master's at SIU Carbondale. And, Melissa is
a senior at Virginia Tech.
During her adult education years Moreland saw firsthand the
struggles some adults can have with reading. She doesn't see herself
as a crusader to help stop adult illiteracy.
Instead, she is now committed to helping youngsters learn the joy
of reading. She sees the youth reading programs as a means to open
up a youngster's mind to the many worlds, places and imaginary
wonders that reading can present to them. These programs create a
next generation of capable and avid readers, which carries a long-range,
positive impact that reduces adult illiteracy.
Whether they're young or old, Moreland doesn't view those who have reading
difficulties differently from those who read well. "Everyone has the
ability to appreciate a good story. Reading is a human connection,"
When Moreland reads to youngsters, she makes it enjoyable and
fun. There is an art to the presentation of a children's story, and
Moreland understands this perfectly well. She has been active in
school drama projects since she was a student herself, and she still
keeps her hand in theater, helping out the Lincoln Junior High with
Moreland's been the president of the Lincoln Community Theatre
several times. According to Rich Reinwald, who has shared the stage
with her, she is the better actor and more. "Louella was
instrumental in introducing schoolchildren to the theater, giving
them a taste of what it's like when she was a teacher at Central. I
thought it was a terrible loss when she left the school district,"
Though different, Moreland's job is still dedicated to children,
and she brings that sense of the theater and melds it into the world
of books. She doesn't mind sharing the spotlight with an imaginary
friend as she tells a story. This year's reading mascot is a cuddly,
cute bear puppet that Moreland picked up on vacation. She will let
the children give the little bear a name, but you can tell she
already has plans for the bear to be part of many reading adventures
over the coming months. "You don't read a story, you tell a story,
and that takes some showmanship," Louella said. She travels to eight
area preschools each month during their story times to "present"
stories to younger children.
Jamie Kaiser, the preschool coordinator and
teacher for the Lincoln Area YMCA, explained just how special one of
Moreland's visits is to her class: "Louella comes once a month
throughout the school year, reads a fun story, sings songs with us
and always surprises us with a new finger play. The children love
jumping into their magic bubble gum and 'Shaking (Their) Sillies Out'
each time Louella visits. It's always a delight for both myself and
the children when it's a 'Mrs. Lou day.' Mrs. Lou's excitement and
love of reading is contagious, and I am confident that my students
will catch that enthusiasm and also grow in their own love of
Mrs. Lou makes a continued effort to allow children to see the library
and the reading programs as fun, new worlds rather than just
buildings holding dry, cold print on pages. Last July, Ronald
McDonald came to the library to perform magic tricks for the summer
readers and their parents. It is this sort of engaging interaction
that has area children loving our library.
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Another summer reading program is just around the corner at the
library, and Louella looks forward to the continued success and
growth of that program. "We serve children from 6 months through
teens. We plan activities; we help them find materials and books.
Getting kids through the door and letting them be in a comfortable
place and learn the love of reading, a lifelong love of reading, is
our goal," Louella said.
Library director Richard Sumrall wanted to also praise the summer
reading program and Louella. "I think our annual summer reading
program is one of the premier youth programs in Lincoln, and I
attribute our success to Louella and her motivated staff. Many
people do not realize that Louella begins preparations for the
summer reading program almost a year before it is held."
Last year 474 area children took part in the summer program, and
Moreland is enthused about another big year with lots of children
involved. "We are getting recommendations from Head Start and the
YMCA and the Lincoln Christian Church," Moreland said.
Although children and helping them develop a love of reading is
Louella's passion in life, she understands children need more than
just books. "We want kids to be active, well-rounded. Children need
varied activities; they need stimulation in many things. We at the
library promise them that literary connection as that part of what
Sumrall again wanted to praise Moreland's efforts in keeping that
promise. "Since Louella became our youth services librarian in 2002,
our annual circulation figures have shown steady increases, and I
believe it is in no small part because of her leadership in our
youth services program. She is always willing to go the extra mile
for parents and children, and she remains a strong advocate for the
library as a tool for learning, education, information and good,
clean fun. We are very fortunate to have her as a member of our
Moreland, along with a staff she continuously praises, is
dedicated to helping every child they can to begin and continue the
love of reading and learning and having a fun time doing so.
Moreland philosophically says that "there isn't enough boredom
with all the other distractions available to children. Imagination
and ideas take place when we allow our minds to wander. A book can
take you where you want to go."
It doesn't take much imagination to see that there's another
busy, youngster-packed summer reading program at the Lincoln Public
Library just around the corner for this year.
Thanks to our dedicated library staff and this week's
"Personality of the Week," Louella Moreland.