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Sewickley library children's leader settling into new role

| Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Sewickley Public Library children's department librarian Jen Farmerie stands for a photo Friday, Dec. 9, 2016.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Sewickley Public Library children's department librarian Jen Farmerie stands for a photo Friday, Dec. 9, 2016.

After more than a decade of planning tweenager programs and American Girl events, Jen Farmerie has a bigger role at Sewickley Public Library.

Farmerie is settling in as head of the children's department, following longtime leader Rita Crawford, who retired in September. Farmerie was named to the position in September.

“She knows children's books, is very crafty, and computer savvy,” Crawford said of Farmerie.

Farmerie has worked on outreach efforts to Ohio Township residents and has more planned.

“It's my goal in the summer to do storytime in the parks,” Farmerie said. “We're also trying to amp up our tween programs. Since it is such a walkable community, we want to make it a nice, safe space they want to come and hang out.”

Her plan is to make the space more inviting, with games, comfortable seating, writing workshops, and programs.

One idea Farmerie is particularly fond of is maker space programming, giving kids structured or freeform activities combining science, technology, repurposing and age-appropriate crafts.

“Now it's like taking popsicle sticks and making bridges out of them,” Farmerie said. “It's the whole STEM thing, and it's making crafts cool again.”

One way to reach out to children and get them to come to the library is by making a connection between the school and public libraries, Farmerie said.

“It's a great asset to have a library in a community like this,” Farmerie said. “Our kids are exposed to so many types of books. We want them to come in, check out books, check out programs, and be readers.”

Farmerie also aims to incorporate technology. There are individual audio players called Play-Aways, which come pre-loaded with books, and also VIEWS, which are pre-loaded video screens for younger children.

Ultimately, she would like to invest in Play-Aways for the younger children as well as what she calls one of her “loftier goals” — iPads for the kids to use in the library.

While these are both expensive, Farmerie wants to invest in technology for the children, which promotes higher thinking as well as collaboration.

“Jen has been working hard to attract the school-age children, which has long been a goal for the department,” Crawford said. “I am pleased with the leadership she has shown so far and know that the children's programming will continue to flourish. Sewickley Public Library is lucky to have her.”

Rebecca L. Ferraro is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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