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Baldwin library program looks to bring book lessons to life

| Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Reading doesn't have to be a solitary experience.

If Dolores Colarosa's Good Reads, Good Deeds Book Club catches on, the entire community will benefit.

Colarosa, children's librarian at Baldwin Borough Public Library, developed a program for children, grades 3 through 6, and their caregivers. Each month through April, after reading a pre-selected book, the group will gather at the library to discuss the book and plan how to carry the lessons learned into the community.

“I thought it important, the way the world is, to talk about being kinder to people,” she said.

The Good Reads, Good Deeds club is an expansion of a previous storytime she developed for mothers and daughters. But Good Reads is “all inclusive,” open to the entire family.

“I'm always thinking of something that goes beyond what we normally have,” she said. “The world is constantly changing.”

A Young Readers' edition of the novel “Pay It Forward” will kick off the program. The book suggests that being kind can be a random surprise rather than a payback.

At the group's first meeting, the group will brainstorm about the possibilities of where to go in the community to share kindness.

Director Jenny Worley is pleased with Colarosa's library work.

“She is very good at taking a program to the next level,” Worley said, “where it's more than just reading a book.”

Colarosa's book selections tell stories about children who are different in some way, such as those with physical deformities or with different learning styles.

“The stories make you think,” she said. ‘What would it be like in that situation? Could you be friends with them?'”

Ultimately, what the children learn in the library will be taken out into the world.

“The new program is about stepping outside of yourself,” Worley said.

That's exactly what happens at the library when teenagers volunteer, either to meet their schools' community service requirements or just for the love of the library, both women said.

The love of reading begins early via storytimes and book clubs.

“This is something I'm trying,” Colarosa said of Good Reads. “It's a feel-good, worthwhile program.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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