Home Voices at the Ames Public Library

Home Voices at the Ames Public Library

by Ben Schrag

I work at a Public Library, but my background is in the creative arts; a little playwriting, a lot of songwriting. One of my regular duties is the Toddler Storytime, where these skills can come in very handy. 

When I started doing Toddler storytime, for example, I had a small conundrum. Storytimes usually start with a little welcoming rhyme to help set the tone. But when I started planning and preparing for my Toddler storytimes, I couldn’t find a rhyme that said quite what I wanted to say. They were either not quite the right message or not quite the feeling I wanted and, at some point, it occurred to me that the best solution was to make my own!

I thought about what was important to me and what I wanted people to know. This is what I came up with:

Hello eyes, hello ears
I’m so glad that you are here!
Hello heart, hello mind
Welcome to our Storytime

Making your own new thing and sharing it is a profound act. It doesn’t matter if it’s as complex as a novel or as simple as a little quatrain. Creativity connects you to others and lets them connect to you. 

This week there is an event at the library that will allow you to make that connection. The 2023 Home Voices Festival will be hosted by the Ames Public Library and features alumni of the Creative Writing and Environment program at Iowa State University. 

The Festival celebrates the recent book publications of the invited alumni. You will hear the authors read from their own work. There will also be a panel discussion. And what’s a party without a few light refreshments?

Invited alumni this year are Ana Hurtado (Ecuador), Cathleen Bascom (Kansas), Christopher Wiewiora (Florida), and Tegan Swanson (Wisconsin).

And you’re invited too! 
Home Voices Festival is Friday, Feb. 1st from 1-5. Provided in partnership with Ames Public Library, Peral Hogrefe Fund, MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment, Department of English, supported by the Ames Public Library Friends Foundation. 

Whether you are coming for one of our storytimes or coming to hear authors with Iowa State connections, Libraries are a place for creative work and new voices. No matter what age you are, I hope you discover many new and wonderful voices at the library.

We also hope to see you and your little ones at our many storytimes!