The Horsham Township Library is looking to expand its pre-school story-time audience to include those who love to listen a good story, as well as those who may need help "hearing" the words.
American Sign Language will be incorporated into selected pre-school children's programs throughout the year to help those with hearing impairments be able to more actively participate in programs, library representatives said.
The library's fundraising arm - the Friends of the Horsham Library - recently received a $3,500 grant from the Commonwealth National Foundation, a non-profit private charitable foundation formed by the members of Horsham's Commonwealth National Golf Club Those monies will fund sign language interpretation for the hearing-impaired.
"Last spring we had one hearing-impaired parent who asked about sign-language interpretation, which we provided," Librarian Laurie Tynan said. "The experience was very positive for her as well as the other parents in the story time class. We are interested in experimenting with this on a longer term basis to see if there is enough of an audience for ASL services. If so, we will try to build this into our budget."
Tynan said the grant enables the library to pilot test the use of sign language interpretation during children's programming.
The library plans to add sign language interpretation to its Friday morning children's story-time sessions: Toddler Tales at 10:30 a.m., which requires pre-registration of children ages 18-36 months; and Pre-School Tales at 11:30 a.m., a drop-in class open to all 3- to 5-year-old children and their families.
The library also plans to offer sign language interpretation services during its Family Place parent/child workshops held twice a year. These "Giggle, Squiggle and Discover" programs combine a playgroup experience for pre-school children with a parenting education component for parents and caregivers. Sessions run weekly for four consecutive weeks in the spring and fall.
Sign Language interpretation allows hearing impaired children and/or parents to more fully participate in the library's story-time programs. Hearing-impaired library patrons can follow the stories told by Children's Librarian Ellyn Benner and can participate in the songs, rhymes and finger-plays Benner uses during story-time sessions.
More information about signed story times is available at the library's Web siteor by calling the library at 215-443-2609.