Mary Lou Parry loves children. She also loves to read.
So it’s little wonder that Parry jumped at the chance to once again lead the Oley Valley Library’s “Story Time” at this year’s Oley Fair.
Parry, back for her third year of entertaining young listeners, will read The Cow Who Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson and Marcellus Hall on Thursday at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and Friday at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Parry says the book, in line with this year’s fair theme, “Moo-ve On Over to the Community Fair,” will be a big hit.
“I play to my crowd and I think they’ll love this book,” she said.
A retired kindergarten teacher who spent 40 years in the Oley Valley School District, Parry is, according to Oley Library Director Carin Milehosky, “a legend” in the area who loves nothing more than to have an opportunity to read to children, some of whom are the those of her former students.
“A lot of groups come -- they all know that I’m there and I can have anywhere from two to three kids to 15 or 20. I’m really proud to say that a lot of ex-students of mine have brought their kids back and it is really neat and gives me a chance to catch up with their moms and dads,” Parry said. “I just love doing story time.”
Mileshosky says story time has consistently drawn a big crowd at the fair, mostly thanks to the popularity of Parry, who also leads story time at the library. Large groups, such as the preschoolers from Friedens Lutheran Child Care Center in Oley, regularly come to the fair and stop in to participate in story time.
Mileshosky says story time has also been a boost to the library, reminding people who they are and what they do.
“When we started the Oley Valley Library project, before we even opened, we were looking for a way to have an outreach to the community, and obviously the fair is a great way to do that,” Milehosky said.
“Story time is just a nice little stop for families that are walking around the fair. They can listen to a story and do a little craft; it’s a nice break from all the walking around you do. And a nice way to incorporate literacy.”
The library is hosting a booth at the fair and will be running with the fair’s cow-oriented theme by giving away items including a cow tail bookmarker to booth visitors. They will be working with the slogan, “Oley Valley has the best tails.”
Recently celebrating their second anniversary and coming off a very successful summer reading program, the Oley Valley Library continues to grow. “It’s a slow climb, Milehosky says, “but we’ve been progressively growing our circulation and patron numbers.”
The library currently houses more than 6,000 books and 500 movies and videos. Their partnership with Muhlenberg Library also allows them access to any book, movie or video in Berks County. Free Wi-Fi is available to library patrons as well.
The Oley Valley Library is located at 17 Jefferson Street in the administration building of the Oley Valley High School. Their hours of operation are Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.