Print Schuler makes reading fun for kids
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:00

Some people don’t like to read.

It could be they just didn’t spend enough time in the library as a child.

Peggy Schuler is doing her best to make sure that not only do kids spend time in the library but that they learn how to get the most out of it.

One could argue that habits start early.

Schuler is the youth services librarian at the Camp Verde Community Library, which means the brightest and most colorful section of the building is her domain.

“This job is really, really fun,” Schuler said.

It’s a position she’s held for the past 12 years, ever since she migrated over to this part of the county from where she was working with the library in Chino Valley.

Schuler has a degree in the education field. Back before she got involved with libraries, Schuler said she did quite a bit of substitute teaching.

While taking a class at Yavapai College in 1990, Schuler got a job working in the library. She discovered she liked it. Today, working in the local children’s section of the library, Schuler said she gets to combine her love of libraries with the education of the young people that come through the doors.

Schuler went on to work on a library sciences degree from the University of Arizona. After continuing her work in the field, Schuler eventually took the job in Camp Verde when she found out there was an opening.

Her corner of the library was already the children’s section when Schuler arrived, but it’s evolved quite a bit since back then.

“I can see my fingerprints in here,” Schuler said.

Peggy Schuler, the children's librarian at the Camp Verde Public Library, asks questions and fields answers from a visiting school group Thursday, Feb. 23. Schuler has been developing children's library programs at the CVPL for the last 12 years.The room itself is inviting to children, with a giant cowboy on the wall, flags of the world hanging from the ceiling and no shortage of other explosions of color and imagery covering bulletin boards and laid out on tables in books filled when countless creative characters, some real, some imagined.

“This is definitely the fun part of the library,” Schuler said. “Kids need a lot of visuals.”

Schuler said she has an art background as well, making her an art director as well as a librarian.

She’s quick to credit her team of volunteers with bringing ideas to the table and pulling together to make the children’s section as inviting as can be.

“They’re very heavily involved,” Schuler said.

While Schuler has done a lot with her domain, she looks forward to the day when the library can move into a new, larger and more modern building.

“The library needs a lot of support,” Schuler said.

The visuals in the old building seemed to do the trick, however, as a young grade school class filed into the room last week, eagerly taking a seat at Schuler’s feet to listen to her read.

Of course, Schuler doesn’t just read to the kids, she engages them, asking them questions and making story time a much more interactive experience.

It’s all part of what Schuler sees as part of her educational responsibilities.

“I want to teach them how to love books and learn to find their way around the library.”

It’s clear she cares for the young ones who come in.

“I’ve watched a lot of them grow up in here over the years,” Schuler said. “They’re kind of like grandchildren.”

There’s more to the educational component than books, however. Schuler said the library continually comes up with regular programs for the kids. Just last week Schuler said some firefighters came in to teach the children about fire safety and how to try and not be scared of firefighters should something bad happen.

In the meantime, Schuler hopes to keep attracting young readers into that colorful back room to start laying a foundation for a lifetime of reading.

Regular children’s programs — and programs for all ages — are listed online.

There’s something new to learn all the time.

During last week’s school visit, Schuler was asking the children if they knew the difference between fiction and nonfiction.

Pointing to a character on a book cover, one little boy demonstrated he already has a firm grasp at separating the two.

“Caterpillars don’t wear glasses,” he said. “That’s fantasy.”