Brannon Cahela, Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 23 marked the first ever Children’s Corner story time on the fifth floor of the Houston Cole Library.
A group of children and parents listened, laughed and clapped along as JSU’s cheerleaders read them titles selected by fifth floor librarian Mrs. Laurie Heathcock.
Houston Cole’s Children’s Corner was opened in October 2017. Formerly inhabited by old reference books and shelves, Heathcock decided the space would better be used as a fun area where children could come to read and relax.
The first guest readers at Houston Cole Library’s Children’s Corner were the JSU cheerleaders and Cocky. There were many laughs and smiles by all in attendance as the cheerleaders got to take time to meet with the children before story time began.
“It’s an honor to be asked to read to these children,” said cheer captain Carlee Waits. “It’s amazing to be seen as a mentor and a role model to these kids. As a cheerleader, complete strangers know who I am, and it’s great to represent the university in a positive way.”
Head cheerleading coach R.J. Conroy was also there to show his support for the new children’s reading program at Houston Cole.
“This is a great way to show these kids the importance of reading, which is something we’ve kind of gotten away from,” Conroy said. “This is just a great way to share with the community something new going on at JSU”
Stephen and Jennifer Craig, JSU alumni, brought their daughter Ella to the event after reading about it in The Anniston Star.
“I think it’s great that athletes are giving back to the community in a way that makes these kids so happy,” said Jennifer.
It not only brings joy to the children to have such strong role models read to them.
“It just really put smiles on all of our faces the way these kids look up to us,” said cheerleader Dayleigh Dorsett..
The first installment of story time at Houston Cole Children’s corner was certainly a success, but Laurie Heathcock has big plans for the space’s future.
“We would love partner up with local public libraries to provide them with more space to do their summer reading programs,” Heathcock said. “It would be amazing if we could bring in children’s authors and illustrators to meet and interact with the kids.”
Heathcock said she would love to see fraternities and sororities volunteer to read, so if your Greek organization needs community service projects, contact her immediately.
While Children’s Corner is a celebration of childhood literature, it also a colorful refuge from the grey dullness of the rest of the library. If you’re sick of staring at your anatomy textbook, head over to Children’s Corner and enjoy the colorful murals and beanbag chairs.