Arts Council Welcomes Public Library Program to Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts

Carolyn Lowery, left, Children’s Room staff member
who developed the  Music and Movement program at
the Forsyth County Public Library,  and Nan
LaRosee, Children’s Services Director at the
Library, prepare children for a period of
animated activity at the program’s new
home in the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.
“Music and Movement“ livening up this downtown venue during library construction

"You might compare it to the difference between shopping at one large grocery store, like Harris Teeter or Fresh Market, or stocking the larder each week by visiting Ronnie’s Country Store, the city’s two farmer’s markets, a local bakery, Trader Joe’s and a shop that specializes in olive oil. What are we talking about?  Availing oneself of library services during the two-year construction period when the Forsyth County Central Library is no longer “central” but still the sum of its parts that are scattered about the city.

The treasured North Carolina Collection, for instance, has a new home in the Forsyth County administration building. Other programs have found suitable homes. The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County welcomed with open arms  “Music and Movement,” the Children’s Room signature program for kids from infants to kindergartners and their caregivers.

Chris Jones, The Arts Council’s Chief Operating Officer, tells us why.  “We are looking for ways to make the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts Center more welcoming and vibrant, from top to bottom and throughout the entire day and evening. A morning program like Music and Movement certainly fits the bill.  Caregivers, usually mothers, come in pushing strollers – some with two or three kids in tow – and head for our newly up fitted Mountcastle Forum.  Now also a performance space, as well a venue for meetings and receptions, it has a new floor that scores of boisterous kids cannot harm a bit.  There is a lot of music and movement, to be sure, but that’s just fine with us,” Jones said. “and we already had addressed noise considerations while prepping the room for music and theatrical performances.”

Nan LaRosee, Children’s Room Director at the Central Library, says Music and Movement is offered every second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 11 to 11:30 a.m. The program is free and open to the public.
“It takes a lot of imagination to keep preschoolers engaged for even 30 minutes,” she said, “but our staff members have pretty well mastered that. They incorporate elements of storytelling, rhythm instruments and movement into our carefully chosen song list. Everyone is an active performer in this high-energy activity.”

“The Central Library has been offering the program for about three and a half years. The Walkertown Branch was first and started offering it a year or so earlier. It replaced the traditional story time at the Central Library that was fading in popularity, and the very first week, 25 showed up, 30 the next and it kept growing,” said LaRosee.

Average attendance now is 70-80 with the number sometimes going over 150 during the Library’s summer reading program.  Walk into the Mountcastle Forum and you will  see kids marching, dancing, singing and keeping rhythm with sticks, maracas, rhythm eggs, and jingle bells and then, on cue, falling down and feigning nap time for a few seconds as the music suggests. Library staff use a variety of children's music by such performers as Jim Gill, Greg & Steve, Bari Koral and Ralph's World, along with updated folk songs, a capella, and rock and roll classics. They look for music that requires listening skills in order to interact with the song at the correct time and in the correct order, and encourages movement and rhythmic response.

Music and Movement is high-energy, but controlled. Stories are generally light and humorous and often incorporate puppets and responses from the audience. Staff have found that participants like to be fully engaged and actively contributing to all of the activities. Caregivers are free to join in or visit among themselves, making new friends and swapping parenting tips.  It is obvious they welcome the morning divertissement and value the friendships that are being developed.
Music and Movement programs are popular in many libraries, but the Forsyth County Library staff have formatted the local program based on what they have found to be effective with library patrons.  They are constantly tweaking “Music and Movement” to make it more engaging.
Convenient, modestly priced parking is located just across the street from the Milton Rhodes Center. The Center now has a branch of Coffee Park, which has the signature Air Stream trailer on Reynolda Road near the Children’s home.  Krankie’s coffee; cookies, breads and muffins from Camino Bakery; pastries from Atelier on Trade; sandwiches from West End Café, as well as other beverages and snacks are available for caregivers and kids.

Inquiries about “Music and Movement” can be made by contacting Nan LaRosee, Children's Room Director, Forsyth County Public Library (336) 703-3041,"

- A Press Release

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