A fond farewell to “Miss A.”

4 Jul

When my kids were young, we all knew “Wheels on  the Bus” by heart. We’d sing it at all our preschool activity classes and mommy/child events, and it was one of our favorites for long car trips.  Back then, the bus had a driver, lights, a horn, doors and people.

Adrienne reads a story to the kids. (Click on any photo to see a gallery with more.)

Apparently, in the 15-plus years since I’ve heard this little ditty, the bus has become a “space bus” and has also picked up a llama and an alien in its travels.

At least that was the interpretation I heard yesterday from Jason Poole of the Webster Public Library.  The occasion was Stories in the Park, a half-hour story time hosted by the library every Tuesday in July at Ridge Park, featuring Jason and Children’s Librarian Adrienne Furness. The library has been hosting these story times for years, but yesterday’s was extra special, because it marked the last time that Adrienne — or “Miss A.,” as the kids know her — would be participating.

After ten years as the children’s librarian at Webster Public Library, Adrienne will be moving on to a position as Library Director of the Henrietta Public Library.

Adrienne has been with the Webster Public Library for a little more than ten years, starting just a few weeks before the new library

Jason gets the kids hopping. I think they’re being fountains.

opened in Webster Plaza. In that time she has become a beloved figure in the children’s room, making an already pleasant area even more inviting with her ever-present smile and welcoming personality.

Yesterday’s program was a good example of why Adrienne will be sorely missed. When I got there just before the program started, I was amazed to see how many kids and adults were squeezed into the Ridge Park gazebo.  There were more than 50 small children crowded onto two tarps on the ground, in their parents’ laps or on the picnic benches. And there were almost that many parents and grandparents. Plus, more families kept arriving even after the stories began. I’m sure a lot of them came for the playground but were pleased to find something  even better going on, so they just stood outside the gazebo and watched.

Jason started the program with a song, accompanying himself on a guitar. Then for the next half hour he and Adrienne tag-teamed with stories, movement games and children’s tunes, keeping all 50-plus kids jumping, laughing, smiling, singing, shouting, standing still as stones, wiggling, whispering, spinning and dancing.

And even better, when Adrienne was reading a story, every child’s eyes were glued to the book, their faces bright with wonder, their minds open to new information. It was a beautiful thing to see. At that moment, a BOOK was the most important thing in their lives. All I could think was that I was watching the next generation of readers become inspired. They were learning to love stories and books.

No children’s librarian could ever ask for a better legacy.  Thank you, Adrienne, and good luck.

(Click on any of the photos to see more from yesterday’s Stories in the Park.)


Check out the faces of the kids. They are totally involved in the book.

Some of Miss A’s many fans gather for a final photo after the program.

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