Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Stuffed animal sleepover teaches kids about library resources


April 15,2014


By Chistopher Clapper


In an effort to make children more independent, Andersen Library held its second annual “Stuffed Animal Sleepover,” an event that allows children to bring stuffed animals to the library where the critters spend the night enjoying activities with the other animals.

All night long, the stuffed pets do activities like sing, dance, read and watch movies together, all while the library assistants take pictures of these activities to show the children when they return the next day to pick them up.

Diana Shull, reference and instructional technology librarian at Andersen Library and coordinator of this event, believes it is growing in popularity and for good reason.

“A lot of public libraries do this, and it is just a great way to expose kids to what the library has to offer in a fun, cute way that gets them engaged,” Shull said.

Amid the sounds of children laughing and “The Pizza Song” being sung by volunteers, the stuffed animals get ready to part ways with their owners.

The children are told to bring their “second string” stuffed animals.

This prevents them from not being able to fall asleep that night when it becomes all too real that they may have to go to bed alone.

“Last year we only had one child who decided that they weren’t comfortable leaving their animal behind,” Shull said.

This year the library staff also decided it would be helpful if they could have student volunteers from the education program.

Students who were interested in working with children were asked to volunteer.

“I think [this event] shows children how fun reading can be and gives them an opportunity to come explore the library,” said senior Rebecca McHugh, who is enrolled in the early childhood program and works in the children center on campus.

The children have a chance to be independent without losing the security blanket of their favorite stuffed animal.

The children play the role of parent, getting to comfort their stuffed animals and read them bedtime stories.

Each child brings his or her favorite book and reads to them before they send them off to nap time.

It is at this time that the stuffed animals rest up for their big events to come later that night.

Then the children say their final goodbyes. A few tears are shed and they leave. For many children this is the second time they sent their favorite animal for a night out.

Whitewater citizen Kelly Davis said she has brought her two children to the Andersen Library for the past two years.  She said both years, her children have had a positive experience.

“We love this; it is our second year doing it, and it is just awesome because it integrates reading and there is great fun, and they get to explore the library and their songs and it is a really great wholesome event.”

The kids either will come back the next day or on Monday to pick up their furry friends and swap stories of their weekend away from each other.

They get a book filled with pictures taken of the animals during their night of fun and games so they have visual proof of what happened. After the children and the stuffed animals are reunited, they head home, together at last.

“This is an event that we won’t miss as long as we are able to come,” Davis said.

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Founded 1901
Stuffed animal sleepover teaches kids about library resources