DANNEMORA The bumper sticker on the back of Laura Pritchards hunter green Toyota Camry reads, I am my kids teacher. Now, she can also say, I am my kids librarian. Ms. Pritchards first official day as librarian at the Dannemora Free Library was Oct. 1, but she is far from a new face at the library. She and her two home-schooled children have been frequent visitors to the library since the Pritchard family moved to Dannemora about four years ago. Weekly visits to the library are an educational staple for them. Nate, 13, and Rebekah, 8, are allowed to take out the same number of books as their chronological ages. Ms. Pritchard usually takes out four, and the children routinely talk her in to allowing them to take out a few more books, accumulating a weekly average of about 30 books. Nate has become a voracious reader, Ms. Pritchard commented. About a year ago, when former librarian Niki Kourafsky took a two- to three-month maternity leave, she asked Ms. Pritchard to fill in for her. Not surprisingly, when Ms. Kourafsky decided to leave the librarian position permanently, she gave Ms. Pritchard a ring. Niki called me and asked if I wanted to put in an application, Ms. Pritchard recounted. Shortly after submitting her application, Ms. Pritchard had an interview with the library board, and the next day she was notified the position was hers. Ms. Pritchard did not have to think long about whether she was going to apply for the position or not. I enjoy being with books and being surrounded by books. They are something I am very passionate about, she said. I love encouraging children and young teens to learn and develop a passion for reading. I also enjoy helping those who already love to read to find new books. Ms. Pritchard is already making plans to expand the librarys outreach to young readers. The library already encourages young readers through their summer reading program. Children earn points and prizes for the number of books they read. They also have a teen book club, The Fortune Cookies, which meets during the summer months. Their groups name derives from them helping others discover what books are in their future. The members read new releases and write critiques on them. Their critiques are published in a newsletter which is circulated throughout the other area libraries. Ms. Pritchard is hoping to make the group a year-round program. She also desires to reach out to those who enjoy reading large print books. We already have a good start on our collection of large print fiction books and I would like to continue to expand that, she said. We are now fully-automated, Laura added with a smile. We have our own Web site,
. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and every Tuesday from 2 to 8 p.m., Laura Pritchard may be found at one of her favorite places, the Dannemora Free Library, where she is ready to help others develop a passion for books.