In addition to providing traditional library services, the Rakow Library understands the importance of inviting the local community into its home. Each spring or fall, third grade classes from the Corning-Painted Post school district visit the Museum. During the Library visit, librarians teach students why the Rakow Library is special, what types of materials it has, and what services it offers. In addition, librarians and docents work together to conduct two unique learning activities.
Children gaze in awe at a leather-bound 15th century manuscript that survived the 1972 flood. When we bring the oversized tome down to eye-level, their faces light up and a chorus of “wow” is generally audible.
Two favorite activities are the glass matching game and completing the large 1882 Corning map puzzle. Using a word bank, students identify glass objects that used to be common, but today are a bit tricky. They are quick to identify the glass shoes, necktie and pen, but stumble most with small antique hair gel jars shaped like bears. Librarians explain that before hair gel became what it is today, people used to slick their hair back with bear grease. This draws comments of “ew” and “gross,” and then it’s time to move on to the map puzzle!
We use the Corning map to show what methods of transportation were available in 1882 and how they influenced the development of Corning as a glass production hub. Focusing on the railroads and Chemung River, we talk about shipping and the importance of being able to bring in raw materials and send out finished glass goods. Working in groups, children assemble the approximately three foot wide map puzzle. Upon completion, if there’s time remaining, students figure out where the Museum would be located.
Approximately 275 third graders will visit the Library this November and December, including the groups who visited us this past spring in March and April. Each librarian and docent pair covers the same material in a slightly different way. Working with the visiting school groups is an exciting part of our day that we really look forward to. This program has happened each fall and spring for the past five years, and we anticipate continuing the tradition. If you are interested in bringing a school or other group to the Rakow Library, request a program online or e-mail us for more information.
The Rakow Research Library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
Telephone: 607.438.5300 | Email (general inquiries): [email protected]