Libraries Foster Community Spirit

While children engage in reading activities, parents catch up on the latest news


Nicole Rivera and Erin Fleshman catch up on the latest news in the children’s room at Windsor Woods Library.

Windsor Woods Library is a community gathering place for three Navy moms who regularly bring their children to storytimes and other activities.

Trisha Lee, Erin Fleshman and Nicole Rivera met several years ago when their Navy husbands were stationed in Guam. But it wasn’t until their three families moved to Virginia Beach that they started meeting up at the library.

Trisha found out about Windsor Woods’ programs by searching the internet for “things for toddlers to do in Virginia Beach.” Her 4-year-old, Olivia, participates in library activities along with Erin’s 5-year-old daughter, Sam, and Nicole’s 5-year-old son, Elijah.

The children are friends, just like their parents. They’ve participated in several reading, science and craft-making activities at Windsor Woods. The “On My Own Storytime,” available at several Virginia Beach Public Library locations, prepares 4- to 5-year-olds for kindergarten. While parents wait nearby in a separate area, a librarian engages children with books, rhymes and music.

“It’s always fun to get them involved in books,” Nicole says. Trisha, Erin and Nicole use the time to catch up on each other’s lives – sharing the latest military happenings and discussing new ways to keep their children happy and occupied.

“We just talk about life,” Erin says. “And we talk to the other moms here, too, and share information about other preschool programs.”

On a recent Thursday at Windsor Woods, the storytime focused on the letter “B,” so there were songs and books about butterflies, bears and robots that went “Beep! Beep!”

Library Program Specialist Becky Kreitner pointed out the shapes in letter B, and had them notice similarities between the lowercase “b” and the lowercase “d.”

“Oh, I’m so proud of you all,” she said.

Erin says “Ms. Becky” strikes a perfect balance between encouragement and discipline. When a child occasionally speaks out of turn, Ms. Becky gently brought the focus back to the lesson.

“She’s really good with the kids, but she’s not afraid to keep them in line,” Erin says.

It’s been great watching Olivia, Sam and Elijah develop their reading and social skills, Ms. Becky says. Like true friends, sometimes they’ll give each other a hard time. But they’re just as likely to stand up for each other. Olivia couldn’t make it to a recent storytime, so Sam made an extra butterfly craft to give to her friend later. At the end of the activity, Sam held up her artwork for her mom to see.

“We were learning about B’s,” she said. “I colored one for me, but I also colored another one for her.”

“For who?” her mom asked.

“For Olivia,” Sam said.

“Oh, that’s nice,” mom said approvingly.



Sam and Olivia enjoy educational playtime at Windsor Woods Library.

Sam and Elijah write their names on whiteboards at the beginning of a storytime activity.

It’s Elijah’s turn with the ball, and classmates clap out his name. E-li-jah! Sam correctly holds up three fingers for the three
syllables in Elijah’s name.​
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