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Sandy Journal

No need to ‘shush!’ at Smith Library’s Rockin’ Storytime

Sep 07, 2018 03:06PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Rockin’ Storytime entertainment provided by (left to right) Bernadette Leroy, Vern Waters, David (Gruber) Allen and Lupé Carranza. (Amy Green/City Journals)

By Amy Green  |  [email protected] 

A word as simple as “rockin” can bring old and young together still. Calvin S. Smith Library held a rockin’ event proving there is yet value in such a word. Anyone attending had a chance to sing, read and interact with local library talent and TV personalities. 

On July 30, children, parents and grandparents gathered at the library for a morning full of stories, dancing and songs. This hour was undeniably rockin’ (in the enjoyment sort of way), and also rockin’ (in the wiggle-to-catchy-tunes sort of way). 

Rockin’ Storytime had live music. Smith’s own librarian Bernadette LeRoy and Vern Waters, manager of South Jordan branch, paired up with David (Gruber) Allen and Lupé Carranza — film actors with many credits. The four musicians combined talents to make a professional-quality band with comedy lyrics, set to classic cover tunes. Allen is a regular Smith Library patron and was in “Ghostbusters” (the 2016 movie). 

Waters opened the storytime on guitar and kid-catchy humor about his fear of chickens — lines that made grown-ups laugh, too. The children responded with interest from the beginning. Other band members joined in along the way, adding new components, props, quirky animal puppets, pictures and musical elements. 

“We hope that we’ll be able to take this little show on the road. So far, this is the first presentation that we’ve done together,” Waters said. 

Leroy described the reason behind Rockin Storytime: “We just wanted to do something that brought the community together around music, to relax, bond and have some fun.” The Smith branch is a more compact library compared to other branches, but that’s nothing determined librarians can’t work around.   

Leroy said, “It can be such a healing, joyful, fun thing to give.” The children’s delight and amusement was huge. “We are small, but mighty,” she said. Each child left with a colorful slap-on punk rock wristband for the road, which could also double as a bookmark.  It was easy to see that event organizer and Youth Services Librarian Melodie Ashley put a lot of thought into how families could have a memorable experience. 

The event was free and open to the public. Ali Pearson-Perry came to the library to support friend and band member Allen. Pearson-Perry described the storytime saying, “It was very fun, very interactive, and just as hip-hoppin’ as I thought it would be.” She brought three kids, appreciating how children could participate in an active way. “They were up there dancin’ and groovin’ and holding signs. Everybody should come out, and see that reading is fun.” 

Ali’s wife, Polly Pearson-Perry (a teacher), was there too, agreeing with Ali and also adding an educator’s perspective. “Reading is important, especially during the summer months, because statistically speaking, that’s when our children decline a little bit in their reading skills. The public library is a great place to come, to be able to rock out and read books and even check out music, movies and all kinds of things,” Polly said. 

Watch for more storytime events at