The ‘zoom room’

Creswell’s Lily Dumas engages with youth librarian Nick Caum during the first online Storytime. Photo by Kathryn Dumas

CRESWELL — A live reading from Lemony Snicket’s “The Bad Beginning” kicked off Creswell Library youth and community services librarian Nick Caum’s new online chapter book reading and chat on April 1. 

It’s one of several activities for kids and teens the library has moved online via Zoom while the physical library remains closed.

“The Bad Beginning” follows the three Baudelaire siblings as they learn, following the sudden death of their parents, to depend on their wits and each other when the distant relative appointed to be their guardian attempts to steal their fortune – by any means necessary.

On April 1, “Nick read the first three chapters of the book and gave participants a chance to ask questions, provide feedback on the book and socialize with one another before and after the reading,” described Megan Foote, whose children Landon, 10, and Ava, 8, participated.

Readings continue Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., targeted to elementary and early middle schoolers.

“Essentially, it’s a ‘Storytime’ for older kids,” Caum said. “We read a chapter or two, depending on length. All ages are welcome, but we keep the discussion to the elementary-aged group.”

Virtual Storytimes using Zoom began March 19 and will continue “for the foreseeable future,” Caum said.

The free, online events are structured similarly to the library’s in-person Storytimes and are held at the same days and times.

Babytime, focusing on babies and toddlers ages up to 3, is held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, offering 20 minutes of fun books, songs, lap bounces, and fingerplays.

When you logging in, “Be sure you are ready to participate with your kiddo,” Caum said. If you have an older child joining, “it would be good for them to have a stuffed animal to use during our lap bounces,” he added.

Storytime, designed for preschoolers ages 3-5, is at 10 a.m. on Thursdays, featuring longer books and songs.

Caum encourages adults to show enthusiasm with their child. “Shout out answers, get into the books and songs, and just have an all-around blast with your kids,” he said.

Virtual Teen Book Club meetings (Tuesdays at 7 p.m.) began last week using Zoom, with another held April 7. The book under discussion is Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”

“We have also been able to move our Teen Tabletop program to an online format,” Caum said. “I’ve had to make a few adjustments to make that work, but groups are able to meet once a week to play games together.”

Each week, each Zoom activity has its own “meeting” link. For now, patrons should email ([email protected]), message or text Caum to get a password to access a link to “join” a specific activity.

Then, follow the link to join on any device. Users will be prompted by the link to download the Zoom plug-in for a computer or an app for a smartphone or tablet.

“It’s very easy and it’s all free to download,” Caum said. He said applicants need to message him beforehand, “because only a limited number can join each time.”

Response to the library’s online offerings has been good, with five to 10 families joining each event.

“People seem to be enjoying our events so far,” Caum said. “It is hard to ‘read’ a crowd through a computer screen, but I have received several positive comments, and teens have also been appreciative of our events online. I think most people are just happy to see and interact with other people.”

More information about the library’s online programs is available on the website ( and on the “Creswell Library for Kids” Facebook page.



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