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Today's word on journalism

Friday, September 1, 2006

"[F]ew things are as much a part of our lives as the news. With the advent of sophisticated mass communication, the news has become a sort
of instant historical record of the pace, progress, problems, and the hopes of society. On the other hand--and here's the puzzle -- the news provides, at best, a superficial and distorted image of society. . . . The puzzle, simply put, is this: How can anything so superficial be so central to our lives?"

--W. Lance Bennett, political science professor, 1988

Miss Sue and 'Quackers' make North Logan's library unique

By Diana Hurren

May 1, 2006 | NORTH LOGAN -- North Logan librarian Sue Randleman, known to local children as Miss Sue, tells stories twice weekly using ventriloquist puppets, flannel boards and sing a longs. Over 300 children attend story time each week for a unique learning experience.

"It's the greatest thing for kids in the community," said librarian Judi Poorte.

Miss Sue brings her favorite puppet, a large yellow and orange duck named Quackers, to story time every week and she says children become mesmerized with him. Randleman uses her ventriloquism talents to give Quackers a lively and goofy personality that children absolutely love and many children actually believe Quackers is real, said Randleman.

"It's just a half hour of fun and the kids love it," said Randleman with a huge smile spread across her face. "Even the moms love it," she said, chuckling.

The children all sit on padded rainbow colored mats placed on the floor for the half hour story time while Miss Sue and Quackers happily entertain the attentive audience. The children are encouraged to help tell the flannel board stories and also participate in singing and dancing which they seem to love.

Ventriloquism has been one of Randleman's interests since she was a young girl and she has been using it to teach children for years. She's used multiple puppets over the years, but when she got Quackers in 1984 he was a big hit and he's been her primary entertaining partner ever since.

Randleman has worked in libraries across the country, but has been at the North Logan library for nine years now and is currently serving as the library director. She won the librarian of the year award in 2004, which Randleman said she suspects she earned primarily because of her work with the kids and story time.

"Other libraries have story time and it's nothing like this," said Poorte. "This is incredible!"

Randleman said that other library reading programs are too boring and she just wants the kids to have fun so they will learn to enjoy reading.

Heather Godfrey just started bringing her daughter to story time and she said every time they leave the library her daughter immediately requests to come back next week.

A couple months ago Randleman recorded story time for the library to play over a couple weeks when she was planning to be away for surgery. When the kids got to the library they were so upset that Miss Sue and Quakers were not there in person. Some of the children were so upset they started crying Randleman said giggling to herself, "they just had to have the real thing."

"If she ever left this place she would be so missed; it would be such a loss," said Poorte.

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