Local cops, kids bond over library storytime

Detective Douglas Fontana reads to kids at the library

Detective Douglas Fontana reads to kids at the library

Thibodaux kids have the right to remain entertained.

The Thibodaux Police Department partnered with the Thibodaux Library to have officers read stories to kids at least twice a month.

Detective Douglas Fontana, who read stories Monday evening, said the program started about three months ago as a way for officers to get more involved in the community.

“It really gives us a chance to expand and do things we normally wouldn’t do,” he said.

Fontana said his favorite stories are the ones that get kids moving and interacting with him and one another.

During one of his stories Monday, Fontana asked his audience to jump like rabbits and make bird sounds.

Fontana said he likes being involved in the program because he has two children and believes it’s important to get kids excited about learning.

“They’re tomorrow,” he said.

Fontana said the effort also makes kids more comfortable around officers.

“It’s important for them to know we’re normal people, we’re mommies and daddies,” he said. “We just want to be able to connect with the community.”

Beth LeBlanc, who manages the library’s children’s area, said the readings have increased in popularity.

LeBlanc said the first reading saw five participants and each now averages 10 or more.

“The kids just go crazy,” she said.

LeBlanc said each meeting has a theme, meant to give kids something new to learn each week. Monday’s theme was “Parents’ Day.”

“We’re trying to teach them, but we want to keep it fun,” she said.

Walter Holsapple, 3, said his favorite part is the stories.

Wesley and Noah Hyatt, both 4, spent the evening hopping like frogs and chirping like birds.

Wesley said he looks up to the police officers who come and read to the group.

“They arrest the bad guys,” he said.

The boys’ mother, Michelle Hyatt, said she brought her sons and their younger sister, Parker, because they enjoy listening to stories.

Hyatt said she was especially interested when she learned the Police Department had gotten involved, and she knew her children would enjoy the readings.

“I just thought it would be a really great experience for them,” she said.

LeBlanc said she hopes the partnership between the Police Department and the library will continue for years to come.

“As long as they’re willing to come and do this, we’ll keep it going,” she said.

To find future story time dates, view the library’s calendar on its website:  www.lafourche.org.

Rachel Warren Staff Writer

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