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Your Tewksbury Today

People You Know: TPL Head of Children's Services Noelle Boc

Jul 14, 2015 09:53AM ● By Hollie Gonzalez

TPL Head of Children's Services Noelle Boc

Tewksbury Public Library is such an iconic place in town.  I remember the old library over by the fire station.  I had to go there and actually use the Dewey Decimal System when I was younger!
Some kids nowadays don't even know what that is!  You had to share tables and sat on the floor if there were no seats.
Our library now is beautiful.  Two floors and full of knowledge.  What they really have that is most impressionable is Noelle Boc.  She is the Head of Children's Services at the library.  She basically runs the kids area and works in conjunction with the schools here in town to help out our youth.
 I had to go in there to get some of my son's summer reading list, so I had a great reason to go and talk to Noelle.
Hollie Gonzalez - How long have you worked at the Tewksbury Public Library?
Noelle Boc - I have been here for 13 1/2 years.  I love every minute of it.  This is where I need to be.
HG - Can you tell me about some of the programs in the children's area?
NB -  We have so many right now that I am excited about.  We have "Family Fun Fridays" which is every Friday we have a special event that goes on for families with children of all ages.  Some examples are the Teddy Bear Picnic, Sprinkler Day, Build a Fairy house and so much more.  We have preschool story time weekly, science themed Wednesdays, arts and crafts and it's all free to the public.
HG - What about the summer reading programs/ school lists?
NB - We have all the lists up on our website and you can come in and directly register on our one stop summer spot link.  We also have an incentive program to help kids with their summer reading lists.  For the children grades 3-6 we have summer reading Bingo.  The kids get a game board of sorts and when they get a "Bingo" for completing the tasks on it, they can bring it back in for a special prize.  For the children in preschool to grade 2 we have something similar but it is a little bit easier and they still bring it back for a prize with us.  It really helps the kids stay motivated to read in the summer.
HG - What is the program I heard about that involves real dogs?
NB-  It is an amazing program called Barks & Books. It is designed to help kids, especially those struggling with reading.  They are one on one sessions with our service dog, Misti.  It is on Wednesdays here at the Library and the sessions are 15 minutes long.  You can bring your own book or use one of ours.  No other adults or other children are allowed in the room during the session.  It is a great way for kids to learn and overcome any difficulties they may be having.  It really works wonderful because Misti is non-judgemental and a great reading partner.  Registration is required and it is as simple as calling us here in the children's room at 978-640-4496.
HG - Aren't there programs here that also require tickets?
NB - Yes, tickets are free also, but they fill up pretty fast so we require that tickets be got in advance so that we don't have to turn anyone away if it becomes too crowded.  We have somebody special that comes once a week and does a show.  We just had "Birds of Prey" and we have a magic show coming up, and a Jeannie Mack concert also coming.  You can check our website too for upcoming shows and times.
HG - Do a lot of kids come in to use the computers and what kind of parental controls are on them?
NB - Most of the kids that come in here in the summer come in to play Minecraft.  That is the big thing now.  Mostly during the school year though, it is for research on reports and projects for school.  There are no parental controls or blocking software here as the Tewksbury library, like most libraries go with the whole freedom of speech thing.  The only time we ever have a problem is when the kids get too rowdy with the computers and that is rare.  Most of the kids that come to the library are pretty well behaved.  I've never seen any other kind of issue here in all my years and we pretty much watch the kids and can see what they are doing at all times.
HG - What is there for toddlers and preschoolers?
NB - We have a great toddler book area.  There are sections for 0 - 18 months, 18 months to 3 years and 3 to 6 years old.  We have a great variety of books and board books.  We have puzzles as well.  There is also toddler story times and Mother Goose Rhyme Time.  We have sing alongs.  We have "drop in" Summer Sprouts and Preschool Story time.  I'm also really excited about out Book-a-Bye Baby page on our website.  If you can't make it in to the library, go to our website at and choose the children's link.  There are plenty of videos and action rhymes there!
HG - Do you have any recommendations for parents to help them keep kids interested in reading during the summer?
NB - My best advise is be a model of reading yourself.  Kids are like sponges and they absorb what you do all the time.  If they see you reading, it can make them want to read too.  Reading takes on a gazillion forms.  Weather it be books, magazines, comics, or any other form, reading can be interesting.  And try to specify a reading time for everyone in your family.  Maybe 15 minutes of reading before bed instead of electronics or watching TV.  Everyone needs down time, not just kids.
HG - How do you intertwine with the Tewksbury Public Schools?
NB - Every year I go to the schools in grades K-4 to talk about the summer reading clubs and what the library has to offer.  I try to keep the library really active in the school events and programs.  I was at the Heath Brook Social, and was a judge for the Spelling Bee.  I also try to help with libraries at the schools and help support the curriculum of our schools.  I see kids in kindergarten some years, and then see them in 4th grade, or even some kids I have seen in high school have just graduated.  I love working with the kids in this town.  Watching them grow and come full circle is so rewarding to me. 
HG - What can the library use or need?
NB - Donations, donations, donations.  We always need money for our programs and books.  We are grateful for the donations we get, but we could definitely use a lot more.  Also, craft supplies.  I love it when people come in with a box of craft supplies that they can no longer use.  It certainly goes along way here. 
HG - How can people become "friends" or donate to the library?
NB - They can sign up to be a "Friend of the Tewksbury Public Library" on our website.  You can purchase a membership for as little as $15.00 per family.  There are a few different membership levels and every penny counts.  You can also adopt-a-book or DVD for the library.  It is all tax deductible too.  The support you give to us helps us to fund books and equipment, adult and children's programs, and Museum passes.
Noelle knows this children's area like the back of her hand.  I saw kids come up to her and ask for random books with all different names and she just pointed out where they were like it was second nature.  She is sweet as pie and really serious about kids and reading.  The town is very lucky to have someone so passionate about books and children as Noelle.  So, parents...go get your summer reading lists and grab something for yourself to read on one of these awesome lazy summer days right along side of your kids.
Quick 5 - Noelle Boc
Favorite book ever read - Where the Wild Things Are
Last place I ate at - Menotomy in Arlington
Favorite Wizard of Oz character - The Scarecrow
Coke or Pepsi - No Soda, its not good for you
I would be most star struck if I met - John Taylor, the bassist from Duran Duran (but it would have to be the 80's version of him!)
(Hollie Gonzalez lives in Tewksbury with her husband and two children.  She is very passionate about her town.)
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