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RF Library Notes column: Youngest storytime attendee

The Duerst family are loyal patrons of the River Falls Public Library’s children’s programming. Submitted photo1 / 2
Annabelle Duerst is the youngest River Falls Public Library storytime attendee. She came to her first storytime when she was just 38-hours old. Submitted photo2 / 2

Annabelle Duerst was only 38-hours old when she arrived at the River Falls Public Library for storytime with her mother, Alicia, and brothers, Tim and Ben. Mrs. Duerst normally brings the boys to the Thursday morning preschool storytime, but on this day they attended the afternoon session.

When Librarian Monica LaVold expressed surprise at seeing her, Mrs. Duerst said that she was unable to get to the morning session because she had not yet been discharged from the hospital! She actually asked the hospital staff to try to get the discharge completed in time to attend afternoon storytimes!

The Duerst family, like many other families is taking advantage of important resources that are valuable to growing children. According to an article published by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the first five years of life are critical for brain development. It is estimated that more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second. A baby's environment is critical to this development; particularly important are their interactions with adults.

It has also been found that at 18 months of age, the disparity in vocabulary begins to appear between children based on whether they were born into a family with high education and income versus low education and income. The good news is that the River Falls Public Library provides free and accessible programs to all that can provide many opportunities for adult and child interaction, thus boosting children's development and improving early literacy.

The River Falls Public Library provides access to more than 80,000 materials for children. We offer more than 300 children's programs a year with more than 10,000 attendees.

Please stop in the library or call 715-425-0905 to register for any of our storytime offerings. We have a Baby Time class for age birth — 23 months, a Toddler Lapsit class for age 24-36 months, as well as Preschool Storytime and Family Story Hour. For more details, please visit our website at We look forward to seeing you here.

Thank you Mrs. Duerst for being such an inspiration!