Learn how a Baton Rouge library worker has been inspiring kids for nearly two decades

Learn how a Baton Rouge library worker has been inspiring kids for nearly two decades

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Libraries are a vital part of their communities. A Baton Rouge children’s librarian has been making children’s summers special for nearly two decades.

Tara Dearing began working at the Goodwood Library in East Baton Rouge Parish in 2006. She worked her way up to become Children’s Services Coordinator, where she works on program development alongside other duties important, such as partnership with schools.

Dearing said there are hundreds of summer programs for out-of-school children.

“It’s rewarding to help families and help them with their future,” Dearing said.

In nearly two decades of service, Dearing said the children have changed. Once-rudimentary arts and crafts have transformed into STEM-centered activities to keep up with generational shifts.

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Still, Dearing said she is able to help children develop a love of reading, even though she describes herself as a late bloomer when it comes to books.

“It’s not that they don’t like reading,” Dearing said. “It’s because they haven’t yet found what they like to read.”

In recent years, political culture wars have put libraries in the crosshairs. Thousands of librarians have resigned since 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Louisiana, new laws required an improved card system for children and adolescents.

“A pre-teen card wouldn’t just be able to access adult material. The way our cardholder policy is currently written, a teen or preteen is not eligible for an adult library card,” Kristen Edson, EBR Assistant Library Director, said in August 2023.

Dearing said she loves what she does and will continue to do it. She said she is passionate about the impact she has on children.

She shared several personal stories of people whose lives have changed.

“I had a 10-year-old in one of my first programs when I started in 2006 and she eventually became one of our library technicians,” Dearing said.

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Dearing said people often don’t realize how many resources the library has for people of all ages.

“They say, ‘I didn’t know you had so much stuff available and it’s all free with your library card,'” Dearing said.

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