Miss Sparkles brings story time to Facebook

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The closing of schools and businesses has forced us to rethink our routines, but it’s also brought out people’s creativity in the midst of a crisis.

One of Bismarck’s most popular story tellers is using technology to prevent her daily story times from coming to an end.

Five-year-old Nolan VerDouw is a big fan of Miss Sparkles

“I like her dress. I like the sparkles,” he says.

This week, he is happy to see Miss Sparkles on his mom’s iPad.

The Bismarck Public Library is closed to the public during the coronavirus crisis. But Miss Sparkles has found a way to add a new chapter to her classic daily story times.

“Everybody is really looking for routine and ways to come together,” said Jana Maher, better known as Miss Sparkles.

So, on Monday, she started hosting two story times a day. Maher is a self-proclaimed non-techy person.

“It is out of my comfort zone a little bit,” she admits.

She wasn’t sure her idea would work. “I didn’t know if the sound, the technology would work.”

Maher said her first story time went off without a glitch.

“People were watching form Colorado, Montana and San Diego. I had some libraries share it far away,” she said.

Miss Sparkles admits she’s keeping story time alive for the kids, but also for herself.

“I crave the hugs and seeing them every week. It was hurting my heart to not see them. Now, every day, twice a day we can all come together and be a little community.”

And you can bet Nolan VerDouw will be at every single story time.

Miss Sparkles plans to host story time on Facebook live at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Just search Miss Sparkles on Facebook. You can also watch them again later on that page. Miss Sparkles will post her story times for next week on that page too. She hopes to keep doing story times on Facebook until the library can reopen.