Storytime with Miss Jennie at the library
By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist
Storytime with Miss Jennie is a very special time for children at Shelby County libraries. It is a time to hear a story and make a craft, a time for learning and fun in a safe place for toddlers to 12 year olds, all free. Every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at Columbiana Public Library; every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at Jane B Holmes Library in Helena; every Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. and Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Albert L. Scott Library in Alabaster – dozens of children spend their mornings with the creative story teller dressed in costumes with a huge smile on her face.
Jennie Bunton has loved to entertain all her life. As a teenager, she sang with bands for years. In the 1980’s she used her voice to sing telegrams as well as worked a “normal job.” Bunton went to clown school, became a professional clown and joined the local Magic City Clown Alley. Many a day Bunton has spent at Children’s Hospital entertaining critically ill children to bring smiles to their faces as the clown Gloie. She entertains at birthday parties and is a talented face painter with her business Gloie’s Fun Parties and Faces (205-222-6250). Bunton is active in her church Birmingham First Seventh Day Adventist where she organizes Children’s Church.
Along with Gloie, Bunton portrays many other characters as: Mother Goose, Pirate, Safari Hunter, Mother Nature, Winnie the Pooh, Santa’s Elf, Fairy-god Mother, Mrs. Claus and Dr. Seuss. Her colorful costumes and friendly smile greet each child with joy.
In 2006 library story teller Jane Pennington needed a substitute and heard of Bunton. By 2011, Pennington retired from her storytelling days and Benton was chosen to take her place.
“I have always loved to entertain and feel my creativity is God-given,” said Bunton. “I love story time with the children where I try to bring life to stories using music, felt boards and crafts.”
The summer story time themes have centered on the “Dig into Reading” program. Check out the Columbiana library calendar on the city’s website, CityofColumbiana.com, under the city department’s tab.