Telling stories: Mr. Mac entertains families with tunes, tales at library
Published 5:42 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2016
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
NORTH SHELBY – When a man nicknamed Mr. Mac walks into the North Shelby Library and opens his guitar case, families who have come for story time know they are in for a treat.
Philip McEntee, more fondly known at the library as “Mr. Mac, Storyteller Extraordinaire,” keeps children enthralled and their parents entertained for nearly an hour every Wednesday morning as he strums his guitar, sings and tells stories and reads books.
“The whole idea is that making music together is fun,” McEntee said after story time on March 30. “If these folks learn that coming to the library is fun, they’ll come to the library. I think the personal, one-on-one experience is very important.”
As he plays and sings, McEntee interacts with the children, encouraging them to sing along and talk to him as he tells his stories.
“I never really know until the drive over here what stories I’m going to tell, songs I’m going to sing,” he said. “It’s very fluid. I’ve been doing it for long enough I sort of have a wealth of stories.”
He allows them to play with puppets he brings, and even lets them strum his guitar if they are inclined to try their hand at playing the instrument.
“I’m always very careful with my instruments, but I let children touch them,” McEntee said. “I think the hands-on experience is very important.”
McEntee, 65, lives in Montevallo and was a music teacher and band director for 27 years before he retired. Now, he plays at four area libraries, including the North Shelby Library, on a regular basis.
He has played at the North Shelby Library for about 15 years.
“He’s a major fixture of our children’s department,” Children’s Librarian Savannah Kitchens said of McEntee. “We’re lucky he comes here. He really brings the unique to what we can offer.”
About 20 children and their parents attended the March 30 story time.
“Even on spring break, we had a good crowd,” Kitchens said. “He’s a community favorite.”
Shelby County resident Lekha Veluri and her 4-year-old son, Abhinav, have been coming to Mr. Mac’s story time for nearly a year.
“He really loves it,” Lekha said of her son. “It’s really awesome.”
Lekha said she also enjoys meeting other families at the library.
“I get to meet new people here,” she said. “I like meeting new people.”
Mr. Mac’s family story time is held every Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. All ages are welcome.
“It’s all fun,” McEntee said. “If you’re having fun, the children will have fun.”