Bayes combines reading, animals for online storytimes

Amy Bayes, Newton Public Library head director of children's services, has a storytime from her farm once of twice a week. Wendy Nugent/Newton Now

By Wendy Nugent, Newton Now

NEWTON–Newton Public Library Head Supervisor of Children’s Services Amy Bayes thought of a way to combine a couple of things she loves—children’s books and real animals– since she’s at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bayes lives on a farm with her family, a flock of dogs, many horses, donkeys and goats. Two of those are baby goats, maybe about a foot tall–at least they were on Monday afternoon.

“I love animals,” she said. “They are a huge part of my life. I am so excited to be able to combine my love of the library with my love for animals.”

She’s broadcasting on the Newton Public Library FB page once or twice a week now, reading children’s stories for anyone who wants to watch and listen. She’s doing this all from home.

“Hi everyone,” she said in a video. “It’s Miss Amy from Newton Public Library. I am here today at my farm to bring you another storytime. If you remember that last time we did a goat storytime, I told you Miss Sunni here was going to have a baby. Well, she didn’t have one baby. She had two. These little twins right here. The blonde one’s name is Marshmallow, and he’s a little boy, and the girl here is named Bambi.”

She went on to say, while holding the small creatures, they were only 2 days old. That was on April 1. Then, she went on to read the book “Go, Dog. Go!”

The little goatlings kept climbing on her while she read.

“Newton Public Library still wanted to provide services to our patrons, and since I was stuck at home, I thought it would be fun to do the storytime with the animals on our farm,” Bayes said, adding she’s one of the people who does storytimes at the library when it’s open. Currently, the library is closed until further notice.

She’s doing this for several reasons.

“I really hope the kids get a little bit of happiness during these challenging times,” she said. “I miss all my storytime kids, and I hope seeing me on the Facebook page lets them know I’m thinking of them all, and I can’t wait to see them again.”

Her online reading material is the classics, like Berenstein Bears and Dr. Seuss.

“I read to the animals and tell the kids a little about each animal,” Bayes said. “We have done my pet pig named Pig Pig, my goat Sunni, our Belgian Big Bea, my mustang Salem and recently we did my goat Sunni again, but this time with her newborn twin babies Bambi and Marshmallow.”

People have liked the videos.

“I have had people all across the USA tell me how much they enjoy them.,” Bayes said. “My youngest son Isaac is home from school, so he has helped a lot with videoing the storytimes.”

Bayes has been home for more than two weeks.

“Trying to stay busy is key for me,” she said about how she’s dealing with this crazy time. “So I have been painting my house, working in the garden and spending lots of time with all of our animals.”