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thinker

The Maryhill Museum collection contains more than 80 works by Auguste Rodin, including bronzes, terra cottas, plaster studies, watercolor sketches -- and a small-scale replica of "The Thinker," his most well-known sculpture.

Despite the windy and slightly mercurial weather we’ve had lately, springtime is here and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Truth be told, autumn is my favorite season, but the longer days and warmish weather we’ve been treated to over the last few weeks are definitely cause for celebration.

Plus, with students (partially) back in classrooms and the loosened restrictions that come along with Phase 3 of the state’s Safe Start plan, it’s beginning to feel like landfall is finally in sight after more than a year of being adrift on choppy seas.

I’ve also begun to notice another sure sign of shifting tides: a smattering of events and activities popping up around the Valley; sure, many of them still bear the hallmarks of pandemic-related health and safety restrictions, but the fact that they’re happening is like a breath of much-needed fresh air.

While the library isn’t quite ready to roll out in-person programs yet, we’ve been working hard during the last several months to develop (or revamp) a variety of resources and activity kits designed for at-home learning and family-friendly adventures.

First in the lineup are our brand new Storytime to Go kits. I can’t even begin to describe how adorable these kits are, except to say that they let you bring all the fun of a library storytime home with you.

Each Storytime to Go kit covers a different theme or topic — like dinosaurs, monsters, farms, and under the sea — specifically selected to capture the interest of early readers.

Even better, the kits come with books, props (i.e., puppets, toys and other manipulatives), as well as a list of suggested songs and literacy-building activities to help you model early literacy development at home.

Believe me when I say that if you have little readers in your life, you’re going to be bowled over by how much learning AND fun we’ve packed into these kits. To explore the variety of kits we have on offer, visit www.yvl.org and search the catalog for “Storytime to Go.”

Secondly, I’d be remiss to not give a plug to our Maryhill Museum Passes. Located in Goldendale, the museum grounds overlook the Columbia River Gorge and feature an outdoor sculpture garden and a replica of Stonehenge.

The museum’s permanent, indoor exhibits include sculptures and watercolors by the venerable French sculptor Auguste Rodin, as well as a small-scale replica of his most well-known piece, “The Thinker.”

Another exhibit of note is the “Théâtre de la Mode” display, a collection of mannequins dressed in high-fashion French couture from some of the biggest names in post-World War II clothing designers, including Balenciaga, Hérmes, Cartier and more.

If I’ve piqued your interest, you’ll be pleased to know that the library’s Maryhill Museum Passes provide free general admission for members of the same household, plus up to four guests.

Ready for your Maryhill Museum adventure? Just visit www.yvl.org and search our online catalog for “Maryhill Museum Pass,” or contact your preferred community library.

Lastly, before I wrap things up, a quick update about the free Check Out Washington Discover Passes available from the library: While we’re still offering Discover Pass backpack kits (which come with binoculars and outdoor guides), those of you who prefer to pack light can now borrow JUST the Discover Pass without the extra supplies included in the backpack kits.

Either way, both the Discover Pass backpack kit and the Discover Pass-only option give you free access to millions of acres of Washington State Parks recreation lands — and, luckily, it’s the perfect time of year for outdoor adventures.

For more information, or to reserve a free Discover Pass, visit www.yvl.org/checkoutwa.

• Krystal Corbray is programming and marketing librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. She and other library staffers write this weekly column for SCENE. Learn more at www.yvl.org.

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