September marked Watershed's eleventh year as a community! To celebrate, each month until next September we’re bringing you a list of ELEVEN things someone in our community is passionate about. In addition to picking up some interesting new knowledge, we hope this series will help you get to know a handful of the incredible people who call Watershed home!
November’s ELEVEN list comes from Watershedder Becca Worthington, the Children’s Librarian at ImaginOn in Uptown. This former Peace Corps Volunteer has a background in theatre and a Masters degree in Library Science, making her the perfect fit for the job!
If you’ve never been to ImaginOn or don’t know much about it, buckle up! This whimsical tour through one of Charlotte’s most exceptional establishments will give you a renewed appreciation for libraries... especially this unique one our city has the privilege of calling its own!
Without further ado, here are 11 things that you might not know about ImaginOn!
11 Things That You Might Not Know About ImaginOn
1. It's the only existing hybrid children's theatre/children's library in the United States. Fist bump.
2. Almost every piece of artwork hanging throughout the building is an original children's book illustration. If you get close enough, you can see eraser marks and White-Out and faint pencil lines. It gives a beautiful sense of the work that goes into picture books, and you can specially request an Art Tour through the ImaginOn website.
3. Where most public libraries in the country offer 1-2 programs A WEEK in the summer months, ImaginOn's Spangler Library offers six programs EVERY DAY for ages 0-11 and the Teen Loft offers additional daily programs for ages 12-18, plus self-directed activities throughout the building, a free summer exhibit for all ages, and completely free magicians and performers for our Terrific Tuesday showcase.
4. There is a 7-foot Cruella DeVille puppet in the loading dock hallway (from the Children's Theatre production of 101 Dalmatians) that staff members decorate weekly with weird hats and glasses and found objects for our own enjoyment. She's kind of the freaky pet of the building.
5. The welcome desk was especially built for Jon Stewart, who hosted The Daily Show coverage of the Democratic National Convention in 2012 live from ImaginOn. He let us keep it.
6. On the back of a sign next to the parking validation machine, facing only the people who sit at the welcome desk, there is the following language:
"Excuse me, can you validate my parking?"
"You parked beautifully. Your father would be proud."
(wipes away tears) "Thanks."
7. The dragon that guards the front entrance is actually a fully functioning four-person puppet that the Children's Theatre of Charlotte used in their play The Reluctant Dragon. And it has the ability to breathe smoke, too. (Yeah. I know.)
8. The stained glass window on the mezzanine level next to the play fire truck was the library set piece from the Children's Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast. I secretly want to assemble an Oceans 11 team to help me stage a heist to take it home with me.
9. The building has a fully functioning multi-story scene shop and carpentry studio where all the theatre sets are constructed, painted, and assembled on site AND a fully staffed costume shop where all the costumes from shoes to bustles to wigs are conceived, designed, and created in-house. Plus we have a sweet costume storage area in the basement that's like walking into a movie studio wardrobe facility. They let me borrow a brocaded princess gown for Shakespeare Saturday, and I got asked about 16 times if I was an actual princess.
10. There is a costume stage in the Story Jar area that is open for creative play, which means that there are frequently groups of tiny children dressed like Superman and an astronaut and a medieval knight all playing together.
11. It's the reason I moved here. A little over a year ago, I was living in New York, working a day job in book publishing and a night job as literary manager of an off-Broadway theatre company while getting my Masters in Library Science to become a children's librarian. When I decided to write my thesis on the lack of performative and theatrical training for children's librarians, I kept stumbling across this amazing place in my research called "ImaginOn" (in some mythical place I'd never been called "Charlotte") that was both a theatre AND a library. Be still, my heart. So I featured it in my thesis, and the very same day I got my Masters degree, ImaginOn posted an open position for a head children's librarian. I was packing a U-Haul two weeks later. Best thing that's ever happened to me!
We're SO glad your research led you here, Becca! Thanks for giving us the inside scoop on ImaginOn!
Do you have an interesting 11 list you'd like us to consider? We'd love to hear your idea! Tell us about it here.