The room was full as I made my way to a seat at the Leetonia Public Library.
I was filled with anticipation for the presentation to begin. Looking around the room, the others seemed not to notice or share in my anxiety.
Some sat quietly, almost timidly, with their hands folded on their laps. Others chatted with one another.
As the librarian began the presentation, my mouth dropped to the floor. The wonders of modern technology so amazed me.
Looking again at the others in the audience, I was surprised at their reaction. Though delighted by the presentation, they were not the least bit amazed.
Of course, story time at the Leetonia Public Library has been a technological treat for as long as these preschoolers can remember.
At 3 and 4 years old, remembering has been a capacity for them for all of a year. That was right around the time the EIKI multimedia projector was installed in their beloved library. These children simply do not remember story time without EIKI.
The projector is mounted on the ceiling of the library's story room. It is aimed at a wall that the librarians have appropriately called, "The Magic Wall."
For movie time at the library, the projector is wired to a DVD player for the children to watch on the magic wall.
When a song is in order, the projector is connected to a VHS player, and the children sing and dance to music videos shining down on the magic wall.
The projector also can reflect the sights and sounds of the television onto the magic wall.
Web site interaction
This day, the multimedia EIKI is transmitting images from a Web site on the library computer. Freda the Frog is on the magic wall, talking to the children about colors.
"What color is the pumpkin?" Freda asks the children.
As the children yell out their responses, Cheri Taylor, leading the children's story time, clicks on the correct answer.
Freda congratulates the children. At the end of the exercise, Freda dubs the story time children "Color Champs."
They are thrilled with their title and accomplishment.
Of course, story time would not be complete without books.
Cheri reads several books to the children the old-fashioned way. Holding the book to her side, she pans the pages across the room for all to see.
But the Leetonia library has a new book-reading method. A media device called ELMO makes book reading to a large group easy.
ELMO is a camera. When hooked to the EIKI, the page of a book is projected onto the magic wall.
"It's great if you have a book with small pictures," Cheri explains with enthusiasm that matched my amazement. "It's not like an overhead projector where you have to make transparencies for it. You just lay the book down."
Carol Davis, library director, glows when she speaks of EIKI and ELMO.
"It's very fascinating," she admits. But what truly warms her heart is how this little country library came to have such a high tech system.
"Bill and Paula Taylor," Carol says. "They told me about the idea and I said, 'Bill, I don't even know what you are talking about!'"
The Taylors not only introduced the system to Carol; these patrons bought it for the library.
"We've been blessed," Paula explains. "We felt led to do this."
"I keep telling them how wonderful it is," Carol beams.
While the Taylors appreciate Carol's praise, it's the children's happy faces that make their contribution worthwhile.
Though the children from the Leetonia library may never remember story time without EIKI and ELMO, they will never forget the wonders that these high-tech machines brought to their young minds.