GREENFIELD — Story time at Hancock County Public Library got an enchanted makeover Thursday by the library’s “resident magician,” Golam Kibreah.
Kibreah, the library’s public services coordinator, will be the first to say he isn’t a “real magician.” But during his 15 years as a children’s librarian, Kibreah picked up a few tricks and illusions to keep kids interested during story times.
“When I would talk to kids about books and reading, I would show them little tricks,” Kibreah explained.
And Thursday, Kibreah’s technique did just the trick.
The 16 kids in the audience were enchanted by both Kibreah’s sleight of hand and the stories he told from memory.
“These are some of my favorite stories,” Kibreah told the children.
Memorizing funny little tales – like the story of the boy who ate nothing but cheese, peas and chocolate pudding – allowed Kibreah to move around the room and interact with the kids, instead of being stuck behind a book.
“Most children’s librarians these days do story reading,” he said. “What I’m doing is something different, storytelling.”
Kibreah also used the time to demonstrate different storytelling techniques, incorporating pictures and drawing into the hour. This way, Kibreah said he can help the kids build a vision of the story in their own minds.
Seven-year-old Gracie Castner even got to star in one story.
Gracie’s hand shot up when Kibreah asked for a volunteer with a cat.
“What’s your cat’s name?” Kibreah asked.
“Jinxie,” she told him through a grin.
Gracie’s grandmother, Andra Brannon, said her granddaughters are both big readers and come to many of the library’s programs.
Kibreah’s unique approach to storytelling kept the crowd of kids, kindergarten through fifth-grade, engaged, but it was clear some were there for the magic.
Stacey Davis said her son, 7-year-old Aidan Davis, was excited when he heard there would be a magic show.
“He’s asked for a magic kit for his birthday,” she said.
Aidan sat in the front row and was always one of the first to volunteer, testing the strength of a length of rope and the soundness of a metal ring.
When it came to the disappearing act, though, he wasn’t as sure.
“I don’t want to do that,” he said, wide-eyed.
What Kibreah’s really hoping, though, is that his sleight of hand will inspire the kids to try a trick of their own – making books disappear right off the shelves.