Teacher Active In Expansion Of Stanley Library

Posted: March 10, 2014

Elizabeth Kite, a third-grade teacher at Stanley Elementary, will be reading Dr. Seuss classics such as “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” to kindergarten students Friday at the William "Bill" Kibler Memorial Library. Kite is helping to plan the library expansion. (Photo by Caleb M. Soptelean DN-R)

STANLEY— Elizabeth Kite is driven to help children.

That’s why she signed up to help with the expansion of the William “Bill” Kibler Memorial Library.

A third-grade teacher at Stanley Elementary, Kite sits on a nine-person board of trustees tasked with managing the nonprofit library. She also sits on the library’s reading subcommittee.

Kite is a mover and shaker behind the scenes, says Terry Pettit, Stanley’s longtime town manager and fire chief. “She brings a lot of energy and motivation and a lot of teaching skills,” Pettit said.

When Massanutten Regional Library announced it was closing the Stanley branch in 2010 due to budget cuts, Pettit turned to Kite for help.

Kite, 34, attended school at Stanley Elementary and graduated from Page County High School in Shenandoah. She is currently teaching in the same classroom her mother, Jeanne Cave, taught in for some 20 years.

“She retired when I had children so she could stay home and read books to them,” Kite said.

That was seven years ago, when Kite’s daughter Summer was born.

“When my children were really small, my mother took them to story hour [at the library] every Wednesday,” Kite said. That was when the library was a branch of the Massanutten Regional Library.

The regional library had been using an old Wachovia Bank building that Pioneer Bank bought at auction and subsequently donated to the town in  2003.

After Massanutten Regional Library shut down the library in 2010, townspeople banded together to open a library of its own.

Kite remembers how her children Summer, 7, and Asher, 5, loved everything about story hour when they were younger — interacting with other children, being exposed to more books, and of course, the stories.

“I can see every day the impact of literacy on my own children and those in my class,” she said. Stanley has its share of poor families whose children benefit greatly from a library, Kite said. “We don’t have as many resources as a larger city.”

“It’s been very rewarding,” she said of her time spent helping with the library. “It keeps me busy,” she said.

Many children come to story hour time in the summer. “We don’t have enough room,” Kite said. In spite of the cramped quarters, “We put quilts down and hang out.”

Lack of storage at the library is also an issue.

Despite being what one might call a “mover and shaker” for the library, Kite said she has learned a lot from her experience on the committee. “I’ve gotten exposed to a lot of people, read other books and do story hour (in the summer months). I enjoy the dynamic of the kids getting together,” she said.

The volunteers inspire Kite. Some of these include Mary Ruth Oates, who used to be Kite’s kindergarten teacher, and Brenda Dodson, who used to run a daycare in town. “Almost all of the volunteers are retired teachers,” Kite said.

Kite plans to take time off from her classroom to volunteer to read to four groups of kindergarteners Friday, an example of her dedication to children, reading and the library.  She said the library expansion has been a labor of love not only for her, but for the entire community.

“Our town has rallied around the library,” she said. “People go out of their way to support it and make it a success story.”

Contact Caleb Soptelean at csoptelean@dnronline.com  or 574-6293.

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