After Forbes published (and then deleted) an op-ed with the headline “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money,” people have been taking to the internet to defend the public institutions that offer thousands of books, classes, and maybe most importantly, a stuffed animal sleepover.
Yup, it’s just as adorable as it sounds, and it happened recently at the Somerville Public Library.
— Alexander (Sasha) Wait Zaranek (@wait_sasha) July 18, 2018
The Somerville Public Library is getting lots of love online after Boston-area writer Juliet Khan tweeted about the event.
“I'm glad we're talking about libraries because my library had a stuffed animal sleepover for the local kids recently, where they left their buddies there and the librarians took a bunch of pictures of their sleepover shenanigans, and I've been losing my shit over [it] for a week,” she wrote.
“Highlights,” she continued, “the pink glittery plastic ladybug named ‘Mr. Turtle,’ the stuffed horned snake named ‘Mr. Rough,’ the yellow alpaca named ‘Alfred Lemondrop,’ Mr. Rough's penchant for hanging out on dollhouse roofs.”
The Somerville Public Library recently held stuffed animal sleepovers at all three of its branches — the West Branch, located at 40 College Ave, the East Branch at 115 Broadway and the Central Library, located at 79 Highland Ave. The library's Facebook page shows an album full of photos from the West Branch event.
“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend the night at the library? Guess what — your stuffed animal can find out!” the event listing reads. “Bring your stuffed animal to the Children's Room in the afternoon, and watch Facebook throughout the evening to see what your pal is up to. (Sorry, only stuffed animals sleep over — kids have to go home!)”
Kahn’s tweet, initially posted Monday, has since been retweeted more than 2,000 times and liked more than 15,000 times. The Somerville Public Library Twitter account joined in the conversation to share some photos, and the cuteness overload has skyrocketed the library to internet fame.
“Who now wants to move to Somerville just for the library?” one person tweeted.
What's the point of a stuffed animal sleepover?
Besides being super cute, stuffed animal sleepovers actually have a purpose, and Somerville isn't the first library to host such an event. Libraries around the world have held sleepovers of stuffed animals as a way to get children more interested in reading, and it works.
A 2017 study out of Okayama University in Japan looked at 42 preschool children who attended a stuffed animal sleepover at a library and found that the number of children who read picture books to stuffed animals increased for a short period after the event, and increased again when they were reminded about the sleepover.
"We wanted to know if there really was an effect, and if so, how long it lasts," lead author Yoshihiro Okazaki of Okayama University said in a news release, per CNN. "Surprisingly, not only did the children show interest in the picture books, but they also began to read to their stuffed animals. This means that a new behavior pattern emerged that the children had not exhibited before; we did not expect anything like this."
See shots from the Somerville Public Library stuffed animal sleepover
"Goodnight Jack Black, Parrot, Heart Monkey, Elmo, Mr. Rough, America, Mr. Turtle, and Dolly!" the Somerville library wrote on Facebook.
"Goodnight Isabel, Gordon, Mickey, and Minnie!" this shot was captioned.
"Snack time in the library!" the Facebook caption reads on this shot. "The Mayor, Wolfy, Doggie, Amelia Bear-Heart, Alfred Lemondrop and Jack Black love cookies (not to worry, we had some gluten-free cookies for any animals with celiac disease)."
"Mr. Turtle learned about his distant relatives."
Mr. Rough, the horned snake.
Alfred Lemondrop, Dolly and The Mayor built Lego structures during the stuffed animal sleepover.
And Rosie the pig road the rails. For more images, check out Somerville Public Library's Facebook here.