At least one room in the East Library wasn’t quiet on the morning of Dec. 13.

Toddlers gleefully shook bells. Parents and grandparents bounced their kids while following rhymes and singing songs. There was occasional clapping of hands and stomping of feet.

Things settled down a bit while Heather Lyle read a few stories. She’s had about three decades to learn what works best with youngsters.

But she’s just as excited as the kids.

Toddler Time has been a staple at East and other Pikes Peak Library District branches for about 30 years, and Lyle, 66, has been involved since the beginning.

But Thursday’s three sessions were bittersweet. They were among the last times Lyle will lead the group as she will retire in January.

“Toddlers are so fun,” she said. “They are open to anything, and they have such joy for learning.”

Toddler Time started as Nursery Rhyme Time in 1981, a little more than 10 years after Lyle started working in the Pikes Peak Library District.

“I liked the idea, and I had young children,” she said. “With children, it’s very important to start working on literacy very early.”

Retiring will be rough, Lyle said, adding that she will miss leading Toddler Time.

“I have a wonderful job,” she said. “I’m getting a little old to do three programs in a row.”

The little ones she told stories to years ago now bring their children to the library program. She said it’s wonderful to know she played a part in starting a tradition for families.

“It makes you feel good to know that people think going to the library is so important,” she said.

Parents on Thursday morning said they will miss her.

Tammy Kunnery said her 2-year-old son, Treysten, begs to come to Toddler Time.

“She’s so interactive with the kids and takes time with each one,” she said.

Toddler Time won’t retire with Lyle. The program has been extremely successful.

Lyle said things have changed over the decades. New books are always coming out, and new things are rotated into the program. Classic nursery rhymes are still part of every session.

“I’m working with good material,” she said with a laugh. “Start reading to children when they are very young and hopefully they will read all their lives.”

Contact Kristina Iodice: 636-0162 Twitter @GazetteKristina

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