I wasn’t so much drawn to the Children’s Music Network as I was born into it. That’s definitely dramatic of me to say, but it feels like that sometimes. My parents, CMN members Monty and Lisa Harper, brought me to my first national conference when I was six months old. I was in pre-k the first time I performed at a Round Robin. CMN, and children’s music in general, was a constant in my childhood. I know that music has a powerful positive effect on the lives of children because I’ve watched my father bring joy to children and families at his shows for my entire life.
Growing up with a children’s musician for a father didn’t just instill a love of music in me, it also introduced me to the power of the library. Every summer we tour libraries across the country as part of their summer reading programs. Although I love helping out with the show, demonstrating sign language for songs like “The Cat Came Back,” and manning the CD sales table, it’s the librarians I’ve met and their dedication to their communities that really inspired me. I’m currently pursuing my Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing with a certificate in event management. After I graduate, I’m planning to pursue my master’s in library and information science with a specialization in youth services. Ultimately, I hope to combine my events experience with my MLIS to get a position in youth programming with a public library system.
As I’m sure you all know, libraries aren’t just about books. Library programming, such as summer reading, provides important opportunities for children to learn and grow. In my opinion, music is one of the most important outlets for that growth. Children find solace in songs. Much like a library, music is a familiar place that children can return to time and time again. I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact music can have on children, giving them an outlet for creativity and connection by encouraging, as my father puts it, the “wacky, witty, and way out.” That’s why, as a youth services librarian, one of my main goals would be to provide quality musical programming to all of the patrons under my care. I would especially love to one day work with organizations like CMN, Collaborative Summer Library Program, and the American Library Association to make it even easier for other librarians to do the same, because every child deserves to have the positive power of music in their lives.