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Sunday, January 8, 2012

No Oxymoron: Fun Library (Guest Post by Jessica Duke)

I'd like to introduce one of our new writers, Jessica Duke. She fills a niche that I feel our readers need. Let's welcome her! Without further adieu, here's her bio and first story:

Hi, my name is Jessica and I am thrilled to offer my input on Fort Thomas Matters. I was born and raised in Fort Thomas, graduated from Highlands High School in 2004, a year and a half after meeting my future husband, also a Highlands graduate.

I then attended and subsequently graduated from NKU and, after moving far, far away for one year (all the way to downtown Cincinnati), my husband and I bought a house back home in Fort Thomas where we raise our two year old son and await the arrival of our daughter Spring of 2012.

I am a stay-at-home mom now but before children worked in graphic design and still freelance between changing diapers. As a young, single-income couple, I take full advantage of the family- and budget-friendly activities in the area. As a writer for FTM, I hope to bring a woman's/mother's/cheapskates voice to the site and inform you about fun family activities.


Seven months pregnant with my first child, my husband would arise early, dancing and announcing to me, “if we have to be awake, we may as well dance.” My son, now two, lives this motto daily. This begs the question as to where I can take my son to express himself musically AND still be budget-friendly. The answer may surprise you: the library.

Like me, you may initially be thinking the last place you’d want to take your boisterous boy or gregarious girl is the library. A place known as much for the word “shh” as it is for VHS Tapes, five-cent fines, and those items that came before Kindles. But you’d be wrong! The library is not just an archetypal small-town stalwart, but a free place of learning and expression.

The Philip N. Carrico branch off Highland Avenue just underwent a major renovation and is now reopen to the public. They offer classes for newborn children through 12th graders. “Baby Time” is music-oriented rhymes, tummy-time, lullabies, some fine motor skills and reading time. “Toddler Time” is more interactive with singing, holiday songs, instruments, and extremely friendly teachers.

My son, Knox, is warmly greeted when he walks in the door and it is not just because he is the cutest. They really take time out to get to know each child.

Each of the local branches offers a schedule of classes and small class sizes; the most children participants I’ve ever seen are 15. Also, they are quite good about limiting classes to age-appropriate children so rarely is my two-year-old’s head used as a drum for a five-year-old’s musical fists.

As a family (minus husband since he insists on gainful employment) we go to music class on Thursdays in Fort Thomas. On Tuesdays in Newport, there is a bubble machine to go along with their “under the sea” themed days. Once my son is older, we will take advantage of the family fun nights, pajama parties, craft days, and more.

As a parent, it is wonderful to see my son stimulated, happy, and expressive but I also get an adult outlet and have met many wonderful parents (mostly mothers but dads are welcome too) and we all tend to congregate and compare under-eye circles and stretch marks afterward while our children color, play with dolls, read books, or play with the train set.

So, if you’re looking for a free but fun way to spend your weekday mornings, don’t forget to “check out” the Fort Thomas library. Say hi if you see me, I’m the one with the angelic child with model-good looks.

Campbell County Public Library Website: here


  1. Jessica- great article! I don't have kids yet.. but this is great information to have. Thanks for the post!

  2. Going to children's story time was the highlight of my early stay-at-home mom days! As a newcomer to Ft. Thomas, this was where I met playmates for me and my kids! The library is one of the best things about our community.

  3. HI Jessica I am with The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra in Newport KY and have a great free activity coming up that you may like to mention as a fun and free family outing. If you could email me at I can give you all the information about it. thanks!