Meet the community – Carla Autelli
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Meet the community – Carla Autelli

School mum Carla Autelli runs an English language toddler story hour at the library in Kanaleneiland. ‘I love libraries and felt there was a need for a story telling session in English in this neighbourhood.

By Ingrid Schmoutziguer, communications advisor

“We hear a lot of English being spoken in the library’, confirms Erica van Hall who works at Bibliotheek Kanaleneiland. ‘So when Carla came and asked whether she could host a toddler book club in English, we made her very welcome”.

Five children and their (grand)parents braved the snow this morning and made their way to the library. Autelli, armed with puppets, soft toys and two lovely books sits down in the special story chair and starts with asking everyone’s name and saying good morning to all the children present. After all the children had a chance to play with the soft toys Carla brought in to accompany her story, she reads about elephant who is afraid to go to sleep.

Library Kanaleneiland

Carla has an easy connection with the children and their parents and whether they speak English or only Korean or Portuguese, doesn’t seem to bother her at all. “I really enjoy my story hour and the fact that it draws so many different people to the library.”

Carla’s initiative ties in beautifully with the mission statement of the Library – to serve the local community. Autelli, who used to work as a primary teacher in Argentinia, loves libraries. “And this library at Kanaleneiland is so beautiful and welcoming; I bring my girls here all the time.”

Reach out

Erica van Hall: “We have a language cafĂ© where local Utrechters meet with internationals wanting to learn Dutch’, she says. “We also help older people to find their way around technology and we give advice on how best to go about a job interview”.

Since the library is visited by so many families unable to speak Dutch, Van Hall wants to reach out, offering more books in English and she also wants to provide the librarians with a basic English course. She thinks the story telling session for children in English is a welcome addition. ‘And Carla is so great at story telling’.

Carla’s Little Bookworms get together every Thursday morning from 10:00-11:00 in library Kanaleneiland, Al-Masoedilaan 188 (opposite shopping centre Kanaleneiland). It’s a drop in session; no need to sign up!