Library lives the ‘Wilder’ life

Kayla Hockman
Staff Writer

Families were laughing and smiling during the celebration of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday at the 49th Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread Sociable Saturday at the Pomona Public Library.

The free celebration of the “Little House on the Prairie” author featured activities for all ages, from arts and crafts to a pioneer sing along and rope show with entertainer Cowboy Ken. The Friends of the Pomona Public Library organized the event.

“We just try to enrich the kids’ lives with the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series,” Rebecca Ramos, Friends of the Pomona Public Library volunteer, said.

The celebration took place in the children’s section of the library, commonly known as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Room. Attendees had the opportunity to enrich themselves in the country lifestyle with a dance lesson from Rancho Cucamonga’s B&B Square Dancers. Few spectators were dressed in 1870s pioneer attire in honor of Wilder’s childhood.

A documentary of Wilder’s life and episodes of the “Little House on the Prairie” television series played in the background while children and family members colored country themed coloring pages and crafted necklaces and paper bonnets. The dedication ceremony of the Wilder children’s room also aired on the screen throughout the event.

Pioneer themed bookmarks were given to attendees in celebration of Wilder’s life on the prairie. Fruit punch and gingerbread cookies were available for families to enjoy during the event.

After craft time, children sang along with entertainer Cowboy Ken and were involved in a country themed puppet show.

“This is my fourth year coming with my daughter and watching her do the crafts is my favorite part,” Lara Burkholder, Pomona resident, said. “I’ve always loved (Wilder) since I was little.”

The Pomona Public Library hosted its first Gingerbread Sociable in 1967, in celebration of Wilder’s 100th birthday. Gingerbread has been served every year because it was Wilder’s favorite treat on the prairie during her childhood.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Room includes a small museum section of scripts from the television series “Little House on the Prairie,” letters between Wilder and Webber, family dolls, childhood pictures and more.

“The Pomona Public Library is well known for its Laura Ingalls Wilder display,” Kathy Razo, Friends of the Pomona Public Library volunteer, said.

Due to the dedication of Wilder and her novels, the Gingerbread Sociable has become a memorable event in Pomona for families to enjoy annually.

Children’s librarian Clara Webber began correspondence with Ingalls in the 1940s which resulted in a donation of an original handwritten manuscript of Wilder’s “Little Town on the Prairie” and numerous other artifacts.

In 1950 the Public Pomona Library named its children’s room the Laura Ingalls Wilder Room.

“(Webber) got the kids in the neighborhood and the community all involved with the ‘Little House’ books,” Muriel Spill, Pomona Library Manager, said.

“She got them all enthusiastic about reading the books and learning about that period of history.”

Kayla Hockman can be reached at kayla.hockman@laverne.edu.

Kayla Hockman
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