Animals Sleep in at O.B. Library

Sondra Murphy, children's librarian, and Vytas Alexander display the "diploma" that Christopher the bear won for sleeping over at the library.
Photo by Lynn Christoffers

Sondra Murphy, children's librarian, and Vytas Alexander display the "diploma" that Christopher the bear won for sleeping over at the library.

They ranged from Heidi, a full-sized collie, to bears, cats, more dogs, horses, and a doll — tiny creatures with names like Knut, Buck, Grinchie, Christopher, Coco, Amelia, Pooh, Kitty, and Tony — all of them stuffed animals belonging to Oak Bluffs children between three and nine years old. An unlikely group in an unusual setting, this collection came together late Friday to spend the night in the children’s activity room at the Oak Bluffs Library. It was a bit surprising that their owners cleared them for their first sleep-over, but the concept clearly caught the imagination of many children.

A novel idea to say the least, it was suggested by Anna Marie D’Addarie, circulation manager at the library, and executed by Sondra Murphy, children’s librarian. At one point deep into Friday afternoon, only a couple of animals and their guardians had appeared, but soon the trickle turned to a steady stream, and a dozen alter-egos eventually showed up — a testament to the trust that Ms. Murphy has built up with her young patrons.

After the children had left, Ms. Murphy photographed the stuffed animals in various poses and activities and put them on Facebook, so the children could see what they were up to.

Saturday morning, a light breakfast was provided for children who came to pick up their animals. From the smiles on their faces, the children seemed happy to be reunited with their favorite creatures, and excited about being part of the sleep-over.

Maddie Allee, aged 3, asked Ms. Murphy, “Can Amelia have another sleep-over in the summer?”