ODEM, Texas — For the majority of the COVID-19 pandemic, San Patricio County's children's librarian -- known only as Mr. Kippy -- has held the storytimes, that he's been performing for decades, outside as a novel coronavirus precaution.
Recently, schools and libraries have invited him back inside where he can once again avoid discomforts like the heat, rain, and mosquitoes.
But the kids have been slow to return so far.
“It’s been really nice getting into the buildings," Mr. Kippy said. "It’s a little different that it had been. Places where we’d have 80 kids come every week, it’s down to ten. People are being really careful."
Only four children attended his weekly visit to the Odem Public Library Wednesday, but he's not discouraged about the low turnout.
He and school and library leaders are also keeping an eye on the Delta variant of COVID-19 that is infecting children at higher rates than other strains.
It hasn't led to any storytimes getting canceled as of yet.
“So far it’s been nice — better than I expected," he said. "But you never know. Things are crazy.”
Mr. Kippy is crazy about kids, and that's why he's been reading stories, singing songs, and playing with children across San Patricio County for 30 years now.
“It’s really nice getting kids excited about books," he said. "I like kids in general. It’s nice getting them into libraries."
To learn more about Mr. Kippy and his storytimes, click this link to his Facebook page.