Local goat kids around, facilitates story time

Children and families at story time were treated to a visit from Nova, a Nigerian Dwarf goat from Wondershare farms.

Children+feed+raisins+to+a+goat+during+story+time+at+the+Iowa+City+Public+Library+on+Monday%2C+Feb.+11%2C+2019.+This+is+Nova+the+goat%27s+first+appearance+at+the+library.+

Hannah Kinson

Children feed raisins to a goat during story time at the Iowa City Public Library on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. This is Nova the goat's first appearance at the library.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

On a dreary February morning, more than 100 kids and families packed the Iowa City Public Library to meet a local celebrity: Nova the Goat.

The library’s typical Monday story time was joined by special guest Lianna Cornally and her goat Nova. Cornally raises Nigerian Dwarf goats on Wondershire Farms near Solon.

Kids listened to goat-theme story “Let’s Count Goats,” sang songs about goats, and did an interactive retelling of the “Three Billy Goats Gruff.”

Parents and children lined up to pet Nova, feed her orange slices and raisins, and take plenty of pictures.

Cornally said her goats are well-socialized for interacting with kids.

“They have grown up around kids — my kids and my in-home childcare program, too. They’re used to being held by lots of little kids and little hands,” Cornally said. “They are happiest with other goats, so we make sure that they are never alone.”

Children’s librarian Anne Wilmoth met Cornally through the Iowa City Mom’s Blog and invited her to participate in story time. 

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“[Cornally] mentioned on Facebook an idea she had about taking her goats to people’s houses as a goat experience,” Wilmoth said. “I’m always on the hunt for new innovative program ideas for the library — that’s part of my job. I use personal connections all the time. If I know someone who’s doing something cool, I want them to bring it to the library and share it.”

Cornally has six goats on her farm, which she and her family use for dairy products. They also breed goats to sell to others looking to use goat-dairy products.

“We milk the mommas after the babies are born, and we use the milk and cheese and ice cream just for ourselves,” Cornally said. “It’s a really small hobby that we do. Goats make great pets, too.”

Cornally hopes that the kids’ interactions with her goats will bring them closer to nature. 

“This is the first time I’ve done something like this, but I really enjoyed it, and they’re great animals,” Cornally said. “I hope kids growing up in the city will be more connected to where their food comes from and the whole natural cycle of things.” 

Hannah Kinson
Children meet a goat during story time at the Iowa City Public Library on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. This is Nova the goat’s first appearance at the library.

Wilmoth said Cornally changes kids’ perceptions of what it means to be a farmer.

“I appreciate that [Cornally] mentioned that she’s a farmer,” Wilmoth said. “There are few female farmers who we ever hear about, and it’s a good opportunity for kids to meet a farmer who doesn’t conform to the stereotypical farmer image that they might have in their mind from books and TV. I think kids gain a greater understanding of the world and their horizons are broadened by their opportunity to connect with different types of people and animals.”

The Public Library offers story time six days a week, often with special guests such as Nova the Goat. Wilmoth said attendance at Monday’s story time was almost twice that of a typical Monday morning story time.

Angela Pilkington, the library’s children’s services coordinator, said the facility is able to present a wide variety of events for story time.

“[Story time] is usually very well-attended,” she said. “I like to say it’s because we change things up and we consistently have a story time every single week. I am fortunate to be able to do that.” 

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