It was a very, very busy summer at the library. The building was packed every day, and you could often see people sitting on the floor throughout the building since the chairs were all occupied. People with laptops were everywhere using the wireless Internet, and borrowers took out huge piles of books, DVDs and other items. At times, it was hard to walk from one place to another because of the crowds. Each day flew by.
Children's programs, their summer reading book clubs, contests and more kept us hopping. The statewide theme was "One World, Many Stories," which Children's Coordinator Miss Debra used in her programs. We held 143 programs for babies through teens with 2,123 attending. Children in the summer reading book clubs totaled 192, and they read 4,556 books. What a lot of reading they did.
Both the Friends of Huntington Memorial Library and The Shipping Room supported the summer children's programs and we are very thankful for their donations.
After young children read 10 books, and older children read five books, 200 pages or more in length, they got to choose a prize from an age-appropriate basket. These baskets contained books, trinkets, stickers, and many other items. When it was time for a child to select a prize, we put the basket on the floor in the doorway to the circulation room.
Most children plopped right down on the floor by the basket and began the task of selecting a prize. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
For some, it was an agonizing choice, and it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r, since there are so many fabulous things in the basket. Others immediately spied something and grabbed it within five seconds. Sometimes, moms tried to "help" children choose something. "Help" was not usually wanted or appreciated, and we heard about it.
One day this summer, my husband had a day and evening full of scheduled meetings in several different towns. The only chance for him to have a bite to eat was around 4 p.m. and he wasn't terribly hungry, yet he knew waiting until 9 p.m. wouldn't work either. He happened to be going by a fast food chain, and pulled in to the takeout lane.
The clerk asked for his order, and he inquired whether or not there were children's meals, figuring it would be a smaller portion. "Yes," replied the clerk, so my husband said he would take one of those. Next, she asked if it was for a girl or boy. He couldn't figure out why she needed to know that, so he said it was for a boy.
He drove to the pickup window, paid for his food, and was handed, in his words, "this cute, colorful, little box with its own handle." Upon opening it, there was indeed a small portion of everything which suited him just fine.
Then he saw something else in the box. Curious, he picked it out and discovered it was a toy. A toy! Chuckling, and not having time to explore it further, he completed his schedule of meetings. When he came home that night, he told me this story, and I was roaring with laughter, tears coming down my cheeks. He quickly went out to his truck, doing a little dance, retrieving said box and toy.
Upon showing me the toy, he started to unwrap it from its clear plastic wrap, but I quickly grabbed it out of his hands, wrapper intact. I told him that toy was destined for our prize basket at the library.
When I took the toy and meal box to the library, the staff couldn't stop laughing. They haven't stopped razzing him. As for the toy's time in the basket? One day, a little boy became a very happy owner of a Star Wars character.
Just a reminder that Kevin Herrick, owner of Lettis Auction Services, will present a talk on antiques and collectibles at Huntington Memorial Library at 7 p.m. Monday. Audience members are invited to bring one antique to the program which Herrick will appraise for its value.
This program is sponsored by The Friends of Huntington Memorial Library. It is free and open to the public.
Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.
Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at www.thedailystar.com/librarycorner.