We are taking a deep breath this week, as we wrapped up the final programs last week. It was a hectic week, with the Blank Park Zoo coming to show off animals at both the Story City and Gilbert library locations, enthralling our youngsters and their families with everything from beautiful white rats to scaly alligators.

I have to be honest, I kept my distance during these presentations. I had visions of rats and alligators peering out from behind me on my bookshelf for days… but the truth is that these programs are so fascinating, so educational, and so enlightening, that any squeamishness I have personally is worth the delighted looks on the faces of the children… young and old alike!

So there are just two weeks remaining for everyone to wrap up their reading logs. There is nothing wrong with reading in earnest for the last two weeks before school starts. We hope that our young people are challenging their reading abilities, stretching their brains a bit more, so when school begins they are primed and ready to learn.

Sometimes the purpose of the reading programs get lost in translation, as we have activities, crafts and special events that bring together our young people over the summer. Attendance and participation is intended to encourage more reading, to help our youth stretch their horizons and strive to learn more about a wide range of topics. We always HOPE the books will come flying off the shelves after a special activity. We ENCOURAGE young people to try to read a little beyond their normal reading level, to improve their vocabulary, to create better understanding of the world around them. We STRIVE to offer a wide variety of information about every subject imaginable, so there is something on our shelves for everyone.

The only lightly attended event all summer, was last Monday night, when we had a wonderful historical program on the growth and change of Iowa’s Transportation System, which was presented by Leighton Christiansen, Librarian of the IDOT. As most may recall, we were apparently on the north edge of quite a storm, and only those oblivious to the weather were among our brave attendees. As we nervously listened to buckets of rain, wind and hail bombard our building, the program prevailed, even through the loss of electricity. So as Mayor Mike Jensen, his wife Patsy and I talked afterwards, we agreed that this is one of those programs that needs to be rescheduled….without a storm on the horizon!

We hope that a good summer with the library playing a small role, is enough to invigorate and rejuvenate everyone as we see the beginnings of the school year loom before us. So here we go, with our idealist dreams and hopes leading us into this final countdown to the first day of school. We hope that everyone found the summer programs fun and worthwhile.