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The purple tent is coming

Get ready, the big purple tent is coming.

In six weeks the parking lot between the Selma-Dallas County Library and the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center will be completely occupied by a large exhibit made especially for children.

Kaleidoscope, a traveling art studio sponsored by Hallmark Corporation, will be making a two-week stop in Selma beginning Dec. 1. Two large colorful trucks will be transformed into a self-contained, climate-controlled portable space.

Inside the tent, children in kindergarten through fifth grade will be given a free opportunity to draw, color and paint to their hearts content.

All the supplies are provided through Hallmark.

Library Director Becky Nichols said this will be the fifth time for Kaleidoscope to visit Selma, which is unique because it does not normally come to a city more than once.

Though weekday sessions are reserved for school groups, Dec. 6 and 13 will be open to everyone from noon until 4 p.m.

Nichols said 150 volunteers from various church groups and local organizations will be working with the children from city, county and private schools.

Becoming an integral component of the Selma community is nothing new to this public library.

In a recent release of its annual comparative report, the library reported a sizeable increase in the total number of adult and junior patrons it serves. According to the report, 25,476 children attended the junior programs alone, an increase of 7,287 from last year.

Programs like Kaleidoscope, she added, are a great way to keep kids coming to the library day after day.

Maintaining such programs, however, is growing increasingly difficult. Nichols noted that the City Council recently cut the library’s operating budget for the current fiscal year.