Library excited about summer program turnout

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Sensational Selma Summer at the local library was sensational, indeed.

The Selma-Dallas County Public Library recently concluded its annual two-month slate of activities for children, which attracted 5,172 children this year.

“For us at the library, I think we let out a collective ‘wow’ when we saw the final numbers this year,” library executive director Becky Nichols said. “We are always hoping for a successful summer, but we didn’t expect to see the number of children turn out this year.”

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Nichols said she attributed the large crowds to the variety of activities scheduled over the 39 days of the Sensational Selma Summer program.

“I think it is a successful event because we try to keep it fun,” Nichols said. “We had music, story times and arts and crafts events. We just try to make every day different so it is interesting to everyone.”

More than the number of children in attendance this year, Nichols said she was pleased by the thousands of books those children checked out of the library during their visits.

The most-attended event of the summer was the annual petting zoo, which took place during the first week of the summer-long schedule on June 5, and attracted 450 children as well as parents and babysitters.

The petting zoo was set up around a tree by the library’s main entrance near the intersection of Broad Street and Selma Avenue, and the lines stretched the length of the building to Washington Street for much of the morning.

Crowds of more than 120 people attended all eight of the library’s weekly puppet shows, and the smallest crowd for an arts and craft event was 202 children.

Employees at the library said the program is a success year after year solely because of the months of planning Nichols does before the first event begins in early June.

“It was really all because of Becky,” librarian Jan Parker said. “She worked for months to plan everything that took place this summer, and it was perfect, yet again.”

Now that the summer programs have concluded, Nichols said she could focus on the library’s next big event, when all 700 first grade students from across Dallas County will visit the library in three weeks.

“This summer was terrific, and we will all breathe a small sigh of relief that it went so well,” Nichols said. “But we’ve already started to figure out the dates and times for all of these children to visit the library.”