Benton library branch prepares for busy summer

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Jennyne Pinter, jpinter@bossierpress.com

The Benton Branch of Bossier Parish Libraries is making preparations for their summer schedule with the expectations of matching last year’s seasonal success. 

Located behind the post office on Courthouse Drive, the library is not only host to a large percentage of Benton residents but patrons from throughout Bossier Parish. 

Visitors are drawn to the building for its creative and energetic staff, and also for rare treats such as book signings by authors like Louisiana’s Winnie Griggs. The small, bright building is home to a growing number of present and future readers thanks to popular weekly activities such as Baby Lap Time, Saturday Story Time, Preschool Story Time and also various teen and adult programs. 

There is even rumor amongst the staff of an adults’ “crafternoon” being started, where participants can bring in their own crafts to work on while socializing and helping one another.

During the month of May the library will remain open, but these regular classes will be put on hold in order to give the eager staff plenty of time to prepare for the summer programs. 

Heather Smith, manager of the Benton Branch, proclaimed there will be “a lot” when asked about what the community can look forward to.  

“Every Tuesday there will be a different performer and we gear it for ages 6-12,” she said. 

Performers selected by Smith for this year include the Intercity Row Modern Dance Company, Harvey Rabbit and Friends, Great Scott Illusions, The Amazing Geebo, ScienceTellers with a “wild west”oriented display of experiments and the Hampstead Theatre Company with Treasure Island.

“It’s really neat!” Smith added when recalling the Hampstead Theater Company. “It’s just two people that come and they put on a whole play. They dress out in the different characters and it’s a lot of fun.”

“Last year they did Pinocchio and it was awesome!” added Haley Smith, an assistant, from behind the front desk. 

Both library assistants are very excited for the upcoming weeks of events and are hoping to have even more participants than last year. The Bossier Parish Libraries’ theme for the summer program this year is “Libraries Rock!

“We completely transform the meeting room into the theme and get everything decorated out here (the main library space) with very large decorations all across the walls,” said staff member Carlie Tucker.

Besides the weekly performances, a Summer Reading Program will be offered.  “Our goal is to get as many people reading (and excited about reading) as possible,” Smith said.

The Summer Reading Program for the Benton Branch begins May 24 and will throw a “Kickoff” party for readers on June 5 at 10 am.  Holiday Lanes will be setting up bowling lanes in the meeting room and the games will be accompanied by a pizza party.

Various goals are set for each of four age groups by the number of hours spent reading. Five-year-olds and under can choose a goal of 2, 4 or 6 hours, kids aged 6-12 can choose up to 10 hours while teens and adults may opt for 10 or 20 hours.  Small prize bags and packets are given out at the end of the Summer Reading Program to those who have achieved or exceeded their goals, and their name will also be entered into the drawing for a large, final prize in their age group throughout the day on July 31.

The summer reading program, however can be registered for online.