County libraries offer variety of activities to escape the heat
A line forms weekdays at the door of the Fairbanks Branch even before the library opens.
Local Harris County Public Library branches are exploding with attendance this summer because children and adults are looking for fun and WiFi in a cool setting. To cater to them, branch librarians are accommodating their needs with free classes, summer reading activities and numerous book clubs.
The system's website, www.hcpl.net, allows people to connect with each branch and check schedules for what's offered.
At the Fairbanks Branch, 7122 N. Gessner, Victor Schill, children's librarian and assistant branch librarian, credits the variety of programs for increased attendance.
Some of the summer reading promotions this year have included a visit from Snakes Alive!, Storybook Opera, a service dog visit, face painting and several puppet shows in addition to arts and crafts.
"We definitely have more of an emphasis on fun during the summer, and maybe they'll learn something along the way," Schill said. "We like to try new things like a ScaredySquirrel book party or crafts based on Sid the Science Kid. All of these things are done within an hour."
More free computer classes are being offered, he said.
"We have a brand-new technology training assistant provided through a grant. People are able to learn software or create a résumé. He's here full time to help," he said.
Deborah Sica, branch librarian at Northwest Branch Library, 11355 Regency Green Drive in Cypress, said visitors appreciate the variety.
Activities for tweens, children and adults are extremely popular, she said. They vary from a free Gymboree class to movie screenings to numerous book clubs and employment seminars.
"Our branch is embedded in a neighborhood and has become a resource center and a community gathering place. Everything is free here except for printing and late fines. We're pretty busy all year, but definitely more in the summer. All of our summer programs for children go into August," Sica said.
Sandra Silvey, branch librarian at the Katherine Tyra Branch Library @ Bear Creek, 16719 Clay Road, works to keep the variety appealing for patrons.
Ice cream socials, a Jump Start exercise program, Domino pizza demonstrations and visits from Ronald McDonald draw families to the library.
"As soon as school lets out, we are packed with people waiting to come inside. We have book clubs, a knitting club, computer classes and movies for families. Every branch has its events calendar on its own website. Everyone is welcome. It's a social meeting place," Silvey said.
Hours vary by location. Check the website for more information.