Nearly 500 adults and children from all over Kearney and surrounding areas gathered at the Kearney Public Library Thursday evening to celebrate the conclusion of a record-breaking Summer Reading Program and the Kids’ Coin Campaign. The Summer Reading Finale Party included a performance by the String Beans musical group, refreshments, drawings for many prizes, and a Start a New Chapter capital campaign presentation. The party was originally scheduled to be held at the Cope Amphitheater at Yanney Heritage Park, but was moved to the Library due to a thunderstorm. “Even in the midst of the torrential downpour, people came out,” said Christine Walsh, Assistant Library Director. “I think we have a dedicated bunch of readers.”
This year’s Summer Reading Program drew participation from 1,824 individuals, exceeding last year’s enrollment of 1,169. Throughout the summer, a total of 41,262 youth books and audio books were checked out by the youth programs participants, who range from infants to high school students. Prizes, including a PlasmaCar, Webkinz and a Nintendo DS, were awarded Thursday to this summer’s exceptional readers and traveling trophies were given to Park Elementary School, Glenwood Elementary School and Pleasanton School for high student participation.
Thursday’s event also celebrated the Kids Coin Campaign, an initiative of the $6.5 million Start a New Chapter capital campaign that allowed youth to contribute coins to the Library’s renovation and expansion project. A check for $303.47, raised through the coin campaign, was presented to Youth Librarian Shawna Lindner. Campaign Co-Chair Galen Hadley also delivered a presentation about the capital campaign. Construction for the project, which will allow for more services and collection space, is anticipated to begin in 2010 and expected to be completed by 2011.
“The Finale Party celebrated all of the wonderful things happening at our Kearney Public Library right now,” Walsh said. “It is an event everyone looks forward to all year.”