SYCAMORE — Mohawk Community Library wrapped up a successful summer reading program with an evening of fun, food and fellowship Friday during its Family Fun Fest.
The annual summer reading program boasted 522 participants, from toddlers to age 18, which is the most ever. This was the first year for the library’s adult summer reading program, which had 108 participants.
The summer reading program ran from June 7 through July 7. The library’s circulation numbers skyrocketed during that time, with a total of 9,075 books checked out.
“Our total (circulation) numbers for the month of June were up 4,000 from last year,” librarian Leanne Lehnhart said. “We usually get 700 or 800 visitors per week and we had more than 1,000 every week during the program.”
Stacie Helton’s three children all participated in the program, which she said is important.
“It keeps the kids’ minds active during the summertime,” Helton said. “The library is really good at keeping the kids learning when they are not in school.”
Participants said the program was fun.
“It was cool,” said 11-year-old Claire Mullholand, who was new to the program this summer. “I enjoy reading because you get to learn so many new things.”
“I enjoy reading books and getting prizes,” added 16-year-old Dalton Kromer, who is completing his second year in the program.
Crafts were provided inside the library Friday and Family Fun Fest activities spilled out into the street, where games, face painting, contests and more fun was had by all. The Mohawk Lioness Club served a meal at the Sycamore firehouse, all free for the children who participated in the program.
“They worked hard all summer and they deserve it,” Lehnhart said. “This is their party and they’ve earned it.”
Both children and adults enjoyed several activities, including cornhole, a dunking booth, Shoot-Away Basketball games, a duck pond and more put on by community youth organizations and the library’s Teen Advisory Board. Prizes were awarded to contest winners.
“All the prizes were donated by the community,” Lehnhart said.
“We wanted it to be a family fun experience,” library trustee Joe Weininger added. “… There were more than 8,000 books read, so we are pretty proud of that.”
A Black Swamp Raptors Rehab Center naturalist was on hand to give Fun Fest-goers an up-close look at birds of prey.
The event concluded with a pie contest and auction. Proceeds from the auction and dinner, which was offered by donation, will be used for library programs and materials.
The Family Fun Fest was a community effort put on by the Mohawk Community Library Foundation and Board of Trustees, along with the support of Sycamore area churches, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H clubs, Mohawk Lioness Club, Sycamore Lions Club and the Sycamore Literary Club.
By CHANDA NEELY