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Darby Library offers summer programming
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Darby Library offers summer programming

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Darby Community Public Library will provide dynamic summer programming for youth that is full of science, art and hands-on opportunities, every Tuesday, July 7– Aug. 18.

Library Director Stacie Rennaker said their programming last year was very successful.

“We even had one program where 70 kids attended,” Rennaker said. “This year we’re planning for 60 per activity with three to four stations for smaller groups, I’m going to need more people to help. We’ll be outside but the stations will help us to be more spread out.”

The special programming will start at noon and end at 1:30 p.m. each Tuesday.

“The school is providing lunch in the park that day with free food for any youth age 18 and under starting at 11:30,” Rennaker said. “We will start the activities at 12.”

The calendar is not yet set but SpectrUM from the University of Montana will present two of the programs.

The funding for programming is from an Edwards Charitable Foundation Trust grant, through the Friends of the Darby Library, a nonprofit organization.

“They fund our whole summer reading program,” Rennaker said. “So, our prizes for our top readers, our draw prizes for each age group and our Tuesday activities. It is huge and we definitely would not be able to do this without the grant.”

Rennaker said being with youth is the best part of her job.

“Getting to do fun things with kids and having the money to do it is the best,” she said. “We can dream all day of the fun things we want to do with kids but if we don’t have the money we can’t do them.”

All ages, even adults, can sign up to participate in the Summer Reading Program at the Darby Community Public Library. There are four age groups and the top readers in each group, based on minutes of reading, receive a prize, typically a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

“I think about when my kids were little it would have been a huge prize,” Rennaker said.

In addition, there is a random drawing for each age group. Readers fill out a card and put it in the appropriate bag and at the end of summer the staff does a random drawing from each bag.

“They can read any book, any reading counts. We just want kids reading,” Rennaker said.

The adult programming set for this spring was cancelled due to COVID restrictions including Cowboy Poetry, a presentation by Humanities Montana, a genealogy class and a fundraiser by the Friends of the Darby Library. Adult book clubs are just now starting up again. The library has plans for stronger programming for adults this fall and winter.

On Monday, Rennaker gave her annual budget presentation to the Ravalli County Commissioners.

“Last year our summer reading program was a hit,” she told the commissioners. “This last year we averaged 50 children per event. DCPL provided an activity every Tuesday throughout the summer everything from a painting class, to shooting off rockets and decorating t-shirts.”

This year Darby Community Public Library has been having holiday parties.

“My goal is to get kids into the library as much as possible,” Rennaker said. “I want children to love spending time in the library. I want them to love to love to read but I also want them to know that they can always find help and acceptance at the library.”

Visit the Darby Community Public Library at 101 1/2 South Marshall St. in Darby or call 406-821-4771.

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