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June 22, 2014

Sounds of silence give way to lively libraries in Valley

— Pals Tori Ross and Maggie Frye intently pulled apart owl pellets looking for clues of the birds’ meals, the remnants scattered before them on a table in the community room at the Rudy Gelnett Memorial Library in Selinsgrove.

“It eats a lot of rodents,” 10-year-old Tori said, gingerly holding a tiny skull she plucked from the pellet.

The girls and a dozen other children spent an hour Thursday morning at the “grossology” program making colored slime out of glue, water and borax and whipping up unappealing snacks to resemble a kitty litter box and used bandages.  

Clearly, libraries are no longer the quiet sanctum of yore.

“We have a lot of fun being silly and creative,” said Jennifer Johnson, director of the Selinsgrove library. “I am not the ‘shush’ librarian.”

As libraries across the Valley roll out summer reading programs designed in partnership with area schools, they’re also offering a wide-range of activities to encourage people inside.

At the Snyder County Libraries, which has branches in Selinsgrove, Middleburg, Beavertown and McClure, there are programs for people of all ages, including free guitar lessons, hands-on science demonstrations and gardening workshops.

Roberta Greene, director of the Public Library for Union County, said it’s still the place to find great reading material and people to share it with, but the library is also a place to learn chair yoga, indulge in a meditation or tai chi class, learn about nutrition or enter a photography contest.

Quilting, financial ideas

A quilting program held in May at the Lewisburg library attracted 30 women and men  who brought their own quilts and shared their stories. The turnout surprised Greene who said she plans to offer more programs of its kind.

“There are many ways for people to learn and become engaged. Reading is just one of them and we’re offering other quality experiences,” she said.

Programs ranging from bullying prevention to money-saving tips will be offered at the Degenstein Community Library in Sunbury.

Launching at 9 a.m. July 12, the Super Saver Club will give participants a chance to share coupons and deals they’ve found in the area.

A Stop Bullying presentation by AmeriHealth Northeast will be open to all at 7 p.m. on July 17.

A new Degen-Tween program for girls between the ages of 9 and 12 got off to a great start this week when 11 showed up Thursday afternoon to decorate cupcakes, said Jeanne Williamson, in charge of children’s programs.

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