PHOENIX - With the hazy days of summer comes an opportunity to get out of work and school mode and just let those peaceful, creative moments shine across the day’s path of possibility. One place geared up to usher in options for all ages throughout the summer is the Phoenix Public Library – right now kicking off reading, craft, club and series presentations that can keep the most active engaged almost any day of the week.
Coming up as a big start for kids and community is “Didgeridoo Down Under” at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 17. It’s one of several presentations planned for the summer that invites people in to enjoy a little learning and hands-on fun. A Didgeridoo is actually an Australian musical instrument first introduced by the Aborigines of Australia. This demonstration features an Australian-themed workshop billed as a “unique fusion of music, culture, science, comedy, environmentalism, character building and audience participation’.
Librarian Natalie Curran feels it’s a strong start. “Last year they came and they were amazing!” Curran says, “The kids get to play the instrument. It’s focused on music, animals, environment and the culture of Australia – so different … and one of the best programs we’ve ever done”. She is hopeful parents and kids will come out to support those kinds of activities, saying, “We want everyone to get a chance to see these things.”
Other demonstration presentations will take place almost every week. Following the July 17 “Didgeridoo” presentation, the Out of the Cage Pet Mobile returns to the Phoenix Public Library with a show at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 25. Their presenters bring another hands on educational experience, surrounding the pets of their small, exotic petting zoo to the Phoenix community – proven to be a Phoenix favorite.
On Wednesday, July 31 at 1 p.m., it is Jeff the Magic Man on deck at the library. Jeff the Magic Man received the Syracuse New Times award as Central New York’s Best Children’s Entertainer in both 2015 and 2016. He has gone on to offer his show in a wide range of venues from schools, to libraries, and on television. Although he has never performed in Phoenix, the reviews ensure a fantastic time for those attending.
In August, “G & G Animals” – a wildlife rehabilitation and education center in Oswego – brings their unique range of creatures to Phoenix. Like many children, Owner Danny Oostdyk fell in love with animals as a child himself – knowing he would someday find a way to work with them. That dream was realized as he followed the opportunities to care for them, growing those efforts into a location and program that includes hands on experiences for others, through those childhood eyes. G & G Animals is scheduled to be at the Phoenix Public Library at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15.
Several activities take place each week at the library to focus on stories, crafts and creativity. “Story Time with Miss Katie” – targeted during the school year towards the birth to preschool ages – expands in the summer to include older children and siblings on a drop-in basis. Noted on Fridays at 11 a.m., parents or caregivers are required to stay … and together are certainly are encouraged to enjoy the many books, movies, and games available through the library when story time is done. Story time begins in earnest on Friday, July 19, and continues on July 26, Aug. 2, Aug. 9, and Aug. 16.
Craft days happen at the Phoenix Public Library every Tuesday. Curran calls it a “Make and Take” event, where families can come in anytime between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and make a craft. The program is self-directed, providing materials and directions which allow parents and caregivers to help kids do it. Some crafts do need sign up so adequate amounts are available. Otherwise, Curran recommends that crafty kids come in early, to ensure supplies are available to make the craft.
An exciting addition to this year’s summer library fun is the new LEGO Club, happening on Mondays! The Phoenix Library provides a LEGO station set up in the library between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Kids interested can drop in during that time, and enjoy making their own creations. Curran is also looking for teen and adult volunteers who might love LEGOS to “Come help the kids play with and build things from the LEGOS”. Besides offering ideas and support, it’s a great option for teens seeking Community Service hours.
The one thing consistent every summer through the library is the summer reading program. Typically a kid’s program, children are encouraged to come in and register, and over the summer log their reading time. Registration gets every child a ticket for an ice cream treat at Henderson Dairy. Knowing summer schedules can include vacation and travel time, and ongoing work hours, those registered can stop in any time during the summer weeks to record reading and check out new books.
This year, the Phoenix Public Library is opening the Reading program to adults as well. Adults who register get a raffle ticket for every novel or book read and recorded. Then their raffle tickets get put in for a drawing at the end of the summer. The library has been working with local businesses to obtain prizes for that drawing. Prizes already currently include gift certificates from Duskee’s, Thrive Café, Cam’s Pizzeria, and Tranquility Day Spa. Says Curran, “Adults are reading anyway, so why not? Who wouldn’t want to put their name in for a Day Spa reward?”
“Summer time … and the livin’ is easy …” at the Phoenix Public Library, where there is almost no end on the fun to be found. The head librarian is excited about what’s ahead, and invites the community to join in on this variety of opportunities to read, like and play. During the summer sunshine and shared entertainment, “Phoenix is a wonderful place to be,” Curran says.