How many can say that they have heard their children say “I’m bored, I have nothing to do,” this summer…. already…with school only being out a few weeks? If you have children living in your home, you probably have heard this, one too many times. If you live in the Ballard School District, I have a suggestion for you.


The Huxley Public Library kicked off their summer reading series just this past week, with a presentation by Samantha Collison from the Blank Park Zoo. What was so special about Samantha showing up to help kick off “Libraries Rock?” Well, she didn’t come alone. She brought some creatures with her. You see, Samantha is part of the Blank Park Zoo’s Outreach Program, “A Very Musical Habitat.” It was total entertainment for approximately 150 children and some adults to experience animals up close and personal.


Most children have seen chickens. Many in the audience even raise urban chickens, but how about a chicken from Madagascar, with a naked neck and really long legs. This was just one of several animals that came to visit the Huxley Public Library.


Huxley Library Director Cathy Van Maanen explained some of the programs available for both children and adults this summer.


“Reading programs this summer revolve around the theme of Libraries Rock,” told Van Maanen. “So music is a big part of our summer. We offer programs to the public with over 100 kindergarteners through fifth graders registered, along with an additional preschool program. We are hosting programs for classes from The Whistle Stop and LilyPad, with over 200 kids being welcomed into the library each week.”


There are family opportunities as well.


“We offer a passive program where families who read chapter books aloud can enter a drawing for free passes to Center Grove Orchard,” explained Van Maanen. “Reading aloud has infinite benefits to pre-readers, early readers and adults as well. “


Adult book clubs meet year round, both morning and evenings at the library. Van Maanen said that the summer morning club is reading “Small, Great Things” by Jodi Piccoult and the event club is reading “Isaac’s Storm” by Erik Larson.


“For adults and kids as well, every Monday night we show an old Hollywood musical, “she said. “We will be showing “South Pacific” on July 9; “Oklahoma” on July 16; “The King and I” on July 23 and “State Fair” on July 30. Movie time is 6:30 p.m. at the library.”


On June 30, the Friends of the Library are hosting an open house to encourage people who don’t typically visit the library to stop in. Van Maanen said that the library has recently received a fresh coat of paint and new LED lighting.


“We want people to see all the amenities we offer,” Van Maanen explained.


A big party is planned to wrap up summer activities at the library, according to Van Maanen.


“On Friday, July 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Railroad Park, we will hold our End of Summer Party,” explained Van Maanen. “This is a free event and open to the public. We will have the Dueling Pianos of Mike and Andy, the Iowa League of Heroes, a face painter and food trucks. It’s free fun for everyone to wrap up the summer library program “Libraries Rock.”


Next time you have complaining bored children in the house, tell them to get on their bikes and go check out the library — or better yet, if you are free, go check out the library with your children, pick out a good book and set some time aside for yourself to read.