by Barbara Buckley
Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about summer, even as the cold winds have been blowing outside. Why? Each year, I select the professional presenters who will do their thing, whatever that thing is, at the Harbaugh-Thomas Library during the 10 weeks of SummerQuest. Families stream into the library for the Adams County Library System (ACLS) summer learning program, and we provide a variety of shows and educational experiences along with our books, magazines, and DVDs. Not all families travel extensively, and it is a pleasure to offer these free events close to home.
How do I find the acts? Scheduling begins for summer events in February, if not earlier, but I keep a running list of possibilities all year. Libraries share who their favorite performers are, and I am sent promotions from acts seeking to be hired. There are also some past performers that I will re-hire. I listen closely to families’ reactions after events to see if the acts were a good fit for our community and if so I will ask performers to return. I take note of community events in the local media. I try to provide a variety of acts, bigger shows where we will have over 100 attendees, and more intimate groups. We’ve had science-oriented acts, music, dance acts, and jugglers. Magicians, musicians, and boa constrictors, oh, my!
I’ve learned through the years that anything related to critters is a hit. We’ve had reptile shows where brave audience members held a boa constrictor. We’ve had lizards, hairless cats, owls, and more here at the library. One of the high points last summer was the appearance of the skunk from Strawberry Hill. It was a pleasure to be in the presence of a skunk without running in the other direction! This summer, look forward to having the opportunity to see Ryan the BugMan on July 27. He will be bringing many creepy crawlies with him, along with his expansive knowledge of insects and arthropods. You might even choose to hold the tarantula!
Kids and families also go crazy for magic. Magician and comedian Peter Wood will be here on June 22. He has appeared on the television show Penn & Teller, and he has delighted and astounded us each time he performed at the Harbaugh-Thomas Library. Parents and kids love his show. We’ll also have two interactive music sessions for children, “Wholesome Harmonies” and “Explore Music & Rhythm with Cindie Kane.” This is a small sampling of what will be available at the Harbaugh-Thomas Library this summer. Despite the general level of exhaustion, I feel at the end of each summer, it is my favorite time of the year at the library, and I hope we can provide some special memories for you and your family this summer!
The What’s Happening programming guide for ACLS for June, July, and August will be available in mid-May, and it will be packed with free events across the county at all 6 ACLS library branches. Check it out!
Barbara Buckley is Branch Manager at Harbaugh-Thomas Library in Biglerville.