Summer Reading Club launch swamped by kids and parents

By Jamie Morris

Summer Reading Club launch swamped by kids and parents
More than 300 people crammed into Lindsay Library to see Simon Ward kick off the TD Summer Reading Club. Photo by Lyndsay Bowen.

Now there’s a headline to gladden the heart of any librarian. It’s accurate, too. On Saturday morning over 300 — precisely 140 of them kids — crammed into the Lindsay library branch’s children’s area for the official launch of the TD Summer Reading Club.

The draw? Lindsay native Simon Ward, lead singer of the Juno award winning Strumbellas, was on hand to perform a rousing set of kids’ songs and officially present a collection of over 700 Lego minifigures (plus Lego Ferris wheel, castle, and sundry vehicles) that he has graciously donated to the library.

Simon Ward of the Strumbellas donated 700 Lego minifigures to the Lindsay Library. Photo by Lyndsay Bowen.

As families streamed in they encountered the display, housed in a large case in the lobby. Above the ranks of figures were two signs, one for kids and one for their parents. Both had challenges. The kids’ challenges included figures from children’s literature. (Somewhere in there is a Harry Potter and — appropriately enough — a Waldo ). For parents it was figures such as Michael and Jackson. Grandparents could look for Charlie Chaplin.

Just before they entered the Carnegie section of the library there was a sign-up desk for the Reading Club. By day’s end, 75 had registered.

Inside, each child was given a Lego minifigure to keep. (That’s what gave the estimate for attendance — 140 were handed out. Though maybe that’s an underestimate — there were infants and toddlers who may have missed out). The figures had numbers on the base and some of the kids received prizes in a draw after the performance.

As everyone awaited Simon, a gorilla (another Ward, in costume) made the rounds and Chewbacca (yes another costumed Ward) warmed up the audience.

After a dramatic entrance Simon began his set with a song even grandparents could remember from childhood – ‘Down by the Bay’ and followed up with ‘I Like Sharks,’ sung to a shark (his son, Theo, in shark costume). A highlight was the Strumbellas own song, ‘Spirit.’

The music went on for half an hour and was followed by the draw. Twenty children went away with prizes of Lego sets and Lego gift cards, provided by no fewer than 13 local small businesses.

By all accounts, a real success. Lyndsay Bowen, the outreach and community engagement librarian had this to say: “The concert was a blast for the kids, but I think it also brought many people into the library who don’t visit us regularly. As well, it raised awareness about our TD Summer Reading Club. While a fun time for the kids, (the club) is very important in helping to maintain reading skills and get the children ready to start back at school in the fall.”

For kids and parents who missed the event, it’s not too late to join the Summer Reading Club. Registration continues at all 14 Kawartha Lakes Library branches.

And the Legos collection? It will be on permanent display in the Lindsay branch.

Simon, who grew up with a love of libraries and attended many a Story Time at the Lindsay branch, couldn’t be happier about that.

“I’ve had so much fun building this Lego display, and was ecstatic when the Kawartha Lakes Library agreed to host it,” Ward told The Lindsay Advocate.

“The library is a magical place, where reading and imagination meet. It makes me happy knowing that kids may be inspired to take out a book and learn more about the stories behind the minifigures they see.”

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