Library kicks off summer reading programs with farm animals

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
A John Deere tractor was one of the stations children could check out around the Finney County Public Library during the library’s summer reading program kick-off event Friday.

Farm animals helped kick off the Finney County Public Library's summer reading program Friday. 

Pam Tuller, executive director of the library, said they hosted a kick-off event this year because usually they have a big program in nature with a presenter and around 300 people attend in one place at one time.

Doing that this year didn't seem like the best idea when they were planning it, Tuller said. 

"We decided we have all this space, we're going to use it," she said. "Our theme this year is "Tails & Tales" and since we can't get zoo animals here and we can't get ocean animals here and we know I've got goats and one of my staff members has chickens, we'd bring in farm animals."

4-H members and friend of friends of friends, etc., brought in all the animals, Tuller said, there was a great response from the community.

At the event there are 10 stations, nine with farm animals including pigs, sheep, chickens, a bunny, a dog, cows, horses, goats and ducks and one with a tractor. Additionally there is an ambulance and fire truck.

At each of the animal stations a volunteer – from a number of community organizations such as the Garden City Police Department Explorer Program, Boy Scouts, 4-H, Parents as Teachers, teachers from after school programs, GCPD, Finney County Sheriff's Office, EMS, Garden City Fire Department – reads a book about that specific animal and the participants then get to meet the animal.

Jill Sowers, right, reads a book about a pig to Sofia Marques, left, Eric Corpus, Audrina Marques and Leah Corpus Friday at the Finney County Public Library. 

Within the first hour of the event 201 people had been through.

Tuller said the event is sponsored by Beef Empire Days and because their theme this year is "Beef Always Essential", which is why essential workers were brought in and asked to volunteer. 

"They are our tour guides, they start at the beginning, they take a group each person and they take them around to every single station, read a story, talk about the animals, meet the animals," she said. 

It's been fun to see people at the library again for a summer reading event after the in-person summer reading program events were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuller said. 

"We live to get books into people's hands, summer reading is our sport, this is what we do," she said.

Compared to past years there isn't quite as much planned, but there are summer events, one program per age group per week, Tuller said.

Each week is themed, with the first week being farm animals then animals of lore, zoo animals, dinosaurs, ocean animals, woodland animals, pets and finally book character animals. 

Deborah Bien-Aime, a volunteer with the GCPD Explorer program, enjoyed attending the kick-off event and believed the program would help children see reading a something fun. 

"These days kids are just concentrated more on technology than books, so I believe this is a very good program," she said. "I think they did a great job with this, it's a good idea."

Anaceli, center, and Analissa Urbina pet a calf at the Finney County Public Library's summer reading program kick-off event Friday.

The children seemed to be having a great time seeing the animals, being with their parents and creating memories, Bien-Aime said. 

Prescilla Corpus attended the event with her grandchildren and thought it was a fun way to get them out of the house and to learn about animals. 

"I love that they came out here to do this and so far each animal that you see they have a book about that animal ... it's neat," she said. "It's nice instead of them being at home on their electronic devices. It's nice to get them out and to see other things."

Catherine Fick came with her four daughters. She's glad the library has summer events this year. 

"We didn't get to come in to anything last summer, it was sad to have the library closed, so we're glad to have it back open and doing activities," she said. "We love it, I'm glad the kids got to touch the animals and they're incorporating books and we love that, we love to read out our house."

Her daughters had fun, Fick said, they loved getting to see and touch the animals. 

Kora Fick said her favorite animals to see were the bunnies. She loved getting to pet them and that station had her favorite book, which talked about how soft bunnies are how the main character, a bunny, went on an adventure to find a carrot. 

"They're cute ... I like how soft they are," she said.