So far in 2011, the Friends of the Waco McLennan County Public Library have spent funds to support projects to improve the operations and services of our public libraries. The following is a partial list of the projects funded by the Friends since Jan. 1, 2011.

New books and materials

The Friends have so far distributed $50,000 during 2011 to be used by the public libraries in Waco, West, Mart, McGregor, Hewitt and Moody to purchase new materials, including books, audiobooks and downloadable books.

Summer showcase for children

Each year, the Waco Public Library features a Summer Showcase for Children to provide free programs of entertainment and enrichment for children. In 2011, the Friends of the Library approved spending up to $4,750 to help fund the Summer Showcase performances. The lineup includes:

  • Snake Encounters by Daryl Sprout
  • “GoldRocks and the Three Dinos” by Texas storyteller and puppeteer Sandy Shrout
  • Bonzo Crunch, a former Ringling Brothers clown
  • Storyteller and puppeteer Nancy Worcester
  • Two performances by Critterman (wildlife educators)
  • Creature Teacher
  • “Beauty and the Beast” by Stevens Puppets
  • Drum Circle, featuring participatory African music

Teen summer reading club

The theme of the 2011 Waco Public Library teen summer reading club, “Going Global, Staying Connected,” encourages teenagers to discover their passions, realize that the world is within their grasp, and explore the many connections to a worldwide network of resources that are available to them.

As they read their books this summer, teens have been asked to fill out a Passport Card with the name of each book and the location for the setting of the book, and then provide a short review. They will turn these cards in at the end of the summer for a chance to win prizes.

The Friends of the Library allocated $398 to provide prizes for this contest – including books for those who complete the club as well as two iPods for the male and female grand prize winners. The teens will be able to use these iPods to download audio books from the Waco Public Library’s expanded selection.

Adult summer reading club

The Waco Public Library’s adult summer reading club helps encourage reading by adult patrons by offering incentives to read during the summer months. The club helps encourage patrons to adopt a habit of lifelong learning by reading books. The Friends donated $249 to the program in 2011 to purchase a Barnes & Noble Color Nook reading tablet that will be given to the winner of a drawing participated in by members of the adult summer reading club.