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A hidden gem for family fun

By Mike Ramczyk

What do most people think when it comes to the library?

Boring. Studying. Quiet.

Coraline Ramczyk, 5, showcases her books purchased at Burlington Public Library book fair on July 12 (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press).

Back in my high school days, the library was the place where you spent countless hours studying for that research paper or big test, where whispering was the loudest you could be and most times, you could hear a pin drop.

For years, I dreaded going to the library, harkening back to times of stress and hardship, combing the aisles for the right heavy, hard-cover textbook.

Then, I became a parent and my world view of the library exponentially changed for the better.

It’s become a place where children can come together to play and learn, with different programs throughout the year, including book fairs, magic shows and yoga classes.

The Burlington Public Library, only a few blocks from our house, has become a go-to summer destination for my 5-year-old daughter and I.

There are summer reading incentives, which reward kids with prizes like free Frosties from Wendy’s and free burritos from Chipotle after reading a certain amount of books.

The activity table is always chalked with season-appropriate ideas, whether it’s coloring pictures of the beach in the summer, decorating Easter eggs in the spring or gluing, cutting and pasting snowmen in the winter.

And honestly, sure, it’s encouraged to be quiet, and most of the people reading don’t say a word on the other side of the building, but the kids’ side is bustling with parents and their kids meeting others, connecting over some Legos or Lincoln Logs and getting lost in an adventure during story time.

Miss Jane and Miss Jen are two of the best and friendliest when it comes to helping out kids and parents, and I learned in my most recent visit that attendance has skyrocketed so far this summer compared to last year.

A highlight was last weekend’s book fair, which was located under a large tent in library park, just behind the library. It was Cora’s first book fair, and she was able to grab five books for the sweet, low price of $1.

There was a solid crowd for a Friday afternoon, and hundreds of books were available for all ages.

Cora, who usually just rents books from the library, was floored by the concept of being to keep a book and not have to give it back.

Even if we keep books a little too long, there are no longer late fees at the Burlington Public Library, which has been a God-send for a notorious late-fee maven like myself.

No more late fees is a great incentive to check out more books.

There is plenty for adults to do as well, with book fairs, Movie Mondays and Meet-and-Reads at fun places like the Burlington Community Pool.

Adults can even meet local authors and get introduced to out-of-the-box things like essential oils and Cosplay.

It’s generally just a great community gathering place.

The Burlington Public Library is a slept-on, hidden gem where parents can take their kids to have a really fun, educational time learning, reading, playing and meeting new friends.

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