August is traditionally a transition month for suburban libraries. As many families take end-of-season vacations, the libraries morph from providing a wealth of summer programming to more weekend and evening events, and a concentration on services to students and business people.
But now, when patrons have come to expect year-round programming, some libraries never stop.
The St. Charles Public Library even accompanies its patrons on vacation. The library at 1 S. 6th Ave. loans out wi-fi gadgets that can provide bandwidth to seven devices all at once… in a moving car.
“When we first purchased them, there was such a long waiting list,” library communication chief Pat Salomone said. “We’ve since purchased more, and the demand has leveled out.
“They can also check out a GoPro camera.”
Once they come back home, residents can check out a projector and screen, too, so they can show their GoPro vacation exploits to their neighbors -- sandwiched around a professionally-produced, real late-release movie also borrowed from the library.
The backyard partiers may have to watch where they step in the dark – in St. Charles, no one with a patch of dirt and a library card need go without plantings. The library gives away flower and vegetable seeds, and has programs to teach people how to let them thrive.
The Geneva Public Library takes its show on the road in a different way. The “Tales on the Town” program brings story-time for kids six and under to the Firewater Barbecue & Brew, 524 W. State St., on Aug. 12.
“It actually has a decent-sized space, to allow the kids to move around and sing,” said Paula Krapf, the library’s public relations and marketing manager.
“’Tales of the Town’” has been around for a couple of years now,” she said. “It gets a lot of people learning about the businesses, and for us it’s just a change of pace.” She said that “half an hour is the complete limit to keeping attention” for little kids, so the 11 a.m. program conveniently leads into lunchtime. “We’re not surprised if they stay in town and have lunch.”
The library has another drop-in program outside its walls on Aug. 6 at 10 a.m. The library will bring its third story-time of the summer to the “Let’sPlay Railway” exhibit at the Geneva History Museum, 113 S. 3rd St.
The nearly-life-size kid-friendly models of a train, cattle car and caboose are the attraction. “It gets the kids a chance to climb around and be a part of it,” Krapf said.
The Geneva library comes back inside for an all-ages kids’ program Aug. 7. It will be staged by a major library program vendor, Science Tellers, a national company that hires about 50 local teacher-performers to put on a science-oriented show. This year, they’re staging “Aliens Escape from Earth,” a tale of trying to get way-out-of-town visitors back home, with a handful of experiments and science hacks to fuel the narrative.
If past is prologue, the 7 p.m. program promises to be popular, so seek free tickets right away.
Summertime at libraries all over the country usually means summer reading clubs for both kids and adults, often with prizes and parties for people of all ages. By August, that’s winding down.
But even if you haven’t read a word all summer, you can attend the Town and Country Public Library’s impressive End of Summer Party on Aug.8, 5 p.m. to 9, said Connor Wilcox, library communication manager.
The party includes a performance by Robin’s Dog Stars, which jump through hoops, climb ladders, balance on balls and jump over things. Also entertaining will be Dave Herzog, an artist whose marionettes are known to sing, dance, skate, and do circus tricks like tightrope-walking and the flying trapeze.
The party includes a family-friendly movie, games, sandwiches and ice cream, balloon animals, face-painting, and live music. It’s all on the lawn outside the library at 320 E. North Street in Elburn.
Another film will be on tap, indoors, at 6 p.m. Aug. 23 for the three-hour movie-and-game night at the Elburn library.
If you’re a student artist, or a parent of one, and reading this on Aug. 1, you might want to get on the phone to Town & Country right away to try to get in on one of two hour-long programs that afternoon by pro illustrator Dan Laib. Young artists, second to fifth grade, will be taught how to draw optical illusions at1 p.m. At 2:30, artists in fifth grade through high school can learn how to transfer the inspiration of music to their drawings.
If your kid’s more of a writer, the library’s Kathleen Hansen teaches a creative writing at 4:30 every second and fourth Thursday starting on Sept. 12.
Languages a better fit? Sign up for a half hour of all-ages Spanish Storytime Wednesdays at either 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. They start Sept. 11.