“Everybody squeeze in,” the librarians at Crozet Library hollered above the din of the crowd of well above 100 people, young and old, that had crammed in the old depot July 28 for the ice cream social that annually celebrates the end of the summer reading programs. But, in fact, there was really no more squeeze room left. Folks faced the bay window along the train tracks where four library staffers had climbed up on the seating platform ready to reveal the grand sum total of books read. A teeming group of novice readers was in front. Looking around, folks were wondering if there could be enough ice cream for everyone who had turned out. Going on experience, the staff had 192 ice cream bars on hand.
First, each librarian held up a number. Together they made the sum of books read last summer: 8,405. Impressive enough. Then, after a suspenseful delay, they revealed new numbers one at a time; this year’s total: 8,468! Librarian Wendy Saz’s arms shot up. Touchdown! Another record. “Crozet is one reading town,” she said.
This year, 574 children, 142 teens and 103 adults participated in summer reading clubs. Each kept a reading log that got stamped by a librarian for every book read.
Next Saz urged the children to meet the evening’s special guest, Biscuit, whom they knew as a cuddly puppy in a series of beginning reading books. In a loud summons, the kids called him out. “Please, Biscuit, come out!”
Biscuit stuck out his tawny paw from behind the classroom door, so the kids could get an idea of his size. Then he came out, shuffling because he couldn’t see out of the furry costume head, bigger than a beach ball, he (or in this instance actually she) had on. But he knew where the hugs should go and he gave out plenty.
The library also sponsored a “Master the Art of Reading” adult reading contest this summer. Readers who read 15 books between mid-June and July 25 were eligible for a weekly drawing and small prizes.
Weekly winners included Bonnie Samuel, Amber Lubeck, Leslie Lepage, Jane Kulow, Barbara Kraft and Arthur McCormack. The grand prize winner, Pat Miller, received a $25 Barnes and Noble gift certificate and her picture superimposed on a poster of the Mona Lisa by the door.
Crozet library’s circulation figures from June 1 to July 29 totaled 52,593 transactions. “This is extremely busy,” Saz said. “This was an increase over last year of 4,121. Our increase was the second highest increase in Jefferson/Madison Regional Library system–second to Northside. We are consistently the fourth busiest branch, behind Central, Northside, and Gordon Avenue, with our circulation figures climbing dramatically every year.”