Today the winds blew mainly from the north/north-east, so John and I made great time traveling the 55 miles from Ness City to Scott City, Kansas. We pulled into town before 12:30 PM, our earliest finish yet. Scott City is eleven miles south of Lake Scott State Park, listed as one of the country’s 50 must-see state parks by National Geographic and the best beach in Kansas by USA Today. 3,000-plus people live here and Scott City is growing in size, a rare thing for a small city in Kansas.
After a quick clean-up, we headed into town to visit the Scott County Public Library. As out-of-towners needing internet access, we used the library computer to finalize our travel plans to the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in New Orleans, June 22-25. In order to use the computer, we just needed to sign in at the front desk, no identification required. We also noticed the book sale, local information posted near the front entrance, and the open access wifi. The library does have quite a few bicycle tourists stopping in, plus other tourists on their way to the Lake Scott State Park.
The library building is large, with high ceilings. There is great natural light from the many windows and an enclosed outside courtyard. The original section of the library was built in 1963 with a large expansion completed in 2009, funded by the county. The children’s section is decorated with some amazing murals painted by local artist, Mindi Allen. A conference room and media room are available for public use, plus comfortable seating next to the floor-to-ceiling windows.
We spent some time talking with Lori Hawker (Library Director) and Millie Dearden (Programming). They have some great summer programming including Summer Reading Camp. As of today, 300 children have signed up! The community works closely with the library to promote summer reading and to offer rewards to children that read five or more books a week. Several local businesses offer prizes, plus the local newspaper prints photos of the top readers. While we were visiting the library, local bee keeper Hester Geurin was speaking to a group of kids, accompanied by a case of live honeybees. At the end of the summer, a celebration will be held at the local swimming pool for all reading camp participants -- another example of community collaboration.
John and I would like to thank Lori and Millie for taking the time to speak with us. We learned a lot about Scott City, Lake Scott State Park, and one of our passions- your local public library.