Acreage Branch Library-Loxahatchee, Florida
The arrival of summer brings with it trips to the beach, summer camps, and family barbeques. However for low-income working parents, it also signifies the conundrum of where to leave their children during the day. All over the country libraries step in to provide parents and their children with innovative programs that don’t break the bank.
Summer in Florida doesn’t feel any different than any other time of the year. Blessed with perpetual beach-friendly weather, the Sunshine State is a setting all-year round for outdoor fun. However, the months of summer vacation bring with them a yearly headache for working middle-class parents; what to do with their children during the day when they’re at work. Considering that the average summer camps stand at a cost of $200 to $300 dollars a week, parents who make slightly more than minimum wage, have no possibility to pay for these summer programs, particularly if they cannot secure government aid to do so. Luckily, public libraries are stepping in to take the burden of costly camps off the shoulders of working parents, and the Palm Beach County Library System is no exception to this. The Youth Services Department of PBCLS (Palm Beach County LIbrary System) is hosting no less than five programs a week for children and teens of all ages, not including their regular Story Times and the annual Summer Reading Program, putting an end to the belief of some that libraries are dead. The Palm Beach County Library System is composed of seventeen branches strategically located throughout Palm Beach County, making it easier for patrons to use the services of the branches closest to their home or work. The Acreage Branch located in Loxahatchee, Florida is the most recent addition to the library system, which only just celebrated its three year anniversary in March of this year. The demographic of the area known as the Acreage, blends a rural community of farmers, stay-at-home moms and people who enjoy the absence of traffic and sprawling mini-malls. Children’s programs are particularly popular here, due to the limited options in the area for children and their parents, particularly during the summer months, and the staff that manage the Youth Services department, is permanently challenged to come up with programs that not only entertain kids and teens, but that will also keep them coming back to enjoy the multitude of services that the library provides. On July 8, Head of Youth Services librarian Aramis Troche, hosted a program called For Real Fairy Tales, for ages 3 to 6, with the purpose of motivating the children in attendance to place themselves inside their favorite fairy tales, such as Jack and the Beanstalk, accompanied by music and colorful props in the spirit of the activity, to create a fun setting for the children. Troche was an inspiring captain to his willing small crew , motivating giggling little girls to dance, sing, and be fearlessly silly while their happy mothers watched on and clapped along to the beat of the music.