Library families greet new hamster

Photo credit: Liesje Powers

A choir of laughs and running feet filled the West Waco Library meeting room as children and parents gathered at 2 p.m. for the adoption party of the library’s new pet hamster.

The event was intended for families and lasted about an hour. Children were engaged with the two librarians as they taught them about hamster facts, took them on a scavenger hunt to find the new hamster, read them a hamster book and, of course, let them play with the hamster.

“The library has events for people of all ages. We have events for kids of all ages and for teens and adults, too,” Jessica Emmett, community services supervisor of the library said. “Events are a great way to encourage community and to get people into the library. We look at what’s happening in the community and try to compliment what’s popular with events that are free and open to the public.”

The room was filled with different events for kids to do once the librarians, Stacy Phillips and Laura Morrell, were done talking to them. Children hopped from place to place with all of the available activities. In one corner, boxes with names on them lined a table; this was the vote for the new hamsters name. Children and parents both filled out votes and decided which name they wanted to choose. The available options were Callie, Elsa, Graycie, Peanut and Pebbles. Peanut ended up winning, and an enormous cheer erupted amongst the kids when they discovered what the hamster’s name would be.

The hamster will stay in the children’s area, according to Phillips. It is replacing the previous hamster that lived for three years.

Many kids gathered on the rainbow foam tiles in the room to color pictures of hamsters during their free time. Others decided to play with Peanut. There was even an arts and crafts activity to build a hamster face out of paper on a popsicle stick.

“My daughter loves animals,” Whitney resident Amber Vecchio said. “She’s seven and a half, so it sounded fun. They have game day and kids yoga, so those are the ones we’ve done so far.”

Vecchio’s daughter, Aurora, loves the library, according to Vecchio. Since she’s a resident of Whitney, she didn’t discover the library until about five months ago. She says it has great events and goes about once a week.

“Library events can often bring in non-users who are not in the habit of visiting the library but are looking for an activity or a club for themselves or their kids,” Emmett said. “Our number one priority is getting more people in the library, so we can use events to bring them in the doors. Once they’re here, they discover all the great services we offer. Library use has changed over the years.” Getting people into the library however we can is a great way to show them how we can fit their needs.”