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Tree completes library's family-friendly nook

June 11, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The new reading tree at Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library might be planted on carpet between rows of books, but the library hopes the artificial 6-foot-tall birchwood will grow a love of reading among Greencastle children all year round.

Donated by the Greencastle Lioness Club, the free-standing tree completes the library's new family-friendly section in an effort to become a Family Place Library.

Every five years, the Greencastle Lionesses take on a special anniversary project to benefit the community.

Laura Greenlee, director of the library, said this year the club approached her about making the library its project for 2009.

"We are so grateful to the Lioness club because we never could have afforded this on our own," Greenlee said, adding that on May 30 the library thanked the Lioness Club with a special luncheon.

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The nonprofit library is part of the Franklin County Library System, so it relies on state money, donations and grant funding to pay for its programs and capital projects, Greenlee said.

Last summer, the library began work on the new family section by knocking out a wall and creating a nook where parents could read and play together with their children, said Rose Trombetta, children services coordinator for the library.

Until the tree arrived, the area seemed incomplete, Trombetta said.

Now that it is in place, she hopes the new reading tree will be a defining feature for the library.

"When kids come in, they don't say much, they just walk up to it wide-eyed and take it in," Trombetta said. "I hope we become known as 'the library with the tree.'"

Few people will miss the tree with its bright green top that towers over the shelves of books.

The tree is a focal point in the small library, Trombetta said.

"Once in a while, (the kids) say, 'Mom a tree! Is it for sitting?'" she said. "The little ones will even pull chairs up to the benches and use it as a desk."

Complete with benches, cubbies for holding books and stuffed animals, the tree is a reading, climbing, playing and relaxing haven for the young library patrons.

Unfortunately, the tree was not built to sustain the weight of grown adults, and Greenlee recommends only children use its benches.

Now that the tree is in place, Gianna Gibson said it is more exciting to come to the library.

"I like that I can sit and read on it," Gianna said. "I think I will tell my friends about it."

Before the library officially can become a Family Place Library, it needs to secure some additional grant funding, Trombetta said.

According to the Family Place Libraries Web site, Family Place Libraries redesign the library environment to be welcoming and appropriate for children beginning at birth; connect parents with the resources, programs and services offered at the library and other family service agencies; and reach out to nontraditional library users.

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