By Sharon G. Nichols, senior writer Where can you take your children or grandchildren and see top movies; educational programs; family story time; live performances and it does not cost you--one single cent? It is the W.T. Bland Library and it is completely funded by the Friends of the Library.
"Starting on June 22nd our summer program starts at 2:00 p.m. with our Monday Movies," said Lynn Gonzales the Youth Services Librarian. "We've been doing this for every summer and we fill each day of the week with different programs. All fun and with the family in mind, we try and reach all the age groups at different times." This summer's program is titled "Every Hero Has a Story".
Tuesday mornings is Activity Hour for grades K-5 in the Children's Program Room. Open to the first 50 children, the first program on the 23rd is called Maker and STEM. This fascinating, engaging hands on program teaches the children teamwork and presentation skills by using Strawbees. It is a little engineering and education construction kit with connectors.
" Science and basic physics, tossed in with construction," Gonzales said. "I cannot wait to see the kids. And then on the following Tuesday the program will be on bees. Each Tuesday is a different program, the kids love it."
Family Story Time is on Wednesday. From June 24-July 29 at 10:30 a.m. toddlers and preschoolers can hear stories read aloud to them. Wednesday is a packed day for the library. At 3:30 p.m. the Lego club meets and all children are welcome to come. Its only being offered on June 24th, July 8th and July 22nd this summer. The weeks in between on Wednesday's is PAWS Therapy Dogs. This is where licensed therapy dogs visit the library and the kids can read to the dogs.
"Kids love this program," she said. "Its where kids can read to a dog and the dog just sits there and both animal and child bond--over a book no less."
But it's the Thursday live performances at 2:00 p.m. held at the Mount Dora Community Building which draws the biggest crowds. All ages are welcome but you must come a little early to get a seat. House attendance is anywhere from 250-450 children and adults.
"The shows are amazing," Gonzales said. "Several of the performers have been coming and putting on their show at the library for more than 20 years. John Storms and His World of Reptiles plus Jiggleman. We've got 6 other phenomenal shows lined up this year."
Gonzales started a new story time hour on Fridays back in April. Held on the 3rd Friday of each month at 10:30 its called Sensory Story Time. Its participants are children ages 3-5 years old who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This special opportunity for parents and children must be pre-registered because space is limited. Only 8 children and their parents can attend.
"None of these programs would be possible if it wasn't for our Friends of the Library," she said. "They buy all of our supplies, video's, computers. Everything. They are amazing."
The Friends of the Library needs more members. Annual membership starts at $10 and work up to the Benefactor rate of $100. All membership money, goes to fund the needs of the library, in addition to the funds generated from book sales at the Book Nook and the annual Used Book Sale.
W.T. Bland Public Library located at 1995 N. Donnelly Street. Phone 352-735-7180. Hours: M,Th,Fr 9-6 Tu&Wed 9-8 Sat 9-2. For the entire schedule of special children's programs at the community center, visit the calendar page at www.MountDoraBuzz.com